Mother's Day Sympathies Misdirected

By Cheryl Gevry
Featured Rightgrrl December 1998
May 8, 1999

A local newspaper headline caught my eye - "Plight of moms in prison decried". The subtitle was "Mandatory minimum sentencing is putting more mothers behind bars, and their children are in crisis."

A whooping gathering of maybe one hundred people, including ex-inmates, local attorneys, college professors, health care and prison workers, and employees of programs that serve as alternatives to imprisonment came to denounce as the article put it "one of the most sobering issues facing families today"; that a bunch of mothers would spend Mother's Day behind bars.

Whose fault was this anyway? Well it definitely wasn't theirs, according to Ellen Miller Mack facilitator of the protest, because all these women are victims of racism and poverty. How exactly racism and poverty turn women to lives of crime alludes common sense.

A woefully story is told of how an inmate lost her son. Tears should come to our eyes at how after fifty-three drunken driving charges, where this woman endangered not only her life, but also the lives of countless others she was jailed. She told of an eight year story of drug abuse and doing time. But in the end, it was the system that failed her, because it didn't respond when she reached out for help in the past.

Those who claim that women don't receive equal treatment in our society are now complaining because women according to Carol Benson, a founding board member of the project, are being incarcerated ten times faster then men.

Is this not just another story of lack of responsibility for one's actions? Did these women break the law or not! All these do-gooders have missed the mark once again - people that commit illegal acts need to be punished regardless of their gender or the reasons behind them.

I wonder if we will have a Father's Day protest for all those fathers separated from their children because they committed some illegal act. Somehow I doubt it will seem as important.

This article copyright © 1999 by Cheryl Gevry, and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.