Warning: Black Women Are the New Targets For Mass Incarceration

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The Free HER Rally is organized to call for non-violent female prisoners to be released from prison Female prison population has risen 757 percent from 1977-2005.


by Yolanda Spivey

On June 21, 2014, Families for Justice as Healing is holding the FREE HER Rally in Washington DC.  The rally hopes to bring women, families, and supporters together to raise their voices against mass incarceration and the war on drugs.

According to, “the female population in prisons has risen an astonishing 757 percent from 1977 to 2005.  Most experts believe the massive increase is the result of tougher sentencing laws and a record number of drug offenders.”

The majority of these women are imprisoned for non-violent crimes, and 70 percent of incarcerated women are usually caregivers prior to their incarceration.

Andrea James, founder of Families for Justice as Healing and author of the book titled Upper Bunkies Unite,  discussed the FREE HER Rally with Your Black World. Here’s what she said: “We are hoping to raise the level of awareness in this country on the increase of incarcerated women and the destruction it has on our children and our community.”

She further states, “Ninety percent of the women are there for non-violent offenses related to drugs and they are serving unconsciously long sentences.”

James is a former criminal defense lawyer and is no stranger to prison.  In 2009 she was sentenced to two years in federal prison after turning herself in for mail and wire fraud.  In the early 2000’s, James took advantage of the real estate boom and worked doing real estate closings in addition to her thriving law practice.  It led to her illegally misusing funds in her dealings to help clients pay off their mortgages early.

She told Your Black World that when she first entered the inside of prison, she was stunned by what she encountered as she walked through the “cramped” environment “full of Black women.” There she witnessed firsthand the devastation the war on drugs had on women and their families.  She was also shocked at the unimaginably long sentences given to these women who, as she says, “were never arrested before, never so much as for a parking ticket.”

Upon her release, she created Families for Justice as Healing.  She stated, “Prisons are dehumanizing environments and will never serve a role in society as places of healing. A shift is necessary from policies that criminalize poverty to ones that provide resources for healing from laws and practices that continue to perpetuate a permanent underclass.”

Her organization is a criminal justice reform legislative advocacy group that advocates for community wellness alternatives to incarceration.  The organization is comprised of both incarcerated and formally incarcerated women.

James states, “We hope to shed light on the dangerous and rapid increase in the incarceration rates of women, and disproportionately black women, in the United States. And, we will ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women locked up in the federal system who are serving drug sentences and send them home to their children and their families. The time for healing has arrived.”

Please join the movement on Saturday, June 21st, 2014, from 10am-2pm at the Washington Mall in Washington DC.

For more information on Andrea James’s organization, please visit her website at:

Yolanda Spivey writes on a variety of topics and is the founder of Black Insurance News. She can be reached at or you can visit her Facebook page.





  1. F Walker

    May 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    The system reached their goal for black men, now they are shifting the focus to black women. Unbelievable.

    • TheTruth

      May 16, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Until Black People decide to separate ourselves from the drug culture- both selling and using that we have so openly embraced, the mass incarceration of Black People will only increase. But, of course illegal drug involvement for Black People will continue and so will mass incarceration. Get used to it.

  2. Toni

    May 15, 2014 at 7:28 am

    One issue is our prosecutors are not trained and will take any type of complaint to get individuals in our system.

  3. Anastasia

    May 15, 2014 at 9:11 am

    They should be. They just take the joy out of living life as it should be. So, yeah lock them up where they cannot cause problems for those who have purpose.

    • Dale

      May 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I can agree with this statement only if the justice system threw drug addicts and dealers from the dominant society in there ad well. But because their not, there are an overwhelming amount of people who represent such a small population.

    • Regina

      May 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      What about your beloved not so holy white bytches?

  4. big Annie

    May 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I believe that this has been the plan all along: for Blacks to be rendered helpless and unable to financially take care of ourselves and our families. What better way than to give Black men, women, AND children criminal records. That diminishes a person’s ability to get a decent job, get into school or receive a student loan, keeps a person from obtaining housing, etc.
    It is part of the plan to wipe us out of the US.

    • Dale

      May 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

      I wholeheartedly agree with your comment. But the way out of this is opening our eyes as a group! Be informed. Don’t allow tv shows like scandal and black millionaires and billionaires to mislead us into beleiving our conditions has changed. If we are in a delusional state we will not fight back, therefore making it easy for the dominant society to do whatever they want to us.

  5. jlove

    May 15, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Hillary. .has a plan for the Negros and Negresses,Afro and African Americans, the Blacks, the man and the woman of color also! She knows that she can count on your loyal democratic party vote.. without any question or comments..oh happy days..praise Jesus! Yeah right..

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