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prisons & prisoners ftaa miami & soa

The life of women prisoners in Miami-Dade County as seen through the eyes of an FTAA protester

"Come on Ladies, no talking allowed... Eat faster, Ladies or lose your food... Midnight, Ladies get out of your beds and in line for count... Ladies, if you are found with more then one blanket you will be disciplined... Ladies, it's four in the morning: time for count and then breakfast. I said 'WAKE UP!' Ladies. You don't want to see me angry!"

Who are these "Ladies"? They are the women inmates of the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department. Don't be fooled. Many of these women (65%) have not been convicted of crimes. They are merely too poor to secure the funds necessary to free themselves with bail and obtain legal counsel other than a public defender.

Ninety-two percent of these women have incomes of less then $10,000 per year with which they must support themselves as well as their families. They may spend more then five days in jail before a magistrate reviews their case. Then they are often given a difficult choice. They can plead guilty and go free on the spot with a mark on their record. This option leaves them less likely to get a job and more likely to get jailed again. Or they may "choose" to remain in jail, for weeks and sometimes months, if they can't raise their bail money, before their court date. For these women, innocent before proven guilty has become a joke. [ Read more... ]

related: I remember in Seattle N30 1999 when I was in jail and I heard all of the people in the streets outside using "Repeat after me!" to send messages inside! What would it be like to hear thousands of people sending their support to you while you are inside your cubicle, factory, and so on...? [ Expanding Jail Solidarity ]