COALITION FOR JUSTICE: PRISON REFORM RALLY
Good afternoon ADVOCATE FAMILY! It’s a beautiful day, the sun is out and we’re here in numbers being the voices for those who are both locked-up and lock-down within the VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS!
I’m Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass and I stand before you representing FIRST my wrongfully incarcerated son Kevin D. Snodgrass, Jr. inmate #1203403 housed at RED ONION state prison. And, I’m here as a board member of one of today’s event endorsers INTERFAITH ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (IAHR).
IAHR’s mission is to strengthen bridges among regional faith communities to counter racism, religious bigotry and to work to redress pervasive injustice in our criminal justice system. Specifically, IAHR seeks to change the culture, policy or practices that cause torture or violate human dignity.
I want to thank Margaret Breslau (Coalition for Justice), Joseph Rogers (Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality) and all RALLY committee member’s for being all inclusive by including me on your agenda for this spectacular gathering today.
Today, we are putting BOTH the old guards and newly elected Virginia Legislators on notice—that JUSTICE REFORM via new legislation is a must in the current 2018 General Assembly session. Virginia can no longer uphold the practice of mass incarceration via current laws on the books that rubber-stamps over sentencing, no parole and VDOC’s best kept secret—that monster SOLITARY CONFINMENT!
As advocates we are taking steps without actually seeing the staircase. I’m talking MLK to you right now…stay with me. I want to quickly give you 3 important actions for us to move forward from today’s rally with a purpose…
We have many organizations throughout Virginia advocating and working on Justice Reform issues. EVERYBODY HAS AN ORGANIZATION. Let’s make a commitment to not establish another nonprofit— WE HAVE TO JOIN, SUPPORT AND DONATE TO EXISTING ORGANIZATIONS. BECAUSE IF YOU’RE REALLY IN THE TRENCHES YOU MAY AGREE WITH ME THAT AS AN ADOVACTE YOU ARE OFTENTIMES DRAINED, OVEREXTENDED AND SOMETIMES FINANCIALLY CRIPPLED BECAUSE YOU’RE WORKING FROM YOUR HEART. THE SIMPLE CURE TO THIS IS PARTNERING WITH EXSITING ORGANIZATIONS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO AGREE WITH ME NOW, BUT THINK ABOUT IT!
SUPPORT CURRENT JUSTICE REFORM BILLS SUBMITTED FOR THIS SESSION. I want to quickly tell you about HB 795 Sponsored by DELGATE PATRICK HOPE (47TH DISTRICT, ARLINGTON). HB 795— IS A GAME CHANGER ON HOW SOLITARY CONFINEMENT WILL BE USED IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA. WHEN PASSED, YES, I’M CLAIMING THIS VICTORY--HB 795 WILL STOP ALLOWING PLACEMENT OF THE MENTALLY ILL, CHILDREN AND PREGANT WOMEN IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. AND, INMATES ASSIGNED TO SOLITARY CONFINEMENT WILL NOT BE CONFINED LONGER THAN 15-DAYS…NO MORE CONFINEMENT PERIODS OF 3, 5 AND 14 YEARS! NOTICE I DON’T USE VDOC’S TERM ADMINISTRATIVE SEGRAGATION.
IN CLOSING, THEY ALWAYS SAY ITS NOT POLITICAL, BUT WE KNOW ITS ALWAYS POLITICAL; LET’S HOLD ELECTED OFFICIAL ACCOUNTABLE, ADVOCATE BODLY, STAY HEALTHY, SEEK PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHER ORGANZATIONS…GOD BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU