Mental Illness Behind Bars and Clemency Postcard Drive

Mental Illness Behind Bars

Since the 1980’s when funding for community mental health centers was cut drastically the number of people in prison because of mental illness has risen steadily. Wardens and Corrections officials from state and local prisons and jails acknowledge they are ill equipped to handle those inmates that have emotional problems. More and more states and communities are funding mental health centers and mental health courts to divert people with mental disorders and drug problems from incarceration to treatment. Kansas City, Mo opened a diversion center about three years ago and Wyandotte County in Kansas has opened a mental health court.

Host Latahra Smith talks with Claudia Thomas about her experiences with mentally ill inmates and efforts to meet their needs behind bars.

Clemency Postcard Drive
Postcard 3

The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, accomplish their mission by providing a membership platform of technical support, complex coalition building, and comprehensive resources that assist local initiatives toward our shared goal of shifting from a criminal legal system to one based on human justice. They have a Clemency Campaign you can get involved in that they hope will allow women who are serving long sentences, in poor health or unjustly convicted to go home to their families and communities.

Host Jeff Humfeld talks with Judy Henderson who was herself granted clemency after serving 35 years. She will tell us about a postcard campaign urging Governor Mike Parsons to consider clemency pleas for women in MODOC who deserve release.

National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
Website –

Sample Script –

Dear Governor [ ], I urge you to use your clemency power to release women incarcerated in our state who are elderly, criminalized survivors of violence, enduring sentences of more than 10 years, and/or living with long-term or life-threatening illnesses, and all girls incarcerated in juvenile detention centers. Meaningful criminal justice reform must include clemency. #FreeHer.

Info for postcards to Governor Parsons –

Send postcards to –
Office of Governor Michael L. Parson
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Phone: (573) 751-3222
Fax: (573) 751-1495

The JoJR Calendar for the week of May 6th

The Criminal Justice Task Force will meet Monday May 6th from 6:45 to 8:45 pm at the Church of the Good Shepard, 4947 Chouteau Drive, KCMO. The Criminal Justice Task Force mission is to lobby the Missouri State Legislature for sentencing laws that are fair and basic human rights of those that are incarcerated. For information contact Robin Johnson at 816-522-4081 or email:
The Kansas City Chapter of Missourian’s For Alternatives to the Death Penalty will meet Tuesday, May 7th from 6:30 to 8pm at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut, KCMO. They will be addressing opportunities to table at local events, legislative updates, future activities and more. There will be details of this year’s MADP Annual meeting to be held in St Louis, June 29th with newly elected Prosecutor Wesley Bell as the keynote speaker.
Mothers of Incarcerated Sons and Daughters will have their monthly meeting Saturday, May 11th from noon to 2pm at the Waldo Branch Library, 201 East 75th Street, KCMO If you have a loved one that is incarcerated and need advice and support MISD has members that may be able to help.
Corey’s Network invites survivors of murder to their weekly workshops to learn how to deal with grief, the media, investigation, court, and moving forward after a homicide has occurred. This is a workshop, not a grief group. You should bring something to take notes with and please include only those individuals mature enough in age to deal with issues being covered during the meeting. The next workshop, Beginning The Journey, will be held Monday May 6th from 6 to 8 PM at the Church of the Four Corners, 14300 E. US HWY 40, KCMO. The church is located East of the HyVee at 40 Hwy and Noland Rd. For more information and listing of future workshops call 816-834-9161 or email
Kansas City Black Mamas Bailout 2019 is a series of event to raise awareness of the issue of the bail bonds system and money to bail mothers out of jail in time for Mother’s Day. Every day tens of thousands of people languish in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. In addition to the over $9 billion wasted to incarcerate people who have been convicted of no crime, pretrial incarceration has catastrophic impacts on families and communities. There have been a number of events in the past week sponsored by different groups such as Reale Justice Network, KC Democratic Socialists, KC Green Party, Midwest Innocence Project, KC Black Homeschooling Families and The Help KC; Reentry Program for Women.
One of the events yet to come is Be’Yond the Basics: Anti-racism Training & Panel discussion about Criminal Injustice: Black Women and Incarceration: America’s cruel legacy of family separation. You can attend from 6:00-8:00 pm, Thursday, May 9th at Uzazi Village, 4232 Troost Ave. KCMO.

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