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Advocates Working to Help Incarcerated Women and Girls

Advocates Working to Help Incarcerated Women and Girls
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Advocates in Mississippi are working to help women and girls who have been incarcerated. Supporters are hosting a clemency campaign this Saturday in Jackson. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.

Advocates for clemency say prison isn't the only way to hold people accountable for their actions. Clemency is the process of granting a lighter sentence to a person who has committed a crime says Rukia Lumumba. She is with the People's Advocacy Institute.

"We have to get to a point where we understand that consistently engaging in the same poor policies of punishing people by putting them in prisons and dehumanizing them have not led us to any positive results," said Lumumba.

Lawmakers passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act this past legislative session to try and help people through the legal system. It will become law in July.

Sixty seven year old Denise Coleman of Jackson was released from prison last year. In 1981, she was charged with two concurrent life sentences for kidnapping and murder. Coleman now works with the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. The organization along with the People's Advocacy Institute is holding a clemency workshop this weekend. Coleman says sometimes women are scared to see if they are eligible for clemency.

"You have to have a family that's supportive," said Coleman. "If you don't you have to get out and grind for yourself. You have to write until you can't no more. I would write so many letters to anybody who would listen and waited all those years for somebody to answer me."

The clemency campaign brunch will be held on Saturday from 11 AM to 2 PM at the COFO Civil Rights Education Center in Jackson.