This wasn’t the best of Thanksgiving feasts for families who have loved ones behind bars. For these prison moms, looking at empty seats made it that much more dreadful.
A New Path: Program for Prison Mothers
The feasting tables were empty and chairs upturned since persons that would have filled them remain incarcerated. Several groups of activist mothers are using the occasion of empty Thanksgiving seats to bring attention to unfavorable justice policies.
To this extent, the groups blame unjustifiable imprisonments and drug-related problems for their families’ woes.
The groups, A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) – based in Southern California, and the Moms United to End the War on Drugs are raising attention to these problems.
How the Campaigns of These Groups Help Families of Incarcerated Persons
Members of the groups are using the empty Thanksgiving seats to bring attention to –
- Unnecessary incarceration
- Accidental overdose
- Drug war violence
- School-to-prison pipeline problems
- Reforms in the justice system
This awareness will help families of incarcerated persons because it will influence reforms within the justice system. Gretchen Burns Bergman, executive director of
A New PATH, noted that drug addiction is best treated with therapy rather than incarceration. The groups also want to ensure that fewer persons land in jail for non-violent drug offenses.
A New PATH: Reducing the School-To-Prison Pipeline Phenomenon
Several other justice reform groups reveal that reformed justice system will reduce the rising school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon. The awareness will also draw attention to how law enforcement target African Americans and other minority communities for incarceration.
The ongoing empty Thanksgiving seats campaign will also serve to cut government spending on prison facilities – thus saving taxpayers’ monies.
Lenore Anderson, executive director for Californians for Safety and Justice, revealed that the government must ensure public safety by limiting incarceration and prison spending. He said:
“By continuing to right-size the state’s incarceration rate and substantially reduce the amount of money we spend on prisons, we will be able to invest in new safety solutions that more effectively support people vulnerable to crime, prevent crime from occurring in the first place and stop the cycle from continuing.”
The school to prison pipeline problem will be greatly addressed with enough attention to the ongoing activist causes.
A typical example here is the case of 14-year-old Jazmine who is incarcerated for drugs but meets her mom in jail, already serving a sentence for robbery.