It has been quite some time since I’ve reached out to you to ask for financial support to help further our work with battered women behind bars, but we need your help now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic running rampant through Michigan prisons. This is the #TimeToLetThemGo.
As you know, Michigan’s criminal justice system has never looked favorably upon women who are put in a kill or be killed situation by an abusive partner. The many complexities surrounding intimate partner violence are misunderstood and biased at every level; it begins with law enforcement, includes prosecutors, judges, and juries, and “ends” with the parole board.
A 1995 Michigan Supreme Court ruling still in effect, called People v Christel, places severe limits on the expert’s ability to testify to jurors on behalf of abused women. Because of this ruling, jurors do not have a complete understanding of why a woman acts in self-defense versus just leaving her abuser.
Even though we have provided our lawmakers with model legislation, they have yet to correct this injustice. It costs Michigan taxpayers $36k a year to house one prisoner, plus more if they have health issues.
Well, we can’t accept their stance and do nothing. So, Justice Through Storytelling strategized on the next steps to help these women AND stop squandering our state budget, especially now when resources are so scarce and needed elsewhere.
Our campaign is called #TimeToLetThemGo, and we are working on multiple fronts.
- We consulted with the former prison psychologist and domestic violence expert Mr. Nels Thompson, who advocates for the release of many incarcerated women that have served 15-30 years behind bars – an enormous price to pay for the “crime” of self-defense.
- In October 2018, we hosted the Double Injustice to Women legislative campaign and developed a sound and sensible policy proposal which was presented to our Michigan legislators, showing them how other states have addressed this critical issue.
- We assembled an expert panel on intimate partner violence by consulting with the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, nationwide expert Dr. Lenore Walker, forensic psychologist Dr. Michael Abramsky, and Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson. They have agreed to participate in an upcoming educational session with the Michigan Parole Board to discuss the complexities of intimate partner violence.
- JTS has already started working with Holly Rosen, the director of MSU Safe Place at Michigan State University. Ms. Rosen has worked with domestic violence victims for over 35 years. She has attended and facilitated thousands of workshops, provided assessments for family, criminal, and civil court cases. Ms. Rosen will be evaluating many of the cases of incarcerated women and providing a detailed report which we will submit with a commutation or motion for consideration of their release from prison.
Without our best and relentless efforts, which require significant financial investment , there is a high probability these reports will be the only “fair trial” these women may ever get. We need your financial support now to help cover costs for the extensive time and attention needed for each domestic violence report, including expenses related to travel, obtaining and shipping legal documents, and other associated costs. It is #TimeToLetThemGo.
Thank you for your consideration in helping us to obtain #Justice4Women in Michigan.
Kelle Lynn, JTS President
JTS is a 501(c)(3), and we can receive your tax-deductible donation by either PayPal above or checks can be mailed to: JTS – PO BOX 363 – Grand Haven, MI 49417.
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JUSTICE THRU STORYTELLING
JTS, PO Box 363
Grand Haven, MI 49417