Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Truth About Prison - Interview

Pamela White is the editor of the Boulder Weekly. She also writes very successful romance novels under the name of Pamela Clare. In her former life as a reporter she came across a story she felt very strongly about. So strongly that she actually got fired because of the story. The novel she has coming out called "Unlawful Contact" contains pieces of that story. She recently asked to do an interview for her blog so I reprinted it here.
You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Pamela Clare plays journalist

An interview with Pamela Clifton

A long, long time ago in about June 2001, I came across your federal lawsuit against the state of Colorado. You were at the Denver Women's facility. I know it’s not easy, but can you give us a quick overview of what happened to you there?

Nothing happened in Denver Women’s.

Ah. OK. Now that we’ve settled that, I feel like a dope.

I started out in Cañon City at the women’s facility. At the time Denver Women’s had just opened, and they did not have the capability to take care of women who were pregnant. I was about three months pregnant when I arrived. I was put on light duty and went to see the doctor every month. My pregnancy was progressing normally. The baby was due on about January 18. The week before Christmas I went in for a check up and was told that I should expect a daughter.

I woke up on a beautiful Christmas morning. I went out to walk laps for an hour, which I always did, and then went back to my room for the 11 AM count. During count you are not allowed to leave your cell, even though we had unlocked doors, except to go to the bathroom. Count usually took about 45 minutes, and then we were called for lunch unit by unit. It was Christmas dinner so things took a little longer.

I remember the first gut-wrenching hit about 10 minutes into count. I was alarmed but not upset. The second one came exactly 15 minutes later and the third one about 12 minutes after that. I saw one of the guards coming down the hall and I said, “ Something’s wrong, I think I am in labor.” She said there wasn’t anything she could do right then because it was count time, but I could go to the bathroom if I wanted. I went to the bathroom and then after 10 minutes I got another one. I started to pace the long unit down the hallway. I spoke to some of the other girls, and they watched over me through each pain. I have two other children so I know what labor feels like as opposed to Braxton-Hicks. I went to the dayroom, the guard was playing a video game, and I asked her to call down to medical, and she said that she did but no one was answering the phone. Finally, they called our unit to lunch and I told the girls that we could walk down to Master Control and tell the guard down there what was happening. The contractions were still about 10 minutes apart. We walked into the dining hall and I sat down. They were coming a little faster. Just so you know my water never breaks; the doctor had to break it with both my kids. My eldest daughter was a month early, and my son was two weeks late. I had passed this information on to the medical staff at CWCF early on in my pregnancy.

The pains were five minutes apart, and I knew something was happening because it was more than a pushing pain; there was a struggle going on in my belly. I went to Master control, and I told the officer to please call medical that my pains were five minutes apart. She said, “Go back to your unit. There are plenty of women down there who know how to birth babies.”

I remember standing there with my mouth open. And then the girls ushered me down the hall to my unit. I asked the guard again, and she said, “I’ll try” ....

I don’t remember much after that I was in my room between the chair and the bed for about 4 hours. The pains started becoming erratic at that point and when the guards changed shifts one of the girls went and told the new guard what was happening and suddenly medical was on the ball, or so I thought. They had me come down, and the nurse who was not a regular employee said that my water hadn’t broken and she couldn’t feel the distress. I asked her to check with the fetal heart monitor to make sure everything was okay, and she said she didn’t know how to use it. I made a remark about it not being that hard, and she said that there wasn’t anyone to call because it was Christmas. She sent me back to my unit.

I waited for someone to call me in the next day, but it was Sunday, and no one was there. That evening I went to an AA meeting, and I saw the nurse in the hall, and I looked at her and said, “Now I don’t feel anything.” She had me come into medical and called the PA. He came over from Fremont, checked me with the fetal heart monitor and had me rushed to the hospital. At the hospital my doctor showed up and did a battery of tests.

“I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat,” he said.
You can read the entire article by clicking here.

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