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News ::
Blood on the Hands of Prison-Industrial Corporados in MA (english)
21 Aug 2003
Modified: 29 Aug 2003

Members of the Springfield Harm Reduction Coalition (SHARC) will be joining
others from across the Commonwealth on Sunday, August 24 at MCI-Framingham
at 1 pm. to protest the unexplained death of Kelly Jo Griffen.

Kelly Jo Griffen, 24, of Lynn, MA arrived at MCI-Framingham, the
Massachusetts Women’s Prison, sometime after 5:00PM on Monday July 21. Less
than 36 hours later she was pronounced dead.

Activists have many questions about why a young woman who was picked up on
an outstanding default which may have expired, and whose bail was only $100
which her family was willing to pay, was transported to MCI-Framingham at

“Why did Kelly Jo Griffen die? What lead to her death 85 hours after being
picked up by local police?” asks Holly Richardson, from Arise, a member
organization of SHaRC. “We’ve been told that MCI-Framingham did not act on
repeated telephone calls from Kelly’s relatives, and that her family begged
that Kelly get hospital treatment as she was very ill with a kidney disease
and ‘detoxing by default’ from a heavy addiction. Information from several
sources inside Framingham describes an ailing Kelly begging for help that
she didn’t receive.”

The Springfield Harm Reduction Coalition (SHaRC) has been working to build
community opposition to construction of the planned Chicopee Women’s Jail.
The jail will cost $27 million to construct and $12 million a year to

“We have enough jails,” says Paris Holmes, SHaRC member. “We need a new
way. If women had access to good jobs, healthcare, daycare and drug
treatment, we would not see nearly as many women incarcerated.”

Catherine Simon of the Freedom Center and Arise agrees.

“Here we are in a fiscal crisis in this state and yet we’re sending women
into a vicious circle. Most women go to jail for non-violent, drug-related
offenses but they come out with a record that keeps them from getting
housing and a job which returns them to the same non-violent crimes they
were incarcerated for in the first place,” says Simon. Recovering their
children from the foster care system is also a sometimes impossible hurdle
for women to overcome.

SHaRC meets regularly in Springfield and Chicopee. For more information or
to join the MCI-Framingham protest, contact Arise at 413-734-4948.
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Civilian Oversight Needed (english)
23 Aug 2003
This disturbing story serves to underscore the immediate need for independent civilian oversight of the conditions in the Commonwealth's correctional facilities. As long as tragedies such as this are "handled" exclusively by in-house "investigators" who have a vested interest in keeping the lid on and protecting the powers-that-be who are ultimately responsible, we will continue to receive only snippets of information, misinformation and disinformation about the goings-on inside the walls. How many mysterious deaths, injuries, and other unexplained incidents must occur before the citizens demand an accounting (beyond misleading and incomplete official statements)?

This should serve as a wake-up call! Write, call, visit your legislative representatives. Let them know that we care about our brothers and sisters who are under the "care and custody" of the Department of Correction. A bill is pending, even now, that would authorize the formation of a citizens' review committee that will allow some much-needed daylight into the workings of the prison system. Please support it!
Too Many Deaths (english)
29 Aug 2003
It should be obvious by now that the "War On Drugs" is a sham. We have nothing to show for it by broken and destroyed lives. Prison is not the answer to addiction. We need to take this issue out of the mismanaging hands of law enforcement and place it in the hands of nurses and doctors. Please look at the Kelly Jo Memorial page at