Dear Prosecutors Watkins and Elkins:
My name is Eva Nagao and I live in Chicago, Illinois where I work with an organization dedicated to freeing the wrongfully convicted, the Exoneration Project. In addition to my legal work, I host a MTV Show “Unlocking the Truth,” exploring and exposing injustice in the legal system. As part of the show and in my own clients’ cases, I’ve interviewed women who face death every day of their lives within the “safety” of their own homes. There are many.
See the prosecution of Bresha Meadows as I see it: wrong. The conviction of Bresha Meadows would be a wrongful conviction. In the context of her severe and serialized abuse, I urge you to consider Bresha’s actions a crime of–and more aptly and simply–survival.
I could point out to you that at Bresha’s age the brain has not fully formed the impulse control of an adult. I could point out that the crime risk rates for children, especially girls like Bresha, are low and rarely violent while the recidivism rate once they’ve been incarcerated is high. I could point out that young women like Bresha who have endured severe trauma are likely to have more difficulty in jail and prison. Women in this society, as women, inherently enter prison at a disadvantage, and prison offers them absolutely no advantages going forward.
If you prosecute and convict Bresha Meadows, she will join the 84% of incarcerated young women who have been victimized and then punished rather than protected.
I have been hit. I have run away from home. I have been young, and scared, and alone and I have survived. My experience is nothing like Bresha’s. My world is nothing like Bresha’s. Yet the reality we ultimately face is the same: a world in which we incarcerate Bresha Meadows is an unjust world, indeed.
Using logic and compassion, free Bresha Meadows. Make our world a more just place by showing it that we need not force trauma into travesty. In fact, we are a safer world with our Bresha Meadows in it, and not locked out of it.