Our coalition to #FreeBresha recently learned from Bresha Meadows’ mother that Bresha is now on suicide watch at Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center in Ohio.
We are devastated and enraged but not surprised to hear that incarcerating Bresha is further endangering her life. The domination and isolation of incarceration mirror conditions of domestic violence and abuse. Caging a child compounds their trauma, as evidenced by young people’s’ suicides, suicide attempts, self-harm, and the worsening of mental health symptoms while incarcerated (Hayes, 2009; Ford, Chapman, Hawke, & Albert 2007). State-sanctioned harms of incarceration impact girls of color disproportionately, severely, and with deadly force.
Bresha has lived in fear for her entire life and these state-sanctioned harms only escalate that fear. Ohio officials have failed Bresha at every turn — police refused to support her when she sought their help; prosecutors have imprisoned her, isolating her and cutting her off from her support system; and now she faces the devastating threat of spending years behind bars if the charges are not dropped.
We understand that suicide watch in custody is far from suicide prevention. Suicide watch for incarcerated children means even further isolation, deprivation and humiliation. We can only imagine the degree of trauma and devastation Bresha continues to suffer and just barely survive. We refuse to allow the State of Ohio and its agents to further torture Bresha and deprive her of her future. Just as Bresha should never have been forced to suffer from life-threatening abuse by her father, she should not be targeted with the deadly violence of incarceration. We demand Bresha’s immediate release.
We understand Bresha’s current condition as urgent and we need your support this week to call for her immediate release with as much public force as possible. Please join the #FreeBresha Days of Action on October 5th & 6th. Get involved in a planned action or create your own and let us know so we can promote: bit.ly/BreshaAction.