Kelly Hayes & Benji Hart @ TruthOut; excerpt below:

Bresha and her family are truly deserving of healing, yet it is unlikely that such healing can come from any tentacle of the carceral system. It is next to impossible that true healing can result from anything short of Bresha being actually, truthfully set free.

There is a long, degrading legacy of women and girls—specifically those who are of color, trans and queer, sex workers and survivors of abuse—being legally coerced into ill-fitted and poorly-funded psychiatric facilities. This has historically been offered as an alternative to incarceration, and even an answer to overcoming trauma. Yet the result has been the pathologizing of resistance, self-determination and self-defense, and the punishing of women and girls who fight back on their own terms. In these institutions, obedience is read as health, which means oppressed women and girls tend to be automatically branded as unstable. Even more unsettling, because time spent in these facilities is classified as “treatment,” there is often no clear release date as there is when one is serving an actual prison sentence.

Traditional psychiatric treatment, mandated by the courts, has, up to this point, only been incarceration by a different name. This is why it is imperative we fight for real freedom, total decarceration, for Bresha.

Statistically speaking, there is a direct relationship between the length of a defendant’s pretrial detention and the likelihood of a conviction. In addition to Bresha’s current confinement being unjust and inhumane, it is actually a threat to her long term freedom. It points to a desire on the legal system’s part to condemn her, as keeping her caged these many months has already served to do. This is why any verdict other than ‘not guilty’ is likely to result in her further confinement—be it under the guise of healing or no.

Read full article.


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