Amy Buckley in Mississippi prison: I will not give up until I receive the medical care I deserve

From: SF Bay View, September 26, 2014

by Amy Buckley

On July 18, 2014, I was told to pack and was transferred to Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Miss. Since I was not informed as to why I was being transferred, I have surmised that it was for medical purposes because I had abnormal results on some recent lab work.

I originally left this compound on Sept. 24, 2010, with the hope of never seeing it again, but here I sit. I wish I could say that things here have improved. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

CMCF is the processing center for all men and women coming into the prison system. This facility also houses just over 2,300 men long-term and less than 1,000 women who are compound-restricted due to medical conditions such as AIDS, pregnancy and heart problems and those with life sentences. Sadly, this is one of the worst – it is the worst for women – facilities in the state.

Conditions here are deplorable. There are 116 women per open zone (dorm) and no air conditioning. Lice, boils, staph infections, scabies and AIDS are rampant. The food is barely edible. Medical care is insufficient to non-existent. Mold grows on the shower walls and no matter how many times you scrub it off it grows right back. These are simply a few of the problems here.

Since arriving here on Friday, I have yet to be seen by a case manager and have not been issued any clothes. For five days now I have been wearing the same jumpsuit I was made to put on for being transported.

I approached Lt. Bates several times attempting to ask about getting clothes, only to be swatted away like I was a pesky fly. I also approached the case manager, Ms. Gattis, who said she would see me later but failed to do so. I have also written both of the above and received no response.

Without seeing the case manager, I cannot use the phones to contact my family because I have to fill out a phone list and get a PIN number to do so. Ms. Gattis would also be able to address any issues and concerns that I have at this time. To add to this incompetence, I have yet to see a doctor to find out what, if anything, needs to be done concerning my medical needs.

Being back here saddens me because I see the condition of some of these women. Many walk around like zombies, drugged out of their minds and seemingly unaware of their surroundings.

It is easier for a person to see the prison psychiatrist and get any psych drug available, even if they do not need it, than it is to see a nurse or medical doctor when one is truly ill. Many are denied medical care until hospitalization is the only option left and others die waiting to see a doctor.

I know how easy it is to get stuck on this compound, lost in this broken system, forced to work in inhumane conditions without pay or be written up for refusing to work until you land in Max. Despite being prisoners of the state of Mississippi, we have the right to receive prompt medical treatment, clean clothes to wear, a clean and safe living environment and access to our families, i.e., phone calls and visits.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections may not care about my health, but my health is important to me and my family. When I came into this system I was healthy and I plan to leave healthy! I will not give up until I receive the medical care I deserve. The beast will not win!

I will not give up until I receive the medical care I deserve.

Send our sister some love and light: Amy Buckley, 150005, CMCF-2A B-Zone 162, P.O. Box 88550, Pearl, MS 39288. Transcribed by Adrian McKinney from handwritten letter.

Amy has cervical cancer – write the Parole Board to release her

Amy Buckley is known across the country as a wise and courageous advocate for women prisoners. This is the Bay View’s most recent letter from Amy, postmarked July 30. Activist Twitch Entropy reports hearing from Amy that as of Sept. 6, despite an apparent diagnosis of cervical cancer, she still hasn’t seen a doctor, though she’d been in severe pain for a week. She hopes the cancer will be arrested with a hysterectomy.

Back home, her father is suffering from advanced mantle cell lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer, and her son needs her. So her aunt is gathering parole support letters.

Your letter should be addressed to State of Mississippi Parole Board, Attn: Steve Pickett and Parole Board Members, 660 North St., Suite 100A, Jackson, MS 39202. Don’t mail it direct to the board but rather to Amy’s aunt: Trish Gray-Lee, 862 Jolly Road, Columbus, MS 39705. Amy deserves a special dispensation for her own and her father’s medical crises, justifying a supervised medical release, Twitch suggests.

True soldiers needed

From: SF Bay View
By: Amy Buckley, Dec. 24, 2013

Through the years women have played important roles in the revolutionary movement. Today it seems that women have lost interest in being a revolutionary, but it is time for that to change.

  

[Woman prisoner – Photo: Julie Schwietert]

Women, we have some big shoes to fill, but we can do it if we just step up. It is time to make a lifetime commitment to fighting to end oppression, injustice and inequality. It is time to join forces with our men and be true soldiers for the betterment of the world.

As women, we are most affected by capitalism and war casualties. We are also most persecuted by men. It is time for these things to stop!

Women make up 53 percent of the world’s population, so imagine the difference we can make if we unite and work together. We have so much to offer the movement. Not only are we able to organize and teach, but we also bring fresh perspective to a male-dominated movement.

We must step up and educate ourselves and our children, being willing to give our all for what we believe. Our children are the future, and it is up to us to teach and guide them, to prepare them to take over the movement and make a difference.

Our men can do only so much on their own. They need good strong women to stand with them and for them. Women who see the need for change and are ready to do whatever is necessary to bring that change to fruition.

We need you! We need women who are true soldiers, committed wholeheartedly to the struggle. Are you that woman?

How willing are you to stand united no matter what obstacles come your way? Together we can bring an end to oppression. The question is, how badly do we want it?

We live in a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Oppression rules and the oppressed can never get ahead. This has been accepted for far too long, and it is time for change.
People all over the world are beginning to unite, working together, organizing occupy movements and rallying against oppression, injustice and inequality, among other things. This is only the beginning of things to come.

Women make up 53 percent of the world’s population, so imagine the difference we can make if we unite and work together. We have so much to offer the movement. Not only are we able to organize and teach, but we also bring fresh perspective to a male-dominated movement.

As I stated previously, we need true soldiers, so allow me to elaborate on what a true soldier is. True soldiers do not allow fear to rule their lives. They understand the price they may have to pay and are more than willing to pay it.

A true soldier lives and breathes the struggle – to give up is not an option! They will gladly lay down their lives for what they believe and for their comrades. True soldiers stand unmovable in the face of adversity and give their all in every battle. They do not admit defeat for they know that every battle won brings them closer to winning the war on oppression. Are you a true soldier?

Women, for too long we have let our men fight, primarily on their own, to bring about change. It is time to step up and join our men in the revolution. We should be working alongside our men and each other, fighting as hard as they have and still are.

For every man in the movement, there should be a woman – there is power in numbers. The movement needs us!

The future of our children is at stake. It is our responsibility as women and mothers to set good examples for our children. The changes we fight for today are so they will no longer have to suffer. We owe it to our children, our men and ourselves to join the fight for change. If we don’t, who will?

Women, for too long we have let our men fight, primarily on their own, to bring about change. It is time to step up and join our men in the revolution.

Today I am calling all true soldiers – warriors willing to join the movement and fight to the end for the betterment of the world we live in, soldiers who will stand up and make a difference.
To the soldiers who are no longer with us – Marilyn Buck, George Jackson and more – and to those who are still fighting today, I salute you! All power to the people!

Send our sister some love and light: Amy Buckley, 150005, WCRCF C-Pod, 60 Stokes King Rd., Greenville, MS 38701.

Our children are affected by our incarceration

From: SF Bay View

January 31, 2013

by Amy Buckley

In America there are 24 million children with an incarcerated parent. These children are affected in numerous ways and those effects can be detrimental, often attributing to rebellious behavior and other problems. Judges do not consider children when sentencing a parent, nor do they consider where those children will go or who will care for them. As parents, we must think about our children before we act because the courts have no money and our children are the ones suffering.

Child stays in Indian prison w mother until 6 yo by National Geographic

About 2 million U.S. children have at least one parent in prison, and more than half of the nation’s inmates have children under age 18. Children born to incarcerated women in the United States are usually taken away within 72 hours of birth. In contrast, at Tihar Jail in India, female prisoners are allowed to keep their child with them in prison until the child is 6 years old.

Between 1980 and 2010 the rate of women in prison increased by 646 percent, according to The Sentencing Project. These women are more likely to have minor children than are men. Grandparents often have to step in and raise their grandchildren when a mother goes to prison, though some children end up with other relatives or in foster care. The statistics are alarming and our children’s futures are at stake.

When a parent is incarcerated, it creates financial and material hardships, as well as causing an imbalance in family relationships and structure. For the children, a parent’s incarceration often results in behavior and performance problems in school and at home and can also cause social and institutional stigma and shame. These children are more susceptible to depression and anger, and many have symptoms of post-traumatic stress reaction.

Children are forced to give up the things that matter the most to them: their homes, safety, public status, private self-image, and their primary source of comfort and affection. Most young children identify themselves with their parents or blame themselves for their parents’ absence. These children should not have to suffer.

As parents, it is important to do what we can to maintain a relationship with our children while we serve our sentences. This relationship will help improve the child’s emotional response to our incarceration and will encourage parent-child attachment. We must reiterate to our children that our incarceration is in no way their fault and help to rebuild their self-esteem by encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Keeping the lines of communication open and being willing to listen to our children is also very important. Children need to know that even though we are absent from the home, we are still available to help solve problems and offer advice.

Children are forced to give up the things that matter the most to them: their homes, safety, public status, private self-image, and their primary source of comfort and affection.

Just as parents feel the need to protect their children, children often feel the need to protect their parents. I have experienced this personally in my relationship with my sons. I feel that it is important to let our children know that they can tell or ask us anything without the fear of us becoming angry.

If a child senses that they have angered or upset their parent, they often change the subject of the conversation or withdraw completely from the conversation and their parent. How we control ourselves when communicating with our children will determine the child’s willingness to open up to us.

Children are very perceptive, and the things they hear about their parents and themselves affects them as much as their parents’ incarceration. They can become defensive and angry, acting out and coming to resent the people around them. This can result in behavioral problems which can be self-destructive if not quickly worked through and corrected.

Some children may need counseling to help them adjust to and understand the things that are happening in their lives, while others may be able to cope without professional help. We must make sure that our children have mental and emotional stability during what is a capricious time in their lives.

Another way to help our children is through personal visits. Unfortunately, more than half of incarcerated parents have never had a personal visit from their children, the Sentencing Project reported in 2009. The distance between the parents’ last place of residence and the prison where they are now housed is one factor that makes it difficult for family members to bring children to see their parents.

Other factors include, but are not limited to, financial instability and lack of transportation. Personal visits are important to both parents and children, improving the children’s emotional life and helping reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Our children have needs, and those needs should be considered when sentences are handed down. Laws must be implemented to expand the judge’s capacity to consider children. Family impact statements should be included in pre-sentence investigation reports, and all information in that report should be taken into consideration. Judges should assess the effects a given sentence will have on children and their families and then choose the least detrimental sentence or sentencing alternative, i.e., probation, house arrest, drug rehabilitation etc.

More than half of incarcerated parents have never had a personal visit from their children.

An incarcerated person with strong family bonds will be more likely to succeed upon release. For children, a strong, well maintained relationship with the absent parent is key to their successful development. The parent-child relationship should always be recognized and valued even during adverse circumstances. When our children are treated with respect, have their potential recognized and are afforded opportunities, they have a better chance of overcoming the stigma of their parents’ incarceration.

We as parents have made choices that have forever affected our children. The damage that has been caused is often indelible, but with the proper care and love the effects can be lessened. Our children can grow into healthy adults despite our incarceration.

We need to encourage our children and reassure them that they are loved. When our children see us striving to do better, they will be more apt to do the same. Our mistakes should not ruin our children’s prospects for the rest of their lives. Our children are our future and they should not have to worry about being judged for our mistakes.

An incarcerated person with strong family bonds will be more likely to succeed upon release. For children, a strong, well maintained relationship with the absent parent is key to their successful development.


As an incarcerated mother, I see how my sons have been affected by my absence. They are teenagers now, young men really, and I have worked hard to maintain a relationship with them. I see the justice system as a failure! It has failed not only the children, but the incarcerated as well. Many changes need to be made and our children need their rights protected. We cannot give up. Our children are too important, so we must continue to fight for them.

In closing, I would like to leave you with some statistics to ponder: Three in 100 American children will go to sleep tonight with a parent in jail or prison; one in eight African American children has a parent behind bars; one in 10 children of prisoners will be incarcerated before reaching the age of 18, according to the UN Human Rights Council.

These statistics should be an eye-opener for us. We must not forget our children and, for them, we must dare to struggle, dare to win!

Send our sister some love and light: Amy Buckley, 150005, KNRCF, 374 Stennis Ind. Park Rd., DeKalb, MS 39328.