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Free Krystal Clark and correct the life threatening exposure to mold and other health hazards at the Women's Huron Valley Prison aka Death Valley Artwork and animation by Tina Orlandini for AgitArte

In Solidarity with Mothers: Support Krystal Clark

#MothersDay2024

#FreeKrystal

#WHVMold

#ClemencyforKrystal

Mother’s Day is one of my favorite (and most complicated) holidays. For over 40 years, I had my mom and grandmother to celebrate each year. And, for the past 27 years, I have also been a mom. For many of those years, I have been a single mom without everyday appreciation that a mom in a more traditional relationship would receive. I have enjoyed my day of appreciation and gratitude.

Still, there are so many issues that people struggle with this holiday (like most holidays) that make it complicated. One reason is that so many of the people I love — close friends, former partners, and family members — do not have a living mom or have irreparable relationships with their mothers. Another big reason has been because so many of the people that I love have suffered infant or child loss and/or infertility.

Admittedly, one of the reasons I had not considered as much prior to 2008 is jail and prison.

For this Mother’s Day, and for the rest of the month, I want to express solidarity for ALL Mamas –especially those who have been forgotten or silenced.

I am beginning this Mother’s Day series in support of Krystal Clark and all the moms and daughters at the Womens’ Huron Valley Correctional Facility.

First, I would like to show solidarity with the moms and daughters at the Women’s Huron Valley Prison in Michigan. After decades of issues and lawsuits with women inmates bein gr-aped, a promise of a fresh start was implied with the opening of a new all-women’s prison facility in 2009. All female inmates in the state of Michigan are now housed here in Washtenaw County.

Unfortunately, it has turned out to be a failed experiment. In addition to the general issues with privatized prisons in Michigan like delays and denials to medical and dental needs, there are also overwhelming issues of mold, overworked staff, mistreatment of inmates with mental health issues (i.e. being hogtied in the nude while having a mental health event), and more. In 2019, women prisoners filed a two-part civil rights lawsuit around hazardous health issues with the building itself.

“This lawsuit alleged that Women’s Huron Valley, Michigan’s only women’s prison, is riddled with dangerous conditions which include haphazard retrofitting, leaky roofs, inoperable windows, inadequate ventilation, and outdated heating/cooling and ventilation systems which have created a breeding ground for harmful fungi and spore-producing molds such as Ochroconis, Cladosporium, and Chaetomium and that exposure to these molds constitute cruel and inhumane punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” – as reported by Diane Bukowski of Voice of Detroit.

In 2020, things became worse with COVID. By February 2022, 60% of the state’s COVID cases of incarcerated people were at Huron Valley Women’s Prison. This, on top of existing issues, several suspicious suicides, and a scabies outbreak, have created issues which sounded the alarm for all prison advocates to rally. Unfortunately, this resulted in an increase in r-pe retaliation by staff. Although the staff involved were let go, the trauma (and fear) remains.

In August 2023, federal judge Victoria A. Roberts dismissed the 2019 lawsuit. Judge Roberts did, however, extend the offer for plaintiffs to re-file “emphasizing inadequate ventilation.”

A second amended complaint has been filed earlier this year.

In the meantime, several groups are coming together to rally in solidarity with these women on Mother’s Day from 12 to 2 pm at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, 3201 Bemis Rd, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Please come and join us!

And especially In support of Krystal Clark. (It’s URGENT)

In addition to advocating for the humane treatment and conditions for all the moms in our only women’s prison, we want to highlight, encourage, and uplift imprisoned mother Krystal Clark. Krystal has used every tool that she has been given access, to share her story of abuse, medical neglect, retaliation, and life-threatening mold exposure. At this point her health has declined so much that she is afraid that she will not survive prison. The following is from her (now disabled) fundraiser:

“Krystal is a defendant in the mold/scabies lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). She is not serving life – but the state is killing her due to lack of medical care. I’ve been advocating for her because I have heard her plea for help on PrisonRadio.org as she fights with the MDOC for basic care to combat her penicillin allergy as she is housed in the mold-infested Women’s prison (WHV). Anybody who listens to these audio clips would be disturbed by the pain and despair in her voice. It’s rather disturbing and very difficult to listen to – especially as time goes on. She has been calling PrisonRadio for over 18 months, has been taking an oral antibiotic for three years which has not helped at all and she now has white puss coming out of her ears from infection. The mold is killing her.
 
The doctors told her if she is not transferred to a mold-free facility soon she will die. We are trying to raise funds for her to see an outside physician to treat her and to support her medical clemency application so that she can be released. Her earliest release date is 4 years away, but her health is declining so fast that she will not survive four more years in Women’s Huron Valley. She is wheelchair- bound due to the swelling of her body and the pain that comes with the extreme swelling. She needs urgent medical attention… so that she can obtain care and ultimately be released.”

Below, are calls to action to help save Krystal’s life. If you cannot attend the rally or volunteer, please share with your social media networks. If we can share WNBA posts at the rate of 3 million a week (which I think is great, btw), certainly we can also share this life-saving information.

 

Free Krystal Clark and correct the life threatening exposure to mold and other health hazards at the Women's Huron Valley Prison aka Death Valley Artwork and animation by Tina Orlandini for AgitArte
Written by -

Leslie discovered the power of the pen in the third grade after her family moved to a new school district. Writing became a way to sort out her new surroundings and escape to fantasy landscapes. That child, and voice, has matured into a poet, writer, blogger, journalist, online content creator and editor. Leslie is a social entrepreneur with a demonstrated commitment to community. She is an active community member in Washtenaw County (Michigan) with expertise in social media marketing and content management systems, volunteer coordination and writing and 19 years of experience in the areas of online community management, training, leadership development, and social networking. She is interested in facilitating connection with both community residents and businesses. Through this work, the economy of the community is improved and the organizations are financially successful. Her main mode of advocacy and online community, however, is through writing.

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