Bresha Meadows Enters a Plea Deal, Will Spend Two More Months in Detention
Bresha Meadows, a 15-year-old Ohio girl charged with aggravated murder for killing her allegedly abusive father, entered a plea deal on Monday after nearly 10 months in juvenile detention. In return for a plea of “true,” the juvenile version of “guilty,” Meadows got her charges knocked down to involuntary manslaughter and what could have been a multi-year jail sentence reduced to a year and a day in jail, six months in residential treatment, and two years of probation. The sentence includes time served, so Meadows has just two months left in detention before entering treatment.
Meadows’ mother Brandi called her a “hero” last summer for putting an end to the more than two decades of physical abuse she says she endured under her husband’s controlling eye. “She helped all of us so we could have a better life,” Brandi said at the time. Rewire reports that Meadows’ record will be sealed in three years and expunged in five. But the trauma of being imprisoned at 14 for using her father’s alleged instrument of abuse against him—a gun that Meadows, Brandi, and Meadows’ police-officer aunt all say the father used to threaten and torment the family—will linger.
Ja’Von Meadows-Harris, Meadows’ cousin who once lived with the family, recently came forward with stories of his uncle’s abuse, which allegedly predicated his removal from the home by a social worker. As I wrote last year, the horrifying allegations Meadows made against her father have been corroborated by other family members, medical records, years-old court documents, police reports, and testimonies from neighbors and school employees:
An order of protection Brandi received in 2011, then later dismissed, states that Jonathan cut her, bruised her, and broke her bones and blood vessels. “If he finds us, I am one hundred percent sure he will kill me and the children,” she wrote in her filing. “My life is like living in a box he created for me, and if I stepped out of that box, he’s there to put me back in that box.” Brandi told the Plain Dealer that his assaults have sent her to the hospital or other medical facility 15 to 20 times over the course of their relationship. According to Martina Latessa, who is Bresha’s aunt and Brandi’s sister, Jonathan punched Brandi until her teeth broke, kicked her, stomped on her, smashed her with a 25-pound weight while she was pregnant, required her to stay on the phone with him if she ever left the house alone, and threatened her and the kids with his gun, saying, “I will kill your fucking kids. You will watch your kids die. That is the last thing you’ll see.
According to the Correctional Association of New York, a nonprofit that advocates for criminal-justice reform, three-quarters of women in prison have experienced intimate-partner violence as adults, and 82 percent suffered childhood physical or sexual abuse. About 90 percent of the 280 children who killed their parents in the U.S. in 1990, the last year with comprehensive data, were survivors of abuse. Activists who’ve fundraised for Meadows’ legal expenses and mandatory residential treatment have situated her case in the context of the millions of women, mostly women of color, who’ve been incarcerated for fighting back against violence perpetrated against them. In these cases, the prison system doesn’t rectify any wrongs—it merely picks up where the incarcerated woman’s abuser left off.
Read the full article by Christina Cauterucci here.
A recent report by the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College (PRI), “Women InJustice: Gender and the Pathway to Jail in New York City,” is the latest study point out that that physical and sexual trauma and abuse histories are a significant root cause for women and girls’ involvement in the criminal legal system. Read More
This story is the seventh piece in the Truthout series, Severed Ties: The Human Toll of Prisons. This series dives deeply into the impact of incarceration on families, loved ones and communities, demonstrating how the United States' incarceration of more than 2 million people also harms many millions more -- including 2.7 million children. Most [...]Read More
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