Formerly incarcerated women demand fairness, dignified treatment for women in prison

On this International Women's Day, a group of women who've served time are demanding lawmakers pass a series of bills that would help meet the needs of the thousands of women who are locked up.

They all marched from the Travis County Jail to the state capitol to meet with lawmakers Friday.

The women are demanding better rehabilitation programs and treatment of women in the jail and prison system. They say oftentimes, the women come out and are not healed. “I had a severe, severe crack/cocaine addiction. I cycled, deferred adjudicated probation, felony probation, and they saw I couldn’t do it. I’m coming in testing dirty, I don't have my fees, I can't keep a job. The prison system needs to be little more intense on.....are you rehabbing or not? “ said Evelyn Fulbright, a now, nurse who was formerly incarcerated.

According to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, more than half of the women locked up, are there for non-violent offenses. In Hannah Overton’s case, she was proven innocent, after spending seven years locked up. The state thought she poisoned her foster son, it was later discovered he had a pre-existing condition which caused his sodium levels to rise to fatal levels.

“I was sent a maximum security prison, my children stayed home with their father,” said Overton.

Overton now runs a non-profit called Syndreo Ministries. They provide much-needed items to women in jail and prison. She plans to next open a home for women who were recently released from prison.

State Representative Donna Howard has already filed legislation that would require the TDCJ to implement policies to promote incarcerated women’s access to pre-release programs, vocational training, and more. State Representative James White also spoke at the rally, showing his legislative support for the cause.