12 Inspiring Photos of Mothers Who Have Fought Wrongful Conviction and Never Given Up
This Mother's Day, we're celebrating the women who have taken a stand against wrongful conviction through powerful photos.
05.12.23 By Dani Selby
“My mom stuck by me all these years,” said John Galvan, who was wrongly convicted at the age of 18 and spent 35 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Mr. Galvan was freed and exonerated in Illinois last year, and was met by his mother, who waited hours to greet her son upon his release.
For so many wrongly incarcerated people, their families are their support systems. In particular, their mothers act as their pillars of strength through years — and often decades — of wrongful incarceration.
Sandra Reed, whose son Rodney Reed is on death row in Texas, has been a steadfast advocate on his behalf for a quarter of a century. “This is my child’s life … they are attempting to take his life on nothing…” Ms. Reed said. “I’m going to let the world know what happened here. This is not going to be quiet. I’m not going to be quiet.”
Wrongful conviction has devastating impacts on any family but can be especially painful when a mother is wrongly incarcerated and separated from her children. Rosa Jimenez was pregnant with her second child when she was wrongly arrested for the accidental death of a child she had been babysitting. Approximately 40% of female exonerees were wrongly convicted of harming their children or other loved ones in their care, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.
Ms. Jimenez gave birth to her son in jail while awaiting trial, and he was taken from her just days later. More than 60% of women in prison have children under the age of 18 and nearly 80% of women in jail are mothers, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Ms. Jimenez had to wait 19 years, until she was freed in 2021, to hug him for the first time.
“I cannot get the time that I lost back and I don’t like to dwell so much on it because it is so, so sad,” she told the Innocence Project after her release. “[I] believe with all my heart that I’m going to be able to be there for my kids or my grandkids and we’re all going to be okay.” Ms. Jimenez is now expecting her first grandchild.
These mothers have all persevered through grave injustices, and on Mother’s Day, we honor them. These powerful photos celebrate their strength and resilience.
John Galvan and Linda Flores
Ian and Linda Schweitzer
Belynda Goff and Bridgette Jones
Rosa Jimenez, Brenda, and Aiden
Robert and Myra DuBoise
Yusef and Sharonne Salaam
Philip and Tammy Barnett
Johnetta Carr and Lorinda Baker
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