Yraida Guanipa -- #44865-004

12 Years: A Mother in Pain

Yraida has recently started a web log (blog) courtesy of Prison Talk Online

Yraida Guanipa, prisoner of the drug war
I am a 40-year-old mother of two baby boys, Jeswil Jose, 7 and Yrwil Jesus, 6. For picking up a package for a friend, I was indicted for drug conspiracy. I exercised my constitutional right to go to trial, where I was convicted with inaccurate government testimony and altered evidence, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

As punishment I was assigned to a prison camp, because I am a first-time, low-level, nonviolent offender. Camp status means no fence, bars or cells, but this is still more than a punishment - it is insane. How could they expect me to be away from my boys for twelve years? How could they expect me to not be able to join my boys for lunch at their school or give them a good night kiss for twelve years? This is absolutely wrong; there are thousands of mothers just like me, and 2.5 million children with one or both parents in prison.

What is going to be our legacy to our children? What are our children going to learn while they grow up? Can you imagine how painful and devastating for our children to spend their elementary and high school years without seeing their parents in school for even one day? This contributes to their anger and resentment, which reflects in their bad behavior throughout the schools in this country. Our children do not know how to show the depression and rage of not having their parents.

Allow us to teach our children that prison should not be a part of their future; let us give love and security to our children. I pray to you to please support us in this effort to come up with an alternative that will enable us as mothers to give the love and attention that our children desperately need.

Hunger strike to be with children

Yraida Guanipa struggles to be mother to her sons

Have you ever looked in the mirror in the early morning and said, "There has to be a better way"? I'm sure you have. I say that to myself every morning when I open my eyes inside this prison cell, and I do not see nor hear my young sons Yrwil Jesus, 6, and Jeswil Jose, 5.

There has to be a better way, but I can not find the way to be able to serve this federal sentence and maintain a mother/child bond! For the past five years I have been working with tireless efforts toward an alternative avenue to maintain a mother/child bond while I responsibly serve my sentence. I have received support from my trial and sentence judge, my current judge, my prosecutor, Senators Orrin Hatch, Edward Kennedy, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Mike Edwin, George Voinovick, John Warner, Congresspersons Bill McCollum, Karen Thurman, Carrie Meek, Lincoln Diaz-Barlart, Maxine Waters, Michael Bilirakis, Allen Boy; unconditional support from former Senator Paul Simon; I have filed Bureau of Prisons Administration Remedies, Habeas Corpus, motion 2241, writ of certioraris in the US Supreme Court, and a 17-day hunger strike that almost killed me -- and still I am hundreds of miles from my sons.

I truly believe that the role of female nurturing is to be guarded above all else because love between mother and child is the most pure and unselfish love on earth comparing with God's Love that cannot be broken even if the mother is a federal prisoner.

I am a first-time, nonviolent federal prisoner serving an outrageous, unconscionable, inhumane, sentence of 13 years because I exercised my right to go to trial and was found guilty on a single count of drug conspiracy. I am in the fifth year of grim incarceration; the pain and the suffering from this long separation from my sons is just unbearable.

I have exhausted all of my legal appeals and my only hope is that the president of the United States will pardon me. If you would like to help, please send him a letter asking him to grant me mercy. Thank you.

God's blessings to you and to your loved ones.