/Nicole Rathman was set to go home from prison She died five days before seeing freedom

Nicole Rathman was set to go home from prison She died five days before seeing freedom

Rathman, 33 years old, was first sent to prison in 2013. She had just rekindled her relationship with her 12-yearold son. Rathman also wanted to go home to spend time with her grandmother, 70 years old, who she considered her best friend. She contacted a Mississippi lawmaker who was known for her criminal-reform advocacy to help her get out. “Hello! “Hello! “I wanted to thank you for everything. Yesterday I received a printout and my time was modified a few days earlier. I have now a parole date for July 1, 2018, the day the law goes into force. It’s a miracle and I have to thank you.” House Bill 387 was a criminal-justice reform law that Bomgar (a Madison Republican) supported and Governor. This spring, Phil Bryant signed the law. People convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, such as Rathman, were granted parole eligibility. They are eligible for enhanced or stiffer sentences if they are located near schools and churches. Rathman was a self-described addict who is currently serving a 10-year sentence for drug offenses. Bomgar and Rathman had been in touch for over a year. Bomgar kept Rathman informed about the status of her bill. Rathman stated in her letters that she intended to enter treatment on her own after her release. Rathman was also enrolled in distance learning to become a specialist in alcohol and drug treatment. She was due to be released on August 28. However, she passed away August 23. “The pain they feel watching me suffer” Rathman is among at least 14 people who died in Mississippi Department of Corrections custody. This has drawn increased scrutiny of staffing, health care and investigation practices of the department. The corrections department stated that an autopsy would take place in each case. Mississippi Today was told by Rita Korsen that Rathman’s daughter died from an aneurysm. The cause of the aneurysm is still unknown. Korsen stated that Rathman suffered two head injuries in the month prior to her death from beatings from other prisoners. The family was informed about this by fellow prisoners. Korsen stated that Rathman was hit in her head with a phone during the month she was there and was given four staples. Korsen said that she had been hit in the head with a phone and received four staples. Korsen then asked, “Number one, why is there so much drug trafficking in prisons?” It’s hard to believe that you could be sentenced for such a crime. Number two: If she was…beaten like that, and there were some kind of issue which led to the brain aneurysm, basically she was killed.” Rathman’s letters revealed that Rathman had a drug-addicted life and an abusive partner who used methamphetamine to control her. Rathman was sentenced in February 2013 to a decade imprisonment in Rankin County for her third felony conviction, which involved selling methamphetamine within 1,500 yards of a church. Rathman wrote to Rep. Bomgar, “The truth isn’t pretty or does it vindicate? I am a lifetime addict. “I am a lifelong addict. My family and friends love me. Rathman wanted to help others like her, people whose addictions had stripped them of their rights to be heard and treated humanely. National scrutiny began to draw attention to the state Department of Corrections’s refusal to address or publicize the rising prison death toll. The House Corrections Committee chair, Bill Kinkade (R-Byhalia), said that he cannot legally comment on the causes of death until the investigations are completed. According to Kinkade, Mississippi Today, this process is as follows: A medical examiner must sign off on an autopsy. The family must also be notified. Finally, an internal MDOC investigation must take place. Due to a long-running funding and staffing shortage, there is a backlog in autopsies at state’s crime laboratory. This could mean that families won’t have official answers for several months. In a Thursday statement, Attorney General Jim Hood stated that he was going to provide the public with answers. Hood is the latest public official from the state to comment on the deaths. Gov. Bryant stated that there are several state and federal agencies looking into the deaths, as the Clarion Ledger reported earlier in the week. Commissioner Pelicia, the top prison official in the state, said that August’s deaths were “not out of sync” with other months. According to a news release, Hall stated that the majority of deaths were due to natural causes. This includes heart disease, cancer, and other medical conditions. According to Mississippi Today, officials in Sunflower and Greene counties — where South Mississippi Correctional Institution (Parchman) is located, respectively — said that this month’s in-custody deaths are comparable with previous months. Heather Burton, the Sunflower County Coroner and Ladd Pulliam the Greene County Coroner both stated that all in-custody death in their respective counties are natural causes. David Ruth, the Rankin County Coroner, stated to Mississippi Today that four deaths occurred at the Pearl prison from natural causes. Ruth refused to comment on Nicole Rathman’s death, as it is still under investigation. MDOC records indicate that 78 prisoners were killed in state custody in 2017. The prisoners in this month’s list range from 24 to 75 years old and include three state-run prisons located in Sunflower, Rankin, and Greene counties. A second death took place at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility. Nija Bonhomme, a prisoner from Wilkinson County, died following a fight with his cellmate. Her mother is a mother for change and not blood. Nicole Rathman’s death occurred eight years ago, but her mother, who lives near Nevada, was able to afford to visit her daughter once. Korsen believes that Rathman’s 10-year sentence is unfair and should have been given treatment after a third conviction for drug offense. Korsen stated, “I’m for change, not blood.” “Change is necessary because I would hate for other families to suffer like this.” Recent years have seen changes in the state prison system through litigation and legislation. The state was closed in 2016 after the consent decree of a federal judge placed Walnut Grove Correctional facility under contract. In 2013, the ACLU and SPLC sued Mississippi over conditions at East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian. This case was also tried earlier in the year. Last week, a judge ordered that experts reexamine the prison. The legislature also implemented reforms to reduce the prison population. The Legislature passed a 2014 bill that included uniform sentences for violent convictions and non-violent ones. In 2018, lawmakers passed another bill that was targeted at Rathman and others who were serving enhanced sentences for nonviolent crimes prior to the 2014 legislation. Bomgar stated that prisoners frequently wrote to him asking for help during the legislative process. Mississippi Today spoke out about Rathman’s death, Bomgar stating that he was sad to hear of her passing. Rathman also corresponded to the SPLC, which assists in determining whether people sentenced under Mississippi’s Three-Strikes Law are eligible for parole. Jody Owens (SPLC Mississippi managing attorney) said Rathman’s story indicates the need to reform state prisons. Owens stated, “Remember that we’re talking people.” “We’re talking to the Nicole Rathmans in the world,” Owens said. Korsen flew from Nevada to Mississippi this week to attend the funeral of her daughter. She described Rathman (her friends called her Nicky) as a prolific poet, unselfish person, and someone who had a profound impact on the lives of all those around her, even while she was in prison. Korsen stated that her daughter was “the most important thing I can say — a beautiful human being.” “And I can’t tell you how many people she was with when she was in prison showed up at her funeral yesterday and said, ‘She changed the course of my life. She was willing to go to bat for me. She was willing to give her life for me. ‘”