Tarsha Jackson Receives Bimel Award for her Contributions to Detention Reform

Posted May 8, 2013
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Par­ent-turned-advo­cate Tar­sha Jack­son received the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Natal­ie S. Bimel Award for her efforts to ensure the inclu­sion of fam­i­lies in deten­tion reform efforts. Jack­son, the coor­di­na­tor of Texas Fam­i­lies of Incar­cer­at­ed Youth, received the hon­or in Hous­ton dur­ing JDAI’s 2012 Inter­site Con­fer­ence in April.

Tarsha JacksonThe award is named for Natal­ie S. Bimel and hon­ors the con­tri­bu­tions of com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers to deten­tion reform. Bimel direct­ed the JDAI doc­u­men­tary These Are Our Kids,” com­plet­ed short­ly before her death from can­cer in 2002. The crim­i­nal jus­tice reformer also estab­lished a num­ber of high­ly regard­ed com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams to reduce the reliance on incar­cer­a­tion and help for­mer pris­on­ers tran­si­tion suc­cess­ful­ly back to their communities.

Jack­son received the award as affir­ma­tion of her years-long cam­paign to raise the promi­nence of fam­i­lies’ voic­es in advanc­ing juve­nile jus­tice reforms. Her involve­ment was spurred by her expe­ri­ences nav­i­gat­ing the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem when her 11-year-old son was incar­cer­at­ed for a low-lev­el misdemeanor.
Jack­son has also been a par­ent rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Texas Coali­tion Advo­cat­ing Jus­tice for Juve­niles and she worked with the Texas Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Project to unite Lati­no and African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties in pro­mot­ing social and eco­nom­ic equi­ty and jus­tice. She also gave crit­i­cal tes­ti­mo­ny and worked to pass Texas Sen­ate Bill 103 and is a SOROS Fel­low and a mem­ber of Com­mu­ni­ty Jus­tice Net­work for Youth.

In her free time she co-chairs the Har­ris Coun­ty, Texas, JDAI/DMC sub­com­mit­tee. Last year, the Bill of Rights Defense Com­mis­sion pre­sent­ed her with its Patri­ot Award.

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