Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Grandma Went to Jail

Tonight I went to my cousin's wedding (a beautiful, joyous occasion!) and spent some time talking to my 78-year-old grandmother, Badonna Reingold.  To my utter shock, she mentioned that she went to jail for a night for a sit-in this spring, in her advocacy work for Chicago Mental Health.

I was surprised at her description, which included twelve hours in a holding cell with a dozen women, none allowed to access food, water, or [initially] medication during that time.  My grandmother, a staunch civil rights advocate and previously in all ways a law-abiding person, pled guilty rather than face a jury trial.  Two of my sisters, who are attorneys, counseled against this, but my grandmother felt that she *was* guilty of trespassing in the sense that she had purposely participated in the sit-in.

I don't know much about the situation with mental health funding in Illinois, but I gather that it is in a crisis, leaving many without appropriate care or options.  I hope that the Affordable Care Act will alleviate some of this suffering.


  1. No food or water? Aren't they required by law to give those?

  2. They probably give food on a specific schedule. If you are arrested right after lunch is served then you wont get any food until dinner time. I think the only drinks that one gets (in NY at least) are with the mealtimes. But dont be too worried, Grandma convinced a nice officer to take her to a private bathroom as well as a drinking fountain when she needed to.