MEET FEDERAL PRISONER, JAMILA T. DAVIS
Creator/Producer of the New Reality Show Left Behind
Please introduce yourself to our audience and tell us a little about yourself ?
My name is Jamila T. Davis. I am a 39-year-old, single mother of two. I am also a federal prisoner. In 2008, I was convicted of bank fraud and sentenced to serve 12 1/2 years in prison. This is my ninth and final year of incarceration.
Tell our audience about your achievements behind bars ?
While I’ve been incarcerated, I’ve written and published close to a dozen books and became a best selling author. I am the co-founder of WomenOverIncarcerated, a non-profit organization formed to bring awareness to the epidemic of women and prison. To help our cause, I created several films to expose the true faces of women and prison and our struggles. Behind bars, I also obtained multiple college degrees, including my Bachelors in Christian Education and my Masters in African American Ministry. I am currently working on my PHD in Christian Counseling with a specialization in Christian Life Coaching.
While most people in your position would have folded under the pressure of incarceration, you managed to make extraordinary accomplishments. Please explain what motivated you?
I am a very spiritual person. When I finally came to grips with my circumstances, I sought God’s purpose for my pain. Watching the struggles of my prison sisters, who I became very close with, I gained great compassion for my peers. I realized we were lacking resources for effective rehabilitation and our voices were buried. Through this experience I discovered my purpose. I believe God sent me to be a light and expose the gruesome details of what really happens when women are sentenced to decade plus sentences for nonviolent crimes.
Tell us a little about your new reality show Left Behind and how it came about?
I created “Left Behind” with my son, Kywuan Warren. My daughter was nine years old and my son was eleven years old when I was first incarcerated. In my absence, my children suffered greatly. We talked about sharing their struggles with the world and my son helped devise the show “Left Behind.” Each episode follows the lives of different children whose mothers are incarcerated.
What message do you want to leave with your audience?
I want people to know the real faces of women in prison and our struggles. A lot of people have an inaccurate perception. Many of us are good people who made poor choices. For our mistakes, a lot of my peers are serving decade plus sentences as first time, nonviolent offenders. Some of my friends are even serving life. In our absence, our children are left behind to figure out life without us. I want people to understand our hardships first hand. I am not saying we shouldn’t be punished for our crimes. The issue I advocate against is over-sentencing. This problem has resulted into the epidemic of mass incarceration in the U.S. This issues not only effects us and our families, it has a major impact on the entire country. In my heart, I know there is a better way! That is why I’ve dedicated my life to advocating for change.
For more information about Jamila T. Davis and the WomenOverIncarcerated movement, and to watch a clip of the show, please visit www.womenoverincarcerated.org or follow Jamila T. Davis on social media @jamilatdavis.