Aljazeera: Still Here: A story of incarceration and gentrification in the US

“I am the proud mother of four children.”

When Tamanika was sent to prison, three of her four children were put in foster care, while her oldest child stayed with her family.

“The court tried to terminate my parental rights but I fought hard and it didn’t happen,” she explains. “I had a wonderful team of lawyers from Bronx Defenders [a non-profit that seeks to transform how low-income people from the Bronx are represented in the justice system]. My lawyer said, ‘over my dead body will I let them take your kids.’ I told her I only thought they said that in the movies.”

After Tamanika was released from prison, she first lived in a shelter in the Bronx for two weeks before being transferred to a shelter in Lower Manhattan that was run by the Women’s Prison Association. In April 2018, her son was returned to her care. Two months later, her daughters were also returned to her.

“I’m grateful to say that I fought the system and won. It has been a long journey. We will finally be moving into our own apartment soon.”

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