The Sistas in Prison Reform is a group formed by three women who believe in redemption, rehabilitation, and remorse. They believe that individuals who have served lengthy sentences deserve a second chance. Past mistakes should not define their future lives.
Our goal is to raise awareness of those people behind the walls. We want to change the stigma behind those impacted by more serious offenses. We believe they deserve the right to be reaffirmed in society as productive citizens. More importantly, we are fighting to change the criminal justice system to bring our loved ones home.
- Advocate for legislation that affords opportunity to people behind the walls who have been sentenced excessively (15+ years) for serious offenses, due to the tough on crime era (in the 90’s)
- This includes, but is not limited to: parole, re-sentencing, earned sentence and good time credits, policy and Virginia code updates, oversight of the DOC, and other legislation that allows for a more fair criminal justice system.
- Humanize our loved ones and other’s loved ones by erasing the stigma caused by fear mongering and dehumanizing terms and behavior
- Tell stories and give names and faces to the men society (lawmakers etc) have cancelled out and dismissed
Juanita joined the fight to change to the criminal justice system in 2019. Although she resides in Massachusetts, she has a special interest in Virginia prison reform due to the incarceration of her best friend when he was 18 years old (1998). He was extradited from Massachusetts to Virginia to serve his time.
She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia with a Bachelors in Biology, Boston University with a Masters in Public Health concentrating in Maternal and Child Health, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. She is a Physician Assistant specializing in Gastroenterology with a Subspecialty in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She is a member of her job’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Department of Gastroenterology’s champion for racial equality and equity. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Paulettra James has always had an interest for criminal justice. Growing up, she was always intrigued by any show that involved criminology—whether it was forensics or investigative. She really became engrossed with the criminal system of Virginia when her son was arrested in 2014. While dealing with the sentencing of her son, he introduced her to her husband in 2016. After studying her husband’s case, she saw there were mistakes and mishaps, she really took an interest to become an advocate for criminal justice reform in Virginia. She learned that black/brown skinned were disproportionally affected by the system. She wants to remove the mentality of “lock them up and throw away the key!” She thrives to change the stigma that individuals are not capable of being rehabilitated while serving time.
Paulettra is a graduate student at George Washington University studying Information Systems. She graduated from GWU in 2019, with a bachelor’s in information systems. She is a member of both Women in Technology and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. She is a Christian and her favorite scripture is: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Her loved ones have a future, and it is not behind the walls!
Santia Nance has been a criminal justice reform advocate in Virginia since 2019. She is the editor of BrillianceBehindBars.com, a website that aims to humanize and uplift currently incarcerated individuals who are educated, outstanding, and outspoken about current issues.
Santia graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Mass Communication, and is an advertising professional at a major agency. She’s been named a Female Frontier – Champion of Change by Campaign U.S., and one of Richmond’s Style Weekly’s 40 Under 40 in 2019. She also focuses on community service via hula hoop dance, leading an organization called RVA Hoop House. In addition, Santia is passionate about mentorship and representation of BIPOC in the world of marketing. She serves as a mentor for the VCU African American Alumni Association and the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program.
To read further about our loved ones, visit the Our Loved Ones page, here.