MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friends of Jamillah Washington say she went from being a woman battling addiction to a mother wanted by police. They say she’s scared, but she wants to do the right thing.
Women’s advocates are coming to her aid.
“From what we are learning, she definitely wants to cooperate, but she’s afraid she won’t post bail and she won’t be able to see her child.”
Cherisse Scott spent part of Thursday trying to find a defense attorney.
But the county’s top prosecutor Amy Weirich pushed for this law. She says it’s not about locking up mothers, but rather getting them help.
She said, “Many of these women don’t have the resources and a support system to perhaps get the help that they need, the drug court treatment program gives them that help.”
Women’s advocates say that’s the problem. In order to get that help, they must turn themselves into the system.
But Washington was able to voluntarily walk out of the hospital without anyone stopping her and now is on the run.
Scott says she won’t be the last.
“If this what they meant to happen, then here you go.”
Under this law these women have two options: go to jail for a year or get 18 months of treatment. Both options are provided and paid for by the state.
Scott say the state needs to take a closer look at this law, instead of worrying about political posturing.
“Is Tennessee concerned about making sure that women get what they need as far as medical health care needs or are we concerned about votes?”