The longtime prison activist and educator Kathy Boudin has died at the age of 78. Boudin was a former member of the Weather Underground who was jailed in 1981 along with her then-husband David Gilbert in connection with an armed car robbery carried out by the Black Liberation Army in Rockland County, New York, that left a security guard and two police officers dead. She served 22 years in prison, where she helped create programs for women who are infected with HIV. She was freed on parole in 2003 and spent the last two decades organizing to fight mass incarceration and to help people — especially women — returning from prison. Kathy Boudin was the co-director and co-founder of the Center for Justice at Columbia University. This is her speaking at NYU School of Law in 2013.
Kathy Boudin: “If we could get under the stereotypes and the stigma that are attached to people who have committed violent crimes and be able to see the person underneath it and understand that holding them in prison has nothing to do with them being a public risk, nothing to do with whether they’ve transformed themselves, nothing to do with the community that they can serve, if we can get under that and know that they’re being kept in only for the purpose of punishment, then maybe we can look at the entire system and be able to change it.”
Kathy Boudin speaking in 2013. Her death comes just months after her ex-husband David Gilbert was released from prison in New York. Their son, Chesa Boudin, has served as the district attorney of San Francisco since 2020.