Debra Gindorf, a Zion, IL mother found guilty but mentally ill after the deaths of her two children in 1985, has had her sentence commuted by Illinois Governor Quinn. She should be released mid-May. Interestingly enough, May was just declared by Governor Quinn as Postpartum Mood Awareness Month.
Gindorf’s clemency petition was one of 18 acted upon by Quinn. No comment is available from the Governor’s office as they feel it speaks for itself.
A Committee to Free Gindorf has been working tirelessly for years. One of Debra’s biggest supporters has been Carole Blocker who stated in 2006 “They shouldn’t have to spend their lives in prison just because they’re sick.”
This is not the first application for clemency from Gindorf; she’s been denied three times.
After a divorce, Gindorf found herself on welfare, alone with two young children. Depression set in and shortly after the birth of her son she had started hearing voices. Gindorf did not plan to harm her children, she was planning on killing herself. Tragically, the children awoke as she was writing letters and had already downed sleeping pills and alcohol. She states in a 2004 interview that “There really was no concern that what I was doing was wrong or anything like that. It was just all about us leaving,” Gindorf said in a prison interview with The Associated Press.
She would like to educate others about postpartum illness once released. Gindorf knows she cannot change the past but perhaps she can change the future for other mothers by preventing further tragedy through education.