New Illinois law sets the stage for possible parole for Alton mother convicted of killing daughter


LINCOLN, Ill. – Illinois recently passed a law giving women who had maternal mental illness such as postpartum psychosis the opportunity for a re-sentencing hearing.

The hearing is allowed if postpartum psychosis didn’t come up during their trial or sentencing.

Paula Sims will get a parole hearing in September. She is currently serving a life sentence at the Logan Correctional Facility in Lincoln, Illinois.

A jury convicted her in 1990 of murdering her 6-week-old daughter Heather. She would go on to confess to killing another infant daughter three years before Heather was born.

Doctors say Sims suffered from a rare form of postpartum mental illness that is much more severe than postpartum depression.

Postpartum psychosis is a temporary mental illness that affects women usually in the month after birth. Approximately 50% of the women who have this have never experienced any mental illness before. They have a loss with reality, become manic, paranoid with bizarre religious beliefs that tell them they must save their child by killing them.

Postpartum experts estimate about a thousand women throughout the country are incarcerated due to maternal mental illness and are serving lifetime sentences.

Sims’ hearing is scheduled for September after the Illinois governor commuted her sentence.

Additional Information
Postpartum Support International
Dr. Diane Sanford, author of “Stress Less Live Better”
Dr. Susan Feingold, author of “Advocating for Women with Postpartum Mental Illness”

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