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.