DIGNITY FOR INCARCERATED WOMEN ACT
Introduced by: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Dick Durbin (D- IL). Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)
On July 11th, Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, which seeks to reform how we treat incarcerated women. The United States alone holds 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. The majority of women behind bars are mothers. We shackle these women while they give birth to babies. We often place them hundreds of miles away from their young children. We force them to make draconian choices, like whether to use commissary funds to call home or purchase sanitary pads. Our prison system preys upon women who have been traumatized and instead of offering healing or rehabilitation, the presence of male guards in sensitive locations like restrooms and showers re-traumatizes incarcerated women - the vast majority of whom are survivors of sexual or physical abuse. This growing segment of our prison population is often left out of conversations around criminal justice reform, but deserves our attention.
You can show support for the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act through #cut50
Support through Local Organizations
Hour Children: helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent, and secure lives. To accomplish this, Hour Children provides compassionate and comprehensive services and encourages all to live and interact with dignity and respect.
The Osborne Association: Our programs draw upon research and evaluation that has demonstrated success with people involved in the criminal justice system, and are designed to be family-focused, supporting participants within the context of their family relationships and communities—strengthening relationships that are the bedrock of our participants’ future success.
Correctional Association of New York: Employing a strategic model of research, policy analysis, prison-monitoring, coalition building, leadership development and advocacy, the CA’s overarching goals are to:
stop the ineffective use of incarceration as a response to the socio-economic problems facing our communities;
ensure that conditions in prisons are humane and that the rights of incarcerated individuals and their families are protected;
promote transparency and accountability in the justice system and hold government and prison officials responsible for reform; and
change the power-dynamics of policy-making and provide opportunities for the people most affected by incarceration to become leaders and active participants in efforts for reform.
LEARN ABOUT THE ISSUES BY READING AND ATTENDING WORKSHOPS AND PANEL DISCUSSIONS
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon
Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr.
From the War on Poverty to the War: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris
Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn