Senators Introduce Bill to Reform the Way Women Are Treated Behind Bars

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris, Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Richard Durbin (D-IL) today introduced a landmark bill to reform the way women are treated behind bars.

This bill comes on the heels of Senator Harris’ visit to the Central California Women’s (CCWF) facility in Chowchilla, California – the largest female correctional facility in the United States. At the facility, Senator Harris was briefed on the unique conditions and needs of incarcerated women and discussed some of the common issues impacting women caught in our criminal justice system.

The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act would make a series of common-sense reforms to how the federal prison system treats incarcerated women in order to reduce the negative impact incarceration has on the family members of women behind bars, especially their children, and better prepare incarcerated women to return to their communities.

“The drastic increase in the women’s prison population has destroyed communities, torn families apart and done little to promote public safety,” Senator Harris said. “It has also had a deep impact on children. In order to create lasting improvements to public safety we have a responsibility to not only reunite women inmates with their families, but to also support the rehabilitation and re-entry of these women inmates into society. In doing so, we must improve the environment in prisons to ensure they are able to maintain a level of dignity and respect.”

Specifically, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women would do the following:

Visitation

  • Require the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to consider location of kids when placing incarcerated persons in prison facilities.
  • Require BOP to create better visitation policies for primary caretaker parents.

 

Treatment

  • Prohibit the solitary confinement of pregnant women.
  • Ban the shackling of pregnant women.

 

Programming

  • Require BOP to provide parenting classes to primary caretaker parents.
  • Mandate BOP provide trauma informed care to individuals who are primary caretaker parents and train correctional officers on how to handle victims of trauma.
  • Allow returning citizens to mentor current incarcerated people and assist with reentry.

 

Oversight

  • Create an ombudsman at the Justice Department to monitor certain violations in prisons.

 

Telecommunications

  • Prohibit BOP from charging incarcerated persons for phone calls.
  • Require BOP to make video-conferencing available at every facility free of charge.

 

Health

  • Require BOP to provide certain health products, such as tampons and pads, free of charge to incarcerated people.
  • Restrict BOP employees from entering restrooms of incarcerated individuals of the opposite sex except in exigent circumstances.
  • Allow all pregnant women and primary caretaker parents to enroll in the Residential Drug Abuse Program.

 

Overnight Visit Pilot Program

  • Require BOP to create an overnight visit pilot program for children and parents.
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7 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t forget the most important part of the reform treatment of criminals, twelve hugs everyday by a qualified state approved hugger.

  2. Harris said, “How this would impact their children?” You mean, mommy screwed up big time and this is how she’s being punished! Maybe Harris should sponsor a bill which teaches the brats what NOT to do to wind up in the slammer in the first place! Mommy shouldn’t just kill someone, or steal someone’s belongings or do illegal drugs!

    • You’ve got to be kidding! What old bat? Too funny! I supposed if you’re 90 years old, she might be “hot” to you.

  3. Why would C. Harris come to CCWF which is a state prison and then introduce a bill that only affects federal prisons?

  4. Good GOD! This Harris woman is DUMB! Both Harris and WA state’s Patty Murray are considered to be THE dumbest members of the senate.

  5. I support the Grandma/Grandpa Rehabilitation ACT. This gives outrages amounts of money to retired married couples with grandchildren. The requirements are: No criminal record. A bedroom for every two family members. A local police/fire department with underwhelming calls. A free training certificate program to assist caretakers in handling ‘typical’ challenges of rehabilitating families. There may be more requirements but you all get the drift.

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