Dem Lawmakers Want Incarcerated Women Treated with Dignity
The U.S. has the highest population of female imprisonment in the world, according to a 2017 report by the World Prison Brief. Women’s incarceration has grown at twice the pace of men’s incarceration in recent decades, and there are currently more than 219,000 women incarcerated. Lawmakers, rightfully, care about how they’re being treated. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ)and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) teamed up with Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Karen Bass (D-CA) to reintroduce the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, a bill that would make serious reforms to the way women are treated behind bars. "Our criminal justice system was not designed for women," said Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. "The real needs of incarcerated women are rarely contemplated and the escalating number of women who are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses only makes this more and more obvious. We are the wealthiest country in the world, yet when a pregnant woman enters custody, there is no universal minimum standard of care. This is a matter of basic human rights and fundamental decency." The legislation would make it easier for women behind bars to keep in touch with their families as 80% of women in jail are mothers, and most are the primary caretakers of their children. “Women account for a larger proportion of our prison population than ever before in our nation’s history. For too long they have been left out of criminal justice reform narratives,” Jayapal said. The measure also aims to provide better trauma-informed care for women behind bars. According to a recent study by the Vera Institute of Justice, 86% of women in jail report having been the victim of past sexual violence and 77% report having been the victim of past partner violence. “Women face unique circumstances in prison. They are often victims of sexual abuse and trauma, and a majority are moms to small kids. The current federal prison system is not properly designed to address these unique circumstances,” Booker said. “It’s time we restore justice to our broken justice system.” More here.