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State Senator

Gary Winfield

Representing New Haven & West Haven

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Winfield Applauds Senate Passage of Bill Ensuring Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women

Senator Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) today applauded Senate passage of bill that will strengthen Connecticut’s efforts to bring fairness and dignity to incarcerated women.

“Today we codify the practices of the Department of Corrections that recognize what some call the ‘special’ needs of women. But the needs of incarcerated women aren’t special. They are just as normal as the needs of our male inmates and our policies should reflect that. The problem is, that in the 1980’s the number of incarcerated women began to increase, but practices in our prison— many of which were designed for men— were never updated to take into account the needs of women,” Sen. Winfield said. “Every woman deserves to give birth safely, to have access to hygiene products, and to be protected from unnecessary voyeurism. This legislation will help codify specialized training and female-centered policies that will ensure more respectful, humane treatment for women who are incarcerated in our state.”

Senate Bill 13—An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women, will:

  • Prohibit shackling of pregnant inmates during labor;
  • Require the Department of Correction (DOC) to provide female inmates with feminine hygiene products at no cost;
  • Require DOC to establish child friendly visitation policies;
  • Prohibit non-medical staff of the opposite gender from viewing or interfering with incarcerated women engaged in personal activities such as undressing, using toilet facilities, or showering;
  • Require DOC to establish and provide parenting support as well as pre-natal and post-partum services and supports;
  • Require DOC, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Court Support Services Division of the judicial branch to utilize a gender responsible approach to risk assessment strategies that recognizes the unique risks and needs of female offenders;
  • Enhance requirements for gender-specific and trauma-related trainings for correctional staff; and
  • Require DOC to develop and implement a policy regarding transgender inmates.

The legislation next moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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