Updates on Women Prisons


Chaotic Dublin prison closure leads to fighting, crying, cutting, inmates say

“I understand that we’re criminals,” one inmate says. “But we’re still human beings.” Closing the women’s federal prison in Dublin was supposed to put a swift end to the abuse and dysfunction of the troubled facility. But inmates say the chaotic and hurried transfer of 600 inmates this past week to prisons as far as Minnesota and Miami has wrought suffering all its own.

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Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition Calls for Releases Not Transfers

On Monday, April 15, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced plans to abruptly close  FCI Dublin women’s prison in a surprise move designed to evade the jurisdiction of the Special Master Wendy Still. Judge Gonzalez Rogers appointed the Condemns BOP Effort to Evade Accountability and Systemic Change! – Special Master–the first in BOP’s history–on April 5, 2024 to oversee the facility in light of rampant staff abuse, retaliation, and medical neglect.

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Another Dublin Women’s Prison Officer Sentenced for Sexual Abuse

Allegations of sexual abuse at FCI Dublin go back decades, and the most recent scandals began unraveling in 2021 after an investigation by The Associated Press revealed a culture of abuse and cover-up at the facility. The former warden, chaplain and multiple other officers have been charged and sentenced, but allegations of abuse have continued.

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crime stats chart

California Law Enforcement Agencies Are Spending More But Solving Fewer Crimes

California is not “defunding the police” nor implementing lenient criminal justice reforms – just the opposite. State spending on law enforcement has risen sharply, even after adjustments for inflation and population growth. The odds of being imprisoned per arrest have risen to near-record heights. However, despite record spending on California law enforcement agencies in recent years, one of the core measures of law enforcement effectiveness— crime clearance rates has fallen to historically low levels.

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Voices of Transgender Prisoners

California’s Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act went into effect in January 2021, making it possible for transgender people in prison to seek housing in facilities that align with their gender identity and sense of safety. The goal: to reduce the violence, psychological trauma and degradation experienced by trans prisoners. Instead, as reported in a story that was published by KQED and republished by MindSite News, trans women transferred to the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla have suffered new forms of trauma.

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New Report: Maximizing Time, Maximizing Punishment 

The University of California Sentencing Project (UCSP), in collaboration with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women|Streisand Center, is proud to announce the release of its groundbreaking report: “Maximizing Time, Maximizing Punishment: The Lived Experience of Long-Term Sentences in California Women’s Prisons.”

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Women’s Mass Incarceration:
The Whole Pie 2023

With growing public attention to the problem of mass incarceration, people want to know about women’s experiences with incarceration. How many women are held in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in the United States? Why are they there? How are their experiences different from men’s?

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Policies to roll back abortion rights will hit incarcerated people hard

Policies governing abortion and reproductive health care services in U.S. prisons and jails were restrictive and often hostile even before the Supreme Court removed Roe vs. Wade’s constitutional protections for abortions. After the June ruling, many reproductive services stand to be prohibited altogether, putting the health of incarcerated women who are pregnant at risk.

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When A Prison Closes – L.A. Times Op-Ed

The scheduled deactivation of California Correctional Center has become a hot-button issue for the town of Susanville, sparking anger and a still-pending lawsuit to prevent the prison from closing at all. The fears of residents who have become dependent on prisons for their livelihood have been covered widely in the media, but …

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Krystal Shelley, who does not identify as male or female and is Black, said that while they were sharing a cell with their partner at Valley State Prison for Women, correctional officers planted a shank under their mattress. Shelley was sent to the SHU.

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In blistering ruling Federal judge orders video surveillance & body cams in 5 CA prisons to stop abuse of men & women with disabilities

On Thursday, March 11, Senior U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken handed down a blistering ruling that ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to institute a series of changes with which the judge hopes to put a stop to what she describes as a pattern of systemic abuse of incarcerated people with disabilities at five of the state’s prisons.

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Mary J. Blige writes for survivors, those who want to survive

After watching the documentary “Belly of the Beast,” Mary J. Blige was incredulous. “I could not believe what I was seeing,” Blige said. “But somewhere in the back of my mind, all my life, I always felt like women weren’t being treated properly in prisons. Black women were just being treated like slaughtered pigs.”

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Vulnerable Inmates Left in Prison as Covid Rages

The Danbury Federal Correction Institution in Connecticut is one of three federal prisons that were singled out for prompt action last spring by former Attorney General William Barr because of its vulnerability to Covid outbreaks. At a federal compound in Connecticut, inmates in precarious health “are like sitting ducks,” one lawyer said.

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No End In Sight: America’s Enduring Reliance on Life Imprisonment

Before America’s era of mass incarceration took hold in the early 1970s, the number of individuals in prison was less than 200,000. Today, it’s 1.4 million; and more than 200,000 people are serving life sentences – one out of every seven in prison. More people are sentenced to life in prison in America than there were people in prison serving any sentence in 1970.

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On the Need for Health Justice in the Prison System

In need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant for leukemia and positive for COVID, DeReta Steverson, incarcerated at the California Institution for Women (CIW), is still not eligible for compassionate release in California, even under the state’s much-hyped release program.

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