United States Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are introducing legislation to help female inmates deal with the challenges of being imprisoned.
Jessica Jackson Sloan leads Cut 50, a bipartisan initiative to reduce the number of people in prisons and jails. She says incarcerated women face troubling choices.
“Like whether to call home and talk to their children or use their precious commissary funds to purchase health and hygiene necessities. Blocked form regular contact and often too far to visit these children will bear the weight and consequences of this broken relationship for the rest of their lives.”
The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act would require the Bureau of Prisons to consider where the women's kids live when determining prison placement.
Senator Booker says it would also prohibit the shackling and solitary confinement of pregnant women.
"I've sat with women and their stories are gut wrenching. That we have a society that allows this to go on and that actually incarcerates somebody and put them back on the street more emotionally traumatized."
The legislation also calls for providing certain free health products to women inmates and not charging for phone calls so they can keep in contact with their children and maintain family ties.