Bill breaks new ground for rights of women and transgender people who are incarcerated in Connecticut
HARTFORD — The Connecticut House of Representatives today voted to pass S.B. 13, An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women. Today’s bipartisan, 148-0 follows the Senate’s bipartisan, 36-0 vote to pass the bill. The proposal now awaits action by Governor Dannel Malloy.
“Today’s vote is an affirmation of the power of the formerly incarcerated women who spoke out to support this bill and a victory for human rights and justice in Connecticut. Our state should treat all women and transgender people, no matter where they are, with dignity, respect, and fairness. While Connecticut still has a long way to go toward respecting all incarcerated people’s human rights, dignity, health, and Constitutional rights, S.B. 13 is a critical step toward stopping the cycle of trauma for incarcerated women, transgender people, and families,” said Sandy LoMonico, criminal justice organizer for the ACLU of Connecticut.
“This bill’s requirement for the Department of Correction to place transgender people who are incarcerated in facilities that correspond with their gender identities is among the strongest in the country. This vote is a step in the right direction toward affirming and respecting transgender people’s rights in Connecticut,” said Kaley Lentini, legislative counsel for the ACLU of Connecticut.
“The legislature’s passage of S.B. 13 is a historic moment for women’s rights and transgender people’s rights in Connecticut. Today, Connecticut’s legislature sent a strong message that treating incarcerated women and transgender people with dignity and respect does not need to be a partisan issue. The ACLU of Connecticut will continue to advocate for an end to mass incarceration and the elimination of all cruel conditions of confinement for all people who are incarcerated in our state,” said David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut.
The bill, which earned the support of more than 35 state and national organizations, would prevent the state from shackling incarcerated women during pregnancy or labor; require the state to provide incarcerated women with sufficient menstrual supplies; require the state to create family-friendly visitation policies in its prisons and jails; and require the state Department of Correction to treat transgender people according to their gender identities, including by placing transgender people who are incarcerated in the facilities that match their gender identities. Currently, Connecticut law does not prevent the Department of Correction from shackling incarcerated women during pregnancy or labor, and state restrictions on the number and type of menstrual products freely available to incarcerated women force many to either buy supplies themselves or do without. State law also does not currently prohibit the Department of Correction from incarcerating transgender people in facilities that do not match their gender identities.
For the ACLU of Connecticut’s testimony supporting S.B. 13: https://www.acluct.org/en/legislation/sb-13-act-concerning-fair-treatment-incarcerated-women
For video footage of advocates speaking out in support of S.B. 13 at a press conference earlier this year: https://www.facebook.com/aclu.connecticut/videos/1808866392486040