From the Press Release issued by the Office of Connecticut Governor Danell P. Malloy:
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that he signed a new law on Monday that strengthens Connecticut’s efforts to bring fairness and dignity to incarcerated women, and thereby reduce recidivism. The legislation, which he proposed earlier this year, codifies into statute specific practices – many of which were enacted during the current administration – to require that they continue well into the future, no matter whom may be the state’s next governor.
“All people deserve to be treated with dignity, empathy, and respect, and incarcerated women are no exception,” said Governor Malloy. “Incarcerated women face unique challenges and barriers to success – a consideration that should be reflected in our statutes. These policies are part of our ongoing efforts in Connecticut to ensure that we are making strides that reduce recidivism, that end the cycle of crime and poverty, that continue to drive crime down even lower, and that ultimately results in permanent improvement and reformation instead of permanent punishment. We are working every day to fix the haunting legacy of mass incarceration, and this is another sensible step in the right direction.”
The legislation, Public Act 18-4 – An Act Concerning the Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Persons, was approved with unanimous votes of approval in both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Among its several requirements, the new law:
Prohibits the shackling of pregnant inmates during labor;
Requires the Department of Correction (DOC) to provide female inmates with feminine hygiene products at no cost;
Requires DOC to establish child friendly visitation policies;
Prohibits 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;
Requires DOC to establish and provide parenting support as well as pre-natal and post-partum services and supports;
Requires 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;
Enhances requirements for gender-specific and trauma-related trainings for correctional staff; and
Establishes standards of treatment for inmates who have a gender identity that differs from their assigned sex at birth.
Each of the provisions take effect on October 1, except for the gender identity provision, which is effective July 1, and the DOC reporting provision, which is effective immediately.
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