The bill, signed into law by Governor Kemp in May after unanimous passage by the legislature, will improve state correctional facility standards for women across the state.
ATLANTA, GA, October 1, 2019: Today, leading criminal justice reform organization #cut50 and Georgia Dignity Ambassador Pamela Winn applaud the implementation of the Georgia Dignity Act (House Bill 345), which takes effect in all women’s prison facilities across the state of Georgia today.
The bill, which focuses on restoring dignity for incarcerated women, passed the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate unanimously and was signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in May. Specific provisions of the Dignity Act Georgia include:
-Banning the practice of shackling pregnant and postpartum women or placing them in solitary confinement, and establishing a minimum six-week postpartum period before placing restraints on women;
-Providing adequate access to feminine hygiene products and medical information concerning menopause and other health issues unique to women;
-Protecting women from abuse and retraumatization by male correctional officers by limiting the practice of unnecessary strip searches or observation during showers and OBGYN visits;
-Forcing the department of corrections to take into account the location of an incarcerated women's spouse or children; and
-Mandatory gender-sensitivity training for law enforcement officers across the state.
The bill was championed through bipartisan efforts by Representatives Sharon Cooper (R-43) and David Dryer (D-59), alongside other criminal justice reform advocates from both sides of the aisle and partner organizations Motherhood Beyond Bars and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies.
“When I was in solitary confinement trying not to lose my mind over the guilt and sadness I felt for the loss of my baby, I felt hopeless and helpless,” said Pamela Winn, #cut50’s Georgia Dignity Ambassador who lost her baby to a miscarriage while incarcerated in federal prison. “By grace, I made it through and returned home with the desire to change things for all the sisters I left behind. Today, I’m so humbly excited to see my dream become reality. No other woman in Georgia will have to endure the dehumanizing and torturous treatment that I experienced. I’m thankful to bring dignity to incarcerated women!”
#cut50 Dignity Ambassador, Pamela Winn
“We are thrilled that Dignity Act of Georgia goes into effect today,” said Michael Mendoza, #cut50’s National Director. “Women are the fastest-growing population in American prisons and the treatment that they endure behind bars is undignified and cruel. We are proud to work with so many incredible advocates like Pamela Winn to improve conditions, ensure safety, and fight for critical protection for incarcerated women. We will continue to fight for their dignity across the country.”
#cut50, an initiative of The Dream Corps, is a national bipartisan effort to reduce the number of people in our prisons and jails while making our communities safer. Our campaigns are led by people who have been directly impacted by the justice system and want to create change.