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  • Writer's pictureThe Beacon Today

New bill would bring dignity for all women

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

When the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act was first introduced by Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, the news went viral. This act calls for the improvement of conditions and healthcare for women living in prison.

The bill, if passed, would require reforms providing basic needs such as toothbrushes, hygiene products and toothpaste. The act would also regulate when and where male correctional facility employees can be when the women of the facility are in various states of undress. It would additionally require that pat-downs and cavity searches performed by male guards be documented and supervised by a female guard.

Women’s March Florida, a non-profit organization made up of volunteers from across the state, held a meeting Feb. 9 in Lake Worth at The Book Cellar to discuss the bill and coordinate a trip to Tallahassee to lobby for the bill.

Bonnie Greenberg, a member of the group, explained why she thinks more people should be made aware of the bill.

“No matter where you are, you have the right to be treated with dignity,” Greenberg said. “If the government is effectively going to take custody of someone’s life, they should be able to provide them with the basic necessities, such as food, shelter and healthcare.”

The bill is being promoted by the Women’s March group who have first-hand experience with the conditions incarcerated women face. They are working with state legislators, hoping to change laws in 20 states by 2020. The bill was introduced to the Florida Senate in January of 2019.

The Women’s March Florida group is hopeful that it will see the bill move forward to complete this goal.

“The idea of incarcerating someone isn’t simply removing them from their home into a new one forever,” Greenberg said. “Hopefully you are able to return and rehabilitate them into society. The basic necessities will provide the humanity these women deserve and in turn lower the rate of recidivism.”

Erin B. Haag, another member of the Women’s March Florida group, said that the public is starting to realize what is happening with the women in prisons.

“I think the climate now is changing, especially with the passing of the restoration of voting rights recently,” Haag said. “I think being able to acknowledge people who have been incarcerated, or who are currently incarcerated, as human will help our efforts to pass this bill.”

By Isabella Pinel

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