December 4, 2018

CONTACT: David Safavian or Kaitlin Owens
PHONE: 202-347-9388

Dignity for Incarcerated Women Advances at ALEC
American Conservative Union Scores Win with Approval of ALEC Model Policy

Washington, D.C. – At the winter meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force adopted landmark model legislation on incarcerated women. The “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” model Policy is intended to provide a template for every state legislature to improve policies for women behind bars. This key effort was sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), along with key ALEC members, Rep. Bernie Satrom (R-ND) and Rep. Kim Moser (R-KY).

“Women are the fastest growing population in our prison system. The number of women behind bars in the United States has increased by more than 700% since the 1980s, nearly twice the rate at which the male population has grown. As a result, the United States holds approximately 30% of all the world’s incarcerated women,” explained Kaitlin Owens, a policy analyst at the ACU Foundation. “Despite these increasing numbers, the unique needs and challenges of incarcerated women are often overlooked. Our goal is to make sure that prison protocols and procedures can adequately meet the most basic standards of health and safety for all inmates,” said Owens.

In addition to better training for corrections professionals, the model bill has four key provisions:
• Banning the shackling of pregnant inmates, which has been cited as a risk to mother and child by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology;
• Limiting the ability of male guards to view women in a state of undress unless there is a bona fide security concern and no female guards are available;
• Encouraging departments of corrections to place female offenders in prisons near family members to facilitate visitation by spouses and children; and
• Ensuring that women have access to sufficient feminine hygiene products while incarcerated.

When a model policy is approved by ALEC, it is sent to every legislator in the country to serve as a template for state-specific bills.

David Safavian, American Conservative Union general counsel, noted that the adoption of the model Dignity policy is the most recent step in a nationwide campaign to improve conditions for incarcerated women: “We are working with conservative activists in state capitols across the country to enact Dignity legislation. As a result, we’ve seen Dignity bills pass in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Connecticut, and regulations issued in Arizona. The ALEC model policy is impactful because it gives our legislative allies a running start in every state.”

Our mission at the American Conservative Union Foundation is to educate Americans about conservative solutions to the country’s most pressing problems. ACUF’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform promotes policies that improve public safety, reduce government cost, and protect human dignity.

For more information on the ACUF Center for Criminal Justice Reform please go to: