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Guards’ Access to Women in State of Undress



“How we treat our prisoners, says a lot about who we are as a people.” -Matt Schlapp

Male prison guards are currently authorized to enter female cells and conduct inspections even if the women are in a state of undress. When these females request to first put on clothing, they risk getting in trouble for failure to comply, and are reprimanded by the male guard. This verbal abuse can be disheartening to these women, especially when all they’re asking for is for respect of their dignity and privacy. As 86% of incarcerated women survived sexual assault prior to their entrance into the correctional system, this verbal abuse can trigger memories of their abuse. Disregarding an inmate’s past can hinder her ability to learn from her mistakes and improve her life. Correctional staff should not be people that inmates fear; they should be people who inmates can trust, as well as people that can help inmates turn their life around.

Allowing male prison guards to access women in a state of undress is inappropriate and dehumanizing. When incarcerated women can’t trust male guards because of these forced and inappropriate inspections, it disadvantages them when it comes to their rehabilitation. Every prisoner must be treated with dignity and respect, and female inmates are no exception.

RECENT NEWS: Dignity For Incarcerated Women Advances at ALEC. American Conservative Union Scores Win With Approval of ALEC Model Bill 

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 bill 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). This is an ACT regarding the care of state incarcerated pregnant women, family visitation rights, the access male correctional officers have in correctional facilities where a female inmate may be in a state of undress, access to feminine hygiene products in correctional facilities, and the education and training of employees of correctional facilities in which female inmates are housed. The full text can be found here.

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