Female Inmates From Danbury are on the Move

Oct 8, 2013

Women benefit from proximity to family support. Judith Resnick says, "If you get visits while you're in prison, you have a better chance of staying out. Family ties matter."
Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

The partial government shutdown has a silver lining for some inmates being housed in Connecticut. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has temporarily suspended its plan to move over 1,100 women from the low-security Danbury Correctional Institute until they an pay the $1.1 million dollar cost for the transfer.

Despite objections from U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), bureau director Charles Samuels plans to move the women to federal prisons in West Virginia, Philadelphia, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, Alabama,  and California. And this isn't the first time the Bureau of Prisons has put the transfer on hold.

The plan to move the women was first announced by the Bureau of Prisons last July in a plan to eliminate the only remaining female prison in the northeast to create more beds for male inmates. The plan sparked outrage among advocates for women and northeast legislators, led by Murphy and U.S. Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D-New York). The outrage resulted in a letter of protest signed by 11 Senators from around the northeast.

An excerpt from the full letter:

“This transfer would completely eliminate federal prison beds for women in the Northeastern United States and dramatically disrupt the lives of these female inmates, many of whom are from the Northeast, and place them out of reach of their families and loved ones...We understand that the small percentage of women inmates in the federal system means that some may well have to be at a distance from their homes, but of course, given the Bureau’s policies, the goal should be to have them as close as possible to protect against a negative impact on inmates with small children. There are important concerns that should be properly addressed before any transfer plan is pursued.”

The letter resulted in a temporary halt to the transfer...until now. Over the objections of the senators and others, the Bureau of Prisons plans to resume their plan.

On August 5, Where We Live interviewed Arthur Liman, Professor of Law at Yale Law School; Judith Resnick; and Ryan Vasquez, a reporter with Alabama Public Radio. They talked about the initial transfer plan that would have sent most of the women to a new federal facility in Aliceville, Alabama. Listen to the segment below.