Letter by Van Jones:
Sunday night was one of the most profound and powerful moments of my life. I’m still buzzing with excitement.
As the host of The Van Jones Show on CNN, I got to spend an entire hour with two of our country’s most influential voices: Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, who are the star and director of the new film, “A Wrinkle In Time.”
At one point in our conversation, we talked about the “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” campaign. The effort is led by #cut50, which is a Dream Corps initiative.
I want you to know more about this campaign — which is vital to the safety, security, and well-being of hundreds of thousands of women behind bars.
#cut50 is helping to spearhead a movement. Last year, working with #cut50, U.S. Senator Cory Booker introduced a bill that would curb the inhumane and unjust conditions that women face in prison. He was joined by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Richard Durbin. The American Conservative Union has also signed onto the campaign.
After the federal bill was introduced, #cut50 began fielding calls from lawmakers and formerly incarcerated women from across the country. #cut50 organizers helped to introduce similar Dignity-related bills in several states, including California, Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky, and Connecticut.
I am pleased to report that legislators already have passed bills in Virginia (unanimously!) and Maryland.
In other words, the movement to bring Dignity to women behind bars is picking up steam. To learn more, please watch the clip from Sunday night.
Did you know that 90% of incarcerated women are survivors of sexual assault or abuse, yet male guards can strip search women and supervise them in washrooms?
Or that 80% of women in prison are mothers, yet many are sent hundreds of miles from their homes — making it financially impossible for their children to visit?
That 2,000 women give birth behind bars every year, yet there are few policies that prevent them from being shackled during labor or being placed in solitary confinement?
Something must be done about this. Please watch this clip for more information about the fight to win Dignity for Incarcerated Women!