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Gov. Malloy Focuses On Women In Prison During 'Day Of Empathy'

Frankie Graziano
Connecticut Public Radio
Gov. Dannel Malloy spoke about rights for incarcerated women while at the Sillman House in Hartford Tuesday. Women from the house wore shirts recognizing a national 'Day of Empathy.'

On a national “Day of Empathy” for those in the criminal justice system, Governor Dannel Malloy proposed a law to recognize the unique needs of women in prison.

“It is our moral obligation to ensure that women in the criminal justice system are treated fairly and humanely,” Malloy said Tuesday from the Sillman House in Hartford -- a halfway house for female ex-criminals.

Among the things Malloy is hoping to change is that pregnant women should never be shackled for any reason, female inmates should have child-friendly visitation rules. Also, he said that women should no longer have to spend commissary money on feminine hygiene products.

Malloy said that making these products available for free could allow inmates to spend money elsewhere -- like for a phone call home.

Tiheba Bain, who used to be an inmate at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic, said that sanitary napkins cost more for her at the prison than they would at Walmart.

“No one knows what happens inside prison and when we come home and we speak on it, they think we’re joking, it’s not true, and it can’t be,” Bain said. “However, it is true.”

Malloy’s said he’s looking to break the cycle of recidivism and to reduce the prison population -- particularly among women, and these changes may help.

Connecticut’s Department of Correction said that since 2015, the amount of incarcerated females has gone down 15 percent.

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