Women's Campaign

Standing with Women Incarcerated For-Profit

Grassroots Leadership’s Women’s Campaign is the first project in the nation to begin to document the lives, hardships, and abuses endured by women incarcerated for-profit. Women living behind bars whether in prison, jail, or an immigrant detention facility face extraordinary hardships. Those women incarcerated by for-profit corporations face added burdens and risks. Women incarcerated for-profit are often sent to distant facilities, making contact with children and family virtually impossible. Guards and staff at for-profit facilities are under-paid, and lack training and supervision. Reports of staff/guard inflicted violence against women have been too frequent.

We hope that by calling attention to the plight of these women, we can eliminate the profit motive from incarceration. By exposing the condition of women incarcerated for-profit we hope to move imprisonment and detention out of the corporate for-profit sector. In doing so, we hope to shift America's priorities from profit to justice.

Documenting conditions and abuses

In June 2010 a prison guard employed by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private, for-profit corporation under federal contract to detain immigrant women at Hutto, allegedly assaulted the women. The CCA guard allegedly groped several women and solicited sex from at least one woman while transporting them to the airport for deportation. ICE has held up Hutto as a model detention center.

The sexual abuse scandal is the latest in a series of such incidents at Texas detention centers. In 2007, a CCA employee was fired for inappropriate sexual contact with a female detainee who was held at the facility with her family. Earlier this year, a former Port Isabel Detention Center officer was sentenced to prison for sexual abuse of female detainees over a period of time in 2008. In 2008, an expose by the WOAI news station in San Antonio reported sexual abuse of female detainees at the GEO Group's South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall. Reports of sexual abuse against detainees have also plagued MTC's Willacy County Detention Center.

Last year the State of Hawaii withdrew its female inmates from the Otter Creek Correctional Facility in Kentucky, a Corrections Corporation of America prison, after CCA employees were charged with sexual abuse or rape. Those charged included Otter Creek’s chaplain.


Sign the Anti-Shackling Petition

Thirty-eight states allow the shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth.

Obstetricians recognize that women in labor need to be able to freely move and assume various positions during birthing. Restraining or shackling renders a mother and her child more vulnerable to complications. During the final stages of labor, physicians must be able to act quickly in order to avoid potentially life-threatening emergencies for both baby and mother.

Shackles add an unacceptable and unnecessary threat to the survival of the child and mother. The vast majority of women are nonviolent offenders and the physical and mental burdens of childbirth mean that women present almost no security or flight risk at that time. In fact, since similar legislation passed in other states starting over a decade ago, there have been absolutely no instances of violence or flight.

Help us stop this dehumanizing practice. Sign the petition here >>