Three years after a “temporary” move from FCI Danbury in Connecticut, over 100 women prisoners found themselves incarcerated in a Brooklyn jail instead of a promised new federal facility. The women were told the move, which occurred after Danbury was converted to a men’s prison, would only be for 18 months. [See: PLN, Dec. 2013, p.32].
The original group of 24 prisoners was joined by 75 others who were sentenced after the women’s facility closed. They were housed in two windowless rooms at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).
On November 22, 2016, WNYC reported that an Obama clemency recipient, Ramona Brant, was one of the prisoners who had been transferred. Brant served the first 19 years of her life sentence for a nonviolent drug conspiracy charge at FCI Danbury. She recalled the time she spent at MDC: “We felt like we were animals that was [sic] taken to a pound and then that was it,” she said. “They just closed the door and left us.”
MDC was designed to be a short-term holding facility for people awaiting sentencing; it does not provide the same level of medical care, mental health care, rehabilitative services and programming that prisons typically offer. A report by the National Association of Women Judges found conditions at MDC violated both the American Bar Association’s standards and the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners.
According to the Bureau of Prisons, a new $25 million women’s satellite facility at FCI Danbury has since been completed, and prisoners were to start transferring to the new facility in December 2016.
Sources: www.wnyc.org, www.newstimes.com
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