We, the undersigned, call on our legislators to co-sponsor and advance the legislation outlined in the Dignity Act legislative package, including the following bills:
HB 1011 (prime sponsor, Rep Morgan Cephas): would require the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to create a new committee focused specifically on issues affecting females
HB 1012 (prime sponsor, Rep Morgan Cephas): requires the DOC to submit an annual report on the number of health care screenings, emergency, maternal, and specialty care services they provide to the House Health Committee, House Human Services Committee, and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee
HB 1008 (prime sponsor, Rep Isabella Fitzgerald): require state prisons to provide at least two varieties of sanitary pads and two varieties of tampons to all female inmates at no cost, regardless of their financial means.
HB 999 (prime sponsor, Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler): calls for the creation of ombudsmen positions within the DOC. These neutral third-party assistants attempt to help with matters for which there is no effective administrative remedy.
HB 1002 (prime sponsor, Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler): creates a program that allows formerly incarcerated people to mentor currently incarcerated people
HB 1007 (prime sponsor, Rep. Joanna McClinton): would ensure that incarcerated parents are able to speak to their children regularly, regardless of their financial means, by providing them with one free phone call or email per month to each of their children
HB 1014 (prime sponsor, Rep. Summer Lee): would create an environment in our correctional institutions that properly assists and rehabilitates incarcerated individuals who have experienced trauma
HB 1593 (prime sponsor, Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell): would look to limit, to the greatest extent possible, inspections by male correctional officers when a female is in a state of undress. In addition, the bill would also require invasive body cavity searches of pregnant women to be done by a certified healthcare professional. There would be exceptions for cavity searches if a correctional officer has reason to believe the woman was concealing contraband, with justification being required in the form of a written report within 72 hours following the search.
HB 1591 (prime sponsor, Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell): would require the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC) to place incarcerated mothers of a minor dependent within 250 miles of their permanent address of record. It would also authorize visitation by minor dependents for at least two days per week.
HB 1592 (prime sponsor, Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell): would establish an overnight visitation program at all PADOC facilities. The program would allow children 10 years or younger to stay overnight with their mother, so long as the mother meets certain qualifications. Furthermore, it would establish a separate, secure area where both mother and child could stay for the duration of the visit.
HB 1594 (prime sponsor, Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell): would require the PADOC and the Department of Human Services to jointly develop a training program for staff who have contact with incarcerated pregnant women. This program would include a variety of information about the general care of pregnant women and would also require that educational programming be put in place for pregnant women.
Every single person in our Commonwealth deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what, and this petition recognizes the harm that our incarceration system causes to entire families, without any necessity but cruelty and the need to create profits for corporate interests. We call on legislators to address this problem, immediately.