Allegations that federal prison officials have secretly begun moving women inmates out of the Danbury prison facility - despite the partial shutdown of the federal government - will bring activists and protestors to New Haven for a news conference Tuesday.
The approximately 1,100 women prisoners were scheduled to be moved to a remote federal correctional facility in Alabama to make way for male inmates now jammed into other more overcrowded federal prisons.
Lawmakers from Connecticut and New York have been pleading with the feds not to do it, insisting moving inmates from this part of the U.S. to Alabama would place an additional burden on family members wanting to visit the women who are imprisoned. The feds say overcrowding and budget problems leave them no choice.
Then the move was supposedly delayed by the congressional deadlock and the federal government shutdown. But activists are claiming their getting reports form inside sources that 30 women may have been covertly moved out of Danbury last week.
Here's the news release on Tuesday's press conference and protest:
New Haven, CT – October 15, 2013 – Students, activists and faith leaders, including representatives from the Lutheran Bishop of New England, will come together on Tuesday to speak out against the covert transfer of Women Prisoners from the Danbury Federal Correctional Institute. The controversial transfer has been protested by eleven senators and human rights organizations nation-wide because Danbury is the only Federal Prison for women in the Northeast (there are 25 for men). But sources inside the prison revealed on Thursday, October 10, that the transfer is already underway and 30 prisoners have already been moved.
“11 Senators, including both Senators from Connecticut, oppose this move because it will prevent these women from being able to see children and loved ones,” said Barbara Fair, an activist with My Brother’s Keeper. “We were supposed to have a Senate hearing on this at the end of October, but now that the government is shut down, BOP thinks that they can do whatever they want. We are coming together in this action to tell them differently.”
“An anonymous source inside the prison told us on Thursday that 30 prisoners were transferred out that day,” said Gregory Williams of the Yale Divinity School student group Seminarians for a Democratic Society. “The Bureau of Prisons is apparently using the ongoing shutdown of the Federal Government as a cover under which to conduct the transfer despite the objections of the Senators.”
Activists are also asking members of the public to call Bureau of Prisons Northeast Regional Director Joe Norwood at 215-521-7301 to ask him to halt the transfer of prisoners.