On October 1, the Georgia Dignity Act (House Bill 345) went into effect in all women’s prison facilities in Georgia, following a dedicated reform movement called the Dignity Campaign, led by criminal justice reform organization #cut50, an initiative of Art for Justice Fund grantee partner Dream Corps.
The bill, which will affect the more than 3,800 women in Georgia jails and prisons, provides access to basic feminine hygiene products and other necessities. It also bans the practice of shackling pregnant women and women giving birth, limits the practice of unnecessary strip searches or observation by male correctional officers during showers or OB-GYN visits and makes gender-sensitivity training mandatory for law enforcement officers in Georgia, among other provisions.
On the #cut50 website, Topeka K. Sam, director of the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Campaign and founder and executive director of Fund grantee partner The Ladies of Hope Ministries (LOHM), writes:
“The Dignity Campaign is an opportunity to provide other formerly incarcerated and incarcerated women with a national platform to use their experiences and build leadership. I am grateful to #cut50 and Jessica [Jackson-Sloan, co-founder and National Director of #cut50] for understanding the need for formerly incarcerated women to lead the work.”
Dream Corps and LOHM are both members of the Art for Justice Fund Fall 2018 Grantee Cohort, in which they received a Changing Narratives Through Art and a Promoting Reentry grant, respectively. Dream Corps also received the Changing Narratives Through Art grant as a member of the Spring 2018 Grantee Cohort.