Incarcerated Women: The New Face of California Inmates

Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove recognizes the need to review and reform policy affecting the sentencing and rehabilitation practices for incarcerated women. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the California female jail population has increased six fold since 1970, twice as much as the male population during the same period. Furthermore, female offenders are likely to have a history of drug and alcohol use. However, a relatively small percentage of women receive any treatment within the justice system. The Prison Policy Initiative found that black, lesbian and bisexual women are subject disproportionately to incarceration in comparison to their white counterparts. Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove plans to research and analyze these inconsistencies in sentencing and explore ways to reform or introduce new policy that can aid in their journey to justice.

Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove will focus on ways to enhance and instill reliable, transferable and valuable rehabilitation services and programs. Data shows that female prisons offer fewer vocational and education program opportunities than male institutions. This lack of equitable opportunity between male and female inmates often leads to high rates of recidivism and failed transitions for women back into civilian life. Kamlager-Dove will spearhead research and analysis about mechanisms to enhance rehabilitation for incarcerated women to aid them in their post-incarceration journeys.

The Assemblymember then will determine appropriate measures to support the health, dignity and rehabilitation of incarcerated women.

Questions posed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR):

1. In March 2019, Johns Hopkins University presented a first-of-its-kind study about incarcerated women who are pregnant and what happens to their babies. CDCR declined participation in the study. Why?

  • Click here to view the letter sent to CDCR.

2. CDCR has met or exceeded (Prison Rape Reporting Act) PREA standards, but there continue to be reports of sexual misconduct and harassment within CDCR facilities. The PREA 2017 annual report reported 844 allegations of sexual misconduct and 548 allegations of sexual harassment against CDCR staff in 2014 through 2017. Curiously, only 37, a mere 2.7 percent of those almost 1,400 accusations, were classified as “substantiated” after investigation. Do reporting and investigative lapses contribute to the low percentage of substantiated allegations? What steps has CDCR taken to ensure that investigative processes are fair and thorough for both the inmates and CDCR staff?

  • Click here to view the letter sent to CDCR. 

Social media content to share:

Use the hashtag #JourneyToJustice in your posts. 

  1. Women are the largest growing prison population. Most are of reproductive age & nearly 4% are pregnant. @JohnsHopkins conducted a groundbreaking study into pregnancy frequency & outcomes for imprisoned women, yet @CACorrections declined to participate. Why? #JourneyToJustice
  2. Recent Prison Rape Elimination Act reports showed 1,392 allegations of misconduct/sexual harassment against CDCR staff in 2014-2017. Only 37 were classified as substantiated. How does @CACorrections ensure investigations are fair & thorough for inmates & staff? #JourneyToJustice

Submit Your Ideas:

Do you have ideas for topics to be considered at hearings, questions to pose to CDCR or legislation ideas? Let us know below.

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