The plan to transfer more than 1,100 female inmates from a federal women’s prison in Danbury to a facility in Alabama is off, at least temporarily, according to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
On Aug. 2, Murphy, U.S. Richard Blumenthal and 9 other senators reached out to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, concerned about a plan to move the women from the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury and transfer them to a new facility in Alabama, which would nearly eliminate federal prison beds for women in the Northeastern United States, according to Murphy.
“This transfer would dramatically disrupt the lives of these female inmates, many of whom are from the Northeast, and place them out of reach of their families and loved ones,” the senators wrote.
The lawmakers asked the Bureau of Prisons to suspend the transfer until answering “critical questions,” including what facilities in the Northeast would be available for women currently at the security level housed at Danbury.
They also asked for details on which cities and states the inmates are from, what percent have children under the age of 18 and what role will visitation history play into the transfer of inmates.
The prison made national news because of the memoir “Orange Is the New Black,” written by Piper Kerman, which chronicles her journey in federal prison after being indicted on charges connected to her involvement in a lover’s drug smuggling operation. Kerman was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury and her memoir was the inspiration for a Netflix series by the same name.
“I’m glad that the Bureau of Prisons has agreed to halt these transfers until they can provide some answers to some very serious questions,” Murphy said in a statement.
He said the transfer would “dramatically disrupt the lives of these female inmates and the young children they often leave behind.”
“We understand that the small percentage of women inmates in the federal system means that some may well have to be at a distance from their homes, but of course, given the Bureau’s policies, the goal should be to have them as close as possible to protect against a negative impact on inmates with small children. I look forward to getting some answers from the Bureau of Prisons very soon,” Murphy said.