Assembly Public Safety Committee Passes Bill Giving Female Prisoners Privacy Protections from Male Guards
SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Committee on Public Safety passed AB 2550, legislation authored by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) that prohibits male correctional officers from pat-down searching of female prisoners or entering into an area where incarcerated women are in a state of undress. The bill passed with unanimous bipartisan support.
Weber noted that many of our prison policies were designed with men in mind and do not reflect women’s needs or their experiences of trauma.
“This is a population that has been largely exploited and abused,” Weber said. ”More than 86 percent of women locked up are survivors of past sexual violence and 77 percent are survivors of partner violence. This bill seeks to reduce the potential that staff actions will traumatize or re-traumatize women in prison.”
The number of women serving time in prison has skyrocketed by over 700 percent, much faster than the rate of incarcerated men.
The Committee also passed another Weber bill, AB 2133, which provides defense attorneys access to information about a defendant’s past criminal history. Currently, access to this information is only provided at the discretion of the prosecution.
Both bills are headed to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations for consideration later this year. More information on these and other bills can be found at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.