Each day, hundreds of Connecticut women are incarcerated merely because they cannot afford to pay bail. These women are legally innocent—they have not been found guilty of anything—but they are nonetheless caged due to poverty. Most of them are mothers and caretakers, women of color, and survivors of violence and trauma. Many of them are criminalized for acts of self-defense.
The conditions in York Correctional Institute, CT's only state-run jail for women, are terrible, including widespread medical neglect and sexual violence. In February, one woman was forced to give birth inside her cell, with her cellmate delivering the baby. Additionally, jail staff have been collaborating with ICE to target immigrant women, including a recent incident in which his staff unlawfully delayed one of our bond-outs so that ICE could arrest and detain two women.
This Mother's Day, we are organizing in solidarity with incarcerated women and girls and demanding an end to the vicious criminalization of our mothers and caretakers. Throughout April and early May, our coalition will be working to free as many women and girls as possible from jail. In addition to bailing out women from pretrial detention in York, we are also bailing out immigrant women from federal immigration detention. (Learn more about our Immigrant Bail Fund here.)
This effort is building on a long history of organizing for Black liberation, in and beyond Connecticut. In 2017, Southerners on New Ground pioneered the Black Mama's Bail-Out, which has inspired our work here in Connecticut. We are proud to stand in solidarity with feminist activists and organizers fighting the carceral state across the globe.