By Laurie Ulrop, DWC Legislative Liaison and Charlotte Dems contributor
This bill could make a huge difference for about 3000 women inmates at Lowell Correctional Institution. The crimes against women taking place in the facility has been taking place for decades. The facility has been aware of these crimes since 2006. It’s time for a change and accountability!
Please consider sending an email or making a short phone call to Democratic Senator Jason Pizzo, the Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Since he is the Chair, this is a rare opportunity to get this bill heard in Committee. Please contact Senator Pizzo today to schedule this bill in the Criminal Justice Committee. Senator Pizzo can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at (850) 487-5038.
Here are some talking points regarding SB 792 (Taddeo) Lowell Correctional Institution Body Cameras Pilot Program:
- In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Florida federal prosecutors filed a 34-page report, determining that women inmates suffered more than a decade of repeated and normalized sexual abuse, including rape, at the Lowell Correctional Institution, the largest women’s prison in the country.
- In the 2-year investigation, prison workers, including supervisory personnel, were implicated in these heinous acts, which were found to continue to the present day.
- The investigators also found patterns of retaliations, including confinement and withholding of basic necessities, if women reported their abuse.
- Worst of all, the Florida Department of Corrections has been aware of these reports since 2006 and has looked the other way.
- This bill, which also has a companion in the House, HB 693 (Hinson), is a 3-year pilot program that would require each correctional officer wear a body camera while acting within the scope of his or her official duties.
- The bill would require that audio and video data recorded by such cameras be maintained by Lowell Correctional Institution in accordance with public records laws, and that it submit annual reports regarding the operation of the program to the Governor and State Legislature leaders.
Please contact Senator Pizzo today to schedule this bill in the Criminal Justice Committee. Senator Pizzo can be reached at [email protected].gov or by phone at (850) 487-5038. The women at Lowell Correctional Institution need protection now!Image Credits: CCDems images