Judge Hall Among Those Protesting Danbury Prison Conversion

The Connecticut Law Tribune

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FCI Danbury
FCI Danbury

Connecticut's Chief Judge Janet Hall, the chief judges of U.S. district courts in New York, and other chief judges in the region have joined together to protest the planned conversion of the Northeast's only federal prison for women into a men's facility.

Hall, Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx and six counties in the Lower Hudson Valley, and Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon of New York's Eastern District, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, were among the one dozen federal chief judges who signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder opposing the plan.

The judges said that if the plan to convert the Danbury, Conn., prison goes through, most women prisoners from the region will be sent to Alabama. In their letter, released Monday, they said Danbury was accessible to families throughout the Northeast, and breaking the ability to visit would damage both the prisoners and their children.

"If the planned mission change for Danbury goes forward, our ability to recommend incarceration near family members and children for male inmates will continue, but we will have no ability to do the same for female inmates," the judges wrote.

The prison at Danbury houses 1,200 women inmates, 59 percent of whom have a child under 21, according to the judges. They said most women inmates would go to Aliceville, Ala., with an estimated 300 heading to facilities in West Virginia and Philadelphia.

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