NWLC joined an amicus brief submitted by the Women’s Law Project and 19 other organizations in Victory v. County of Berks, a case involving equal treatment for incarcerated women before the Third Circuit. The friend of the court brief supports several incarcerated women alleging unequal treatment and discriminatory housing practices based on gender at Berks County Jail in Pennsylvania.
Victory v. County of Berks is important because it may decide to what extent prisons and jails need to provide equal housing and treatment to incarcerated women. Women are the most rapidly expanding population in the U.S. prison system yet historically, prisons and jails have often provided inadequate and subpar housing facilities, medical care, and other necessities for incarcerated women.
As the amici also noted, women of color and LGBTQI people are grossly overrepresented in prisons and jails and this overrepresentation is due, in large part, to these populations’ experiences of poverty, gender-based discrimination and violence, and biased policing. As amici work to combat the structural forces that underpin these numbers, we called upon officials to treat incarcerated women of color and LGBTQI people with dignity and equality, particularly in areas such as housing, safety, medical care where they are often deprived of their rights. Likewise, in this brief, we call upon the court to ensure that these sex-based inequalities are remedied.