Missoula County Jail: Stop Discriminatory Treatment of Women and Juvenile Prisoners
  • Petitioned Missoula County Jail

This petition was delivered to:

Missoula County Jail
Board of County Comissioners
Bill Carey
Board of County Comissioners
Jean Curtiss
Board of County Comissioners
Michele Landquist
Montana
Sen. John Walsh
Montana
Sen. Jon Tester
Montana
Gov. Steve Bullock

Missoula County Jail: Stop Discriminatory Treatment of Women and Juvenile Prisoners

    1. Kendall Strautman
    2. Petition by

      Kendall Strautman

      Missoula, MT, United States

Women and juveniles are denied access to fresh air, sunlight and the outdoors while their adult male counterparts spend one hour outdoors for exercise per day. This petition was made by a group of University of Montana students seeking to raise awareness about this issue.

The following is an article about ACLU's lawsuit against Missoula County:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday against Missoula County over discriminatory treatment of female and juvenile prisoners at the Missoula County Jail, who, unlike male prisoners, are denied access to fresh air, sunlight and the outdoors.

Both of the Missoula County Jail housing units used for mail prisoners have access to an outdoor recreation yard which male prisoners are allowed to use for one hour a day, five days a week. Female and juvenile prisoners, however are only given recreation time in an indoor gym. That gym’s windows are high above the floor and are only opened during fair weather. Even with the windows open, prisoners are able to feel little fresh air. They must take turns in the small spots of sunlight that shine on the gym floor for short periods of time.

“Male prisoners are able to breathe fresh air and spend time in the sunlight. Yet, despite repeated grievances from female prisoners, both women and juveniles at the jail are denied this opportunity, and are only given recreation time in a gym,” said Scott Crichton, executive director of the ACLU of Montana. “As a result, our plaintiffs report skin problems, hair loss, depression and panic attacks from being deprived of fresh air and outdoor exercise.”

Courts have repeatedly ruled that outdoor exercise is extremely important to the psychological and physical well-being of prisoners and that deprivation of access to fresh air and sunlight constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Many of the prisoners incarcerated at the jail are there awaiting trial and/or sentencing. Some are there for as long as a year. Denying female and juvenile prisoners access to outdoor recreation given their adult male counterparts is discriminatory and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The ACLU of Montana and its plaintiffs are seeking a solution to this situation. A fenced area outside both the juvenile and women’s housing units could be used for outdoor recreation. Likewise, a canvas curtain, like the one used in the gym, could be used to separate male prisoners from female and juvenile prisoners in the recreation yard.

“The solution to this discrimination is simple and obvious,” said Greg Munro, cooperating attorney on the case. “It’s unfortunate that Missoula County Jail officials have repeatedly ignored requests that they fix the problem, leaving our only option to sue.”

 

Source- http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/aclu-montana-sues-missoula-county-over-discriminatory-treatment-women-and-juvenile

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 100 signatures
    2. Opinion piece in the Missoulian

      Kendall Strautman
      Petition Organizer
      Disparate treatment of inmates must end

      How hard would it be to escort female and juvenile prisoners at the Missoula County Detention Center outside for an hour each day? How much would it really cost to ensure they remained safe and secure during this time? Apparently, too hard, and more than administrators at the county jail are willing to pay.

    3. Reached 25 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Mr. Derek Clark GREELEY, CO
      • 8 months ago

      ALL prisoners should be treated with equal deference to their basic human needs and universal human rights.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • L Gouws CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
      • over 1 year ago

      Unfair gender discrimination is unreasonable and unjustifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tiana Jensen MISSOULA, MT
      • over 1 year ago

      This is a gender, mental health, and youth issue. It doesn't make sense that we are not doing more to protect the mental health of our young prisoners, who are more likely than anyone else to be out from behind bars one day.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Emily Gentry DURANGO, CO
      • over 1 year ago

      The judicial system is unnecessarily forceful and I believe this should be discussed nationally.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Pedro Marques MISSOULA, MT
      • over 1 year ago

      Because all human beings have the right to be treated like humans and have at least their basic needs met.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.