The lack of gender-responsive and trauma-informed practices in Oregon prisons perpetuate cycles of trauma, victimization, and harm among incarcerated women, transgender, and non-binary people. HB 4146 is necessary to change this dynamic and create opportunities for healing and rehabilitative solutions through an assessment of Coffee Creek, Oregon’s prison for women.
We have heard from women, transgender, and non-binary people in Oregon’s prison system about inhumane and harsh practices and conditions in our prisons that cause harm and trauma instead of healing and rehabilitation. For example, Oregon’s prison system treats women, transgender, and non-binary people the same as men, which means they are subjected to strip searches and physical pat downs, among other harmful practices. These types of physical violations without consent can be particularly traumatic and harmful for women, transgender, and non-binary people because of their experiences as the victims and survivors of phsical and sexual violence.
With HB 4146, the Oregon Legislature has the opportunity to support gender-responsive and trauma-informed practices in Oregon’s prison system. These practices have been proven to achieve improved safety and positive outcomes for incarcerated women, transgender, and non-binary people. When prisons engage in practices that help people heal and rehabilitate, this increases incarcerated Oregonians’ chances of reintegrating successfully into our communities after incarceration. This helps all our communities be more safe and thrive