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Federal chief judges to Holder: Keep women prisoners in Connecticut

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during the 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during the 2013 America Bar Association (ABA) annual meeting in San Francisco, California. (August 12, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

The chief judges of federal district courts based in Brooklyn and Manhattan have joined with 10 others to protest a planned conversion of the only federal prison in the Northeast for women into a men's facility.

U.S. District Judges Loretta Preska, who heads the federal court in Manhattan, and Carol Amon, whose Brooklyn-based court covers Long Island, 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 a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder released Monday, the chief judges of a dozen federal courts in the Northeast said that Danbury was accessible to families throughout the region, 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 currently houses 1,200 female 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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