State Rep. Summer Lee lauds House passage of ‘Dignity for Incarcerated Women’ bill; calls for swift Senate action

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – Following the passage of H.B. 1419, state Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, celebrated the work of prison reform advocates who led the effort to win a successful, unanimous vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Monday. 

Lee, who co-sponsored the bill and authored its language requiring trauma-informed care training for corrections staff, recognized the vital contributions of Madusa Carter, president and founder of Mary’s Daughter for the Formerly Incarcerated and the Dignity Act Now Collective, an MDFI project.

“This bill would not have existed without Madusa’s labor and leadership, and that of other advocates,” Lee said.

“This bill was born from the struggle and pain that they witnessed or experienced firsthand. As we celebrate the passage of ‘Dignity for Incarcerated Women’ and ‘Trauma-Informed Care,’ we should reflect on the injustices that compelled us to act.”

Lee also noted the concurrent efforts of her colleagues, many of whom were not credited for their contributions to the legislation despite years-long collaborations and consensus building with their own stakeholders. House Bill 1419 includes language originally authored by Lee and her colleagues for bills they introduced in years prior.

With only eight days remaining in the Pennsylvania Senate’s legislative session, Lee called on Senate leaders to prioritize passing H.B. 1419. 

“The incarcerated citizens of our Commonwealth, especially Black incarcerated pregnant people, deserve the quick passage of this bill. They deserve more than a Senate sauntering to the end of its legislative session in an election year. Senate leaders must pass ‘Dignity for Incarcerated Women’ now,” Lee stated.