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a logo for Bruised Behind Bars with handcuffs over one of the letters

Help inmate Jennifer Emmi raise awareness to stop abuse in women's prisons.

Jennifer Reba Edwards, also known as Jennifer Emmi, is the founder of Bruised Behind Bars. She currently sits in prison, beaten and bruised while serving time for crimes she did not commit. Being behind bars doesn't stop Jennifer from advocating for her — and all women's — rights to safety in prison. Jennifer remains hopeful of a life outside of prison where she can continue to help other incarcerated women receive better medical care, reduce inmate sexual assaults and stay safe while serving their sentences.

 

Help us share her story and stop violence against women behind bars.

In the United States, prisons allow male officers to serve in positions that involve constant physical contact with female prisoners — resulting in increased sexual misconduct. Although female inmates are less likely than their male counterparts to act out violently in prison, they receive more disciplinary tickets for minor offenses and are more likely to be assaulted by prison staff.

Unfortunately, women in prisons across the country are disciplined at significantly higher rates than male inmates for mostly minor, subjective infractions. 

 

Women’s incarceration has grown at twice the pace of men’s incarceration in recent decades. Because there are fewer women’s prisons, women are more likely to be held in prisons located far from home, making visits difficult and expensive. As a result, incarcerated women suffer from lack of face-to-face contact with their family. 

 

Bruised Behind Bars founder, Jennifer Emmi, currently resides at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, a prison with a history of sexual abuse, including a former officer who was charged in October 2022 for raping at least one female inmate. Following a rape she reported by prison staff in Colorado, Jennifer was unexpectedly transferred in the middle of the night to Fluvanna Correctional Center in Virginia – 1,600 miles away from her children, mother and home. She was not provided a rape kit for her reported sexual assault in Colorado, despite being promised one upon arrival to Virginia.

 

Fast Facts

 

  • 33% of assaults by facility staff in U.S. prisons are female victims, despite women only accounting for 7% of all incarcerated individuals in the U.S.

  • Women were abused by prison staff in at least 19 of the 29 federal facilities that held female inmates since 2012. 

  • The Bureau of Prisons opened 5,415 cases alleging sexual abuse by federal employees from 2012 to 2022.

  • The Bureau of Prisons' Office of Internal Affairs has a case backlog of about 8,000, some of which have been pending for more than five years.

a prison hallway

The criminal justice system failed thousands of women

just like Jennifer.

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