Centering Women in Prisoners' Rights Litigation

52 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2019 Last revised: 24 Feb 2020

Date Written: April 11, 2018


The United States has incarcerated women since the nation’s first prisons emerged. Many of these incarcerated women have helped develop modern articulations of prisoners’ rights. This Article focuses on a series of lawsuits undertaken by women at Bedford Hills, a New York State prison. The work of the women of Bedford Hills — the organizing and 1974 uprising, as well as the subsequent decades-long prisoner led litigation — was foundational to modern prisoners’ rights litigation and resulted in protections for prisoners across the country.

Through oral history accounts, this Article employs a dignity rights-based framework and methodology to i) explore a pioneering piece of prisoners’ rights litigation and ii) analyze the importance of centering women’s accounts of prison in order to disrupt the dominant narrative of prisoners’ rights claims.

Keywords: criminal law, prisons, feminist legal theory, dignity rights

Suggested Citation

Baylor, Amber, Centering Women in Prisoners' Rights Litigation (April 11, 2018). Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Vol. 25, 2018, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-29, Available at SSRN:

Amber Baylor (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th St
NEW YORK, NY 10027

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