“Working with currently and formerly incarcerated women across the country, #cut50 has led an effort to change laws and policies that result in the dehumanizing and shameful treatment of incarcerated women and girls,” the organization said. “We are also building a national network of powerful, formerly incarcerated women who won’t stop with small changes – they’re going to keep fighting until we completely transform the way our criminal justice system handles women and girls.”
The rapper — who recently staged a performance inside Central California Women’s Facility, the most populated women’s prison in the United States — appears alongside three formerly incarcerated people-turned-activists — Topeka K. Sam, Mary Baxter and Ivy Woolf Turk — in a new video championing #cut50. The video was produced by #cut50 in collaboration with Common’s organization, Imagine Justice and is part of #cut50’s multi-year campaign focused on female incarceration, DIGNITY.
“How do you react in a time of change? Do you rise to the occasion and meet the challenge, even when it’s hard?” Common asks in the video. “There are 200,000 women behind bars in America today. How do we recognize their voices?”
“Eighty-six percent of women that are incarcerated are sexual violence survivors,” says Topeka K. Sam, director of the #cut50 Dignity campaign and a formerly incarcerated person. “Where are the voices of women in the criminal justice conversation? We need to be heard.”
The #cut50 campaign and the Dignity for Incarcerated Women act — launched with help from D.C. lawmakers like Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris — aims to protect incarcerated women from sexual assault by male guards, allow children to visit their mothers in prison, ban the shackling of pregnant women in prison and more.