Blog of Rights

Amy Fettig serves as Senior Staff Counsel for the ACLU’s National Prison Project (NPP).
At NPP, she litigates federal class action prison conditions cases under the Eighth Amendment. Her practice focuses on claims regarding medical and mental health care in prison, solitary confinement, prison rape, and comprehensive reform in juvenile facilities. Ms. Fettig also directs the ACLU’s Stop Solitary campaign seeking to end the practice of long-term isolation in our nation’s prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers through public policy reform, legislation, litigation and public education.
Ms. Fettig is a leading member of the national coalition seeking to end the practice of shackling pregnant women prisoners and works with a wide range of ACLU affiliates on both anti-shackling campaigns and their advocacy strategies around women’s health in prison. A national expert on prisoner rights law, she provides technical legal assistance and advice to advocacy groups and lawyers around the country and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches courses on public interest advocacy.
Prior to law school, Ms. Fettig worked with women prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families in New York City. She holds a B.A., with distinction, Carleton College; a Master’s from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; and a J.D. from Georgetown University. Ms. Fettig is a member of the New York State Bar (2002) and the Bar for the District of Columbia (2006).
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97 Years in Prison for a Mentally Ill Man Who Threw Feces

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 12:43pm
Anthony Gay was sentenced to an incredible 97 years in prison for throwing feces out his food slot, behavior experts characterize as symptomatic for severely mentally ill people held in solitary confinement. Yesterday the ACLU joined the National Disability Rights Network, Mental Health America and many others in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in Gay's appeal, calling the sentence "an unconscionable and shocking criminalization of his mental illness."

Starving For Better Conditions in California Prisons

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 12:54pm

How terrible would things have to be for you to stop eating and possibly starve yourself to death? For prisoners in California, their conditions of confinement — severe and prolonged isolation in small, windowless concrete boxes — have…

Rhode Island Stands Up For Pregnant Women in Prison: Says No to Shackling

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project & Becca Cadoff, Reproductive Freedom Project & Steven Brown, ACLU of Rhode Island at 12:18pm

Following the lead of a dozen other states, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed into law a bill that sharply restricts the harmful practice of shackling pregnant prisoners. As we have learned from the stories of women across the country,…

Justice and Faith Groups say "Enough is Enough" to Attorney General

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 10:24am

Yesterday, the ACLU and a broad coalition of civil rights and religious groups called on Attorney General Eric Holder to take a stand for safe, humane, and effective criminal justice in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) when he selects its new…

We Can End Prison Rape

We Can End Prison Rape

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 3:27pm

There is a terrible irony in the experience of incarcerated women: the lives of abuse and subordination that frequently brought them to prison are most often replicated behind prison walls. Women’s experience of prison as a place of abuse,…

Each Day, More Victims

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 11:50am

Sexual abuse behind bars in this country is rampant. Today, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) issued a report finding that a staggering 64,500 people in federal and state prisons reported being raped or sexually abused in the last year. The…

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