“Republicans need to be working to make sure that all life matters, whether that of a prison inmate or an unborn child.”- Congressman Mark Walker
"The bureaucracy makes some decisions that are very destructive for families. We shackle women during childbirth. That's barbaric." -- Pat Nolan
"I can't imagine being in labor, chained to the bed, and not being able to hold my baby." -- Holly Harris, Executive Director at US Justice Action Network
One glaring example of the need to reexamine rules originally designed for men when they are applied to female inmates is the policy that inmates must be shackled when taken to a hospital. Several states apply this policy across the board – even to women inmates in labor! Even though some states do not have this policy, the correctional systems, doctors, guards, and prison officials are usually not informed about anti-shackling laws or are trained to not comply. When women speak up about being restrained during childbirth, it gets pushed to the backburner because state policing providing healthcare for pregnant inmates remain silent on shackling and restraint. Additionally, most incarcerated women who are shackled don’t have the necessary counsel or funds in order to make some noise that the press will hear.
Except in an extraordinary circumstance, no inmate who is known to be pregnant should be restrained during labor, during transport to a medical facility or birthing center for delivery, or during postpartum recovery.RECENT NEWS: Dignity For Women Advances At ALEC. American Conservative Union Scores Win With Approval Of ALEC Model Bill.
Washington, D.C. – At the winter meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force adopted landmark model legislation on incarcerated women. The “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” model bill is intended to provide a template for every state legislature to improve policies for women behind bars. This key effort was sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), along with key ALEC members, Rep. Bernie Satrom (R-ND) and Rep. Kim Moser (R-KY). This is anACT regarding the care of state incarcerated pregnant women, family visitation rights, the access male correctional officers have in correctional facilities where a female inmate may be in a state of undress, access to feminine hygiene products in correctional facilities, and the education and training of employees of correctional facilities in which female inmates are housed. The full text can be found here.