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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Governor Pledges to End Shackling of Pregnant Women in Massachusetts

According to Rachel Roth’s post in Mom’s Rising today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced plans to issue emergency regulations to put a stop to the shackling of pregnant women in labor.

“Regulation is good but here law would be better,” the governor said. Pledging his support, Governor Patrick added, “I urge the Legislature to send [a bill] to my desk for signature this session.”

That bill, S. 2012, just reported out of the Public Safety Committee, provides broader protection than the emergency regulations.

The bill has two aims: to set standards on medical care for pregnant women in jail and prison and to set clear limits on shackling. The bill includes these important provisions:

  • nutrition and prenatal vitamins
  • prenatal and postpartum care
  • some measure of privacy for women during physical examinations, labor, and childbirth
  • absolutely no restraints during labor and childbirth, or during transportation to a hospital for “labor symptoms”
  • no restraints during the postpartum period in the hospital without “extraordinary circumstances”
  • bans on leg irons and waist chains after the first trimester
  • handcuffs in the front, not behind someone’s back, after the first trimester, and only in “extraordinary circumstances”

Read more: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/governor-pledges-to-end-shackling-of-pregnant-women-in-massachusetts-emergency-rules-to-be-issued-until-legislature-takes-action/#ixzz2vEKv6iNh

LSPC No More Shackles Report: Progress in California

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) released its report, “No More Shackles: A report on the written policies of California’s counties under the new law that limits the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners.

In 2012, LSPC worked with Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins to enact legislation that prohibits the most dangerous forms of restraint from being used on any pregnant incarcerated woman (Penal Code §3407). This new law bans leg irons, waist chains, and handcuffs behind the back, and Governor Brown signed it September 28, 2012.

In March 2013, LSPC embarked on a project to determine whether all 58 California counties had written new policies on the shackling of pregnant prisoners to comply with the 2012 legislation. The report explains the new statute, describes LSPC’s efforts to obtain documentation from the counties, outlines our findings, and makes recommendations for additional legislation, regulation, and research.

The report verifies that 21 counties have policies in total compliance with the law. However, they are concerned that almost two-thirds of the counties in California, 34 of 58, still have written policies that do not fully comply with the law one year after it went into effect.