Sexual Misconduct and Shackling of Pregnant Women

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Amnesty International surveyed all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to obtain information on the use of restraints on pregnant women in custody. These findings are based primarily on information provided in the surveys.

  • Only two state departments of corrections have legislation regulating the use of restraints on pregnant women. These are Illinois and California. Women detained in 48 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Bureau of Prisons lack such legislative protection.- A bill regulating the use of restraints on pregnant women is pending in New York.
  • Eight state departments of correction told AI they have no written policy governing the use of restraints on pregnant women. Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and North Carolina.- Kansas has a policy on restraining pregnant women during transportation but no policy governing the use of restraints on women during labor and birth.
  • Thirty-eight state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons may use restraints on pregnant women in the third trimester. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.- Louisiana and the Federal Bureau of prisons have no restrictions on the application of restraints other than specifying that pregnant women should not be restrained facedown in four-point restraints.

Labor/Delivery

Twenty-three state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons allow the use of restraints during labor. Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

– Most state departments of corrections did not provide details on what type of restraints may be utilized during labor, nor did they provide their policy. Amnesty International received the following details.

º Alabama stated that restraints depend on the security class of the woman, but that “often two extremities are restrained.”

º Arkansas reportedly has a policy stipulating that women with “lesser disciplinary records” will at times have one arm and one leg restrained by flexible nylon “soft restraints.” Arkansas did not provide information on how women with other disciplinary records are restrained.

º Louisiana allows restraints including leg irons to be utilized.

º Nevada reported that “normally only wrist restraints” are used.

º New Hampshire stated that one foot may be shackled to the bed during labor depending on security class of the woman in labor.

º West Virginia reports that leg restraints would not be used during labor.

o Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Wisconsin allow restraints until the inmate is in “active labor” or arrives at the delivery room.

More here.   Via Giovanna Shay.

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