Banning Shackling Pregnant Inmates.

Now, for a change of subject. One of the real crimes of our criminal justice system is the continued shackling of pregnant inmates. Some prisons even shackle women during childbirth. Anyway, here’s welcome news.

The ACLU welcomes the Bureau of Prisons’ recent policy change barring the shackling of pregnant inmates in federal prisons in all but the most extreme circumstances.

This new policy represents a sea change in the United States, where the shackling of pregnant women during transport, labor, and even delivery has long been routine in jails and prisons. Currently, only California, Illinois, and Vermont have enacted state laws restricting the practice of shackling pregnant women. By contrast, international human rights bodies have repeatedly expressed concern about policies that permit shackling of pregnant women.

On a related note, I will be volunteering this Saturday at the California Institution for Woman where the Get on the Bus organization will be sponsoring a picnic for inmates and their children inside the prison. We will be bringing 400 kids and their care givers to see their incarcerated moms. The food has even been donated by the men in the neighboring men’s prison. I will post photos and some additional thoughts after the event.


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