New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed nearly 100 bills as the legislative session came to a close this January, but a measure to severely curtail the shackling of pregnant inmates wasn’t one of them.
After Maine Gov. Paul LePage made national news earlier this month by claiming to have “pocket vetoed” 19 bills that became law without his signature, messages started popping up in my inbox saying things like “An accidental win!” and “Maine—accidentally—outlaws shackling pregnant women?”
We thought passing our antishackling bill would be easy. After all, who would want to be seen arguing that pregnant women should wear chains?
Two victories in one day: A federal jury in Tennessee affirms that shackling during labor violates women’s rights, and the Virginia Department of Corrections announces that it will no longer engage in the practice.
On Feb. 4, the Virginia General Assembly’s House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee defeated a bill that would have limited the use of restraints on pregnant inmates.