More women—two-thirds of whom are mothers—are behind bars today than at any other point in U.S. history. But federal and state laws and regulations fail to ensure humane treatment of pregnant women and mothers.
Given the consensus that shackling pregnant women is not only unnecessary but also degrading, it was a shock to find out this morning that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill passed by the California Legislature to end shackling of pregnant women in his state.
In California’s prisons, pregnant Black women, brown women, and Asian-Pacific Islander women are chained together in a barbaric throwback to another time. But it’s here and now.
NPR recounts chilling tales by women who were shackled during labor and childbirth, and reports on the ongoing efforts to end this practice.
Pennsylvania is poised to become the tenth state to restrict the shackling of pregnant women in labor or childbirth, once the governor signs the bill.
“I cannot imagine a place where one might stand and have a clearer view of concentrated disadvantage based on race, class, and gender inequality in the country then from inside the walls of women’s prisons.” Beth E. Richie
Washington becomes the seventh state to limit the shackling of pregnant women in prison.
Currently, Washington State policy still allows shackling of pregnant women in some cases. But advocates are pursuing legislative efforts to ensure a complete prohibition on shackling of pregnant women.
Pennsylvania makes progress on bill to limit the shackling of imprisoned women during labor and childbirth
Washington State could become the seventh state to enact a law limiting the shackling of imprisoned women during labor and childbirth; legislative hearing on Monday, January 18