The Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) decided to strengthen and expand existing policies banning shackling of pregnant inmates during labor, delivery and post- recovery. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture applauds this step. However, the cruel and inhumane practice of shackling inmates who are in labor still occurs in some local and regional correctional facilities. Virginia should join the 13 states that have enacted legislation to prohibit this barbaric practice.
Fourteen states currently limit the use of restraints on pregnant inmates, and now Virginia is one of the few states with forward-thinking policies regarding the use of restraints on pregnant inmates. However, local and regional jails in Virginia are not subject to the DOC regulations, so pregnant women at those facilities are still at risk.
The Republican candidate for New York’s District 26 special election once voted to shackle pregnant prisoners who were giving birth.
Women detained by ICE, roughly 10 percent of the detention population, have special medical concerns and face unique challenges in detention.
Idaho has passed a new law that restricts the shackling of pregnant prisoners.
A new federal court decision adds weight to the campaign to ban the shackling of pregnant women.
Tennessee steps closer to a constitution that doesn’t protect a right to abortion; Arizona has a new anti-abortion law; Filippino president risks ex-communication for reproductive health bill; and the reproductive health needs of women in prison.