Mass. Bill Would Ban Shackling Pregnant Inmates
A bill that would outlaw the shackling of women prisoners during childbirth is making its way through the Statehouse.
Massachusetts Department of Correction policy already prohibits prisoners in labor from being restrained, although restraints can be used when transporting pregnant prisoners.
Each county jail has its own policy regarding pregnant inmates.
The bill aims to create uniform laws for the jails and the state prison system prohibiting shackling pregnant women during childbirth and post-delivery recuperation.
The bill would also set standards for the treatment and medical care of pregnant inmates.
Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety has released the bill, clearing its first legislative hurdle. It still needs legislative approval before heading to Gov. Deval Patrick.
Supporters, including civil liberties and abortion rights groups, say 18 states already ban the shackling of pregnant, incarcerated women.