Thursday, August 27, 2009
NY Will Become Sixth State to Ban Use of Shackles on Pregnant Prisoners
The 37-year-old was in a maximum-security prison for violating parole. An officer told her the use of restraints on pregnant inmates was “procedure.’’
“I’m saying to myself, ‘I feel like a pregnant animal,’ ’’ said Pinckney, who was taken from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to a hospital for the birth of her son last year.
At state prisons around the country, jailed women are routinely shackled during childbirth, often by correctional staff without medical training, according to civil rights organizations and prisoner advocates. The practice has been condemned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for unnecessarily risking women’s health, and court challenges are pending in several states.
Federal prisons and five states largely ban shackling pregnant women in prison. Governor David Paterson is expected to sign a law this week that would make New York the sixth state to do so. . . .
Several lawsuits challenging the practice are pending throughout the country.