CA APPLAUDS SWIFT PASSAGE OF NEW IMPROVED ANTI-SHACKLING BILL BY NYS LEGISLATURE
(June 29, 2015, New York, NY) The Correctional Association of New York (CA) today enthusiastically welcomed the quick action last week by New York State lawmakers in passing new anti-shackling legislation. This bill strengthens enforcement of the current law and expands anti-shackling protections to women throughout their pregnancy and eight weeks post-partum.
The bill, whose chief sponsors were Assemblyman N. Nick Perry (D-58th Assembly District)) and Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-25th Senate District), is a major victory in the fight to end the barbaric practice of shackling. A report issued by the CA’s Women in Prison Project earlier this year found that of the 27 women interviewed who gave birth after the original 2009 law banning shackling during labor, delivery, and recovery, 23 had been shackled in clear violation of the law.
Governor Andrew Cuomo will have 10 days upon receipt to sign or veto the bill.
“Shackling is a degrading practice that causes suffering, endangers the health and safety of women and their babies, and violates basic standards of human rights and decency,:” said Jaya Vasandani, Acting Director of the Ca’s Women in Prison Project. “The legislature has done the right thing by passing this critical legislation and we now look to the Governor to sign the bill into law to end this inhumane and barbaric practice.”
“No one should have to experience what I went through,” said Tina Tinen, an outspoken critic of the practice who was shackled while in active labor in 2011. “This new law recognizes the huge risk that shackling poses to women in every stage of their pregnancy.”
Maria Caraballo, who was shackled during labor and delivery and remained shackled to the bed immediately after childbirth, said, “Those first moments with your baby right after they are born are so important.” Caraballo, who now advocates for incarcerated women, added, “Having to hold my baby with one hand while I was shackled was a very painful experience. I’m glad that this law ends that.”
The CA’s advocacy around the shackling of pregnant women is part of a much larger campaign to address the state of reproductive health care for women in NYS prisons. Learn more here.
(August 26, 2018) New York Times: The inmates at North Carolina’s Hyde Correctional Institution hung three banners from the prison fence last week as supporters gathered outside. One sign asked for better food; another requested parole; the third said, “In solidarity.” The protest came in support of a nationwide prisoner strike to call attention to the low inmate wages, decrepit facilities and harsh sentences that organizers say plague prison populations across the country. Read More
Staten Islanders had the opportunity Thursday night to briefly experience one of the hardest parts of our nation’s penal system. A group of advocates brought a makeshift solitary cell to the South Shore YMCA in Eltingville to show people the level of isolation inmates can face. The model was constructed by Doug Van Zandt, of [...]Read More
WOMEN AND ISOLATED CONFINEMENT Women held in isolated confinement are subjected to dehumanizing treatment—treatment that makes it difficult for them to maintain their dignity, hygiene, nutrition and personal property. They can get in trouble for something as simple as attempting to talk to the person next to them. They are denied commissary privileges which provide [...]Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More