On Prison and Pregnancy
Written by Audrey Quinn
On January 29th 2013, Diana was on her way to get a sonogram.
“And the minute I turned on my car,” she remembers, “they pulled up on the side and told me to get out the car. They put the handcuffs on me and took me in.”
Diana asked us not to use her last name for reasons related to her arrest. She’s a 23 year old from Queens, New York. That day in January, she found herself in a jail cell at Rikers Island, seven months pregnant.
“They had told me that I was under arrest because of what my boyfriend did,” she says.
Her boyfriend, the baby’s father, had gone to jail ten days earlier. He’d sold drugs to an undercover cop. The cop had come to their home and caught the sale on video.
“I was in my room minding my business,” she says of that day, “when the officer came in, and my boyfriend had called me and told him to pass him a bag that was in the room. And that’s where the drugs came out of. And that’s what I’m in the video doing, just giving the black bag.”
The United States has 5% of the world’s women, and 33% of its incarcerated women. Women’s imprisonment rose 700% nationally between 1980 and 2014, and women of color are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated. In response to this dramatic increase, the National Institute of Corrections and the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women worked to develop effective practices for women’s prisons through a Gender Informed Practice Assessment tool, known as GIPA.Read More
N.C. Prisons End Shackling of Women During Childbirth, A ‘Barbaric’ Practice 32 Other States Still Allow
“People’s human rights do not end when they enter the walls of a prison.” Ending a practice described by medical experts as “barbaric,” the director of North Carolina’s state prisons said Wednesday that women who give birth while they are incarcerated will no longer be restrained or shackled during labor. Women’s rights advocates applauded the [...]Read More
Under unique statutory authority granted to the CA in 1846, WIPP monitors conditions in women’s prisons in New York, a role played by no other group in the country. WIPP coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of more than 1,800 people, and carries out advocacy campaigns to reform harmful criminal justice policies. [...]Read More
Watch the Correctional Association’s video about the barbaric – and illegal – shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth. In 2009 New York enacted a statute restricting the use of shackles on women during childbirth. The law bans outright the use of restraints on women throughout labor, delivery and recovery “after giving birth,” which is meant [...]Read More