Protecting the Rights of Incarcerated Parents and Their Children
The Women in Prison Project has made an important advance in its efforts to lessen the harsh effects of New York’s Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) on incarcerated parents. ASFA almost always requires foster care agencies to file a termination of parental rights proceeding if a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months. These shortened timeframes, and the unavoidable difficulties incarcerated parents face in meeting legal requirements to maintain contact with and plan for their children, place them at disproportionate risk of losing parental rights to their children forever. Working with members of the Coalition for Women Prisoners’ Incarcerated Mothers Committee, WIPP helped draft new legislation that would expand foster care agencies’ discretion to delay filing termination papers in cases where a parent is incarcerated or in a residential substance abuse treatment program, even after the 15 month deadline has been reached. Having more time would give incarcerated parents and their children a better opportunity to work toward reunification and safe permanency options that do not involve severing family bonds forever. The bill, A.8465-A, was introduced by Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry, Chair of the Corrections Committee.
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