Ending the barbaric practice of shackling incarcerated pregnant women
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 to cover at least the duration of a woman’s stay at the hospital. The law also largely bans the use of shackles on women not in labor who are going to the hospital for “the purpose of giving birth” (i.e., if they are going to be induced or to have a scheduled C-section) and on women being taken from the hospital back to the prison. Based on surveys and interviews with 27 women who gave birth after the 2009 Anti-Shackling Law went into effect, the Correctional Association concludes that NY State is out of compliance with the law.
Here is a short trailer, in which Maria describes her experience being shackled during labor and delivery.
Watch the entire 6-minute video here.
Shackling pregnant women is a dangerous and degrading practice that causes suffering, endangers the health and safety of women and their babies, and violates basic standards of human rights and decency. The practice is also unnecessary as security can be effectively maintained by correction staff when pregnant women are off prison grounds.
Learn more about shackling and other reproductive justice issues impacting incarcerated women in the Correctional Association’s released report, Reproductive Injustice: the State of Reproductive Health Care for Women in New York State Prisons.
We are deeply grateful to Cori, Ursulina, Tina and Maria for bravely sharing their experiences in this video, and to all the women who have joined them in helping to lead this critical campaign.
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