Every time the CA visits a women’s prison in New York, reports abound concerning the poor standards of health care in general, and the struggles experienced by women who are incarcerated to secure women-specific care. “Reproductive Injustice: The State of Reproductive Health Care for Women in New York State,” the February 2015 report by the Women in Prison Project, reveals the failure of the New York State prison system to provide quality reproductive health care and treat women with respect for their basic dignity and human rights.
Based over a five-year period on interviews with 950 incarcerated women, 20 visits to prisons housing women in New York, data from over 1,550 surveys, and reviews of medical charts, the report reveals a shockingly poor standard of care, the routine denial of basic reproductive health and hygiene items, and the continued illegal practice of shackling pregnant women during labor and childbirth. Read our press release about the report here.
Highlights of our key findings in “Reproductive Injustice” about reproductive health care in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) are:
1) Women are routinely shackled during pregnancy and some still experience the horror of being shackled during childbirth, even though this practice was outlawed in NY in 2009.
2) Pregnant women face poor conditions of confinement, including insufficient food and damaging childbirth experiences.
3) Many women receive substandard reproductive health care and face serious delays in accessing GYN services.
4) Women are routinely denied basic reproductive health items, including contraception and sufficient sanitary supplies.
5) Women in solitary confinement face egregious conditions, and pregnant women can be, and are, placed in solitary, a dangerous setting for them and their babies.
This report is the latest effort by the Women in Prison Project and the Coalition for Women Prisoners to address the injustices of the prison system and to combat the over-incarceration of women. It would not have been possible without the brave women who participated in this study, who struggle each day to achieve what many of us on the outside take for granted. They are vital to a Reproductive Justice movement that began in the mid-1990s by a group of African American women seeking to create a framework that links the achievement of reproductive justice to basic social-economic and political power and resources that can enable all women to make healthy and self-determining decisions.
Here are links to articles and editorials about shackling and other examples of reproductive injustice:
To learn more, take action and get involved, you can:
Share the report with your networks using these hashtags: #EndReproInjustice, #StopShackling and #EndMassIncarceration
Donate to support our campaign
Lawmakers, Advocates, and Survivors of Solitary Confinement Back Legislation Limiting Use of Isolation in New York’s Prisons and Jails
(April 12, 2016, Albany, NY): The New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) held a press conference with lawmakers and survivors on Tuesday to advocate for legislation that would limit the use of solitary confinement and other forms of isolation in New York’s prisons and jails. The press conference was part of a full day of activities by over 200 people from across the state to draw attention to the torture of solitary confinement and to advocate passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act, A. 4401 / S. 2659. Read More
To the Editor: Re “New York State Taking On Union of Prison Guards” (front page, April 12): Since 1846, the Correctional Association has monitored and reported to lawmakers and the public on prison conditions, bearing witness to a pervasive and persistent culture of violence and abuse suffered by teenagers, women and men in New York [...]Read More
Reports & Research
The Correctional Association of NY conducted in depth interviews with 30 people currently incarcerated at Clinton on August 19 and 20, 2015, and corresponded with many more people held at the prison over the last few months. The information reported provides further confirmation of both extensive staff brutality in the aftermath of the June escape [...]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