Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Corrections
State Board of Local and Regional Jails
Minimum Standards for Jails and Lockups [6 VAC 15 ‑ 40]
Action Amend Minimum Standards for Jails and Lockups to add requirements on restraint of pregnant offenders
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 9/27/2013
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8/7/13  4:21 pm
Commenter: Jon Nafziger

Comment of restraint of pregnant inmates

I thank the Board of Corrections’ for its approval of proposed regulations limiting the use of restraints on pregnant inmates. I urge the Board to make these proposed regulations final.  I also urge the Board of Corrections to add a strong public reporting requirement in the regulations to ensure compliance with the regulations. 

I consider restraining a pregnant woman to be dangerous and inhumane, increasing the chances of harming their pregnancies.  During labor and postpartum recovery, restraints can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the woman and her newborn child.

Freedom from physical restraints is especially critical during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery.  Restraints on a pregnant woman can interfere with the medical staff’s ability to appropriately assist in childbirth or to conduct emergency procedures.  Freedom from restraints after delivery also fosters postpartum bonding between a mother and her newborn, which is essential to the healthy development of the child.

The vast majority of female prisoners are non-violent offenders who pose a low security risk—particularly during labor and postpartum recovery.  In other states, there have been no documented instances of a woman in labor or delivery escaping or causing harm to themselves, security guards, or medical staff.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshal Service, the American Correctional Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association have recognized that restraining women during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery is unnecessary and dangerous to a woman’s health and well being and may harm her child.

Thank for supporting the changes in these regulations.

CommentID: 28753