|Action||Amend Minimum Standards for Jails and Lockups to add requirements on restraint of pregnant offenders|
|Comment Period||Ends 9/27/2013|
Approve and improve the regulations on use of restraints on pregnant women
I commend the Board of Corrections’ prior approval of proposed regulations limiting the use of restraints on pregnant inmates. I thank the Board for implementing a compassionate and commonsense policy, and urge the Board to make these proposed regulations final when they vote again at the close of this public comment period.
I urge the Board of Corrections to include a strong public reporting requirement in the regulations to ensure accountability for and compliance with the regulations. Right now, the proposed regulations do not provide meaningful oversight through public reporting.
Restraining a pregnant woman can pose undue health risks to the woman and her pregnancy. Freedom from physical restraints is especially critical during labor, delivery, and during postpartum recovery. Restraining pregnant women is dangerous and inhumane.
The vast majority of female prisoners are non-violent offenders who pose a low security risk—particularly during labor and postpartum recovery. In the states that have outlawed restraint of pregnant inmates, there have been no documented instances of a woman in labor or delivery escaping or causing harm to themselves, corrections officers, or medical staff.
National correctional and medical associations oppose the restraint of pregnant women because it is unnecessary and harmful to a woman and her pregnancy. 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 you for considering my comments.