Restraints on pregnant inmates
Mother Behind Bars examines a lot of inadequate policies and procedures that these states have in place for federal and state correctional facilities. This report card bring up the issue on prenatal care, shackling, prison nurseries, and family based treatment as an alternative to incarceration however in this paper I will focus on the restraints on these pregnant inmates. New Jersey received a grade of D for shackling policies. Besides New Jersey thirty-seven other states obtain a D/F for their failure to comprehensively limit, or limit at all, the use of restraints on pregnant women transportation, labor, delivery, and postpartum recuperation (National Women’s Law Center, 2010). The use of restraints can compromise the health and safety of the women and the unborn child. Shackling pregnant women is dangerous and inhumane; women prisoners are still routinely shackled during pregnancy and childbirth. The reason these women are shackled is for safety and security, despite the fact that shackling pregnant women is degrading, unnecessary and a violation of human rights some state still condone this practice.
Restraining pregnant prisoners at any time increases their potential for physical harm from an accidental trip or fall. This also poses a risk of serious harm to the woman’s fetus, including the potential for miscarriage. During labor, delivery and postpartum recovery, shackling can interfere with appropriate medical care and be
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The prison nurseries that do exist today have the main goal of teaching mother’s how to be effective parents outside of the institution. The purpose of prison for women who are parents is no longer just about punishment. Prisons that implement programs like these have started to see the importance of rehabilitation and creating productive members of society. Once an inmate has served their sentence they will be out as a free citizen, and the criminal justice system is partially responsible for their success away from inmate life. At the same time the individual must also be focused on the goal of improving through these arrangements in special programs. Prison nurseries also do not serve as a vacation or a way to avoid serving a sentence for inmates. The prison nurseries come with many responsibilities as well. Many new mothers suffer from depression and stress after giving birth, and instead of just ignoring these issues they have to face them. At this point the mothers no longer have a way to escape what they are experiencing. They still have to cope and learn how to be mothers, without this program they may neglect themselves and their children. Many nurseries also require the inmates to attend school, during this time the mothers are not even allowed to have their children and they are left with nannies who are inmates as well. The mother of the child has no say in leaving her child with
“Averaging the grades for prenatal care, shackling and family-based treatment as an alternative to incarceration, twenty-one states received either a D or F, both of which are considered failing grades. Twenty-two states received a grade C, and seven received a B. The highest overall grade of A- was earned by one state—Pennsylvania.” These statistics prove that our prisons do not accommodate pregnant inmates. Some have adapted new programs but for the most part they remain a place for criminals to serve time no matter what their
There are many people who are critical of the US‘s prison sysetm; the idea of locking up those who commit crimes against a society simply to keep them from doing harm. Many say that more rehabilatation is necessary to improve these individuals and, therefore, society as a whole. What are some ways of doing this? Do you agree/disagree with this view and why? Is the prison system currently in place the best option for society? 2 pages, double spaced, 12pt. font.
California is the biggest state that has the largest prisoners’ population and it was in poverty. The state in 2005, there were twenty-four more new prisons build in California that had an addition houses for mothers. Mother was allowed to spend time with their children while in prison. This would give the mother and her child or children time to bond with each other.
The problems at hand that the SIMARRA Act bill is proposing to address, involves child welfare issues, women’s health concerns, and a lack of protection and healthcare needs for these women and their unborn children within the criminal justice system. According to the bill, it has been propositioned to enhance the welfare and public health for incarcerated pregnant women and mothers by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Federal prison system, by establishing a pilot program of critical-stage, developmental nurseries in Federal prisons for children born to inmates, with risk needs assessments, and risk and recidivism reduction (H.R.5130, 2016). The bill is intended to focus and alleviate the lack thereof adequate care, stress, and hazardous health practices that incarcerated mothers are experiencing with their infant babies, while also monitoring the health of these women. Both the mothers and infants are affected in these situations because the health of the mother has substantial
In 2014, after seeing a significant increase in babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), Tennessee began criminally charging pregnant women who use drugs (Sakuma, 2014). Supporters of the new legislation refer to it as a “velvet hammer” used to convince the pregnant drug users into going into treatment, or doing jail time. However, critics are concerned that this legislation will be just another barrier for a group of women who are already at risk, (Sakuma, 2014).
An important issue that has to be dealt with is sentencing women that are pregnant or just gave birth. One reason for this is acknowledging the high potential health risk a pregnant female can face in a correctional facility. For example, a woman that is pregnant has to professional pregnancy treatment. This means if the correction
Bush signed the “Second Chance Act of 2007.” This act required that all federal correctional facilities document and report, and justify on security grounds the use of physical restraints on pregnant inmates before, during and after labor and delivery (Dignam, B. & Adashi, E.Y., 2014). Due to the amount of sexual and physical abuse a woman endures during her time outside the prison, random searches and restraints often trigger PTSD symptoms (Zust, B., 2009). The Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the American Correctional Association have all adopted policies to limit the use of shackles on pregnant prisoners (American Civil Liberties Union, unknown). The shackling of pregnant women has created legal challenges and even more challenges for the defense of human rights. The majority of legal cases that have went through the legal system based on the shackling of pregnant inmates were based on the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting “cruel and unusual punishment” (Dignam, B. & Adashi, E.Y., 2014). In 1993, a class action suit by women inmates was filed against the District of Columbia; Women prisoners of District of Columbia of Columbia Dept. of Corrections v. District of Columbia (Dignam, B. & Adashi, E.Y., 2014). This was the first case to challenge Dept. of Corrections and their policy on the shackling of pregnant inmates. Federal District Judge June L. Green, strongly expresses her disapproval of shackling female prisoners during pregnancy and the labor process. The judge concluded that shackling pregnant prisoners during their last month of pregnancy and during the labor process is redundant and unacceptable (Dignam, B. & Adashi, E.Y.,
Many people think it is wrong to just leave your child at a hospital and forget about it, but there are worse fates for children whose parents did not know about the Safe Haven Laws. The risk of homicide on the first day of life is 10 times greater than the rate during any other time of life (Herman-Giddens 1425). In a population-based study called Newborns Killed or Left to Die by a Parent, five authors describe cases of infant death and abandonment in North Carolina, “Over a 16 year period in North Carolina, we report 34 newborns known to be killed or discarded in the first day of life by (or likely) the parents, an annual rate of 2.1 per 100,000 newborns” (Herman-Giddens 1428). Sadly, only a few deaths were unintentional, “The majority of these cases (91.2%) were ruled as homicides, while three were found to be unintentional due to natural causes” (Herman-Giddens 1428). Mothers were usually the ones that abandon or kill the newborn, “mothers were the perpetrators in all cases where the perpetrator was positively identified” (Herman-Giddens 1428).
While legislators believe that this policy will effectively sort out the “worst of the worst” (Gonzales & DuBois, 2014), this reporter doubts the efficiency and utility of the policy. If the aim is to force mothers into treatment, then perhaps sending them to jail is not the most effective method. Those defending the law have sent mixed messages around how it should be carried out, some describing the law as a “velvet hammer” while others employ it as a strong-arm tactic used to bust women who use narcotics (Beyerstein, 2014; Goldensohn & Levy, 2014). This, in addition to the previous legislation protecting mothers, makes it uncertain how a woman will be received when she reveals her substance use. Likewise, the chances of getting arrested
Maternity care for women in prison has not been respectable. Prison health care is undergoing a modernization program with a requirement that prisoners receive health care to the same standard as those not imprisoned. An article written by Sally Price describes the findings of a research study into the maternity services for women in prison. She provides a background to the project and describes the pregnant prison population and the current services available to them. What is evident from the findings is that the standard of care for women in prison is variable, dependent upon the establishment in which they reside. Two different studies showed results involving the incarcerated pregnant woman. The first study questioned wardens about
Some of the challenges in the perinatal care in the correctional setting include lack of prenatal care prior to incarceration, drug or alcohol dependency, psychosocial problems or lack of outside family support, victim or transgressor of past abuse or violence and the psychological challenges of being incarcerated. For many women, the reality of being in the prison system can be devastating; the separation from family, which often includes their own children, and friends can cause depression, anxiety and fear. Personal physical safety is also a concern, as prison is often described as having its own “culture”, structure and hierarchy,
Assessing the consequences of our country’s soaring imprison rates has less to do with the question of guilt versus innocence than it does with the question of who among us truly deserves to go to prison and face the restrictive and sometimes brutally repressive conditions found there. We are adding more than one thousand prisoners to our prison and jail systems every single week. The number of women in prisons and jails has reached a sad new milestone. As women become entangled with the war on drugs, the number in prison has increased if not double the rate of incarceration for men. The impact of their incarceration devastates thousands of children, who lose their primary caregiver when Mom goes to prison.
The rationality of those who support the punishment of addicted mothers focus on the idea that maternal conduct could lead to potential detrimental effects upon the fetus and that prosecution of such behavior would serve as both retribution for the fetus and as a deterrent. Whereas those who advocate for the pregnant women view this rational as not only impermissible but also unconstitutional as in current legal standing the fetus has no rights that usurp those of the pregnant woman (Stone-Manista, 2009, pp.823-856). Advocates also suggests that the breadth of forces that lead to drug use in pregnant women have a prevalent cultural and social foundation that the proponents for deterrence and retribution ignore in favor of strict scrutiny. This conflict between women’s rights and fetal rights has caused a paradigm in the prosecution of pregnant drug users as the interpretation of criminal sanctions argues over the definition of ‘child’ as encompassing fetuses in the definition would then lay the foundation for punishment for a woman’s conduct during pregnancy (Stone-Magnets, 2009, pp.823-856). Though currently it is unconstitutional and legally impermissible to prosecute women with state child abuse statutes in regards to drug use during pregnancy; advocates of fetal rights continue to follow
Additionally, this research highlighted the differences and similarities between pregnant and non-pregnant women in correctional institutions. Most importantly, this study could potentially help improve living conditions of each group individually or in conjunction. The Authors suggest that this research gives correctional institutions a better understanding of the needs of female inmates, so services can be arrange accordingly. Without doubt, one of the best contributions this article can give is the fact that drug consumption programs within correctional facilities are imperative to the rehabilitation of