End Shackling of Pregnant Inmates – Giving U™

Shackled_Pregnant_InmateI just emailed Gov. Schwarzenegger to ask him to sign a bill into law that would ban the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women in California unless there was a serious risk of flight or security.

I was moved to take action after reading an op-ed piece by LeaJay Harper of the Center for Young Women’s Development. Below is an excerpt:

Locked Up, Pregnant, and Shackled: Governor Schwarzenegger Can Unchain Them

“Long before Bristol Palin and Teen Mom reality shows made the headlines, I was a teen mother.  Now I am lucky enough to be gainfully employed, contributing to my community, and raising two great kids. My day job gives me the chance to work with women and girls who aren’t having it so easy—many of them are in our jails and prisons.

I have worked with several young women who found out they were pregnant while they were in lock-up, and others who knew when they were arrested. Some were already moms; for others, this was a first pregnancy.

It’s hard to imagine or explain the mix of emotion many of them have felt, from hope to rage to fear and back again.  Plus a new challenge: how to stay healthy while locked up?

As a teen mom I wasn’t busy going to pre-natal yoga and acupuncture, but I was on the outside, getting fresh air and dreaming big dreams. Making goals and plans, and working toward them.  For women inside, being pregnant in lock up gives them a whole set of new things to worry about.

One of those many things is shackles.  Currently, in California’s jails and prisons, it is common practice to shackle pregnant women.  That means using metal chains on their swollen ankles and bellies, holding their wrists in chains behind their backs, and chaining prisoners to each other.  Under current law, the chains have to be removed during labor and delivery, but that means they may still be on when women are being transported to and from court, doctor’s visits, and even to the hospital to give birth.”

Read the full op-ed piece by The Center for Young Women’s Development’s LeaJay Harper.

Facts About AB1900

AB1900, a bill authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and co-sponsored by The American College of Gynecologists, prevents pregnant women from being shackled, and ensures that they will be held and transported in the least restrictive restraints possible.

Currently, nearly two-thirds of California’s county jails shackle pregnant women in ways that could cause miscarriage or other injuries.

The bill has already been passed by the California State Assembly and the State Senate and is supported by the California Medical Association. The last step is for Governor Schwarzenegger to sign this bill into law.

Take Action Today!

The ACLU has a draft letter and form to fill out. Simply type in your information and hit send – and the message will be sent to Gov. Schwarzenegger voicing your concerns.  

Help protect our Eighth Amendment rights and help end cruel and unusual punishment!


This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 and is filed under The Giving Guide.

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