Although widely regarded as an assault on human dignity as well as an unsafe medical practice, incarcerated women are still routinely shackled during pregnancy and childbirth.
Restraining pregnant incarcerated women 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 detrimental to the health of the mother and her newborn child. Shackling pregnant prisoners endangers the health and safety of both the mother and the fetus, and is almost never justified by the need for safety and security for medical staff, the public or correctional officers. Senate Bill 316 makes steps forward to reduce the inhuman and dangerous practice of shackling pregnant women incarcerated in Wisconsin.
Photo by: Jane Evelyn Atwood
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