As a result of that law, no pregnant woman in a state prison, county jail or juvenile detention can be handcuffed behind her back, shackled around her belly or chained around her ankles during her entire pregnancy.
This groundbreaking legislation was co-sponsored by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The Women’s Foundation of California also played an important role: we trained two Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) teams to work on this legislation.
It took three years to get this law passed and signed by the governor. For the first two years, members of our WPI criminal justice cohort spent many hours writing bill language, finding experts and formerly incarcerated women to testify and urging legislators to vote for this important change in the treatment of pregnant women.
On Tuesday, February 18, 2014, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children published a report showing that 1/3 of all counties are in full compliance of this important legislation, while most counties have room for improvement.
In announcing the publication of this report, LSPC Policy Director Jesse Stout had this to say: “Female prisoners have gender-specific needs that custodial institutions do not always acknowledge. Maintaining the health and well-being of incarcerated pregnant women requires unique considerations. This study has demonstrated that people in many counties support the humane treatment of pregnant women. However, it also shows that our work to protect these women remains unfinished.”
The Women’s Foundation of California is proud to have partnered with LSPC, ACLU and ACOG through the many years of getting this legislation passed. We are dismayed that so many counties are not yet in compliance and fully expect that all will be on board in the coming months.