BY GEORGE MAST
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Diane Allen and Joseph Vitale prohibiting correctional facilities from placing restraints on inmates during or immediately after childbirth was advanced recently by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
“Sadly, there have been instances at facilities across the country where female prisoners were handcuffed or physically restrained in other ways while in labor and right after delivery,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “Shackling a woman during childbirth creates serious medical risks and is an affront to basic human dignities. This legislation will make sure that type of barbaric treatment doesn’t take place in New Jersey.”
According to a July 2014 New York Times article, an estimated 2,000 women give birth to babies each year while incarcerated, including in 2011 a Nevada woman who suffered severe injuries when corrections staff shackled her ankles together while she was in labor and then again minutes after her child was delivered through an emergency cesarean section. Over the past 15 years 21 states have enacted legislation prohibiting the restraint of inmates during labor.