Lawmakers look to change anti-shackling law for pregnant inmates

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Public Safety Committee heard testimony from the families of inmates who are asking that their loved ones be treated humanely.

House Bill 20-88 would prevent pregnant prisoners from being shackled by the hands or ankles while they give birth. The proposal would amend a 2014 anti-shackling law to include right after birth and during the postpartum recovery period.

“I think that anyone who has been through labor and delivery, be they woman who’s been through the process themselves or a family member of that mother who is in the delivery room with her I think could testify to the fact that you’re not going anywhere right, you’re not a flight risk when you’re in the middle of delivery so again, hard to understand the real public safety need for that policy,” Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz said.

Any time restraints are used on a pregnant or postpartum inmate, the bill requires that the incident be reported to the secretary of public safety and security.

No vote on that bill Wednesday, but with more than 30 co-sponsors, it is expected to receive a favorable review from the committee.

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