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Two New Laws Protect Pregnant Inmates!

Oct 13th, 2009 | Category: Women and Jails

An awesome alliance got some help for pregnant inmates in Texas county jails. As of September 1, there are two new laws:

  • HB 3653: requires all county and state facilities to STOP SHACKLING women inmates during labor and delivery;
  • HB 3654: changed Jail Standards by now requiring county jails to have a MEDICAL CARE plan for pregnant women and also requires them to COUNT the number of pregnant women they are holding.

You, the people of Texas, wrote us stories and answered our poll when we asked what issues concerned you most. Parents, relatives, chaplains and nurses wrote us about young women who found themselves in a jail while pregnant, who were losing their babies due to poor diet and lack of medical care. Some of the babies born later had disabilities because of what their moms went through while jailed.

You also provided stories about women, an estimated 85 % of whom are non-violent, low-level offenders, being shackled during labor and delivery, causing pain, injuries and humilation. Texas is the fifth state in the nation to pass a law banning unnecessary use of restraints—and it leaves an option for a correctional officer to use restraints in the rare cases where violent behavior is a threat.

Unfortunately, we are now hearing of officers who say they haven’t heard of any new laws about pregnant inmates! What can we do to get the word out to sheriffs and guards, that there are new laws protecting these women and their babies?

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Anonymous

i am writing to see if there is anyone out there that can help me … this is my problem..my wife is in the bexar county jail in san antonio tx…she is 6 month pregnant… she got locked up about 3 weeks ago for an m.t.r… so she will be having the baby in jail…see this baby i have been praying for for 20 yrs..i need to be in that room when he is born…i love my wife and i love the baby that god has blessed us with… if anyone can help,i know thay bexar county has a g.p… Read more »

Jim Butler

Miguel, We are certainly praiynig for you and your wife. No woman pregnant or not should be shackled. And to that point, I say no person, man or woman should be shackled that has medical issues of any kind. I am a Veteran with shoulder and back issues. I was shackled and know the sxcruciation pain it cause. And if you do not move at their pace while shackled, they will yell that you are uncompliant and through to the ground, then harnes you to a chair fo four hours miniimum. This is crual and unusual punishment. While in Montgomery… Read more »