Letter in support of legislation to strengthen protections preventing the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women
The Corrections & Community Reentry Committee and the Sex & Law Committee sent a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to sign a bill that would strengthen protections to prevent the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women. The bill is designed to promote compliance with the 2009 amendment to the Corrections Law that restricts the shackling of pregnant inmates before, during and immediately after labor and delivery. Despite passage of the 2009 amendment – which was landmark legislation at the time, as New York was only the sixth state to enact an anti-shackling law – violations are still common. If enacted, the new law would require correctional facilities to demonstrate compliance with the 2009 law through annual reporting requirements. It requires annual training for corrections and medical staff; that information about the shackling restrictions be prominently displayed in areas where women receive medical care; and that corrections officials provide annual reports to the governor’s office and members of the legislature detailing every use of shackling. It also provides that, if corrections officials, in consultation with medical officials, determine that extraordinary circumstances require the restraint of a pregnant woman, that she be handcuffed only in front of her body and that the circumstances and duration of her restraint be reported. The new requirements would promote compliance with the anti-shackling law and hold corrections officials accountable for implementing it.
Signed by the Governor, Chp. 570, Approval Memo 25 – December 22, 2015