Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Please help stop pregnant inmates from being shackled.

I received this from John Horejsi of Social Action Linking Together. Please consider sending comments to the State Board of Corrections. 
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SALT Advocates:

I wanted to share the great news that the Board of Corrections published
their Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) regarding Prison
Shackling Prevention on 1/30!

The online public comment forum for the Board of Corrections shackling
regulations is open!  SALT urges you to submit comments.
Below are the links directing you to the site to submit comments online.
This phase of the public comment period will end in 30 days.

This is the direct link for submitting a comment:
http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/entercomment.cfm?stageid=6083

This is the link for viewing all the comments that are submitted; to submit
comment from here you'll see the "enter a comment" link on this page:
http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/comments.cfm?stageid=6083

Some talking points to use in your online comments:

I support regulations that limit the use of restraints on pregnant inmates.
Restraining pregnant inmates poses an unacceptable risk to women's health
and to the health and safety of the fetus. Freedom from physical restraints
is especially critical during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery.
Women frequently need to move around during labor and recovery, particularly
during the birthing process.

The absence of physical restraints is essential so that medical staff can
easily conduct any necessary emergency procedures.  Following birth, it is
critical for a woman to remain unshackled to prevent postpartum hemorrhage.
Freedom from shackles after delivery also fosters postpartum bonding between
a mother and her newborn, which is essential to the healthy development of
the child.

Shackling pregnant women prisoners is a common degrading practice in the
United States, and faith based and civil rights groups in Virginia have
gathered stories from women in the Commonwealth who have been restrained
while pregnant and incarcerated. National correctional and medical
associations oppose the shackling of pregnant women because it is
unnecessary and dangerous.

Restricting the use of restraints on pregnant women prisoners will not
jeopardize the safety of correctional or medical staff. Among the states
that have restricted shackling of pregnant inmates none have documented
instances of women in labor or delivery escaping or causing harm to
themselves, the public, security guards, or medical staff.

Providing a procedure for compliance with this regulation will ensure much
needed accountability.

Please be responsive.  Make a difference.  john
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