Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shackling of Female Inmates During Childbirth

After the Appleton Post-Crescent ran a series of articles which focused on the shackling of female inmates during labor and immediately after childbirth, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections changed it's policy. Thank God for the free press! Amnesty International USA just released a report, "Abuse of Women in Custody: Sexual Misconduct and Shackling of Pregnant Women" criticizing the practice and mentioning the Wisconsin decision.
Amnesty considers the routine use of restraints on pregnant and inmates in labor "a cruel, inhumane and degrading practice that seldom has any justification in terms of security concerns.

"Amnesty International believes that there is no sound reason for authorities to routinely shackle women in labor or who have just given birth, particularly as most are already under armed guard," the report reads.

Amnesty urges state legislatures to pass laws that ban the use of restraints on pregnant and laboring inmates. Only Illinois and California have passed such legislation.

Wisconsin now joins the five state departments of corrections that have policies banning the use of restraints on pregnant and laboring inmates.

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