END SHACKLING OF INCARCERATED PREGNANT WOMEN!
Shackling of pregnant inmates is a barbaric and dangerous practice affecting the health and welfare of the woman and her unborn fetus. A laboring woman cannot move freely to change positions for pain relief or for proper medical evaluation and treatment. Jailors are often unsure of what the policies are regarding this, despite the fact that in 2008 the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshall Service placed severe restrictions on the use of shackles on pregnant inmates. As of a 2010 study done by the Rebecca Project and the National Women's Law Center, only 10 states have legislation banning the use of routine shackling of pregnant inmates, 3 states ban any shackling of pregnant inmates, and 9 states bar the practice at the minimum during labor, delivery, and recovery. Georgia currently has neither a state policy nor any legislation on this matter, leaving it up to the discretion of a corrections officer who likely is unaware of the medical implications of this practice. Clearly there is urgent need here in the state of Georgia for legislation leading to a policy change banning the use of restraints on pregnant inmates during transport, labor, delivery, and recovery. Please join me in this fight for the dignity and safety of pregnant women and their babies!