New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Tuesday that bans the shackling of pregnant inmates during transportation and within eight weeks of delivery or pregnancy outcome.
This law expands previous protections implemented under the 2009 Anti-Shackling law.
Earlier this year, the Correctional Association of New York released a study that found that 23 of 27 women surveyed, who gave birth after the law went into effect, said they were shackled at least once during the process of delivering their baby.
Former inmate Stephanie Reis told LittleThings.com that she was shackled many times during and after her pregnancy, but did not want to speak up to authority.
“Not only was I handcuffed shackled the whole nine or whatever with the baby, when he’s hungry or anything ,I would literally have to hold him with handcuffs and shackles and feed him,” said Reis.
The American Medical Association calls shackling inmates during labor “barbaric” and even “medically hazardous,” which is why Reis wants to speak out.
In addition to her advocacy work, Stephanie also lives and works as an Assistant Coordinator for the Mentoring and Teen Scene Programs at the nonprofit Hour Children. Their mission is to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community.
Thanks to the efforts of people like Stephanie, Governor Andrew Coumo signed the bill. “These common sense reforms strike the right balance that protect the health and dignity of a pregnant inmate, while also addressing public safety concerns,” Governor Cuomo said.
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