Sunday, May 17, 2009

'Born Behind Bars'

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal today published a nice piece by Logan Carver ("Born Behind Bars") exploring what happens to pregnant women in the Lubbock jail and in Texas state prisons. About 250 women per year give birth in a Texas prison hospital, the A-J reports, and dozens more pregnant women (nobody knows how many) are housed in Texas county jails at any given time. Well worth a read.

Relatedly, legislation discussed here regarding pregnant jail inmates - one bill to ban shackling during labor and delivery and another to require an accurate count of pregnant inmates - has passed the Texas House.
  • HB 3653: Bans the shackling of incarcerated women in labor and delivery (with some necessary exceptions for safety).
  • HB 3654: requires county jails to plan their medical care for pregnant women and also requires them to count how many pregnant women they have incarcerated.
No mention of the bills or the issue of shackling during delivery in the A-J story, but I did notice a recent letter to the editor on the topic out of Waxahachie, of all places. Both bills are awaiting action by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee where, according to the Texas Jail Project, freshman Sen. Wendy Davis will hopefully shepherd them through the upper chamber.


Anonymous said...

Tyc has a few teens who are expecting also.

Anonymous said...

My, my, my how times have changed. In the not too distant past, it was a very rare event for a women to be sent to prison. Now with the "liberation" of the fair sex, there are a lot more women incarcerated and guess what, some of them are pregnant!

It is cruel and unusual punishment to treat women like men. Let's face it, women are different. It is a deeply disappointing fact that the management of prisons, jails and juvenile detention facilities are still try to use the same rules for women as for men.

This legislation is long overdue. I for one am ashamed to learn that women were ever shackled during labor. This definately falls under the "what were they thinking" category.

Anonymous said...

I can remember that I had to take a pregnant female to the hospital and during her labor pangs she grabbed a syringe(that a doctor had carelessly left on a nearby table, jumped off of the hospital bed and attempted to slash at me...

I say use soft, non harmful straps, not chains... Remember, female criminals can be just as deadly as men no matter what their apparent condition.

I don't care what the legislature rules, if they cannot be restrained, make sure that you have armed personnel in the room.

Don't underestimate a master criminal, even if she is a pregnant female.

Sorry, that may not be what the politically correct folks want to hear, but this is real life folks.