Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Washington bans shackling of pregnant inmates

With a signature from Gov. Chris Gregoire and cheers from former inmates, Washington has joined a half-dozen other states in banning shackles on women prisoners during childbirth.

Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

With a signature from Gov. Chris Gregoire and cheers from former inmates, Washington has joined a half-dozen other states in banning shackles on women prisoners during childbirth.

The new law prohibits any restraints during labor, childbirth or post-delivery recovery. Restraints also are banned for medical or court trips during an inmate's third trimester, with limited exceptions to prevent escape or injury.

Guards will be banned from the room during a woman's labor or childbirth, unless requested by medical staff. Physicians also retain the right to use hospital restraints for medical safety reasons.

"Women in prison are sentenced to time, not to physical harm or harm of their unborn child," said Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia.

The new law, which Gregoire signed on Tuesday, takes effect June 10. It will apply to state and local lockups, including juvenile facilities, which legislative sponsors said was significant.

"Washington really will become a leader in the country for the breadth of this bill - the fact that it includes not only women in correctional systems, but women in work release and juveniles," sad Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma.

Six other states already have some kind of similar law, with state lawmakers elsewhere considering such measures, legislative officials said.

The Washington bill was highlighted after a former inmate sued the state in federal court last year, saying her constitutional rights were violated when she was shackled while in labor.

Among those attending Tuesday's signing ceremony was Kimberly Mays, of Tacoma, who said she was shackled during childbirth in 2000 while serving time for drug possession at the state women's prison in Purdy.

Mays, who testified in favor of the measure during legislative hearings, said the new policy should help women inmates get better treatment from medical staff.

"In my particular case, the nurse shoved her hands across my face and nose for a long time, where I couldn't even breathe, and told me to shut up," Mays said. "I finally used one of my hands that wasn't handcuffed to get her hand off my face and let her have it - but that shouldn't ever happen."

Doctors who support the new law also said a ban on handcuffs and other restraints would help ensure patient safety during potentially risky births.

advertising

---

The bill is House Bill 2747.

---

On the Net:

Legislature: http://www.leg.wa.gov

Governor: http://www.governor.wa.gov

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

More Local News headlines...

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.


Get home delivery today!

Video

Advertising

AP Video

Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech

Marketplace

Advertising