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Bill Promotes Fair Treatment for Incarcerated Women

SB 13 would ensure incarcerated women’s access to support before, during and after childbirth. (TryJimmy/Pixabay)
SB 13 would ensure incarcerated women’s access to support before, during and after childbirth. (TryJimmy/Pixabay)
March 29, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – After a woman gave birth in her Connecticut prison cell, civil rights advocates want legislation to ensure respect for incarcerated women's health, dignity and human rights.

The delivery happened last month without medical assistance in the York Correctional Institution in Niantic.

According to Sandy LoMonico, Smart Justice organizer at the ACLU of Connecticut, Senate Bill 13 would prohibit the shackling of women during childbirth, ensure services and support during and after pregnancy and delivery, and allow frequent visitation with children.

"It's important to treat all women, no matter where they are, with dignity and respect," she says. "If we don't do that, it impacts the health of not only women who are incarcerated but their children and their families as well."

The bill, called An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women, has four sponsors and eleven co-sponsors in the General Assembly.

LoMonico says the bill would also give incarcerated mothers and their children access to child-friendly visitation areas away from the noise and confrontations that can take place in adult visiting rooms.

"Children of incarcerated mothers sense what their moms go through and they suffer as well, and we can do better," she explains. "We can stop the cycle of trauma and begin supporting the healing that is necessary for incarcerated women and families."

While some provisions of the bill are now covered by policies within the Department of Corrections, LoMonico notes that putting them in legislation would ensure that the rights of incarcerated women are guaranteed by state law.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT