As the Massachusetts Legislature considers this year’s crop of criminal justice reform bills, one that has not gotten much attention is a measure to ensure proper treatment of pregnant women in jail and prison.
Two victories in one day: A federal jury in Tennessee affirms that shackling during labor violates women's rights, and the Virginia Department of Corrections announces that it will no longer engage in the practice.
The New York State Commission of Correction has issued a scathing report on the death of a pregnant woman in an Onondaga County jail, finding that competent medical attention would have saved her life.
An estimated five percent of the one million women incarcerated each year are pregnant when they enter jail. Cases of fatal medical neglect of incarcerated pregnant women highlight the need for protecting their health, rights, and lives.
The Supreme Court opened its new term with some good news for women: it rejected an appeal from the state of Missouri, which had hoped for one more chance to defend its unconstitutional policy banning abortions for women in the prison system.
A number of local and county police departments are now allowed to arrest people for immigration violations. In Tennessee, a pregnant, undocumented immigrant woman was arrested for driving without a license and gave birth, mostly shackled, in jail focusing new attention on local immigration enforcement.
An Arizona state court ruled that a county sheriff's unwritten policy refusing to provide transportation to female prisoners seeking an abortion violated women's rights. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court let the decision stand.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has issued its concluding observations on the United States, noting that the U.S. needs to do a better job of reducing racial disparities in sexual and reproductive health.
In a bit of poetic timing, a federal court of appeals issued a new decision upholding women's rights on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The case, Roe v. Crawford, concerns the near total ban on abortion access implemented by the Missouri prison system in 2005.
What do prisons have to do with reproductive rights? As it turns out, plenty. Prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities are part of an expanding array of institutions that shape women's reproductive lives.