BOP Amends Policy On Shackling Of Pregnant Prisoners
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has decided to bar the shackling of pregnant federal prisoners except in extreme situations. The policy change comes just six months after the Second Chance Act of 2007 was signed into law. The Second Chance Act included a provision that requires the BOP to submit detailed annual reports to Congress on its use of restraints an pregnant prisoners.
The BOP’s policy change represents a significant victory for thousands of women across the nation in federal prison. The shackling of pregnant women has long been recognized by human rights organizations as dangerous and inhumane. The Rebecca Project for Human Rights and other organizations have been advocating for the change for years.
The BOP joins California, Illinois, and Vermont in restricting the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners. Forty-seven other states have no such laws and are not subject to the new policy. In addition, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which frequently detains pregnant immigrants never convicted of a crime, has refused to end or restrict its practice of shackling pregnant detainees.
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