[This post, an excerpt from a Western States Center piece, is part of a Mama’s Day Series by The Strong Families Initiative. To follow all of the Mama's Day events, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.]
By Aimee Santos-Lyon
What must it feel like to be pregnant and ready to give birth... while wearing restraints?
Now imagine being shackled at your hands and feet while all of this is happening.
Incarcerated mothers nationwide experience this humiliation and degradation while giving birth in federal, state and county prisons. Across the country, a patchwork of policies exist to address birthing practices at state and county jails or detention centers—but there is no universal recognition or protection of the dignity and safety of incarcerated birthing mothers. At the federal level, the Rebecca Project for Human Rights won a federal ban in 2010 but the ban does not cover state penitentiaries or county jails. As of 2011, only 10 states in the country have banned the practice of shackling women during childbirth.
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