Pregnant inmates in Rhode Island prisons could no longer be handcuffed or shackled during childbirth under legislation passed by the state House of Representatives Wednesday.
The legislation would prohibit the use of handcuffs, shackles or waist restraints during childbirth. Only the least restrictive restraints could be used during the second or third trimester of pregnancy, and medical staff could decide whether restraints should be removed. Exceptions could be made for inmates who pose a serious safety threat or flight risk.The House passed the bill 48-16. The Senate has already passed an identical bill. Once both chambers finalize the bill it will head to Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent.The House bill’s sponsor, Rep. Donna Walsh, D-Charlestown, said her proposal is intended to prevent unnecessary harm to pregnant women and their unborn children. She called it a “humane” measure that recognizes pregnant prisoners present little threat.“The top thing on her mind is not getting away, it’s getting to the hospital,” she said. “Ask a pregnant woman how fast she can run.” Read More at Boston.com