WA superintendent assures us only 30% of incarcerated pregnant women are shackled

Via Radical Doula, we find that as Washington state is proposed with a bill that would outlaw shackling of pregnant incarcerated women, the superintendent of Washington’s only prison that houses pregnant women contended that only about 30 percent of pregnant women are restrained:

The Superintendent at the Corrections Center for Women said pregnant inmates are not restrained during the final moments of labor.
Superintendent Douglas Cole said only about 30 percent of pregnant offenders are restrained while they’re at the hospital.
On those occasions, said Cole, the women are attached to the hospital bed with a 3-foot-long handcuff.

And this number is supposed to be appeasing how exactly?
Related posts:
Racism, Xenophobia and Misogyny Intersect: Giving birth while in shackles.
Victory for incarcerated pregnant women
Judge jails HIV positive woman to “protect” her fetus
New report: Mothering in Prison
Woman gives birth in jail cell, alone
Bureau of Prisons bans shackling pregnant inmates
Critical Resistance: Prisons as a Tool of Reproductive Oppression

Join the Conversation

  • MLEmac28

    I don’t even understand how they can justify to themselves to shackle women in labor. Do they seriously think a woman is going to make a run for it between contractions?

  • Steven

    She could be at risk for self harm, or to harm her child or the medical staff.
    Its not just about escape.

  • ucsbclassics53

    that is 30% too much!

  • dawn_of_the_bread

    This is bizarre and disgusting, I’m genuinely shocked it’s current practice.

  • CathyLBeck

    I’d just like to mention something I came across in Yahoo! Answers a while back. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, it’s inhuman to say the least.
    I work in the ad-seg/CSU (crisis support/suicide watch) unit at a women’s prison, which recently adopted a much more secure daily search system called VCS (Visual Cavity Search). Basically how it works is, every morning the inmate approaches her cell window/chow hole when a CO is present, then lifts breasts, and runs fingers through hair & pubic hair. Then she turns around so her back is facing me, bends forward, and spreads her labia and anus while the CO checks each cavity with a flashlight, and it is done. It is a much safer and more secure way of searching for the CO, and keeps the unit safer since it can be performed more frequently, so all in all it is a good thing.
    However, getting compliance is a nightmare. Many inmates flat refuse to do it, regardless of consequences, and we’re having to do way more cell extractions than usual. I was wondering if there were any CO’s out there who might have some advice on how to improve compliance, and if they use VCSs in their own units. Thanks!
    Here’s the link: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AqenSaeluGOY_LG4g5ONKtMjzKIX;_ylv=3?qid=20090921100454AAt6qHv

  • William

    I think they’re counting on the average person to think prisoners are only 70% people.

  • Toongrrl

    30% is a big number