Mass. anti-shackling bill signed into law

by Joe Mirkin, May 21, 2014

Thanks for stopping by this morning and guest-blogging, Joe! -PPI

Last week, Governor Deval Patrick signed an anti-shackling bill into law, making Massachusetts the 21st state to abolish the harmful and brutal practice of restraining incarcerated women who are pregnant, in labor, or in the post partum period.

(Read the Governor’s press release here)

The bill, S.2063, “An Act to Prevent Shackling and Promote Safe Pregnancies for Female Inmates, “also takes great strides towards establishing a “minimum level of care that must be afforded to pregnant inmates in county correctional facilities.”

While previous anti-shackling rules only applied to state prisons, the new law covers all corrections facilities in Massachusetts.

We strongly agree with Marianne Bullock, of the Prison Birth Project, when she said, “The next step is ensuring that this law is enforced.” We will continue, alongside fellow members of the Massachusetts Anti-Shackling Coalition, to advocate against any continuation of the practice following the passage of this law.

Our thanks and congratulations go out to all coalition members!

Members of the Massachusetts Anti-Shackling Coalition Include:

ACLU of Massachusetts, American Friends Service Committee of Western MA, Black and Pink, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Boston Feminists for Liberation, Casa Myrna, Civil Liberties and Public Policy, Coalition for Effective Public Safety, Dismas House—Worcester, Families for Justice as Healing, Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, Health Care for All, Health Law Advocates, Hollaback! Boston, Jane Doe Inc—the MA Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Jewish Alliance on Law and Social Action, JRI Health, The Law Offices of Howard Friedman, The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Mount Holyoke Students Against Mass Incarceration, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter, Out Now—Springfield, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Pretrial Working Group, Prison Birth Project, Prisoners’ Assistance Project at NUSL, Prisoners’ Legal Services, Prison Policy Initiative, Real Cost of Prisons Project, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg and Garin, LLP, And Still We Rise, Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Worcester Homeless Action Committee.

3 Responses

  1. Rachel Roth says, 2 days, 19 hours after publication:

    Hello, friends at PPI! Thanks for all the work you did to get this important bill passed. Just wanted to let your readers know that we are the 21st state with a law against shackling; Maryland and Minnesota signed bills into law before Massachusetts did.

    People can learn more in my blog post over at MomsRising: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/“it-blows-my-mind-that-i-have-to-sign-a-law”-massachusetts-becomes-21st-state-with-a-law-against

    1. Leah Sakala says, 5 days, 16 hours after publication:

      Thanks Rachel, just updated the post!

  2. Labor Pains: Banning shackling during childbirth isn’t enough says, 1 year after publication:

    […] the birth of her child. 29 states (report was completed before legislation was passed in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota) do not have state laws preventing the shackling of pregnant women who are in the […]

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