Advocates for incarcerated mothers and pregnant women joined an online forum yesterday to discuss a study from two Washington, D.C.-based groups, the National Women’s Law Center and the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, that gave 36 states failing grades for using various forms of shackling on pregnant women during transportation, labor and delivery and postpartum recuperation, says Women’s eNews.
Faiza Mathon-Mathieu of the Rebecca Project said a tool kit will be ready by the end of the year for use by advocates opposed to shackling. The organization began a national Anti-Shackling Coalition in 2008 that holds monthly conference calls to assist support groups trying to change the laws. Most of the affected women are nonviolent, first-time offenders. Instead of expanding prison nursery programs–an approach used by some states–the report recommends more targeted federal funding to states to encourage community-based alternative treatment and sentencing programs that keep non-violent women and their children together. They say this will both strengthen family relationships and reduce recidivism.