Misconceptions about Women Giving Birth behind Bars
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Misconceptions about Women Giving Birth behind Bars

Joyce [Allen] The audience is Janice the founder of birth behind bars and Via Skype [Gayle] the director of the coalition for female prisoners also the Honorable New York State Supreme Court Justice Judge Richard buck [to] [join] us Conception about pregnant women who are delivering in behind bars first place people don’t even know they exist behind bars [another] [one] is that everybody shackles and not everybody does Shackle 23 states is against [the] [law] [to] shackle women We’re still working on the other states That they don’t have any contact with their baby at all and in most states you do have contact with your baby But if you don’t have a doula with you to show you how to bond with your baby Then it’s just you and the deputy and if you don’t know then you don’t know how to make that most precious time Be the most precious time in your life and to be able to bond with that baby and make a difference in [that] child’s life when it becomes an adult gail Can you tell us about some of the work you’ve done in New York and some of the reforms you’ve helped pass Yes, and so one of the focuses is has been to end shackling of women who while they’re pregnant and particularly During labor, and [I] think you saw a little bit from Maria Women have been shackled one wrist and one ankle to the bed which makes labor much longer So that’s been really important, but also conditions of pregnancy that Women are don’t get added food. Do not get adequate medical care, and there’s no oversight of medical care just the stress of being incarcerated and verbal and even sometimes physical abuse by officers That kind of stress that level of stress can [lead] to low birth Weight and preterm labor the worst thing that they do is separate a mother and infant Punishing the mother is also punishing that baby that first six months is critical to child development And we should not be separating others in infants and really rather than prisoners We should have them in the community whenever possible. [I] i can’t imagine Being [shouting] directly. I mean Personally and judge maybe you can address this I understand that sometimes these are necessary especially for violent offenders But when I was in labor the last thing I was thinking about was being a flight risk [for] going anywhere else I don’t I don’t know how this could possibly be necessary in that context we had a case a few years ago in New York where a prisoner was Transported and Was improperly handcuffed and was able to escape the handcuffs [tease] the officer’s gun and shot two police officers down So I think generally they use Restraints to move a defendant replace the place once the person is in the institution is I don’t see any reason Why they should be shackled the one thing. I will say is there are certainly violent why are you giving a pregnant woman and be a violent criminal offender with the capability of Murder and killing someone so I you have to judge you have to balance all that But you also have to see what’s in context. So how did you make sure how do you I think what? I’m [trying] to figure out here is how how do we strike that balance and Gail are you are you finding that the justice system? fights you on this or is everyone in this together trying to get I think new York’s new law that just Was signed into law in December of 2015 has the perfect balance because it allows? For an exception is it there is a finding [that] this woman is a risk to herself or others And that’s the way most state laws are [written] the problem Is there are still 28 states that don’t have any way of addressing this at all? There’s no law many, especially county jails have no policies We can’t be putting women in solitary confinement [a] number of babies have died being born in a cell of a pre-trial detention center because women were put off and The officers didn’t want to hear them when they went into preterm labor Didn’t want to hear them screaming and being upset and in tremendous pain, so they’re instead of taking to them then to the hospital they put them in solitary and the results were horrific [I] think it varies a lot state-By-state and states like New York I know our producers reached out to California the Department of Correctional facilities they said that they provide really above average Facilities in Karen and in this state actually women try to get into prison sometimes when they’re pregnant as you know Because that way they’ll have adequate food. They won’t be homeless [they’ll] have a separate environment away from recreational drug use so that might actually be healthier [for] their baby [if] you live in a state where maybe they aren’t as progressive Maybe something you want to bring up because clearly every baby deserves to be born into this world under optimum circumstances Thank you all for [joining] you


  • Kelly Lynn

    Absolutely unacceptable, I don't give a shit the reason the woman is in prison, they are still humans and the baby, the baby deserves better!!

  • Teresa Mulcahy

    How on earth can Sonia Batra say that pregnant women are trying to go to jail and that it is healthier there? It's an outrageous lie and an insult to low-income women. Doesn't she know that jails give women baloney sandwiches and no fruits and vegetables? She touts Florida as a good system. Does nobody remember that last October, Amanda Garcia lost her baby because the Miami Dade jail refused her medical attention for four days? I guess that wasn't healthier for that mom and baby. Disgusting ending to an informative segment.

  • Lauren Pinkston

    Here's an idea…how about they don't break the law…they they won't go to jail and won't have to deal with this. If they felt the need to break the law when they were pregnant, CLEARLY they don't care about that baby.

  • Amy Paul

    Inmate or not, when a woman goes into labor, she needs to be taken to the hospital. I've never been arrested for anything, but I have given birth twice so I know what a woman in labor would be focusing on and it has nothing to do with trying to escape.

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