Resources for Organizing Against Shackling of Women
Did you know that pregnant women who are incarcerated are often times shackled during their pregnancy, at times even during delivery? What does it mean for our society that we bring new lives into this world with their mother in shackles?
PDF believes this is an extreme abuse of human rights, and violates the eight amendment of the US Constitution, which bans "cruel and unusual punishment." This inhumane practice also violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Prisoners, and other international treatise ratified by the United States.
Yet, pregnant women continue to be shackled during transporation, medical exams, and during labor.
Here are some resources for you to find out more about this issue, as well as links to organizations doing amazing work to support pregnant women inside.
Reports, Resources & Analysis:
- The Rebecca Project for Human Rights is a national legal and policy organization that advocates for public policy reform, justice and dignity for vulnerable families. They have done a lot of great work on this issue, and they have published a good basic fact sheet, a state-by-state breakdown of shackling policies and an excellent, in-depth state-by-state report card and analysis on various issues facing pregnant and parenting women called "Mothers Behind Bars."
- "Not A Part of Her Sentence" is an excellent book on reproductive rights, specifically access to abortion, for incarcerated women. The book, published by the Brooklyn Law School, can be purchased for $12.50 be clicking HERE.
- Amnesty International's fact sheet on the abuse of women in custody.
- Check out PDF Board Member TIna Reynolds, who was quoted in this article on the website RH Reality Check.
- ACLU's analysis on a court ruling by a Federal Appeals Court, condemming the shackling of a pregnant woman in Arkansas.
- A report from the American Jounal of Nursing.
- Facebook Causes page, Stop Shackling Pregnant Prisoners. Join the cause and sign the petition!
- Center for Young Women's Development and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children are two amazing groups in San Francisco that have worked on this issue, and is continuing to support women who are incarcerated.
- The Prison Birth Project and the Birth Attendants are two grassroots organizations providing doula services to pregnant women who are incarcerated. The Prison Birth Project is fiscally sponsored by PDF, and is located in Amherst, MA. The Birth Attendants are in Olympia, WA.
- Women On the Rise Telling HerStory, or WORTH, is an organization of formerly incarcerated women who led the successful campaign to ban the practice in the state of New York. We are proud that their founder, Tina Reynolds, is also a member of the PDF Board of Directors.
- Spread the word!!! Organize in your community!!! Write letters to the editor!!! Call your representatives!!!