|Soon I will reintroduce Senator Stewart Greenleaf’s legislation to improve the treatment of incarcerated women in Pennsylvania. Currently, incarcerated women do not have protections from cruel, and sometimes dangerous, prison conditions. This bill aims to create a safe and humane environment for women who are incarcerated and builds on Act 45 of 2010, my bill prohibiting the shackling of incarcerated women while they are giving birth to a baby.
Specifically, this legislation would:
- Prohibit the use of restraints and restrictive housing during the duration of a pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery.
- Reserve invasive body cavity searches of pregnant inmates to certified healthcare professionals unless the correctional officer has reason to believe that the inmate is concealing contraband.
- Require the Department of Corrections (DOC) to place female inmates with minor dependents in an institution that’s as close as possible to their address of record and promulgate rules regarding visitation of female inmates by minor dependents. The proposal also directs the department to establish a pilot program authorizing overnight visits for children under the age of ten.
- Limit inspections by male correctional officers of female inmates when the female inmate is undressed.
- Require the DOC make a sufficient quantity of feminine hygiene products available to all incarcerated women.
- Require the DOC to provide to all correctional officers who have contact with pregnant inmates with training related to the physical and mental health of pregnant inmates and fetuses, including general care of pregnant women as well as the impact of restraints and restrictive housing on pregnant inmates.
- Require the DOC to provide educational programming for pregnant inmates related to prenatal care, parenting skills and general health of a child.
This bill was known as Senate Bill 1252 during the 2017-2018 session. It was cosponsored by Senators Schwank, Street, Costa, Mensch, Tartaglione, Ward, and Brewster.
Please join me in supporting this important legislation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.