STATE HOUSE – Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick,
Cranston) and Rep. Edith H. Ajello’s (D-Dist. 1, Providence) legislation (2018-S 2268A
/ 2018-H 7182A)
that prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners known to be in their
third trimester of pregnancy during transport to or from court proceedings
passed the General Assembly tonight.
“There are potentially serious health consequences to not
only the female prisoner, but also to her unborn child when restraints are
used. This legislation will protect both the prisoner as well as her
unborn child who has committed no crime,” said Senator Lynch Prata, Chairwoman
of the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
“Genuine harm can result when pregnant women are shackled or
restrained. The use of restraints on pregnant prisoners greatly increases
the likelihood of the woman falling and injuring herself or the fetus.
Sheriffs should be able to find other, less risky ways to secure pregnant incarcerated
women, just as prison guards are able to secure these women safely when they
are taken out of the prison to hospitals or medical appointments,” said
The legislation also requires the Department of Corrections
and the Department of Public Safety to submit annual reports to the General
Assembly regarding the number of pregnant women in their third trimester
transported or restrained at the Adult Correctional Institution.
The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.