Congratulations to Lillian Hewko (co-founder of the Incarcerated Mothers' Advocacy Project), Legal Voice, and veteran parents in getting the Children of Incarcerated Parents bill passed! Inspired by New York's ASFA Expanded Discretion Act, the law guides the courts' discretion to delay the termination of parental rights if the parent's incarceration or prior incarceration is a significant factor for the child's continued stay in the foster care system.
On April 22, 2013, the Washington State legislature – by a near unanimous vote – passed SHB 1284 that guides the courts’ current discretion to delay termination of parental rights if the parent’s incarceration or prior incarceration is a significant factor for the child’s continued out-of-home placement, as long as the delay is in the best interest of the child. The governor has 20 days to sign the bill into law. Contact Governor Inslee’s office and tell him to sign SHB 1284 (Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill)!
Eight and a half months pregnant in the SF County Jail, Tameika Smith talks about her childhood, addiction and her experience giving birth to her eight-year-old daughter behind bars.
Should county officials be held responsible for not only arresting & jailing Juana Villegas for driving without a license, but shackling her when she went into labor and gave birth?
Rachel Roth has an excellent summary looking at the anti-shackling campaign in Maryland (and a well-researched postscript on what's going on with a proposed anti-shackling bill in Iowa). Cross-posted from Moms Rising blog.
Apparently, all is not lost in Iowa. Even though the Iowa House tabled the anti-shackling bill, similar legislation is heading towards the full Senate Human Services Committee.
In Iowa, lawmakers set aside a bill that would prohibit shackling pregnant women who are in labor, delivery or postpartum recovery. The Iowa Department of Corrections released a new policy around how they restrain women during that time (coincidentally shortly after the DesMoines Register was investigating these practices). Lawmakers said that the policy was good enough for them and so no actual legislative protection was necessary.
Shackling pregnant women is permitted not only in Maryland's state-run adult and juvenile facilities, but also in local detention centers where women are held awaiting trial, before they have been proven guilty of any crime. Add your endorsement to legislation that prohibits the practice of shackling pregnant women and girls during transport, labor, delivery & recovery!
Maryland General Assembly Delegate Jill P. Carter is one of the co-sponsors of a bill that, if passed, would prohibit the Maryland Department of Corrections from using physical restraints on pregnant women during the second or third trimester as well as during labor, transport, delivery or post-partum recovering.
An Iowa House panel will consider a bill on Monday barring the use of restraints on pregnant inmates. The issue of female Iowa prison inmates being shackled during pregnancy and even immediately before and after giving birth has gained attention in recent weeks, and was the subject of a Des Moines Register investigation last week.
As K's story demonstrates, mothers behind bars don't stop loving and caring for their children. When possible, they try to stay active in their children's lives and, when released, do what they can to both maintain their relationship and address the harm caused by their separation. So why not give them that chance & delay severing them from their children? SHB 1284 would do that for parents incarcerated in Washington State.
Maryland prison staff only took the handcuffs off Danielle as she was pushing her baby out. Both during labor and during her recovery, she was restrained. On Tuesday Feb 26, the Maryland General Assembly held a hearing on a HB0829, which would prevent other women from going through what Danielle suffered.
Alise continues her story of pregnancy and birth while behind bars.