The Bureau of Prisons recently announced a policy change that bans shackling of pregnant federal prison inmates except in extreme circumstances. According to the ACLU’s Blog of Rights. Past policy allowed for shackling pregnant women during labor and delivery, a practice that poses significant health risks to pregnant inmates.
The new policy applies only to federal prisons. Forty-seven states currently do not prohibit shackling pregnant women and US Immigrant and Customs Enforcement refuses to prohibit putting restraints on the pregnant immigrant women they detain, according to the ACLU. A 2006 New York Times article that focused on state prison policies noted that 23 state corrections departments expressly allow pregnant women to be restrained during labor.