On September 28th, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown of California has finally signed AB 2530, which is a bill that bans shackling of pregnant women in California’s state prisons, juvenile detention facilities and county jails.

For years, pregnant women who are incarcerated, have had to wear chains around their pregnant bellies while appearing in court, shackles around their ankles while seeing doctors and very often have been shackled and handcuffed while giving birth. What an outrage!!

Thanks to thousands of women and men who wrote letters and to hundreds of supporters of the passing of AB 2530, the bill was signed. This has been a long and arduous task. It has taken over 5 years for California’s counties to even begin the process of writing policy for the banning of shackles on pregnant women. 

This bill would prohibit a pregnant inmate, as defined, in labor, in recovery, or after delivery, from being restrained by the use of leg irons, waist chains, or handcuffs behind the body. The bill would prohibit, in these circumstances, restraint by the wrists, ankles, or both, unless deemed necessary for the safety and security of the inmate, the staff, or the public.

As of January 1st, 2013, no pregnant woman in California’s prison system will be shackled around her belly, or ankles and no longer hand-cuffed behind her back during her entire pregnancy. And she cannot be restrained at all during labor, delivery or recovery, under doctors orders. 

Several women’s rights organizations are keeping an eye on correctional facilities to make sure that the new law will be implemented. As for now, congratulations to all of the supporters of the signing of AB 2530!

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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