Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

California: Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Ban on Shackling Pregnant Women

with 3 comments

Earlier this week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1900, which would have banned the shackling of incarcerated women who are pregnant, absent a security risk. The bill was supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and had passed without any “no” votes in the state legislature. Here is a response from Karen Shain of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

3 Responses

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  1. What kind of an idiot do we have running California? What risk do pregnant women represent, absent any security risk or past behavior? Furthermore, if it was my child they were putting at risk, I would sue him and the state legislator for allowing him to continue his travisty of justice.


    October 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

  2. A few years ago I represented a woman who, on another case, had been sentenced to a year in the local jail. She was pregnant at the time and gave birth a few months into her sentence. I visited her at the hospital and brought her some flowers and a teddy bear for the baby. She was from another county, totally lost and alone, and, of course, shackled to her bed. There was two female cops in the room.

    I asked them to unshackle her, which of course they wouldn’t do. I pressed them for an explanation because I wanted to hear these two women talk about shackling another woman while she was holding her newborn. Neither one of them flinched during the explanation. Flight risk blah blah blah. Because, you know, an exhausted woman who just gave birth via c-section is gonna make it past two cops WHILE HOLDING A NEWBORN BABY!! And then past doctors and nurses and security guards through a huge hospital that I got lost in trying to find her room. Unbelievable!

    I went into the room and when she saw me with the flowers and bear, she totally broke down and smiled and for a moment it was just me, her, and the baby. All the stupid boundaries were gone and I held the baby and we just talked about whatever like we were old friends.

    The cops just could not abide by this. Somehow the sight of a lawyer and a prisoner just talking about the baby and how the birth went and all that stuff was to much. One of them tried to say I was on a personal visit not a legal visit and blah blah blah.

    I ended up getting in a huge fight with one of them in the hallway and told her with the utmost disrespect that she was an inhuman monster who couldn’t for one second appreciate the beauty of the birth of this baby. Totally sick.


    October 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    • Or…maybe she was just doing her job.


      November 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm

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