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Shackling of pregnant women and girls in correctional systems

July 21, 2012 Comments off

Shackling of pregnant women and girls in correctional systems (PDF)
Source: National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Contrary to official records and statistics, a large number of girls involved in the justice system have been pregnant. In a study of girls in Florida, according to case review data, 8% reported pregnancy in their lifetime. However, when girls were interviewed, 24% reported they had been pregnant (Acoca & Dedel, 1998). Other studies corroborate these findings and demonstrate that of the almost 30% of girls who reported lifetime pregnancy, 16% had been pregnant while incarcerated. Teen pregnancy presents a number of challenges, which increase exponentially for females who are incarcerated. One of the most archaic and dangerous practices includes the shackling of pregnant girls and women. Though outlawed in several states, there exists no legislation to prohibit the use of physical restraints on pregnant women even when in the third trimester in the State of Florida. Twenty-nine percent of girls reported that they had been shackled at the ankles and wrists while pregnant (Acoca, 2004). This practice should be banned for all females who are in custody.

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