Quietly, and not long ago, the Colorado State Legislature passed SB 193: Concerning the Safe Treatment of Pregnant Persons in Custody
Sponsored by Senator Hudak (D) and Representative Levy (D), this good law signed by the Governor on May 27, 2011 and made effective January 1, 2011 limits the use of restraints on pregnant women in custody or confined in prisons, city/county jails, juvenile detention, or department of human services facilities.
The staff of these institutions are NOT PERMITTED to use restraints of any kind on a pregnant woman during labor and delivery unless exceptional circumstances exist.
Correctional staff are required to use the least restrictive measures of restraint during postpartum recovery and transport for medical care.
Broad Reach Of the Law – All Types Of Incarceration
The Bill’s Provisions In Detail
The bill addresses the use of restraints on pregnant women in custody or confined in prisons, city and county jails, juvenile detention facilities, or department of human services facilities.
The bill requires that the least restrictive restraint necessary to ensure safety be used on a woman in her second or third trimester of pregnancy. Staff shall not use restraints of any kind on a pregnant woman during labor and delivery of the child, postpartum recovery, or transport to or from a medical facility for childbirth unless medical staff determines that restraints are necessary for safe childbirth, the woman poses an immediate and serious risk of harm to herself or medical staff, or the woman poses a substantial risk of escape that cannot be reasonably reduced by another method.
In any event, however, the staff will not use leg shackles or waist restraints.
Staff shall make a record of any restraint used on a woman during labor or delivery, postpartum recovery, or transport to or from a medical facility for childbirth. Staff shall maintain the record for a minimum of 5 years and make it available to the public with personally identifying information removed.
The bill entitles a woman to have a member of the medical staff present at any strip search conducted upon the woman’s return to confinement after childbirth. Staff shall inform a pregnant woman of the provisions of the statute relating to the use of restraints and any post-childbirth strip search at the time of the initial intake or determination of the pregnancy, at the onset of labor, and upon return to confinement after childbirth.
The bill requires that staff receive adequate training concerning the provisions of the bill.
H. Michael’s Take
Good Job – Colorado State Legislature! .. You were spot on with this compassionate and intelligent measure.