10 thoughts on “Let’s Stop States from Shackling Female Prisoners in Childbirth

  1. This is appalling. I had no idea this was happening. Thanks for shedding light on this topic.

  2. Women beung shackled while giving birth is humiliating and senseless. They have already been convicted and sentenced, so is this practice a petty level of “So there, I have power over you”? Trauma survivors already feel powerless and not shackling them could actually be a “jumping off” place for building a relationship of trust. When our society practice these type of inhumanity it only gives those of us who survive a reason to hit other systems to get care. This cost millions of dollars. This is not tax payers dollars at work but at play. Keep kicking butt Dr. Cook we need your voice!

  3. Dr. Cook is a true advocate for women’s issues and has put light on areas seldom discussed. I too found it appalling that women are shackled before, during and right after childbirth. The prison system should be working on rehabilitation not desegregation of its incarcerated women. I understand that state representatives have a lot of issues to deal with but a bill protecting incarcerated women and children during childbirth needs immediate action. Hopefully this article will bring about change.to a barbaric situation.

  4. The word shocking comes to mind. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s 2016.

  5. Utterly awful but also completely unsurprising. So many aspects of American life are truly barbaric, not least of which is its criminal justice system.

  6. Thank you, Dr. Cook, for educating us on this important human rights issue. It truly is shocking, yet unfortunately not surprising. Let’s take any action we can against this practice.

  7. Thank you for shedding light on this. I will be sure to include this in our work in re-entry. My staff had no idea that women experienced this during incarceration.

  8. Thank you for writing about this from your perspective as an expert on trauma. Your timing is perfect: Exactly two years ago, Massachusetts enacted a law to prevent the shackling of women during labor and birth and strictly limit shackling at all other times. But a new report documents widespread problems. Read Breaking Promises: Violations of the Massachusetts Pregnancy Standards and Anti-Shackling Law by the Prison Birth Project and Prisoners’ Legal Services (available at both websites). Without oversight and enforcement, these laws don’t give women the protection they are intended to provide.

  9. Dr. Cook, Thank you for writing about such an important human
    rights issue. You are such a great advocate
    for women!

  10. This is outrageous. Psychiatric patients who require seclusion and restraint are regularly monitored by clinical staff and removed from these restraints as soon as they are no longer a danger to themselves or others. The regular shackling of female inmates during labor and birth harkens back to the dark days of mental health institutions when indiscriminate use of restraints were a matter of course. I thought that this was era that we had left far behind us…