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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 447        FILED ON: 1/16/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1171


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Karen E. Spilka


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to prevent shackling and promote safe pregnancies for female inmates.






Karen E. Spilka

Second Middlesex and Norfolk

William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk

Chris Walsh

6th Middlesex

Michael Barrett

Third Middlesex

Kenneth J. Donnelly

Fourth Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Thomas M. McGee

Third Essex

Anthony W. Petruccelli

First Suffolk and Middlesex

Gale D. Candaras

First Hampden and Hampshire

Sheila C. Harrington

1st Middlesex

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

John F. Keenan

Norfolk and Plymouth

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 447        FILED ON: 1/16/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1171

By Ms. Spilka, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1171) of Karen E. Spilka, William N. Brownsberger, John W. Scibak, Martha M. Walz and other members of the General Court for legislation to prevent shackling and promote safe pregnancies for female inmates.  Public Safety and Homeland Security. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act to prevent shackling and promote safe pregnancies for female inmates.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Chapter 127 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out section 118 and inserting in place thereof the following:—

              Section 118.  (a) All female inmates, upon admission to a correctional facility when awaiting trial or sentenced, shall be screened and assessed for pregnancy by a nurse and shall be informed of any medical tests administered in connection with such screening. Pregnant inmates shall receive nondirective counseling and written material, in a form understandable by each inmate, on issues including but not limited to pregnancy options and correctional facility policies and practices regarding care and labor for pregnant inmates. The correctional facility shall ensure that at least one member of the medical and nursing staff is trained in pregnancy-related care, which shall at a minimum include knowledge of prenatal nutrition, high-risk pregnancy, addiction and substance abuse during pregnancy, and childbirth education.

              Pregnant and postpartum inmates shall be provided regular prenatal and postpartum medical care at the correctional facility in which they are housed, periodic health monitoring and evaluation during pregnancy, and postpartum screening for depression.  Regular prenatal care shall include the opportunity for a minimum of one hour of ambulatory movement each day and a diet containing the nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy, including prenatal vitamins and supplements.  The Department of Correction shall, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, develop appropriate standards of care for pregnant and postpartum inmates, which shall reflect, at a minimum, the standards set forth by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the American Dietetic Association.  If pregnant inmates require medically necessary, specialized care that is unavailable at the correctional facility, they shall have access to such care at a supporting medical facility with appropriate expertise.  If a postpartum inmate is determined to be suffering from postpartum depression, she shall have regular access to a mental health clinician.  Postpartum inmates shall not be subject to isolation absent an individualized, documented determination that the inmate poses a serious risk of harm to herself or others.

              All pregnant inmates shall be offered weekly prenatal classes or, when not practicable, written information, regarding prenatal nutrition, maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and childbirth, and shall have the opportunity to discuss this information with the medical personnel trained in these matters. Pregnant and postpartum inmates shall be provided appropriate clothing, undergarments, and sanitary materials during pregnancy and postpartum, including maternity clothes, athletic support bras, sanitary pads, and breast pads.

              Prior to release, correctional facility medical personnel shall provide pregnant inmates counseling and discharge planning in order to ensure continuity of pregnancy-related care, including uninterrupted substance abuse treatment.

              (b) Pregnant inmates shall have access to labor and delivery care in an accredited hospital and shall not be removed to another penal institution for giving birth.  An inmate who has been transferred to a hospital for labor and delivery care shall be permitted to stay in such hospital for a minimum of forty-eight hours after delivery, provided however that in no case shall an inmate be removed to the correctional facility until the hospital physician certifies she may be safely removed.

              Except in extraordinary circumstances, no restraints of any kind may be used on inmates after the first trimester of pregnancy or immediately postpartum, whether during transportation to and from visits to medical providers and court proceedings, during labor and delivery, or during postpartum recovery at the hospital.  Pregnant and postpartum inmates shall be transported to and from visits to medical providers and court proceedings in cars with seatbelts. 

              For purposes of this section, “extraordinary circumstances” exist where a corrections officer makes an individualized determination that restraints are necessary to prevent a pregnant or postpartum inmate from escaping, or from seriously injuring herself, medical or correctional personnel, or others.  Any time restraints are permitted to be used on a pregnant inmate, the restraints must be the least restrictive available and the most reasonable under the circumstances.  In no case shall leg or waist restraints be used on any pregnant or postpartum inmate.  In the event the corrections officer determines that extraordinary circumstances exist and restraints are used, the corrections officer must fully document in writing the reasons that he or she determined such extraordinary circumstances existed, the kind of restraints used, and the reasons those restraints were considered the least restrictive available and the most reasonable under the circumstances. If the doctor, nurse, or other health professional treating the pregnant inmate requests that restraints not be used, the corrections officer accompanying the pregnant inmate shall immediately remove all restraints.

              Nothing in this section affects the use of hospital restraints requested by treating physicians for the medical safety of a patient.

              No correctional personnel shall be present in the room during the pregnant inmate’s physical examinations, labor, or childbirth, unless specifically requested by medical personnel.  If the employee’s presence is requested by medical personnel, the employee should be female.

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