The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved changes to a bill, SB18, that would ban prison guards from shackling pregnant inmates. The amended legislation would eliminate the practice for an entire pregnancy instead of just the third trimester, which was the original proposal.
Shackles tend to include a chain that goes from handcuffs, around the waist, and down around the ankles.
Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) says this is a tripping hazard that puts the woman and fetus in danger. She adds that it creates an emotional strain.
"I think it's harsh. It really comes up against 'cruel and unusual' punishment when a woman's pregnant to do that. To move her from place to place," says Antonio.
No one has testified against the bill yet. Antonio says there are measures in place to still ensure safety for correction officers and other inmates.
She adds that this is just one of many issues she would like lawmakers to address in order to reform prison standards for women inmates.
"All of the practice and policies in the department of corrections, originated for male prisoners. There was not consideration of women in jail, in prison," Antonio says.
Antonio believes the bill could get a vote on the Senate floor as early as this month.