She's Making a Difference

Sen. Lynch Prata and Rep. Ajello bill that bans restraints on pregnant prisoner transports signed into law

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. Edith H. Ajello’s (D-Dist. 1, Providence) legislation (2018-S 2268A / 2018-H 7182A) that prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners known to be in their third trimester of pregnancy during transport to or from court proceedings was signed into law by the governor.

“There are potentially serious health consequences to not only the female prisoner, but also to her unborn child when restraints are used. This legislation will protect both the prisoner as well as her unborn child who has committed no crime,” said Senator Lynch Prata, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

“Genuine harm can result when pregnant women are shackled or restrained. The use of restraints on pregnant prisoners greatly increases the likelihood of the woman falling and injuring herself or the fetus. Sheriffs should be able to find other, less risky ways to secure pregnant incarcerated women, just as prison guards are able to secure these women safely when they are taken out of the prison to hospitals or medical appointments,” said Representative Ajello.

The legislation also requires the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety to submit annual reports to the General Assembly regarding the number of pregnant women in their third trimester transported or restrained at the Adult Correctional Institution.