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An Analysis of Pregnant Inmate Shackling Laws and Policies
AuthorThomas, Sarah Yoda
AdvisorLanterman, Jennifer L.
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Pregnant inmates pose unique challenges to jail and prison administrations. Many states still require the shackling of pregnant inmates throughout the pregnancy and during labor, delivery, and recovery. Proponents of these laws and policies argue that the legislation is necessary to protect correctional staff, medical personnel, and members of the public from harm and to prevent flight. Critics argue that these laws and policies are generally unnecessary and may constitute cruel and unusual punishment, thus violating the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This study includes a content analysis of shackling laws and policies and a content analysis of the lawsuits involving the shackling of pregnant inmates from 2009 through 2014. There are four areas that will be explored. The first area is to determine the types of shackling laws and policies that currently exist in the states. The second area examines whether the laws and policies adhere to a gender-neutral or gender-specific stance. The third area is to determine the monetary damages awarded in lawsuits involving the shackling of pregnant inmates. The fourth area analyzes whether more lawsuits are occurring in states that do not have shackling laws and policies addressing pregnant inmates, states that have shackling laws and policies not addressing the entire pregnancy, or states that do have laws and policies addressing the entire pregnancy. Lastly, policy recommendations will be made to assist lawmakers and correctional administrators.