Shackling Survey

Women’s Health Committee

In the criminal prison system, shackling of pregnant women consists of placing shackles and/or handcuffs on her ankles or wrists, as well as around her stomach (The Guardian, 2015). The international human rights community continues to advocate and lobby to eliminate the practice of shackling because of related health issues that impact the incarcerated mother to be. There are many states (i.e., Washington) and the federal government that have adopted an anti-shackling policy (U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, 2011, p. 213), yet this cruel, inhumane and degrading activity is on the rise.  The incarceration of pregnant women has soared in the last century. The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics 2011 Report (Guerino, Harrison, and W. Sabol, 2011, as cited in Hewko, 2014), documented that African American and Latina women are incarcerated in greater numbers than women of other races. The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is very passionate about quality health care and strongly opposes such practice.  As a professional nursing organization, the NBNA advocates for quality health care and safety for women.