BOP Bans Shackling of Pregnant Inmates

Some welcome news from the Bureau of Prisons: Pregnant inmates will no longer be shackled during transport. The policy change is here (pdf.)

This new policy represents a sea change in the United States, where the shackling of pregnant women during transport, labor, and even delivery has long been routine in jails and prisons. Currently, only California, Illinois, and Vermont have enacted state laws restricting the practice of shackling pregnant women. By contrast, international human rights bodies have repeatedly expressed concern about policies that permit shackling of pregnant women.

In other good news, an Arizona judge has declared the conditions of the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio's domain -- unconsitutional. [More...]

n a sweeping rebuff of an attempt by Arpaio to terminate a federal consent decree mandating that he maintain conditions at the Maricopa County Jail that meet constitutional minimums, Judge Neil Wake ordered that jail officials ensure that all detainees receive necessary medical and mental health care, that they be given uninterrupted access to all medicines prescribed by correctional medical staff, that they be given access to toilets, sinks, toilet paper and soap and that they be served food that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines.

"Sheriff Arpaio's horrendous treatment of detainees, especially those with severe medical and mental health problems, has caused terrible suffering for years," said Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. "Judge Wake's decision should serve as a reminder that even a man who brags about being the toughest sheriff in America has to abide by the Constitution."

Feministing has more on the BOP policy change. Our Sheriff Joe Arpaio coverage is assembled here.

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    Double good..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 01:02:43 PM EST
    shackling pregnant women and the grotesque shenanigans pulled by Joe the Sheriff at Maricopa being rendered absolute would get rid of two national black eyes.

    Only several thousand to go.

    oh...here's one more...a judge shot down Nassau County's "Wall of Shame", where citizens were given the ol' scarlet letter treatment before being found guilty of anything.  

    I'm shot.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 01:10:45 PM EST
    s/b obsolete, not absolute.

    Re Arpaio, one of his chief enablers (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 01:07:41 PM EST
    has been the Maricopa County Attorney, one Mr. Andrew Thomas.  After all, someone had to be representing the Sheriff in Court.  And Thomas did, with elan.

    Mr. Thomas is up for re-election November 4.

    Recently, another reputable blog posted a nice piece about Mr. Thomas.

    Thomas' ads went after his opponent, Tim Nelson, in a particularly low manner (no surprise):

    What are Tim Nelson's crimes? That fully upstanding citizens, that happen to be employed as criminal defense attorneys, contributed to his campaign. Oh, yes, and that over ten years ago, the firm that Nelson worked at was appointed by the court to assist an indigent defendant with a death penalty appeal. Not Nelson personally understand you, just his firm. Wonderful. The United States Constitution guarantees criminal defendants the right to counsel. But when big civil law firms, like the one Nelson worked at, donate their time in the interest of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law, everybody affiliated with them are tarred by Andrew Thomas and the Arizona GOP as dangerous criminal aider and abetters themselves. This is beyond despicable.

    Yes, it certainly is.

    Here's an earlier post about this case - about the time Arpaio tried to get the consent decree lifted.

    Of course, one of the things Arpaio was doing was refusing to transport pregnant inmates to abortion appointments.

    These twin pieces of garbage ought to be put on the unemployment line.  Because it's from among thugs like these that dictators arise.  And we don't need any of them.

    As that other blog noted:

    In Maricopa County, a very critical spot in the rapidly growing and significant Southwest, arguably the most significant spot, there is a chance to make a dent. While Sheriff Joe Arpaio probably cannot be defeated, Andrew Thomas sure can. It is a neck and neck race, and Tim Nelson is a very solid candidate. Nelson is very close to Janet Napolitano, who is remarkably popular in Arizona for a Democrat, and he has run an honorable race so far. But Thomas is far better financed, and is benefitting from outside GOP money and groups that are active here because of McCain.

    It is a miracle that Nelson is dead even with Thomas. Thomas won the office in 2004 by a huge margin. Tim Nelson needs help to finish off the deal. I will be discussing this race again in the coming days. In the meantime, however, if you live in Arizona, or have an interest in seeing an extremely critical race won by the good guy for once, help Tim Nelson out by donating some time or money. We always strive to make a difference, we have a chance here.

    A chance to make a difference.

    [Please note - I am not affiliated with any campaign.]

    Nothing about this in the Arizona Republic.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by jerry on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 01:11:35 PM EST
    I certainly didn't see anything about this at the Republic's website.  Not yesterday, not today.  A search of their site shows the last time they mentioned Arpaio was on the 19th.

    Lots of stupid stuff goes on in Arizona and much of it is because of the terrible newspaper here and the worse TV stations.

    (And don't get me started on how much the local Phoenix NPR station enables this too.)

    When did the ACLu first file (none / 0) (#5)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 05:59:55 PM EST
    these charges against Arpaio? He's been a perverse, boastful tyrant for, what seems like, decades. Is he subject to any form of punishment?