Prohibiting the Shackling of Pregnant People Incarcerated in Massachusetts

Policy Win
Eliminating Racial & Economic Disparities

NIRH believes that incarceration should not mean the denial of the freedom to be healthy, to decide whether and when to bear a child, and to have a healthy pregnancy.

In 2016, NIRH supported the implementation of new laws in Massachusetts designed to prohibit the shackling of pregnant incarcerated people and improve the treatment of pregnant people in prison overall with our partners Prisoners’ Legal Services and the Prison Birth Project. They engaged in public education, media outreach, advocacy with executive branch officials, and research, and ultimately published a thorough report about the first year of the law’s implementation.

Documenting the problems with implementation of this new law led to the law’s original sponsor introducing new legislation to address those issues and close other gaps also identified by Prison Birth Project and Prisoner’s Legal Services.