We support WI SB393, a bill urging our state to end the unconscionable practice of shackling female inmates while pregnant or giving birth. Shaming and endangering both mothers and infants this way violates our respect for life and our concern for the vulnerable.
Many women in our prison system face challenges of poverty, poor mental health or addiction. We should support their recovery and capacity to attach with their babies. Research demonstrates the priority of the mother-infant relationship in healthy development of a child, and thus the health of our communities. As Wisconsin residents, we claim the rights of these women — and the babies they bring into the world — to be treated with dignity and care.
WI SB393 also provides for maternal support services to improve our egregiously poor birth outcomes for marginalized women, and to reduce long-term costs in our state. This is a step in the right direction.
We urge all to contact their state representatives to voice support for this bill. The experience of federal programs and 18 other states demonstrates that unshackling women does not create risks in security. Restraining pregnant women contradicts our belief in a merciful God, while endangering the well being of persons needing our support.
We thank Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Lena Taylor for bringing this to the Legislature.
Patricia La Cross, Madison