Chapter 068

2011 -- S 0165 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 06/08/11





     Introduced By: Senators Perry, Metts, Miller, DeVall, and Lynch

     Date Introduced: February 03, 2011


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Title 42 of the General Laws entitled "STATE AFFAIRS AND

GOVERNMENT" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:





     42-56.3-1. Title. -- This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "The Healthy

Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act."


     42-56.3-2. Findings. -- (a) Restraining a pregnant woman can pose undue health risks to

the woman and her pregnancy.

     (b) The vast majority of female prisoners or detainees in Rhode Island are non-violent


     (c) Restraining pregnant prisoners and detainees increases the potential for physical harm

from an accidental trip or fall.

     (d) Freedom from physical restraints is especially critical during labor, delivery, and

postpartum recovery after delivery. Women often need to move around during labor and

recovery, and restraints can further interfere with medical staff's ability to appropriately assist in

childbirth or to conduct emergency procedures.

     (e) Public health organizations have expressed opposition to shackling pregnant women

because of the dangers posed to a woman's health and well-being.


     42-56.3-3. Restraint of prisoners and detainees. (a) Whenever the department of

corrections has actual or constructive knowledge that a prisoner or detainee is in the second or

third trimester of pregnancy, any restraints used on the pregnant prisoner or detainee shall be only

those deemed medically appropriate.

     (b) No handcuffs, shackles or other restraints shall be used on a prisoner or detainee

known to be pregnant during transport to a medical facility, labor, delivery, or postpartum

recovery, unless there are compelling grounds to believe that the prisoner or detainee presents:

     (1) An immediate and serious threat of physical harm to herself, staff or others; or

     (2) A substantial flight risk and cannot be reasonably contained by other means.

     (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b):

     (1) If the doctor, nurse or other health professional treating the prisoner or detainee

requests, based on his or her professional medical judgment, that restraints not be used, any

correctional officer accompanying the prisoner or detainee shall immediately remove all

restraints; provided further, however, that in the absence of exigent circumstances, as determined

by the health professional, the medical director of the department of corrections shall first be


     (2) Under no circumstances shall leg or waist restraints be used on any prisoner or

detainee who is in labor or delivery, nor shall waist restraints be used under any circumstances

during postpartum recovery; and

     (3) Upon confirmation by the medical director of the department of corrections that a

prisoner or detainee in postpartum recovery may be subject to restraint pursuant to subsection (b),

the treating health professional shall, in consultation with the medical director, determine whether

leg or hand restraints shall be used.

     (d) If restraints are used on a prisoner or detainee pursuant to subsection (a) or (b), the

type of restraint applied and the application of the restraint shall be done in the least restrictive

manner necessary; and

     (e) If restraints are used on a prisoner or detainee pursuant to subsection (b), the

correctional officer shall submit to the department within five (5) days written findings

articulating the grounds that dictated the use of the restraints. These findings shall be kept on file

and be made available for public inspection, except that no individually identifying information

of any prisoner or detainee shall be made public without the prisoner or detainee’s written



     42-56.3-4. Enforcement. In addition to any other rights and remedies afforded by law,

any person who has been restrained in violation of this chapter may file a civil action for damages

and any appropriate and equitable relief in Superior Court. The court may also award a prevailing

plaintiff reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.


     42-56.3-5. Regulations and notice to prisoners and detainees. – (a) The department

shall promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with chapter 35 of title 42 to implement this


     (b) All prisoners and detainees potentially affected by this chapter shall be advised of the

requirements of this chapter and the rules promulgated pursuant to subsection (a) upon admission

to the correctional institution and when known to be pregnant.


     42-56.3-6. Training school for youth. The provisions of this chapter shall also apply

to the training school for youth.


      42-56.3-7. Postpartum recovery defined. – For purposes of this chapter, “postpartum

recovery” means, as determined by her physician, the period immediately following delivery,

including the entire period a woman is in the hospital or infirmary after birth.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.



LC00678/SUB A/2