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State Prisons Get Low Grade For Care of Pregnant Inmates


A new study gives Indiana's prisons a D- grade for how they deal with pregnant inmates.

A new survey says many states are lacking when it comes to dealing with pregnant prison inmates, including Indiana. The Hoosier State gets an overall grade of D-minus in the study done by the National Women‘s Law Center and the Rebecca Project.  The rankings are based on three criteria: prenatal care, shackling during childbirth and community-based alternatives to incarceration to allow mothers to be with their children. The superintendent of the Indiana Women‘s Prison, Steve McAuley, said he strongly disagrees with the grade the state received.

“We transport the pregnant females handcuffs only in front — no shackling of the feet, anything like that, no belly chains — and when they get to Wishard [Hospital] they’re leg shackled to the bed and that’s all,” McAuley said.  “And then when they go into active labor, then the shackles are taken off.”

McAuley says the state doesn‘t allow alternatives to incarceration for inmate mothers, but does have a nursery program capable of holding 10 babies and their mothers. The women‘s prison health care administrator, Julie Murphy, says a hospital doctor gives inmates receive more frequent checkups as their delivery day approaches…

“He just  does a basic head-to-toe assessment to make sure they don’t have any pregnancy complaints, any medical complaints,” she said. “Then they’re seen by Dr. Hinchman the gynecologist.  And he does a complete pap smear, they get checked for all diseases.  He does a pelvic exam.”

Inmates are allowed to keep their children with them for 18 months after they’re born. Only Pennsylvania received an “A” in the survey. 11 states scored the same or worse than Indiana.

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