House Bill 342
151st General Assembly (2021 - 2022)
The General Assembly has ended, the current status is the final status.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO TREATMENT OF PREGNANT AND POST-PARTUM PRISONERS.
Delaware law already prohibits the use of restraints on women who are giving birth or in labor except in limited circumstances. This Act expands that protection to include women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy and those in the 13-week immediate post-partum period. Wrist restraints fastened in front of the body may be used during transport except during labor or delivery or while being transported with a newborn. Wrist, leg, and waist restraints may also be used in extraordinary circumstances, but a licensed medical professional must be notified as soon as practicable when waist or leg restraints are applied and examine the prisoner within 10 minutes of the notification. Leg and waist restraints are prohibited for prisoners in labor and delivery. The Act also requires that a pregnant or post-partum woman who is required to squat or cough during a strip search be provided accommodations to avoid falls and prohibits vaginal exams except those performed by a medical professional. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that shackling a pregnant inmate increases the risk of falling, impairs evaluations for serious pregnancy-associated conditions, causes pain and skin damage, and further endangers inmates at increased risk of preeclampsia. The use of restraints in the post-partum period creates additional risks to physical and mental health.