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House Bill 1648: Correctional facilities, state and local; treatment of prisoners known to be pregnant

Bill Status: PASSED HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE FEBRUARY 7TH, 2020

House Patrons:

  • Delegate Kaye Kory (chief patron), 38th House District
  • Delegate Nicholas J. Freitas, 30th House District

Co-Sponsors: Del. John McGuire, 56th Dist.

Currently, incarcerated Virginia parents may be sentenced hundreds to hundreds of thousands of miles away from their children – making it impossible for children to visit their parents in prison. HB 1648 would change that by requiring parents to be sentenced in a facility as close to their kids as possible, and allow family visitations.

Even when sentenced closer to their children with proper visitation privileges, it’s hard for women to be moms when they face recurring trauma by male guards inside prison. That’s why HB 1648 requires that officers who have contact with women inside prison (including witnessing them in states of undress) also be women themselves.

For expecting moms in prison, the bill calls for new rules, regulations, and trainings that will ensure incarcerated pregnant women are treated safely and with special considerations; that means no more restrictive housing, restraints, or invasive body cavity searches during pregnancy.

#cut50 Senior Counsel Erin Haney’s Statement:

“People who have bonds with their families — while they’re inside —  have much better records inside of prison, and they do much better once they’re out. Children in the United States who have system-impacted parents are up to six times more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system themselves.”

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