Guv signs anti-shackling bill for pregnant prisoners

Gov. David Paterson visits the 1st tee at

Gov. David Paterson visits the 1st tee at the US Open in Bethpage on Friday. (Credit: Newsday Photo / Ana P. Gutierrez)

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Gov. David Paterson has signed into law a bill that outlaws the shackling of incarcerated women before and after they give birth while in custody.

The anti-shackling law, signed Wednesday, requires correction officials statewide to transport pregnant women and those who have just given birth without using handcuffs and leg irons unless the inmate poses a major flight risk.

"That's awesome," said Jeannamarie Graves, 34, of Patchogue, who was chained to a bed as she gave birth to twins while in custody in December 2002. "It's very good that other women will not have to go through what the women who were shackled went through."

Brooklyn Assemb. Nick Perry, a Democrat who sponsored the bill for nine years, said: "I am quite elated that today, Governor Paterson has signed this bill into law, thus putting an end to this barbaric practice, and assuring that no woman incarcerated in New York will ever give birth in chains again."

Tamar Kraft-Stolar, director of the Women in Prison Project for the Correctional Association of New York said: "We commend Governor Paterson for taking this significant step toward making sure that women in prison can experience childbirth with a minimum level of dignity, safety and compassionate care."

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