News from the Web

Rigid foster care rules threaten to dissolve family ties when mothers are in prison or residential drug treatment. A new law in New York State takes steps to help these families weather the separation.

Jul 18, 2010

Childbirth in chains

More than 20 former Cook County inmates have filed suit, say they were handcuffed or shackled during labor

CHICAGO -- The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution to prohibit the shackling of women during labor -- a practice outlawed in seven states but still used in some prisons and hospitals for inmates who are giving birth.

​As any viewer of MSNBC's Lockup knows, prison is about punishment, plain and simple, not rehabilitation or even "correction." But does that mean it has to be dehumanizing, too?

The number of men and women in many state prisons has dropped for the first time in nearly 40 years. But in other states, such as Indiana, the prison population has shot up. Listen online as host Michel Martin speaks with Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center on the States' Public Safety Performance Project, and Ed Buss, Indiana Department of Corrections Commissioner.

At both the state and county level, about 80 percent of women are convicted of nonviolent crimes and around 80 percent of them are single mothers, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Cook County Sheriff's office.
A main reason for this dramatic upswing is most of these crimes – up to 80 percent - are drug related

Ms. Ellis died Aug. 16, less than two days into a 30-day jail sentence for careless and negligent driving.

Lesbians Sentenced for Self-Defense