May 8, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia jailers now have to follow state regulations governing the use of restraints on pregnant inmates.
The Virginia Board of Corrections approved the regulations in November after more than a year of negotiations between inmate advocates and law enforcement officials. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the regulations in March, and they take effect Thursday with the expiration of a final public comment period.
The regulations allow pregnant prisoners to be handcuffed only in front when being transported outside the jail. They cannot be restrained at all during labor and delivery. Exceptions can be made for inmates who are a danger or flight risk.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia advocated the regulations. Executive director Claire Guthrie Gastanaga says the state ACLU will work with jail officials to ensure compliance.