Virginia Board of Corrections Adopts Jail Standards to Address Concerns on the Restraint of Pregnant Prisoners

Richmond, Virginia, November 20, 2012 – The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association (VSA) applauds the recent action taken by the Virginia Board of Corrections addressing concerns on the restraint of pregnant prisoners while in the custody of local and regional jails.  Sheriffs, advocates and policy makers on the Board of Corrections came together and agreed on amending jail standards to ensure that pregnant prisoners are treated with respect and dignity, while preserving the safety of the public, medical professionals and patients, and correctional professionals.  The VSA is especially grateful to Delegate Ben Cline (Amherst) for his continued interest in public safety and protection of female pregnant inmates while in custody.

The agreement reached is indicative of the willingness of all parties to understand the complexities of this emotionally charged issue, while working to preserve the safety of the public.

Participants supporting regulations restraining pregnant prisoners included:   Delegate Patrick Hope (Arlington); representatives from the American Civil liberties Union; The Family Foundation; Friend of Guest House; Legal Aid Justice Center; National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Planned parenthood Advocates of Virginia Justice Fellowship/Prison Fellowship ministries; Social Action Linking Together; Virginia Council of Churches and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. 

Participants supporting the use of restraints for pregnant prisoners while maintaining the safety of the public safety included the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, represented by Sheriff Beth Arthur (Arlington County) and Sheriff Vanessa Crawford (City of Petersburg), Delegate Ben Cline (Amherst), and numerous other public safety officials. 

“The members of the Virginia Board of Corrections did an outstanding job of pulling together competing interest on this sensitive subject and reaching an agreement that was endorsed by the parties involved”, according to John W. Jones, Executive Director, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.

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