By Tristan Ahtone
LARAMIE, wyo – Wyoming's women's prison has been given a failing grade for its handling of pregnant women and mothers incarcerated in the state. That's according to a new report released by the National Woman's Law Center and the Rebecca Project for Human Rights.
The report graded existing policies in states based on three areas: prenatal care, shackling policies and family based treatment which includes polices that allow women to continue parenting while receiving drug treatment. The report says Wyoming lacks acceptable policies to address any of the criteria.
However, Senior Council for the National Woman's Law Center Jill Morrison says Wyoming's grade is not indicative of any deliberate targeting of pregnant women.
"I believe it is a reflection of the fact that only recently in our history have we had a significant number of women going into penal system, and as a result having that 4 to 7-percent of women who are going to be pregnant," says Morrison. "It's just a matter of the system not being very responsive to the fact that their population is changing."
Currently Wyoming does not offer family-based treatment centers, which allow children to accompany women receiving treatment. She says the state also has no written policies for access to prenatal care. The state does have a written policy on the use of restraints on pregnant women during transport, hospitalization and medical procedures, but that policy allows restraints around the belly or by the feet.