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Legislative Update: Georgia Legislature Provides Protections for Pregnant Women Detainees and Inmates

Posted by Sean A. Black | Jun 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

The new law takes effect on October 1, 2019.  It applies to pregnant women, women during labor or delivery, and women in the immediate (6 weeks after delivery) post-partum period.

Pregnant women are not to be required to squat or cough during a strip search if they are in their second or third trimester of gestation.

Pregnant women will not be subjected to a vaginal examination, unless conducted by a licensed healthcare professional.

For women in their second or third trimester, in delivery or labor, or in the post-partum period, a custodian shall not use handcuffs, waist shackles, leg irons or restraints of any kind.  However, a woman in the immediate postpartum period may be handcuffed with her wrists in front of her body if there are compelling reasons to believe that she peresents an immediate and serious threat to herself, staff or others or is a substantial flight risk and cannot be reasonably contained by other means.  The basis for the use of handcuffs in this circumstance must be documented within two days of the incident and shall specify the length of time the restraints are to be used.  This does not limit the use of medical restraints by a licensed health care professional to ensure medical safety of the woman.

Pregnant women and women in the immediate postpartum period  shall not be placed in solitary confinement or administrative segregation, but can be in a cell or hospital room by herself.

HB 345 / OCGA 42-1-11.3

About the Author

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.

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