A bill opposing the shackling of pregnant prisoners, AB 2530, has been passed unanimously by the California State Legislature and is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, with thirty days to either approve or veto it. Last year, a previous version of this bill was also passed unanimously by the Legislature, but it was ultimately vetoed by Governor Brown.
As this bill sits on Governor Brown’s desk, we take a closer look at AB 2530, similar bills in other states, and the broader experiences of pregnant prisoners throughout the US by speaking with Tina Reynolds and Vikki Law from WORTH’s Birthing Behind Bars campaign. Tina Reynolds, who herself gave birth while incarcerated, is co-founder and co-chair of Women on the Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH) and an adjunct lecturer at York College/CUNY. She is a co-editor of Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Womenin the United States (UC Press 2010).
Victoria Law is a writer, photographer and mother. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (first published by PM Press in 2009, with a new updated version released this month), the editor of the zine Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and a co-founder of Books Through Bars – NYC. Her latest book, just released this month, Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind (PM Press, 2012) addresses how social justice movements and communities can support the families in their midst. Learn more about upcoming book-release events here.