Category Archives: jailing pregnant women

Mother finds redemption after drug addiction

Oct. 4, 2016: A mother who fought addiction and criminal charges for giving birth to a drug addicted baby is sharing her story of redemption to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

Robin Wilhoit, WBIR 6:12 PM. EST October 04, 2016

A Tennessee mother who has struggled with addiction wants to make it easier to find help.

Only 11 percent of people who need treatment for drug addiction in Tennessee actually receive it, according to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

And there’s a growing epidemic of babies born drug dependent in East Tennessee.

Brittany Hudson’s teens and early 20′s were consumed with alcohol and oxycodone.

In 2014, Hudson was pregnant and addicted. She became one of the first women in Tennessee charged under a new state law with assaulting her unborn child. Continue reading

Pregnant women with addictions need healthcare, not handcuffs

The Guardian, April 12, 2016,  by Hernandez D Stroud

Every 19 minutes, a baby is born in America to a mother who struggles with opiate addiction, a percentage that has soared in the past decade alongside a broader addiction spike. The increase has forced some state lawmakers to decide whether the mother’s drug use, which can leave the baby with post-birth withdrawal called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), is a criminal justice issue or a disease.

As with heroin and opioid addiction outside of pregnancy, the consensus among doctors and advocates is that this is a health matter, and not one for the courts. (NAS is a highly treatable condition without long-term effects, though it’s still an unfortunate one: newborns with NAS convulse, projectile vomit and emit a telltale shriek.) President Obama agrees – he recently announced an increase in funds dedicated to treatment, and an increase in the number of patients a doctor can treat with some maintenance medications.

State lawmakers, on the other hand, are still learning. They tend to default to treating it as a crime, only to find that doesn’t work. Continue reading

National Advocates for Pregnant Women victories in Arkansas, Wisconsin‏

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Cynthia Greenlee, National Advocates for Pregnant Women
Phone: 212-255-9252, ext. 38
                                                               crg@advocatesforpregnantwomen.org
NAPW marks 2 legal victories in states that have incarcerated women
based on pregnancy and drug-use claims
Appeal will free Arkansas woman, Wisconsin case moves forward
NEW YORK – On Oct. 8, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Melissa McCann Arms, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person when she gave birth in 2013. The Arms v. State of Arkansas victory comes a week after a federal district court ruling that allowed a constitutional challenge to the 1997 Wisconsin “cocaine mom” law to go forward. Together, the cases represent two important and positive rulings that uphold the rights and health of pregnant women.

In its ruling, the Arkansas Supreme Court concluded that the intent of Arkansas’ law was to prevent the drugging of another person through the use of “knock-out drugs” and not to punish women who become pregnant and deliver despite drug use.
Continue reading

Georgia the latest state to ‘ban the box’ in hiring practices

Washington Post, By Reid Wilson February 24, 2015

Georgia will no longer require job applicants to disclose their criminal histories on employment forms after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed an executive order this week aimed at smoothing the reintegration process for former inmates.

Deal’s order [pdf] applies only to those seeking work with state agencies. It would prohibit those agencies from using a prior criminal history as an automatic disqualifier for job applicants. Those applicants will have the opportunity to discuss their criminal records in person.

The policy is known as “ban the box,” a reference to employment forms that ask about prior criminal convictions. Georgia is the 14th state to adopt the policy, along with states as diverse as Nebraska, New Mexico, California and Hawaii. Nationally, nearly 100 cities, including Washington, D.C., have adopted the same policy. Continue reading

Woman in El Salvador Acquitted of Homicide Charges for Pregnancy Complications

by Kathy Bougher
May 6, 2015 – 10:37 am, RH Reality Check

Carmelina Pérez, a Honduran woman living in El Salvador, was convicted of aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison in July 2014 after suffering what appeared to be a miscarriage in the home where she was employed as a domestic worker. Pérez is not one of “Las 17,” the group of women imprisoned on abortion-related charges and for whom the La Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto (Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) requested pardons from the Salvadoran government, because her case had not yet gone to trial at the time of their requests. Her story mirrors theirs, however: She, too, had her obstetrical emergency criminalized.

But last week, she was acquitted of all charges after 16 months in prison, setting a possible new precedent in the fight for reproductive justice in El Salvador.

In addition to creating a joyous victory for Pérez, now 21 years old, her trial provides an opportunity to expose and analyze in detail the medical and legal injustices that women frequently face in El Salvador. Continue reading