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One component of criminal justice...

One component of criminal justice reform signed by Governor Reeves

By: Sarah Ulmer - April 16, 2021

“Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act” signed into law.

This year, lawmakers were successful in passing several components of criminal justice reform for the state of Mississippi. One of those laws included HB 196, the “Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.” The bill has since been signed by Governor Tate Reeves.

This bill, authored by Rep. Nick Bain, will make certain provisions for women who are with child or giving birth to a child while incarcerated.

RELATED: Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act could restore integrity to pregnant inmates

The bill prevents any use of restraints on a woman while she is giving birth or in recovery from labor. It also provides additional prenatal training for guards who are present in the event that emergency medical care is required. These women will also be provided adequate nutrition and sleeping arrangements due to their condition.

“I’m ecstatic about it I think it’s a substantive pro-life bill that will have an impact in the future. It’s a pivotal part of the criminal justice reform we are doing because we need to look for areas to provide compassion and dignity for people,” said Rep. Bain.

Women, under this bill, will also be given up to 72 hours of time with their child before being separated. The child is then placed in the custody of someone outside the prison.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections told Rep. Bain when the measure was being considered that they were very much in support of it, as it aligns with Commissioner Cain’s approach to compassionate care in corrections.

The law will go into effect July 1, 2021.


About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: