“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.

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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.