FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRANKFORT – The Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 84 to establish appropriate standards of care for pregnant incarcerated people. The bill would end solitary confinement for pregnant people, provide six weeks of post-partum care, and connect people with a social worker to determine childcare and develop reunification and substance-use treatment plans. The bill also allows meaningful access to community-based substance use disorder treatment so incarcerated people can continue to bond with their child during treatment. Last, Senate Bill 84 will require the state to collect data on all Kentuckians in solitary confinement so officials and advocacy groups can fully understand the impact this extreme punishment has on people.
The lives of pregnant incarcerated people are often plagued by poverty, substance use disorder, histories of trauma and abuse, and limited access to healthcare. Currently, there are no systems in place to track outcomes for these Kentuckians and understand their needs. Documenting pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes is a matter of health equity that will reduce maternal health disparities.
Senator Julie Raque Adams, the primary sponsor of SB 84, said “having a dignified birthing experience is not special treatment; it is simply humane treatment. Many incarcerated people suffer from substance use disorder, and adding an infant makes the situation about more than crime and punishment. These are people with health problems, and we need to be part of the solution. We need to be thoughtful about how we approach corrections policies in the commonwealth.”
“Giving birth is challenging under any circumstances,” said Jackie McGranahan, policy strategist with the ACLU of Kentucky. “With legislation like Dignity Bill 2, we can give pregnant people the chance to receive the care they need so they can have safe, healthy pregnancies and bond with their children. This bill is the right thing to do, and it will strengthen communities and help our economy. We applaud the Senate for passing this important legislation.”
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.