Kentucky Senate Approves Female Incarceration Reforms

Mar 6, 2018

Kentucky Senate During Debate on Senate Bill 133
Credit Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has easily approved legislation redefining incarceration procedures for pregnant inmates. The legislation includes a provision aimed at increasing treatment for drug addicted female inmates and an awareness of the unique needs of those women in jail. 

In describing the legislation, Louisville Senator Julie Raque Adams said one in four women enter a jail or prison pregnant or with a child under one year of age.   Raque-Adams says the measure requires adequate nutrition for pregnant inmates and prohibits shackling during labor or childbirth. “Kentucky has the opportunity to make a bold proclamation in 2018 that men and women are different and have different needs, especially while incarcerated,” said Raque-Adams

Speaking against a provision to allow the pre-trial release of pregnant drug addicted inmates for treatment was Paducah Senator Danny Carrol.  Carrol, a retired police officer, said such a release could result in overdose deaths or use of pregnant inmates by dealers to transport drugs. 

The legislation also requires adequate nutrition for pregnant inmates and prohibits the shackling of inmates in labor or during delivery.  Senator Carrol stressed he had no objection to these sections of the bill.

The bill passed 33 to four and heads to the House.