Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday that will vastly limit the use of solitary confinement for pregnant inmates in Florida.
While incarcerated, Jackson said she had complained of contractions overnight. Yet seven hours later, she delivered the child without being taken to the hospital.
The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Shevrin Jones of Broward County and Rep. Amy Mercado of Orange County.
It will require prison officials to show cause for placing a pregnant prison in solitary confinement.
It will also require that a pregnant prisoner be observed by a correctional officer at least every hour.
“A pregnant prisoner…may be involuntarily placed in restrictive housing only if the corrections official of the correctional institution makes an individualized determination that restrictive housing is necessary to protect the health and safety of the prisoner or others or to preserve the security and order of the correctional institution and that there are no less restrictive means available,” the House bill reads.
The corrections official must then write a report explaining the reasoning for using solitary confinement and why a less restrictive means was not available. The report must also note if “the individual overseeing prenatal care and medical treatment at the correctional institution objects to the placement.”
Should a pregnant prisoner be placed in solitary, the measure mandates a health care professional visit the woman once every 24 hours.
“If the prisoner has passed her due date, she must be admitted to the infirmary until labor begins or until the treating obstetrician makes other housing arrangements,” the bill continues.
The measure also provides more rights and privileges to pregnant inmates.
“A pregnant prisoner who has been placed in the infirmary must be provided the same access to outdoor recreation, visitation, mail, telephone calls, and other privileges and classes available to the general population unless the individual overseeing prenatal care and medical treatment at the correctional institution determines that such access poses a danger of adverse clinical consequences for the prisoner or others and documents such determination in the prisoner’s medical file,” the measure includes.