About 2,000 prisoners in American correctional facilities give birth each year. The issue of shackling pregnant inmates during and after labor raises a broader concern about excessively punitive aspects of prison culture.
- Democratic and Republican politicians alike have pushed for anti-shackling legislation.
- Doctors have called shackling a threat to the health of both mother and child.
- Criminologists have deemed it unnecessary; as it appears that no unshackled pregnant inmate has ever escaped during labor.
Quoting and Photo Source: “In Labor, in Chains” by Audrey Quinn
See also: “Shackled During Childbirth” by Sadhbh Walshe
“Childbirth in Chains” by Colleen Mastony
“Should a Woman Be Shackled While Giving Birth? Most States Think So.” by Cristina Costantini
“Bill To Stop The Shackling Of Pregnant Inmates Introduced By D.C. Lawmaker” by Arin Greenwood
The perp walk is a common custom of American law enforcement, the practice of taking an arrested suspect through a public place at some point after the arrest, creating an opportunity for the media to take pictures.
In 2011, the image of Dominique Strauss-Kahn being led by handcuffs by a team of law enforcement officers added to the international firestorm of how questionable the practice is. At the time, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not mince words: “If you don’t want to do the perp walk, don’t do the crime”.
Many would say that law enforcement agencies use perp walks for their own PR. For the officers, there is the prestige of escorting newsworthy (alleged) perpetrators. The most infamous perp walk was of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. He was shot by Jack Ruby as he was being perp walked through a parking garage.
A 100 foot-stretch of sidewalk in the city of Chongqing claims to be the first street for mobile phone addicts in China. People with eyes fixed on their screens have their own specially painted lane.
Mobile phone users follow white arrows painted on one side of the sidewalk. No need to lift heads from the glued gaze at devices; the arrows direct underfoot. Could the idea (and the very spray-painted stencils) have been copied almost exactly from a program on the National Geographic channel earlier this year?
Mobile phone addiction is rampant in China, as it is worldwide. One recent survey by zhaopin.com, a recruitment site, suggested that 80 per cent of the 10,000 white collar workers it polled admitted “severe addiction” to their phones.
Philadelphia officials drafted a safety campaign aimed at pedestrians who look at their devices instead of where they’re going. “One of the messages will certainly be ‘pick your head up’ — I want to say ‘nitwit,’ but I probably shouldn’t call them names,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and public utilities.
As an April Fool’s Day joke with a serious message, Philadelphia officials taped off an “e-lane” for distracted pedestrians on a sidewalk outside downtown office buildings.
Some didn’t get that it was a joke.
“The sad part is we had people who, once they realized we were going to take the e-lane away, got mad because they thought it was really helpful to not have people get in their way while they were walking and texting,” Cutler said.
Walking and texting challenge us to pay attention simultaneously to two different activities. As with driving and texting, the dangers are real. But walking is more physically demanding than driving, requiring coordination on many levels.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia found these effects of peripatetic texting:
- There is a distortion of gait and walking form, which even unintentionally, causes a more upright, rigid body position.
- Gait patterns change; texters take shorter steps at slower pace.
- With an unchanging head position, eyes on the screen and chins bent toward chests, their neck and lower back joints have less range of motion.
- When arms stop swinging loosely and are bent and locked into place, there are mechanical constraints on the upper body and midsection.
- As pelvic joints stiffen, their leg motions become jerkier.
- Walking a straight line is difficult; texters’ feet veer to the side with almost every step.
In summary: texters walk ‘like robots’. This research suggests that their bodies and brains have prioritized the texting over the natural movements in walking. Little wonder that poles and other pedestrians get in the way.
Adapted from “The Art of Texting While Walking” by Gretchen Reynolds.
‘WalkNText’ – iPhone/Android App
Product Description (from its producer):
“Smart walk and text gives you the advantage of texting while you are walking. Through transparent screen you can see what is ahead of you and you can avoid stumbling and falling. In this application, you can send SMS and receive SMS .The whole application works is transparent, so you can use this application while you are walking.”
Product Review (from a fan):
“Now you can finally become the master of your own domain and confidently walk and text (simultaneously) whenever, wherever you want… It’s perfect for people like me who trip over their own two feet on a regular basis. ….If you don’t want to eat the concrete while you are walking… get the WalkNText app for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android smartphone.
I’ve compared this app to similar ones, and it’s the best one of its kind for many reasons. First of all, it has a transparent keyboard which allows for a much larger viewing space (if you don’t want the transparent keyboard, with one click, you can switch back to the built in keyboard). So whatever your style is; you can truly type and walk without being nervous at all.”
A young man talking on a cellphone meanders along the edge of a lonely train platform at night. Suddenly he stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing head first on the tracks. Fortunately, no trains were approaching that Philadelphia-area station at that moment. The man recovered his balance and climbed out of danger. Security cameras captured the whole incident and the images were sent to The Associated Press. The risks of distracted walking are getting everyone’s attention.
Hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. treat an increasing number of injured pedestrians. The cases include:
- a 24-year-old woman who walked into a telephone pole while texting
- a 28-year-old man who was walking along a road when he fell into a ditch while talking on a cellphone
- a 12-year-old boy who was looking at a video game when he was clipped by a pickup truck as he crossed the street
- a 53-year-old woman who fell off a curb while texting and lacerated her face
- a 67-year-old man walking along the side of a road was hit a by a bicyclist who was talking on a cellphone as he rode