Shackling Pregnant Prisoners

Prisoners pregnant and shackled

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

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/the-outrageous-shackling-of-pregnant-inmates.html?_r=0

See also:  “Shackled During Childbirth” by Sadhbh Walshe

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31523.htm

“Childbirth in Chains” by Colleen Mastony

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-18/news/ct-met-shackled-mothers-20100718_1_shackles-handcuffs-labor

“Should a Woman Be Shackled While Giving Birth? Most States Think So.” by Cristina Costantini

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/woman-shackled-giving-birth-states/story?id=17436798

“Bill To Stop The Shackling Of Pregnant Inmates Introduced By D.C. Lawmaker” by Arin Greenwood

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/dc-pregnant-inmates-shackled_n_3950049.html

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Re-imagining Disability: God as Disabled

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Nancy Eiesland, theologian and sociologist, was 13 years old when she had 11 operations for a congenital bone defect in her hips. She realized that pain from this condition and from spinal scoliosis was her lot in life. 

So why did she say she hoped that when she went to heaven she would still be disabled?

The reason, which seems clear enough to many disabled people, was that her identity and character were formed by the mental, physical, and societal challenges of her disability. She felt that without her disability, she would “be absolutely unknown to myself and perhaps to God.”

By the time of her death at 44 in 2009, Ms. Eiesland had come to believe that God was in fact disabled, a view she articulated in her influential 1994 book, “The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability.” She pointed to the scene described in Luke 24:36-39 in which the risen Jesus invites his disciples to touch his wounds.

“In presenting his impaired body to his startled friends, the resurrected Jesus is revealed as the disabled God,” she wrote. God remains a God the disabled can identify with, she argued: He is not cured and made whole; his injury is part of him, neither a divine punishment nor an opportunity for healing.

  

For her full obituary, go to:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/obituaries/articles/2009/03/27/nancy_eiesland_at_44_wrote_of_a_god_who_is_disabled/

Photo Source:

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0LEV1gPr4dTjB8AL11XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MWoxNW52BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1NNRTM5OV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=mcafee&sz=all&va=nancy+eiesland

Recognizing Ability: A Foot Artist

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Daniel Laflamme grabs a water bottle with his foot and bends over to take a sip. Then he adroitly places a paintbrush between his toes and begins to paint.  Deaf and mute, Laflamme, who has cerebral palsy, communicates through his painting. 

In 2006, the Quebec City artist was in Toronto to help publicize an exhibition by Canada’s Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.  The organization sells replicas of the painters’ works on greeting cards and calendars to help the artists live independent lives.

At the organization’s headquarters on St. Clair Avenue West, Laflamme showed off his prowess as an artist. Bent over like a pretzel on the floor, he painted with authority and skill as he worked on a still life of flowers and a fruit bowl.

Then he stopped to get more paint. He used one foot to bring the palette of paints closer to him.  Holding his paintbrush between his toes, he dipped his brush in the paint and then began once more to delicately apply color to his masterpiece.

 

Quoting: Debra Black, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006

Photo by: Rick Eglinton, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006. Photo Source: http://thestar.blogs.com/photoblog/2012/05/yonge-and-eglinton-no-longer-intersect.html

Redefining Disability: On Track to Succeed

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Loretta Claiborne was born partially blind and could not walk or talk until she was four. Officials recommended that she be put into an institution—a common treatment for America’s “defectives” in the 1950s. Her mother refused.

Today Ms. Claiborne has 26 marathons and a black belt in karate to her name.  She travels the world to speak for people like herself. Her purpose is to exemplify and to usher in a fresh understanding of ‘disability’.  Definitions change over time: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls disability an “evolving concept”.

 

Excerpts from:

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21591615-defining-disability-trickyand-measuring-it-even-harder-who-counts

Photo Source:

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0LEVx_0sodTrwYAv1tXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MWoxNW52BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1NNRTM5OV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=mcafee&va=loretta+claiborne+image+running

Segregated Stairways? (Yes – Fifty Years Ago)

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NINETY-SEVEN. That’s how many stairs African-American movie-goers had to walk up at the Carolina Theater in Durham, North Carolina.  After climbing the stairs and purchasing tickets, they sat in designated balcony seating – the only place they were allowed to sit.     

Then the civil rights movement brought all kinds of changes. In July 1963, the stairway and the seating requirements were desegregated.  

Today, the side entrance to the theater is unmarked. The staircase is nicely carpeted in red with wooden rails. While it is still in use, customers seem to prefer the front entrance stairs and the elevator. The elevator to the second balcony now opens to a permanent exhibit of large, black and white photographs called “Confronting Change.” This display is, perhaps, the Carolina Theater’s self-conscious examination of civil rights history.

 

(Adapted from the article by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, Feb. 26, 2014.)

http://www.heraldsun.com/news/localnews/x112097487/-Confronting-Change-examines-civil-rights-history-at-Carolina-Theatre

 

Photo source: https://www.google.ca/search?q=segregated+stairways&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=lSJHU7G_MYnIyAG0wYGICg&ved=0CGAQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643

 

The First Reconciliation Walk in Canada

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Reconciliation isn’t a physical, visible thing. It happens in our hearts. But an intentional walk by ten thousand people to demonstrate the reality of reconciliation – that’s an example of ‘feet delivering a message’.

The four-kilometre walk through downtown Vancouver in September 2013, followed hearings by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a fact-finding commission set up between the Canadian government, victims of residential school abuse and various churches.

 Bernice King, daughter of the civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the chosen orator at the beginning of the march.  She outlined her vision that Canada would “be the great nation that it’s called to be.This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action,” She reminded them of her father’s words that human progress was neither automatic nor inevitable. “Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle.”  As she spoke about Canada’s destiny she emphasized leadership, action, community and mutuality.

There were further demonstrations: a lighting of a fire of reconciliation before the hearings began and a canoe gathering of all nations.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/22/bernice-king-reconciliation-walk_n_3972656.html

An Advocate for Those of No-Fixed Address

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“’NOMAD’ was a good word for Nicolae Gheorghe. He was always on the move, with his worldly goods strapped to his back: a laptop, bundles of e-mails, a ring-binder, three shirts.”

Thus, begins the obituary of an influential advocate for the Roma, a traveling people.  He was tireless:

  • A well-read, multilingual cosmopolitan 
  • An academic, writing on the plight of the Roma for the Western Press. 
  • An award-winning point-man for all things Roma to international organizations. 
  • A gypsy by blood and upbringing. 
  • An anthropologist of his own people.
  • A secretary to an illiterate “King of the Gypsies”
  • An activist when Roma were moved into ghettos
  • An entrepreneur, setting up the first Roma NGO

He dreamed dreams for the Roma people:

  • That talented young Roma would get involved in business and politics.
  • That the wider world would understand the Roma as “transnational, representing a society whose ideals were broader, freer and more enterprising than those in nation states.”

http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21583590-nicolae-gheorghe-campaigner-rights-roma-died-august-8th-aged-66-nicolae