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

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

South African Gumboot Dancing


Gumboots are like wellington boots, the kind worn to walk through puddles or mud.  As conditions in many South African mines were sometimes knee-deep water, gumboots were necessary attire. 

Gumboot Dancing was born of restrictions, resourcefulness, and the love of dance. Black African miners used to talk, sing and drum when they worked. But authorities punished the miners for these activities.  A new form of communication was born! In their gumboots, some affixed with bells, the miners stomped out coded messages to each other.  You can imagine “The boss is coming” was one such message.

Gumboot dancing is still used in the mines. But you can witness it above ground as well – in plazas where tourists congregate such as the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.