Cephas, Davis legislation protecting incarcerated women passes House

HARRISBURG, June 13 – Reps. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and Tina Davis, D-Bucks, today celebrated the passage of legislation to protect pregnant or postpartum incarcerated women.

The bill, H.B. 900, passed the House with bipartisan support and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

Introduced by Cephas, Davis, and Rep. Mike Jones, R-York, H.B. 900 would create important protections for pregnant or postpartum incarcerated women, including prohibiting shackling and solitary confinement; providing trauma informed care training of corrections officers interacting with pregnant and postpartum women; and providing up to three days of post-delivery bonding time between a mother and newborn child, among other protections.

“Dignity for incarcerated women is an act of pure compassion,” Cephas said. “It's beyond time to acknowledge that women have unique needs when incarcerated and must be treated with respect and dignity. We must ensure all women incarcerated in Pennsylvania have the support that they need, including those who are pregnant and postpartum -- for their own health and the health of their babies. 

“I am thankful to the DOC for their leadership in this space and I am thankful to my colleagues and all of the advocates who have fought so hard to get us this far!”

Davis echoed Cephas’ sentiments. “As the number of pregnant or postpartum incarcerated women rise, we must ensure they are afforded special protection in our corrections facilities,” she said. “We must treat all individuals with dignity, and that includes incarcerated women.”