State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa (Pic by Minority Office, via flsenate.gov)

A bill that would create uniform and humane rules for the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women passed a state Senate criminal justice committee yesterday.

State Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa, and Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, introduced the bill to creates rules in county and city jails that protect the health of pregnant women who are incarcerated.

Advocates for women’s health have said the law would fill a present gap in jail policies in Florida.

Last session, a similar bill almost made it to a final vote, but it eventually died. While the bill found wide support, the Department of Corrections opposed the measure. Spokespeople for the Florida Sheriffs Association have responded to the bill, saying jails are not neglecting the health and safety of incarcerated pregnant women.

While both groups contend that jails and prisons have rules in place for the treatment of women, there is no universal policy that applies rules to all jails, prisons and detention facilities. This bill would create such regulations.

The bill passed in the committee without debate.

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