SB 852 ensures protections for pregnant incarcerated individuals in labor in correctional facilities
Legislation ensuring that pregnant incarcerated individuals in labor in correctional facilities are transported to an appropriate medical facility without delay, given proper medical care, and not placed in restrictive housing involuntarily unanimously passed its first committee with bipartisan support. The Tammy Jackson Act (SB 852, titled Restrictive Housing for Incarcerated Pregnant Women) was filed by Senator Jason Pizzo (Miami). Representatives Shevrin Jones (West Park) and Amy Mercado (Orlando) sponsored the House companion, HB 1259.
The legislation is named in honor of Tammy Jackson. In April 2019, she was forced to give birth in solitary confinement in a Broward County Jail without medical assistance of any kind and left to labor in pain for seven hours rather than being transported to a hospital for medical assistance. Ensuring that incarcerated individuals, including those who are pregnant, are safe, healthy and treated with dignity, especially during labor, is the responsibility of the state.
Dignity Florida is a coalition of formerly incarcerated women, their families, and advocacy organizations across Florida. Many statewide advocacy organizations including New Florida Majority, American Civil Liberties Union, Florida Center for Fiscal & Economic Policy, Florida National Organization for Women, Latina Institute Florida, and Planned Parenthood waived in support of the bill.
Valencia Gunder, Campaign Manager for Dignity Florida expressed her thoughts on making it through the first committee. “We live in a first-world country, and we create second class citizens who have to face third-world conditions. We are in a state of emergency when it comes to women’s incarceration in the State of Florida. It is all of our responsibility to ensure the dignity of all incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls in Florida and we are excited to see our state leaders making the right decisions to uplift and support the health and safety of incarcerated women.”
To continue to advocate for incarcerated women and raise awareness about this session’s legislative priority, impacted folks and community partners will convene at the Capitol on Tuesday, January 21st at 12 PM in the 4th-floor rotunda at the Florida Capitol for a press conference. The public is welcome to participate in the array of events and actions planned in support of this legislation.