6 takeaways from new law covering pregnant inmates

Minnesota Correction Facility in Shakopee
The Minnesota Correction Facility in Shakopee.
Curtis Gilbert / MPR News

A Minnesota law taking effect July 1 sets new requirements for state prisons relating to care of inmates during pregnancy and childbirth. It's the first Minnesota law to relate directly to pregnant women in correctional facilities.

6 takeaways from Jessica Anderson, director of legislative affairs and communications for the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota:

  1. The law restricts the use of restraints -- like handcuffs and waist chains -- from pregnancy through three days postpartum

  2. Correctional facilities will be required to offer pregnancy and STD tests to inmates, rather than relying on inmates to make a request

  3. Facilities will also be required to provide prenatal, childbirth and parenting materials to inmates

  4. Inmates will have access to mental health assessments and treatment during pregnancy and postpartum

  5. Inmates will be allowed access to a certified doula as long as there is no extra charge to the state

  6. A new committee will meet in the fall to discuss possible future changes, such as allowing inmates to breastfeed their babies

The law, which received support from both progressive and conservative groups, passed the legislature unanimously in May.