Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 53.1. Prisons and Other Methods of Correction
Chapter 2. State Correctional Facilities
12/1/2021

§ 53.1-40.12. Treatment of prisoners known to be pregnant.

A. The following restraints shall not be used on any prisoner known to be pregnant upon notification or diagnosis of the pregnancy and for the duration of the pregnancy, unless there is an individualized determination that the prisoner will harm herself, the fetus, the newborn child, or any other person or poses a substantial flight risk: (i) leg restraints, (ii) handcuffs or other wrist restraints, except to restrain the prisoner's wrists in front of her, or (iii) restraints connected to other inmates. If there is an individualized determination that the prisoner will harm herself, the fetus, the newborn child, or any other person or poses a substantial flight risk and restraints are used, such restraints shall be the least restrictive possible.

B. No restraints shall be used on any prisoner known to be pregnant while in labor or during delivery unless there is an individualized determination that the prisoner will harm herself, the fetus, the newborn child, or any other person or poses a substantial flight risk. If there is an individualized determination that the prisoner will harm herself, the fetus, the newborn child, or any other person or poses a substantial flight risk and restraints are used, such restraints shall be the least restrictive possible. In such case, the employee ordering the use of restraints on any prisoner known to be pregnant while in labor or during delivery shall submit a written report to the warden or other official in charge of the state correctional facility within 72 hours following the use of restraints, containing the justification for restraining the prisoner.

C. No employee of the Department other than a licensed health care professional shall conduct body cavity searches of prisoners known to be pregnant unless the employee has a reasonable belief that the prisoner is concealing contraband. In such case, the employee shall submit a written report to the warden or other official in charge of the state correctional facility within 72 hours following the body cavity search, containing the justification for the search and what contraband was found, if any.

D. The Department shall not place any prisoner known to be pregnant in restrictive housing or solitary confinement unless an employee of the Department has a reasonable belief that the inmate will harm herself, the fetus, the newborn child, or any other person or poses a substantial flight risk. In such case, the employee authorizing the placement of the inmate in restrictive housing or solitary confinement shall submit a written report to the warden or other official in charge of the state correctional facility within 72 hours following the transfer, containing the justification for confining the prisoner in restrictive housing or solitary confinement.

E. The Department shall ensure that prisoners known to be pregnant are provided sufficient food and dietary supplements as ordered by a licensed physician or physician staff member to meet generally accepted prenatal nutritional guidelines for pregnant women.

F. The Department shall not assign any prisoner known to be pregnant to any bed that is elevated more than three feet from the floor of the facility.

2020, c. 526.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.