While most of our prison population is male, many women also find themselves being locked up. Being in jail is already a traumatic experience as it is, but some people also deal with being pregnant in jail. Being pregnant while in jail or prison can be a frightening prospect. Many pregnant inmates worry about their health and the health of their unborn children. An attorney can help you protect your health and your rights.
Being pregnant is not an excuse to get out of jail. Even pregnant people must serve time if they are convicted of a crime. However, a pregnant inmate has a right to health care during their pregnancy. A pregnant inmate also has the right to make important decisions regarding their pregnancy, such as those regarding abortion or adoption.
If you are currently pregnant and face a possible jail sentence or are already behind bars, you deserve proper healthcare. Contact our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys about your case today. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free case review.
Going to Jail or Prison While Pregnant in Philadelphia
The idea of being incarcerated while pregnant might be unthinkable. For many, pregnancy is a joyous time when people celebrate their growing families. Nobody wants to spend their pregnancy in jail, but being pregnant will not allow you to escape incarceration. However, you must be aware of certain rights and protections you are entitled to as a pregnant person behind bars.
A judge can legally send a pregnant defendant to jail if convicted and sentenced to jail time. If you are pregnant during your trial, you must inform your attorney so your attorney can inform the judge. While your pregnancy might not prevent a judge from imposing a jail sentence, the judge will notify correctional authorities after your conviction.
You have a right to maternal healthcare while in jail and pregnant. This could include checkups with doctors to make sure your pregnancy is normal and healthy. If you experience any complications, you can inform prison staff and be taken to a hospital. You also have the right to choose what happens to your pregnancy. Even though you are in jail, you can still get access to an abortion if you want one. You can also make adoption arrangements if that is your choice.
Call our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys immediately if you are in jail and believe the correctional staff has violated your rights as a pregnant inmate.
Can I Terminate My Pregnancy While in Jail in Philadelphia?
Being pregnant is not always a good thing. Many people experience unwanted pregnancies both in and out of jail. If you are pregnant while in jail, you still have the right to choose to end your pregnancy. However, your decision must adhere to all the rules and laws that would ordinarily apply to abortion procedures outside of jail.
Once you decide to have an abortion, you need to alert the medical staff in your prison or jail or a caseworker as soon as possible. The sooner you can make this decision, the better. After 24 weeks, it becomes a bit harder to get an abortion. After 24 weeks, you can only get an abortion if your pregnancy is a threat to your health and safety or if the fetus is no longer viable.
Typically, you must pay for an abortion in Pennsylvania if you are able. However, the county or state in which you are incarcerated must provide you with the medical care you need if you cannot afford an abortion on your own. Your jail or prison must also not delay your abortion because you cannot pay. Call our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys now if you believe you have been unjustly denied an abortion while in jail.
Giving Birth While in Jail in Philadelphia
Pregnant inmates are not supposed to give birth inside their jail cells. If you are a pregnant inmate and believe you are in the beginning stages of labor, alert the jail or prison staff immediately. Labor is a time-sensitive medical emergency, and you should be provided with medical care quickly.
In the past, inmates taken to hospitals for medical attention, including pregnant inmates, have been shackled to prevent them from leaving or even moving around their own hospital rooms. In 2010, Pennsylvania passed a law that prevents prison authorities from shackling pregnant inmates. This rule applies especially while the inmate is giving birth. However, if an inmate proves to be dangerous and shackles are necessary for safety and security, jail or prison authorities must report each instance of using shackles on a pregnant inmate.
Giving birth is natural, but it can easily go wrong and constitute a medical emergency. Being shackled while in labor puts pregnant inmates in great discomfort at an already uncomfortable time. If you were shackled at any time as a pregnant inmate, call our Delaware County criminal defense attorneys immediately.
What Happens to My Baby After I Give Birth in Jail in Philadelphia?
As a pregnant inmate, you have numerous rights regarding your pregnancy and health while in jail. You also have rights regarding what happens after you give birth. We can all agree that jail is no place for children of any age. Unfortunately, a pregnant inmate will be separated from their child after birth. However, you have the right to decide what happens to your child, and jail officials cannot stand in your way.
After giving birth, you have the right to decide whether to keep your baby or terminate your parental rights and give the baby up for adoption. If you want to keep the baby, you can make arrangements to have family, friends, or the other parent take care of the child while you serve your sentence. In many of these cases, you can file custody or guardianship petitions so that the child’s caretakers have legal custody and guardianship. You can also arrange for visitation rights so you can see your baby while still in jail.
You can also choose to give your child up for adoption. Being incarcerated during pregnancy should not stop you from finding a suitable family to adopt your unborn child. It can be difficult to orchestrate adoption proceedings from a jail cell, and you might need help from an attorney. If you want to make plans for the future of your unborn child, but jail staff is standing in your way, speak with our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys about protecting your rights.
Call Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help
If you are pregnant and in jail or currently charged and facing possible jail time, call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers for help immediately. If you are pregnant, we can help you protect your rights while incarcerated. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free case evaluation.