Bill Summary for H 608 (2021)

Summary date: 

Aug 18 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 608 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 20, 2021
AN ACT TO PROMOTE THE DIGNITY OF WOMEN WHO ARE INCARCERATED.
Intro. by K. Baker, Clemmons, White, K. Hall.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.

Organizes the act into three Parts. Part I. titles the act as the Dignity for Women who are Incarcerated Act.

Part II. organizes the provisions set forth in previously proposed new Article 83A in GS Chapter 15A, as new Article 2B of GS Chapter 148, and titles the Article as Dignity for Women Incarcerated in Prison Facilities. Makes the following changes to the proposed Article. Amends the defined terms correctional facility and correctional facility employee to no longer include local confinement facilities or other entities under the authority of local law enforcement agencies, or employees of those entities. Makes organizational changes to consolidate the statutes regarding care for female incarcerated persons related to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. Now explicitly prohibits Department of Public Safety (DPS) and correctional facility employees from applying restraints on a pregnant female incarcerated person during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and during the post-partum recovery period; no longer specifies the types of restraint prohibited. Eliminates the time period specified for the postpartum recovery period (was, six-week postpartum recovery period). Prohibits a correctional facility employee, other than a certified health care professional, from conducting body cavity searches of a female incarcerated person who is pregnant or in the postpartum recovery period unless the correctional facility employee has probable cause to believe that the female incarcerated person is concealing contraband that presents an immediate threat of harm (was, threat of harm) to the female incarcerated person, the fetus, or another person. Adds a new provision to require an employee that denies visitation to an incarcerated mother as provided by the statute to submit a written report to the warden or administrator of the correctional facility within five days following the denial providing the justification for the denial. Now requires the warden or administrator to compile a monthly summary of all written reports received pursuant to the consolidated statute and GS 148-25.3 (was, GS 15A-1360.6), concerning inspections when a female incarcerated person is in the state of undress. 

Part III.

Deletes new GS 153A-221.2 which subjects local confinement facilities to the requirements of the new Article enacted by the act, and instead enacts an identical provision to GS 153A-221 to subject local confinement facilities to the requirements of new Article 83A, GS Chapter 15A.

Additionally, enacts new Part 2B to Article 10, GS Chapter 153A, titled Dignity for Women Incarcerated in Local Confinement Facilities, as follows.

Sets forth 11 defined terms. Enacts substantively identical provisions set forth in new Article 83A of GS Chapter 15A, as enacted, with the following exceptions and changes. Does not enact provisions mirroring family considerations; placement of female incarcerated person; visitation; and employee training and technical assistance. Makes the provisions applicable to facility employees, defined as any person who is employed by the local government and who works at or in a local confinement facility. Defines local confinement facility to include a county or city jail, a local lockup, a regional or district jail, a juvenile detention facility, a detention facility for adults operated by a local government, and any other facility operated by a local government for confinement of persons awaiting trial or serving sentences; excepts a county satellite jail/work release unit governed by Part 3 of the Article. Provisions enacted include the following with respect to a pregnant female incarcerated person during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period as specified: limitations on the use of restraints and body cavity searches; nutritional requirements; limitations on restrictive housing and bed assignments; bar to charging costs of necessary care; bonding period requirements; availability of nutritional and hygiene products during the postpartum period. Additionally enacts the following provisions related to female incarcerated persons: limitations on inspections by male facility employees when a female incarcerated person is in a state of undress; and access to menstrual products at no cost. Similar to monthly reports required to be submitted by correctional facility employees to correctional facility wardens and administrators under new Article 83A, GS Chapter 15A, requires facility employees to submit required written reports to the sheriff or administrator of the local confinement facility. 

Part IV.

Changes the effective date of the act from October 1, 2021, to December 1, 2021, and specifies that the act is applicable to individuals in custody on or after that date. 

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