Written by National Association of Women Judges|February 22, 2013|News Archive

NAWJ’s Women in Prison Committee joins the Maryland Chapter of NAWJ in support of proposed legislation, Maryland House Bill 829 Correctional Services – Pregnant Detainees and Inmates – Restraint Restrictions and Reporting, which, among other things, would prohibit shackling incarcerated pregnant females.

Maryland House Bill 829 Pregnant Detainees and Inmates – Restraint Restrictions and Reporting

The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) was founded in 1979 to, among other things, ensure equal justice for women, protect the rights of individuals, and bring about improvements concerning matters of importance in improving the administration of justice. NAWJ’s diverse membership includes women and men at all levels of the federal, state, trial, military and administrative judiciary from nearly every state in the nation.

In furtherance of our mission to improve the administration of justice, NAWJ has long advocated for basic fairness and equity for people who are incarcerated. In 1991, NAWJ adopted a resolution urging an end to discrimination against incarcerated women. For years, NAWJ members in Maryland have volunteered in correctional facilities to bring educational programming to women and girls in prison.

In 2009, in recognition that leading medical and legal authorities have documented significant risk of harm in shackling pregnant women, and the lack of risk of flight that women pose in such circumstances, NAWJ members voted to adopt a resolution formally opposing the practice of shackling pregnant women and urging action by its members wherever such practices exist.

In furtherance of that commitment, NAWJ supports HB 829, and in particular, the proposed restrictions on the use of restraints on pregnant incarcerated girls and women in transportation, labor, and childbirth.


There are over 61 active members of the Maryland Chapter of NAWJ. Among those members and friends spearheading this drive were; Hon. Toni Clarke, Hon. Julie Weatherly, Hon. Arline Pacht, Hon. Brenda Murray, Hon. Patrice Lewis, Hon. Hon. Kathleen O'Ferrall Friedman, Hon. Sue Ellen Hantman, Hon. Elaine Patrick; Attorney Valeria Tomlin, Hon. Christina Brooking, Sonia Kumar, and Hon. Cathy Serrette.

The NAWJ Women in Prison Committee includes: co-chairs Hon. Brenda P. Murray and Hon. Betty Williams; and additional members Hon. Beverly Cutler, Hon. Dana Fabe, Hon. Carol Feinman, Hon. Robin Garson, Hon. Kristin Glen, Hon. Cheryl Gonzales, Hon. Katherine Hansen, Hon. Laura Jacobson, Hon. Debra James, Hon. Bernette Johnson, Hon. Gladys Kessler, Hon. Annette LaRue, Hon. Pammela Lattier, Hon. Simone Marstiller, Hon. Pennie McLaughlin, Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, Ms. Lynn Schafran, Hon. Cathy Serrette, Hon. Norma Shapiro, Hon. Sheva Sims, Ms. Elizabeth Thomas, Ms. Rhonda Tomlison, Hon. Renee Worke.

About the National Association of Women Judges
The National Association of Women Judges is a non-profit organization of more than 1,250 federal, state, administrative, tribal and military judges from across the country. For 34 years, NAWJ has served as the nation's leading voice for jurists dedicated to ensuring equal justice and access to the courts for women and other historically disfavored groups, providing judicial education on cutting-edge issues, and increasing the numbers and advancement of women.

For more information contact NAWJ Executive Director Marie Komisar 202-393-0222 ext. 10.

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