Matt Stroud

In Allegheny County Jail, pregnant inmates have been held in solitary confinement for infractions such as having one too many pairs of shoes

December 23, 2016 | Matt Stroud | Medium

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, along with The Abolitionist Law Center, PA Institutional Law Project, and Reed Smith filed a lawsuit on behalf of five pregnant women who spent as many as 22 days in ACJ’s Disciplinary Housing Unit for transgressions such as storing envelopes in a library book, and possessing three pairs of shoes instead of two. One of the women named in the lawsuit told Rewire that she was placed into the DHU — a euphemism the county uses for solitary confinement — because she kept her physician-prescribed medications in her cell, apparently against the jail’s policy. Once in the hole, she said she felt “like I was going to be in there forever.” When she filed a written grievance with the warden about being placed into solitary, she noted that she was going through a high-risk pregnancy — a detail that one would imagine the jail’s primary overseer might take seriously. A reply was scribbled at the bottom of the form: “If this is a problem don’t come to jail.”

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