Pregnant inmates’ treatment

The Texas House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday that would require Texas sheriffs to produce reports on how they treat pregnant inmates.

Recently enacted legislation already dictated that the Commission on Jail Standards establish healthcare standards for pregnant women, but there have been continued allegations that such inmates are being mistreated in some county jails and that there is a lack of adequate information to evaluate the care across the state.

House Bill 1140, authored by first-term state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, compels every sheriff to report by Sept. 1, 2016, how the office is complying with the policies that require adequate care to pregnant prisoners. The legislation mandates that the report include the healthcare that is provided — gynecological, prenatal, mental health and drug abuse treatment — as well as, where applicable, nutritional standards, work assignments, housing conditions and situations in which a pregnant prisoner has been restrained.

The Senate should also pass this bill.