Women in Prison Fare Better in China

The New York Times today reported that women imprisoned in China fare better than women imprisoned in the United States. Here are some highlights:

  • Women aren't shackled during childbirth.
  • When the police arrest a woman who is pregnant, she cannot be sent to prison or detention. According to Wang Jingling, one of China’s leading researchers on women in prison, “Generally she stays at home and is monitored in her district. Depending on the severity of her crime, she is either monitored by the police or by other local officials.”
  • When it’s time to give birth, “if, say, she committed murder, then a policeman will accompany her to the hospital and make notes. But if not, then not.”
  • After a woman gives birth, she is “usually allowed to ‘zuo yuezi”’ — a traditional month in bed together with the infant, recovering and nursing.
AND the amendments to China's Criminal Procedure law (due to be enacted on January 1st) also mean that:
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women may be released on bail.
  • Women serving life sentences who are pregnant or breast-feeding may temporarily serve outside prison (previously only possible for those serving fixed terms).
  • Women who are the sole caregivers of dependents like young children may be released from jail into “residential surveillance.”
Note: These new clauses will not apply to women in China’s large system of re-education through labor, or “laojiao,” an extrajudicial form of detention that snares many thousands every year.

Read the full story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/world/asia/12iht-letter12.html?_r=2&pa...