Judges have changed the criteria that prevented pregnant women from being jailed for owing alimony. Now, following a recent case, they can be jailed, as long as it is not a high-risk pregnancy.
One woman was arrested on April 6 for owing alimony for her 7-year-old son. The child’s father requested an order of corporal urgency and the woman was arrested. Her public defender pointed to the decision in 2008 but the criteria were changed by the current judges. She remains in jail, as do 12 other women who owe alimony, one of whom is also pregnant. The judges look at the well being of the baby as well as the child in need of alimony.
Women in jail who are pregnant are moved to a protected location within the jail, called the Maternal and Child module, when they are eight months pregnant. Until then, the baby is absorbing information from the difficult environment. This stress can affect the baby. The women are seen by the prison clinic for prenatal care.