Download this document in MS Word format


AutoFill Template

H.306

AN ACT RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION OF INDIVIDUALS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE STATE

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 5541 is added to read:

§ 5541.  TRANSPORTATION OF A CHILD

(a)  The commissioner of the department for children and families shall ensure that all reasonable and appropriate measures consistent with public safety are made to transport or escort a child subject to this chapter in a manner which:

(1)  prevents physical and psychological trauma;

(2)  respects the privacy of the individual; and

(3)  represents the least restrictive means necessary for the safety of the child.

(b)  The commissioner of the department for children and families shall have the authority to select the person or persons who may transport a child under the commissioner’s care and custody.

(c)  The commissioner shall assure supervisory review of every decision to transport a child using mechanical restraints.  When transportation with restraints for a particular child is approved, the reasons for the approval shall be documented in writing.

(d)  It is the policy of the state of Vermont that mechanical restraints are not routinely used on children subject to this chapter unless circumstances dictate that such methods are necessary.

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 7511 is amended to read:

§ 7511.  TRANSPORTATION

(a)  The commissioner of the department of health shall ensure that all reasonable and appropriate efforts measures consistent with public safety are made to transport or escort a person subject to this chapter to and from any inpatient setting, including escorts within a designated hospital or the Vermont state hospital, or otherwise being transported under the jurisdiction of the commissioner in a manner which:

(1)  prevents physical and psychological trauma;

(2)  respects the privacy of the individual; and

(3)  represents the least restrictive means necessary for the safety of the patient.

(b)  The commissioner shall have the authority to designate by rule the professionals who may transport authorize the method of transport of patients under the commissioner's care and custody.

(c)  When a professional designated pursuant to subsection (b) of this section decides an individual is in need of secure transport with mechanical restraints, the reasons for such determination shall be documented in writing.

(d)  It is the policy of the state of Vermont that mechanical restraints are not routinely used on persons subject to this chapter unless circumstances dictate that such methods are necessary.

Sec. 3.  DATA COLLECTION

(a)  On or before January 31, 2007 and January 31, 2008, the commissioner of the department for children and families shall report to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare data for the preceding year regarding the transportation of children in the custody of the commissioner by a sheriff or deputy sheriff.  The data shall include the number and gender of children transported to various locations and geographic distribution of the use of such transports.

(b)  On or before January 31, 2007 and January 31, 2008, the commissioner of the department of health shall report to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare data for the preceding year regarding the transportation of persons in accordance with 18 V.S.A. § 7511.  The data shall include the number, method, and location of all adult and child transports.

(c)  The department for children and families, the department of health, the department of corrections, the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, the office of the defender general, and the court administrator’s office shall meet to discuss protocols for the secure transport of children, persons being hospitalized for mental illness, and pregnant inmates who are in state custody and develop strategies for reducing the frequency and necessity of secure transports using mechanical restraints.  The group shall provide the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare with a letter detailing its findings and recommendations no later than

January 15, 2007.

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 801a is added to read:

§ 801a.  PREGNANT INMATES

(a)  It shall be the policy of the state of Vermont to respect the unique health issues associated with a pregnant inmate.  The department of corrections shall not routinely restrain pregnant inmates who are beyond their first trimester of pregnancy in the same manner as other inmates, recognizing that to do so might pose undue health risks for the mother and unborn child.

(b)  The commissioner of the department of corrections shall ensure that all reasonable and appropriate measures consistent with public safety are made to transport a pregnant inmate in a manner which:

(1)  prevents physical and psychological trauma;

(2)  respects the privacy of the individual; and

(3)  represents the least restrictive means necessary for the safety of the inmate, medical and correctional personnel, and the public.

(c)  Unless the inmate presents a substantial flight risk or other extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise, mechanical restraints of any kind shall not be used on a pregnant inmate after she has been declared by an attending health care practitioner to be in active labor.  The inmate shall remain unrestrained after delivery while in recovery at the hospital.  If restraints are used while the inmate is in labor or in the hospital during recovery after delivery, the commissioner of corrections shall make written findings as to the reasons why mechanical restraints were necessary to prevent escape or to ensure the safety of the inmate, medical and correctional personnel, or the public.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us