Should Pregnant Addicts Go to Jail?


Tennessee officials have declared Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome an "epidemic" and took action this past July with the implementation of Public Chapter 820. The law makes it possible for a woman to be charged with assault for the use of a narcotic drug while pregnant if her child is born harmed by the drug. An assault conviction is punishable by a fine and anywhere from one to 15 years in prison. So far, around 9 women have been charged under this law. The law has been controversial, with opponents saying it's counter-productive to put a drug-addicted mother behind bars. From Reason's April 2015 issue, Amanda Winkler asks, should pregnant addicts go to jail?