Gov. Ralph Northam's administration should be acting affirmatively to uphold the policy of the Commonwealth, comply with federal law and support the rights of nursing employees. Instead, the New York Times recently reported that employees at Deerfield Correctional Center have had to breastfeed in their car, smuggle breast pumps into the facility, or pump in dirty public restrooms. This report is the latest in a series of documented incidents demonstrating that the Virginia Department of Corrections does not adequately consider, never mind meet, the needs of its female inmates, employees, and visitors. Entering a prison, whether as an employee, inmate, or visitor, should not require an individual to shed their dignity and fundamental rights.
We sent a letter to Gov. Northam encouraging him to direct the Virginia Department of Corrections to adopt policies and practices supporting all breastfeeding employees, as required by state policy and federal law.