Inmate Sues After Being Shackled During Labor

Valerie Nabors, a former prison inmate who was shackled during labor, is suing the Nevada Department of Corrections.

The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, described the correctional officer’s blatant disregard of “wholly obvious, serious medical needs.”

The lawsuit alleges violations of state law and Nabors’ constitutional rights
. Nabors claims that guards shackled her ankles together in the ambulance, despite protests by the ambulance staff. At the hospital, the shackles were only removed because she was falling and couldn’t get into her hospital gown, the suit claims. Allegedly the guards wanted to put them back on right away but a delivery room nurse told stopped them, saying that “it would make medical history if Ms. Nabors attempted to get away.”

The shackles were put on ten minutes post-delivery. Afterwards, an attending doctor diagnosed a pulled groin muscle that could be treated with physical therapy. But according to the lawsuit, Nabors never got the treatment and remained shackled for the duration of her stay. The suit also claims that her breast pump was confiscated, which caused more unnecessary problems.

Nabors was being held in a correctional center for having attempted to steal $300 worth of casino chips. She is no longer in prison. Staci Pratt, legal director at the ACLU of Nevada, commented, “Anybody who has gone through birth or witnessed it can imagine the challenges and difficulties of giving birth while shackled. It is a far cry from the common standards of decency and what we expect as a civilized society.”

Last year a Tennessee mom was awarded $200,000 after she sued the state for being shackled when she went into labor after being arrested for driving without a license. Some states have started passing laws prohibiting the shackling of laboring inmates. There have been some shocking exposés on the controversial practice, which include terrible descriptions and words like “cattle.”
As if continuous electronic fetal monitoring wasn’t bad enough…

Ceridwen Morris (CCE) is a childbirth educator and co-author of the pregnancy and birth book From The HipsFollow her blogging on Facebook.


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