Birth in Chains: The Shackling of Incarcerated Women During Labor and Delivery

Anna Clark

One prisoner was shackled around the waist during labor. Another, with a high-risk pregnancy, was put in a leg iron. Policies for incarcerated men are extended to women without adapting to distinct circumstances.

To date, 46 states have no legislation that restricts the
shackling of pregnant women in prisons, jails, and detention centers, leaving
the practice to the discretion of individual facilities. Illinois, California,
Vermont, and New Mexico prohibit it entirely, though, but as a Cook County case
reveals, implementation of anti-shackling policy can be patchy.

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