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A Win for Pregnant Prisoners in Davidson County, TN

August 27, 2008

From The Tennesean:

Inmates at any stage of pregnancy, labor or delivery, no longer will be restrained in Davidson County starting Sept. 1, with a few exceptions.

Sheriff Daron Hall announced the changes this week, calling them radical and dramatic. He said pregnant inmates would be restrained during trips to the hospital or court if there were credible information they might try to escape or if they presented a danger to themselves or others.

This issue generated a lot of attention recently after reports of a pregnant woman who was shackled during at least some of her labor and denied subsequent requests to allow her to attend to self-care or use a breast pump.

The Sheriff went on to say:

“When you boil this situation down from a correction standpoint, it’s not about immigration and it’s not about us. It’s about how do we ensure that a person is going to be able to go through that experience and be sensitive to that experience and attend to our duty. It is my opinion that … we were doing a little more than may have been necessary in every case.”

I think “Inmates at any stage of pregnancy, labor or delivery, no longer will be restrained” is probably a little bit vague, and would like to see a written policy. However, at the very least it seems that this means that it will no longer be routine to shackle all women during labor. Wahooo!!!!!!

[Thanks to ACK and B for the heads up.]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2008 9:40 pm

    It’s an improvement.

  2. August 29, 2008 2:51 am

    A big improvement. Hopefully, they’ll be able to work with clinicians to use restraints appropriately – and perhaps just use supervision. I had a very long, slow progressing labor which even experienced OBs thought was further advanced than it was just by observation. There was a time when I could have just waddled off.

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