woman chained to bed while in labour

Heya, just found this on the net and thought it was really out of order and wondered what everyone else thought.

The whole story is on

I have copied the interesting bits of the article.

Shawanna Nelson, a prisoner at the McPherson Unit in Newport, Ark., had been in labor for more than 12 hours when she arrived at Newport Hospital on Sept. 20, 2003. Ms. Nelson, whose legs were shackled together and who had been given nothing stronger than Tylenol all day, begged, according to court papers, to have the shackles removed.

Though her doctor and two nurses joined in the request, her lawsuit says, the guard in charge of her refused.

"She was shackled all through labor," said Ms. Nelson's lawyer, Cathleen V. Compton. "The doctor who was delivering the baby made them remove the shackles for the actual delivery at the very end."

Despite sporadic complaints and occasional lawsuits, the practice of shackling prisoners in labor continues to be relatively common, state legislators and a human rights group said. Only two states, California and Illinois, have laws forbidding the practice.

"We found this was going on in some institutions in California and all over the United States," Ms. Lieber said. "It presents risks not only for the inmate giving birth, but also for the infant."

Dee Ann Newell, who has taught classes in prenatal care and parenting for female prisoners in Arkansas for 15 years, said she found the practice of shackling women in labor appalling.

"If you have ever seen a woman have a baby," Ms. Newell said, "you know we squirm. We move around."

Twenty-three state corrections departments, along with the federal Bureau of Prisons, have policies that expressly allow restraints during labor, according to a report by Amnesty International U.S.A. on Wednesday.


  • Hey sweety. I havent seen you on msn. I wanted to let you know I didnt have time to send the doppler. But it's on it's way. I was having a few problems at home with cramps and sleeping pattern.

    Will send it later today or tomorrow

    As for this story!!! It's bang out of order..


  • Heya, i havent been on for a few days as my msn has been playing up - every time i sign it it kicks me out grr

    Not a problem dont worry about it theres no rush. image

    Are you feeling better now and managing to sleep a bit better? hugs

    i know i couldnt believe it when I saw it. Its madness, a breach of basic human rights!!!

  • god this sounds awful cnt believe its allowed to go on this day in age!
  • I know, I was really shocked when I read it, there's even a bit at the bottom that says that the women being chained were convicted for petty offences like shoplifting etc. I wonder how they treat murderers? x
  • I can understand why you all object to this but I think you have to remember its prisoners we are talking about and hospitals are not exactly secure buildings. It would be the perfect time for an attempt to escape. However, I think there ought to be some sort of assessment of how dangerous the prisoner is and how likely they are to try to escape and how serious their crime was. A shoplifter afterall is not likely to be a terrible risk to society and would be on a short sentence and therefore unlikely to try to escape. A person with a history of violence who managed to get themselves in prison on a long sentence while pregnant is probably not the sort of person who deserves to have shackles removed purely for their comfort and increase the chance of them escaping.
  • I agree with Little1 (!!!) and think this should be reviewed on a case by case basis. I know some people who have been unfortunate enough (stupid enough maybe more accurate) to experience American policing and am certain they wouldn't risk committing any crime in US again, however they are not at all dettered by our own law enforcement. That's not to say I think we should shackle pregnant women but personally if a violent or sexual criminal was in the delivery suite next to me I would hope that all necessary means were taken to keep me and my baby safe.
  • I have to say I agree as well (bloody hell!!! did I just agree with Little 1?) Although I think that for minor crimes this is bang out of order it seems reasonable for serious offenders. TBH I don't think that for minor offences pregnant women, or for that matter anyone with a serious medical condition, should be locked up to start with.
  • Well I am not a criminal and both times that I have had a c section in Greece they tie your arms to planks of wood. The first time I felt like I was being crucified. The second time I was prepared so I didn't mind. I asked why they did it and they said to stop people interfering with the operation. Do they do this in England?
  • I wouldn't mind but it's an old plank of wood and not very hygenic looking. But I've got used to it now after 2 sections. They have strange ways over here. After a section they don't feed you for 4 days because they say you have to let your insides get back in place. Good for weight loss but absolute murder because my MIL always buys a big box of cakes to give out to visitors but won't let me have any. On the 4th day before you get let out they bring you chicken soup. It is really bland but both times it tasted wonderful as I was so hungry.
    Also the toilets don't have seats because they say it is unhygenic for women to sit down. It is difficult to squat after a C section but I have practiced now in advance.
    My Mum can't understand why I give birth here but I've got used to their strange ways and I would have to travel to England 2 months in advance which would be a real hassle so I just get on with it.
  • pmsl .... I can't imagne a woman in 2nd stage of labour trying to escape from hospital??!! I can understand having to restrain in someway at the start before they are sure she is in labour but once they know 'its happening' ..she ain't gunna be running anywhere!! lol I wish we could shakle midwives to your room so you are guarrented (sp?!) a midwife!! lol
  • Ooo I think this is a hard one! Of course it's important to not let other mothers and babies be at risk... but it just seems so wrong to me...
    surely we move around naturally to help get the baby in the right places to come out... and people can be heavely sadated, rooms can be locked, or even paralised during birth with epidurals so it wouldn't be possible to walk around...
    surely it would cause distress during labour which would be passed onto baby who has done nothing wrong apart from be born to a mother who had made badly wrong choices...
    perhaps units could be built that were much more sercure and enabled women to have freedom of movement at least with in the room they are giving birth...
    people do wrong things for alsorts of reasons and being pregnant does not excuse this - but to think someone may have shop lifted because they were hungry, made to in an abusive relationship, or just made a mistake because shop lifting seemed the better of the other options they may of felt they had ect... - I know we get a sort of amnesia afterwards - but to think THATS your memory of your child coming into the world... you carry that forever!
    Of course people who have show very violent behavours and have cause harm should be assessed diffrently - but i do think it should be risk assessed not just run of the mill practice for it to happen...
    And to remember that these women are in labour - the idea of running anywhere is a hard choice to make - that is if they are even able - or want to for that matter they idea of withholding medical care from there baby (or them selfs) as things can go wrong during birth - is a big personal risk for them to take!

    just a few thoughts! x
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