Women Give Birth In Shackles

Handcuffs during labor "degrading and immoral," lawsuit says

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    The suit claims the sherrif's policy shows deliberate indifference to the laws of the United States and violates rights secured by Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

    Former Cook County jail inmates say it's "dehumanizing, degrading and immoral" to handcuff pregnant inmates to a hospital bed during labor and are suing Sheriff Tom Dart to get the practice stopped.

    The federal suit filed Thursday against Dart and Cook County claims the "shackling policy," which requires correctional officers to shackle pregnant woman in the custody during and immediately after labor and delivery, violates human rights and shows indifference to rights secured by the Constitution of the United States.

    "I couldn't have no family there, nobody to support me, help me. The nurses were in and out.  All I have is this officer," said Danielle Bryant, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

    "It's Not Even Feasible to Run When You're Actually Going to Have a Baby"

    [CHI] "It's Not Even Feasible to Run When You're Actually Going to Have a Baby"
    Former Cook County jail inmates, handcuffed to hospital beds during labor, say the procedure is against the law and are taking legal action.

    According to the suit, the women were being held on theft charges when they went into labor and were transferred to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County to give birth. 

    Bryant said her restraints were removed during childbirth, but another woman, Simone Jackson, said hers never came off.

    "It's not even feasible to run when you are actually going to have a baby," Jackson said.  "It's no way to do that." 

    The suit claims Dart’s policy shows deliberate indifference to the laws of the United States and violates rights secured by Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

    "The Sheriff's Office is violating a clear state standard.  The federal law, a Constitutional standard, is being abused also because it's cruel," said attorney Tom Morrissey

    The suit seeks in excess of $100,000 in damages.