Volume XXII

Pregnant Women in Chains

by Savanna Jones

In 2018, a twenty-seven-year-old woman went into labor while detained in a New York holding cell on a misdemeanor charge. She was later shackled to her hospital bed by her wrists and her ankles during labor, and only after her doctors insisted for nearly an hour did the officer finally remove her ankle restraints. She was still forced to give birth with one arm handcuffed to her hospital bed.

The shackling of pregnant incarcerated women is not only morally abhorrent and unnecessary, but also likely unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Currently, there is an urgent need to eliminate this barbaric practice by any legal means necessary—either legislatively or in the courts.

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