Bill Bans Prison Guards From Handcuffing, Shackling Pregnant Inmates

Mar 21, 2019

A group of Democratic and Republican senators want to prohibit the use of restraints, such as shackles or handcuffs, on pregnant inmates once they've reached their third trimester.

Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) says shackling a pregnant woman serving time behind bars can seriously inhibit the person's ability to walk late into a pregnancy.

“We really see this as a dangerous thing first of all, that a woman would be more susceptible to falling or tripping, and that could create injury to her as well as to her unborn baby at that point,” Antonio says.

The bill, SB18, which has bipartisan support, would also ban restraints on a pregnant woman during hospital transports, labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery.

Antonio says she first heard about this issue from a nurse in northeast Ohio. 

“It’s barbaric, it’s humiliating for the woman. And we just believe that the risk of her running goes way down in that last trimester as well,” says Antonio.

The senator says this opens the door to a larger issue of adapting the state’s prison policies for female inmates.