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Lawmakers Back Bill Banning Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners

pregnancy test, handcuffs
The current law only bans shackling during the third trimester but the new proposal will try to ban the practice throughout the entire preganancy.

A bill to ban prison guards from shackling pregnant inmates seems to be gaining momentum after clearing another hurdle in a Senate committee. Supporters say this is a common sense bill that shows more humanity towards inmates.

The amended bill now bans restraining pregnant inmates throughout their whole pregnancy instead of just the third trimester.

Shackles can feature a chain that goes from handcuffs, around the waist, and down around the ankles.

State Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) says this is a tripping hazard that puts the woman and fetus in danger. She adds that it creates an emotional strain.

"I think it's harsh. It really comes up against 'cruel and unusual' punishment when a woman's pregnant.”

Antonio also spoke about why it's important to reform prison standards for women inmates.

"All of the practice and policies in the Department of Corrections originated for male prisoners. There was not consideration of women in jail, in prison."

No one has testified against the bill yet. Antonio says there are measures in place to still ensure safety for correction officers and other inmates.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.