Proposal for The State of Missouri to Adopt an “Anti-Shackling” Law for Pregnant Inmates

Approximately 2,000 incarcerated women give birth in America each year. These pregnant women are often shackled before, during, and after labor and delivery. Shackling typically consists of physical restraints in the form of chains and handcuffs connected around an inmate’s wrists, legs, and stomach, and are used to limit and control movement. The practice of shackling pregnant inmates frequently rests on the premise that these women are violent offenders who pose a flight risk. On the contrary, most incarcerated women, pregnant ones especially, are nonviolent offenders serving a short sentence. In fact, no reports of any pregnant inmate attempting to escape during labor exist – shackled or not.