Tennessee Democrats back bill banning shackling pregnant inmates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee say the General Assembly should ban shackling pregnant women in detention, particularly during childbirth.

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, a Democrat from Memphis, said Tuesday she has a bill that would not only prohibit the state’s inconsistent use of shackling, but also provide prenatal and postpartum medical care. The bill would also ban solitary confinement for pregnant women before and after giving birth.

The legislation is backed by Democratic legislative leaders and civil rights activists. Republican Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday said he hasn’t reviewed the bill, but is interested in learning more.

In 2013, Tennessee made national headlines when a federal judge ruled that jail officers showed “deliberate indifference” when they cuffed a woman to her hospital bed through most of her labor and during recovery.

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