Thank Governor Quinn for banning the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners in Cook County!
Illinois originally passed a ban on shackling pregnant women during labor in 2000. Unfortunately that ban had not been uniformly enforced – Women charged with nonviolent crimes have been placed in leg irons, with their hands cuffed to chain belts, when brought to the hospital. They even have been shackled by one wrist and one ankle to their hospital beds, impeding labor.
Thankfully, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 1958 into law. The bill will protect pregnant women and their pregnancies in Cook County by providing clear definitions to guide corrections officials, protecting mothers from chain belts and leg irons throughout their pregnancy and ensuring reporting when restraints are used at the request of health staff or when an individual is believed to be an immanent flight risk.