New York prisoner forced to give birth while shackled
Content Editor / July 05 2019
An American woman has won a lawsuit against the city after being forced to give birth while shackled.
Jane Doe was awarded US$610,000 ($868,000) for the trauma she was put through.
The woman was arrested in Bronx County Family Court for violating an order of protection that was part of a child custody dispute with her former partner, CNN reports.
She was 40 weeks pregnant at the time and went into labour just hours later. She was taken from jail to New York’s Montefiore Medical Center.
In court her lawyer argued that it was unnecessary to arrest her so urgently.
The woman had metal cuffs on her wrists and heavy shackles on her feet, binding her legs together at the ankles.
Doctors begged officers to remove the restraints as they could endanger both the mother and child.
Shackling pregnant women in police custody or prison was banned in New York State starting in 2009.
The policy was updated in 2015 to include the use of any restraints on pregnant women.
Eventually officers removed the shackles just minutes before she gave birth, then placed them back on again shortly afterwards, forcing her to feed her baby with one arm.
The woman experienced “a horrific violation of her rights by the NYPD during one of the most intimate moments in a woman's life: labour, delivery, and welcoming a new baby in her first day of life,” her attorney Katherine Rosenfeld said.
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.