Missouri lawmakers vote to ban shackling pregnant prisoners

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo- The Missouri Legislature has passed a bill restricting when prisons can restrain pregnant prisoners.

The bill, approved Thursday by the House 131-13, would only allow the Department of Corrections to use restraints during a prisoner’s third trimester or immediately after birth if the woman is a substantial flight risk, or in other limited situations. Even then, no restraints below the waste would be allowed, and corrections officials would have to remove them if a nurse or doctor demanded it.

The proposal would not apply to jails run by individual counties or cities.

Proponents say it protects vulnerable women.

Opponents say it puts too much of a burden on law enforcement.