Mass. bill would ban shackling of pregnant inmates

BOSTON (AP) — A bill that would outlaw the practice of shackling women prisoners during childbirth is making its way through the Statehouse.

The bill would create uniform laws in county jails and the state prison system banning the shackling of pregnant women during childbirth and post-delivery recuperation "unless they present a specific safety or flight risk."

Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety has released the bill, clearing its first legislative hurdle.

The bill would also set standards for the treatment and medical care for women in jail who are pregnant to help promote safe and healthy pregnancies.

Currently, the state Department of Correction and each county jail has its own policy regarding pregnant inmates.

Supporters, including civil liberties and abortion rights groups, say 18 states already ban the shackling of pregnant, incarcerated women.

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