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Lawyers advocate for proposal to prohibit shackling, confining pregnant prisoners

Under the proposed bill, the state would not be able to shackle pregnant prisoners or leave them in solitary confinement.
Tiffany Smith of the Ohio Justice Policy Center speaks before the State Judicial Committee. (WBNS)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lawyers representing women in prison say it's time that the state stops shackling pregnant prisoners.

On Wednesday, they argued their point before the State Judicial Committee, saying that shackling of pregnant women could lead to injury of the unborn child.

"When you're shackled, your ankles are chained together, chained to a belly chain and you're handcuffed, so it's not uncommon for somebody to trip and fall and I've had a client with a broken rib who wasn't pregnant, but it could easily happen if someone was pregnant" said Tiffany Smith of the Ohio Justice Policy Center.

Supporters of Senate Bill 18 — sponsored by State Senators Nickie Antonio and Peggy Lehner — say about 22 states have made changes to securing pregnant prisoners, including not placing them in solitary confinement.