CARSON CITY, NV – This morning, March 18, 2014, the Nevada Board of State Prison Commissioners adopted new regulations (pdf) restricting the use of restraints on pregnant inmates and allowing inmates who have recently delivered babies to use a breast pump.
“These regulations represent a new stage in the treatment of reproductive justice issues in women's prisons,” said Staci Pratt, ACLU of Nevada Legal Director. “Through this work, women need no longer face the terror of enduring leg shackles while in labor or delivery. In addition, we have assured that their newborns can have access to the health benefits of breast milk.”
The regulations are part of a settlement agreement to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada representing Valerie Nabors, a former inmate at the Florence McClure Women’s Correction Center. Nabors was ankle-shackled after she went into active labor and was placed in shackles 10 minutes after giving birth. Prison officials also confiscated the breast pump that was medically prescribed to Nabors.
“We are pleased that the state of Nevada has agreed to the benefit of adopting these regulations, which will afford women in custody the dignity and healthy options they and their infants deserve,” said Tod Story, ACLU of Nevada Executive Director.
Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) Administrative Regulation 455 restricts the use of restraints on inmates who are pregnant, in labor, or delivering a baby. Only handcuffs may be used on a pregnant inmate and no restraints may be used once an inmate is in labor or in post-partum recovery, unless she is a “serious and immediate threat of harm” to herself or others, or a “substantial flight risk.” The new regulation complies with NRS 209.376, passed by the Nevada State Legislature in 2011 to minimize restraints on pregnant inmates.
NDOC Administrative Regulation 657 establishes a program to allow inmates who have recently delivered babies access to a breast pump to provide nutrition to their children. NDOC’s breast pump program is among the first of its kind in the country.
The ACLU of Nevada's lawsuit, Nabors v. Nevada Department of Corrections, et al., was filed on June 20, 2012 in federal district court. On January 14, 2014, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, and on February 4, 2014, the Nevada State Board of Examiners approved the financial portion of the settlement.
- Nabors v. Nevada Department of Corrections, et al. settlement agreement, with adopted Administrative Regulations (pdf)
- June 20, 2012 ACLU of Nevada press release: ACLU of Nevada Sues NDOC for Ankle Shackling Woman during Childbirth
- May 19, 2011 ACLU of Nevada press release: Governor to Sign Bill Prohibiting Shackling of Pregnant Inmates During Childbirth
- Nevada State Board of Prison Commissioners