Bill would stop most shackling of pregnant inmates

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland delegates will hear testimony about a bill that would prevent the shackling of pregnant inmates in most circumstances, particularly during labor and delivery.

The House Judiciary Committee will review the bill Tuesday. Maryland already has a similar internal policy for prisons. But Meredith Curtis, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, said it doesn't apply to local facilities, such as county jails.

Curtis also said the state could reverse this policy whenever leadership changes. A law would be more permanent.

Del. Mary Washington, a Baltimore Democrat, introduced the bill last week. A similar initiative never received a vote last year.

The ACLU reports that 18 states already have similar laws. Numerous medical and corrections groups have denounced the practice of shackling pregnant inmates, including the American Medical Association.

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