Former Inmate Sues After Being Shackled During Childbirth

A former Washington state prison inmate who says she was shackled while in labor has sued the state, saying her constitutional rights were violated.

Seattle-based women's rights organization Legal Voice filed the
federal lawsuit Thursday against the state Department of Corrections on behalf of Casandra Brawley. She was an inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women near Gig Harbor until May 2007.

Brawley said she was shackled by a metal chain around her stomach during transportation to the hospital, then fastened by a leg iron to a hospital bed throughout several hours of labor.

The suit alleges her restraints were removed during an emergency
cesarean section only after a physician insisted, but then were
replaced after the procedure.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Cat Location: Gboro on Jun 27, 2009 at 04:20 PM
    Well, if you're knocked up, don't get arrested. Feel no sympathy for her.
  • by Lynne Location: Ayden on Jun 27, 2009 at 08:04 AM
    I went to a more indepth article on this. She was 4 months pregnant when she began serving her sentence. Not only did they have her in full restraints during transport but the leg restraint during labor (as stated it was only removed during the EMERGENCY C-section because the doctor demanded it), but she was also placed in ankle restraints when she was walked around the hospital during recovery. I have to wonder how much the waist restraint and forced imobility during labor increased the need for the emergency C-section. By their policy did they increase the cost of her treatment? She was also a model prisoner and released 7 months into a 14 month sentence for shoplifting..
  • by Wanda Location: Kenansville on Jun 27, 2009 at 04:17 AM
    Chris, yes, the policy is in place for a reason. However, the prison officials did not use their common sense. Every decision must be in policy, but one should use sound judgment and good old "common sense" in making that decision. Did you read the article? This woman was transported in full restraints and then a waist chain was placed on her after surgery. A female staff should've said something concerning the childbirth process and how ridiculous it is to have full restraints on a woman whose about to give birth or after birth, duh. Yes, the female prisoner should've been appropriately secured. Come on. This inmate taught the system a valuable lesson about using the gift of commonn sense.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 26, 2009 at 05:42 PM
    A lot of good comments, I have nothing more to add.
  • by Kevin Location: Kinston on Jun 26, 2009 at 12:39 PM
    Why sue the state when they are going to be giving her welfare anyway. Can't imagine she will already be getting a free ride. Greedy criminal. Maybe someone should take her child from her and put her back in jail for being stupid.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Jun 26, 2009 at 12:33 PM
    If she was in jail, the Washington state taxpayers paid her hospital bill. She was a criminal under detention. There appears to only be an adherence to policy and procedure here. Filthy lawyer.
  • by Chris Location: Greenville on Jun 26, 2009 at 11:27 AM
    "Sad!!!" There are more risk than someone running away. Actually the reason the policy is in place is for the protection of hospital staff and the protection of the correctional officers. Let's all keep in mind that SHE WAS IN PRISON, not cupcake camp! Ya know the weirdest thing, I have managed to make it 33 years without having a run in with the law.. If you live right and treat people right, you will never find yourself in that position. Handcuffs and shackles are not built for comfort or leisure unless you get the fur covered kind.
  • by Just Wondering on Jun 26, 2009 at 07:58 AM
    I wonder when this woman conceived. Was she pregnant before she started serving her sentence or did she get pregnant while in jail? Was it a conjugal visit or did a guard do the "deed"? And I'm assuming that taxpayers paid for the hopital expenses and are now supporting this woman and child.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Jun 26, 2009 at 07:41 AM
    Bill has just spoken what I was about to say. If the woman can sue for such a thing as that, maybe the government should go back and take her money away from what meals and shelter in the prison they provided her with.
  • by haha bill is right on Jun 25, 2009 at 07:24 PM
    that was perfect bill. you rock. though 'sad' is right, not many people would get far if they were in labor/giving birth. guess you never know though.
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