Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Public Safety:

Prison Board amends regulations for new mothers in prison

The Nevada Prison Board today approved a revised regulation for restraining female inmates who are pregnant.

The change in the policy comes after a prisoner at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in North Las Vegas went into labor in October 2011 and was placed in leg shackles in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She was again placed in shackles 10 minutes after she gave birth to a daughter.

Valorie Nabors — with help from the ACLU — sued the state and officers involved. She alleges she pulled a muscle in her groin when she was shackled by the legs during rehabilitation exercises ordered by the medical staff, and a tentative $130,000 settlement is expected to be presented to the state Board of Examiners for approval in November.

The policy adopted by the Prison Board during its meeting says no restraints of any kind may be used on an offender who is in labor, who is delivering her baby or who is recuperating from delivery unless she is considered an escape risk or a threat to herself and others.

In no case will leg irons be used, according to the regulation.

According to the suit filed by Nabors, her breast pump was confiscated when she returned to prison after the birth, a situation she said should also be remedied under the new policy.

Greg Cox, director of the state Corrections Department who worked with the ACLU on a regulation regarding breast pumps that was also approved, said allowing breast pumps in the prison “is not only helpful to the offender but helpful to the child.”

“Once this child is placed in the community, the mother can still provide her breast milk to the infant,” he said. “We provide a cooler and a refrigerated device and they (the guardians of the child) can schedule with us to pick it up.”

The new breast pump policy will be in place for at least one year, Corrections Department Deputy Director of Operations E. K. McDaniel said. He said negotiations are still under way on the length of time the breast pump will be allowed.

Nabors was nine months pregnant when she entered the prison in October 2011. She had been ordered to serve a 12- to 30-month sentence for attempted grand larceny involving about $250 in casino chips. She has since been released.

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