House Panel Advances Bill to Change Rules on Inmates in Labor

JANUARY 12, 2007 - Posted at 7:50 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A bill put into law what state prison officials say has been policy for over two years, shackles and handcuffs on pregnant inmates in labor, will get a vote before the full Arkansas House.  State Representative Sharon Dobbins of North Little Rock says her proposal is intended to help avoid lawsuits like one currently facing the state.

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee endorsed the measure.  If the bill becomes law, prison officials could only restrain pregant inmates with straps, rather than handcuffs or chains.

Prison officials say they no longer use handcuffs or chains on inmates in labor.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)