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Woman cuffed in post-birth check-up

Woman cuffed in post-birth check-up

A second incident of the woman who was handcuffed during childbirth being shackled to a prison guard is shocking, says National Social Services Spokesperson Katherine Rich.

Mrs Rich learned this week that the woman, who had been handcuffed to a guard while in labour, was cuffed to a prison guard while undergoing an internal examination four days after giving birth to her baby.

"I want an assurance that this type of inhumane treatment won't happen again. This second breach of prison regulations makes it even more important that we have a full investigation into this," Mrs Rich said.

Prison regulations state: - Escorting staff will not be present in the delivery room, or in a room where an intimate examination if taking place, unless the prisoner requests it...

Regulations for dealing with pregnant inmates and inmates with babies say: - Physical restraints will not be applied from the time they arrive at the hospital until they leave.

"It was up to the woman whether prison guards could be present at the birth or the check-up. She was not given a choice.

"What disturbs me about the second incident is that a male guard refused to leave when the midwife asked him so that an internal examination could be conducted. I understand a compromise was struck where the male guard left the room, and the female guard remained handcuffed to the woman during the internal examination.

"This is the second clear breach of prison regulations and it is concerning that the Prisons Service still doesn't know why this happened. The Minister of Corrections must assure the public that we will not handcuff woman giving birth or undergoing intimate medical examinations again," Mrs Rich said.

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