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Tennessee moves bill limiting shackles on pregnant inmates

The bill would generally prohibit restraints of a pregnant inmate, except for some cases.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee lawmakers are advancing a bill strictly limiting the shackling of pregnant inmates.

The Republican-led state Senate passed the legislation by Democratic Sen. Raumesh Akbari without opposition Thursday.

The bill would generally prohibit restraints of a pregnant inmate. More specifically, a pregnant inmate's ankles, legs or waist couldn't be shackled during labor or delivery. It also would not allow a pregnant inmate to be shackled behind the back or to be attached to another inmate.

Some exceptions allowing restraints on a pregnant inmate would be when the inmate is moved within or outside of a facility, if the inmate is an immediate flight risk, if the inmate poses a self-threat or threat to the fetus or others, or if the classification level of the inmate requires restraints.

In those cases, the bill says only the least restrictive restraints necessary should be used.

The legislation still needs a vote from the House.

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