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Pregnant Inmate Sues After Being Forced to Wear Shackles During Labor

Florence McClure Women's Correctional Center(LAS VEGAS) -- Valerie Nabors gave birth to her fourth child, a healthy baby girl, last October, but within 10 minutes of delivery, she charges, her ankles were shackled to her hospital bed and she was not allowed to walk.

Nabors, a prison inmate at the time, complains her legs were shackled during labor, much to doctors' dismay, and against Nevada state law.

Nabors filed a lawsuit on June 20 against the Nevada Department of Corrections claiming cruel and unusual punishment.

Nabors, from Clark County, Nev., was an inmate at the Florence McClure Women's Correctional Center (FMWCC) on Oct. 19, 2011 when she went into labor, according to the lawsuit.  Nabors served a 12- to 30-month sentence from January 2011 to January 2012 for attempting to steal about $300 worth of casino chips.

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union.  Nabors is suing the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), its director and several top officers, as well as officials of the FMWCC.

"Ms. Nabors suffered severe and extreme emotional distress as a result of being shackled during the delivery of her child," the lawsuit says.

The Nevada Department of Corrections has no comment regarding the lawsuit at this time, a spokesman told ABC News.

"I think we have the right to expect more as women and the right to expect more from society," Staci Pratt of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada told ABC News.

Nabors, 30, was taken to the University Medical Center at 8:15 p.m. on Oct. 19.  As the ambulance was pulling out of the main gates of the prison, Sgt. Daniel Tracey "came running out of the facility" with shackles which were closed around Nabors' ankles, the lawsuit says.

According to Nevada state law, no restraints of any kind may be used on an inmate who is in labor, delivering her baby or recovering from delivery unless she presents a serious harm to herself or others or presents a substantial flight risk.

"She was not considered a flight risk," Pratt, who described her client as a "non-violent offender," told ABC News.  "She was not considered a danger."

Nabors is seeking damages for the punishment.  She was released from Jean Conservation Camp on May 11, 2012.  She has returned to the community and is taking care of her daughter, Pratt said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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