There is a disturbing lawsuit filed this month in Tennessee against CCA Silverdale and Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond (left). Charity Flerl was incarcerated when she went into labor last summer. The police proceeded to force her to give birth while shackled because, as explained by one individual in this article, because “They’re criminals, so you never know what they might do.” Now here is the kicker: Flerl was not in for some violent offense. She was in for failure to pay child support. It is not clear what “they might do” in such a case: failure to pay child support on the new baby?
According to her lawyer, Flerl was kept “shackled the entire time, they kept her legs, feet, waist shackled. When she had to actually give birth, they unshackled the legs from each other, but then they shackled them to the bed and same with her arms.”
Even if there was a lack of a single human being present, there is a ruling that would seem to offer some guidance. In Nashville last year, a federal court ordered a change in the city’s policy of shackling women during deliveries.
The practice is barbaric and a clear example of excessive use of force and restraints. This is particularly the case for a nonviolent offender.
We will be following this very important case closely.