Settlement ends shackling

newborn infantThe courageous women who filed the federal lawsuit after they were shackled during labor, and in some cases, delivery of their babies, have reached a settlement with Cook County.  The Chicago Tribune coverage can be seen here.
We are pleased that Cook County Jail has implemented vastly improved practices for pregnant women in custody. We hope that pregnant women in Illinois prisons and downstate jails will soon have the same protection.

We congratulate the brave mothers who came forward to share their traumatic and horrifying experiences to win a change in policy. We're glad that they will have some compensation for what they went through, and we're particularly happy that the settlement includes services to help them gain long-term benefit to their lives and their families. We also congratulate Tom Morrissey and Ken Flaxman, whose sustained and hard-hitting work led to this settlement.

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Quick Facts

  • More than 16,000 women go to jail annually in Cook County Jail and about 82% are mothers.
  • About 80% of women detained at Cook County Jail are charged with non-violent crimes and only 1.8% of the 3,100 women admitted to Illinois prisons in 2009 were classified as a high security risk.

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