Last October 19, while incarcerated at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in North Las Vegas, Valerie Nabors went into labor. She was serving a 12 to 30 month sentence for trying to steal around $300 in casino chips.
When Nabors was placed in the ambulance for transportation to University Medical Center, prison guards shackled her ankles together over the objections of the EMTs. The guards refused to remove the shackles for Nabors to be transferred from the ambulance stretcher to a hospital gurney. She stumbled during the transfer. They did remove them to allow her to get undressed and into a hospital gown. The guards tried to re-shackle her at that time but were stopped by a nurse. They tried again in the delivery room, but the nurse told them that she was about to receive an epidural and “it would make medical history” is Nabors attempted to get away.
Nabors had a difficult delivery, and an emergency caesarian section was briefly discusses. She finally gave birth at 6:20 a.m. on October 20, and at 6:30, the prison guards slapped the shackles back on her. Nabors suffered a groin injury during the delivery, and the shackles prevented her completing a recommended course of physical therapy. She was given a breast pump in the hospital to allow her to express milk (the reports do not say if this was transitional while her milk production tapered off or if it was intended that her milk be delivered to her daughter), but the prison confiscated the pump, causing her further pain and distress.
Nabors served less than a year and has been reunited with her daughter. The ACLU has filed suit against the prison, calling her treatment “inhumane and [violating] contemporary standards of decency.” It also violated basic medical practice, interfered with her medical treatment, and may have caused permanent damage.