Female Inmates Sue Over Shackles While Giving Birth Say they endure labor with arms, legs cuffed By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jul 17, 2010 12:51 PM CDT 18 comments Comments Female inmates say they are illegally restrained during labor. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Twenty former inmates are suing the Cook County sheriff's office alleging that they had to give birth while restrained with handcuffs and leg shackles, reports the Chicago Tribune. The practice is illegal, though a sheriff's spokesman says women are allowed to be restrained until labor begins, and they rely on medical personnel to advise them. The women, most of them nonviolent offenders, say their restraints were taken off way too late or, in some cases, not at all. "I couldn't push the placenta out because I couldn't position my legs," says one former inmate. "It is not fair to treat a person like this. I did a crime ... but I'm not willing to be treated like a dog. I was treated like I wasn't human." One woman describes her male guard ignoring her pleas while he sat nearby watching the NBA finals. He left the room only when the baby crowned, but her leg shackles stayed on.