Lawsuit filed against jail for cruel and unusual punishment to pregnant women

1 year 3 months 1 week ago April 18, 2016 Apr 18, 2016 Monday, April 18 2016 Monday, April 18, 2016 1:17:00 PM CDT in News
By: Vivien Tran, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

ST. LOUIS - The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU) filed a second suit in the past six months on behalf of a woman that was shackled, chained and transported hundreds of miles while in active labor with a high-risk pregnancy.

ALCU said Tara Rhodes sued Mississippi County Monday for the cruel and unusual punishment that ultimately caused the death of her baby Dec. 23, 2014.

"Leaving a pregnant woman in excruciating pain for days is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment," explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. "This kind of abuse, which reaches far beyond the boundaries of human decency, is exactly what the Constitution was designed to protect against."

The first suit against a jail for cruel and unusual punishment against a pregenant women was filed Oct. 15, 2015. Megon Riedel said she was shackled, chained and transported nealy 200 miles while in active labor.

"There is no excuse for any Missourian to be shackled by law enforcement or denied health services while in labor," said Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. "The fact that the ACLU has to repeatedly take action against jails and prisons across the state for doing so is proof that this is a serious problem in Missouri. The ACLU remains ready to hold every offending institution accountable."

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