Iowa Senate OKs Bill to Limit Restraint Use

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By Rachel Begle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has passed a bill requiring rules on the use of restraints on pregnant women in prisons and jails to be uniform and to be made public.

The Senate unanimously voted in favor of the measure Monday to limit the use of restraints on pregnant women, except during certain circumstances. The legislation now goes to the House.

The bill would require the Iowa Department of Corrections to develop rules clarifying limitations for restraint use on pregnant inmates. It would also allow birth plans for inmates, and require the report of all instances of restraint use to the Legislature each year.

Restraint policies are currently determined by individual facilities and are typically not disclosed.

Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen, who sponsored the bill, says she isn't comfortable with such privacy.

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