Former Wisconsin Inmate Sues After She Was Allegedly Shackled During Childbirth

Sandra Robles’ federal civil rights lawsuit against Milwaukee County and acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt alleges the chain between her feet was so short that she was unable to reach the stirrups when it came time to push during labor in February 2014.
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A former Milwaukee County Jail inmate is suing the county and acting sheriff, claiming she was forced to wear leg shackles and have one arm chained to the bed as she gave birth at a Wisconsin hospital.

Sandra Robles’ federal civil rights lawsuit against Milwaukee County and acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt alleges the chain between her feet was so short that she was unable to reach the stirrups when it came time to push during labor in February 2014, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Robles, now 25, also alleged she had one hand chained to the bed and that deputies refused medical staff requests to remove the shackles at least during labor. 

Robles was allegedly made to wear the shackles to the restroom and during her time with her newborn. She claimed the arm chain prevented her from having full skin-to-skin contact with her newborn. 

An armed deputy was present for her entire hospital stay, the lawsuit reportedly said.

The lawsuit alleged the sheriff’s policy of shackling any inmate who visited a hospital was punitive, exceeded "any legitimate purpose it allegedly serves," and violated Robles’ 14th amendment rights.

The sheriff’s office policy of shackling pregnant inmates was dropped last year.

“Preventing walking during the first stage of labor may deny the woman the benefits of labor acceleration and discomfort alleviation," the suit read, according to the Sentinel. “Preventing walking during the post-partum phase may enhance the risk of deep vein thrombosis and its life-threatening embolic complications."

Robles now has two children and a job, according to her suit. 

It was not immediately clear why Robles was in jail at the time of her childbirth. 

The Office of the Corporation Counsel is representing Milwaukee County in the suit. They did not immediately respond to InsideEdition.com’s request for comment. 

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