Tuesday, October 3, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Shackled, Chained and Bleeding in Labor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - Missouri jailers accused a pregnant woman of lying about contractions and forced her to travel three hours in a van while shackled, chained, bleeding and vomiting, she claims in court.

Megon Riedel sued Jackson County and three Doe jailers on Thursday, for cruel and unusual punishment she received as an inmate at Jackson County Detention Center.

Riedel claims that on Oct. 4, 2012, a doctor at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City told a jail guard who had taken her to the hospital that she was in early stages of labor and that the jail needed to have plan in place in case she went into labor and needed immediate medical attention. Riedel was in her late third trimester.

At 5 a.m. the next day, as Riedel was bleeding vaginally and having frequent contractions, guards ordered her to pack her belongings and forced her to walk unassisted to the van. She says she had to stop every few steps due to pain and contractions.

"Hurry up," one officer said, accusing her of lying about her contractions and pain.

The jailers then shackled and chained her while she was in labor and drove her to the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correction Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia, Mo., three and a half hours away.

During the 200-mile ride, Riedel says, she pleaded that she was in labor and needed to be taken to a hospital. She continued to bleed vaginally and vomited in the back of the van.

When the van finally arrived at Vandalia, a jail officer asked her to strip and upon seeing her condition said: "Are you fucking serious?"

The staff member immediately called for medical attention, and Riedel was rushed to a hospital, where she delivered her baby that same day.

"Shackling and chaining a pregnant prisoner while she is in labor violates the Constitution, and transporting her across Missouri in shackles and chains is beyond callous," said her attorney Anthony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.

"Not only is it cruel and unusual punishment, it jeopardizes the health of both mother and baby," said Rothert.

Jackson County Detention Center did not respond to a request for comment.

Riedel seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, negligence, failure to train and supervise, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.