$130,000 settlement eyed for pregnant Nevada inmate who was shackled

CARSON CITY — A state board on Tuesday will consider settling a lawsuit with a former prison inmate whose ankles were shackled in 2011 during an ambulance ride to give birth to her baby daughter.

The Board of Examiners, made up of Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, will consider the proposed $130,000 settlement with Valerie Nabors and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

The settlement had been pulled from an earlier agenda because of some unresolved issues.

Nabors filed a federal lawsuit against the Nevada Department of Corrections and others in 2012 after being released from the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in North Las Vegas.

The lawsuit alleged that Nabors was “placed at serious risk of substantial harm” and suffered “inhumane treatment” that violated prison policy, state law and her constitutional rights.

Nabors, who lives in Clark County, was released from prison in May 2012 after she completed a 12- to 30-month sentence for attempted grand larceny, a nonviolent crime. She was not considered a flight risk.

The federal lawsuit, prepared by ACLU lawyers, alleged corrections officers kept Nabors’ ankles shackled despite concerns raised by ambulance personnel and nurses who treated the inmate at University Medical Center.

“In sum, this is a case of shocking and deliberate indifference to the wholly obvious, serious medical needs of Valerie Nabors and the child she was about to deliver,” the lawsuit alleged.

The Nevada Department of Corrections, its top directors and officials with the Florence McClure correctional facility are among the defendants named in the lawsuit.

The practice of using restraints on pregnant Nevada inmates had just been restricted by the Nevada Legislature. Lawmakers in the 2011 session passed a measure prohibiting the use of restraints on Nevada female prisoners during labor, delivery, or childbirth recuperation unless the prisoner is a “serious and immediate threat of harm” to herself or others, or a “substantial flight risk.”

When testifying on his bill, then-Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said the measure was proposed to follow the lead of other states and that he was not aware of it being an issue in Nevada.

Even so, the incident involving Nabors occurred only 18 days after the measure took effect on Oct. 1, 2011.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.

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