CARSON CITY — A state board on Tuesday approved a $130,000 settlement with a former Nevada prison inmate who had her ankles shackled in 2011 during an ambulance ride to give birth to her baby girl.
The Board of Examiners, made up of Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved the agreement with former inmate Valerie Nabors brought on her behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.
The ACLU will receive $50,000 of the settlement, an amount that surprised Sandoval.
“It just seemed like a lot of money going to the attorney versus the client,” he said.
Sandoval was also told new procedures are being put into place by the Nevada Department of Corrections to ensure such situations do not arise again.
The ACLU 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.
“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.
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 lawyers for the ACLU, alleged corrections officers kept Nabors’ ankles shackled despite concerns raised by ambulance personnel and nurses who treated the inmate at University Medical Center.
The practice of using restraints on pregnant Nevada inmates had just been restricted by the Nevada Legislature before the incident involving Nabors. 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.” The measure took effect on Oct. 1, 2011, and the Nabor’s incident occurred 18 days later.
Nabors, who did not appear at the meeting, faces further legal troubles. An October 2013 criminal complaint out of Las Vegas Township Justice Court charged her and two others with trafficking in a controlled substance. An arrest report alleges Nabors sold 8.3 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover Las Vegas police officer on Sept. 16, 2013.
She is scheduled to go to trial on the charges in May.
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.