Settlement of lawsuit over shackles during birth

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CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has given preliminary approval to the settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by female detainees at Cook County Jail who alleged they were shackled while giving birth, a violation of state law.

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CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has given preliminary approval to the settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by female detainees at Cook County Jail who alleged they were shackled while giving birth, a violation of state law.

If there are no objections, 80 plaintiffs will share $4.1 million, or about $35,000 each.

Plaintiff’s attorney Thomas Morrissey says more important than the money is the ending of the practice of shackling pregnant detainees in Cook County.

County sheriff’s spokesman Frank Bilecki says the settlement is "probably the most fair and efficient way to end this lawsuit and to prevent further cost to taxpayers."

The settlement provides for establishment of a fund to provide job, educational and family counseling for the lawsuit’s plaintiffs.

Illinois in 1999 banned the shackling of female inmates giving birth.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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