Last week, a 34-year-old mother of three being held for trespassing and drug possession charges, gave birth to a baby. All alone. In a jail cell.
And according to witnesses, the pregnant woman’s cries were ignored (she was in an isolation cell at the North Broward Bureau in Pompano Beach) Then, six hours and 54 minutes after she had asked for help, she gave birth to her baby.
Jackson has struggled with drug addiction and homelessness and according to her mother, Shirley Nixon, also suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Thanks to Local 10 News’ “Leave it Layron” segment, the alleged incident was brought to the attention of the Broward County Public Defender’s office. Howard Finkelstein was “outraged” to learn about what happened and said, “It remains to be seen how this gross negligence will affect Ms. Jackson’s already fragile mental health.”1 (Can you even imagine?) He contacted Broward Sheriff, Gregory Tony and demanded a review of the medical and isolation practices in all detention facilities.
“According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office report, Jackson went into labor in the early morning hours of April 10, but instead of delivering in the hospital, she was left alone in her cell. Later that morning, a deputy reported seeing her ‘squatting and screaming in pain.’
At 3:16 a.m., the staff left a message for an on-call physician, who works for Wellpath, a contractor tasked with providing medical and behavioral healthcare services, according to Finkelstein’s letter. They didn’t speak to the physician until 7:22 a.m., and Jackson reported she was bleeding about 9 a.m., but remained isolated in her cell, Finkelstein said.
Finkelstein said not only was Jackson’s health callously ignored, the life of her newborn was also put at risk. Thankfully, the baby was born at term and is healthy. Despite her entrance into the world.”1
This is utterly unacceptable. Regardless of why someone is in jail, to force them to have a baby alone, on a cold jail cell floor, isn’t how you treat a human being.