Mentally Ill Pregnant Woman Forced to Give Birth Alone in Florida Prison Cell

A mentally ill pregnant woman was forced to give birth in her jail cell alone after prison officials declined to take her to the hospital during her over six-hour labor, The Miami Herald reports. In a letter sent to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony asking for an investigation into the matter, Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said the inmate, Tammy Jackson, started complaining of contractions at 3:16 a.m. on April 10. Prison officials attempted to get an on-call doctor rather than take Jackson to the hospital, and she was told at 7:22 a.m. that the physician was on his way. However, the doctor still had not arrived by the time Jackson gave birth at 10 a.m. “She was forced to deliver her baby alone,” Finkelstein wrote. Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Gina Carter said a doctor and two nurses arrived to care for both mother and child but she did not say when they showed up.

The sheriff's office said they were notified of the incident two days after Jackson gave birth, and launched an internal affairs probe into the matter. Carter also told the newspaper that Jackson remains in custody for drug-related charges while the child is in the care of an “appropriate caregiver.” No details were given about the baby's condition.