Broward County, FL — Last year, as TFTP reported, Tammy Jackson was pregnant and in solitary confinement for a trespassing charge—unable to pay her own bail—when she went into labor. Her cries for help went unanswered by officers at the jail, and as a result, she gave birth by herself, and her daughter Miranda spent her first moments on Earth in a dark concrete room designed to hold serial killers.
The fact that a mother gave birth by herself in a concrete cell is horrifying and one would think that the Broward County Sheriff’s office would take action to make sure it never happened again. However, one would be wrong.
Last month, another mentally ill woman was forced to give birth to her son in a jail cell, according to a letter sent to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony by the Broward Public Defender’s Office.
“She was denied the dignity of a hospital bed and the assistance of a physician,” according to the letter, signed by Executive Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon H. Weekes Jr. “The repeated and callous indifference to the medical needs of a laboring, mentally ill mother is of grave concern.”
Imagine for a moment that this exact same jail made national headlines last year for this very same thing and they are so callous and reckless that they would do it again a year later after no one was held accountable. Well, that is exactly what happened.
Because this was the second time it happened, Sheriff Troy could no longer ignore the horrifying negligence of his top brass. The Miami Herald reports that the sheriff’s office fired Colonel Gary Palmer and Lieutenant Angela Neely Thursday after an administrative review of the circumstances surrounding the birth.
“I conducted a review of the matter and determined that command level failures occurred by Colonel Palmer and Lieutenant Colonel Neely in this case,” Sheriff Tony said in a statement. “They grossly failed this agency and this inmate.”
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The mentally ill woman was arrested after she was caught on someone's home security footage walking around in their home. She had harmed no one and was in dire need of mental health and medical help. Instead of help, however, she was kidnapped and put in a concrete and steal cage on Sept. 6 as her baby boy grew inside of her for 3 more weeks.
The mentally ill woman gave birth on Sept. 27. Medical records show the woman was complaining about contractions and labor pains more than 12 hours before giving birth that day — but she was ignored.
The despicable irony of this case is that it took place just three months after the state enacted the Tammy Jackson Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women law, which is supposed to stop this very thing from happening. This goes to show how useless laws are that attempt to rein in police incompetence and cruelty.
Despite lambasting the top brass for forcing this latest victim to give birth alone in a cell, Weekes stopped short of claiming their actions were criminal, despite them clearly violating the constitution.
The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Here at the Free Thought Project we feel that forcing women to deliver their own babies alone in concrete rooms is excessively cruel.
“In my opinion, the law established a certain spirit of how woman should be treated, with dignity,” Weekes said. "The law does not contain provisions for what would happen if an agency violates it, but an inmate would probably be able to bring a civil case," Weekes said.
So, instead of actually holding the cops responsible for violating their oaths to the constitution, Weekes suggests asking the taxpayers for money. Seems legit.
After being forced to give birth in jail, the woman was ordered released as her crime didn't amount to the time she spent in jail. Though she was released, her child was then taken from her and given to the Department of Children and Families. A sad story all around.