Miami Gardens, FL — 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, her daughter Miranda spent her first moments on Earth in a dark concrete room designed to hold serial killers.
Jackson suffers from bipolar schizophrenia and her mental illness sometimes lands her in trouble with the police. Last month, Jackson was picked up on a trespassing charge and thrown in a Broward County Jail—where she would go into labor.
For hours, according to the department’s own records, Jackson screamed for help. But her screams would fall on deaf ears.
As Local 10 reports,
An incident report details how a Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw Jackson inside her isolation cell the morning of April 10 “screaming in pain.”
The deputy reported later hearing a baby crying and seeing Jackson holding her child in her arms before she was rushed to the hospital.
“It was horrifying. It was horrifying,” Jackson said. “When she fell, I had to bend down to pick her up and tell her, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to happen.’ She was still crying,” Jackson said.
According to Jackson’s mother, Shirley Nixon, Jackson has struggled with her mental illness and is often homeless and battling addiction.
“I didn’t even get clean before I had her. Also, she had hit the floor, and to me that was hard because she was just coming out of me,” Jackson said. “I just apologized for her being in the jailhouse. The situation, because I would rather for my mom to be by my side in the hospital with me having her.”
After police rushed Jackson and her baby to the hospital, once they were unable to ignore it any longer, Nixon showed up and learned of her granddaughter’s fate.
“I’m glad she’s out and hopefully, things will fall into place, She’ll get her the help she needs, and I can get my grandbaby,” Nixon said.
When asked what she thinks should happen to the cops who ignored her, Jackson was unafraid to speak out against them.
“It isn’t a joke when it comes to pregnancy. And if they don’t want to abide by that, they should get fired because I don’t believe no woman should really have to go through that,” Jackson said.
Because of Jackson’s mental illness and struggle with homelessness and addiction, Miranda was placed in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Jackson has since been released from jail on her own recognizance and is looking forward to moving on and trying to get her parental rights restored so she can raise Miranda herself.
When asked if she thinks the cop who ignored her cries for help will be held accountable, Jackson showed her lack of trust in the system.
Jackson said, “No, but they should. It was neglect … emotional abuse.” We agree.
According to Local 10, the jail has since launched an internal affairs investigation into the officers responsible for forcing a pregnant woman to give birth in a jail cell by herself.
To those who may think this is an isolated incident, think again. Just last year, TFTP reported on a similar instance.
Shaye Bear, 25, was only five months pregnant when she gave birth to her son, Cashh, in her jail cell last year. She told WFAA News that she was forced to give birth alone with no medical aid, even though she repeatedly cried for help and told guards she was in labor.
“I delivered a one-pound, two-ounce baby in that single cell screaming for hours, begging them to come and help me,” Bear said. “The guards would walk by and tell me they wouldn’t do nothing for me until I had that baby in that cell.”
The defense attorney representing Bear, Melinda Peel, said she spoke to a friend of another inmate who said that the guards refused to give Bear medical attention for two days, all while she screamed and cried in pain. The friend said the other inmates could not sleep for two nights because of the noise, and they considered filing a complaint against the jail but were scared of the repercussions.