Officials fired: Problems with 2nd birth at Florida jail

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Two officials at a county jail in South Florida have been fired following problems surrounding a second birth at the facility in just over a year, authorities said Thursday.

The more recent Broward County jail birth took place Sept. 27, nearly three months after the state enacted the Tammy Jackson Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women law, the Sun Sentinel reported. The law puts safeguards in place preventing pregnant women being in restrictive or isolated cells during their detention. It was inspired by Jackson, who gave birth alone in a Broward County jail cell in April 2019.

Earlier last month, a 28-year-old pregnant woman was booked into the jail on a burglary charge. Nurses were able to attend to her in an infirmary cell, but Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes said the woman should have been kept in close monitoring by medical staff the entire length of her pregnancy or her incarceration.

Medical records show the woman was complaining about contractions and labor pains more than 12 hours before giving birth. While the records indicate she declined treatment, the woman told her attorneys that the jail personnel offered her prenatal vitamins and didn’t recognize the signs of labor until it was too late.

“She should have been taken to a hospital hours before she gave birth,” Weekes said. “Detention deputies didn’t call for nurses to come in until after her water broke, and by then it was too late to move her.”

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the terminations of a colonel and a lieutenant colonel at the jail. The sheriff said a new acting colonel of the Department of Detention had been named.

“I conducted a review of the matter and determined that command level failures occurred,” Tony said in a statement, adding of those fired: “They grossly failed this agency and this inmate.”

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