Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ottawa prison investigating allegations that guards ignored woman who gave birth in jail cell

This is a curious story. 

Many of the media reports seem to be focused on a suggestion the mother should not have been in remand custody at all. But if you look at the history, such as you can tell from the reports, she has quite a history of police involvement for a fairly young person and there could easily be a risk of of further offences while on bail. What's more ahe was charged with having breached her former release conditions and that alone is a basis for detention.  Granted keeping a pregnant woman in custody is unusual but it may well have been correct. 

The real issue is her treatment while in custody. 

Anyone who has been in a remand centre knows there are frequent complaints about health most of which are bogus. The staff become hardened and ignore a lot. My guess is that what happened here. And that is wrong. 

It may well have been appropriate to detain but far more care as to the medical treatment of the accused was required. 

Gionni Lee Garlow was born at 9:21 p.m. in the segregation cell. The baby suffered respiratory problems and the mother needed a blood transfusion, Baxter said. She has filed complaints to the provincial ombudsman and the College of Nurses of Ontario.

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