About a week ago, a newborn baby was found dead in a female prison. Whereas, this tragedy took place at HMP Bronzefield, located in the UK.
In the early hours of the morning, a woman in the prison cell reportedly gave birth. But according to the allegation, she didn’t’ receive any help until 08:30 am. And by the time staff arrived at the cell, the newborn baby was already unresponsive – the baby died.
Investigation about this unexplained death
Surrey police have started an inquiry related to this unexplained death at HMP Bronzefield. Whereas, the Sodexo Justice Services is operating this investigation and involves 557 prisoners.
Vicky Robinson is the director of this prison. She verified that a newborn baby had died in prison. But they were supporting the mother. According to the HM Inspectorate of the Prisons, the prison was overwhelming safe.
However, the report has acknowledged the challenge of increasing population in the prison. Moreover, it has also revealed that about 70% of the prisoners at Bronzefield have reported a mental health problem.
Currently, it’s an obvious question that whether it is humane to lock so many women with mental health issues from 6:45 pm to 8:00 am of the following morning. In addition, the prison’s action plan has also recognized the communication problems at the facility.
The plan’s requirements include that staff should answer the bells in the prisoner’s cells within 5 minutes. And also, the staff should fully address the reason for each call by the prisoners. Then how’s this tragedy even possible.
A woman in the last stage of pregnancy went into labor. She gave birth to her newborn baby in the cell, but the prison staff didn’t notice it for several hours. This case has proved that pregnant women are not safe in the UK’s understaffed prisons.
Urgent need for a medical treatment
Dr. Laura Abbott is a senior lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire and a specialist midwife. She has stated the experiences of women in the three unnamed UK prisons. That also includes an incident in which a premature infant was born (feet-first) with no midwife present.
Such births are usually considered as an emergency. And NHS England suggests against a vaginal delivery in cases where a baby has a breech position.
Women make up about 5% of the overall prison population. However, their population has doubled from 1995 to 2010. And the increased number of female prisoners with childbearing age has further raised the risk of childbirth in the prison.
But still, prisons and ministers have failed to consider this unintended outcome. And it has become the goal of the outside organizations, like charity Birth Companions, to raise the alarm. Two years ago, its director – Naomi Delap, wrote to the prison services.
She asked for taking urgent measures to protect pregnant female prisoners and their babies. According to the campaigning organization Women in Prison, 39% of females in prison report having a drug problem on arrival in prison. And 24% report having an alcohol problem. While 57% have experienced domestic abuse.
According to health professionals, these women need greater support during their pregnancies as compared to the general population. No matter what a female is in prison for, she and her unborn baby desperately need medical treatment. So, everyone deserves to have an explanation regarding this tragedy.