After hours in labor, pregnant inmate gives birth alone in Broward jail cell

Public Defender: Treatment of pregnant woman is 'outrageous and inhumane'

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Witnesses say a pregnant woman’s cries were ignored as she gave birth to her baby girl while in an isolation cell at the North Broward Bureau in Pompano Beach. 

Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said he was outraged after Local 10 News' Leave it Layron team contacted his office, inquiring about the alleged incident.

"It remains to be seen how this gross negligence will affect Ms. Jackson's already fragile mental health," Finkelstein wrote in a letter to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, demanding a review of the medical and isolation practices in all detention facilities.

Jackson, 34, and a mother of three who has struggled with drug addiction and homelessness, was being held for trespassing and drug possession charges.

Jackson’s mother, Shirley Nixon, who said her daughter suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office report, Jackson went into labor in the early morning hours of April 10, but instead of delivering in the hospital, she was left alone in her cell. Later that morning, a deputy reported seeing her "squatting and screaming in pain."

At 3:16 a.m., the staff left a message for an on-call physician, who works for Wellpath, a contractor tasked with providing medical and behavioral healthcare services, according to Finkelstein's letter. They didn't speak to the physician until 7:22 a.m., and Jackson reported she was bleeding about 9 a.m., but remained isolated in her cell, Finkelstein said. 

Other pregnant women, who were inmates when Jackson gave birth, said they heard her screams. Six hours and 54 minutes after Jackson asked for help, she gave birth to the baby. 

"I heard a baby crying, as I approached the cell," a deputy said, according to the incident report. Jackson "was standing with a baby in her arms. I immediately, helped [Jackson] wrap the baby with a towel."

One of the nurses completed an urgent care record form and reported a "pregnant female had a spontaneous delivery and no injuries noted." Medical records indicate her baby was born at term, according to Finkelstein. 

Finkelstein said not only was Jackson's health callously ignored, the life of her newborn was also put at risk. 

"What happened to Ms. Jackson is outrageous and inhumane," Finkelstein wrote

Leave It To Layron also informed Jackson's mother, Shirley Nixon, that her daughter did not give birth to her grandchild in the hospital, but rather, alone in a jail cell. Nixon said she held her granddaughter, who is now named Miranda Latrice Nixon, at the hospital. She he said she was not allowed to see her daughter because she was still in custody. 

"I figured she was born in the hospital," Nixon said in tears about Miranda. "They didn't tell me none of this. Where were they?"

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.