A Pulaski County jail inmate gave birth in her cell just over a week ago, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said, surprising jail staff who were unaware she was pregnant. Another inmate, who reported the birth to the media, said she thought the episode was an example of poor medical policies at the prison.
Pulaski County Deputy Nawaski Connors was checking cells on the second floor of the jail’s D Unit just before 11:45 a.m. on Nov. 11 when she spotted 21-year-old Kristiline Allen-Tate sitting on her bunk , back to the cell door. and something hanging under the covers, according to an incident report provided by agency spokesman Lt. Cody Burk.
The dangling object turned out to be an umbilical cord, according to the report, and Connors saw that Allen-Tate was holding a baby she had delivered alone.
A medical emergency was called to the prison, and additional deputies, prison medical staff and ambulance personnel responded, says the incident report, which contains statements from personnel involved.
Allen-Tate and the baby were taken to UAMS Medical Center for treatment, with the child placed in the neonatal intensive care unit, the report said.
Allen-Tate was returned to jail the next day, while the baby was left in the care of the family or the Department of Human Services, Burk said.
While in hospital, Allen-Tate told MPs she didn’t know she was pregnant, the delivery didn’t hurt badly and she didn’t tell the baby about the baby. prison staff because she was afraid they would take it, according to the report.
Another guard, Deputy Amanda Lee, reported seeing Allen-Tate waking up around 7:30 a.m. on the day of the birth and saying “good morning” to each other. Lee didn’t report anything out of the ordinary when Connors took over at 8:45 a.m., and the report didn’t say exactly when the baby was born.
Deputies interviewed the inmates, and none of them reported hearing anything unusual in the cellblock that morning, according to the report.
Dawn Jeffrey, who is also being held in Unit D, said in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that she didn’t know Allen-Tate was pregnant until the baby was born. She said she was cleaning the cell block that morning when she noticed liquid on the floor near Allen-Tate’s cell.
Later, deputies found out that Allen-Tate had given birth alone, Jeffrey said.
Burk would not comment on Allen-Tate’s medical condition other than to discuss the delivery.
The birth highlights many of the shortcomings of the prison’s medical policies, Jeffrey said. For example, although she understands that all inmates are tested for pregnancy while incarcerated, she has never been tested and she believes the type of test used by the prison is cheap and subject to false results.
She said prison staff have been administering more pregnancy tests since birth.
Documents show that when she was taken to jail on June 16, Allen-Tate was examined by medical staff but refused to complete a questionnaire asking for pre-requisites and other health needs.
Screening includes a pregnancy test, Burk said. He declined to say what Allen-Tate’s test results were, citing medical confidentiality concerns.
He said, however, “No one had any idea she was pregnant.”
Jeffrey said he spoke with the person responsible for distributing clothing to inmates, who told him that over the past few weeks, Allen-Tate had gone from a size medium to an extra extra large.
Had prison staff known Allen-Tate was pregnant, she would have been accommodated differently, Burk said, including placement in a downstairs cell if needed and access to the neonatal clinic at the prison.
The clinic was established in 2015 after seven inmates sued then-Sheriff Doc Holladay and some prison staff in 2014, claiming poor medical care caused emotional and physical harm to pregnant inmates and the death of prisoners. a child born in prison. The lawsuit was dismissed after the county agreed to pay $179,500 as part of a settlement.
When asked for a copy of the sheriff’s office policy on medical screening and inmate care, Burk provided a document first written in 2003 and last updated in January 2020, stating that under the policy, all inmates must be screened by the prison. medical staff.
Screening, the document says, should include, at a minimum, inquiries into an inmate’s current illnesses, dental issues, allergies, mental health issues, medications, alcohol and drug use, and pregnancy for inmates. The policy does not say whether a pregnancy test must be administered.
If prison staff know an inmate is pregnant, she is taken to the hospital for delivery, Burk said.
Burk said there had been a review of the birth of Allen-Tate’s child, but he wasn’t sure if it was still ongoing.
At the time of her delivery, Allen-Tate was being held in administrative segregation, which means she was alone in a cell and had to be chained if she came out of the cell, Burk said.
It was because of his tendency to be aggressive with deputies, Burk said.
Allen-Tate was taken to jail after her arrest on June 16, when she spat at ambulance personnel who were questioning her about another incident, then spat in the face and eyes of a Little Rock police officer who was trying to restrain her in the back of a patrol vehicle, according to an arrest report.
She was charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer during that incident, and again in August while being held in jail, records show.
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