Things That Matter

This Woman Was Forced To Give Birth In A Jail Cell Without Medical Attention, Now She’s Suing

On the topic of imprisonment and the people behind bars, oftentimes the most vulnerable group isn’t the most visible. It’s no secret that black and brown men are unjustifiably locked up, but minority women are as well. A 2014 report published by the Vera Institute of Justice and The Safety and Justice Challenge showed that minority women are being locked more than any other group, and many of them are mothers, and thousands of them are pregnant. How does the correctional facility handle these women? Appallingly. 

A 27-year-old woman gave birth alone while behind bars and received no medical care during her entire labor. 

Credit: Twitter/@cfcpac

Diana Sanchez was locked up at eight months pregnant on identity theft charges. The report by the Vera Institute shows that most women are jailed for nonviolent crimes, so it is unclear why they couldn’t help Sanchez as she was not a threat to anyone. On July 30, she was examined by a nurse who in turn told her “that she needed to receive immediate medical attention if she ‘started having contractions if she had noticed any fluid leaking from her vagina,'” USA Today reports. 

For the next several hours Sanchez pleaded for help. She called on anyone that could hear her that she was having contractions, but no one ever came. 

Credit: Unsplash

According to the New York Times, at least one person did come to her door. The video footage shows that someone slid a white mat under Sanchez’s cell door. How would a mat help during this process? Minutes later, her baby was born. He was born at a little over five pounds. Medical personal did attend to the baby after he was born. Her due date was still more than a week away. Yes, this is cruel but is it illegal for prison officials to not provide medical attention to someone who is in desperate need of help, let alone to someone who is in labor?  

An attorney for Sanchez said it is illegal for prison officials to turn their back on a pregnant woman in labor, and that is why they’re filing a lawsuit. 

Credit: Unsplash

“What should have been one of the happiest days of her life was instead a day of unnecessary terror, pain, and humiliation,” the lawsuit said. Sanchez is suing the city and county of Denver, Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and six individuals — two nurses and four sheriff’s deputies. 

Her lawyer, Mari Newman, said her client is traumatized over what happened to her in jail. If some women experience postpartum depression after they give birth, just imagine the pain that Sanchez must be under after experiencing such trauma. 

“Diana is struggling,” Newman said in an interview with the New York Times. “She continues to flash back to the event. She was absolutely petrified, and nobody would do anything to give her the medical care that she so obviously needed. This is the kind of trauma that doesn’t go away.”

In response to this lawsuit, the Denver Sheriff Department released this statement to the New York Times, “To make sure nothing like this happens again, the Denver Sheriff Department has changed its policies to ensure that pregnant inmates who are in any stage of labor are now transported immediately to the hospital.”

They also report that after an internal investigation, their employees acted in accordance with their policy. In other words, not helping a woman who is behind bars and is in labor is proper protocol. Sanchez has since been released and is at home recovering with her baby boy. 

More than 12,000 pregnant women are put behind bars every year, the American Civil Liberties Union reports. Some of them are forced to have their babies while being shackled to their bed. 

Credit: Unsplash 

“I felt like a farm animal,” Michelle Aldana said of her experience giving birth while in prison and chained to her hospital bed. 

Each state has different laws that either requires women to be shackled en route to the hospital or while giving birth but this there is no hard law across the board, which gives way for major liberties when it comes to pregnant women in jails. 

Democratic lawmakers have tried to pass the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act which would allow prison officials to remove the women’s cuff and chains while giving birth, but only some states have agreed to this policy. 

Furthermore, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine say that more than 90 percent of women who have their babies in jail ended in live births with no maternal deaths. But what about the 10 percent? We must look at what is causing those children to die.

READ: Cyntoia Brown Was Finally Released From Prison After 15 Years – This Is What Resistance Looks Like

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Wilmer Valderrama Welcomes a Baby Girl With His Fiancée, Amanda Pacheco: ‘It’s Just Us Three Now’

Entertainment

Wilmer Valderrama Welcomes a Baby Girl With His Fiancée, Amanda Pacheco: ‘It’s Just Us Three Now’

It’s a girl! Wilmer Valderrama took to his Instagram on Sunday to announce some joyous news: he is now a father.

The prolific actor/activist shared a picture of himself and his fiancée, Amanda Pacheco, looking both tired and happy with their new baby girl in their arms.

“Life is an ever evolving journey, and for all those times when our path needs a light,” he wrote beneath his post. “Often angels are sent to show us the way and that we can be more. Straight out of heaven we welcome our first daughter.”

He topped off the caption with the hashtag, “#ItsJustUs3Now”–a full-circle reference to what he wrote under their engagement announcement. Back then, he wrote: “It’s just us now.”

The birth comes just nine weeks after the couple announced via Instagram that they had a baby on the way.

Back in December, Valderrama posted a stunning photo of himself and his visibly pregnant fiancée to his Instagram. Just last month, he teased his followers with the baby’s gender reveal. He then posted an adorable video of the gender reveal party to his Instagram page. He and Pacheco would be having a girl.

Friends and colleagues took to the comment section of the baby announcement post to offer the new parents their warm wishes.

“Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!! Im soooo happy for you both!!! Love u!” wrote his friend and occasional collaborator, Eva Longoria. “Ahhhhhh CONGRATS my friend!!!!!” wrote actress. Gabrielle Union.

According to reports, Valderrama and Pacheco started dating in early 2019 and were engaged by the end of the year. And although the two have not officially tied the knot yet, they appear to be very much in love.

In fact, Pacheco penned a touching love letter that beautifully described her relationship with Valderrama and posted it to Instagram.

The letter was addressed to Pacheco’s late mother, who passed away from ovarian cancer. The post was a tribute to her mother’s birthday–which happens to be the same as her new daughter’s: February 15th.

“Every time I talk about him, I can see your giant smile light up in my mind, and I can hear your mischievous laugh, like you knew he was going to come into my life and change it forever,” she wrote.

“I have faith in an everlasting love, I believe in marriage and alll the things I was terrified to do without you HERE, like start a family without your guidance every step of the way. I have the most incredibly perfect partner in life to do it all with now, AND I’m excited and ANXIOUS for it all!”

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The Woman Who Stole Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop and Attempted to Sell It To the Russians Has Been Released From Jail

Things That Matter

The Woman Who Stole Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop and Attempted to Sell It To the Russians Has Been Released From Jail

Photo via DAUPHIN COUNTY PRISON

In case you forgot that there are two Americas, let the case of 22-year-old Riley Williams serve as a reminder.

Williams was one of the far-right insurrectionists that stormed the Capitol on January 6th. But Williams was not just any insurrectionist.

The young woman was wanted by the FBI under suspicion of stealing Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s laptop with the intent to sell it to Russian intelligence.

According to a witness–who has been identified as Williams’ ex-boyfriend–the woman “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.”

Authorities arrested Williamson on January 18th on charges of theft, trespassing and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

However, Riley Williams only stayed in jail for a few days before she was released under the care of her mother. Williams will be required to wear an ankle monitor at all times and will only be able to leave her house for work or other authorized reasons.

Williams’ lawyer says that the claims against her client have been “overstated” and stem from the revenge efforts of an angry ex-boyfriend.

But the FBI says they have video evidence of Williams committing the alleged act.

According to the FBI, an ITV documentary shows Williams on-camera as part of the mob that stormed the Capitol. At one point, she is headed towards Speaker Pelosi’s office. The documentary allegedly shows her entering Speaker Pelosi’s office and swiping the laptop.

Investigators also say they have evidence that Williams wrote on free speech social network Discord: “I DOMT (sic) CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS (sic) HARD DRIVES I DON’T CARE KILL ME.”

Of the charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson said: “The gravity of these offenses is great. It cannot be overstated.”

But Williams’ defense team appears to be taking the angle that Williams stormed the Capitol and allegedly stole the laptop at the behest of former President Trump. “It is regrettable that Miss Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” her lawyer told the judge.

Considering Ms. Williams committed literal treason, many people are asking: why isn’t she in jail awaiting her trial?

The outcry over what many consider a double-standard in the justice system has been great. People are pointing out that the justice system treats people who look like Riley Williams with kid gloves, while excessively punishing people of color for lesser offenses.

In particular, people are bringing to light a case that is similar in many ways: the case of Kalief Browder. The parallels of this case are obvious: both suspects were young, both were charged with theft.

But while Kalief Browder allegedly stole a backpack when he 16-years-old and was forced to spend 3 years in Rikers while awaiting trial, Riley Williams was released to the custody of her mother after a few days in jail while being accused of literal treason by the FBI.

It should be noted that, after spending much of his time in Rikers in solitary confinement, Browder committed suicide shortly after his release from prison.

It’s cases like this that show how the class and racial divide in America can literally be the difference between living and dying.

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