Inmate Says She Was Forced to Give Birth Alone in Her Jail Cell Without Any Medical Treatment: 'This Is Not Civilized'

A female inmate alleges that she was forced to give birth alone on a bench in her cell at Denver County Jail without any medical treatment, according to reports.

Diana Sanchez is now suing the city and county of Denver, Denver Health Medical Center and a further six individuals as a result of the incident, FOX31 reported.

According to court documents, Sanchez told Denver Sheriff Department deputies that she was in labor at around 5 a.m. on July 31, 2018. She says her water then broke just before 10 a.m. and that she finally gave birth to a boy at 10:44 a.m.

Sanchez alleges she received no medical supervision or treatment, and, furthermore, that Denver Health nurses—who are contracted to work at the prison—and jail staff were fully aware she had been in labor for hours.

Staff "callously made her labor alone for hours, and ultimately give birth alone in a dirty jail cell without any medical care" the lawsuit alleges, noting that they "cruelly chose convenience over compassion."

Mari Newman, Sanchez's lawyer, criticized the conduct of nurses and staff at the jail in comments given to KDVR Denver.

"The failure to provide care to a woman who is in labor and a baby who is born without any medical assistance in a dirty jail cell, this is not civilized," Newman said.

"Any layperson can see that a woman who has been in labor for hours and hours and who is yelling, calling that she's in labor and needs to go to the hospital, needs to go to the hospital. Pick up the phone and call 911," she said.

The incident was captured by prison security cameras. A video—which has been published online with Sanchez's consent—shows a male nurse walking into the cell shortly after the birth and picking up the baby. The nurse had allegedly been waiting outside and watching proceedings.

"[The nurse] picks up the baby as though he's never seen one in his life," Newman told KDVR. "I mean, the lack of any sort of compassion is astounding."

A spokesperson for the Denver Sheriff Department said: "The care and well-being of our inmates is a top priority for the Denver Sheriff's Department, which is why we contract with Denver Health to provide comprehensive medical care at both of our jails."

"After learning that Ms. Sanchez gave birth in a cell at the Denver County Jail on July 31, 2018, Sheriff [Patrick] Firman immediately ordered Internal Affairs to conduct a review to understand what happened. Denver Health was also asked to review this incident."

The spokesperson said that this investigation concluded deputies had done nothing wrong.

Deputies "took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures," she said. "Policy has since been clarified that when an inmate is in labor, an emergency ambulance will be called."

Speaking to KDVR, Sanchez said that the painful memory of giving birth in jail will never go away.

"I felt helpless, nobody was helping me," she said. "There were so many people there and nobody lifted a finger basically. That pain is indescribable, and what hurts me more is the fact that nobody cared."

prison security fencing
Stock photo: A female inmate alleges that she was forced to give birth alone on a bench in her cell at Denver County Jail without any medical treatment. iStock
Inmate Says She Was Forced to Give Birth Alone in Her Jail Cell Without Any Medical Treatment: 'This Is Not Civilized' | U.S.