Police Investigate Unexplained Death of Baby After Prison Inmate Gave Birth Alone

Police are investigating the "unexplained" death of a baby in Britain's largest women's prison after an inmate gave birth alone in the middle of the night last week.

The mother—who had been in the late stage of her pregnancy—gave birth alone in her prison cell at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, England, in the early hours of September 27, The Guardian reported.

When prison staff visited the woman's cell later that morning, they found the baby unresponsive, a source with knowledge of the events told the newspaper.

Surrey Police confirmed to Newsweek that they are investigating the baby's death, which is being treated as "unexplained."

"We were called to HMP Bronzefield at 9.07 a.m. on Friday September 27 following reports of the death of a child," a police spokesman said in a statement.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained and an investigation is continuing to establish the full circumstances of what happened."

Vicky Robinson, the director at HMP Bronzefield, also confirmed the baby's death last Friday.

In a statement to Newsweek, she said the woman in question is receiving support and the prison is working with police during their investigation.

"We can confirm that a woman at HMP Bronzefield gave birth on 27 September but sadly the baby did not survive," Robinson said.

"We are supporting the mother through this distressing time and our thoughts are with her, her family and our staff involved. We are undertaking a full review and working with all relevant authorities during their investigations. It would not be appropriate to comment any further."

The case raises concerns about how the inmate ended up giving birth without supervision or medical aid during labor at the private prison.

HMP Bronzefield—which holds up to 572 inmates—opened in June 2004 and is run privately by Sodexo Justice Services, according to the Ministry of Justice website.

The prison has a mother and baby unit for 12 women and 13 babies, according to the prison website. Women who already have a baby when they arrive and those who give birth in prison can keep their babies with them until they are 18 months old.

According to The Guardian, this is not the first time concerns have been raised about the care of prisoners, including pregnant women, at HMP Bronzefield. Four women have died there since July 2016.

Natasha Chin died less than 36 hours after she arrived at HMP Bronzefield in 2016. An inquest determined that neglect and systemic failure by prison and health care staff caused her death, The Independent reported.

And Petruta-Cristina Bosoanca said she was forced to give birth alone in her cell in 2017 after she was held at Bronzefield on trafficking and prostitution charges while pregnant, the BBC reported. She was later released after the case against her collapsed.

baby death
File photo. Police are investigating the death of a baby in Britain's largest women's prison after a woman gave birth in her cell alone.