This disturbing surveillance video (watch below) shows the graphic moment when USA-based Diana Sanchez gave birth alone in a jail cell.
Sanchez had been jailed on charges of identity theft and was booked eight months into her pregnancy, her due date about three weeks on from the booking date.
In South Africa, data on just how many babies born in prison is hard to come by, with previous reports showing that of the "3,505 female inmates in the Department’s custody, 282... were incarcerated with their babies."
In SA, the law allows female prisoners to live with their children (up until their 2nd birthday) in specialised maternal units.
Finding herself in a similar unit in Denver County Jail, Sanchez alerted prison staff of her contractions in the early hours, but was left without medical treatment or pain relief for 5 hours, and was taken to hospital only 30 minutes after her son was born.
"The pain [was] indescribable and what hurts me more though is the fact that nobody cared," Sanchez told the media at the time, sharing that hospital staff told her she could have "bled to death."
The incident took place in 2018, and Sanchez is now filing a lawsuit against the city, county and prison after a fruitless internal investigation clearing the prison of any wrongdoing.
"They claim to have done a review, and their conclusion is that nothing was wrong with the fact that a woman was never taken to the hospital and ended up giving birth in a dirty, cold, hard jail cell. It's really unfathomable," said Sanchez's lawyer, Mari Newman.
The matter is one of several controversial incidents that have taken place at the prison, and with the lawsuit, Newman hopes to bring light to the inhuman treatment of women who give birth in prison.
"Just because this time Denver and Denver Health didn't kill anybody doesn't mean they're somehow off the hook... the treatment was unconstitutional — and it was really immoral, unethical and barbaric."
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