An 18-year-old inmate who lost her baby in a traumatic way at Europe’s largest women’s prison was not offered any counseling, although the prison guards who failed to help her did, according to a report by The Guardian.
The vulnerable woman, identified only as “Ms A,” was ignored by prison guards despite multiple calls for help as she went into labor in her jail cell at HMP Bronzefield in Middlesex, England, on September 26, 2019.
A devastating report from a prison watchdog, published last week, outlines how the teenager gave birth completely on her own and was found in her bed cradling her dead baby 12 hours after calling her cell bell.
The woman described being in constant pain during this ordeal, even passing out and waking up again only to find that her daughter had died. She bit through the umbilical cord and tried to clean the blood out of her cell.
But despite all this, the woman was reportedly not offered any further support.
“Police and coroner involvement immediately after Baby A’s death, and a lack of understanding by the prison of the role of the local child death review team, meant Ms. A did not receive the routine bereavement and practical support that would normally be provided,” the report said, according to The Guardian.
Staff, on the other hand, were offered help from external counselors, the report said. Those who worked in the inmate’s block and ignored her calls for help also remain working at the prison, it found.
The woman, who entered the prison in August 2019, was on remand facing a robbery charge. It was her first time in prison.
The prison has since said it was “deeply sorry” over what happened, noting it would implement recommendations from the report.
Vicky Robinson, the prison director, said: “This was tragic and extremely sad. We are deeply sorry that this has happened, and our thoughts throughout have been with the family,” the BBC reported.
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