Woman Gives Birth in Jail Cell Because Police Don’t Believe She’s in Labor

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A Detroit woman says she was forced to give birth on the floor of a jail cell after guards at the prison refused to believe she was actually in labor. They probably believed her once the infant showed up.

According to Raw Story, 27-year-old Jessica Preston was eight months pregnant when she was arrested for a traffic violation. She was in jail for five days when she started to go into labor, and video from her cell shows that she went to guards three separate times to tell them she was in labor and needed to go to the hospital–which was reportedly about five minutes away from the prison–but the guards did not believe her. She says they even told her that if she didn’t stop bothering them, she’d face additional charges for lying.

According to The Huffington Post, Preston’s first pregnancy had been extremely dangerous. She suffered a placental abruption, which causes heavy bleeding and can be extremely dangerous for both the mother and the baby, and her first baby was delivered by C-section. Preston had a C-section scheduled for this baby, too, but then she started having contractions about a month prematurely, while in jail.

She told medical staff three times that she was in labor and needed to go to the hospital, but they accused her of faking it and ignored her. The third time she went to the medical staff, she was visibly bleeding. Seeing the blood, they still said she didn’t need to go to the hospital yet, and they put her in a cell in the medical ward for “monitoring.”

Preston says the cell was still visibly dirty from the previous occupant, and who knows what the previous person was suffering from. About an hour after she was moved into that cell, her son Elijah was born weighing just under five pounds. Preston says she delivered him on a dirty mattress on the floor of a visibly unclean jail cell, and that none of the medical staff had ever delivered a baby before. She says one of the nurses was actually crying, because she was scared and had never even seen a delivery before.


To be treated so inhumanely, Preston really must be the worst kind of criminal, right? She must have murdered a whole bunch of people or something. But no, she was actually in jail for a traffic violation. She was driving without a license after her driver’s license was suspended because of an unpaid parking ticket.

Preston said that after being arrested for driving with an expired license, she was put in a holding cell overnight, and then she went before a judge the following morning. It was a first-time driving offense, and she was visibly eight months pregnant, but the judge gave her a $10,000 bail anyway, citing a drug conviction from a few years prior. Do a lot of people who can’t pay a parking ticket also have $10,000 cash lying around? Preston didn’t, so she had to stay in jail while awaiting a court date.

She had been in prison for five days when she had her baby, and then she was finally taken to the hospital. And according to The Sun, after that, she was brought back to the prison for another week.

The Macomb County Jail sounds like a terrible, unsafe place, and this is not the first time something like this has reportedly happened there. According to the Huffington Post, a mother serving 30 days for failure to pay a fine died of sepsis in 2013 after medical staff failed to properly treat her for an infection, and a year later a man serving time for failure to pay a traffic fine died of the symptoms of severe drug withdrawal.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham reportedly says he’s “100 percent” satisfied with the way Preston’s case and delivery were handled by the jail.