A coalition of formerly incarcerated women and other community members called the Dignity Florida Coalition, sent a letter to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Secretary of Florida Department of Corrections, the Broward County State Attorney and the Broward County Public Defender, demanding accountability from the employees and institutions responsible for letting Ms. Tammy Jackson give birth to her baby in isolation, without any kind of support.
The Dignity Florida Coalition was created in July 2018 by a group of formerly incarcerated women and allies to expose and address the mistreatment of women and girls within the Florida Department of Corrections. Recently, they won the “Dignity For Incarcerated women Act” during the legislative session of 2019.
The letter, which can be read in full here, makes the following demands:
- An immediate investigation and public report of the incident involving Ms. Jackson, including swift accountability measures taken against all those who were responsible for Ms. Jackson’s and safety, health and care, and that of her child.
- Immediate termination of all Correctional Officers who were responsible for or complacent in the neglect of Ms. Jackson.
- Public disclosure and transparency on the process of how pregnant incarcerated women are handled and what treatment is given to them while in custody.
- Termination of solitary confinement of pregnant women.
- Establishment of policies and procedures to treat and protect incarcerated women who are pregnant; survivors of sexual abuse; and/or suffer mental disability.
- Assessment and investment in rehabilitative programming specifically designed for female inmates.
“Women and girls in general are not treated with dignity and humanity in the prison system, and Tammy Jackson’s case tells us just how much worse it can be for black and brown incarcerated women. No pregnant woman should ever be placed in solitary confinement and left to her own during childbirth, that is unacceptable,” said Valencia Gunder, Criminal Justice Program Manager for New Florida Majority, on behalf of the Dignity Florida Coalition. “The Broward Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the life and health of the women in their custody and their babies, and we will not stop until their dignity and rights are fully recognized and respected.”