Tarrant County

Officials Find No Violations at Tarrant County Jail Following Unattended Inmate Birth

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards found no violations in its investigation into the child's birth

tarrant county jail
NBC 5 News

A woman who gave birth in May while unattended in the Tarrant County Jail had been checked on regularly before officials discovered the baby, an investigation found.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards found no violations in its investigation into the child's birth on May 17, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

On Saturday, the sheriff's office released additional details about inmate's time in the jail leading up to the birth and the investigation, and offered thoughts and prayers to the woman and her family.

The woman, whose identity has not been released, was initially booked into the jail in January on charges of assault bodily injury to a family member and injury to a child/elder/disabled individual, sheriff's office spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Gabbert said.

The sheriff's office said medical staff noted the woman was "intellectually delayed" during her initial intake in January, and that she was prescribed prenatal vitamins, placed on a pregnancy diet and given a second mattress and blanket.

The woman was seen by an OB-GYN six times between February and May, and by mental health professionals several times, officials said.

On May 13, a doctor planned to induce labor around 39 or 40 weeks because "the inmate was unable to express her symptoms and may not recognize if she were to go into labor," the sheriff's office said.

It was not clear how far into her pregnancy the woman was when that decision was made.

A few days later, on May 17, the corrections officer and nurse assigned to the infirmary where the woman was being housed went into her cell to check on her. When she did not verbally respond, they removed her blanket and discovered the baby, Gabbert said.

Both the mother and baby were taken to local hospitals, and Child Protective Services took custody of the child, sheriff's officials said.

The mother, who was less than 39 weeks pregnant when she delivered the baby, was back in the Tarrant County Jail as of June 9.

Officials determined observation checks had been conducted every 30 minutes before they discovered that the woman had given birth.

The standards commission had issued the Tarrant County Jail a notice of non-compliance on May 21 after the jail's internal investigation into an in-custody suicide in late April found there had been a late observation check.

The jail was placed back into compliance May 27 after submitting a plan of action, the sheriff's office said.

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