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a logo for Bruised Behind Bars with handcuffs over one of the letters
  • Writer's pictureJennifer Emmi

August 22, 2023

I remember a woman named Shana A. approached me at Denver Women's and told me about her story. I had just moved into Unit 5 and she told me she just had a miscarriage that could have been prevented. She had a baby RIGHT IN THE SHOWER! It was a little boy. Shana was in her second trimeter when she began bleeding and told DWCF prison staff. They ignored her. Finally she begged and begged to be seen and the bleeding was bad eough that they sent her to the Denver Health hospital. Shana found out her baby was in distress. There was still a strong heartbeat and they were going to save him. Unfortunately the guards did not have a shift change to replace them and did not want to work any longer and stay at the hospital.

At their insistence, the hospital staff allowed Shana to be taken back to the prison so the guards would not work overtime! They allowed a pregnant woman with a baby in distress to leave the hospital due to a staffing issue! They cautioned that the baby had little chance of survival if there was not proper medical intervention. Shana went to bed very upset and scared for her baby and for her. The next morning while in the shower she felt a lot of pain and delivered her second trimester baby, a fully formed little boy, stillborn. She wrapped his body in a blanket and took him to medical. The staff took his body and threw him away. There was no report made about any of this. She was scared to fight back due to potential retaliation by staff. Plus she saw over her time in prison that we have no rights and speaking up would not do any good. I have a statemment from her. Can you even imagine this? It was not the only one I saw this happen to. Other incidents like this happened in the jail and prison. I SAW IT HAPPEN! A baby just thrown away and covered up like that life did not matter. Those babies DO MATTER! Life for all matters and that baby boy deserved a chance at life!

A woman named Laci B. was inappropriately pepper sprayed and was left with the spray on her without being able to wash it off in solitary confinement to burn her skin and eyes. They ignored her for hours and laughed when she complained of the burning. These Correction Officers often laugh at our pain. Laci suffered burns on her body and no one at the prison cared. Pepper spray and other uses of force are often inappropriately used in the prison. I was sprayed once when the officers went wild with the spray during a fight. I could barely breathe and just got a misdirected splash. I cannot imagine getting hit head on.


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