Pregnant Inmate Pleads for Help
Kenzi Marie-Makanalan Dunn was in the Osceola County jail for a probation violation. While in the jail, Kenzi, who was pregnant, began to bleed and cramp. She asked for help multiple times with the only response from the nurses being the offer of Ibuprofen. Kenzi called her mother, Nicole Alderson, to let her know what was happening.
Mrs. Alderson kept calling people at the jail, trying to get help for her daughter but she was repeatedly brushed off with the comment that the inmates were all receiving the proper medical care. According to Mrs. Alderson, “I felt completely helpless for days.” This situation went on for four days until Kenzi eventually miscarried in a toilet.
Cruel and Thoughtless Actions
It wasn’t until the day after Kenzi miscarried that she was taken to the hospital. But the callous disregard doesn’t stop there. When Kenzi was brought back to the jail she was returned to the same cell that she had miscarried in. Cali Crisler, Kenzi’s attorney, said, “Ms. Dunn has suffered an inconceivable tragedy. Being kept for this time in the same room that she miscarried, … she was reliving the event every time she opened her eyes.” The judge agreed and released Kenzi from jail. Kenzi only had two weeks left to serve on her sentence but at least she was able to get away from the environment that had put her under so much emotional distress and she could be with her family. You can read the Orlando Sentinel story here.
Mistreatment of Female Inmates is Nothing New
As we all know, detention officers can quickly become jaded and develop a callous attitude toward the inmates they are watching. What is not as well known is that the same attitude often develops in the civilian workers at the detention facility. The majority of the nurses at jails are women but that doesn’t change the fact that they can be just as cruel as a detention guard who has allowed himself to fall into that kind of mentality.
Female inmates are often viewed as whiny and spoiled. They are looked down on and treated with contempt. It’s common for simple things like feminine hygiene products to be in short supply. When female inmates ask for feminine hygiene products or more toilet paper, they are perceived as constantly complaining, even by female officers and nurses. However, nurses are in the position of being able to withhold medical attention. When nurses have the mentality of she’s just a complainer, it’s not surprising that their response would be here’s some Ibuprofen, shut up.
The number of women in detention facilities has been steadily rising. There are a lot of reasons that are contributing to this increase. If we don’t do something, not only to lower that amount but also to help those who do get sentenced to serve time, there will be more women miscarrying in jail toilets.