Almost a year ago, Jessica Preston was eight months pregnant when she was detained in Detroit’s Macomb County Jail. She told deputies she was in labor, but the staff didn’t believe her and sent her back to the cell. She ended up giving birth on a mattress placed on a cell floor.
Preston’s case resurfaced after Local 4 Defenders, an investigative news organization, started looking into the Macomb County Jail’s history of medical incidents. The agency revealed video footage of what happened.
Preston had been caught driving on a suspended license – only her first offense. The judge ordered her to stay in jail for the 14 days anticipating the court hearing, after she failed to pay the $10,000 fine, reported Local 4 Defenders.
On the fifth day of her detention, the restrained woman rang for help for the first time around 7:30 a.m. because she believed she was in labor and requested to be taken to see medical staff. She tried a second time only to be rejected again. The staff called her a liar and claimed it would be more apparent if she were entering labor, recalled Preston to the news outlet.
It wasn’t until she returned from her cell 90 minutes later with blood pouring down her legs that she was assisted, almost six hours after her first alarmed call. But it was too late for the baby to make it to the nearest hospital, only three minutes away from the Detroit jail, as reported by Local 4 news.
“I don’t know how you can ignore something like that. To me, when I came to them bleeding, that should have been the real [sign]. I mean, I should have gone first thing in the morning. But when I come to you bleeding, eight months pregnant and bleeding, you go to the hospital,” complained Preston, mother of a baby boy named Elijah.
Elijah was delivered one month early on the floor of a cell close to the medical area, weighing less than 5 pounds. The father, Thomas Chastain, is enraged over the jail staff mishandling his son’s birth. He wasn’t present to witness it or even cut the umbilical cord.
Macomb Country Sheriff Anthony Wickersham defended his staff over their actions, saying he was “100% confident” they acted accordingly despite video showing how Jessica was ignored two times before getting medical assistance. Two employees were working that day, and they were on the phone with the doctor, alleged Wickersham for Local 4.
“Obviously, that is going to cost taxpayers more money to increase that kind of contract,” presumed Wickerman about the low level of funding for medical services and staff.
Supposedly, inmates’ medical care could only be improved if taxpayers are willing to run with the costs.
Wickersham also responded that the medical records should be brought out to show people what the medical staff did each time, according to Local 4.
One of many medical incidents
Macomb County Jail was already under attack following the deaths of two of their recluses: Jennifer Meyers in 2013 and David Stojcevski in 2014. Preston’s case resonates with a larger national debate over prisoners having access to essential health services.
Advocacy organizations argue that there are alternative approaches like prison-diversion and community-based programs which can relieve costs for prisons and jails. These groups published a report showing women are the ideal population for alternative sentencing programs since they have a lower risk of violence and community harm, told The Christian Science Monitor.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
33 thoughts on “Woman in Detroit jail who was denied timely medical attention gave birth in cell”
Okay stop the bickering. What are you guys sounds like mr. Trump. Either way you look at it the jail messed it up bad. I can’t wait for the real story. I’ll bet it’s even worse than we think. Holding someone in a jail for 14 days until she has her initial hearing is Draconian. And who cares if she mouthed off with the judge. He needs to rise above his personal feelings and interpret the law and in just fashion according to the Constitution. Again let’s talk later when we get the rest of the facts, otherwise this is all speculation Signed mechanical genius.
$10,000 fine for driving without a license???????????? LUDICROUS!!!
Imprisoned for this level of law breaking??? CRAZY!!!
And people wonder why law enforcement sometimes is HATED!
I bet there is more to the story…Like 10 thou unsecured bail and then she didn’t show for court. And I’d bet that she either got mouthy with the cop or the Magistrate to have such a high dollar value unsecured bail. They don’t do these things for no reason. Outrage sells copy, that’s why they hide half of the story….
Uh – doesn’t PMS have to do with the period coming around? Don’t think it applies in this case.
Referring to the behavior, not the actual cycle…sorry for the confusion. I stand corrected.
The judge must be punished for putting her in a jail in the first place, because the deputy retards could not believe a sane person would put a pregnant woman in jail for unpaid driving tickets.
She probably PMS ed the Judge…and he laid down the law…
So justice is being petty?
Respect will take many places in life…so will disrespect….
What happened to this woman is disgusting, though I suppose you can expect staff blunders occasionally.
BUT what happened to the judge? Is he or she in jail (or an asylum) being held for criminal incompetence. Ordering a person to be held for FOURTEEN DAYS for a suspended license while “he diddled around”…. AND $10,000?
Too bad that real people have to live in Detroit. I guess that the US Constitution doesn’t apply there?
The bright side here is that I deleted what I really wanted to post about the “judge :)”.
That’s pretty standard. The middle class is largely insulated from it, but the justice system as it relates to poor people is abominable. They use fines to punish people for being unable to pay fines. They use tickets, warrants and jail time to siphon away tax payer dollars while simultaneously trapping “offenders” into the cycle of the system.
I hope she gets awarded millions of dollars for this! 8 mos pregnant – gets 14 days or $10K for a DL violation! Even murderers are given more consideration than this!
And I hope it gets added to YOUR tax bill.
It won’t; I live in a different state, thank God! If it gets added to yours you can blame the idiots who were stupid enough to cause this problem by locking up an 8 mos pregnant woman for a minor driving violation, and then forcing her to give birth to her child on the filthy floor of a jail cell! Wise up, onesowise!
She got locked up because she mouthed off to the judge or cop…and besides..aren’t women always chanting about equality..? Well, she got the same treatment as a man.
It won’t cost you, that’s why you care about her. Send a check.
Okay, let me guess Macomb Country Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, still has a job, his incompetent staff still have jobs? Two previous medical deaths in the jail and Wickersham is not in jail? Does any of this appear normal?
The other bizarre piece of the puzzle, a suspended license and a $10,000 fine? How long are residents going to put up with county, city and state government trying to fund government on the backs of individuals caught in the court system. With a $10,000 fine is it any wonder she was driving with a suspended license.
Wickersham needs to look for another line of work, he is obviously not suited for his current position.
I bet there is more to the story than is being told… $10K for driving on a suspended license..? I bet it was $10 K unsecured bail and she didn’t show for her court date.
Who gives a crap, she should of had medical attention when she was delivering a child.
Stop trying to divert the point of the article.
She should learn not to break laws…. Prison isn’t a top rated medical center…it’s a Prison.
Simplistic view of life and a safe place to be until your life slides off into the crapper. Then we will hear about how unfair the fates have been to you.
I think we should worry more about people that are NOT in prison as opposed to those incarcerated. It’s just another incentive to not get arrested and jailed.
you are so full of crap that it is disgusting
Why don’t you donate a couple thousand of YOUR dollars to insure better medical care. I already pay more in taxes than I do for the mortgage on my home or the college education of my son.
Make the kid get a job and pay his own way – why are you coddling him? You think that’s good parenting?
He’s in college, not jail…I think I’m doing well with him, but your input is duly noted.
Wickersham has a responsibility to the people of Macomb County
to act in a professional manner, to uphold the law as well as care for and protect those in his charge.
Other recent events and a women giving birth in her cell point to the fact he is not meeting his obligation nor supervising his staff.
His response to inquiries was he did not have resources. Okay,
send her to the hospital and even if she had made some big escape, he would have met his professional responsibility. Part of his job is to provide medical care for those individuals under his care when needed.
He does not dispute that, just whines he can’t afford it. That will never fly.
I worry about all the people not in jail, such as yourself
who will sooner or later be picking up the tab for Wickersham’s actions and the liabilities, they create.
I hope your collage attending son never gets hauled
into jail late some night and needs some kind of medical help.
He won’t. He was raised right.
I am sure he was and I am glad you are proud of him. However circumstance and being a young person doesn’t mean they won’t do something dumb some time. It is built into the definition of adolescence.
I understand your gut reaction to the story, she was in jail, so she must be a bad mommy. The real story isn’t her but that Wickersham appears to be incompetent and his staff has problems.
I can guarantee he is well paid and has a great retirement. Get value for your money, don’t settle. He works for you!
The baby didn’t break any laws. Should his/her life be risked because the mother made a mistake? Understandable if you think unborn children don’t have rights.
Donate a couple thousand to the jail medical system if you feel that way. I think we spent far to much giving prisoners the sane luxuries law abiding citizens get. A good Mommy wouldn’t get tossed in jail, now would she..?
So how much are we spending on prisoner luxuries? That is a myth and a non-fact.
Perhaps a good mommy with a $10,000 fine would get tossed in jail. Do we assume she is a bad mommy because she is in jail? And as a special punishment she gets to deliver her bad baby on the cell floor. It all make sense!
Isn’t that the MO in this country – unborn children have no rights, and can be killed whenever they seem inconvenient?!