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Woman gives birth in Snohomish County Jail cell

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- A Snohomish County Jail inmate was hospitalized Saturday after giving birth in her cell.
She and the baby were taken to Providence's Pavilion for Women and Children on Pacific Avenue, officials said.
The woman since has been returned to the jail's medical facility, said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail.
The Department of Social and Health Services is determining who will care for the baby, Ireton said. Officials with DSHS and the hospital on Tuesday said they could not release medical information about the child.
Jail staff believe the baby was born prematurely. Jail medical crews were keeping an eye on the woman Saturday after she reported abdominal pain, Ireton said.
They were called about 4 p.m. and told the woman's water had broken, she said. The baby was born about 4:20 p.m.
"Things happened so quickly that they called 911," Ireton said. "Our medical team was on their way down with their medical tray cart as 911 was being called."
Everett firefighters took the woman and the baby to the hospital.
The woman, 26, of Lake Stevens, was booked Jan. 28 on a no-bail warrant related to allegations of forgery, possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen mail and trafficking in stolen property out of Edmonds.
She was in a standard housing module when she went into labor, Ireton said.
"We get inmates at all stages of life," Ireton said. "Some of them come in pregnant."
DSHS spokeswoman Chris Case on Tuesday said she could not release any details about the woman's baby.
In general, when jail inmates go into labor in Washington, the women are taken to local hospitals, she said. DSHS works with hospital social workers to determine who should care for the babies.
Some prisons have facilities for mothers and infants to live together, but most jails don't, Case said. In most cases, the state decides who should care for the babies based on the mother's wishes, her situation and her family circumstances, Case said.
The woman who gave birth Saturday is the daughter of a county corrections deputy who was working at the jail at the time, The Herald confirmed Tuesday.
"He was not working in the same module or area where she was," Ireton said. "He was informed."
The last time a baby was born at the county jail was in 2005, Ireton said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » EverettCrimeHealth treatment

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