More Disturbing Details on the Jailing of Pregnant Juana Villegas DeLaPaz
Tim Chavez shares further information based on an interview with DeLaPaz’s family by her attorney – so, yes, this is all third and fourth-hand, but it hasn’t been covered by our local media as far as I’ve seen.
Many have asked why she was pulled over, and according to Tim, the ticket was issued for “careless driving.” She also did not have a driver’s license, and had been initially told to call someone else to drive her and her children home.
“Sgt. Coleman…made pregnant Juana wait in a hot car for an hour. When the other driver arrived, Coleman then told Juana that she didn’t get out of the car into his police vehicle in two seconds he would put her in handcuffs. She told Coleman that she was supposed to deliver in three days, but it made no difference.”
Tim reports that during her ICE interview, it was determined that she had previously undergone deportation a decade prior, so she was kept in jail on the driving without a license charge and an ICE detainment. Then this happened:
On 7/5/08, her “water broke” at approximately 10 p.m and she was taken by ambulance to General Hospital about an hour later. She gave birth on 7/6/08 at 1:03 a.m. She received excellent and compassionate care at Nashville General.
During her stay there, the guard (I believe it to have been sheriff’s personnel — wore a “green uniform”) disconnected the phone so that she could make no outgoing calls. She did not see her husband the entire time she was there. She was ankle-cuffed to the bed at all times (except when she was released to take a bathroom break).
After giving birth, DeLaPaz had her ankles recuffed and had this to contend with:
When the nurse requested the cuffs be removed to enable a better job of self-administering personal hygeine, the guard refused. The nurse became upset, but the guard callously said, “I’m just doing my job”. She was discharged on 7/8 at 4 p.m. The nurse gave her a breast pump, but the sheriff’s guard refused to let her use it or take it with her from the hospital.
Two days after giving birth, she was returned to jail.
Chavez has further discussion of how the 287g program, which was “was sold to Davidson County residents two years ago as a way to remove dangerous criminals from the undocumented population of immigrants and their families here,” has contributed to this incident and others, as well as physician commentary on the incident.
Updates: In addition to National Advocates for Pregnant Women, I should refer you to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice for discussion of related issues.
Latina Lista also has commentary.