Pregnant Woman Dies in Mississippi Jail, Investigation Launched

December 27, 2018 Updated: December 27, 2018
FONT BFONT SText size

A pregnant woman died while being held at a Mississippi jail, officials and family members said, prompting an investigation into what happened.

Lanekia Brown, 37, was found unresponsive on Dec. 23, in her cell at the Madison County Detention Center, where she was held after police officers found approximately 103 pounds of marijuana in November inside the vehicle she was in during a traffic stop.

The Madison County coroner confirmed the death with WAPT, which reported that Brown’s family was notified of her passing by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

A trooper went to the home of Brown’s mother Margaret Johnson, telling he that Brown complained of stomach pains. By the time a nurse arrived, she had died.

Family members said officials aren’t being transparent about what happened.

“I need to know what happened to her… where she at. They won’t tell me or give me no information. That’s my child. I love my child…. I want to know where my child is,” Johnson told WJTV.

The family suspects foul play in the death of Brown, who was three to four weeks pregnant.

“It’s very suspicious because like I said we talked to her and she was okay. If she had any kind of problems, she would have let us know,” said another family member, Lavell.

Brown leaves behind two children.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department also confirmed the death and said that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations will take over the case.

madison county jail
Lanekia Brown died in her cell at the Madison County Detention Center in Mississippi, on Dec. 23, 2018. (Madison County Jail)

Pregnant Women in Jail

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, on average 6 to 10 percent of incarcerated women are pregnant.

“Pregnancies among incarcerated women are often unplanned and high-risk and are compromised by a lack of prenatal care, poor nutrition, domestic violence, mental illness, and drug and alcohol abuse,” the group stated.

“Upon entry into a prison or jail, every woman of childbearing age should be assessed for pregnancy risk by inquiring about menstrual history, heterosexual activity, and contraceptive use and tested for pregnancy, as appropriate, to enable the provision of adequate perinatal care.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, there were 12,567 female inmates in federal jails, comprising 7 percent of inmates. There were 167,850 males in prison.

President Donald Trump signs
President Donald Trump (C) talks with US Senator Chuck Grassley (C L), R-Iowa, as he signs the “First Step Act” and the “Juvenile Justice Reform Act” at the White House in Washington on Dec. 21, 2018. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

The criminal justice reform bill that President Donald Trump and a bipartisan group of Congressmen and Congresswomen passed earlier this month included a ban on the shackling of pregnant and postpartum incarcerated women, according to The Hill.

The act was also set to help women by calling for people in jail to serve their sentences in facilities within 500 miles from home, likely placing more incarcerated mothers closer to their children.

“The bill would also expand research into mental illness and ways to enhance alternatives to prison. It would grant federally incarcerated people the chance to participate in rehabilitation programs that help them acquire skills that assist in reentering society,” opinion contributor Topeka Sam wrote, calling it a great first step for criminal justice reform.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber