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Alachua County Commissioners sent a letter to the Sheriff about new policies for pregnant women in jail

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:56 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Alachua County Commissioners sent a letter to Sheriff Clovis Watson requesting that pregnant women who have been arrested are medically cleared before being booked into the jail.

The chair of the board, Marihelen Wheeler sent the letter on behalf of commissioners.

They want the sheriff’s office to make a policy to better serve pregnant women and their babies at the jail.

Commissioners say they are willing to provide funding for the cost of the requested changes.

“We have offered our suggestions with what we are willing to help support. So right now we are still in the process of looking at these policies to see how we can improve them to make sure the welfare of a mother and fetus are protected” said Wheeler.

An incident back in August prompted the need for change when Erica Thompson gave birth in the Alachua County jail and her baby died hours later at the hospital.

Since then, both county commissioners and the sheriff’s office have been reviewing policies in an effort to prevent similar situations.

“We are paying attention to the needs of the women coming into our facilities and we are gong to make sure that those needs are addressed with medical personal outside of the jail if necessary,” said Wheeler.

Sheriff Watson sent a statement to TV20 saying he will continue to work with the county commission to provide equal service to every person in the county and continue evaluating policies to best serve everyone.

Sheriff Watson responded to commissioners in a letter outlining new policies the sheriff’s office is working on.

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