Corrections staff are now preparing for a fairly rare event — the birth of a baby to a woman behind bars.
Ashley Haley, 20, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jennifer Horne, is pregnant and due to give birth in the days ahead.
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When she goes into labour, she’ll be taken by corrections staff to the IWK Health Sciences Centre, where she’ll be under guard.
“When it came time for the delivery, the inmate would be transferred,” said Peter Graham, spokesman for the Capital Health District Authority, which supervises inmate care.
Graham said pregnant inmates get prenatal care from an offender health unit staffed by nurses, who call in specialists when necessary.
Two corrections staff would escort her to the IWK when her labour begins, said Justice Department spokeswoman Carla Grant.
Since the Burnside jail opened in 2001, only four pregnant women have had to give birth while incarcerated there. The last time was 2006.
The body of Horne, a 20-year-old nursing home worker, was found in a Lawrence Street apartment shared by Haley and her partner, Desmond Maguire, on New Year’s Eve 2007.
Haley and Maguire will face a preliminary inquiry in January 2009.
Their first child, a three-year-old girl, is reportedly living with Haley’s mother. Provincial child welfare staff will determine what will happen to the baby once he or she is born, said spokeswoman Krista Grant.
She said a baby born to an incarcerated mother might not be taken into foster care, if the mother can make other arrangements with family members.