A pregnant woman in Alabama was held in jail to protect her developing fetus from drugs, Al.com reports.
Ashley Banks, 23, was arrested on May 25 with an unregistered gun and a small amount of marijuana. Under normal circumstances she would have been able to post a bond and be released while she awaits trial. But, she admitted that she smoked marijuana two days before her arrest, which was also the day she found out she was pregnant. At that time she was six weeks pregnant.
As a result of a county policy, Banks was locked up for months inside the Etowah County Detention Center under special bond conditions that require rehab and $10,000 cash, because she was accused of exposing her fetus to drugs, according to Al.com.
Banks, who has a high risk pregnancy due to a family history of miscarriage, said jail officials told her that she could sleep on the bottom bunk. But, since two women were already assigned to sleep on that bottom bunk, she was forced to sleep on the floor.
About six weeks into her incarceration, she started bleeding and was diagnosed with subchorionic hematoma— a condition where blood pools between the placenta and the uterine wall during pregnancy. The bleeding continued for five more weeks and she also suffered from hunger and fainting spells.
During that time she was evaluated by two specialists who found that she did not qualify for the free addiction services offered by the state. Since her bond conditions required rehab, and since she did not qualify for rehab she remained in jail.
Banks slept on the floor of her jail cell until an Etowah County judge released her to community corrections on August 25th.
According to Al.com, several pregnant and postpartum women are being kept in the Etowah County jail as a result of the policy, against the advice of experts on maternal and fetal health. An investigation conducted by the outlet found that seven pregnant and postpartum women had been incarcerated at some point between April and August.