MACOMB COUNTY, Michigan — A woman who was eight months pregnant ended up giving birth on a jail cell floor in Michigan.
Jessica Preston was pulled over for having a rosary hanging from her rear-view mirror. She was also driving on a suspended license — taken away after she failed to pay a speeding ticket.
Judge Suzanne Faunce gave Preston a $10,000 bond, and sent her to jail for 14 days.
The judge could not comment, but the court administrator said the judge looked not only at the current charge, but all of Preston’s previous court history when determining bond. In the past, she had a record of drug abuse and outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court.
The court administrator said the judge felt it was in the baby’s and mother’s best interests to be locked up — and the judge never imagined Preston wouldn’t be taken to a hospital if she went into labor behind bars.
“They still didn’t want to call an ambulance even though I was bleeding at the time. I’ve been in total shock. I can’t believe I just had my son a month early on a dirty jail cell floor,” Preston said.
Baby Elijah was born on a mat on a cell floor inside the Macomb County Jail. He arrived a month early, and weighed less than five pounds. He was supposed to be delivered via C-section — but only after the birth did mom and baby go to the hospital.
Two-and-a-half days later, Elijah went home with his father, and Preston went back to jail to finish her 14-day sentence.
“It was horrible being separated from my baby. I wasn’t able to breastfeed. I mean, he was so tiny, so little when he was first born that it was agonizing,” Preston said.
The 14-day sentence was Judge Matthew Sabaugh’s decision. He had no comment on the ruling. He does have access to Preston’s entire court file.
Preston said no matter the reason for her incarceration, every inmate deserves to be treated in a medical facility.
“They lack any sort of human decency. Someone just needs to be able to take responsibility and at some point say, ‘OK, enough is enough,'” Preston said.