ALAMOSA — A former Alamosa County Detention Center inmate has filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Alamosa County Sheriff Robert Jackson over alleged mistreatment during the birth of her baby in the county jail in late 2016.
Irene Pruitt, 31, who had been arrested on two counts of illegal drug possession on Nov. 4, 2016, was placed in a drug detoxification cell and subsequently gave birth to a child while in the detention facility. She was eight months pregnant when arrested.
Retaining Denver attorneys Adam Frank and Faisal Salahuddin, Pruitt brought a civil lawsuit against the sheriff on July 11 in U.S. District Court in Denver. Pruitt has alleged that she did not receive proper treatment while in labor in jail.
“The Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office forced Ms. Pruitt to go through labor and give birth cold and alone on the concrete floor of her cell,” the lawsuit states.
She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
Sheriff Jackson responded in a Denver Post interview that the detention staff did everything they could to help Pruitt, who was using meth while she was pregnant, and that her allegations were “upsetting to all of us.”
He said that when deputies learned of Pruitt’s condition they immediately tried to help her and the baby, and he said one deputy’s actions likely saved the baby’s life.