A former female inmate in Androscoggin County recently filed a lawsuit against Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce and five county jail employees.
A woman in Androscoggin County is suing Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce and five county jail employees over allegations that she was “handcuffed while pregnant and that her right to privacy was violated when two county corrections officers were stationed in the hospital delivery room while she gave birth two months later.”
The woman was Jaden Brown. She and her attorney, Sarah Churchill, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Portland. According to the suit, “handcuffing a pregnant inmate violates jail policy as well as federal and state law and that stationing two corrections officers in the hospital’s labor and delivery room – without her permission or a request by medical staff – violated Brown’s right to privacy.”
Brown went into labor back on February 11, 2019, and was not allowed to have family members present for the birth of her child. Two of the deputies mentioned as defendants in the suit were allowed in the room, though. In fact, “both officers saw Brown and her child’s naked and exposed bodies,” the suit argues. The complaint further states:
“Plaintiff did not pose a security risk or danger to anyone while she was a patient at Maine Medical Center during her child’s birth.”
Brown became an inmate back in July 2018 after she turned herself in on an outstanding warrant for violating probation. She was pregnant when she turned herself in and was sentenced to 15 months in the Cumberland County Jail. Eventually, she was transferred from the jail to a “pre-release center, which is part of the county jail complex.”
Around December 29, 2018, inmates in the pre-release center began complaining that Brown was “threatening to turn them in for using drugs.” While she didn’t threaten the other inmates, the suit states she “did report them for using drugs.” As a result, she was removed from the pre-release center and sent back to jail. She was 35 weeks pregnant at the time. During the walk back to the jail, Brown was handcuffed, even though she didn’t pose a safety or security risk. The suit states:
“As a result of the actions of Defendants, plaintiff has suffered injuries including, but not limited to: anxiety, embarrassment, shame, and degradation.”
When commenting on the topic of compensation and damages, Churchill said the amount of damages have not been determined. She added that she and Brown are leaving that decision up to a jury.