Ottawa jail cell birth leads to dismissal, suspensions
Woman who gave birth to son in Ottawa-Carleton cell said jailers ignored her cries
Employees at an Ottawa jail where a woman gave birth inside her cell last year have been disciplined following a provincial investigation.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services confirmed Tuesday that following a special investigation, the ministry has suspended, reprimanded or fired "both correctional and health care staff" at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, but declined to disclose the report of its findings.
"The disciplinary actions taken include official reprimand, multi-day suspension, and dismissal," said spokesman Brent Ross in a statement.
"These are confidential human resources matters between the employer and the employees, and it would not be appropriate to discuss the specific details or to publicly identify those who have been disciplined," said Ross.
Didn't believe she was in labour
Julie Bilotta of Cornwall, Ont., gave birth to her son, Gionni, on the evening of Sept. 29, 2012, without medical assistance and while she was in a segregated jail cell at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.
Bilotta has alleged guards and nurses ignored her cries of pain for several hours before she gave birth and said she was "traumatized" by the experience and the "degrading" treatment she received.
Bryonie Baxter of the Elizabeth Fry Society, a group that works with women and girls in the justice system, said this shows human rights need to be respected in jail.
"It wasn't only Julie's human rights that were violated in this case, it was also baby Gionni's," she said.
"His life was put at risk by a breech birth with no assistance."
Lawyer wants copy of report
She was first jailed Sept. 24 when she was already about eight months pregnant.
Bilotta's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said he has not received any official word from the ministry about the actions.
"Obviously these are harsh measures against individuals who at least in the eyes of the correctional services acted improperly," said Greenspon, who added he wanted to see the report to see the basis upon which the firings and discipline were carried out.
Greenspon said once he has seen the report, he would issue a statement of claim at court for a civil lawsuit.