An 18-year-old inmate who lost her baby at Europe’s largest women’s prison should never have given birth alone in her cell, according to a critical report from inspectors.
The baby died in September 2019 at HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report found a series of failings in the teenager’s treatment.
The prison said it was “deeply sorry” and that it would implement recommendations from the report.
The investigation, which was commissioned by the Justice Secretary, found the mother, known as Ms A, pressed her cell bell twice and asked for a nurse, but nobody came.
An hour later, at 21:30 BST, a prison officer shone a torch in her cell and said she did not see anything out of the ordinary.
Ms A told investigators she was on all fours at the time.
‘Harrowing’ She described being in constant pain and unable to reach the cell bell.
The teenager then passed out and said when she awoke her daughter had been born but she was not breathing.
A pathologist was unable to determine whether her baby girl was born alive or was stillborn, the report said.
“Ms A gave birth alone in her cell overnight without medical assistance,” said the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Sue McAllister.
“Overall the healthcare offered to her was not equivalent to that she could have expected in the community.”
The report found staff working on her block weren’t aware that Ms A was due to give birth imminently, and information sharing between Bronzefield and health agencies was poor.
No-one had a full history of Ms A’s pregnancy.