Death of 9-Day Old Baby Sparks Petition for Women's Prison Reform

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Death of 9-Day Old Baby Sparks Petition for Women's Prison Reform

Grassroots Group Women's Prison Reform and Noe Serrano (father of Baby Naghibe Serrano) have released the following details about the death of Mr. Serrano's daughter, Naghibe Swan Serrano, in order to advocate for women's prison reform and support of a petition on Change.org.

On July 1, 2019, Noe Serrano's 9-day old baby died in her bed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Loma Linda Hospital. Without contact from her mother, Baby Naghibe (pronounced "nay-i-bay"), born at 22 weeks, had little chance of survival. The circumstances of her death sparked a petition for women's prison reform.

Cauncenet Brown, "Sonnie" to all who know her, is serving a short sentence in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. (United States v. Cauncenet Brown, Case No 4:2017-cr-00556, District Court, E.D. Missouri; BOP Inmate Locator, Register #47184-044, https://www.bop.gov/mobile/find_inmate/#inmate_results). Sonnie self-surrendered to the federal prison camp at FCC Victorville in California approximately 8 weeks pregnant. At 43, her age and a medical condition which contributed to the premature birth of one of her other children made her pregnancy high risk. After stitching her cervix, she never saw an OB/GYN in spite of multiple requests for medical attention. She did not received basic medical care until the night she was taken to the emergency room. Against medical advice, she was returned to the Camp where her water broke within hours.

Naghibe Swan Serrano was born June 22, 2019. She came into the world crying, surprising doctors with her ability to breathe outside the womb. She was rushed to the NIC-U where she remained stable for 8 days. On the 9th day -- 6 days after Sonnie was forced to return to the Camp -- Naghibe passed away. All children need their mothers but for premature infants it is often a matter of live and death. More than 4000 women like Sonnie are housed in federal prison camps without walls or fences. As an innovative society that champions human rights around the world, we can chose to implement alternatives. Consequences should focus on redeeming lives after a mistake rather than compounding tragedy.

Baby Naghibe's death prompted sisters Eve Mazzarella and Laurel McCoy, daughters of a minister and a lawyer who each have horror stories of the justice system, to post a Petition to Transition Women in Federal Prison Camps to Community-Based Supervision on Change.org (http://chng.it/RKc6MC5y) The petition would reunite families separated by the over-incarceration of non-violent women and allow supervision by U.S. Probation with restrictions on liberty like ankle-monitoring or house arrest.

Sonnie was released July 12, 2019 to a halfway house -- not yet able to grieve at home with her family. They buried Naghibe on July 18, 2019 -- the day before release of the Risk assessment tool provided by the The First Step Act which paves the way for community-based pre-release custody. Sonnie's family hopes Naghibe's death will serve to change the way non-violent women are treated and help change the law to reunite mothers and children.

For more information see Change.org (http://chng.it/RKc6MC5y) or email info@womensprisonreform.org to contact Noe Serrano or women at the Camp.

Published by the Los Angeles Daily News - 7-30-2019

https://www.dailynews.com/2019/07/30/death-of-baby-born-to-victorville-inmate-spurs-petition-for-womens-prison-reforms/?utm_source=change_org&utm_medium=petition

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Eve Mazzarella
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