Latest posts

Another Mother Arrested for Giving Birth While Addicted to Drugs

By  |  0 Comments

Even though research studies show that the best way to curb addiction is through treatment, some states are passing laws which criminalize drug addiction.

Jamillah Washington

Jamillah Washington

In the latest arrest, a Memphis, Tenn. mother was taken into custody after she and her newborn daughter tested positive for heroin, opiates, and marijuana.

Jamillah Washington was taken to jail on Monday night after investigators learned that the woman had used heroin only days before giving birth.

Evidence also shows that Washington has been pregnant five other times but her daughter Messiah is her only surviving child.

As BreakingBrown previously reported Regina McNight, an African-American mother in South Carolina, ended up behind bars for the homιcide of her child, after it was stillborn.

Because McNight had used cocaine during her pregnancy, she was sentenced to 12 years behind bars in 2008, a sentence that was eventually overturned because McNight had ineffective counsel. McNight served eight years in prison for giving birth with drugs in her system.

As The New Republic reported, hospitals tend to target black and poor women for testing:

In one study, black women were ten times more likely than white women to be reported to governmental authorities for substance use, despite similar rates of addiction. In another survey of New York hospitals, those serving low-income women were much more likely than those serving wealthier patients to test new mothers for drugs, and to turn positive results over to child protection authorities.

So although Washington may very well be a repeat drug user, the question becomes whether putting her in prison helps her or her newborn child. Does the child benefit from having a mother who is in prison and unable to care for them? Or would treatment be a better option? What do you think?