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Premature baby born at CCA's Dawson State Jail with no medical personnel died after four days

Horrendous stories continue to pour out of Corrections Corporation of America's Dawson State Jail. According to another expose by CBS 11, a baby born to Autumn Miller, incarcerated after a drug crime and a probation violation, was born prematurely with no medical personnel on staff at the facility.  

Her baby, named Gracie, died after only four days she was born.  Miller's mother spoke to CBS 11:

"...  Burr says her daughter tells a chilling story of what happened during the early morning hours when she began to bleed and cramp inside the jail and had trouble walking.  “They took her down to the medical unit on a stretcher. When she got there, there was a doctor on the screen,” Burr said.

But Miller told her mother that the doctor, who was available through a teleconference, never had a chance to see her.

“The lady that was down there in the medical unit in charge told the doctor they did not need him for this patient and they just turned this off … She was crying, complaining that she was feeling pressure, pain, bleeding and something was bad wrong [sic]. They needed to do something,” Burr told CBS 11. ...What happened next, according to Burr, has changed all of their lives forever. And, she says, it was something no one at the jail was prepared to handle at that time.

After Miller went to the bathroom, “the baby came out and went into the toilet and she started screaming,” Burr said."  (Ginger Allen, CBS 11, "Premature Baby Born At Dawson Jail without Medically Trained Personnel," July 10)

The story doesn't end there.  Miller is handcuffed in pictures during she and her baby's stay at the hospital.  After 4 day old Gracie died, Miller was put into solitary confinement at Dawson State Jail:

"Once at the jail, Miller was placed in solitary confinement for two days, her mother, overwhelmed with emotions, said.

“This is still a woman with the afterbirth and bleeding and stitches where she’d had a tubal … and they locked her in there for two days … and then they took her to see a psychiatrist and said, ‘Well, you’ve been on suicide watch,’ “ Burr said."

CCA and TDCJ are staying predictably mum about the case.  This is certainly not the first problem at Dawson.  In May, it was reported that the death of Pam Weatherby at Corrections Corporation of America's Dawson State Jail in 2010 was the seventh death at the facility since 2004. Weatherby was serving a one year sentence for drug possession when her health conditions - she was a brittle diabetic - rapidly deteriorated.

Last month, CBS 11 reported that an additional family of a young incarcerated woman at the facility is blaming jail administrators for her death.  According to the report, 30 year-old Ashleigh Shae Parks died with six months remaining on her 18 month drug possession sentence.

Dawson has been subject to calls for closure over the years, and we wonder if this string of horror stories may increase those calls.


This story made me absolutely sick.  After having been housed there myself, I can honestly see this happening.  The thing about Dawson is that they never get caught off guard and they keep passing inspection.  I personally had to help take a woman who was partially and temporarily paralyzed after a stroke.  I took care of her for five days, and that care included sleeping on the floor next to her bunk, bathing her and feeding her.

Medical Issues are very rarely addressed promptly there.  For many, going to medical is not an option since they know that they will not be seen by a doctor.  When one is seen by a doctor they are told by the nurse not to ask questions or to speak unless spoken to and do not bring up any additional medical issues as this is a waste of time.


Hi, thank you for your comment.  If you would like to speak more about your experience at Dawson, I'm interested in hearing more about it.  I can be reached at blibal (at) grassrootsleadership (dot) org or through our contact form.