A pregnant Native American woman incarcerated in a federal prison in Texas was diagnosed with coronavirus and died in federal custody on Tuesday, officials said.
Andrea Circle Bear, 30, had been sentenced to more than two years in prison on a drug charge this January. She delivered her baby by caesarean section while on a ventilator in a Texas hospital on 1 April, and died there on 28 April.
Circle Bear’s child survived, but officials declined to provide any additional information on the baby’s condition or where the child is now, “out of respect for the family and for privacy reasons”, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman said.
The 30-year-old woman “had a pre-existing medical condition” that made her more at risk for a severe case of coronavirus, according to federal officials, who did not specify what the condition was.
“Andrea should never have been in jail in the first place. Period,” the Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said Wednesday during a discussion hosted by The Appeal, a criminal justice news site.
“That she was there at all is cruel and negligent,” Pressley said, calling Circle Bear one of many people “trapped inside of prison systems because of systemic inequities and a failed war on drugs.”
The Appeal (@theappeal)
Rep. @AyannaPressley joins 'The Briefing' to discuss care for incarcerated people during COVID-19: "We have to have reentry support. We have to have housing support. We have to have healthcare support. What we already know from prison is that you can't treat trauma with trauma." pic.twitter.com/QeeguDznTi April 29, 2020