AJC investigates inmate care for expectant mothers

County jails can set their own policies. Prenatal, emergency, shackling guidelines cover a wide range

By Paige Cornwell
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — It was 4:15 a.m. when pandemonium broke out.

For hours, DeShawn Balka, 5 1/2 months pregnant, had sat on a toilet in a Clayton County jail cell, complaining of nausea and stomach pain. Her cellmates thought it was little more than a case of indigestion. Then Balka started screaming: She needed a nurse right away. Her baby was in the toilet.

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