A formal protocol for dealing with pregnant prison inmates is expected to be in place by the first quarter of 2017, reliable sources have told the Times.
The sources have indicated that discussion on the issue has been ongoing involving the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF), Probation and Parole authorities and the Division of Human Services and Family Affairs.
“We are looking at a generalized protocol,” an official familiar with the talks told the Times.
The discussion is taking place as a sixteen year old inmate gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday at Victoria Hospital.
The teenager was pregnant when she entered prison and the baby girl is her second child.
It was not immediately clear what offence she had committed, but authorities have disclosed that the young lady will be released very soon.
Officials have told the Times that the discussion on the formal protocol for pregnant prison inmates which predated the incarceration of the pregnant teenager, is intended to ensure protection of the mother and the child if born while the mother is still serving time.
The initiative is also intended to protect the child upon the release of the mother from prison.
In the case of the pregnant sixteen year old, the Division of Human Services is working with BFC officials to take care of the young mother and her child.
The young woman has been removed from the general female prison population and placed in a special unit that allows her to take care of the newborn baby with the help of volunteers.
“We have been trying for a few years now to put a protocol in place,” an official explained, adding that the situation with the teenage mother is not the first case of a pregnant woman entering prison here and giving birth.
The official also told the Times that an investigation is underway to determine who fathered the teenager’s first child, since the fact that the mother is now sixteen indicates that she was sexually active before the legal age of sexual consent which is sixteen.