Tributes & Vigils Category: Coronavirus Vigils
Andrea Circle Bear, 30, had been sentenced to 26 months in federal prison on a drug charge. A war on drugs put her in a cage and the virus took her life after giving birth on a ventilator!
I’m not sure that’s justice. The state of Texas took a young life and a mother from a child born in prison over selling 5 grams to an officer that I’m sure asked for the drugs.
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.
“Andrea should never have been in jail in the first place. Period,” the Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said on 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”.
This January, Circle Bear, who was already five months pregnant, according to court documents, was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison by Judge Roberto A Lange.
Her sentencing documents note that Circle Bear had a history of substance abuse and recommended her as a candidate for a prison substance abuse treatment program. The documents also recommended that she be placed in a prison medical facility, given that she was pregnant, and due to deliver her child in early May.
The Department of Justice touted Circle Bear’s sentencing in a January press release. “Don’t let yourself or your property get mixed up in the world of illegal drugs. It ends badly,” the US attorney Ron Parsons said in a statement.
Eight days after she arrived, she was taken to a local hospital for “potential concerns regarding her pregnancy”, but was discharged from the hospital the same day and brought back to the prison, officials said. Three days later, prison medical staff members decided she should be brought back to the hospital after she developed a fever, dry cough and other symptoms, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Circle Bear was put on a ventilator the same day she arrived at the hospital and her baby was born the next day, officials said. She tested positive for Covid-19 days later.
In a conversation in late March, LeBeau said Circle Bear told her that she was ill but nobody her seriously.
“She said, ‘I’ve been sick for four days. I’ve been trying to tell them,” LeBeau said. “Even then, they didn’t bother.”
The baby girl born by emergency cesarean section in Fort Worth to an inmate on a ventilator who died of complications from COVID-19 is “doing great” and is now living with her great-grandmother out of state, according to family members.
The baby’s name is Elyciah. She was born April 1 at John Peter Smith Hospital while her mother, 30-year-old Andrea Circle Bear, was unconscious and attached to a ventilator.
“She likes to eat,” Circle Bear’s grandmother, Clara LeBeau, said of the baby. “She’s doing great.”