NEW BRITAIN, CT — Tianna Laboy was only 19 years old when she gave birth to her baby in a toilet in a prison cell.
Laboy is still behind bars, but the community and her family and her baby, who has autism and is non-verbal, called on the state to stop fighting the family’s lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that the Department of Correction was understaffed and failed to offer Laboy proper prenatal care and no labor and delivery services. Laboy’s cellmate helped her deliver the baby and got a year shaved off her sentence as a result, while Laboy is still behind bars.
“Baby N. was born into the toilet,” according to the complaint. “Baby N. was unresponsive after exiting the uterus. At this time, Plaintiff T. Laboy, prompted by her cellmate, picked up Baby N. and ‘patted her on the back to get all the fluid out.’ Baby N. began to breathe at this point.”
The state’s Department of Correction’s Security Division conducted an investigation into the matter, and concluded that the York Correctional Facility staff did not follow proper procedures.
“No mother should have to give birth in inhumane conditions. And no baby should be born into incarceration,” Karine Laboy, Tianna’s mother, said. “That’s why I am here today urging Attorney General Tong to take action and stop using the power of his office to prevent justice for Tianna and my granddaughter.”
Two-and-half years later, Laboy is still in jail and the state is still fighting the lawsuit.
Ken Krayeske, Laboy’s attorney, said Tong should resolve the case.
“He knows I’m not going anywhere. I will fight until I die,” Krayeske said.
He said this case is a political case and as such, it’s appropriate to use political pressure like Thursday’s press conference to resolve it.
The Department of Correction was unable to comment because it’s pending litigation.
Elizabeth Benton, a spokesman for Tong, said “The Office of the Attorney General has a constitutional, statutory and ethical obligation to represent the State of Connecticut as its lawyer. In this matter, we represent individual employees of the Department of Correction who were investigated by DOC and found not to have engaged in any misconduct. We declined to represent a nurse who was terminated following investigation. We have engaged in good faith settlement negotiations with plaintiffs’ counsel. We will continue to do so.”
Krayeske said the state has no intention of settling this case even though it should.
“Everyone knows that what happened to Tianna is grotesque,” Krayeske said.