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[February 27, 2013]
Precious Doe lawsuit results in change
Feb 27, 2013 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- After a baby is born to an incarcerated woman in Oklahoma, the state Department of Corrections is required to call the Department of Human Services so an appropriate placement can be found, according a pending federal lawsuit settlement.
The father of a dismembered 3-year-old known nationally as Precious Doe filed the civil suit in April 2010, arguing she might have lived if the two agencies spoke to each other.
Before this lawsuit, no procedure was in place to assess or track the placement of infants born to women in prison.
Erica Michelle Marie Green was born in May 1997 at University of Oklahoma Medical Center to a mother incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison.
After the birth, the mother went back to prison and told officials to give the newborn to an acquaintance, who showed a driver's license and Sam's Club membership card to gain custody, according to the lawsuit.
Under the settlement agreement, DOC has agreed to notify DHS when it finds out an inmate is going to give birth.
DHS will be able to "interact with the incarcerated mother about where to place the baby. If needed, DHS will be able to supervise the placement and reunification with the mother, according to a press release issued Wednesday.
Read more in Thursday's Tulsa World.
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