A Memphis mother of a drug addicted baby was giving two options under Tennessee state law – get treatment or go to jail – she chose jail.
Jamillah Falls said she would rather go to jail than go through a program to treat her drug addiction.
Falls, who reportedly hasn’t seen her child since July was initially on the run from police after it was found that she used heroin while pregnant with her child.
Reportedly, friends of Falls told WREG that Falls has been struggling with drug addiction for years and didn’t plan on getting pregnant.
Still, the reality is that Falls did indeed get pregnant and has now been sentenced 6-months in prison for doing heroin while pregnant and choosing jail over treatment.
Reportedly, Falls is the first mother to be arrested and sentenced to jail for having a drug-addicted baby in Tennessee.
Cherisse Scott, who is with an advocacy group for struggling women in Memphis called Sister Reach, told the media that she believes the legal system which is trying to treat “illness” is an “inappropriate” way to deal with it when they offer women who give birth to drug addicted babies the two options of treatment or jail.
Scott believes that if the mother chooses jail the question then is what will happen next if she doesn’t get any care in prison.
Scott feels that Falls was rather forced into choosing jail because of poverty, lack of finding a job, failing to meet standards of a half-way house all in the midst of trying to learn to live a new lifestyle off drugs. Scott thinks that mothers like Falls need help and not handcuffs.
Meanwhile, Falls is expected to serve 70% of her 6-months sentence with 47 days of jail credit.
In initial reports, Falls’ child was placed in DCS custody.