Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is looking to increase legal penalties for drug dealers who sell to pregnant women after another baby experiencing withdrawal symptoms was born to a female prisoner this month.
“It’s come to a tipping point when you have two in less than nine days,” Jones said during a Friday press conference. “The mothers are addicted to drugs when they come here—the last two.”
Jones was joined at the news conference by State Rep. George Lang (R-West Chester Township), who said he plans to draft legislation in the coming weeks to address the issue.
“We’ve had as many as 12 pregnant ladies in the jail at one time,” Jones said Friday. “No one, no one in the news media talks about these births. Until you’ve held one of these babies, and you’ve seen their little leg quiver—it makes me tear up just talking about it.”
According to Jones, one of the babies was born in a toilet in the jail.
“Make no mistake about it: we should be appalled. It should make us all sick. It makes me sick,” he said. “That’s one hell of a way to come into this world.”
Sheriff Jones said that on Friday he had five pregnant women in his jail and estimated that 80 percent of the women in his jail “are on some type of drugs.”
Rep. Lang plans to introduce legislation as soon as the Ohio House returns to session in September and said he’s reached out to the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association for assistance.
“This issue addresses two things that are very important to me. One, the sanctity of life. And two, the opioid battle that we have. Ohio is one of the worst states in the country for this opioid battle,” Lang said during the press conference. “Imagine as a baby is born they’re struggling for that first breath of air. Imagine how hard that struggle is when you’re going through the withdrawal symptoms of heroin at the same time.”
Jones concluded by saying he would like to see a “substantial increase” in penalties for these cases, and later thanked Lang on Twitter for his support.
“State Rep. George Lang will do everything he can do to save the babies. Thank god we have someone like him. Save these babies,” Jones wrote.
State Re George Lang will do everything he can do 2 save the babies. Thank god we have someone like him. Save these babies.
— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) June 29, 2019
The full press conference can be watched below:
We are live with Sheriff Richard K. Jones as he discusses the latest baby being born inside the Butler County Jail.
Posted by Butler County Sheriff's Office on Friday, June 28, 2019
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