When Sinetra Johnson discovered she was pregnant, she was two days away from going to prison for a parole violation.
The 24-year-old was set to deliver twins while behind bars.
“As they got bigger, as I started growing more, that’s when reality hit, like ‘I’m really going to be here, behind the walls having (the babies) and I won’t be able to see (them),’” said Johnson who lived in Cherokee County at the time. “First pregnancy ever in life.“
While serving her more than two-year sentence, she would be dealt an unimaginably devastating blow: the loss of one of her twins, who drowned in a toilet after prison guards refused to help, according to Johnson.
“It’s enough to go to prison in itself,” said Johnson, who now lives in North Carolina. “But to have to worry about — Am I going to be able to go home to my child? No mother should have to go through that.”
The 2012 tragedy was preventable if officials at Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution in Columbia, a facility for female inmates with medical needs, had responded to Johnson’s calls — and later screams — for help, according to her lawsuit, filed against the S.C. Department of Corrections, which runs the state’s 21 prisons.