Scranton, Pa., 'Times-Tribune' Denied Prison Records In Inmate Birth Probe

By: Joe Strupp The Times-Tribune of Scranton, Pa., claims officials there are wrongly denying access to prison records the paper has sought as part of its reporting on an inmate who gave birth inside a prison.

The paper reported today that Lackawanna County officials "refused to release the bulk of documents related to an inmate who gave birth at the prison July 10."

"The newspaper was denied access to internal prison incident reports and logs related to the treatment of Shakira Staten and to an 'extraordinary occurrence report,' which prisons must provide to the state Department of Corrections after major incidents," the paper reported.

In an e-mail Thursday, the story added, county spokeswoman Jenine Ikeler cited concerns by Warden Janine Donate and her staff about ?security measures? as the reasons for the denial, but said she failed to specify how the records would impact prison security.

But Ikeler said the county would provide copies of prison inspection reports, and a 911 recording from the prison ?as soon as it is provided to me.?

Staten, 22, reportedly gave birth in her cell alone, despite requests to be taken to a hospital, the paper reported. The paper contends that the requested documents "could shed light on how prison staff responded."

Times-Tribune managing editor Lawrence K. Beaupre said the newspaper hadn't decided if it will challenge the denial in court. ?We?re reviewing our options because the taxpaying public has a right to know,? Mr. Beaupre said in Friday's paper.


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