Police throw mom in jail, WITH her toddler!

Toddler thrown in jail with motherLet me ask you something. Is it ever okay to put a toddler in jail? I ask because 27-year-old Latonya Bass of Strongsville, Ohio was accused of shoplifting at a local Walmart while she was in there with her 3-year-old daughter. Security at the store stopped her as she was leaving and according to them she was trying to get away with $558 worth of stolen goods. Shoplifting is bad, shoplifting with your toddler is worse. Naturally the cops were called and both mother and toddler were thrown in jail. Wait, WHAT?!

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Bass was taken to the police station and fingerprinted and booked with her daughter right next to her. While police waited for the little girl's father to come and get her, they decided to put mother and daughter in a holding cell by themselves away from other prisoners. In surveilance video you can see the little girl running around and playing in the cell.

I'm going to be perfectly honest here and tell you that at first I wasn't all that horrified by the police's decision because I understand that they didn't want to separate the child from the mother, but then I read the opinion of another writer, Meredith Bland, and she points out that putting a child in jail with the parent is NEVER a good idea. She's right because it does normalize the situation and we really don't want anyone's child growing up thinking that a day in jail with mom is just something that happens, do we?

I think there were a lot of other options that would have been in the better interest of the child. Why didn't anyone call the dad when the mom was still at Walmart being questioned? If the child had been picked up at the store, she wouldn't have had to see her mom go to jail. Why didn't police wait to book the mom until the dad took the child away? Why didn't they let mother and child wait together in an office or a bench or some other area that isn't a cell? 

Anyway, what's done is done, but perhaps this is a good time for police to consider how to handle a situation like this in the future.

Image via Corbis Images

Topics: crime  arrest  toddler