Blogger Comments: What can you do when inmates are dying in your jail? The buck starts at the point of entry. If we are not mistaken during the booking process, the intake officer is required to gather information to include any known medical conditions about the soon-to-be inmate. It is easy to rubber-stamp these documents. Often times individuals are none compliant and sometimes the individual may not know they have a condition, or the are high or drunk when they are booked. Did the inmates who died complain of illness prior to their deaths? Many folks like to say that they're in jail that that's the only reason they are complaining. Not so fast. Every individual that complains of an illness should be checked out. It may be a logistical nightmare but none of the folks who work in the jails in Alabama are medical professionals. They are not qualified to determine illness. That responsibility should be placed on the physicians and nurses paid for by the sheriff's office. These medical institutes that cater to jails should be doing their job. The sheriff said they have medical staff monitoring the inmates in the drunk tank. Now our question is how often did the medical staff check on the lady? More importantly, is the medical staff the same staff the previous sheriff used? That would be concerning.
As for the number of deaths, it is unfortunate that two inmates have died on Sheriff Puckett's watch. If you are an avid reader of the blog you know that the previous sheriff had more problems with these type incidents than most. The sheriff went so far as to ship a critically ill inmate from Morgan County to Marshall County to get rid of the problem. Walls then shipped the inmate to Kilby. Kilby realized the young man was gravely ill and sent him to UAB where he died shortly thereafter from his condition. Our previous sheriff claimed she had a mental health ward managed 24X7. She lied. The SO has a contract with the medical staff and they should be utilized to determine medical fitness to be in jail or to be transported to a hospital.
We do not have a sheriff running around like some of the sheriffs in Alabama releasing inmates because they are sick and the sheriff's office does not want to be stuck with the bill. By the way, sheriffs, those releases require a judge to sign off on the release. Sheriffs do not want to be stuck with hospital bills for sick inmates. So! Change the laws for those inmates on SSI, Social Security, and Medicaid so their benefits continue while the are in jail. The bottom line for sheriffs is that when you arrest and incarcerate them, you are responsible for their medical needs.