Denton County, Denton, Texas
Benjamin G. was held pretrial at Denton County Jail and repeatedly denied the psychiatric evaluations he requested, until his mother’s fierce advocacy got Texas Jail Project and other community groups involved. This is his mother Dana’s story.
My son, Benjamin, was dually diagnosed years ago with manic depression and bipolar disorder. Previously he has taken Lamictal and Remeron and has been in and out of rehabs for over 10 years, 7 total. But he also refused, at times, to take his meds.
Now that he is being held in Denton County Jail, Ben finally, on his own, wrote a request to be seen by a psychiatrist. He also wrote a request to be seen by a psychiatrist when he was held at Gurney. This is the first time in his life he has accepted that he has a disorder. It runs in my family, from my grandmother down.
He is being denied his right to be seen by a psychiatrist or to be treated. I have filed a complaint with the Jail Commission online now twice. I have faxed the Sheriff's office and the Medical Officer at Denton County Jail. I wrote the Chief Medical Officer, and filled out the complaint link on Texas County Jails.
I said that my son Benjamin is struggling and asking for a psychiatric evaluation which Denton County Jail is delaying and denying. Additionally, the nurse in Denton walks into the pod to discuss his medical requests and the outcomes amongst all of the prisoners in population, which directly violates his HIPPA rights of privacy.
Ben may not have many rights left but he still has the right to be seen by medical staff for physical or mental help and prescriptions. He also reported to me that a young man named Chris who went into Denton County Jail was in his 4th day of heroin withdrawal and went into a seizure. The paramedics got there faster than the pods nurses. The paramedics reprimanded the jail for detoxing him without medication. He couldn't walk across the room, told them he felt bad, was sick and throwing up and is now in hospital.
It is amazing that the prison system refuses such care. Our prisons need an overhaul. Abuse by guards only makes it worse.
People could go in together, and file a class action lawsuit as parents with a signed release from the offenders. It’s a tangible, real, legal issue. That is one of their only legal rights: to receive medical care.
It is all on their families to push for help. Our children come out damaged, treated like animals, rewounded. It’s a nightmare.