Corizon is notorious for its awful “health care”! Here again we see that a short sentence for drug charges nearly resulted in death due to prison officials’ medical incompetence and cruelty.
Excerpts from the Article:
A woman who says she suffered a life-threatening infection after Idaho’s prison staffers denied her antibiotics following dental surgery is suing state officials and Corizon Health, claiming she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Christina Bergstrom says she was hospitalized for two weeks – part of that time in intensive care – after she developed a rare, rapidly spreading and potentially fatal infection after her wisdom teeth were removed. She’s asking a federal judge to order Corizon to pay her an unspecified amount of damages.
Officials with Corizon Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Bergstrom was told shortly after she arrived at the Pocatello Women’s Corrng the surgery. Two days later, she said her mouth started swelling and bleeding and she could “taste the infection,” where the tooth was removed. Though she said she was in extreme pain and couldn’t sleep or eat, she said prison staffers denied her pain medication and antibiotics, at one point telling her that they thought she just wanted drugs.
Over the next several hours she said the swelling continued, her skin became hot and red to the touch and she developed a fever and a rapid pulse. Her face became so deformed by the swelling she could barely pronounce words, according to the lawsuit. Still, Bergstrom said, prison staffers denied her requests for medication.
Four days after her wisdom teeth were removed, Bergstrom contends, she was having trouble breathing because of the swelling in her throat. That’s when she was taken to the prison’s medical center and then to the regional hospital, where she had to undergo emergency surgery and spend three days unconscious in the intensive care unit.
Doctors diagnosed her with Ludwig’s Angina, a rare, rapidly spreading infection of the tissue in the mouth and neck that can quickly kill if left untreated. After six days in the hospital, doctors had her flown to a larger medical center in Salt Lake City for additional treatment, according to the lawsuit.
“The infection was too deep to be treated with antibiotics due to the delay in providing treatment,” Bergstrom’s attorney Howard Belodoff, wrote in the lawsuit. She had another surgery and was hospitalized for several more days, kept in shackles and accompanied by a correctional officer throughout her stay.
Bergstrom arrived in prison in April of 2018, ordered to serve at least two years on drug charges. She was released earlier this year.
She’s since been released from prison but still suffers complications from the ordeal, including a large scar on her neck, numbness and swelling on her face and pain when she turns her head, according to the lawsuit.
Bergstrom also contends that other inmates have also had infections, swelling and pain after prison health care providers pulled their teeth, and also were denied adequate medical care.
Corizon has not yet filed a formal response to the lawsuit.
The Whole Story:
I have long said that these guards should be given psyche tests before hiring and given polygraph exams once a year: “Have you committed any crime within the past year?” This will never happen because their unions donate billions of dollars annually to lawmakers to thwart such needed reforms.
If convicted, LOCK HIM UP!
A correctional officer from Monroe County is now facing federal charges for soliciting an underage person for sex online.
Earnest Pittman, 45, of Cresco, was arrested last month by Kingston police when he went to the borough to allegedly meet up with who he thought was a 15-year-old girl he had been communicating with through texts and emails. The girl was actually an undercover cop.
Investigators say Pittman used his work email at a federal corrections facility in Otisville, New York to send some of the messages.
Several years ago (7) I organized a statewide boycott of prison phones by inmates, to lower costs. It was successful; rates were reduced 3 months later. READ Families push for lower prison phone rates, more open visits – READ WHAT YOU CAN DO, AND DO IT! – kra
The ridiculously high fees are counter productive; the more people stay in touch with family, the better they do when they get out.
We are never again going to take a commission or make money off of products and services provided to incarcerated people and their support networks, their families,” declared Anne Stuhldreher, director of the San Francisco Treasurer’s Financial Justice Project, as she announced the county’s unanimous July 14, 2020 vote to end jail telephone call and commissary fees.
Before this, California law authorized counties to charge prisoners for telephone calls and jail commissary items to pay for rehabilitation and reentry services. Under that law, San Francisco generated an estimated $1.7 million annually by charging prisoners 15 cents per minute for telephone calls — $4.50 for a 30-minute call — and a 43% markup on soap, toothpaste, food and other commissary items.
“It can really add up. It’s people’s families who really foot the bill,” said Stuhldreher as she recounted heartbreaking stories of prisoner family members being forced to choose between staying in touch with incarcerated loved ones and paying their utility bills. “Our research shows it’s almost always low-income women of color.”
While Black individuals make up less than 6 percent of San Francisco’s general population, they represent roughly half of the jail’s population, Stuhldreher noted.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who is Black and whose brother is serving a 44-year prison term, knows that pain all too well. “It’s something that has never sat well with me, from personal experience of the collect calls, and the amount of money that my grandma had to spend on our phone bill, and at times our phone getting cut off because we couldn’t pay the bill,” Breed said during a 2019 interview.
It is “depressing and frustrating” to be unable to support incarcerated family members, said Breed. Fortunately, she recognized that she is now able to provide that support. In her 2019 annual budget proposal, Breed introduced a set of progressive reforms slashing the cost of jail telephone calls by 50 percent and phasing out commissary commissions.
“This was something I thought was an important issue, to address equity and fairness in our criminal justice system,” said Breed. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed on July 14, ending all charges for jail telephone calls, video calls and electronic tablet usage, effective August 1, 2020.
“What happened last year was really an initial first step. This makes those changes permanent,” said Stuhldreher. “The idea is that those services should be supported in the same way we pay for everything else, and not on the backs of incarcerated people and their families. This nixes that business model.”
San Francisco now joins New York City as the first major American cities to enact progressive laws eliminating jail telephone call fees. Yet the change is part of a trend, in mostly Democratic jurisdictions, to reduce or eliminate excessive criminal justice fees that negatively impact poor people and public safety.
Stuhldreher points to research finding lower recidivism rates among formerly incarcerated people who maintain close family bonds during confinement. “The more people stay in touch with family, the better they do when they get out.”
Alabama DOC Report: Staff Beat, Hog-Tied, and Denied Medical Care to Fatally Injured Prisoner Seeking Help; Then Covered It Up
Another example of DOC staff OUT OF CONTROL! Several guards need to be on the inside of the cells!
Excerpts from the Article:
According to a secret report by the Investigation & Intelligence Division of the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC), guards beat and hog-tied a prisoner who was seeking medical attention for what turned out to be fatal injuries he received when he was beaten by another prisoner. The guards delayed taking the prisoner to a prison medical facility and told a nurse he was on drugs. She refused to treat him, further delaying his medical care.
DOC prisoners found Billy Smith on November 13, 2017, dazed and injured on a bathroom floor at the Elmore Correctional Facility after another prisoner, Bryan Blount, allegedly punched him in the head and knocked him out. An “ambulance unit” of prisoners took the bloodied Smith to the shift commander’s office. He was placed on a gurney and parked in a grassy area outside the office where it was cold and raining. Then he was ignored.
According to the report, which was revealed on February 18, 2020 by BuzzFeed News and Injustice Watch, Lt. Kenny Waver threatened to spray Smith with a chemical agent because he refused to sit down when he first arrived. Smith continued to complain that he was cold and his head hurt, but the guards thought he was intoxicated and continued to ignore him. Waver and Sgt. Jonathan Richardson had ordered Smith to stay out of the office because they did not want him to track blood inside, but he came in anyway. That is when a guard and other prisoners reportedly witnessed guard Jeremy Singleton hit him hard in the face, head and ribs multiple times and sweep his feet from under him, causing him to fall on his side.
Some prisoners said other guards hit Smith as well. At some point, Singleton punched him in the face again and hog-tied him with the help of other guards, cuffing his hands behind his back, shackling his feet, and connecting the cuffs and shackles.
Smith was strapped to the gurney, rolled out of sight of cameras, and left at least another hour while his calls for help went unheeded. He also started vomiting, a potential sign of brain trauma.
Eventually, Waver ordered Singleton and guard Ell White to transport Smith to a medical facility at nearby Staton Correctional Facility.
At Staton, Smith began to lose consciousness and White poured a cooler of ice and water over him and hit him on the head to wake him up. Nurse Tara Parker found Smith bloody, rolling and thrashing on the floor. The guards told her Smith was “wigging out on drugs,” so she refused to treat him due to his erratic behavior. Later, nurses found water in Smith’s lungs.
Singleton and White took Smith back to Elmore using a wheelchair to roll him to a van about an hour after they had arrived at Staton. Prisoners who removed Smith from the van discovered him wedged between two benches with his shirt over his head, his pants around his ankles, his boxers down to his thighs and a trash bag full of ice between his chest and one of the benches.
Smith was shaking uncontrollably and making a strange snoring noise as he was rolled back to the shift office. Waver ordered him returned to Staton. According to Parker, Smith arrived at Staton with several marks that he did not previously have. She evaluated his condition and administered a medication to treat drug overdoses, which had no effect. Later, Smith was transported to a hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery for a fractured skull and swollen brain that was shifted to the right. He died 26 days later, on December 9, 2017, without regaining consciousness.
The internal investigation began while Smith was alive. Investigators saw “several cuts on the top of his head, abrasions and bruising on both legs, hips, shoulders,” but no “defensive marks or bruising on his arms nor did he have cuts to his knuckles and hand that would indicate hitting any object with his fists.”
Prison staff who were asked about how Smith was injured “responded with apparent defensiveness, deception, and a lack of cooperation” according to report. The time card of Assistant Warden Gwendolyn Babers, whom prisoners saw leaving the shift office during the incident, was altered to show he had left the prison before it happened. Video recording contradicted what guards said had happened. The original shift log disappeared and a substituted copy was missing notes on the incident and the required supervisor’s signature.
An autopsy concluded that Smith died of blunt-force trauma. An Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences medical examiner concluded that Blount caused the fatal injuries.
In July 2019, a grand jury returned indictments for manslaughter against both Blount and Singleton, who had been promoted to sergeant after the incident. Then Singleton resigned.
Smith’s estate filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against DOC employees. At a minimum, DOC staff seem to have tortured a dying prisoner while delaying and denying his medical treatment—possibly causing the fatal outcome. Instead of disciplining the primary staff culprit, they promoted him.
Sadly, this is hardly the only instance of fatal prisoner abuse in the DOC. Steven Davis died in October 2019, after he was beaten by guards at the DOC’s Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer. One of the guards who beat him no longer works for the DOC. The case is being presented to a grand jury.
On December 5, 2019, Michael Smith died after he was beaten by DOC guards, but few details are available. One of the guards resigned in January 2020. Another “remains on mandatory leave while the ADOC pursues appropriate corrective action,” according to the Department.
Clearly, the DOC has a problem with staff violence in its prisons. As the bodies pile higher, one must wonder what the DOC intends to do about the problem. That is, anything other than forging time cards and shift logs and lying to investigators.
Eleventh Circuit Holds Trafficking Victims Protection Act Applies to CoreCivic “Voluntary Work Program”
Good news because private prisons are a disaster, and CoreCivic is the largest such company!
Excerpts from the Article:
On February 28, 2020, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1589(a), 1595, or TVPA, applies to privately operated immigration detention centers. The Act prohibits forced labor and it subjects violators to criminal and civil liability.
Plaintiffs Wilhen Hill Barrientos, Margarito Velazquez-Galicia, and Shoaib Ahmed are current and former immigration detainees who were held at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, a facility owned and operated by CoreCivic as an immigration detention facility under contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
ICE requires CoreCivic to follow the Performance-Based National Detention Standards, one of which requires that it offer detainees an opportunity to participate in a “voluntary work program.” The standards allow detention centers to require detainees to “maintain their immediate living areas in a neat and orderly manner,” but specifically states that they “shall not be required to work” and that all other work assignments are voluntary.
The plaintiffs filed a federal complaint alleging the “voluntary work program” at Stewart was anything but voluntary. They alleged CoreCivic coerced detainees into performing labor by “the use or threatened use of serious harm, criminal prosecution, solitary confinement, and the withholding of basic necessities” such as food, toothpaste, toilet paper, and soap and contact with loved ones outside the detention center in violation of the TVPA. CoreCivic moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that the TVPA did not apply to a private government contractor or cover labor performed in work programs by detainees in the lawful custody of the U.S.
The court noted that the TVPA prohibited anyone from obtaining labor or services: “(l) by means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person; (2) by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person or any other person; (3) by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process; or (4) by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint.”
The court held that the language of the TVPA is “plain and unambiguous.” It creates criminal and civil causes of action for “whoever” knowingly obtains labor by various coercive means. The use of the terms “whoever” and “person” places no limit on whom the Act applies to. Referencing the Dictionary Act, the court noted that this included “corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.”
Therefore, the court held that the TVPA applied to “private, for-profit contractors operating federal immigration detention facilities,” and the district court’s decision was affirmed. See: Barrientos v. CoreCivic, 951 F.3d 1269.
It is outrageous that litigation is needed to correct these local Sheriffs who violate basic rights! The Sheriff is sure to lose this case.
Excerpts from the Article:
A Florida nonprofit is suing Sherburne County and Sheriff Joel Brott over the jail’s alleged refusal to deliver copies of its legal magazines to inmates at the county jail.
In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Minnesota, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) said Sherburne County jail employees have refused to deliver copies of its two monthly magazines and other publications since June 2019. The jail failed to inform the center of its decision not to deliver the mail, thus denying it a chance to appeal what the lawsuit describes as censorship.
“When the Jail prohibits incarcerated persons from receiving newspapers and magazines, these persons are left in the dark — deprived of the ability to defend themselves in the criminal cases against them or expand their minds through knowledge and education,” attorney R.J. Zayed wrote in the lawsuit’s complaint. Zayed is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Minnesota.
HRDC said it tried to send six different types of mail to inmates, including copies of its two magazines and a book titled “Prisoners Guerrilla Handbook.” Three inmates told HRDC that most of the materials were confiscated and undelivered. Another inmate got both magazines but nothing else.
The lawsuit argues that the jail’s actions violate the nonprofit’s “First Amendment right to communicate speech to incarcerated persons” and its 14th Amendment right to due process for not allowing it a chance to appeal the censorship.
As you read this, remember that thousands of INNOCENT men and women are incarcerated in America, and that everyone deserves (and prisons legally are required to provide) reasonable health care.
The article is excellent, it is detailed with pertinent facts, and if you have a loved one in prison you should read it. Alas, it is too long for me to edit and post it as I would like to do, for this is a dreadfully busy week for me.
How to Fail at Running a Prison During a Pandemic = https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2020/aug/1/how-fail-running-prison-during-pandemic/
May Mr. Klier be richly rewarded for speaking out. I have read about hundreds of similar situations where nobody stepped up with the TRUTH. READ: Culture of Cover Up
Excerpts from the Article:
The former president of the Williamson County Deputies Association has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the county, saying he was fired in June because he reported violations at the sheriff’s office, including one in connection to an inmate’s death.
According to the lawsuit, Michael Klier this year reported to the district attorney’s office that Facebook posts from a group of Williamson County medics made light of the 2018 death of inmate Daniel McCoy. It said he made the report after sheriff’s investigators refused to consider the posts, the lawsuit said.
No charges have ever been brought against anyone in the sheriff’s office in connection with McCoy’s death.
Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Mike Davis told Klier in January that “had I known about the messages (Facebook) it may have changed my mind about the need for a grand jury,” according to the lawsuit.
One of Klier’s lawyers, Randall Moore, commented on Monday about what Ryle said.
“All anybody who is interested needs to do is review the recent occurrences in the news from WCSO (Williamson County Sheriff’s Office) and all these “bad” and disgruntled employees’ personnel records, to determine who is telling the truth here,” said Moore. “You think these employees just up and turned unqualified and untruthful overnight?”
McCoy, 24, who was mentally ill, became violently sick at the Williamson County Jail and later died on April 18, 2018, according to a federal lawsuit his mother filed in November 2019 against the county. That lawsuit, which is pending, said McCoy was denied medical treatment at the jail that could have saved his life. Four officers at the jail also were sued in connection with McCoy’s death — Bradley Brown, Adrian Nira, Carlos Paniagua and Ty Roggenkamp.
Klier said in his lawsuit that he was called to McCoy’s cell in April 2018 when McCoy was found unconscious. Klier “concluded the medic (Sgt. Nira) had been reckless in his handling of Daniel McCoy and that his reckless actions resulted in the prisoner’s death,” according to the lawsuit.
Klier was a detective at the time and was investigating McCoy’s death, the lawsuit states. It said that during his investigation, Klier learned of a Facebook group that medics for the sheriff’s office had formed. “In these social media posts and comments, members of the group were laughing about Daniel McCoy’s death,” the lawsuit said. “In one comment, the poster bragged they had saved the county a thousand dollars a month in medication costs.”
A short time after Klier notified Sheriff Robert Chody and other sheriff’s officials about the Facebook posts in April 2019, a commander told him to omit the messages from the report, according to the lawsuit. The commander “advised him they did not have anything to do with the event in the cell, and indicated the Facebook messages merely constituted bad (unauthorized) conduct by the individuals involved in posting the messages,” the lawsuit said.
Klier also asked two sheriff’s lieutenants on Nov. 7, 2019, what he should do about the Facebook messages since the sheriff’s office had received an open records request for all of Klier’s work in the McCoy case, according to the lawsuit.
When Klier spoke to two assistant district attorneys in January, “he informed them both of multiple cases in which the Williamson County sheriff’s office had lied or withheld evidence from the district attorney and the (Texas) Rangers,” the lawsuit said.
It did not provide details on any other cases except for the McCoy case.
The sheriff’s office accused Klier of untruthfulness in February, demoted him in March and fired him June 29, the lawsuit said.
The sheriff’s office said a request for Klier’s personnel file will take 10 working days to process.
Klier is seeking damages of more than $200,000 but less than $1 million in the lawsuit.
Justice Department and GEO Group Challenge California’s Ban on Private Prison and Detention Facilities
Private prisons are the worst thing to happen to our justice system since the “war on drugs”. This is likely to be another losing lawsuit drummed up by Barr, tRump’s “Toad in Chief”. Barr should be behind bars!
See many articles under “prison abuse”.
On January 24, 2020, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint in California federal court challenging the application to the federal government of a new state law — Assembly Bill 32 (A.B. 32) — which phases out all privately-operated prisons and jails inside state borders, including federal detention facilities.
Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2019, A.B. 32 bars any entity with a prison, jail or detention facility in the state from signing or extending a contract for its operation with a private firm after January 1, 2020. It also prohibits the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from entering into any new contract to house prisoners outside of the state in privately operated detention facilities. However, the law allows exemptions necessary to comply with a court-ordered population cap.
According to the DOJ complaint, five of eight exceptions provided for in A.B. 32 apply only to California’s contracts and not to those entered into by the U.S. government. They cover facilities that:
• provide services to a juvenile pursuant to a state juvenile court order;
• provide mental health evaluation or treatment to a person under a state court commitment order;
• are state-licensed residential care facilities;
• are used for medical quarantine or isolation;
• are used to temporarily detain a person arrested by a merchant, private security guard or other person pursuant to state law.
The three exceptions that might apply to the federal government are for facilities that:
• provide educational, vocational, medical or other ancillary services to prisoners;
• are disciplinary detention facilities at schools; or
• are privately owned facilities leased and operated by a law enforcement agency.
The U.S. enumerated its private-detention facility needs by agency, beginning with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), which houses over 21,000 – about 34 percent – of some 62,000 prisoners in private detention facilities, including approximately 1,100 of its 5,000 prisoners in California.
Next came the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), which houses 25,000 of its 175,000 prisoners in private prisons, including 2,200 of 16,000 prisoners held in California, and also privately contracts for operation of 10 Residential Reentry Centers that house, supervise and provide reentry programming to about 900 prisoners.
Finally, there is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which does not construct or operate its own facilities, due to significant fluctuations in the number of detainees it houses. However, the agency said it housed an average population of 50,000 detainees in fiscal year 2019.
As for USMS prisoners, the federal government argued that relocating them to neighboring states posed a hardship because those facilities would become overcrowded and defense consultations and court appearances would require frequent transportation to and from California
As for the BOP, the U.S. maintained that the application of A.B. 32 would severely diminish its ability to provide reentry services and community placement that the agency is required to expand under the First Step Act.
The federal authorities alleged that applying A.B. 32 would severely hamper ICE operations because it contracts for 5,000 bunks in four private detention facilities in California, and it has contracted with Florida-based GEO Group to house an additional 2,150 detainees in the state starting in August 2020.
A lawsuit filed on December 27, 2019, by GEO Group to stop the state from applying the new law claims it will affect 10 privately managed immigrant detention facilities with 10,925 beds — from which detainees will need to be relocated at the cost of “significant taxpayer dollars,” the DOJ suit adds, citing changes the law requires in transportation of prisoners that would overwhelm the current transportation system, create security risks, and isolate prisoners or detainees from their families. GEO says A.B. 32 would cost it $4 billion in lost revenue.
DOJ’s suit alleges that the law is “a direct assault on the supremacy of federal law” and adds that “A.B. 32 has both the purpose and effect of hampering the Federal Government’s ability to house individuals in its custody.”
DOJ’s argument rests on the “Supremacy Clause” in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which maintains that federal laws “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” Congress has provided that federal prisoners may be placed in “‘any available penal or correctional facility’ . . . without regard to what entity operates the prison.” 18 U.S.C § 4013(c). USMS is authorized to contract for “support from private detention entities.” Likewise, the Department of Homeland Security is authorized to house ICE detainees in facilities it leases or builds.
“We’ve all seen the horrific humanitarian crisis playing out along our border,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonita of Oakland, who authored A.B. 32. “No human being deserves to be held in the well-documented cruel conditions in these for-profit, private facilities. For that reason, A.B. 32 was expanded to cover civil detention facilities as well as prisons.”
The three legal challenges mark the most robust pushback yet from federal authorities against so-called “sanctuary city” laws designed to protect immigrants from arrest and detention by ICE.
Here the abominable health care in our prisons causes another death. Misplaced assumptions, guards mocking the gravely ill inmate, and a failure to diagnose the real problem … all are so typical of prison “health care”!
Excerpts from the Article:
An inmate’s worsening medical condition and calls for help were ignored for days before she was found dead in her cell at Montcalm County Jail, a lawsuit says.
Amber Bills, 34, of Big Rapids, died Dec. 30, 2018.
A lawsuit, filed by her husband, Jeremy Bills, said corrections officers and medical staff ignored her serious medical condition believing she was detoxing from methamphetamine.
Bills died of natural causes: an undiagnosed perforated ulcer with peritonitis, according to her death certificate. The Michigan Sheriff’s Association conducted a two-month investigation but found no wrongdoing or criminal acts.
Sheriff Michael Williams, who is named in the lawsuit with 15 sheriff’s workers, two doctors and a registered nurse, said his office has not yet been served with the lawsuit. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Bills was booked into the jail on Dec. 22, 2018, eight days before her death. She had been arrested for driving while license is suspended and an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court. Bonds totaled $1,000.
On Dec. 26, 2018, while playing cards with other inmates, she “suddenly doubled over in pain,” Southfield attorney Kevin Riddle wrote in the lawsuit. Someone pushed an emergency button in the jail, according to the lawsuit.
Her condition got worse the next day. Inmates reported that she was vomiting, pale and bent over in pain, holding her abdomen. A corrections officer saw her lying on the bathroom floor by the toilet, the lawsuit said.
Bills saw a nurse that afternoon. Police said she saw the jail nurse on multiple occasions.
“It was apparent to each of the Corrections Officers, based on their perceptions and what they were told by Amber, inmates and other Corrections Officers that Amber Bills was in serious need of medical attention,” Riddle said in the lawsuit.
Medical staff on Dec. 28, 2018, started Bills on a detox protocol, he said. At some point, she had told a nurse she was detoxing from methamphetamine use. The attorney said that she would not have been detoxing at the time because methamphetamine withdrawals usually peak within a day or two.
The next day, Bills, who continued to vomit and report stomach pain, pushed the emergency button. She would throw up anything she ate or drank. She repeatedly asked to go to the hospital, an inmate said, according to the lawsuit. On the day she died, she refused medication and screamed for a doctor, the lawsuit said.
Inmates recalled her cries for help. “Amber cried ‘Help me, Mommy help me’ and ‘I’m sick,’” the lawsuit said.
A corrections officer allegedly said “‘that’s how it feels to detox,‘” the lawsuit said. Another told her to “Suck it up,” and said she was not going to go to the hospital, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges wrongful death, violation of Bills’ civil rights, gross negligence and/or willful misconduct and medical malpractice.