News outlets often shine light on inmates receiving improper treatment while in jail or prison. Men and women have cried and screamed for help, some begging for water and being told to get it on their own, others in need of medical attention, but denied. Why don’t officers and or nurses seem to care? Do inmate lives not matter? They’re not all “hard criminals” – they have families, children, friends, just like you and me.
Michelle Bewley, age 35, was arrested in January 2019 for shoplifting from a department store. She was placed on suicide and “disintox” watch because she was withdrawing from opioids and disorderly. Staff at Clay County Jail in Orange Park, FL. were supposed to check on Michelle every 15 minutes. She screamed in pain, they gave her medication, but the nurse didn’t deem her symptoms severe enough for hospital transport. When an outside medical team arrived, after finally being called, they said Michelle had passed away hours prior. Michelle’s family will be filing a lawsuit against the jail.
In 2010 Leonard Strickland, an inmate with schizophrenia, got in an altercation with guards at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.. While handcuffed, he was drug on the floor by officers as other prison staff stood by and watched. Officers are heard yelling at Leonard to stop resisting as he lies face down on the ground. His body was cold to the touch and covered in cuts and bruises, with blood flowing from his ears by the time an ambulance arrived. This is not the first, and likely not the last of horrific treatment to occur by guards at Clinton Correctional, as inmates often express being told that if they cross the guards, bad things will happen to them. No one was charged for Leonard’s death.
2014: Nimali Henry, 19, passed away face down in her jail cell at St. Bernard Parish Prison in Chalmette, LA.. She was arrested for minor charges after getting in an altercation with the father of her four month old child. Nimali had a rare but treatable disease that caused clots to form in small blood vessels throughout her body. Jail staff denied her medication, which ultimately resulted in her passing, 10 days after entering the facility. A case was brought against four jailers, all of which pleaded guilty.
Across the Nation inmates are being treated poorly, and unfortunately, too many of these people are ending up with an obituary. Harsh treatment, unnecessary methods to try and handle (alleged) unruly inmates, denying medication and or medical care has become all too common. Recently, the treatment an Oklahoma inmate received in 2015, who passed away in his cell after being mocked by jail staff, hit the media. He was in pain but they left him. They left him to die, and for what, a news headline that reads, “Jail staff mocked a sick man and denied care as he begged for help, video shows. Days later, he was dead.”
There are people who have made/make poor choices which results in their mugshot being plastered for all to see. But not all those that commit crimes, or have charges filed against them are bad people. No one, regardless of age or crime, ethnicity or disability, deserves to die in such a manner described above. Especially when it could’ve been prevented.
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