Mother claims son isn't receiving medication in prison
Posted November 22, 2011
The mother of a 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty in May to burglary charges in Wake County says her son is bipolar but is not being treated for the condition in prison.
The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous because she is afraid of retaliation against her son, has written to the North Carolina Department of Correction but says she has not received a response
"Someone should be in a lot of trouble for the way we're treating human beings now in the DOC," the mother said Monday. "The judge said he has to be given his medication and that he was to receive treatment."
WRAL News obtained court documents that show the judge in her son's case recommended that he receive a mental health evaluation and treatment in prison.
Keith Acree, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, says officials can't comment on specific cases because of patient privacy laws.
Generally, he says, all inmates undergo a mental health evaluation when they enter into the prison system, and their subsequent treatment is based on that assessment.
"Doctors are doctors. Judges are judges," Acree said. "It is up to the doctors to determine specifically what the treatment should be and how to handle it."
Senior Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who isn't involved in the case in question, says that a judge's recommendation is just that.
"We can't 'order' the DOC, basically, to do anything except keep (inmates) for the length of time that they have been incarcerated," Manning said.
The mother says her son is stable for the moment but that she is concerned about when he's released when his prison term ends in a few years.
"If he's not getting the medical treatment that he needs now, is he going to get worse?" she asked. "Will he be someone that will be unfixable at the end of his term?"
The mother says that her son's regular medication costs $10 per month and that she would be willing to pay for it if the state would allow him to have it.
The accusation comes on the heels of a recently released internal audit that raises questions about the quality of health care that patients at the mental health ward at Central Prison's hospital in Raleigh receive.
It found that staff neglected inmates with serious mental illnesses. Inspectors discovered inmates were locked up in isolation for weeks, pools of human waste in cells, reported pest problems, incorrect dosing of inmates, faulty record-keeping and chronic understaffing.
The woman’s son is not imprisoned at Central Prison.