Local News

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.


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  • raleighlynn Nov 23, 2011

    Wildcat and JenJenGirl: So, parents are to blame for these issues? I have two children with issues. One is a genius who graduated high school at age 16. One graduated first in his class in air traffic control and is enlisted in the USMC. My oldest son was the Army Soldier of the Year in the year of 9/11. One daughter, a single mom, just bought her own house at age 25 while working full time and going to nursing school full time, without one dime of help from me. Another daughter is an uber organized office manager. Tell me, where exactly did I screw up parenting? Your comments are insulting.

  • raleighlynn Nov 23, 2011

    Wildcat, you are wrong on many troubling levels. Which came first, the criminal or the bipolar? These types of mental illnesses come from brain "miswiring" and require medications to help the person think straight. Many bipolars are extremely impulsive and the damage is done before they realize it. So many mentally ill people in prison need a good mental health system. That will enable people to become or remain productive members of society and keep our prisons from overcrowding, and keep prisoners from being neglected.

  • wildcat Nov 23, 2011


  • wildcat Nov 23, 2011

    The mother is not in prison so she really don't know the facts. But on the other hand, had she raised her son in the right way, he would not even be in prison.

  • thoughts112 Nov 23, 2011

    Well seeing as how it has been proven that the DOC is failing to handle to mental cases correctly at some-- not all prisons, this may be a problem. But obviously this man wasnt taking his meds correctly or he was not given the right meds to begin with if he was charged with burglary, but yet people who arnt bipolar commit crimes too. If the prison is failing to give him his meds then that is wrong.

  • jenjengirl89 Nov 23, 2011

    Methinks that helicoptor mommie is most likely a big part of the boy's problem.

  • thatswhatshesaid66 Nov 23, 2011

    Since he pleaded guilty to BURGLARY in May it looks like the medicine wasn't doing him any good before prison either. Just saying...

  • a12069901 Nov 23, 2011

    C'mon, WRAL! You really thought this story was worthy of publication? A Single person voices a gripe against the DOC? Newsworthy? Hardly! Every single inmate that is admitted to the DOC undergoes a medical and psychiatric screening. If that inmate is admitted to the DOC already taking mental health medication, then he is automatically referred for a psychiatric evaluation. That doctor will assess the inmate's condition, and if it looks like meds are appropriate, that doctor will prescribe them. Granted not every medicine available on the streets can be obtained there; an inmate can't, for instance, get easily abused drugs like Xanax or Valium. But if he has a mental illness that can benefit from medications, the doctor will prescribe them. So if this lady's son isn't getting his preferred pills, either he is refusing what the doctor is offering, or his doctor doesn't feel his condition truly needs meds in the first place. Next time, do your homework, WRAL, and don't cloud the issue.

  • kermit60 Nov 23, 2011

    Every prisoner has a problem or they wouldn't be in prison. Sounds like someone is setting the stage for a future lawsuit. My son is still bad because you didn't treat him right in prison.

  • pea66441 Nov 23, 2011

    Now this lady is hilarious,maybe if he wasn't in prison he could get help.