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Father says Central Prison mistreated his mentally ill son

Posted January 3, 2012
Updated January 4, 2012

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— The father of a mentally ill inmate says his son was mistreated at Central Prison in Raleigh last year, and he is asking for the North Carolina Department of Correction and his son's warden to be held criminally responsible.

Gale Harold Jr. says his son, David Harold, 34, attempted suicide at another facility and was sent to Central Prison for treatment. There, he says, his son was put in isolation, held in filthy conditions and never received any medical treatment.

That alleged neglect falls in line with the Department of Correction's own internal audit of its mental health program last spring, which detailed many problems.

The report found that staff neglected inmates with serious mental illnesses. Inspectors discovered inmates were locked up in isolation for weeks on end, there were pools of human waste in cells, reported pest problems, incorrect dosing of inmates, faulty record-keeping and chronic under-staffing.

"Rather than giving him treatment and helping him, he was warehoused in an empty cold room with no help at all," Gale Harold said. "He was naked. The rooms were spread, not with his feces, but the feces of previous inmates. Urine and blood was everywhere."

A day after the report came out last spring, Warden Gerald Branker announced his planned retirement, effective Nov. 1.

Gale Harold says he wants Branker and the DOC to be held responsible.

"Warden Branker, with impunity, treated these people in a subhuman way," Gale Harold said.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says he doesn't think Gale Harold's complaints translate into a criminal violation. He says, in the absence of direct physical abuse, the problems are something the Department of Correction needs to address internally.

David Harold Father says Central Prison mistreated his son

Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree said the case is under investigation. The department needs more time to determine what happened, he said. 

WRAL News was unable to reach Branker, who is now retired.

David Harold is now being held at Alexander Correctional in Taylorsville, where his father says he is doing well. Gale Harold says his son was diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses, is often suicidal and has been in and out of prison since he was a teenager. He says he won't rest until something is done about his son's mistreatment at Central Prison.

"I'm a fierce advocate for my son," he said.

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  • TrueFacts Jan 9, 2012

    Harold has Klinefelter's syndrome. The condition depresses production of testosterone. Testosterone was prescribed. Allan Mark Josephson, chief of child psychiatry @ the Medical College of Georgia, testified in 1994 testosterone can lead to greater aggressiveness. As a child Harold displayed learning disabilities & behavioral problems, which Josephson said commonly afflict those with Klinefelter's. At the age of 12, he started treatment at a series of psychiatric institutions. As a teen he became involved with a gang. The 6-foot, 3-inch youth was given the street name of "The Hit Man". Source: 4/29/1994 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution.

    David is the younger brother of Actor Gale Harold (42) who currently stars in The Secret Circle on the CW. Although, Gale seldom discloses personal info. He has admitted to having an older sister & younger brother. David is indeed his sibling.

  • TrueFacts Jan 9, 2012

    Original Offense which lead to his Incarceration:
    MAJOR OFFENSE: Aggravated Assault. (shot a man in the face with a sawed off shot gun)
    CRIME COMMIT DATE: 03/24/1993
    INCARCERATION BEGIN 06/07/1994
    SENTENCE LENGTH 16 YEARS
    Released 03/27/2009

    See articles in Atlanta Constitution April 29, 1994 & April 30, 1994
    DATE: April 29, 1994 PUBLICATION: The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution EDITION: The Atlanta Constitution SECTION: LOCAL NEWS A DeKalb teenager who shot a Decatur convenience store owner while taking testosterone for a chromosome disorder pleaded for mercy Thursday at his sentencing hearing. On the evening of March 24, 1993, David Matthew Harold went into Brian Hendriks's store on the corner of Church and Commerce streets, put a bag of chips on the counter, then pulled out a .22 handgun and shot Hendriks above the left eye. Because the gun had its barrel almost completely sawed off, the bullet failed to penetrate Hendriks's brain. After spending

  • donna 1 Jan 5, 2012

    Suicidal attempts are caused by mental illness.........so what's your point? He should not have been in a "prison"...........he should be in a mental institution.
    IAMAmerican
    January 4, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    I guess you feel jeffery Dalhmer and Manson should have been placed in a mental hospital instead of prison also since they had a mental disorder. First off my point: If this guy had a diagnosis of a mental condition he Would Not be placed in regular population. I can tell you from experience that alot of inmates use the suicide attempt to get off the block for various reasons, they might owe money to another inmate and can't pay up, it could be a lover's quarrel. Unless you have worked in the system you will never understand the manipulation that goes on in the system. He robbed someone using force and fear which is more than petty larceny and he deserves to be where he is.He has committed 8 infractions in the past year. Trust me he is no saint.

  • hunter38 Jan 4, 2012

    Hmmm...lot of bleeding hearts on here. Why don't you folks allow this fine outstanding young man to move in with you upon his release from this terrible place? Please put your "hug-a-criminal" theory to work.

  • hunter38 Jan 4, 2012

    I am more and more ashamed to be classified as a North Carolinian

    Last I checked we have interstates that go west, north, and south.....bye bye

  • IAMAmerican Jan 4, 2012

    For everyone that feels it is wrong to put someone (Suicidal) in a cell in their boxers as wrong I can bet you would change your mind if you came up on an inmate that had hung himself by tying his clothing or sheets and blankets together. There is rational to this madness.
    donna 1

    Suicidal attempts are caused by mental illness.........so what's your point? He should not have been in a "prison"...........he should be in a mental institution.

  • donna 1 Jan 4, 2012

    According to the NC DOC , this guy is housed in regular population and apparently has not been diagnosed with a legitimate mental health diagnosis because the DOC does not house mental health inmates with regular population. He may however after his recent suicide attempt gain this diagnosis. For everyone that feels it is wrong to put someone (Suicidal) in a cell in their boxers as wrong I can bet you would change your mind if you came up on an inmate that had hung himself by tying his clothing or sheets and blankets together. There is rational to this madness.

  • donna 1 Jan 4, 2012

    According to the NC DOC

  • donna 1 Jan 4, 2012

    For those who think this guy just commited petty larceny and he doesn't deserve his punishment first let me correct your assumption. Common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear. This was not his first , second nor third offense. He has also committed 8 infractions in a 1 year time. According to the NC DOC

  • greg69innc Jan 4, 2012

    It a shame that anyone with these issues would be subjected to living in a cell in this manner. Our nation complained in fact the world complained about treatment of prisoners in a prison in Iraq. We are better than that and we should all have the dignity with ourselves by not defending actions like this.

    I do feel that cable television, internet, and other luxouries should not be allowed and that working on the roads is an experience that is never forgotten. But to treat another human being in a mannner like that is atrocious.

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