Father says Central Prison mistreated his mentally ill son
Posted January 3, 2012
Updated January 4, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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.