All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Will the Epstein death raise awareness of a big problem?

Amazing how a high-profile death behind bars suddenly raises interest.

A lot of people in an uproar these days over the alleged jail cell suicide of Jeffrey Epstein. Sadly, that kind of stuff goes on all the time. For most of us, however, it’s out of sight, which means out of mind. This is NOT a new problem.

Recently, closer to home, television reporters helped narrow the focus on a Muskegon County jail situation. The coroner ruled it a natural death when a guy died in his cell. That is, until Channel 8 found that the jail had deprived the inmate of a critical medication prescribed by his doctor. The inmate suffered 15 seizures over more than three hours, all allegedly unnoticed by guards, while in a close-observation cell. Then he died. Just another prisoner. No big deal…until an investigative reporter started sniffing.

Death in prison is something we deal with on a regular basis, and you wouldn’t like what we hear and what we know.

The other day a very good friend, recovering from surgery in the infirmary of Michigan’s prison for women said, in a personal letter to me: “We lost a gal here 3 days ago. She took her oxygen off during the night, and left us by morning. There was no hope left in her.”  Routine. Family notified. Another bed available. Was anybody paying attention?

My hope is that the Epstein case helps focus on the bigger picture. Many prison deaths are unnecessary and preventable! Let me tell you something, and this comes from an office that handles 600-700 calls a month from prisoners, that responds to 100 complaints a month about inadequate medical care, and that has a difficult time meeting budget because caring for and about prisoners doesn’t seem nearly as appealing as rescuing puppies or kittens or whales. Unless we are working with a family who has someone critically ill behind bars, or who has had a serious accident while in prison, or who has someone struggling with unacceptable prison medical care, we cannot attract interest. Period.

I’m so tired of people who like to expound on the contention that we are a Christian nation, and then, in another breath, are totally OK with the concept that prisoners can be treated like animals. After all, “if they hadn’t committed the crime, they wouldn’t be doing the time.”

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27


ABC said...

True, sad and angered. Doug, are your blogs in book form? You may want to consider this?

Doug Tjapkes said...

Just published: HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS? A compilation of 100 favorite postings. More info on our website. Thanks for asking!
Doug Tjapkes