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A Death Row for San Antonio

Jun 15th, 2010 | Category: Bexar County, Medical care

Express-News Editorial Board , Web Posted: 06/11/2010 12:00 CDT

Recent findings by two separate review panels revealed that the Bexar County jail staff was not following state rules on inmate medical screenings, signaling troubling problems that must be addressed quickly.
Obtaining accurate medical information when a prisoner is jailed is vital to the efficient and safe operation of a detention facility.

Late last month, the county lockup fell into noncompliance with state jail standards after a review found that a jail employee failed to properly complete a one-page medical screening while processing a prisoner into jail.

That finding came after a review of jail medical record-keeping that was prompted by an inmate’s death from natural causes in the jail annex’s infirmary.

Another finding came as the result of an independent review by a suicide expert from the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, the Express-News reported.

National inmate suicide expert Lindsay Hayes found that two Bexar County jail prisoners who committed suicide were not psychiatrically screened by Detention Health Services staff before their fatal incidents.

These latest problems are part of a long and growing list of concerns about prisoner supervision and care at the jail. Last year the jail recorded five suicides, the highest number in more than a decade.

D.Claitor comments: The tone in this editorial by the San Antonio Express-Newscould not be more dry and dispassionate despite the horrific reality behind their words—but evidently expressing outrage is beneath this editorial board. If one of them ever actually has a loved one inside that jail, someone who desperately needs their meds or is suicidal or has a heart condition, the subject will come alive for them and these editorials may become more passionate. But until then, we have to be glad they are at least noticing that men and women are suffering and dying while held in this second death row, known also as the Bexar County Jail.

The county was cited in February by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for inadequate inmate supervision and again in May for the incident involving improper medical screening, the Express-News revealed.

Keeping and maintaining a large detention facility that is almost always at capacity is a monumental task and there is no room for shortcuts on procedures.

The safety of those who work at the jail and the prisoners who are incarcerated there is contingent on having strong policies and regulations in place — and following them.

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1 Comment
9 years ago

February 15, 2013 Bexar County is at its worst when it comes to medical screenings and handling inmates medical needs. My husband is currently at Bexar County Adult Det. Ctr. and is suffering from the medical disaster. He has been there since 12/4/12. Records or list of medications have not bee. Reheated. My husband has ctive heart failure. He is not some training patient. He not only has to be on diuretics but also supplements to keep him stable and not die. He will die in there if nothing gets done. Medical needs to step up their game. Or they will not hear the end of this situation.