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Another Person Dies on Gregg County “Death Row”

Jun 9th, 2011 | Category: Gregg County, Jailhouse Stories

Micah ReeseAn otherwise excellent story from the Texas Tribune startled us with the headline: “Another Methadone Addict Dead in Longivew“.

Is it necessary to emphasize the young man’s addiction and reduce his life to the tragic fact of an addiction—something that thousands if not millions of us deal with?

Better to highlight the jail’s “cruel and unusual punishment” that resulted in the death of 30-year-old Micah Aaron Garner. The headline should have said: “Six Months After Amy Dies, A Young Man is Jailed to Death in Longview” or “Gregg County Jail Policy Kills Micah”

Updated: Another Methadone Addict Dead in Longview

Read about this second tragic death in numerous online stories from local TV and from the Longview Journal, especially Robyn Claridy’s “Gregg County Officials Confirm Monday Night Jail Death.

One reader’s comment points to a wider problem at this jail: “I had a son who was arrested last year. He was not a drug addict, however, he WAS a type 1 Diabetic. He was arrested at his home and they allowed him to put on his shirt but would not allow him to take his insulin. They told him they would give him insulin after he was booked in. Thank God, he was only there for a few hours because they would NOT give him any insulin and by the time he got out he was VERY ill. That really scares me for anyone who gets booked into Gregg County jail and is in need of medication.”

Michele Reese’s story quotes TJP director Claitor: “”I’m seeing a pattern here and its not right,” she said. “People with drug addiction and other problems are allowed to die.”

On CBS 19’s website, Field Sutton’s solid piece on Gregg County drug policy points to a different way of doing things, whereby inmates are treated like human beings: “In Smith County, they do it differently. Instead of a specific written drug policy, a doctor examines the inmate and makes an individual determination about what drugs are appropriate to give while they’re in jail.”

In another story, a former county official who was held in Gregg County Jail states that he was denied his high blood pressure medicine there.

Are the Texas Rangers really going to look into the cruel and destructive practices of this jail or will we see the wall of silence go up, as happens so often after people die in our county jails?

Texas Jail Project is planning
a. to investigate the oversight of the doctors in these jails where people are dying due to lack of care while detoxing and also dying due to lack of meds that the jail won’t prescribe.

b. to study and create a list of top ten “Killer Jails” that must be publicized; we will demand more inspections of them and in the end, find out what the common factors are at these jails. TJP will also look for more information, to get beyond the old answer families always hear: “The Texas Rangers Will Investigate.”

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