Texas Jail Project About Newsletters Stories Reports In The News Jail Commission Peer Voices Campaigns & Actions Contact Donate

The risk for diabetics in county jails

Apr 29th, 2015 | Category: Conditions in County Jails

from the American Diabetes Association

People with diabetes have the right to be treated equally in all areas of life, including in the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. The following situations are of great concern to the American Diabetes Association:

  • Law enforcement officers failing to identify hypoglycemia emergencies, mistaking them for intoxication or noncompliance. This can lead to the individual being seriously injured during the arrest, or even passing away because the need for medical care was not recognized in time.
  • Individuals in short-term custody, for example, in police stations or jails before being charged with a crime, are denied all diabetes care, resulting in severe complications like diabetic ketoacidosis, which can develop in a matter of hours.
  • Individuals serving their sentences receive inadequate care and develop serious complications like blindness, kidney failure, and loss of limbs as a result.

The American Diabetes Association has created and collected several resources that may be helpful for people experiencing this unfair treatment. Scroll down for relevant medical information and for information on the rights of people with diabetes. Individuals who have experienced these problems may contact 1-800-DIABETES and ask how to speak with a Legal Advocate if they would like additional information about their rights or would like help. Family members of individuals who are in jail, prison or other detention may also call 1-800-DIABETES for assistance. People who are in custody may write to the follow address for information about managing diabetes in prison and their legal rights:

American Diabetes Association
Government Affairs & Advocacy Division
Attention: Legal Advocacy Assistance
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311

Important note: There are often very strict time limits and procedural requirements for initiating legal action. In particular, if you are in prison, it is important that you comply with any administrative complaint procedures because otherwise your claims may be limited by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. If you are challenging treatment you received during an arrest, you should investigate as soon as possible your state’s statute of limitations for your claim. Additionally, many states require that you file a “notice of claim” if you are even considering a lawsuit against a city, municipal, or state entity. Sometimes the time period for filing a notice of claim can be three months or even less. If you do not give such notice, even if you may still have some remedies, many other state law remedies may be closed off to you.

Families and friends can read up on this at American Diabetes—Know Your Rights. They have FAQ sheets and many resources and you can email this nonprofit organization at LegalAdvocate@diabetes.org

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Laura Gann
7 years ago

They should always wear medic alert bracelet, dog tag or necklace! The ones with your medical information can be obtained by calling # on the ID, can give anyone with proper credentials your DR.’s number or what ever information you choose to disclose.