Inmate & Jail stories
When I first started working in the jail, the officers brought me an inmate who was so severely constipated he’d not gone to the bathroom in three days. He was practically doubled over and in tears. Instead of coming to me willingly, though, the officers had to force him. At first, I thought it was embarrassment, but I was wrong.
“You’re just like the other nurse,” he said in disgust. “You don’t give a damn about any of us in here.”
“Well, I don’t know anything about the other nurse’s practices so I cannot comment, however, let me have a chance and let’s see what I can do? If I can’t do anything, no harm, no foul,” I offered. “Does that sound fair?”
He agreed and without hesitation, I handed him a bottle of magnesium Citrate.
“How much do I drink?” he asked as he studied the 10oz bottle of laxative.
I took a second look at him hunched over and answered, “All of it.”
He looked like he was going to argue, but decided against it and drank the whole bottle then asked how long before it would work. I assured him it should start working within an hour and explained that it was an oral enema. Since he was a kitchen worker, he went back to the work in the kitchen.
Two hours later, he stops by my office after delivering some lunch trays to the cell blocks. “It’s been two hours and nothing has happened.”
“It will,” I reply with confidence.
The inmate scoffed and said before leaving. “I knew it. You’re just like the other nurse. You don’t give a damn about us inmates here!”
I felt bad and called the jail doc. I told him what was going on and asked if I could or should give anything else.
“Nope. It will work,” he answered. “If he hasn’t gone by tomorrow, I’ll send him over to the ER for an impaction removal, or you can do it, if you like. That will shut him up.”
Fifteen minutes later, one of the officers brought me a note from the inmate: “Sorry! I can’t get off the toilet now. Can you send me something to make it stop?”
I sent back a note: “NO! If you go three times, I might slip you something to make it stop, but until then, keep going.”
After which, he never questioned me again and I was surprised at how nice he was to me afterwards. He went out of his way to bring me lunch carefully prepared just for me.
When I worked in the jails, we had tons of inmates coming in and professing to have allergies. Most of them just wanted special treatment. It truly was their narcissism acting out. We had one inmate, Shawnese, who was so full of allergies that in order to receive proper nutrition, he was going to have to get a bedtime snack (the goal—extra food).
I caught him though when he insisted he had an allergy to peanuts (believable). “The only thing I can give you at bedtime is a peanut butter sandwich.”
“No, I can’t have that,” he insisted. “Don’t y’all have lunch meat up in here?”
“No, we don’t,” I answered quite plainly.
The officer laughed and said, “Where do you think you are: at a K&W Cafeteria?”
“Well, I guess I’ll take the peanut butter then,” the inmate said with a sigh of resignation.
“Uhm, no, you won’t. I’ll have the kitchen send you some graham crackers,” I insisted.
He was mad! I also noticed on his list of allergies, that he was allergic to eggs. Shawnese insisted that I provide him with pancakes and waffles for breakfast and not eggs, and certainly not cold cereal, either, as he was also allergic to milk.
Shawnese watched me tick off general foods the kitchen that he could not have and noticed I check marked “cake,” as something he could not be given and to substitute it with a fruit cup.
‘Why you check marking cake?” he asked as he leaned in to view the list a little more clearly.
“Oh, cake isn’t the only thing I’ll be check marking,” I replied as a matter-of-fact. “I’m also checking pancakes and waffles. You’ll get toast with some kind of meat and fruit cup in the mornings.”
The officer leaned him back from me as he was too close. Shawnese got really irritated and asked, “Why? I just told you no eggs or milk, why the hell you taking away the only thing I can eat?”
“Because, Shawnese, pancakes and waffles are made with milk and eggs. If you’re allergic, you can’t have either of them.”
He got up and walked out of my office. He was so furious. It took him a week on my special diet to come back and admit to me he had lied and just didn’t like the food so he was trying to have it catered to his tastes. You don’t say!
Johnny, another inmate insisted he was allergic to eggs and even accepted no cake, no pancakes, or waffles. However, when the swine flu was going around and I was having to vaccinate all of the inmates, I called him down and asked him about it point blank.
“I’m not going to change your diet,” I explained, “But I need to know if you’re really allergic to eggs, because if you are, I cannot give you the flu shot so, if you want it, you have to tell me that you’re not allergic to eggs.”
My favorite inmate allergy was Jodie’s. She came into medical with “severe pain,” and fighting back the tears. She was so convincing that I was almost duped. I was truly on the fence with whether or not she was in real pain.
I called the doctor and asked him to order a narcotic. The fact that I even asked for a narcotic spoke volumes. As a rule, and the head nurse, I did not allow narcotics in my medicine cabinet unless I was forced to so, my asking for it shocked him.
“Yeah, sure,” he said sounding rather surprised. “Call in and order for Tylox and give it twice a day for… how long do you want to give it?”
I did not, under any circumstances, liked “as needed” narcotics, which he knew. “How about three days? She should probably be out of here by then,” I answered.
“Okay, three it is. Call it in.”
When I called her down to tell her, she was getting the Tylox, the officer almost fainted (everyone in the jail knew my policy on narcotics).
“I cannot believe you are going to give it to her,” he said in surprise,
“What it is?” Jodie asked.
“It’s Tylox. It’s a good pain pill,” I explained.
“I cannot have that,” she replied. “I’m allergic to it. The only thing I can really have is MS Contin… morphine.”
“But…” I started.
Jodie cut me off. “Look, I’ve had Tylox before. It’s a big red capsule, right?” I nodded as I sat there dumbfounded and listening to her. “Yeah, they gave that to me in the hospital and I coded. They had to do CPR and bring me back from the dead. I’m telling you, Michelle, I know what I can have and unless it’s morphine, I can’t take it.”
I sent her back to her pod with my apologies. I wasn’t able to provide her with anything more than Tylenol. Tylox is a morphine derivative.
After talking with the family of my Special Forces inmate, Ron, I learned that when he came home from the Army, he no longer wanted any physical contact with people, not even a hug. When a fellow inmate accidentally came into physical contact with him, Ron beat the mess out of him. At the time, Ron was refusing all of his psyche meds.
Another time, a fellow inmate was passing by and said something smartly to the six-foot-four, 310lb Ron. He was also attacked. When the jail finally allowed me to give him candy with his medication, he refused several times. It took a while, but eventually he came to trust me enough that he would take the candy and the pills I offered him.
His parents couldn’t afford to give him money every week for commissary, so an officer and I would secretly put money into Ron’s account to allow him to order snacks. Otherwise, he would become so irate and belligerent we would have to keep him locked down for a couple of days.
For Ron, it was a treat to come to medical to see me, to take his medicines and to get his candy. He was so formidable even the officers assigned to guard him were intimidated. When Ron came to medical to see the doctor, the doctor would instruct me to have the candy ready and present it first.
A new officer, who didn’t understand the situation, refused to let Ron come to medical one morning and you could hear my patient as he pounded on the cellblock door to get to me. Hearing the commotion, the corporal came running and demanded the officer let Ron out immediately.
“But he’s too dangerous,” the newbie whined.
“No. he’s dangerous to you, but he won’t attack the nurse,” the corporal explained. “He always comes to the nurse.”
When Ron needed a new pair of shoes, he stood by the door waiting for me. The officers said he refused to budge until I came into work and they were afraid to touch him in order to make him go back to his cell (Ron could see me coming and going to my office).
“We asked him to go back three times,” one officer admitted.
“After the third time, Ron said he would bust us in our heads if we asked him again so we just left him standing there waiting for you.”
One morning, Ron came down for his medicines and took a seat on the doctor’s stool. As he sat there quietly, I sensed he wanted to talk to me. Finally, he looked up at the officer and told him to leave.
“I can’t leave,” the officer denied. “I have to be with you when you’re with the nurse.”
“You have more to fear from me than she does,” Ron replied honestly.
As Ron, in a threatening manner, stood up from the stool, the officer backed out of the office, closed the door leaving it ajar, and announced he’d be right there on the other side of the door.
“Am I in a jail?” Ron asked as an expression of puzzlement filled his face.
I was so stunned. “Yes,” I answered after a few stalled seconds. I informed him what jail and county he was in.
“Why am I here? I didn’t do anything wrong. I was at another hospital that you sent me to and they said I was going to come back to where you were.”
“Do you remember hurting your mom and dad?” I asked as the realization dawned on me that this man was in far
worse mental shape than I had originally thought.
Ron denied the memory and was adamant that he would not hurt his parents knowingly. He also confided to me that sometimes he has terrible dreams about his missions, but would not discuss those dreams with me. We talked for a few more minutes and then he took his candy and went back to his jail cell.
By this time, Ron had been in my custody for right at two years and without any medical help for his mental well being other than the medications I administered, he maintained his demeanor which bordered on irritation most of the time.
The administration denied Ron had even been set a trial date for his crime. They explained that because of his mental status he could not be tried for his crime. They insisted I work on this problem (two years later).
I called a colleague of mine who worked in Columbia with the primary psychiatric hospital for those that are terminally mentally impaired. I told Martha what had happened and about Ron and my conversation. She called me back a week later.
“I don’t understand why he’s there,” she said to me over the phone. “He should have never left this hospital and to be honest, I thought he was still here. At least, he was here when I was moved into my new department two years ago. I’m going to fax these papers to you, call me back after you read them.”
They were notes from the head psychiatrist who evaluated Ron. In the papers, he stated that Ron was criminally insane, and without medication, could become a potential risk of endangerment in a social setting. Judge Peters had ruled that Ron needed permanent institutionalizing (Ron’s day in court). I went through Ron’s files again (the file that was sent back with him) and nothing, not one shred of paper about this information was sent back to me.
I called my colleague back and she confided this doctor does things like this all the time when he doesn’t want to take charge of a patient. “He just dumped him back off on you,” she exclaimed. “One of these days, he’s going to get into a lot of trouble doing these things!”
She also gave me the number of the judge who deemed Ron criminally insane and required permanent institutionalizing. Instead, I attempted to call the head psychiatrist who denied my many phone calls. When he refused to call me back for over a week, I called the judge who in turn, called the doctor.
I noticed the doctor suddenly found time to call me back. He had decided that Ron needed to be returned to the hospital immediately as in, the same day (a month following our phone call, I learned that the doctor had been relieved of his duties and a new one was taking care of Ron).
When I hung up and had my patient brought to me and I explained the situation. He stated he understood and went back to his cell without incident. When his transportation arrived, Ron asked the officers to call me upfront.
He was sitting on the bench when I came up. He looked up at me as I approached and asked, “Am I going to see you anymore?”
“No, Ron. You’re going to the hospital again. I called your parents and told them where you were going to be,” I explained.
As Ron stood up so he could be shackled, he reached over to hug me. I noticed everyone ducked…everyone but me.
Not long after I took over the post of HSA (Health Service Administrator) for the jail, an inmate was brought in for assault and battery. His name was Ron. He was six-foot-four and weighed 310lbs. He was muscle, no flab.
Ron had been a pilot in the Army, Special Forces when his plane was shot down twice. After the second time, he suffered severe PTSD and the Army sent him home. While living at home with his parents he had an incident which brought him to me.
One evening while enjoying a quiet evening at home with his mom and dad, a plane flew over their house a little too low. I was told Ron freaked out. Not understanding what was happening, Mom and Dad tried to restrain Ron and he ended up beating them both pretty bad. Thankfully, he lived in a small town as it took the police several days to find him and bring him in.
Three months later, I finally had him sent upstate for a psychiatric evaluation, and hopefully to be committed. A month later, they sent him back to me and I cringed. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I scoured the paperwork to see if there was anything I could use to send him back, but nothing came with him except medication records and new doctor’s orders.
They had him on a slew of pills that he refused to take. I knew Ron needed these medications so for the first few days I begged him to take the pills.
“I don’t want them,” he insisted. “They make me feel funny.”
I had him pick out the ones that made him feel funny and then called our doctor to have it switched to something else. Meanwhile, much against the policies of the jail, I tried coaxing Ron with candy, which he always refused. However, as I pointed out to the administration, our choice was either I was to give him a piece of candy with his pills and get them in him or, don’t, and he goes without the pills and will eventually wreak havoc in the jail.
They didn’t believe me until…one afternoon, Ron had a flashback and went berserk. We had to put him in solitary confinement until he calmed down. Three days later, Chief Brown opened the cell door and asks Ron, “Are you okay? You ready to go back to your cellblock now?”
Ron crouched down and replied, “Yeah, I’m ready. Bring on the whole squad. I’ll take them all!”
Chief Brown quickly slammed the cell door shut and said, “Not today!”
After that, I was allowed to give Ron candy with his medicines. As a matter of fact, I was allowed to give it to him right away.
Jody Ward just had a hearing on the 2nd of October. Several things were discussed, one of which being he wanted to represent himself with his lawyer being co-counsel and the judge ruled against it.
“Self-Representation.—The Court has held that the Sixth Amendment, in addition to guaranteeing the right to retained or appointed counsel, also guarantees a defendant the right to represent himself.262 It is a right the defendant must adopt knowingly and intelligently; under some circumstances the trial judge may deny the authority to exercise it, as when the defendant simply lacks the competence to make a knowing or intelligent waiver of counsel or when his self-representation is so disruptive of orderly procedures that the judge may curtail it. The right applies only at trial; there is no constitutional right to self-representation on direct appeal from a criminal conviction.263” (copied from Jusita US Law ©)
We also heard motions about prosecutorial misconduct in where the previous solicitor (several times removed) had withheld evidence. Motions were made for a retrial, a new hearing for the above mentioning of offenses, all of which were overruled and denied.
Jody’s lawyer did point out that he had already been granted another hearing by another judge so this one decided he would reconsider and then let him know at a later date (undetermined date at this time). I felt his lawyer could have been more aggressive and even expressed that to him following the hearing.
I was a little confused because the judge is not the trial judge, but the resident judge so I didn’t understand how he could rule on whether to let him represent himself with co-counsel. I know judges can do a lot of things, even if it is to dismiss another’s ruling on a hearing, but it just makes me question the situation. I don’t understand all the ins and outs of a lot of things pertaining to law, however, after watching the hearing, it made me question what was really going on.
Jody is adamant that he was railroaded. Was he…?
Jody is equally adamant that it was someone else who murdered the two young men. Was it someone else…?
“The truth is, Jody, the only ones who know what really happened that night are you, the two victims, and God.”
“And the one who killed those boys,” he added.
We’ve had several conversations in which he has always maintained his innocence in taking part of the actual murders. Impressively, everything he tells me and repeats later has been consistent. It’s always the same unwavering story.
I don’t know what happened that night, I can only tell you what he says, what I see, and offer my own views on what I have seen. In the end, my heart goes out to all the families affected by this: his and the victims.