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Should Jails detox inmates?

Old 05-13-2009, 07:20 AM
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Should Jails detox inmates?

I read that somewhere between 10%-12% of people arrested are dependent on drugs and or alcohol at the time of their arrest. Most of the time, they're taken to jails and detox on their own. But sometimes they die because as we all know withdrawal kills. So, the way I look at it, the state is killing hundreds if not thousands of people by not sending them to a facility to safely detox before incarcerating them.. If they're gonna be put in jail then its the states responsbility to help them detox.

Do u agree or not?
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:36 AM
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I agree.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:08 AM
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I agree. I called them the last time they put my son in jail to ask them to detox him and they sent him to a jail that was supposedly a medical facility. They did not detox him. He also got a bad infection from the jail with a high fever and they did not treat him. I faxed in all the medication he should have been taking for high blood pressure and they didn't give it to him. So he detoxed on his own with high blood pressure.

It's very frustrating because there is nothing you can do. I even spoke to the inmate rights advocate and they assured me he would get his blood pressure medication. It's my understanding that high blood pressure is what kills them in detox and I was very concerned.

I agree that there are probably many who die in jail from detoxing. I am still angry about it.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:35 AM
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I really don't think jails are the place to detox. I wouldn't trust them at all. Especially where I live - I don't know if anyone heard of that story where a woman died at our Phoenix airport (on her way to rehab) but something went horribly wrong. Plus, I don't know how many of you have heard of Sheriff Joe and our "Tent City," but this is a VERY bad place to be when a person comes into contact with the legal system and has a problem with alcohol or drugs.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
I read that somewhere between 10%-12% of people arrested are dependent on drugs and or alcohol at the time of their arrest. Most of the time, they're taken to jails and detox on their own. But sometimes they die because as we all know withdrawal kills. So, the way I look at it, the state is killing hundreds if not thousands of people by not sending them to a facility to safely detox before incarcerating them.. If they're gonna be put in jail then its the states responsbility to help them detox.

Do u agree or not?
I do think it's a very dangerous place to be in and very unfortunate. I used to visit a kiddo at the adult jail here and he had mental issues and was declared mentally incompetent. The state really made no allowance for this. I think there is a certain mentality that if you are the kind of person who gets thrown in jail you deserve to be there and no care for you. It's sad.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
I read that somewhere between 10%-12% of people arrested are dependent on drugs and or alcohol at the time of their arrest.
I would guess quite a bit higher based on the people I met in jail. Although not all the crimes were drug or alcohol related, almost everyone I've met had some 'issues' with chemicals.

Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
So, the way I look at it, the state is killing hundreds if not thousands of people by not sending them to a facility to safely detox before incarcerating them.. If they're gonna be put in jail then its the states responsbility to help them detox.
That's a fairly absurd notion and not very accurate. I'd bet we'd hear about it if the state was killing hundreds or thousands of people. A single death while incarcerated is a big deal. Big news and big investigation. I'm guessing it's very rare.

I've detoxed in jail before. Not fun and not pretty. I do not think it is the state's responsibility. I think medical care is, so they need to keep people alive. But, at least in my case, the state was more concerned with public safety than my personal comfort level. The primary concern wwas to protect the public from me. Secondary concern was maybe whether I seized or not.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by keithj View Post
I've detoxed in jail before. Not fun and not pretty. I do not think it is the state's responsibility. I think medical care is, so they need to keep people alive. But, at least in my case, the state was more concerned with public safety than my personal comfort level. The primary concern wwas to protect the public from me. Secondary concern was maybe whether I seized or not.
Innocent until proven guilty IS the state's responsibility and our law. Therefore, the state must ensure the safety of who it puts in jail.
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:41 PM
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Unfortunately even if the states were forced to do this, they would just end up taking more money out of my pay check and doing a hideous job of helping anyone. Here in Cali the jail system is on total overload, and would probably have to be dismantled to be fixed (as would the public school system, social services and child welfare systems to name a few).

I think I would be more afraid of a doctor treating me in jail then I would be of being left alone.
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:56 PM
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Yeah. California shipped a bunch of inmates to Oklahoma... and our prisons were already overcrowded.

I've never been to jail or prison. But based on people I know who have, drugs are often fairly available, if the grape vine is to be believed. Of course, your first few days you wouldn't have many connections and detox would suck. But hey, once they are locked up they have to be taken care of. It's one of the costs of running a prison system, and as a society we have accepted that it is better to lock them up and pay for health care than have a bunch of convicted miscreants walking free. (You'll just have to watch out for the unconvicted miscreants... like me! Haha).

Morning Glory alluded to poor medical care in her post. Denying proper medical attention to an inmate, as I see it, amounts to the jailer practicing medicine without a medical license. So IF the person in question tells the cops, "Hey, I'm high as a kite and addicted to [DOC]. I need to detox," he should get a medical detox. But how many inmates tell the jailer they are on illegal drugs? Sounds like a good way to get a few more charges added.

Fun side-note: My mom had a friend who had to serve 30 days in jail for a DUI. He was wheelchair bound. The county jail was not ADA-compliant. The court had to delay his sentence for 6 months while the jail remodeled for a wheelchair-accessible cell, complete with toilet and shower facilities. It cost the county about $15K. Really, wouldn't it have been easier to give the guy probation?
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:05 PM
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Prisoners are the responsibility of the state - they should be adequately and responsibly cared for in a professional way.

Arguments about money, or even about what jail is for, are null and void IMO.

D
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by keithj View Post
That's a fairly absurd notion and not very accurate. I'd bet we'd hear about it if the state was killing hundreds or thousands of people. A single death while incarcerated is a big deal. Big news and big investigation. I'm guessing it's very rare.

Why would it get reported? Any deaths I ever heard about from the prison system have been suicides and homicides.

I understand that a lot of people don't care about inmates, but the only stories that get reported are the ones that the news media decides to report. There isn't a lot of sympathy for addicts (I count alcoholics as addicts), so why would the media report detoxes gone bad? Sadly, this issue isn't exactly one that many people care about.



Thanks for this thread, Eroica. This is something I've never thought of before. I'm interested to find out more. I would like to know the statistics, but I'm sure cause of death is a lot harder to find out due to privacy laws and the way the government likes to jerk people around when it comes to the Freedom of Information Act.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:16 PM
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Oh, and to answer the question, yes, jails/prisons/etc. should detox inmates.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by keithj View Post
I would guess quite a bit higher based on the people I met in jail. Although not all the crimes were drug or alcohol related, almost everyone I've met had some 'issues' with chemicals.



That's a fairly absurd notion and not very accurate. I'd bet we'd hear about it if the state was killing hundreds or thousands of people. A single death while incarcerated is a big deal. Big news and big investigation. I'm guessing it's very rare.

I've detoxed in jail before. Not fun and not pretty. I do not think it is the state's responsibility. I think medical care is, so they need to keep people alive. But, at least in my case, the state was more concerned with public safety than my personal comfort level. The primary concern wwas to protect the public from me. Secondary concern was maybe whether I seized or not.

I was thinking that as well that if thousands or even hundreds of people were dying this way there would be people making it news. Heck if it happened to someone I knew I'd be demanding an investigation. News agencies do investigative reports all the time on things the "law" wants to hide. Look at all the cases of people found guilty and possibly even sentenced to death and a group like "The Innocence Project" comes in a proves the person innocent. If many people were dying by detoxing in jail it would be news.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:08 PM
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I like the theory D, just don't have a lot of faith in the system.

Off topic but in response to gneiss, When I was 19ish, my bf at the time got 2 years in jail. Went in a pothead, came out a heroin addict.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:01 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I just wanted to say that you can access the articles by just googling "withdrawal and jail". I would post the link but there was some advertising on the page so I figured it would just get erased. lol ( u can me PM for the article.) But the figures of people suffering alcohol withdrawal upon arrest was like 750,000 thousand a year. If even 1% of those die from withdrawal its still thousands of people. At first it seemed way off, but there must be thousands of people arrested every night, and most arrests have something to do with drugs anyway. Its so tragic. But of course as we know prisoners are neglected and abused in other ways as well.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Prisoners are the responsibility of the state - they should be adequately and responsibly cared for in a professional way.

Arguments about money, or even about what jail is for, are null and void IMO.

D
Exactly. They SHOULD be. But so often they aren't. All my info about prison is second-hand but I've had enough friends go through the system to ruin my faith in it.

You could view this as a constitutional thing: you are guaranteed to not be punished in a cruel or unusual way, consistent with your crime. And not allowing someone proper medication, safe medical detox, etc. seems to go under that. After all, is a drug charge really worth a death sentence? If you do not provide proper medical care to prisoners and they die because of it, you have acted as executioner.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:18 PM
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I agree, I think that the jails and prisons should safely detox the criminals that are brought in. I have heard that they leave them in a cell on the floor and only give them asprins. That is practically torture. Withdrawal is painful, and dangerous. And some people can die from this type of treatment. Especially alcohol oxycontins, and heroin. They are tough to come off of with out the proper care.

However, if the state did a medical detox on every drug addict that had been brought in, it might work against the system. Jail is jail, not a hospital. Not a Rehab facility.

Addicts that are in need, I'm talking about the ones that are sick and tired, and have no insurance, and no place to go, will be getting arrested purposely, so they can get a safe medical detox in jail, and have the state pick up the tab. The whole point of jail in America is punishment for a crime commited. Not a place to get cleaned up for a nasty drug addiction.

It's a sad situation. I'm sure you will get alot of different replies on this.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:22 PM
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Yes, I detoxed in jail after blowing above a 0.3 and having drunk heavily every day (except for eight) during the past five years.

And no, it was not pretty, and no, my medical well-being was not on anyone's mind.

When I eventually went to a detox a week later, they gave me two librium in the waiting room before even writing down my name. I was shaking so bad.

M
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:52 PM
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I spent a short time in a WA county jail, and although detox wasn't an issue for me, the food there could kill you. I wouldn't feed it to my dogs. I couldn't even imagine being there for a medical emergency.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:01 PM
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My exbf got in a fight in prison. They put him in a padded cell and a guard walked by every 20 to 30 minutes and pepper maced him through the bars. For 2 days. Good thing he's not allergic to pepper mace.
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