Fayette Prison Board to study inmate illnesses policy
The Fayette County Prison Board will look at the prison's policy concerning inmates complaining of sickness to avoid going to jail.
During Wednesday's board meeting, Tammy Lambie, Fayette County deputy court administrator, requested the prison board's procedures concerning incoming prisoners complaining of medical issues.
Lambie related numerous accounts of prisoners being arrested, arraigned, processed through the booking center, and when they arrived at the prison, complained of medical or health issues. The prisoner is then taken to the hospital for treatment, which they refuse, and then the prison won't accept them unless they get the medical treatment.
Fayette County Prison Warden Brian Miller said they can accept those prisoners who refused medical treatment, but if something were to happen to the inmate, the county would be liable for the cost of treatment, not Prime Care Medical, the prison's medical provider.
While there are some legitimate incidents of incoming prisoners needing medical treatment, officials have found that many use the system to their advantage and are placed in the middle of the hospital and the prison, which could lead to that prisoner being incarcerated after a long span, having their bond lowered or being let free.
“We have individuals who have figured the system out,” said Uniontown police Chief Jason Cox, who himself had to spend eight hours with a prisoner because he had a small cut on his head and requested medical attention. “At that point, we're really stuck.”
The medical staff at the prison is there from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and includes a nurse and a director.
Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky suggested a need for 24/7 medical management at the prison.
Miller said the issue with that is, a prisoner could bring up symptoms even a trained nurse and/or director would send to a hospital, which is better equipped to handle the emergency. He noted that happened once at the prison during daytime hours when the medical staff was on duty.
“I'm not going to override our medical department,” Miller said.
Another concern was for law enforcement.
Officers with some municipalities drop off a prisoner at the booking center to be processed, but if the prisoner begins complaining about a medical issue, then the officer is stuck with that prisoner and not back on the job.
“We want to keep officers on the street,” Cox said, adding that the issue is black-and-white policies without being able to lean one way or the other.
Cox suggested a chain of command in the prison system for situations outside the norm.
Fayette Commissioner Al Ambrosini suggested the prisoner sign a refusal of treatment form at the hospital and also something that could bring them back to prison. Some at the meeting thought the prisoner would refuse to sign a form like that.
Fayette Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink suggested giving the court administrator's office the policy and allow them to review it and make a decision of what can be done.
Zapotosky also suggested they look at other county prisons to see if their policies address the same issue.
In other business:
• The prison board will await word from prison chaplain Terry Sanders whether he can find a cheaper liability insurance quote. His salary was recently cut from $500 a month to $375 a month and with a $150 insurance payment per month, he is left with $225 a month salary.
• The prison currently holds 208 males and 34 females, totaling 242 inmates. Twenty-five male inmates and 10 female inmates are lodged in Greene County, and four male inmates are lodged in Cambria County.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dawson church to present spring smorgasbord
- Porterfield: Champion’s County Line Church to serve chicken and biscuit dinner
- Bullskin Township Elementary student council gets students involved
- Connellsville middle schoolers ‘Adopt a Grandparent’
- Presentation shines light on Dunbar’s industrial past
- Former Redstone officer indicted in civil rights case
- Coroner identifies body in Yough River as Carnegie man
- Uniontown freight train derailment blamed on bad crossties