Posts tagged Smith State

Violent Eruptions

Do you have a family member incarcerated in GA?  We’ve been getting reports of violence from several prisons run by the good ol’ folks Georgia Department of Corrections (as well as their county relations).  Unfortunately the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing, the Sunday Paper and the Macon Telegraph haven’t picked up the stories- not that the officers report the events themselves.  And inmates have too little a voice.  This is a challenge we face and also part of the reason we started the Georgia Prisons blog.  We’ve heard from people with family at a few different locations lately.

* Autry has had significant and very dangerous gang violence over the past few weeks, but; a nurse who had been a problem is no longer there.  She has moved on to Chatham County Jail where she continues to cause problems for those being housed there.

* Dooly is infested with gangs and drugs and both have brought the place to heightened levels of violence which is disturbing to inmates who have been locked up for years and say that they’ve not seen it this bad in a while.

* Hays was the scene of a total shake down on Sunday, September 12th and a number of inmates were plasti-cuffed while around a half dozen officers were cuffed.  Later it was learned that at least 3 officers had been arrested.  This was a coordinated effort by both federal and state agencies according to family members who witnessed part of it.

*  Smith has endured increasing violence over the past few months.  The G building was the site of a particular incident that required a medical helicopter and ultimately was the death of one.  The place was locked down Friday and small groups were escorted to eat dinner making it close to midnight before many ate (Fridays are lunch free days, by the way).  The Tact squad appeared today and broke ear phones of one guy who had been told to hold onto a TV remote by a guard.  Another inmate received a new pair of shoes yesterday only to have them sliced by the Tact squad today because they found two cigarettes in his box.  He asked why they were slicing his shoes and the Tact squad attempted to have him given a DR for masturbation while looking at a female officer.  This was not done, however; the guy did get taken away for a majority of the day.  Countless inmates received DRs for the first time in years today simply because of the Tact squad.

* Alto has been very much on edge since tobacco was removed from their facility in August. The tension levels are becoming too much for some to handle. The same can be said for Macon State (and likely others though we have not heard directly from them).

* Calhoun has been the place of gang violence at alarming levels.  Sunday evening Gangster Disciples went off on one of their members with such brutality that he began to seize.

The budget cuts have been devastating to inmates for many reasons.  They have seen less and less food on their plates and the quality constantly calls to question why the FDA is not regulating it.  Any programs that remain are being cut- education/ GED programs and classes are all hanging on by a thread.  The consolidation of prisons means that the already overcrowded prisons are bursting at the seams.  Add to that the fact that fewer and fewer employees are on duty makes the above mentioned violent incidents more frightening because of the lack of ability to obtain/ maintain control over any situation.

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Smith State Scabies

To date we have both good news and bad news regarding the outbreak at Smith State.  The good news is that many of the inmates have been able to receive topical treatment (Elimite) for scabies.  This has considerably decreased their discomfort.  Thank you to all who have aided us in acheiving this!  The bad news is that no one has had a skin scraping which means that the prison can continue to deny having any problem.

The inmate transfered from Central who is suspected of having introduced scabies to the inmates at Smith upon moving into the open dorm, “Fast Track” reports that while living in an open dorm at Central he periodically had scabies.  In both prisons the inmates’ laundry was not treated as outlined by numerous guidelines regarding institutional scabies outbreaks.  This is our current challenge:  properly addressing this outbreak AND providing documentation.

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Scabies Outbreak

Smith State Prison located in Glennville (Tattnall County) has numerous cases of Scabies. The earliest case dates back to January which is also when the Fast Track dorm opened bringing with it an influx of inmates from other institutions. More and more inmates have been suffering from the effects of scabies (thanks in part to the prison’s lack of response?) though the prison continues to deny that they have a problem or that anyone has been diagnosed—-this depends on who is speaking, when, etc. as some at the prison have acknowledged one case to those of us in contact, attempting to get help for inmates. Please also note that the guys are going through the steps necessary to get medical treatment on the inside—-had that been effective we on the outside would not have to become so involved.

On Thursday, June 18 at approximately 2pm another case was confirmed at Smith (this one diagnosed on site). At this point approximately 30 infected inmates put in for emergency sick calls at the direction of the Sargeant—-this due in part to Fridays being considered “weekend” with departments such a medical, etc closed. On Monday, June 22 those who put in the afore mentioned emergency requests had their requests returned/ tossed out while an inmate who had been waiting almost two months to be taken to Augusta Medical to see the dermatologist was finally taken for a TeleMed conference at Reidsville. This inmate (who may have been the initial source of Scabies at Smith after having been moved there during January’s influx) had no skin scraping done while at Reidsville. Additionally, the dermatologist participating in the TeleMed conference did not see the inmate’s distinct Scabies markings.

The inmate requested to show staff his feet and other areas where the Scabies was most visible. He was denied this opportunity and was instead proclaimed CURED! Furthermore, because he had been successful (in the eyes television of the dermatologist) in overcoming whatever skin condition had previously ailed him he has been excluded from further treatment and was returned to Smith. At Smith he is again a bed away from the inmate who on Thursday, June 18 was diagnosed and is being treated for Scabies (both continue to be housed in the Fast Track building, an open dorm).

Another inmate was told by medical today, Tuesday, June 23 that he has gotten Scabies and that they would be calling him at some point to have a skin scraping done prior to his being treated. None of the inmates have had a skin scraping (which many agree is the most effective method of diagnosing Scabies). Upon reporting to receive their medication this evening a half dozen inmates learned that they were to receive treatment for Scabies. None are being isolated at this time. No dorm has been treated as a whole. Inmates continue to be transfered in and out of Smith State Prison.

At this point the inmates will have some relief from the discomfort brought about by Scabies. They will not be prevented from spreading Scabies to other inmates, employees and visitors. We are not content with this method of addressing what is now a Scabies Outbreak. With proper treatment and operating procedures this can be contained. The Department of Corrections’ behavior here is both ineffective and costly.

We encourage you to contact the below and demand that this situation be handled properly!

GA Dept of Corrections Health Services 404-656-4601

GA Dept of Corrections Office of the Ombudsman 404-657-7588

GA Dept of Corrections’ Statewide Medical Director 404-657-2217

Deputy Warden Johnson, Care and Treatment at Smith State 912-654-5095

Office of the Warden, Smith State Prison 912-654-5000

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