A prison sentence may come with its fair share of hardships, but it should not include debilitating spinal cord injuries. However, spinal cord injury has happened to several inmates in the United States due to rough treatment, negligence, and improper care.
The lack of concern for the health and well-being of inmates has led to some serious spinal cord injuries, effectively cutting off the possibility of a meaningful and fulfilling life after the prisoners are released.
One of the most heinous cases of spinal cord injuries recorded was that of Brian Sterner in Florida in 2008. Sterner had quadriplegia with a fusion in his spine, and his wheelchair was considered a part of his body.
Despite this, the detention officers maltreated him, lifted him out of his wheelchair, and threw him face-first onto the ground while he wore his neck brace. His spinal cord was severed in two places, leaving him paralyzed for life.
This incident is just one example of several cases in which detention officers have acted with impunity and shown a lack of concern for the welfare of inmates.
In another example, Seth Fletcher, a 21-year-old man in Ohio, became paralyzed due to being tackled and handcuffed by officers. Text messages revealed the officers bragging about the arrest and takedown.
The Need for Reform for Prison Abuse and Jail Medical Neglect
1. The Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can impact an inmate’s life in numerous ways, from mobility and sensation to bladder and bowel function. In severe cases, spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis, chronic pain, respiratory complications, and reduced life expectancy.
2. Causes and Factors: Negligence and failure to provide adequate care are among the primary reasons for spinal cord injuries in jails. Some inmates with pre-existing conditions or injuries may not receive proper medical attention, exacerbating their conditions and leading to further complications.
Moreover, jail staff may use excessive force or fail to accommodate inmates with mobility impairments, leading to severe falls and spinal cord injuries.
Additionally, many jails lack the necessary equipment and trained personnel to handle medical emergencies, leading to avoidable consequences.
3. Preventive Measures: To prevent spinal cord injuries in jails, increasing efforts to improve healthcare access, equipment availability, and staff training is necessary.
Jails must commit to providing adequate medical attention, including medication management, rehabilitation services, and accommodations for disabled inmates, and increasing training for staff to recognize and handle medical emergencies promptly and effectively, using proper techniques and equipment to prevent falls and injuries.
Collaboration between jails, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups is crucial to improving inmates’ health outcomes and reducing the risk of spinal cord injuries.
4. Legal Implications: Negligence resulting in spinal cord injuries can lead to legal repercussions for jails, staff, and healthcare providers. In some cases, lawsuits filed by inmates or their families can lead to monetary compensation, while in others, authorities may face criminal charges for their failure to provide adequate care.
However, legal action after the fact may not be enough to prevent future incidents, and prisons need to take more proactive measures to improve healthcare quality and prevent SCIs from occurring.
5. Moving Forward: Ultimately, we need to recognize the urgent need for reform in our criminal justice system, especially regarding healthcare services and inmate protections.
We can work towards a safer and more equitable jail environment by improving oversight, promoting transparency, and investing in comprehensive healthcare and staff training.
Advocating for inmates’ rights and pushing for policy changes can significantly reduce spinal cord injuries and other medical complications in jails.
It’s vital to acknowledge that behind every spinal cord injury is an individual, often suffering from an ineffective legal system and a lack of available medical care.
Detention officers’ lack of care and training and inadequate infrastructure and medical care lead to grave spinal cord injuries in jails. It’s imperative that society recognizes the urgency of this issue and brings about a change.
We need detention centers with better training, infrastructure, and healthcare to prevent such events from reoccurring. Moreover, detention centers must prioritize the welfare of inmates in their custody.
Did your Loved One Suffer a Catastrophic Injury in Jail?
While reform would be ideal right now, justice for prisoner’s medical neglect cannot wait when it comes to the ones we love who were victims. Those who have sadly suffered from spinal cord injuries may never have the same life again. If your family member or friend would like to explore their legal options, please contact us. We want to hear your case and help you get the financial compensation that is deserved.