The following is a piece written by a woman imprisoned at North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, located in Raleigh. A new hospital has been under construction at the facility, though another woman wrote that the “hospital” is a “monstrosity,” and that it’s opening has been pushed back a year because it can’t pass inspection.
A Woman’s Cry for Help
I am an inmate at NCCIW, and behind these razor-wire fences egregious medical neglect has been a concern for decades. The health care inside this prison is grossly inadequate, unconstitutional, and has been ignored for far too long. The quality of the health care here has been questioned since as early as the 1990’s, and it continues to get worse.
Most of us women who are behind these fences will return to the outside communities, and the lack of health care while we are incarcerated therefore has a huge impact on society as well, whether it be financially or otherwise.
Women here at this facility have died because medical neglect. For some women, coming to NCCIW is truly a death sentence. Irene Baity had been here for years, with only five left before her release. She was over-medicated on a mental health drug that resulted in her hanging herself. Rosa Moody, from Avery County, came in here on a Friday sick with pneumonia; she was dead three days later. Teresa Jones had Crohn’s disease; inmate Kathy Thompson found her bleeding uncontrollably. The Corrections Officer left her, did not even try to help her. I stood watching helpless, unable to do anything. The second shift CO came in two hours later and got her to the infirmary, where she died.
These are just a few that lost their lives due to medical neglect. I came in here 2010 healthy with two working legs and feet; I now am permanently disabled in my right leg and foot. I walk on crutches now because of medical neglect. I now have a lymphoma tumor on the left side of my neck, and was told by Dr. Lyle Park that I only had six months left to seek a doctor when I got out. We are mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and children, and we deserve health care equal to that of the outside communities. The need for medical treatment has been ignored for too long, far too many women have died here and their plea for help has been ignored. We deserve justice! The state needs to be held accountable for this.
A prisoner at NCCIW
Despite the construction of a new hospital at NCCIW, prisoners remain skeptical. One woman wrote, “As long as it remains unopened, people can still go out and receive real medical treatment. Each day it stays shut, lives are saved.”