Former Inmates Speak Out About Medical And Psychiatric Care In Alabama Prison System

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By Catalina Trivino

Some former inmates are coming forward to tell us the conditions described in the SPLC's report are true.

Reporter, Catalina Trivino, sat down with two former Alabama prison inmates who say they, along with other inmates saw the lack of quality medical and psychiatric care -- and after leaving the prison system, they say it's hurt their health.

It's been three years since Rickey Kemp has been out of prison. He now manages a car wash and laundrymat in south Alabama.

He says he's trying to get his life back in order after being in and out of Alabama prisons the last 27 years on several drug convictions, but he says he's also trying to recover from the lack of psychiatric care.

"They put me on some medicine called Elavil. And one of them pills there... I couldn't handle them and I just told them I couldn't take them no more. And they didn't see me about trying to get me on more medication," Said Kemp.

In a letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center to the Department of Corrections Commissioner, Kim Thomas, one of its concerns reads, "Alabama prisoners are frequently denied medical care or given such cursory medical care it amounts to denial."

Kemp says he saw the effects for himself.

"I have seen guys get sick, fall on the floor because they don't get their medicine," Said Kemp.

The letter to commissioner Thomas also says, "Alabama has inadequate medical staff to provide care."

Another former inmate spent four months at Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery. He asked us to keep his identity hidden, scared he would face retaliation -- he says the lack of medical staff caused his skin condition to never be treated.

"[I] keep coming back and still, nothing ain't been done yet. So in other words, they're just stalling you out because they know you ain't going to be at Kilby long anyways. You fixing to go to another campus, so you won't be their problem," Said the former inmate.

Kemp says even though he and thousands of others were locked up, they all deserve fair treatment.

"We're all human. Everybody's got feelings. And I don't think it's right to be mistreated and you know you need care for and people deny you of medical treatment," Said Kemp.

Kemp also told us he had to wait for months to get any treatment from a dentist. He says that resulted in him losing all his teeth.

The SPLC report says there are about 13 dentists in the entire prison system, which means they see about 2,000 Alabama prisoners.

The SPLC says it interviewed more than 100 prisoners. It says it's also reviewed thousands of pages of medical records.
 




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