Published Sep 5, 2003
I have been involved in many things recently that have impacted my thoughts and feelings about the situation in the State of Missouri regarding the treatment of prisoners and inmates. As any of you from Missouri have been reading, there is a stiff situation regarding the women's prison regarding poor medical care and the death of several inmates. The prison system has now said it will only allow interviews during regular visiting times in the visiting area. This severely limits time and privacy. There was a series of articles in the Columbia Missourian within the past year concerning Correctional Medical Systems (for whom I, unfortunately, used to work) and several patients who died that should not have. But, beyond this, I have encountered rural jails that have people who are not medically trained in any way shape or form (some cannot even read) that are handing out medications, giving out PRNs improperly, stealing narcotics without having any accountability for them, etc. And to add to these problems, Sheriff's or jailers who deny medical treatment to prisoners or threaten them with punishment if they request medical treatment. I do have the documents to back this up. I sent a statement regarding the jail situation to MONA, the Missouri branch of the National Nurses Assn., and they said they did not deal with this and were not concerned with this. I guess I am naive, but I would think that any time a person is in a situation where medications are given out, that the person giving the medications would at least be a med tech of some kind, and that narcotics would be accounted for. I have never been a very politically involved person (at least before some of these incidents) and really have no idea where to start to get this serious situation rectified. Do any of you out there have any similar experiences? How do you handle them? I do know that the county I live in, Boone County, has nursing staff in the jail, but some of the more remote rural poor areas do not. Thanks in advance for any comments! --debby
Debbie, I too worked for CMS at one time, even worked in a supervisory capacity. I enjoyed my job for the most part; However I too encountered problems that I did not agree with. I was later locked out of the facility I was working for having an "encounter" with an offender. I wrote letters to CMS and to DOC expressing my deep opposition. NOT ONE person responded! My suggestion would be to contact the National Commission on Correctional Heath Care, and express your concerns. I would hope that they could give you advise or direct you as to who you need to contact. :)
I worked for the State of Missouri for 7 years and I too witnessed the injustice and cruel and unusual punishment that occurs everyday in an institution. BUT where I worked, the patients were able to beat US up and get away with it!!!!!!!!! They were only given a consequence of no smoking for 24 hours. I was able to limp out of that place with a screwed up back and busted knees and a few permanent scars from a human bite and scratches. The State covers up so many things that occur in prisons etc. BUT if they want to get rid of you, they too can do this without any cause and there isn't a thing you can do about it. I believe it's the most corrupted system there is out there. I have a soft spot for the mentally ill as I have worked with them for more than 16 years, and to see them treated as if they were dogs, just kills me. I knew which patients were just faking it versus the ones that were seriously mentally ill and the abuse that some of them received was just sickening. And if you as a nurse wrote someone up for abuse, your life was threatened, your car was tampered with and numerous other things would happen. If you didn't write someone up, the State would fire you and turn your license in for abuse since you didn't write it up. So either way you go, you were in the wrong. I would not suggest anyone work for the State in mental health or corrections for fear of losing your license or worse, you getting injured or killed. Right now, I am black balled by the State because I resigned after being fed up with all the responsibilities they were putting on the RN's. I really cared for my patients, but was not allowed to use my expertise as the State had their way of doing things around there. I hear what your saying in your post, and I do hope that you get your words heard by someone. My suggestion to you is to write to your legislature and tell them everything that is going on. I have used my legislature for several things I needed help with. Trust me, no one in the system is going to listen to what you have to say because I too tried to make some issues known, and they were just covered up as if nothing happened. I am not elgible for rehire at my old job but get this......they just hired back a nurse that was fired for smoking pot everyday while at work and then tested positive on the job. She gets hired back and they won't hire me back because I left with 2 weeks notice. Does that make sense? What a system!
Well, I have worked hard for the past two years to be able to have contact with my husband. I met him after he was out of the system totally. I was working as an RN for corrections. After I met him, he went to court for a pending charge which was a county misdemeanor, and he wound up with probation. I went with him to his meeting with his probation officer, and when asked where I worked, I told her. She said I might be in violation of my work contract, and I should check with my employer. The next day, I talked with my supervisor and she checked on this for me and said I would be in violation to see him during his probation. I told him I could not see him for the next several months until he was done with his case. About a month later, the PO wrote the superintendent of the institution I was working at, and they thought I had been continuing to see him with this "new" letter. So, I had to go home pending an investigation. No pay, no benefits, no news, I took a new job with much better pay etc. about 6 weeks later. I did my old job the courtesy of letting them know I took another job so they could go ahead and fill my position. My husband wound up with his probation revoked (his PO engineered this, my husband did not drive, but was convicted of driving under suspension) and he wound up back in Corrections. I was repeatedly denied visiting privileges. I have had a long battle of legal etc. conflicts and finally got to have "no-contact" visits. The time of this restriction is 5 years! But...when I go to visit, there are other inmates who are sitting out in the open visiting room visiting with their wives or girlfriends who are nurses they met while in the system, who were escorted out of the very same institution they are visiting at, for having relations with the inmate. This is not fair! I was always very fair by them and worked through the system. I guess this was wrong and I should have applied and lied about my former employer on the application as a visitor. I really don't understand. Maybe someday I can touch the hand of my husband...at least he will be out in October. I would fight this some more but the time is just running out. The whole system is totally rotten to the core, and there is no such thing as "fair" treatment to anyone. I can tell other stories, but I would just get [email protected]
I worked at the Prison here where I live back in 1992, at first for the State of MO then for CMS after the switchover.
And yeah, if i wrote of all the things the State and CMS do and "cover up".....nobody would believe me.
Heck, I still have all my paperwork from when i worked there "just in case" if ya knowhatImean..........:)
I believe you no matter what it is that happened! There is so much cover up in the State system it isn't funny. BUT they only cover up what they want to. If you are a nobody and you do something wrong, you get fired. If you are a somebody.......they cover it up so that you don't lose your job etc. I have seen some of the supervisors do things that would have had anyone else fired but oh no NOT them. They can do things and get by with it. I even reported to the Director of Nursing how my EX- supervisor was trying to get her fired so that she could get her job and do you know that the DON said that the supervisor denied ever doing that? Well hell yes she is going to deny it. She doesn't want to lose her job! This EX-supervisor had me copying paperwork that showed how the DON was messing up, write down things that were being said and done and telling her when the DON didn't show up on time for work etc. First of all that isn't my job but I had to keep my job so I couldn't say no at that time. I ended up quitting this horrible job, but not without telling the DON what all was going on. Didn't do me any good though. I am so glad I got out of that system in one piece! Now, I have an interview next week with a women's prison here in Missouri but the only reason I am even going to interview is because I miss working in the Mental Health field and this will also give me some extra money until I can get back on my feet again.
Did you know that the State Hospital has the greatest number of injuries to employees than any other employer? It just kills me to see all the people that get hurt out there and yet they won't do a damn thing to change anything. I heard this week that a security aide was almost killed by a patient and of course nothing can be done to this patient for doing what she did. It's going to take someone dying in there before someone does something to make those patients take responsibility for their actions. I know that most of the patients are mentally ill, but the others are not. They are just plain ass mean and deadly! I don't care if I am not elgible for rehire there again. I am a much better person since leaving that evil place. I did learn a lot about forensics, but it's not worth my life to return there. They would be on my back so bad that I would end up getting fired. So giving 2 weeks notice and quitting back when I did, was the best thing I could have ever done for myself and my family.
I too work for a prison and our health and safety is much more on the line than a prisoners. Ever encounter is now filmed on camera and if correctional staff does something unjustified they are punished for it. Staffing continues to be a problem with nurses bailing left and right because of mandatory overtimes sometimes occuring every two weeks or sooner. The rational that a nurse is a nurse and a doctor is a doctor from administration who have no medical credence at all. I want a proctologist to do his heart surgery :) . We have a union with no teeth as strikes are not allowed and the general public could care less for the most part of what is allowed to continue behind the walls .
I wrote a previous post about having an interview with the women's prison but didn't say anything about it! ha ha. My mistake. I am very excited about maybe getting this job. I find out tomorrow if they are going to hire me or not. I will have to drive an hour to and from work but at this point, I don't care. I just want back into psychiatric nursing. I would also be working with one of my old bosses that was so nice to work for! He is President of the company that contracts mental health in the Corrections systems. After trying medical/surgical nursing for almost 2 years and failing at it so horribly, I am praying that I get this job because my speciality is psych and I know that I can do this job very well. My responsibilities will be different than a nurse working for corrections. I will be responsible for accurate charting, good communication with the psychiatrists and conducting groups and so forth. I am thrilled to even be considered for this position. I will stay in touch to let you know. I am a very caring and empathetic nurse that tries to help those that really want help. I don't discriminate in any way. Talk to you soon! :balloons:
This was an interesting read to me...I am new to correctional nursing but have experience working behavorial health with aggressive clients. I will be interested in seeing how my experiences compare.
Quite an interesting read. I am a former corrections nurse and witnessed more bad than good. I've seen patient neglect that has resulted in patient death, I have witnessed continuous unacceptable conduct by CMS employees that would never get addressed aside from a casual meeting where the grievances would be laughed at. When I worked there, it would absolutely frustrate me -- the very lax management that pervades there.
I know so, so many nurses who could list horror story after horror story. The bottom line is that Correctional Nursing can be great, it's the poor management and lack of desire by the powers that be that prevent it from getting there.
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