The Spokane County Jail is facing another expensive law suit after a former inmate was denied his mental health drugs behind bars, and the results of an internal affairs investigation may have county commissioners ready to settle out of court.
Just because you are doing time in the jail doesn't mean you lose your right to doctor- prescribed drugs that keep your blood pressure or mental health problems under control. However as staff members try to keep illegal drugs out of the jail, some inmates are not getting the medications they need in a timely fashion.
Rob Lee's son Danny wound up in jail because of the teen's mental health problems.
"I brought him there, I had his medicines, I had his medical records, I had court orders from the judge, I had everything required," Rob Lee said.
However corrections deputies refused to accept Danny's medications when he was booked and told Rob Lee no outside drugs are allowed inside the jail.
"The sheriff's department and it's staff said whatever the court order said, it didn't mean anything to them. They'd take care of their own evaluations," Lee said.
Lee's dad took up the matter with the jail's command staff but it took nine days for his son to get some of his medications. During those nine days the unmedicated teen could have hurt himself or someone else and so now the Lees have filed a $137,000 claim against Spokane County.
"I'm about change. It's about the community. It's about the people who are incarcerated. It's about the people who have to work in that environment. Medications are very important to a person's well being and they just don't seem to get it down there," Lee said.
KXLY has learned several other inmates have filed lawsuits against the jail alleging the same thing. A nurse at a local hospital, who did not want to be identified, said he sees a lot of the jail's prisoners admitted to his emergency room after not receiving their medications while behind bars.
"A lot of people get aggressive when they're coming off the medications improperly and can end up having psychotic episodes," he said.
After a review of Danny Lee's case, sheriff's officials conceded the jail's staff did not follow it's medication policies. Since that time county commissioners, who are now running the jail, say they've implemented changes to make sure inmates are getting the drugs they need in a much more timely fashion.