Stories Direct from The Inmates

Life in Perryville
 
An Amputee Tells Her Story

An Amputee Tells Her Story

I had my leg amputated above the knee on 7-30-21. This nightmare starts on Lumley, the most horrible unit on the planet. DW Bendel’s motto is “I don’t care,” in fact he’s quoted as saying that in Townhall meetings.

There is only one ADA shower on the whole unit, and that’s on the max custody yard. They (staff) told me I’d have to be locked down 23 hours just like them if I transfer to an ADA room/shower. I have to wear diapers, and sometimes I don’t make it to the toilet in time, so I need access to a washer/dryer…..which doesn’t exist on this unit. My room is not equipped with a grab bar or riser to help me transfer to the toilet. In fact, my wheelchair doesn’t fit through the door. Imagine trying to get around my room with only one leg! Lumley does not provide wheelchair pushers like other units. They say they do, but I have to pay out of my own pocket to get them to push me.

Medical here is another disaster. I need the dressings on my stump changed regularly, but with Bendel’s escort nonsense, that is an all-day affair. When I have to go to Banner Hospital to see a real doctor, the guards wrap a chain around my belly and handcuff both arms to the wheelchair! It is an hour and a half travel time one way, completely enclosed in the darkness of the van….no light no window. I was crying because I was in so much pain, and the guards told me to shut up or they’d turn around and take me back. All they will give me is Tylenol for pain….and the pain is unrelenting.

I was supposed to be in the SNU (Special Needs Unit/ for post surgeries and Hospice) but there wasn’t any room. How did Central Office plan only 10 SNU beds for 4,000 women??

Nightmare on Shingles Street

Nightmare on Shingles Street

(This is a true story by one of our favorite reporters on Lumley—Ed.)

“At age 71, I take chest pain seriously. On Monday morning I told the guards I was experiencing severe chest pain. I was transferred to medical via wheelchair immediately.

The nurse hooked me up to the EKG machine and started the test. She looked relieved as she viewed the results, but decided to examine me more closely. The nurse discovered a raw, red rash on my back wrapping around my torso. Shingles! That explained the chest pain because this virus mimics a heart attack. She immediately called the doctor on duty, and he told her to admit me to the IPC Isolation ward now.

Shingles is very contagious because it’s the same virus that causes chickenpox. But what about the pain? I was given an NSAID shot that did absolutely nothing. This was when I was reminded that as an inmate, I would not be given the same class of care as an old lady on the outside. All I could hope for was Tylenol-3, no matter how bad the pain got. And it was unbearable. At one point I wanted the guard to shoot me, it was that bad. I had read in the Merck manual that opioids are routinely given for severe Shingles pain…….but not for me…..because as an inmate I deserve to suffer.

For the three days I was there in IPC, I amused myself with general observations. My Isolation room was secured with a Kotex. The guard rarely checks on the patients. The nurse and CNA are overwhelmed with 17 patients on a 12-hour shift. My nurse call button was broken. Take the Kotex out of the door and yell I guess. Meds are sometimes forgotten. Meals are sometimes forgotten. The general dirtiness of this so-called hospital….albeit a prison hospital.

I had some interesting conversations with Dr. I, a real Board Certified M.D., on the Health Provider that contracts with the DOC. This is a part of what he told me. “America incarcerates its mentally I’ll, they don’t treat them. I’m appalled by the Contract Killers the DOC hires. They are out for profit and nothing more. They don’t give any preventative, humane, or compassionate care for the inmates. There is no pain med other than Tylenol-3. Their pharmacy is located in Indiana, and it takes forever to fill a prescription.”

I can attest to that, as I have been waiting for three days for the antivirals I was supposed to take for the Shingles. It’s important to take them immediately after the blisters appear. I was also promised a topical pain reliever, Lidocaine, for the hamburger meat that is now my back. Nope…..still in Indiana.

So I exist this way for three days in my Kotex secured Isolation room. Finally, I am deemed well enough to return to my room…..sans Tylenol-3, because they think inmates will sell them on the yard. I was hoping for some rest but discovered the guards had packed up all my stuff and put it in Property. Yet another hot trip back to the Administration area to retrieve it. Is anything easy here? Noooo. The Property guard didn’t even have my stuff labeled by name. It had been unceremoniously dumped in a corner.

Well, guess what happened? Yes! Things were missing! I’m short 2 fundraiser (the kind you buy) sheets, 2 fundraiser towels, and a washcloth. My friends put the word out that whoever took them should immediately return them. So 24 hours later they miraculously appear. Meanwhile, the pharmacy finally gives me my long-awaited Lidocaine and antivirals. A week late.

The upshot of this whole sad tale is ‘I was put in my place as an unworthy human being by the AZDOC. They never let an incarcerated person forget that they consider you pond scum. Do I see any hope for Arizona inmates? No, I don’t.

Interview with 2 Lifers

Interview with 2 Lifers

(Some thoughts from two women who have ‘natural life’ without possibility of parole—Ed.)

“I’m a Navy veteran that served in Afghanistan and returned diagnosed with bipolar and PTSD. The VA prescribed prescriptions for my night terrors and I was heavily medicated. To this day I don’t understand why I killed my own son. I still grapple with mental illness here in Perryville, with a half-assed medical system. The medication I take for on night terrors has to be on a rigid schedule, or I get severe muscle cramping. They are never on schedule. Mental health is a joke here. If I complained about suicidal thoughts, they’d wrap me in a turtle suit, and strip me naked, and throw away the key. I have no purpose in living.”

” I am not a veteran like my roommate, but I share her despair. I too have a mental illness. I cut myself. (she shows me her scarred arms). When an inmate asks for counseling, she waits almost a month and then they hand her a coloring book! That is DOC’s idea of mental health help. I don’t look to the future, because I don’t have one…..I just exist day-to-day. A day without self-harm is a good day.”

From Santa Maria, notes on lockdown

From Santa Maria, notes on lockdown

"At least we don't have to rec in a cage." (Maria only has 2 yards. A yard is R and A and MDU---who don't get outside rec, hence no cages on the main yard. B yard is regular medium inmates..Ed) "They have a schedule that is only good for 48 hours, then they change it...

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From Santa Cruz: Notes of Despair

From Santa Cruz: Notes of Despair

Overheard on 2-10-21. " My roommate has started cutting herself again." "Is this Arizona's idea of rehabilitation and re-entry????" "I feel meaner than a junkyard dog." "D yard has had 3 fistfights over a shower. This yard only has 5 working showers for 197...

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More cruelty from the DOC

More cruelty from the DOC

Just when you think the inmates can't take anymore, the DOC delivers more pain. Because the Florence prison screwed up and let 2 male inmates escape, the DOC is determined to take it out on the girls too. We are waiting for our sources on Maria and Cruz to come in,...

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Karma’s a Bitch

Karma’s a Bitch

(Update on 71 year old abuse victim--see prior story) "After I was strangled by that young woman, I was put in a cell by myself. It gave me time to decompress and recover. I then started to worry about what kind of inmate they would put in my cell. The evil person...

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BREAKING–INMATE DIES ON LUMLEY

BREAKING–INMATE DIES ON LUMLEY

January 1, 2021, approximately 8:30 am women on A yard were locked down amid a flurry of staff activity. Shortly, an ambulance and firetruck were parked outside A yard. The inmates watching outside their windows knew it was bad news when the paramedics slowly left the...

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Observations from a Former Inmate

Observations from a Former Inmate

Messages share with us that we have permission to share with you "My friend just informed me that the past 2 days there has been no heat in her cell. It's 36 degrees outside and the metal doors suck any and all heat out of the rooms. the prison refuses to issue extra...

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Everything Broke on Lumley?

Everything Broke on Lumley?

Our staff has gotten so much mail from this Unit, we have to share what the inmates are alleging in their own words. "Everything is broken on Lumley! No one can access WiFi, we run around like chickens looking for a hotspot. We can't even open our tablets without it....

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Lumley, the ass end of Peeville

Lumley, the ass end of Peeville

I'm starting the HALL OF SHAME for guards who refuse to wear masks here. L. Garcia, lets start with you. This guard went his entire shift with no mask! There will be more. Today started with my morning jog as usual. I'm as deaf as a post, but I could hear a loud...

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More medical nightmares

More medical nightmares

Dateline Cruz: I was diagnosed with back injury and anklosing spondilitis. I resisted the spinal shots they wanted to give me, but I was in 24 hour unrelenting pain. The first shot went ok but did not give me pain relief. The 2nd almost killed me. When the doctor put...

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Access to the Court denied

Access to the Court denied

(From lady on Lumley) I have been denied full access to the Court of Appeals because of, I believe, being indigent, filing grievances and being housed on closed custody. I have legal copies of DOC logged mail to/from courts. They delayed legal mail two months because...

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Diary of Lumley continues

Diary of Lumley continues

11-10-20 I guess this is a normal morning here. In the local A yard crazy ward we were locked down because one of them decided to run around naked. That caused a stir. Then the DOCs idea of painting the interior of the cells cracked me up. An army of inmates came in...

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