Expert calls mental health care at Morgan County Jail inadequate


Expert calls mental health care at Morgan County Jail inadequate
  1. Expert calls mental health care at Morgan County Jail inadequate
    decaturdaily.com
    An expert witness testified in federal court today that psychiatric care provided at the Morgan County Jail was inadequate and could cause harm to inmates and…
    Tennessee (TN)

An expert witness testified in federal court today that psychiatric care provided at the Morgan County Jail was inadequate and could cause harm to inmates and others.

Kelly Coffman, a psychiatrist and professor at Emory University School of Medicine, took the stand for the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Based on a review of jail records and interviews with current and former inmates, she said jail policies did not ensure adequate care for inmates and, in some cases, could endanger inmates.

“The worst that can happen is that they kill themselves or someone else,” she said.

In particular, Coffman said inmates were waiting too long to see a psychiatrist, in some cases several months, and that the psychiatrist was not spending enough time with each inmate even when they were seen.

“No one can conduct a psychiatric evaluation in 6.3 minutes. I’m not sure how that is possible,” she said.

In some cases, she said jail policies that prohibit the prescribing of any medications for inmates who had positive drug screens for a period of 30 days or the prescribing of certain commonly abused prescriptions may be dangerous.

If someone abruptly stops taking benzodiazepines, a class of antianxiety medication that is prohibited by jail rules, withdrawal could cause seizures and death, she said.

Coffman said inmates who are identified as having psychiatric problems during intake are not automatically flagged for psychiatric treatment. Instead, they must request an appointment and pay a copay so they can wait what typically takes “one to several” months to see a psychiatrist who prescribes medication.

“They were told to be patient and that the waiting list was long,” she said.

Coffman also pointed out that psychiatric care appeared to be limited to medication only without other forms of treatment, such as psychotherapy.

Coffman, who oversees a psychiatric program at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, testified she was paid $300 per hour to review procedures at the Morgan County Jail and spent about 20 hours reviewing records and 11 hours interviewing inmates.

Her testimony is expected to continue this afternoon with cross examination by attorney Barney Lovelace, who represents the sheriff’s office and Morgan County in the 2001 lawsuit that resulted in several court-mandated provisions to protect the well-being of inmates at the jail.

Attorneys for the Southern Center h…

  1. Fresh Air Weekend: New Muhammad Ali Biography; Roz Chast Draws A Guide To NYC

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 17:58 wutc.org
    Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week: New Muhammad Ali Biography Reveals A Flawed Rebel Who Loved Attention: "I don't think we do Ali any good by treating him as a saint," says biographer Jonathan Eig. "He was a human being, and he was…
  2. Swedish Journalist Kim Wall's Severed Head Found In Copenhagen Bay

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 17:58 wutc.org
    Danish divers looking for the remains of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose torso washed ashore in Copenhagen this summer, made a gruesome discovery Friday nearby in Køge Bay. "We found a leg and then another leg, and shortly thereafter, we found a head, which was also in a bag weighed down by several pieces of metal," Chief Police Investigator Jens Møller Jensen said at a press briefing Saturday, according to a translation by The Guardian . Møller Jensen said they also found a weighted ba…
  3. 80 Years On, Dominicans And Haitians Revisit Painful Memories Of Parsley Massacre'

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 17:44 wmot.org
    Even before Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo carved it in blood, the 224-mile border dividing the island of Hispaniola between Haiti and the Dominican Republic was complicated. Tensions between the two countries stemmed back to a 19th century war. But in many ways, the border, which existed mostly on paper, was a notably seamless site: Children crossed back and forth freely to go to school on one side and home on the other. Sprawling cattle ranches spanned the divide, and Dominicans and…
  4. Swedish Journalist Kim Wall's Severed Head Found In Copenhagen Bay

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 17:44 wmot.org
    Danish divers looking for the remains of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose torso washed ashore in Copenhagen this summer, made a gruesome discovery Friday nearby in Køge Bay. "We found a leg and then another leg, and shortly thereafter, we found a head, which was also in a bag weighed down by several pieces of metal," Chief Police Investigator Jens Møller Jensen said at a press briefing Saturday, according to a translation by The Guardian . Møller Jensen said they also found a weighted ba…
  5. Swedish Journalist Kim Wall's Severed Head Found In Copenhagen Bay

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 17:44 wmot.org
    Danish divers looking for the remains of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose torso washed ashore in Copenhagen this summer, made a gruesome discovery Friday nearby in Køge Bay. "We found a leg and then another leg, and shortly thereafter, we found a head, which was also in a bag weighed down by several pieces of metal," Chief Police Investigator Jens Møller Jensen said at a press briefing Saturday, according to a translation by The Guardian . Møller Jensen said they also found a weighted ba…
  6. Hurricane Nate Strengthens As Its Eye Focuses On U.S. Gulf Coast

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 14:55 wutc.org
    As Hurricane Nate churns over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico toward American shores, it is growing in strength and speed after leaving a trail of devastation in Central America. In its 7 a.m., advisory , the National Hurricane Center said the Category 1 storm was located about 245 miles south southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and headed north northwest with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. "We are expecting Nate to continue to strengthen today (Saturday)," said Mike…
  7. 80 Years On, Dominicans And Haitians Revisit Painful Memories Of 'Parsley Massacre'

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 14:30 wutc.org
    Even before Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo carved it in blood, the 224-mile border dividing the island of Hispaniola between Haiti and the Dominican Republic was complicated. Tensions between the two countries stemmed back to a 19th century war. But in many ways, the border, which existed mostly on paper, was a notably seamless site: Children crossed back and forth freely to go to school on one side and home on the other. Sprawling cattle ranches spanned the divide, and Dominicans and…
  8. Tapping Rural America: Craft Breweries Pour New Life Into Small Towns

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 14:30 wutc.org
    Chris Hernstrom was brewing in the craft beer mecca of Bend, Ore., when an ad caught his eye: Want to live somewhere gorgeous and make beer for a small community? "It just seemed like an interesting challenge to come out to basically the exact opposite of Bend, some place where the brewing industry is still in its fledgling stages," Hernstrom says. That place, Hernstrom's new home, is the cattle ranching hub of Valentine, Neb., population 2,700, tucked into the Niobrara River valley in the…
  9. You're Going To Hate 'TheMystery.doc,' And That's OK

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 14:26 wmot.org
    In the press materials for Matthew McIntosh's new 1,660-page brick of a very literary novel, TheMystery.doc , the publisher says not to be fooled by the book's length. Sure, it weighs 4 1/2 pounds, but they cheerfully insist that "it reads as quickly as a novel of a more conventional length." That is a lie. It doesn't read anything like a traditional novel — not as quickly, not as smoothly, not as satisfyingly, none of it. McIntosh's second book reads shattered. It reads fragmentary. It r…
  10. Hurricane Nate Strengthens As Its Eye Focuses On U.S. Gulf Coast

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 14:26 wmot.org
    As Hurricane Nate churns over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico toward American shores, it is growing in strength and speed after leaving a trail of devastation in Central America. In its 7 a.m., advisory , the National Hurricane Center said the Category 1 storm was located about 245 miles south southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and headed north northwest with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. "We are expecting Nate to continue to strengthen today (Saturday)," said Mike…
  11. Cardboard Challenge tackled by students from Boyds Creek

    Themountainpress.com - SEVIERVILLE
    10.07 / 13:32 themountainpress.com
    SEVIERVILLE -- A confetti cake, an air soccer table and a police station - complete with bars on the windowed jail - all constructed exclusively from…
  12. Off To College? Don't Forget To Pack A Plan For Your Health

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 12:52 wmot.org
    For college freshmen who left home for the first time this year, learning to live with a roommate may be one of the easy challenges. For many, this is also the first time they will schedule medical appointments, fill prescriptions, and make decisions about their own health care. Unfortunately, many students aren't prepared to meet these basic life challenges. But with a little planning and parental guidance, college can be an opportunity for young adults to learn how to stay healthy and…
  13. Nightmare Scenario: Concert Security Experts Grapple With Lessons Of Las Vegas

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 12:23 wutc.org
    Tens of thousands of people will gather this weekend for the Austin City Limits Festival, a two-week music festival about a mile from downtown Austin. "It's gonna be the safest part of the city to be in during both weekends, just because of the sheer number of officers that will be present," said Brian Manley, the chief of the Austin Police Department, during a press conference this week. Manley said the department will have officers inside and outside the festival, with heightened…
  14. Off To College? Don't Forget To Pack A Plan For Your Health

    Wutc.org - Chattanooga
    10.07 / 12:23 wutc.org
    For college freshmen who left home for the first time this year, learning to live with a roommate may be one of the easy challenges. For many, this is also the first time they will schedule medical appointments, fill prescriptions, and make decisions about their own health care. Unfortunately, many students aren't prepared to meet these basic life challenges. But with a little planning and parental guidance, college can be an opportunity for young adults to learn how to stay healthy and…
  15. East Tennessee hotels look at security policies after Las Vegas shooting

    Wate.com - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 12:17 wate.com
    State leaders in the hospitality industry say security measures are in place at East Tennessee hotels, but say changes are always…
  16. Knox deputies: 2 men, 1 dressed as woman, robbed dry cleaners

    Wate.com - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 12:17 wate.com
    The Knox County Sheriff's Office is looking for two men, one of whom was dressed as a woman, who they say robbed a dry cleaner Friday…
  17. East Tennessee woman with entire family in Puerto Rico calls for help

    Wate.com - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 12:17 wate.com
    An East Tennessee woman is still in shock over images and videos of her hometown in Puerto…
  18. Biden's Busy Schedule Spurs 2020 Speculation

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 11:33 wmot.org
    This week, the typically upbeat, jovial Joe Biden sounded anything but during a speech in Washington. "President Obama and I have been very quiet and respectful, giving the [Trump] administration time," the former vice president said Thursday night. "But some of these roots are being sunk too deeply. I believe it's time to challenge some of the dangerous assumptions." Biden went on to excoriate the Trump administration's foreign policy. While accepting an award from Center for Strategic…
  19. Steep Premiums Challenge People Who Buy Health Insurance Without Subsidies

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 11:33 wmot.org
    Paul Melquist of St. Paul, Minn., has a message for the people who wrote the Affordable Care Act: "Quit wrecking my health care." Teri Goodrich, of Raleigh, N.C., agrees. "We're getting slammed. We didn't budget for this," she says. Millions of people have gained health insurance because of the federal health law. Millions more have seen their existing coverage improved. But one slice of the population — including Melquist and Goodrich — is unquestionably worse off. They are healthy people …
  20. Nightmare Scenario: Concert Security Experts Grapple With Lessons Of Las Vegas

    Wmot.org - Tennessee (TN)
    10.07 / 11:33 wmot.org
    Tens of thousands of people will gather this weekend for the Austin City Limits Festival, a two-week music festival about a mile from downtown Austin. "It's gonna be the safest part of the city to be in during both weekends, just because of the sheer number of officers that will be present," said Brian Manley, the chief of the Austin Police Department, during a press conference this week. Manley said the department will have officers inside and outside the festival, with heightened…