Federal inspectors say Dallas County’s jail health system still can’t perform even basic tasks like giving medicine to prisoners when they arrive at the jail, reports the Dallas Morning News. After four years of pouring millions of dollars into improvements, officials say they expect the jail system, the nation’s seventh largest, to be a model. Yet federal inspectors wrote although they remain impressed by the progress, “infirmary care, tracking chronic illness and mental health programming remain as significant obstacles.”
It was a lack of proper medical and mental health care that brought intense federal scrutiny upon the county in 2005. In the new report, inspectors noted delays in issuing medications, a lack of medical evaluations, inconsistent care, lack of medical care for mental-health patients, a long backlog in sick-call requests, and sanitation and maintenance lapses. In a jail kitchen, where they found moldy ceilings that dripped water, live wires next to standing water, and condensation so thick it was almost impossible to see across the room. This week, the family of an ex-inmate with sickle-cell anemia filed suit, saying he went without vital medications for several days in 2007 in the jail, resulting in a permanent brain injury.