This morning, inmate Gibbs had a visit. The nurse passing medications in the housing
unit noticed that he was not ready when his name was called. Unusual.
Mr. Gibbs is typically aware of his visits and is up and ready at least
five minutes before it’s time to go. The
nurse asked Mr. Gibbs if he was feeling ok.
Mr. Gibbs just shrugged and left the unit for his visit. Later that day, the nurse noticed that Mr.
Gibbs was not out in the day room playing cards with others, like he usually
is. The nurse walked by Mr. Gibbs’ cell
and noticed he was just lying on his bunk looking at the ceiling. The nurse asked again if everything was ok
and Mr. Gibbs stated, “Just not my day. Things
aren’t working out for me. That’s the
problem with hope, you always get disappointed.” “Anything I can do?” the nurse asked. “No, man.
Thanks. Just gotta do what I
Every individual who works in a correctional setting has
unique experiences with inmates. Based
on your role, your personality, your style of interaction and how others perceive
you, you are likely to see and hear things that others do not see and
hear. In the above example, the nurse
has a unique perspective on what’s happening with Mr. Gibbs.
Do not underestimate the value and importance of what you
see and hear.
When you notice things are out of the ordinary, ask questions. If the answers leave you feeling unsure, make a referral.
I recently ran across this news article on NPR (found here) about the problem of treating the large number of opioid addicted patients who are coming to our jails. There is a growing movement that all opioid addicted patients should be offered Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) while in jail–meaning one or more of three drugs: methadone, Suboxone or Vivitrol. The article does a good job in pointing out that this is a complicated problem. Having been on the front lines of this problem for many years in my own jails (and so having that great teacher–experience), I would like today to present my own thoughts on using MAT in jails. (MAT in prisons is a separate subject that I will address later).
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