By Michael McClintock
At the age of 18, I was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder after a man attacked me with an ax handle and I fought back. I had no criminal record and an extensive mental health history that my public defender decided not to use as a defense, even though it would have made it impossible to justify a murder conviction. My case is full of constitutional violations but since I am not able to pay lawyers the courts swept me under the rug. So now, I’m 31 and I am at Virginia’s Supermax Red Onion State Prison and I’m just getting off of long-term solitary confinement with worsening mental health. This prison does not really care about mental health. The mental health department does not even do psych evaluations anymore. There’s one psych doctor for this and another prison. All he does is come to your door and ask what meds you want. That’s it. Currently, I am pushing to change that.
Additionally, this prison has a habit of sending us out for certain medical issues to the worst people. I went to see a hand specialist because I broke my hand and my pinky finger has closed up. The first place misdiagnosed me so I made them send me for a second opinion, where I was properly diagnosed and set for surgery. When I get to the hospital, I arrive at 11 am, go through pre-opt by 11:30, which leaves me naked in a paper bib with an IV while in full restraints. That is handcuffed with a chain holding my cuffs to my waist and in shackles. Now I sit for four and a half hours without anyone coming to tell me anything. When I hollered out for a nurse, they acted as if I was so below them that even speaking was insulting. I told them I am nauseous and have a migraine. Their response was, “Well, that’s because you haven’t eaten!” When I ask how long until I go back for surgery, they said they don’t know. After I snap and make them take the IV out, I am told I am last on the surgeon’s list and there are two more people before me with one of them over two hours. Mind you I am naked and in full restraints since I arrived hours earlier. There was absolutely no consideration at all for my well being.
Now, this prison just started a new policy saying if I go to an outside hospital for a procedure and refuse for any reason then I must pay for transport and any medical, which is $1200. Now I’m fighting that as well. We have to fight just to get what we were supposed to have.