The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Featured Story

February 1, 2014

Data: Disorders are severe for many mentally ill inmates

By Clifton Adcock and Shaun Hittle, Oklahoma Watch

Two times a day, seven days a week, hundreds of prisoners at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington break into four lines to receive medications from prison staff.

There is Thorazine and Geodon for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Wellbutrin for depression and Trilafon for schizophrenia. Inmates step up to get one or more drugs in a paper cup, pop them into their mouth and must prove they swallowed them by opening their mouth again for inspection. “Cheeking” a pill to trade later results in discipline.

In corrections facilities statewide, of the 10 psychiatric medications the Department of Corrections spent the most on in 2013, seven were antipsychotics and three were anti-depressants, according to data obtained by Oklahoma Watch. The total cost of all such drugs was $1.3 million, more than four times what it was in 2009.

The breakdown indicates many Oklahoma inmates who need mental-health treatment are suffering from serious disorders, not just mild forms of depression or the “blues” about being locked up. And the number of mentally ill prisoners is rising.

In the past five years, the percentage of incarcerated inmates diagnosed with mental illness nearly has doubled, from 20 percent to 36 percent, according to department figures, further straining the agency’s budget, low staffing levels and available bed space. The number of inmates on psychotropic medications has climbed by 50 percent since 2007, to 6,200 last year, data shows.

Use of medications has not been controversial among corrections experts or prisoner advocates. Representatives of ACLU Oklahoma and Oklahoma CURE, a prison-rights group, said their organizations have not received complaints about widespread misuse of psychiatric drugs to manage prisoners.

The drugs are dispensed to address specific diagnosed problems, not to put inmates in a zombie-like state, corrections officials say. The effectiveness of some drugs, such as generic Wellbutrin XL, have been questioned by researchers, but loss of psychotropic drugs would be “catastrophic” for the inmates and the prison system, said Janna Morgan, the corrections department’s chief mental health officer.

Text Only
Featured Story
  • film_W.jpg What's 2 Do in Enid, area

    Check out the interactive ENE Events Calendar to see what's happening in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma and add your own event for free. Click HERE to sign up for free entertainment, sports, weather and news alerts.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • HCL Acid Spill_1_BV.jpg Up to 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled near Hennessey

    A fracking-related hydrochloric acid spill southwest of Hennessey is possibly the biggest of its kind in the state, according to an Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Oklahoma Bombing Vide_Hass.jpg Man claims tampering in case over bombing videos

    Trentadue says the agency is refusing to release videos that show a second person was with Timothy McVeigh when he parked a truck outside the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb that killed 168 people. The government says McVeigh was alone.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • flood watch.tiff UPDATED: Garfield County under flash flood watch

    Rainfall chances start in earnest tonight, with an 80 percent chance after 2 a.m. that increases to 90 percent Wednesday and Wednesday night. Flooding in streets, ditches and low-lying areas could be possible.

    July 29, 2014 7 Photos

  • storm_W.jpg Storm victims face dilemma: accept loans or reject them

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Quilts_4_BH_W.jpg History of an art form

    Woven amongst the fabric, patterns and stitches in the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center’s newest special exhibit are stories of past generations.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Academy.jpg State prisons expand their reach to train new officers

    On a recent day, a class in the McAlester program was filled with the sounds of bodies thudding onto thick, rainbow-colored pads held together by duct tape, along with heavy breathing and tapping as cadets indicated they’d successfully been subdued.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • FortStillFacility.jpg FBI: No arrests yet in scam targeting migrant kids

    Con artists use private information about the children to contact their family members and demand payment for bogus processing and travel expenses needed to reunite the kids with their relatives. Families with migrants in Texas and Oklahoma have been targeted.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Child Tax Credit_Hass.jpg House votes to boost child tax credit for some

    With nearly all Republicans voting in favor and most Democrats opposed, the bill cleared the House by a vote of 237-173. The White House threatened to veto the bill, though the Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to pass it.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Oil-Covered Owls_1_JN.jpg Caretaker: One of 2 oil-covered owls has died

    Jean Neal and her husband, Jim, of Fairview, have been caring for the owls since Tuesday, July 22, 2014, when they received them from Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, which is investigating the incident and the death of several other birds found at a neglected oil field tank site.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up
House Ads
Facebook