Medical Conditions at the Federal Prison Camp (Atlanta)

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Federal Prison Camp
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I realize that it has been almost 7 months since I left the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp.  I often think about some of the guys I was there with and how they are doing.  One of things that we all shared was having to go through medical while at the prison.

If there was a frightening aspect of the prison it was the medical side of things.  My first encounter with the medical staff was while I was in the DCU.  It was the second day I was there and I hear the door unlock and a guard yell out my name.  I answered “Yes Ma’am”.  She said I’m here to give you your TB test.  She administered the test (simple shot in the arm) and told me they would be back in 48 hours to read the test.

Well, three weeks later, they still hadn’t read the test.  By then I was transferred to the camp and if I did have TB, could’ve potentially infected a lot of people (I didn’t and don’t have TB).  It wasn’t until I was in the camp for almost an entire week before they tested me again.  Sad thing is, I took the test, came back in 48 hours and the person who had administered the test forgot to let anyone know that they needed to be read.  I came back the next day and it was read.  It wasn’t anything for me to have to take these tests multiple times but the thought that if others had the same experience I did and they were infected, I could be exposed.  Pretty scary.

The talk of the camp was don’t ever have a medical emergency!!!  If for some reason you were sick, had a pain, or needed to see someone and it was not an emergency you might as well just try to push through yourself.  In other words if you’re not dying, don’t go to medical.  By the way…don’t get sick or injured on Wednesday or over the weekend!!!  If you do, the only treatment you could get was if there was someone in the main facility.  And if there was no one up there, you had to wait until Monday at 7am or get transferred to the hospital (not something they want to do unless it is serious).

Despite what most think, if you go to medical you as an inmate do pay for it.  There is a small amount that is deducted from your commissary total.  Personally, I was okay with that.  I felt that I should have to pay for it, plus it prevents inmates from abusing the sick call and doctors office as a way to avoid work, class, or some other thing they didn’t want to go to.

I did see several people who not ambulatory that were living in the housing units.  There is no special treatment for anyone when it comes to Federal Prison.  If you do end up injured and come back in a wheelchair, on crutches, or some other apparatus to help be ambulatory you better have some good friends.  Once you are placed back in the housing unit you have to find your own way to get medication, food, get to work, go to services, programming, or even get to the medical unit.  If you miss an appointment, pill line, work, or other program, you could end up getting a write-up.  Also, remember you can’t have food from the Dining Hall outside of the Dining Hall.  Therefore you either ate from your commissary or you figure out a way to get to the dining hall.

Optometry and Dental

I never had to use either of these services, thankfully.  All everyone ever talked about what stay away!  Apparently if you have an optometry appointment it was because you were going blind or if you were in need of new glasses (which would take a very long time to get).

As far as dentistry goes; have you ever wondered by so many prisoners on  TV are missing teeth (both men and women)?  Well, it is because first, they are so backlogged on general preventive services such as cleaning that it could be three years before you get one.  Secondly, if you have a problem with your tooth and needs to be capped or crowned, don’t expect that to happen.  9 times out of 10 they are just going to pull the tooth.  It was much easier for them to do this than worry about any other medical techniques.  So don’t get a cavity!!!!

If the medical treatment fair…I guess that is all in the eye of the one commenting on it.  If you’re the one who is receiving the treatment then no way is it fair.  It is below the standards for most institutions.  If you aren’t the one receiving it, then I can see why you may not sympathize.  However, remember that we are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated with a certain amount of dignity.

  1. Mike says:

    Were u there when a guy in my dorm showed up at dental. In September I think and the dentist took.11 of his teeth. Only told him he shouldn’t of used so much meth We nursed him but wow it was so in humane 11 teeth pulled and sent out no pain killers no nothing just gauze.

    • Bryan says:

      Can’t say I remember that. I didn’t get to the camp until mid to late September. There was also that guy who had a broken foot who they refused to send to the hospital. It ended up getting infected and they finally took him to the hospital (civilian hospital). He ended up having his foot amputated. He spent two weeks in the hospital. That place was crazy!

      • Mike says:

        Not sonny?

      • Bryan says:

        No not Sonny, although it did take him about two weeks before they finally took him to the hospital. The PA in Sick Call kept misreading the x-rays.

        It was someone else. Older gentleman who worked in recreation. I don’t recall how he broke it but it was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.

  2. A regular reader says:

    Good blog about reality of prison. Keep it up. Can you imagine? Going to prison and loosing a foot because of authoritarian and administrative neglect? We have evolved beyond prison nation, into what Huxley has called “Brave New World”. It will not get better – only worse.

  3. Matt says:

    I’m heading in Tues. I’ve been reading this blog and it is helping me prepare but I will admit I’m freaked out

    • Bryan says:

      I’m glad to hear that this blog is helping you prepare, but I am sorry you have to prepare. It has been 7 months since I was there and I’m sure there have been changes to the camp. Whether they be for the better or worse I can’t tell you. Just remember that it’s not as bad as it could be. There will be some moments when you feel frightened, scared, and unsure of what is going on. But they will be brief and will make you stronger. While you will be some guys who are not so nice, there are many more good guys in there who have done some not so right things. Think positive and you will get through it. Hopefully you have a strong network of friends and family to help you from the outside with encouragement. That will make things easier! You will get through it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you so much. I’m actually assigned to FCI Schuykill. I am scared that’s forsure. I do have a decent network of friends that have stuck by me. My wife and kids are the ones I feel sorry for.

        Thanks for the advise.

      • Matt says:

        Oops forgot to write my name.

  4. Me 2 says:

    First off, thank you for your blog… Very helpful!!!

    I am scheduled to be sentenced soon (white collar fraud) and assume I will be going to a camp. Currently, I ambulate with 2 forearm crutches because I am paralyzed and do pain management with some heavy duty narcotics because of several serious well documented orthopaedic injuries. What can I expect with my Meds and getting around?

    • Bryan says:

      I’m so glad that you have found my blog helpful. Writing this has been very therapeutic for me.

      First thing you need to understand is don’t freak out. It’s not as bad as it could be. Hopefully you have plea deal in place that will minimize the amount of time you will have to be incarcerated.

      As far as your ability get around and your meds. All of this is dependent on where you end up. Based off your condition there is a strong possibility they may send you to a medical facility. That being said, it is still a Federal Prison. I really can’t speak to those facilities as I’ve never been to one. If you are not sent to a medical facility you will still be able to get around. You may be given a wheelchair as opposed to crutches, but that will be up to the institution.

      Here is the big thing you need to remember and discuss with your attorney. If you are currently on a medical treatment plan for your paralysis you need to ensure that your physician details exactly what care you are going through as well as the medication required in order for your treatment to continue. The treatment needs to detailed in that PSR as well as it needs to be mailed to your institution prior to your arrival. It should be sent by your physician to the Medical Staff. When you report to your institution make sure you bring empty bottles of your prescriptions. You will not be allowed to bring your medications in, but by bringing your bottles it will help in the medical staff identifying your medications.

      Good luck to you and hopefully this is helpful.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the info. I rec’d my designation, I am NOT going to a medical facility even though the judge recommended a med facility. ALL of my medicals and Meds are thoroughly documented in my PSR. Unfortunately, I am going for orthopedic surgery 1 month before I am to report to the camp. I will not be ambulatory and will need physical therapy. Hopefully, the camp will provide the medical treatments I need.

        Thank you for the help and advice. Really helpful !

      • Jimmy Oconnor says:

        Great Blog …Thanks for the help & advice !

  5. juan says:

    Is the camp on lockdown i have not heard from my husband in a week.

    • Bryan says:

      Unfortunately I do not have any contacts on the inside to be able to answer your question. However if he calls on a regular basis there is the possibility that there are restrictions on phone calls or there may be a lockdown.

      I wish there was more I could tell you to make you feel better but there really is no telling.

  6. Krista Callico says:

    My friend who is currently at the low security facility in Lisbon, Ohio is putting in for transfer to the prison camp in ATL… I am assuming this is the one you refer to / you were at? He was curious if weights were allowed there…all I could find was info that “exercise equip” was avail, but not specifics…btw, your website was a nice and considerate thing to do….to help others or answer questions for those who have or are going to go through what you did.

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