Mental health medication not "critical" at Spokane Co. Jail



Posted on June 11, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 6:05 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—KREM 2 On Your Side looked into the procedure for distributing medicine at the Spokane County Jail in June after a viewer her son, an inmate, was not getting his medication as prescribed.

The inmate’s mother took her concerns straight to jail officials. Sabrina Buechler’s son was arrested Friday night for his role in a Downtown Spokane stabbing.

READ: Suspect identified in Downtown Spokane stabbing

Buechler said her son battled mental illness and relied on medication. She said her son went days without that medication while he was in jail.

“He went without his bipolar medication since Friday,” said Buechler.

Buechler’s son was given his medication on Wednesday, but Buechler worried that the inconsistent schedule would put everyone involved at risk.

“If you have someone dependent on mental health medication and they come out two, three weeks later without it, they're very unstable, they can cause more crime,” said Buechler.

Jail staff said inmates would get their necessary medication for mental health issues, though it would not necessarily be immediate.

“It depends on what they need. If it's a critical medication required right away, the nurse will call the doctor, plus we have stock medication available,” said Captain John McGrath with the Spokane County Jail.

KREM 2 News was told that prescriptions for mental health conditions did not fit the ‘critical’ category at the Spokane County Jail.

If an inmate wanted medication, they would have to fill out paper work to send to their provider.

“And if they are a family doctor who doesn't work weekends, say this happens Friday, yeah it'll be Monday before we get information back,” said McGrath.

Jail staff said they cared about the health of their inmates and would give them prescriptions for necessary medications even after they were released.