Letters to the Editor

Gobel letter: Canyon County Jail

Is anyone else outraged that a man with substance-use disorder died an agonizingly painful and preventable death due to alleged egregious neglect at Canyon County Jail? Jeri-Alfred Cook was placed in jail in February 2015 at the discretion of his drug court probation officer because he experienced a relapse in his disease. He is not placed in treatment, he is jailed, where he is punitively denied access to medical care for a respiratory tract infection repeatedly over many weeks, evaluated by a nurse on the morning of his death and reported to be having chest pain rated at a 10, on a scale of 1-10, and abnormal oxygen levels. Placed in a holding cell he was found four hours later unresponsive. The admitting physicians told his bereft family that Jeri’s death would likely have been preventable. I’m thankful for our drug court system; it’s a first step which I think reflects a more sophisticated understanding of the disease process that interrupts the volition center (area of free will and good judgment) of the brain. There are two monstrously wrong elements to this story: alleged criminal neglect by jail personnel and we are treating a brain disease in jail.

Ginny Gobel, Boise