Mental health medication being refused in jail?

by Emily
(Rochester, NY)

My boyfriend is currently in Monroe County Correctional Facility in NY. He has been diagnosed by his primary care doctor AND a mental health professional with having bi-polar disorder AND severe depression/anxiety. He was taking medications prior to his arrest and is now being refused the treatment.

His lawyer won't do anything about it and the nurses in jail say that he "doesn't have mental health problems." I personally have gathered notices from his doctors stating his condition and the medications that he needs to be taking, and turned them into the jail administration.

After 2 weeks, still nothing is being done. And they still tell him that he doesn't need the medication. He is due to be released soon. What information do we need to gather to file a complaint or start a lawsuit against the jail? Is there anything that he needs to do, while inside jail, that could help our case?

Any and all information regarding inmate rights to mental health medications would be appreciated. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Mental health medication being refused in jail?":

Emily (Rochester, NY):

Being in prison is difficult enough. Being denied one’s medications, especially for such a serious condition, makes things all the worse.

Unfortunately, unless your boyfriend is able to prove the denial of his medications caused him to suffer serious pain and discomfort, or resulted in an exacerbated mental condition, there is little evidence upon which your boyfriend can support a lawsuit he might consider filing.

Of course, he can file a complaint with the prison board, but you probably know that will do little, if any good, whether for other prisoners or for your boyfriend.

Since he will be released soon, the best thing to do is wait for your boyfriend to be released so he can return to his previous doctors and once again be placed on those meds which he needs. At this point, he just doesn't have a viable case against the prison, or the State of New York.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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