Law­suits al­lege ram­pant med­i­cal ne­glect in SC prison fa­cil­i­ties

The State (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY EMILY BOHATCH ebo­[email protected]­tate.com

When Sine­tra John­son dis­cov­ered she was preg­nant, she was two days away from go­ing to prison for a pa­role vi­o­la­tion.

The 24-year-old was set to de­liver twins while be­hind bars.

“As they got big­ger, as I started grow­ing more, that’s when re­al­ity hit, like ‘I’m re­ally go­ing to be here, be­hind the walls hav­ing (the ba­bies) and I won’t be able to see (them),’” said John­son, who lived in Chero­kee County at the time. “First preg­nancy ever in life.“

While serv­ing her more than two-year sen­tence, she would be dealt an unimag­in­ably dev­as­tat­ing blow: the loss of one of her twins, who drowned in a toi­let af­ter prison guards re­fused to help, ac­cord­ing to John­son.

“It’s enough to go to prison in it­self,” said John­son, who now lives in North Carolina. “But to have to worry about — Am I go­ing to be able to go home to my child? No mother should have to go through that.”

The 2012 tragedy was pre­ventable if of­fi­cials at Camille Grif­fin Gra­ham Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion in Columbia, a fa­cil­ity for fe­male in­mates with med­i­cal needs, had re­sponded to John­son’s calls — and later screams — for help, ac­cord­ing to her law­suit, filed against the S.C. De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions, which runs the state’s 21 pris­ons.

SCDC is fail­ing to meet in­mates’ most ba­sic health care needs, ac­cord­ing to at least 83 med­i­cal mal­prac­tice law­suits pend­ing in lo­cal S.C. courts as of De­cem­ber. Ad­di­tion­ally, 78 of 126 wrong­ful death or per­sonal in­jury law­suits re­viewed by The State Me­dia Co. also cite in­ad­e­quate med­i­cal care in­side the state’s pris­ons.

Col­lec­tively, the cases — along with in­ter­views with more than 60 for­mer and cur­rent in­mates con­ducted by The State — of­fer an alarm­ing pic­ture of a prison sys­tem in cri­sis, leav­ing in­mates bro­ken, dis­carded and, in some cases, dead due to in

com­pe­tence or neg­li­gence. And they raise ques­tions about whether tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars are reach­ing those for whom they’re in­tended.

“(This) shouldn’t have to hap­pen,” John­son said. “In­mate or not, we’re still peo­ple.”

There’s Julius Allen Munn, who says he was left blind be­cause SCDC would not buy him di­a­betes test strips that cost 10 cents each, ac­cord­ing to his 2017 law­suit. And S.S., an in­mate who was shocked back to life twice be­cause of botched den­tal work he re­ceived in prison, ac­cord­ing to his suit filed the same year. And P.H., whose con­cerns about vis­i­ble can­cer­ous growths were pushed aside for four years, ac­cord­ing to his 2016 law­suit.

The full names of S.S, and P.H. are not be­ing used in this story. Still be­hind bars, they fear re­tal­i­a­tion from med­i­cal staff, cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers or other in­mates.

SCDC does not re­spond to lit­i­ga­tion.

When in­mates don’t get help, whether it’s med­i­cal care, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive or other­wise, it af­fects them and the com­mu­nity when they are re­leased, said the Rev. Chuck Pol­lak, a for­mer SCDC chap­lain. About 85 per­cent of S.C. in­mates will be re­leased within five years, ac­cord­ing to prison data.

“The things that are done in­side the prison in too many cases caused them to be­come an­gry. An­gry at the sys­tem. An­gry at the politics. An­gry at all kinds of things,” Pol­lak tes­ti­fied in front of a S.C. House com­mit­tee.

Bryan Stir­ling, who was ap­pointed to run the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions the year af­ter John­son’s tragedy and would not com­ment on her le­gal case, says he is work­ing to im­prove health care for those be­hind bars, in­clud­ing push­ing for more med­i­cal staff who are paid more. On his watch, the de­part­ment has dig­i­tized in­mates’ pa­per health records and is us­ing “tele­health” — vir­tual doc­tor’s vis­its — in sev­eral pris­ons, he added.

“Sys­tem­at­i­cally ... I’m go­ing through and get­ting fund­ing to ad­dress is­sues that are in­ter­nal to the de­part­ment,” Stir­ling said. “But it’s such a big de­part­ment that it’s not go­ing to hap­pen overnight.”

SCDC al­ready has an es­tab­lished his­tory of ne­glect­ing the men­tal health of in­mates. Years of poor, in­hu­mane treat­ment sparked a land­mark class ac­tion law­suit in which Judge Michael Bax­ley ruled in 2014 that men­tally ill in­mates were dy­ing “for lack of ba­sic men­tal health care, and hun­dreds more re­main sub­stan­tially at risk for se­ri­ous in­jury, men­tal de­com­pen­sa­tion and pro­found, per­ma­nent men­tal ill­ness.”

While progress has been made, SCDC is still strug­gling to reach full com­pli­ance in about two-thirds of the 58 ar­eas out­lined in the set­tle­ment agree­ment, ac­cord­ing to a Novem­ber au­dit. Mem­bers of the set­tle­ments im­ple­men­ta­tion panel wrote that they have “grave con­cerns that SCDC is highly un­likely, if not com­pletely un­able, to meet the con­di­tions and re­quire­ments . . .”

“Are we all the way there? No.” said Stir­ling, who worked to set­tle the case. “But are we work­ing on it? Yes. A lot of stuff we’re do­ing is good stuff, and we need to do more.”

Since Bax­ley’s rul­ing, new law­suits al­leg­ing that ba­sic med­i­cal care needs are also not be­ing met are pil­ing up.

PLEADING FOR HELP

John­son tried her best to pre­pare for the ar­rival of her twins while in the dorms of Camille Gra­ham Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion.

But about 26 weeks into her preg­nancy, John­son woke up in in­tense pain and hur­ried to the prison’s med­i­cal sta­tion, she said.

“I knew some­thing was wrong,” John­son said. “It just wasn’t the nor­mal feel­ing that I had dur­ing the 25 weeks prior.”

A nurse checked the ex­pec­tant mother’s vi­tal signs and sent her on her way. She was not given a vagi­nal exam or taken to an OB/GYN, a doc­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in women’s health, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed in a Rich­land County court.

In­stead, John­son, still in pain, was sent to work at the fa­cil­ity’s cloth­ing plant. Hours later, she re­turned to the med­i­cal sta­tion, but was sent away again. It sounded like her lig­a­ments were stretch­ing, a worker said. No vagi­nal exam. No OB/GYN.

The en­tire process re­peated it­self again af­ter the work­day. Still no exam, no out­side doc­tor, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

At 11:15 p.m., the first­time mother got out of her bed in the prison dorm and rushed past cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers at the guards’ sta­tion and into the bath­room, scream­ing.

“I still wasn’t sure … that it was la­bor be­cause it was my first child. I had never been preg­nant,” John­son said. “I’m do­ing this alone. I’m in prison.”

She sat on a toi­let, alone in the com­mu­nal prison bath­room, and felt some­thing come out of her.

“I had my first child in­side the re­stroom there at SCDC in the dorm,” John­son said.

A lit­tle girl, Karmin Elisha Geter, was born fully formed but still in­side her am­ni­otic sack on Oc­to­ber 11, 2012 — 14 weeks pre­ma­ture.

Other in­mates called to guards for help, but none came, ac­cord­ing to the suit. So, they grabbed a wheel­chair, lifted John­son into it and dashed her off to the med­i­cal sta­tion as she la­bored to de­liver the sec­ond twin, ac­cord­ing to the suit.

Drawn to the screams of mul­ti­ple in­mates, guards even­tu­ally en­tered the bath­room, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

Some in­mates tried to save Karmin, but guards or­dered them to not go near the baby, who was suf­fo­cat­ing in­side the am­ni­otic sack, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. Karmin was left in the toi­let un­til nearly mid­night — 45 min­utes af­ter her trau­matic birth — when she was placed in a haz­mat bag by cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers. No med­i­cal pro­fes­sional ex­am­ined the child un­til she ar­rived at the coroner’s of­fice, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit

When John­son ar­rived in med­i­cal, an am­bu­lance was called. She would later gave birth to her son, Kam­rin, in the ve­hi­cle’s back while still on prison grounds. The pair were rushed to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, where John­son caught a glimpse of her son be­fore he was rushed to the hos­pi­tal’s neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit.

Five hours later, John­son was back in her bed in the same dorm where her first-born child — Karmin — died af­ter as­phyx­i­at­ing, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

“(It was) Just like, ‘OK, I guess (I’m) sup­posed to for­get about it,’” John­son said. “I couldn’t use the re­stroom there. It was trau­matic.”

Though she was later moved to an­other unit, John­son said the weeks fol­low­ing the birth of her son and the death of her daugh­ter were dev­as­tat­ing.

“I was still sup­posed to be preg­nant,” she said.

An au­topsy con­cluded Karmin could have sur­vived if the sack had been man­u­ally rup­tured, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. She could have joined her brother as he walked out of the NICU three months later, a happy and healthy boy.

“In the be­gin­ning, it was re­ally hard,” John­son said in Septem­ber, nearly six years af­ter her daugh­ter’s death. “I couldn’t go into cloth­ing stores. I would avoid the lit­tle girl’s sec­tion all to­gether. I would see peo­ple with twins and I would just . . . break down. I be­came an­gry in­side. An­gry at my­self. An­gry at the sit­u­a­tion. At the way things hap­pened.”

Of­fi­cials at the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions did not com­ment on the case, but have de­nied many of her al­le­ga­tions in a re­sponse to her law­suit. A trial is sched­uled for May.

THE DI­AG­NO­SIS

Ac­cord­ing to the S.C. Con­sti­tu­tion, the state must pro­vide for the health and wel­fare of all in­car­cer­ated men and women.

Ad­di­tion­ally, it’s the hu­mane thing to do, said War­ren Lokey, a Charleston lawyer who reg­u­larly rep­re­sents in­mates in cases against SCDC.

“That’s a prob­lem be­cause no­body is sug­gest­ing that th­ese in­mates be pro­vided a ho­tel, a nice ho­tel, but this is pretty ba­sic hu­man stuff,” Lokey said.

Though Stir­ling, Cor­rec­tion’s di­rec­tor, main­tains the de­part­ment is pro­vid­ing ad­e­quate med­i­cal care, in­mates and ad­vo­cates dis­agree.

“Get­ting to med­i­cal is like get­ting a ticket to a sold-out con­cert,” in­mate Jomo Bailey told The State. “I’ve seen guys se­ri­ously hurt and go days with­out med­i­cal at­ten­tion. I’ve seen guys sew them­selves up.”

Dur­ing the last four fis­cal years, South Carolina has paid more than $10.5 mil­lion due to med­i­cal-re­lated law­suits filed against the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions, ac­cord­ing to the S.C. In­surance Re­serve Fund. More than $7 mil­lion of that came from set­tle­ments and lost le­gal bat­tles.

SCDC of­fi­cials say set­tling suits is some­times more cost-ef­fi­cient than lit­i­gat­ing them, even when the de­part­ment has done noth­ing wrong.

Tend­ing to in­mates’ health care needs is a big task, han­dled by too few health care pro­fes­sion­als. As of 2018, 56 per­cent of the state’s roughly 19,000 in­mates suf­fered from some sort of med­i­cal con­di­tion, rang­ing from di­a­betes to late stage can­cer, ac­cord­ing to SCDC records.

Just 11 physi­cians and 221 nurses work in the state’s prison sys­tem. That’s one doc­tor for ev­ery about 1,700 in­mates and one nurse for ev­ery about 86. The de­part­ment does not em­ploy enough doc­tors to have one in each of its 21 pris­ons.

To help with that short­age, the de­part­ment con­tracts out with tem­po­rary agen­cies, Stir­ling said. Two con­tract doc­tors and 74 nurses fill in the gaps, im­prov­ing the ra­tio some­what. And some in­mates are driven to ap­point­ments with spe­cial­ists on the out­side.

As the de­part­ment moves to mod­ern­ize, it has also part­nered with the Med­i­cal Univer­sity of South Carolina and now pro­vides dig­i­tal doc­tor’s vis­its in five pris­ons.

“Things don’t hap­pen overnight, ob­vi­ously, but that is go­ing to ex­po­nen­tially help us with get­ting folks in front of a doc­tor,” Stir­ling said.

Hir­ing ad­di­tional staff, par­tic­u­larly med­i­cal staff, is Stir­ling’s top pri­or­ity, he said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view.

But that is prov­ing chal­leng­ing.

S.C. House mem­bers re­cently de­nied a bud­get re­quest made by Stir­ling and his ad­vo­cate, Gov. Henry Mc­mas­ter, for about $6 mil­lion bud­get to hire more staff, in­clud­ing med­i­cal per­son­nel, and boost the pay of cur­rent em­ploy­ees. Prison nurses cur­rently earn about $20,000 less than those work­ing for other agen­cies, Stir­ling has said. And its doc­tors make a me­dian of $50,000 less than their coun­ter­parts out­side of cor­rec­tions sys­tems, ac­cord­ing to data from the U.S. Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics.

Adding to the prob­lem: nearly a quar­ter of the state’s prison pop­u­la­tion has been di­ag­nosed with men­tal health is­sues, said Stir­ling, who has in­creased the num­ber of psy­chi­a­trists work­ing in the pris­ons from two to 16. He’s also pi­loted vir­tual psy­chi­a­trist vis­its in pris­ons in the last few years, he said.

The short­ages are cre­at­ing long waits when an in­mate needs med­i­cal at­ten­tion, say in­mates and ad­vo­cates.

Thir­teen in­mates told The State Me­dia Co. they have been de­nied ac­cess to sick call — SCDC’S way to re­quest a doc­tor’s visit — or de­nied med­i­cal care from a de­part­ment doc­tor all to­gether. Some claimed they did not have ac­cess to the ter­mi­nal where they could re­quest care while oth­ers said cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers re­fused their re­quests.

“In­mates are given ac­cess to health care pro­fes­sion­als when they re­quest to be seen,” said de­part­ment spokes­woman Chrysti Shain, adding that in­mates should never be de­nied med­i­cal care.

That’s not hap­pen­ing, said Charleston lawyer Aaron Mayer. “I don’t think that’s con­scious, be­cause I be­lieve the peo­ple in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of SCDC think they’re pro­vid­ing bet­ter care than they ac­tu­ally are.”

Mayer, who rep­re­sents a num­ber of in­mates on med­i­cal cases against the de­part­ment, de­scribed SCDC’S ap­proach to med­i­cal treat­ment like a check­list. If they are re­quired to have a doc­tor, they hire a doc­tor. If they need to have a med­i­cal de­part­ment, they have one.

But those hired don’t al­ways do their jobs well, and “you end up with just ram­pant ne­glect,” he said.

For ex­am­ple, be­fore Stir­ling was ap­pointed di­rec­tor, SCDC em­ployed two psy­chi­a­trists to care for the de­part­ment’s whop­ping pop­u­la­tion of about 24,000.

It wasn’t un­til the de­part­ment en­tered a set­tle­ment in a land­mark men­tal health case that of­fi­cials ad­justed that num­ber to meet re­quire­ments in the agree­ment. Now, the de­part­ment em­ploys 14 psy­chi­a­trists.

“You can say they’re pal­try, but you need to look at is as, ‘What did the ex­perts in the case say? What did we agree on?’” Stir­ling said.

Even when they could get in to see a doc­tor, 24 in­mates and cur­rent law­suits re­viewed by The State claim pris­on­ers re­ceived lit­tle to no fol­lowup af­ter be­ing at­tacked or se­ri­ously in­jured.

In one 2017 case, in­mate Jabari Moore said he was placed in lockup at Columbia’s Broad River Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion — sim­i­lar to soli­tary con­fine­ment — a day af­ter be­ing rushed to the hos­pi­tal with

stab wounds to his ch­est and liver.

For days, he went with­out med­i­ca­tion, show­ers, soap or bed­ding, Moore said.

“Al­most ev­ery nurse re­fused me help,” he said. “. . . For 30 plus days … I was in agony.”

Though one nurse did even­tu­ally bring him med­i­ca­tion, Moore said he con­tracted an in­fec­tion from his wounds while in lockup. Later, he filed a law­suit over the in­ci­dent.

“I was ex­pected to shut up and deal with it,” he said.

Stir­ling said he be­lieves the Tele­health sys­tem will help with short­en­ing wait times to see doc­tors, but main­tains the de­part­ment tries to get in­mates med­i­cal at­ten­tion as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Get­ting care out­side of an SCDC fa­cil­ity, even when rec­om­mended by prison doc­tors, can be dif­fi­cult, ac­cord­ing to five in­mates who spoke with The State.

One in­mate suf­fer­ing from a heart con­di­tion re­ported be­ing taken about four months late to see a spe­cial­ist to de­ter­mine whether he needed a pace­maker. Af­ter hav­ing in­tense ch­est pains for two weeks, he asked his sib­lings to get hold of SCDC of­fi­cials to ask about the can­celed ap­point­ment, but has heard noth­ing back, he said.

Fear­ing ret­ri­bu­tion, he asked that his name not be used. His brother, who has acted as his ad­vo­cate on the out­side, con­firmed his ac­count.

“They are very delin­quent in get­ting him to the doc­tor, which they’ve al­ways been,” he said. “No­body seems to be con­cerned un­less you get re­ally ugly with them. My fam­ily has been deal­ing with this since 1992.”

SCDC did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment about the claim.

Spokes­woman Shain has said in­mates with ur­gent med­i­cal is­sues are taken to an out­side doc­tor im­me­di­ately, but non­emer­gency ap­point­ments are sub­ject to doc­tors’ avail­abil­ity.

“Like com­mu­nity mem­bers, there can be a wait time be­fore the provider has an avail­able ap­point­ment,” Shain said.

THE BARE NECESSITIES

Julius Allen Munn was 13 when he was shot in the stom­ach and un­der­went an op­er­a­tion to re­move the re­mains of his pan­creas, ac­cord­ing to his law­suit filed against SCDC. With­out the vi­tal or­gan that reg­u­lates the body’s blood sugar, Munn be­came di­a­betic.

When he first en­tered SCDC’S sys­tem, he was given test strips, which he used to mon­i­tor his sugar three times a day, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

Af­ter 2003, a nurse told him the in­sti­tu­tion would no longer pro­vide them, say­ing, “There’s no money to pay for all those test strips,” ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

The test strips, es­sen­tial to the life of the di­a­betic prisoner, cost about a dime each at the time. Munn of­fered to pay the $109.50 a year for the strips, but SCDC still re­fused, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

Munn went from test­ing his blood sugar three times a day to once ev­ery four weeks, ac­cord­ing to his law­suit.

He suf­fered di­a­betic at­tacks. He fell into co­mas. And, in 2004, he started los­ing his vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to the suit.

In Septem­ber 2005, he went to­tally blind. In 2007, his left eye had to be re­moved.

Since los­ing his sight, Munn has been housed with dan­ger­ous, gan­gaffil­i­ated in­mates mul­ti­ple times, his lawyer Aaron Mayer said.

“That’s ter­ri­ble as a sighted per­son, but as a blind per­son, when you can’t even see the punches com­ing, I just can’t fathom that,” Mayer said.

The De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions does not com­ment on lit­i­ga­tion. But gen­er­ally speak­ing, the de­part­ment fol­lows treat­ment plans set out by doc­tors for blood sugar test­ing, said Shain, CDC’S spokes­woman. She added the de­part­ment pro­vides one test strip at a time as needed. And some in­mates are al­lowed to self­test un­der su­per­vi­sion of med­i­cal staff.

In­mates are al­lowed to pur­chase their own med­i­cal equip­ment if they are given per­mis­sion by a war­den or their de­signee, Shain added.

Munn, his pros­thetic eye mak­ing his face hard to rec­og­nize , is far from the only per­son who claims they were de­nied or given sub­stan­dard ba­sic med­i­cal care while in­side one of South Carolina’s tax-funded pris­ons.

“If you have a chronic con­di­tion and you’re in the SCDC sys­tem, you’re in a lot of trou­ble be­cause they just can’t han­dle you,” said Ge­orge­town lawyer Carter El­liott, who rep­re­sents many in­mates.

Eight in­mates told The State they went weeks with­out medicines that are es­sen­tial to their func­tions, reg­u­lat­ing ev­ery­thing from blood pres­sure to man­ag­ing pain from nerve dam­age. Three say they were given the wrong med­i­ca­tions — in­clud­ing an in­stance where an in­mate who was not di­a­betic was given med­i­ca­tion to man­age di­a­betes reg­u­larly — and seven said they were de­nied med­i­ca­tion all to­gether.

Shain said that a li­censed nurse is in charge of dol­ing out med­i­ca­tion to in­mates, and if an er­ror ever oc­curs, they are re­quired to im­me­di­ately doc­u­ment the er­ror and no­tify the health care provider.

While the lack­ing med­i­cal care can prove detri­men­tal to some, ac­tu­ally get­ting treat­ment stopped an­other’s heart, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed against the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions.

Af­ter hav­ing a tooth pulled by a prison den­tist, S.S. soon re­ported feel­ing sick, but did not re­ceive fol­low up med­i­cal at­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed against the de­part­ment.

For five days, he laid in a cell, cough­ing up bloody phlegm, run­ning a fever and vom­it­ing.

“I begged them for help for days,” he said. “They told me to lie down and drink flu­ids.”

Even­tu­ally, a guard called the cap­tain on shift and got him to the prison’s med­i­cal wing, he said.

“I know she saved my life,” S.S. said.

S.S.’S heart stopped in the am­bu­lance on the way to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, suf­fer­ing from sep­tic shock and a staph in­fec­tion started by a sim­ple pulled tooth, ac­cord­ing to his law­suit.

The case has been set­tled for an un­known amount of money.

WHEN HELP COMES TOO LATE

Get­ting the cor­rect di­ag­no­sis can of­ten be like rolling the dice, some in­mates say.

In early 2011, P.H. found a bump on his ch­est he be­lieved to be a black­head. He tried to pop it, but the growth kept ex­pand­ing and be­came painful to the touch, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit.

An SCDC nurse cut the growth from his ch­est. Later, she told P.H. the lump tested neg­a­tive for can­cer, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

In 2012, more lumps ap­peared around his neck, he said. He re­turned to med­i­cal sev­eral more times, but couldn’t seem to get a di­ag­no­sis. With a fam­ily his­tory of colon can­cer, P.H. grew fear­ful and asked to get checked, but was de­nied ac­cess to a spe­cial­ist, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. He be­gan los­ing weight, he said, and the knots spread to his fore­head.

In March 2014, he was fi­nally di­ag­nosed with male breast can­cer, more than three years af­ter his ini­tial biopsy came back neg­a­tive for can­cer.

The pathol­o­gist got the wrong sam­ple in 2011 — one that tested neg­a­tive for can­cer, said at­tor­ney Ed Bell.

“By the time that I had got­ten to the on­col­o­gist, he said that he could only treat me to help me sur­vive, and that had they got­ten me to him sooner, that he could have pos­si­bly treated me to be cured,” P.H. said.

The can­cer had al­ready reached stage four, metas­ta­siz­ing to his lymph nodes and skele­tal sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to his law­suit filed against SCDC. It was an ag­gres­sive can­cer.

Ac­cord­ing to his lawyer, the in­mate is right. If he’d been seen sooner by a doc­tor, he could have been a can­cer sur­vivor, med­i­cal ex­perts who work for at­tor­ney Bell told him.

P.H.’S case was even­tu­ally set­tled, though the terms of the set­tle­ment and the set­tle­ment amount are un­known.

“I al­ways feel like for a place where th­ese men and women are sent for pun­ish­ment for not fol­low­ing the rules, I feel like SCDC doesn’t fol­low the ba­sic rules of tak­ing care of folks,” said Mayer, who was also in­volved in the case.

TRACY GLANTZ [email protected]­tate.com

Sine­tra Geter-john­son, pic­tured here in 2018 while preg­nant, pre­vi­ously gave birth to twins while at Camille Grif­fin Gra­ham Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion in Columbia in 2012. Her daugh­ter trag­i­cally died shortly af­ter birth.

SINE­TRA GETER Sine­tra Geter

Sine­tra Geter-john­son holds her son, Kam­rin, in 2013 when he was 6 months old and she was still in­car­cer­ated in Camille Gra­ham Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion. Her daugh­ter, Karmin Elisha Geter, was born in prison Oct. 11, 2012 — 14 weeks pre­ma­ture — and died.

GAVIN MCIN­TYRE gm­cin­[email protected]­tate.com

An SCDC in­mate stands in front of a cell in­side a dorm at Kirk­land Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion on March 14 in Columbia, S.C., one of the state’s 21 prison fa­cil­i­ties.

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