SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) – Texas Rangers and the Justice of the Peace investigate after an inmate dies in Grayson County Jail on Tuesday.
Grayson County prison administrator Captain Sarah Bigham said the man had a condition that prison medical staff could not treat at the facility. He was taken to a hospital where he died.
The man, a 54-year-old Sherman native, was in custody for 216 days.
He was convicted of a parole violation, despite Bigham not confirming why he was on parole, and was awaiting transfer to another facility.
This inmate had been in the hospital for 15 days. His cause of death will not be disclosed until the Texas Rangers and Justice of the Peace have completed their investigations.
“We have medical staff on site, but the medical staff here at our facility are limited,” said Bigham.
According to Bigham, the prison’s medical staff will decide whether an inmate needs to be tested for COVID-19. If they are too sick to be treated locally, they are sent to the hospital.
“Many of our inmates are currently restricted and we don’t test many of our inmates because we treat them just like a person on the street,” said Bigham.
Bigham would not confirm whether the man died of COVID-19, but said any inmates who show symptoms of the virus or have come into contact with someone who is COVID positive will be tested for the virus.
Terri Romain, whose son is held in Grayson County Jail for illegal gun possession, said her son told her sick inmates that they cannot be properly quarantined and “run around freely.”
“He told me last week that there were 24 people in his capsule and nine of them were really sick,” said Romain. “He told me that he had pinholes in his mouth. He said it tasted like he had metal in his mouth. “
Romain said her son requested a COVID-19 test and filled in the correct papers but was denied.
“He said he had difficulty breathing, he couldn’t taste, he couldn’t smell, he felt like he had pneumonia in his lungs,” said Romain. “The nurse is all he gets.”
An inmate who spoke to News 12 on condition of anonymity said he believed he had COVID-19 and believes several other inmates do too.
“The only thing they offer us is Tylenol,” said the inmate. “No COVID test, no vaccinations of any kind. If you don’t have a high temperature, they won’t help you in any way.”
He is accused of illegally possessing a firearm after being convicted and says that inmates are going to jail, are very sick and are spreading among inmates.
“Medical care here is child’s play,” said the inmate. “They let someone in here a week and a half ago and they sweated a lot and then less than five days later it was like seven or eight of us were sick and coughing.”
Bigham said sick inmates were treated with over-the-counter drugs and were confined to their residential units. She said the prison does not have enough space to isolate every sick inmate from the rest of the population.
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