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Prison officials in “holding pattern” for inmate refusing insulin and food

February 25, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

Butler County Prison

For more than a year, county jail staff and sheriff's deputies have contended with a diabetic inmate engaged in a game of “Russian roulette” as he neglects his health and exacerbates his medical condition.

“What he actually does, anytime something doesn't go his way, or when he's having a bad day, he'll refuse to take his food and his insulin,” said Ashley Adams, director of nursing at the Butler County Prison health unit, who described the situation Tuesday at a monthly meeting for the Butler County Prison Board, whose members including the three commissioners, Sheriff Mike Slupe, Judge William Shaffer and others.

“It's like a strike,” Adams said.

She said the 38-year-old inmate's actions have led to questions about how the jail operates and its responsibility to an inmate whose actions lead to his life being in danger.

Adams and other county officials declined to release the inmate's name, citing HIPAA, which guarantees health privacy by the federal government.

For now, Slupe said they are in a “holding pattern,” waiting to see what the conclusion of the inmate's criminal case will bring.

Under the jail's policy, inmates can't be forced to eat, but Slupe said what this inmate is doing doesn't constitute a hunger strike since the inmate has never held a sustained period of starvation.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that will appear in Wednesday's Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.