Inmate medical care: the ones who provide care behind bars

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Inmates can be in jail for a long period of time, and at some point, they are likely to need medical care.

Medical care often falls to Infirmary nurses.

WCBI went to the Lowndes County Jail to find out what nurses see in a day and why they choose to give care to people behind bars.

For Sarah Rickert, working at the Detention Center was her first job out of the Army, and she figured she would only be there for a few months.

26 years later, she will now tell you that being an infirmary nurse is her calling.

Infirmary Nurses like Brandy Reynolds and Sarah Rickert can sometimes have a heavy caseload.

They are responsible for providing daily healthcare to the inmates at the Lowndes County Jail.

That can mean they deal with as many as 288 patients.

“On a daily basis, we do blood pressure and blood sugars. We keep up with their medications and make sure just like they were at their house we take care of them here. We also go a step further if there are emergencies or anything like that. We assess them as their nurses and call the doctor or we can send them to the hospital,” said Rickert.

Rickert said it was after a mission trip that she decided it was her calling to give care to those in jail.

She said one of the most important things is seeing them for who they are.

“They need help with staying clean and sober. Every person that is here is a person and it doesn’t matter what they have done. We are still going to take care of them to the best of our ability and we are going to treat them like human beings because they are,” said Rickert.

Over at the Clay County Jail, Sheriff Eddie Scott said his team is fortunate to have a doctor, nurse, and community counseling on staff.

Infirmary nurses have to be knowledgeable and flexible.

“We have some inmates that have extreme medical issues. We work very closely with our jail doctors. If they need to see a specialist, all that is organized and taken to them,” said Scott.

While they may be behind bars, inmates get the same medications they would on the outside.

“Medicines are just like the general public. We have to pay the same thing at the drug stores and with me on an average of 90 inmates, you can ’bout see what our pharmacy bill runs a month,” said Scott.

While the medical staff is there to assist needs, Rickert said it’s important to her to give care beyond the infirmary.

“They need help with staying clean and sober and so I and my husband actually have a group that we meet on every Sunday night called the recovery room, the assembly recovery room. We meet and we just love on them and help them the best that we know how,” said Rickert.

Nurses are on call 24/7 even after the end of their regular shift.

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