Behind Bars and Out of Sight: Inmate Alleges Severe Neglect in Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Suit
Written by: Sam Orlando
Abingdon, VA - A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia this week has drawn attention to allegations of serious inmate mistreatment at the South West Virginia Regional Jail (Abingdon).
Seth Garon Squits, an inmate at the facility, claims violations of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents decision. Key aspects of the lawsuit detail alleged episodes of assault, medical neglect, and failure to provide essential care for diagnosed epilepsy.
According to the lawsuit:
Assault Incident: On an unspecified date, Squits alleges that a Corrections Officer locked him and two other inmates in his cell, while other cells remained unlocked. During this time, Squits says he was assaulted. The immediate aftermath of the assault involved a Lieutenant (referred to as LT Sargent) threatening punitive measures if Squits didn't identify his attacker. The inmate's swollen eye, a result of the assault, was left untreated for hours.
Neglect of Medical Care: Squits describes a distressing scenario where, following the assault and with his eye injured, he was locked in a medical unit without basic amenities. He claims that, while he was meant to be examined, no medical examination took place for hours. This purported neglect extended to later incidents where Squits experienced seizures, a symptom associated with epilepsy. One particular account recalls a delay in medical response, with a nurse named Sue taking almost 45 minutes to attend to him post-seizure.
Epilepsy Diagnosis Without Follow-Up: In a troubling section of the lawsuit, Squits mentions a condition he terms "epiplesthey," which appears to reference epilepsy. Despite this serious diagnosis, the inmate alleges that his medical needs were continuously ignored. Squits emphasizes the long-term impact on his health, particularly on his vision. He believes earlier intervention might have preserved vision in his injured left eye, but now he's nearly blind in it.
While the specific details and timelines are set to be examined as the legal proceedings unfold, the lawsuit provides a potentially revealing glimpse into the treatment of inmates within the South West Virginia Regional Jail. The allegations, if proven true, could represent severe breaches in the standard of care expected within U.S. correctional facilities.
The lawsuit is a stark reminder of the challenges many inmates face and the often-criticized conditions within some U.S. prisons and jails. As this case progresses, it promises to reignite discussions about inmate rights, the quality of medical care in detention facilities, and the broader implications for the U.S. criminal justice system.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia is expected to take up the case in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen how the jail's administration will respond to the serious charges leveled against them.