Dear Sen. Crapo:
Karla Fuller, a long time resident of Harpster, Idaho, was sent to the U.S. BOP after a drug related conviction in Wyoming. She has been incarcerated in Arizona, California and then Arizona again for a drug program.
She completed all requirements for an early release in February 2008, which should have been honored by BOP but was not. The basis for her early release in Feb. ’08 is that, while incarcerated, she completed her GED, attended the drug program until she became sick with cancer, was a model prisoner with good behavior as a first time offender entitled to have her sentence reduced by one-quarter under the new law.
She is now suffering horrible and unrelenting pain at this time due to cancer developed while in prison for which she is being denied treatment and palliation. If the Government had kept its word, she would be a free woman at this time to obtain the treatment she so desperately needs from private sources. Private sources would not deny or delay the life saving and pain mitigating help from radiation and chemo-therapy needed to stop the pain, shrink the tumor on her brain stem and give her the chance for remission.
Although incorrect in its analysis and delayed in its calculation as to her release date, the BOP advised her in the Summer of 2008 that she would be released April 2, 2009 to go to a half-way house in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Her regular release date is in 2010. At this point, due to the neglect of the medical program at BOP FMC Carswell, Karla Fuller is in the process of dying because of lack of treatment of a fast growing tumor, causing spasms, seizures with black outs, paralysis and tormenting her with pain, which because of lack of proper treatment, is the equivalent of torture with no relief. She is requesting a compassionate release under series 6000 of the BOP Policy/Forms and specifically Patient Care - 6031.01, pages 32-34.
Apparently, there was a bureaucratic failure to update her records by the BOP as to her accomplishments set forth above which would have allowed her to be released in Feb. ’08. She remains imprisoned today suffering from this life threatening medical condition that likely will take her life if she does not receive immediate treatment. Doctors at the BOP have diagnosed her with a fast growing tumor of the brain stem which requires immediate radiation and chemo therapy for control of pain and paralytic symptoms. That treatment was scheduled to begin in mid-December, then rescheduled to “after Christmas”, then rescheduled to “after the First of the year” and now supposedly will take place in February 2009. The initial results of her biopsy were known November 28, 2008, the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, the bureaucrats at the BOP have denied her access to effective treatment, by repeatedly postponing that treatment supposedly until February 2009. With the multiple rescheduling of radiation treatment, it is apparent that her Feb. ’09 date is just more lip service and unacceptable, because with the fast growing nature of said tumor, it is likely she will be dead or the tumor will have progressed to the point that it will be untreatable and irreversible by February.
It is obvious that the BOP is attempting financial management of medical resources while playing with the life, health and suffering of Karla Fuller. As evidence of the deterioration of her condition and her need for immediate treatment, the BOP acknowledges that her ambulation is now in a wheel chair, which means she is going down hill fast and the BOP is simply waiting for her to die, or for her cancer condition to become so advanced that no treatment would be effective, thus, justifying their inhumane decision to deny treatement.
The family of Karla Fuller is asking your office to intercede on Karla's behalf, before it is too late and obtain for her an immediate compassionate release so that she can get proper treatment with private providers.
There is strong evidence that employees at the FMC Carswell are being vindictive and retaliating against her when she makes requests for help, which started after she signed the authorization and release of medical information to your office, Sen. Crapo. You should know that her jailers are accusing her of being a "trouble maker" and threatening to throw her in the "box" (solitary confinement). Her only offense is that she is asking for the treatment that she was promised and the medication used previously in her care in Arizona and which worked effectively controlling the pain for her when the tumor was first discovered.
Those in charge of her care have accused her of being a “trouble maker” because her family reached out to your office and exposed their neglect and abuse. She is accused of being “drug seeking” yet, all of her symptoms are organic and the tumor, which is of a type that produces great pain, is well documented in her BOP records. Her caretakers say that her problems are solely based on anxiety. If anxiety is the only cause of her spasms, blackouts, dizziness, double vision, gagging, lack of sleep from severe pain, loss of 25 pounds from inability to eat, then surely the anxiety is a real condition and drug treatment would be justified by her condition, and the BOP should not be denying anxiety medication (if that really is the problem). She has asked to see the psychiatrist and been denied for three weeks. It looks as though she may be able to see the psychiatrist tomorrow, who is the only one that can prescribe anxiety medication. But this is only a band aid and will not solve the organic and physical problems of seizures, spasms and blackouts.
The seizures with muscle spasms, produces a wave of pain coursing over her entire body 1.5 to 2.0 minutes apart lasting 35 to 40 seconds each, when she was taking percocet and muscle relaxer. When trying to eat, food gets stuck in her throat and swallowing produces a gag response which induces more muscle spasms. Since she has refused the muscle relaxer and percocet, the spasms are now spread out over her entire body, but are 10 minutes apart. She now is in continual and chronic pain all of the time. She feels heavy chest pain like a heart attack with each spasm now, since it is not being controlled. Ask yourself, if she is truly drug seeking, why would she refuse the percocet and muscle relaxer, unless they were making her symptoms worse?
Previously, when diagnosed with cancer at the hospital in Phoenix, she was given morpheme, which mitigated the pain. Now she is given Oxycodone which does not provide any pain relief or allow her to sleep. Because of the Oxycodone, her throat swells and she is unable to swallow food as mentioned above, and if she tries, when it won't go down her esophagus, rather it puts her at risk for aspirating food into her lungs or choking to death. Because she is not able to eat, she has nothing in her stomach to buffer the drugs she is given, and the lack of food causes her to constantly be nauseous. There are meds to treat both the nausea and anxiety, but they won't giver her any of these, they just taunting her, threatening her with the “box” and literally laughing at her. When she was in the Phoenix facility she was properly medicated and was not having convulsions or serious pain. However, when she arrived in FMC Carswell, there was no doctor to write any orders over the weekend and the pain started to get out of control. Once out of control, the spasms and seizures have been rampant and no adequate medications have been given her to try and mitigate the problem. If Gabapentin would help her situation, it has not been offered. The abuses of Karla by the BOP amount to a form of torture. We cannot believe that in America, a person suffering such incredible pain from a medical condition would also have to endure the humiliation and tormenting as explained above.
There is information available to indicate that the privatization of the prison system may be influencing BOP release decision for inmates. What do you know of the prisoner bonds issued and sold on the stock market as a way of monetizing the prison system in America with debt. Those bond are apparently traded on the sock exchanges and purchased by investors all over the world. The value of each bond supposedly is $50,000 per year giving the BOP an incentive to hold a person, such as Karla an extra year or two. Even though, Karla and others may be in a publicly supported facility, they are bonded as prisoners which helps support the revenue stream of the private prisons. Thus, it is profitable for the system to keep people in prison because it helps pay for the salaries and expenses of those in the private sector. Therefore, there is an economic incentive for the gov't to fail to honor early release dates in cases like Karla's.
You must understand that when Karla was imprisoned in California, she was assigned to testing the cancer producing water near Victorville. Her prison was immediately across the street from the town that was closed down by that cancer producing water. Her family visited her there and was amazed to see a ghost town of nice, modern houses and businesses totally deserted, boarded up and fenced off. The movie about Erin Brochovich was based on this town and its water system. Karla was given no adequate protection from the water when she was testing it and apparently, the cancer she has now was induced by this exposure. Brain cancer, leukemia and birth defects were common from the Victorville water. The water given to prisoners to drink at the Victorville facility (named with an Atlanta, California address as window dressing) was chlorinated which is an inadequate treatment for this type of contamination. If that area and its water is not sufficient for a residential population, then why is it acceptable for both a mens and womens prison camp to be located there?
The family of Karla Fuller is asking for a fair, legal and humanitarian solution, which would include her immediate release so that she can commence treatment in the private sector.
Thanks for your consideration,
Wesley W. Hoyt, as attorney for an on behalf of the family of Karla Fuller.