Montana State Prison Kills Justin Wing by Neglect 

He had Hep C and a small stomach hernia was allowed to grow the size of a football. His condition deteriorated throughout the years and resulted in his premature death. An outside doctor who had seen Justin after the hernia was allowed to grow to its massive size, told Justin it should have been taken care of a long time ago (by the prison's medical facility) while still small. Yet, it seems that the prison was willing to let Justin's life just fade away. 

When his situation became life-threatening and the prison was still denying him proper medical treatment, he had to request outside support in May 2004. Hundreds of people from numerous states and countries wrote or called the prison officials, the Montana legislators, senators and the media, to request that Justin Wing be immediately given proper medical care and hospitalized. For weeks the prison officials' responses insisted that he was "just fine" and receiving excellent care, thus presumably hoping that everyone would go away. 

When Justin was finally hospitalized, thanks to the pressure on the prison administration, it was too late for him. Even when Justin had an infected substance oozing from his wound then from his navel area, the prison still claimed he was just fine. The officials were telling everyone that he was receiving excellent medical care. How could the prison and Montana Department of Corrections let this happen? Our society must take this tragedy and work towards the goal of never having another Native American die from the wrongful Death Sentences handed down by prison authorities. 

Justin had done much to help his People and the Native American community at MSP. There is a good chance that he was denied treatment because he was Chairman of the Prayer Warriors, and because of all he had tried to do for the Prayer Warriors and their religious rights. 

Justin Wing did not kill anyone, yet his life was taken by people who repeatedly refused to offer him adequate medical assistance. We must not allow Justin's sacrifices be in vain, we must continue his struggle in his spirit, and in the spirit of his Ancestors. 

June 14th, 2004, Justin Wing's own words: "I am having problems with the administration by getting no medical help. I have a hernia and it is the size of a football. It has continually grown for three (3) years. I don't know why it wasn't taken out when it was first discovered. When they discovered it, it was the size of a small golf ball. I know soon it's going to break open and when it breaks open, it's going to end my life. Now it's draining out of a tear next to my belly button. I always pray to the Creator and I believe strongly in the Native Religious Traditions. "I also know that when people come in here, they lie to them and I hope that doesn't happen because they cover their tracks, then tell people everything's ok.In the last one and one-half (1 1/2) years, I've seen people dying around me in this prison because of lack of medical treatment. "One just recently died because he was diabetic and he needed his insulin. They wouldn't give him his shot and he died in his cell the same day. The RPN (nurses) are very cruel because they're all related. This whole prison here is all related. I want to thank you all for being concerned about my medical health''. 

Please help me, Wing " It is not surprising that there could be such a gross and inhumane lack of medical care when you consider the other critical medical issues that prevail at Montana State Prison: it is a facility where the suicide rate is one of the highest in the nation; there have been documented cases of severe mistreatment, abuse and neglect of mentally-ill prisoners. Each time a case of medical neglect is reported, the administration tries to deny that there is a problem. DOC and prison officials have promised they would take measures concerning the many suicides, but there are still 3 or 4 suicide attempts every month that go unreported. We wonder how many medical negligent cases go unreported? We want to know why Justin was denied proper medical treatment for so long. Who will be held accountable for the horrific pain and agony he had to endure for months, under the cold indifference of the administration, in a facility with a history of medical neglect, a frightening rate of suicides, and unreported suicide attempts? Who will be held accountable for the horrific medical neglect that led to the untimely death of Justin Wing? "The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 ensures that the rights of persons in institutions are protected against unconstitutional conditions. Those confined in government institutions include persons with disabilities, the elderly in government-run nursing homes, and prisoners." 

*******ACLU : "Prison officials are obligated under the Eighth Amendment to provide prisoners with adequate medical care." "Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." In order to prevail on a constitutional claim of inadequate medical care, prisoners must show that prison officials were *deliberately indifferent* to their serious medical needs, i.e., that officials knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff's health. A medical need is considered "serious" if it "causes pain, discomfort, or threat to good health


 Montana Department of Corrections

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