Thirty-one year old Reginald Peters is an inmate at the Iberia Parish Jail in Louisiana. He has muscular dystrophy. Left untreated, his disease is causing him to lose control of his body and jail administration seems largely unconcerned. Forced to sleep on the floor and unable to clean himself, Peter’s condition is deteriorating. The ACLU has called on the jail to accommodate Peters’ needs and to date, their calls have gone unanswered. In a case where policies have taken precedence over human decency, this man needs the assistance of local and online activists alike.
Peters’ condition has gradually deteriorated. He is largely unable to use his arms and has been forced to ask other inmates for assistance in activities as personal as cleaning himself after using the restroom. When they can’t or won’t help he simply doesn’t get clean. He has also been forced to sleep on the floor because he cannot pull himself up into the bed. And according to letters from the ACLU, he has been denied reasonable assistance by the jail.
The ACLU has been aware of Mr. Peters’ plight since last spring. Just a few months ago they submitted what’s known as an Administrative Remedy Procedure (ARP) demanding he be moved to a facility that could provide him with the level of care his condition demands. Although Steve Elledge, general counsel for the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, said he would be moved soon after the ARP was received in November, Peters remains in the same condition and location today.
The Iberia Parish Sherriff’s Department suggests Peters’ parole violation has not been resolved and this is why he cannot be moved. If that is truly the case and they refuse to hold him at the Elayn Hunt facility while he awaits his violation hearing, they must provide some basic personal and medical care ending what can only be called cruel and unusual punishment.
Show your support for the ACLU’s recommendations in the case of Reginald Peters. Demand the local Sherriff’s Department provide suitable medical care or transport Peters to a facility that can more readily care for his needs pending his upcoming court dates.
Photo Credit: Angelo
- Warden, Iberia Parish Jail
Captain Wesley Hayes
- General Counsel, Iberia Parish Sheriff's Dept.
- Sheriff, Iberia Parish
I write this letter as a plea for better care for Reginald Peters. It has come to my attention through national media sources that the ACLU is considering litigation against your department because of the inhumane and frankly deplorable conditions in which Mr. Peters has been forced to live. He has a medical condition that requires basic treatment—treatment needs which aren’t being met.
No man should have to depend on other inmates to clean him or provide him with the most personal of care. Not only is Peters’ inability to care for himself likely humiliating, it has led to rashes and skin infections, not to mention him sleeping on the floor due to the inability to lift himself into bed.
Litigation would only serve to prolong Mr. Peters’ access to the most basic of care and would potentially cost the people of your community thousands of dollars. Please consider accommodating his needs before such steps are taken.
I hereby request Reginald Peters be moved to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center immediately, where his medical needs can be met. If this is not possible then your department must improve the conditions in which he is held, providing access to medical treatment for his muscular dystrophy and skin conditions; granting assistance for the most basic tasks in personal care including cleaning himself and getting himself in and out of bed; and giving him reasonable, regular access to a functioning wheelchair.
Your callous disregard for this man’s needs thus far is painting your entire department in a negative light for the nation to see. Though Mr. Peters’ may have violated his parole and the law, he does not deserve to be treated like an animal and his condition cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further than it already has.
Your immediate attention to this matter is appreciated.
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