Letters to the Editor

John Carbone: Blame chronic underfunding and staffing

Regarding the March 7 news article “Judge: Nurse unfairly fired”: I was director of mental health for North Carolina’s prisons for eight years until hastily shuffled to a position of irrelevance in the finger-pointing frenzy following the Michael Anthony Kerr death.

The spate of reflexive employee firings, many later overturned in court, shows how the state prefers to conveniently blame low- and mid-level providers for what is actually systemic rot (gross and chronic under-resourcing and -staffing).

Kerr was almost certainly mentally ill, but he died of dehydration, not mental illness.

Accordingly, with each new soundbite promising further investigation and change or article on the oft-inadequate provision of primary care in prison, I wait in vain for an explanation as to why senior health administrators, those ultimately responsible who serve at the will of the administration, remain in place.

John Carbone