"No One Should Go Through What I Went Through"

That’s what Bethany Cajúne told me the first time we spoke about her experience in Montana’s Lake County Detention Facility. “No one should go through what I went through.” We filed a case earlier today to make sure that Bethany’s desire to protect other women becomes a reality.

This past March, Bethany voluntarily reported to the detention facility to complete an outstanding short-term sentence for traffic violations. At that time, she was approximately four to five months pregnant, raising five small children, and attending GED classes four days a week. She was also about to successfully complete her first year in a medication-treatment program for a diagnosed addiction to opioid drugs. What Bethany didn’t know when she reported to the facility was that detention officials would withhold her medication, which was prescribed to suppress withdrawal symptoms and facilitate Bethany’s recovery, and was now critical for protecting the health of her pregnancy.

Despite several attempts by Bethany’s treating physician and drug treatment counselor to ensure that Bethany continue receiving her medication, facility officials, including its chief medical doctor, denied her this care. As a result, Bethany suffered complete and abrupt withdrawal, experienced constant vomiting, diarrhea, rapid weight loss, dehydration, and other withdrawal symptoms, all extremely dangerous during pregnancy. Despite repeated warnings of the serious risk abrupt withdrawal posed to Bethany’s health and pregnancy, including miscarriage, the facility continued to withhold her medication. Instead of receiving appropriate medical care, she was at various times confined in an unsanitary and windowless solitary confinement cell, told to “tough it out,” and shackled during an ultrasound examination. It took the intervention of a public defender to secure her release so that she could resume the treatment. In the end, Lake County knowingly put Bethany’s health and pregnancy at severe risk for nine days.

Luckily, Bethany’s story has a happy ending. After she resumed treatment, Bethany regained her health and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She has also since completed her GED and is looking forward to the next chapter in her life. Part of moving on for Bethany is ensuring that no one else will go through what she went through.

Learn more about Bethany’s experience and the case the ACLU filed today on her behalf by watching this video:

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Anonymous

its called protection.

Jill

it's called empathy. you have no idea what is or was going on in this woman's life. there but for the grace of God go you or I.

Ian

I was in Flathead County Jail for 3 days. I was taking prescription Oxycodone and Klonopin for a diagnosed sleep disorder at the time. The nurse practioner told me she would not give me either, despite knowing that they were precribed and by whom (she had the pill bottles and I told her verbally). She refused to call my doctor saying that I was in the care of the jail doctor while I was there. I experienced extreme withdrawl symptons - anxiety, suicidal ideations, hallucinations, etc.. It was awful. I wish Bethany and the ACLU the best in acheiving a just outcome in this compliant as these county "jail" policies appear to affect many people.

Curmudgeon

God help anyone with medical problems, if jailed in rural counties in MT or CA. I'm a former resident of Missoula, just south of the "Rez", and I know that many MT rednecks in the area regard Native Americans as slightly sub-human. Also, had a dear friend in San Luis Obispo County, CA. Mental illness, became violently suicidal. Stripped naked, thrown into solitary, had to live with her own feces; attendants could come by and leer at her nudity thru cell door. MT or CA? God help anyone in rural America.

Anonymous

Suppressed Medical Records (File 5100-13465/001)

St. Catharines, Ontario

- Privacy Commissioner of Canada (Sect. 25,26,28)

- C.M.H.A / C.A.M.H. - Brock University

Further details Google:

Medicine_Gone_Bad

or

http://medicine-gone-bad.blogspot.com/

Matt

I find this entire case hard to believe for one reason. At one point in my life I was a wild child with a muscle car and a big block. I had ALOT ALOT ALOT of traffic violations in a very short period of time. Not once in all of my violations was I EVER threatened with any kind of jail time for traffic violations. Something just seems amiss with a 24 day jail sentence for traffic violations.

roald

Matt, good point. If I were a betting man, I would speculate that her history of chemical problems may have had something to do with the sentence. Did your wild past include any DUI events?

Bottom line is that her treatment appears to violate a lot of guidelines on how to deal with incarcerated people on drug rehab programs and with pregnant prisoners.

Anonymous

Matt: Sure, you weren't outright threatened with jail time, but If I were a betting man, I'd speculate that you *paid* or *fought* your traffic violations. Failing either, even minor traffic violations can spike to several-hundred-dollar fines and arrest warrants... and jail time if the violator, who didn't have enough cash to pay off the fines to start with, now *definitely* doesn't have enough cash to cover the spiked fees and court costs.

I think 24 days in jail probably equals a few grand in fines -- easy to do if the violations included DUI, reckless driving, or some compounded mess of tickets.

Anonymous

5 kids, knocked w/#6 and getting her GED. She sounds like a prize. I'm not buying her sob story either. It's a riot how some of you are quick to jump on this tramp.

Maybe she should keep her legs closed and stop popping out babies. And I'll guess we're footing the bill on that too.

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