Death Camp?

When does treatment for an in-grown toenail lead to death? When you are treated at the Atlanta Federal Prison Death Camp!

Take the case of James Smith, who died here in September. James was known just as “Smith” to his friends. He used to come to Dorm D Sunday through Friday to empty trash and collect items for recycling. He would come into Dorm D about 5:18 am and I could set my watch by him. It took him about ten minutes to collect recyclable items from our trash cans and put them into special garbage bins. He did this for all eight dorms.

Now he is dead. Why? Not from inmate violence. Not from an accident. Not from a terminal disease. He is dead because he sought treatment for an in-grown toenail. He was in pain and he needed something for the pain. Smith with prescribed something for the pain at this Death Camp’s Clinic. Next thing he knows he is hospitalized. He is in the Intensive Care Unit. His bodily functions are shutting down. The prescription medication killed him.

All of us were angry. This is the risk we take every day when at the Atlanta Federal Prison Death Camp. Most of the time when we are ill we are told that we will have to wait for our name of show up on the Prison Medical Call Out Sheet. This can take days or weeks. It wastes time.

My former cellmate, Don N., is a good example. He came here to serve 6 months for a parole violation. While on parole he bought a car. Don was the owner of a business and he purchased the car for cash. Since the parole officer did not know about the bought car, he was arrested and sentenced to serve six months at this Death Camp.

Don had had a heart operation before his arrest. He needed constant care. The court knew about his condition. When Don got here he told medical representatives about the heart medications he had been taking and needed. According to him they immediately started telling him why they could not provide him the medications he needed. Then three months into his stay, the problems started. He had chest pains. The pains hurt so bad that he would go to Medical seeking treatment. He was put off or told that he would be put on a “Call Out.” Finally, he was given Nitroglycerin for the pain.

The Nitroglycerin did not work. The medical staff finally got the revelation something was wrong with this man. He was sent to an Atlanta area hospital. According to Don, the doctor told him he was lucky. Had the prison waited 24 hours more, he would have been dead. He needed stents in some of the arteries leading to his heart. He was 24 hours away from death. Away from being just another name of a deceased prisoner at the Atlanta Federal Death Camp. I was told by Don that it cost $150,000 for the treatment and the hospital stay. Maybe that is the reason why its so hard to get medical treatment at this Death Camp run by the Bureau of Prisons.

Take Mike H. He was here a long time before I met him 18 months ago. Mike was sick. I could tell just by looking at him. He was a quiet, soft spoken guy. He was always rubbing his sides. When I asked him what was wrong. He would just say he was hurting. When I asked if he had gone to Medical, Mike would say, “Yes, I am on Medical Call Out. That is all they do, is put you on Call Out.” Mike also had a very bad cough and just kept getting worse. Finally someone felt he should have doctors look at him. They found he had “inoperable” cancer. It was too late. In the middle of a night in August he was transferred to Buckner, NC. Buckner has a medical hospital for prisoners. He died less than 2 weeks later. His body was cremated and his remains sent to a sister. This man suffered for years with this disease. I am told it was Stage 4 cancer of the liver or kidneys.

Then there is “Sport.” That’s the name his friends called him. I did not know him personally but I saw him around. Sport was another prisoner with a heart condition. He was always in pain. He he paraded back and forth to the prison medical clinic. In late July or early August “Sport” was in extreme pain. He was swollen or bloated in the stomach area.
He was told to watch the “Call Out Sheet.” Again, it was too late. His pancreas exploded and he died. Negligence or Neglect? I say both.

In July of this year an inmate named Martin died. He worked for a business contracted with the Bureau of Prisons and the Atlanta Federal Prison. He was overweight. He had had a heart operation, but according to what he told his friends the operation had been botched. So another operation would be needed. Mr. Martin claimed he was in pain and was experiencing a shortness of breath. He was constantly going to the medical clinic and on his last visit he was allegedly told by a nurse, “I don’t know what I can do for you.”

The problem was solved a few days later. Mr. Martin died of a heart attack and the prison did not have to spend any more money treating him.

Men are being maimed or dying in here. Men, who if given proper and timely treatment, would be alive and well. This has NOTHING to do with the Federal Health Care Law. This is a problem that has been going on for years. It would be interesting to find out how many inmates have died at the Atlanta Death Camp over the last 3 to 5 years. I bet it would open a few eyes. We have about 550 guys here and too many of them are over the age of 60. And this Death Camp is not suited for treating them.

I talked about my run-in with Medical about a year ago. I reported there on a Friday afternoon. I was in intense pain. The nurse on duty spent all her time telling me that my pain was not an emergency. Maybe not for her but it sure was for me. And then I got the pleasure of listening to her tell me how hard she had worked the entire week and she just wanted to go home. One thing I do know is that she did not do anything for me. I left Medical still in pain. The inmates helped me get through the next 48 hours. Finally the pain subsided. We all believe I must have passed a kidney stone. Man, was it painful.

I promise I will not stop pointing out the problems we face with medical treatment at this Death Camp. I will do it today and when I am released from this Death Camp, I will continue to call attention to conditions here.

If you are going to sentence 60-, 70- and 80-year-olds to prison, then treat their ailments. No one should be ignored and left to die when treatment is available. The saying is, “The Bureau of Prison Owns Us!” Then treat us. I am really concerned about something I have been told: that the Bureau of Prisons or the Atlanta Prison has life insurance on us. So that when we die IT gets paid, not our families. If this is true, then maybe that is the reason for the poor medical services.

Someone needs to seize the B. O. P.’s records and do a thorough examination of the medical department. The deaths of camp inmates should be investigated. All records, medical emails and everything else should be investigated.

If you agree, please contact your congressmen and congresswomen today.

I am serving a 46 month sentence, after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. You can email your comments to Or mail them to:
Bernard Addison
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315


One thought on “Death Camp?

  1. My fiancé is in Atlanta federal prison camp. I worry about him all the time.. Reading this just makes me even more concerned. I can’t believe they are allowed to treat inmates so badly.. I’m sorry for you, for my fiancé and everybody there.. =[

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