Drug Treatment in Prison, ACLU Debate Case Results in Six-Month Sentence | News


TRAVERSE CITY – A Grawn man who previously allowed his medical history to be discussed in open court and was the plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit filed against Grand Traverse County, was sentenced to jail after not failed to appear for a hearing in February.

Court records show Cyrus Patson, 21, also faces new charges after he was arrested on May 10 and charged with two counts of assault with intent to cause bodily harm, one count of resisting and obstructing and a repeat offender leader.

On May 20, Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer sentenced Patson to six months in prison on the previous charge of interfering with an electronic monitoring device.

The judge said the six-month sentence with 71 days credit for time served, was only for charges related to the removal of an ankle brace and, by law, could not take into account charges pending before the 86th District Court.

“This defendant remained consistently involved in at least some alleged criminal activity,” Elsenheimer said, after denying a request from defense attorney Jesse Williams, who asked for probation or youth training school for Patson.

Williams is representing Patson on previous charges; another attorney, Thomas Seger, is listed in court documents as representing Patson on the most recent charges.

Williams said Patson had been treated for a diagnosis of opioid use disorder since 2013, that OUD is a chronic condition recognized by the medical community, and that the court shouldn’t impose a blanket policy, but rather address the medical needs of each individual.

Elsenheimer said there were instances where the court and prison had authorized medically assisted treatment, including that of Patson, and the defendant was not currently in care, according to recent screening results from dope.

“He frankly should have kept his nose as clean as possible,” Elsenheimer said, “given that he didn’t have to go to jail while the jail agreed to deal with his addiction issues.”

Patson was, in June 2021, fitted with a tether and assigned to a sober living house as a condition of probation for resisting arrest and using a controlled substance, records show.

When additional charges related to contempt of court and domestic violence sent officers to the sober house to arrest Patson, law enforcement records show he cut the tether, fled out a window and started a short chase on foot.

Williams had previously said he believed Patson was experiencing extreme anxiety over the prospect of forced drug rehab while incarcerated.

Traverse City police officers arrested Patson without incident shortly thereafter and he was taken to the Grand Traverse County Jail.

Patson, who was also convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, openly admitted to his criminal offenses.

After Patson described the symptoms of exactly what he feared – prison drug addiction – Williams fought a court case in 2021 to have the prison provide Suboxone as part of Patson’s medically assisted treatment plan for his dementia. substance addiction.

An 86th District Court judge during hearings on emergency motions filed by Williams, twice ruled that the county sheriff, not the court, is in charge of prison policies and procedures .

Sheriff Tom Bensley said Monday that it was largely the county ratepayers, not Patson, who had thus far borne the financial cost of Patson breaking the law.

“I think he had plenty of opportunities,” Bensley said. “I think he’s where he needs to be. He has no respect for the criminal justice system.

Bensley was among three defendants named in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in October in federal court, seeking to force the prison to supply Patson with Suboxone for future incarcerations.

The suit also named Deputy Sheriff Mike Shea and prison administrator Captain Chris Barsheff – who have since dedicated time and resources to finding MAT for those incarcerated, records show.

Following public and private criticism from WellPath, the prison’s former health service provider, the company’s contract was not renewed and a new provider was selected.

In February, Grand Traverse County commissioners voted unanimously to hire another company, County Health Support Services, to provide medical, mental health and psychiatric care at the jail, as previously reported.

The ACLU lawsuit was settled out of court, records show, with the county agreeing to provide Patson Sublocade during any incarceration, cover the cost of medication and pay approximately $25,000 for legal fees and expenses of the ACLU.

ACLU lead attorney Syeda Davidson said the ACLU is not providing criminal representation for Patson and declined to comment on her case, but said those in jail should receive necessary health care.

“People incarcerated are entitled to humane conditions and that includes medical treatment,” Davidson said. “Opioid use disorder is a medical condition that requires medical treatment.”

Both Suboxone and Sublocade contain buprenorphine, the active ingredient that has been shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings, according to studies.

Sublocade is injected once a month, making it less likely to be abused, stolen or shared – a concern sometimes expressed by those who criticize the provision of MAT to incarcerated people.

Patson’s treatment could be affected by the results of a urine test taken at the jail on May 10, prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said during the May 20 sentencing hearing.

“Although he had the prescription for Suboxone, he wasn’t taking it,” Moeggenberg said. “And as the court knows, because you conducted the arraignment hearing, when he entered jail he was tested and tested positive for a variety of different illegal drugs. He had no Suboxone in his system at the time.

Moeggenberg said she understands Patson is in rehab again in prison and once that process is complete, she doesn’t know if it’s necessary to restart Suboxone.

“We will continue to monitor the situation,” Davidson said. “He is entitled to medical treatment like anyone else.”

Patson’s original sentencing date for the tether removal charge was February 18; records show that a warrant was issued when he failed to appear in court for the hearing.


Comments are closed.