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Huntsville prison: bureaucratic harassment and delay HALF PRICE RECORDS .MAGAZINE FARMERS BRANCH SHOPPING CTR. SW CORNER, VALLEY VIEW IN WACO: 25TH & COLUMBUS IN AUSTIN: 1514 LAVACA 6103 BURNET RD. Sealy and was scheduled to return there March 30. But as he went to board the hospital bus at the . Wynne unit, he, was told his papers were not in order and was sent back inside. On April 21, Yarnell wrote Butler saying he had not been rescheduled for treatment at Sealy. Security or treatment? Two weeks ago, I called Anderson for word on Varnell’s situation. He acknowledged that Varnell’s March 30 appointment had been canceled and that no new appointment had been made. When asked why, he said that requests for an appointment at Sealy must come from a staff physician there. I told him that Windenberg had requested Varnell’s return on March 30 and that Varnell was turned away from the bus bound for the hospital. Did this have anything to do with his attack on the hospital administrator? “Negative. That’s untrue, there’s no repercussion because of that.” Anderson then got Varnell’s file and .looked things up. “Varnell has been classified as a security risk,” he said a moment later. “There are so many patients under security classification and only a limited number of beds, we take only high-risk [dangerously ill] patients.” Who decides which patients go? “The clinical director or one of the doctors evaluates all the cases and sets priorities. But it’s not a medical determination, it’s an administrative procedure,” Anderson said. Ashford Manning, assistant director for treatment at Huntsville, said Varnell was caught between two priorities security and treatment. “We have to put our guards on them [security problem patients]. We have twenty guards down there now. I know it sounds cold to choose between personnel and medical care, but we have a limited number of guards. But if a man’s dying, we’re going to get him in there regardless,” Manning said. Varnell has been trying to get treatment since at least 1975, when Welsh said his condition could lead to paralysis. Hadn’t there been any spaces for security-risk patients open at Sealy in, say, the last two years? Manning said he was unaware of Welsh’s diagnosis, but agreed that Varnell needed treatment. If a space came open, he said, “We’ll make every effort to get him in as quick as we can.” TDC’s general counsel, Erwin Ernst, said, “Yeah, I know Varnell. He’s got a small pension from the service, and he spends all his time writing newspapers and congressmen and hiring lawyers.” Varnell’s persistence may gain him treatment when Sealy opens a remodeled security wing for prisoners in three months. His patience and that of several interested people on the outside may finally break through the TDC bulwark. But how many other prisoners sit in silence, unaware of the link to the courts, while their letters go unread in some bin in the office of an elected official or newspaper editor? This summer, Ruiz v. Estelle may open a few doors for Texans like Varnell. Some changes may come. Meanwhile, Donald Varnell waits for badly needed medical care. Cary Cardwell teaches school in Austin and writes frequently on prison reform and related topics. THE COMMODORE HOTEL On Capitol Hill Owned by Texans. Run by a Texan. 520 N. Capitol St., NW Washington, D.C. 20001 1524 E. Anderson Lane, Austin bonds stocks insurance mutual funds optional retirement program Union printing with competitive prices. Support the movement, help us build the ideal. Come to I.D.A. for your printing needs. 901 W. 24th St, Austin 477-3641 IN DALLAS: 4528 McKINNEY AVE. RICHARDSON: 508 LOCKWOOD July 1, 1977 17 Bob and Sara Roebuck Anchor National Financial Services _*ovAir. 44.etoc vrodoW4.41#4110W ,,,,