Marijuana POW dies in custody in Houston

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator June 25, 2009

    (Raw Story) A woman serving a short sentence in a Houston, Texas, jail for possession of marijuana died in custody over the weekend, and officers are not saying how or why.

    The 29-year-old, identified as Theresa Anthony, had expected to spend just two and a half weeks behind bars in the Harris County lockup. On Saturday, Cynthia Prude, Theresa’s mother, received a phone call from the jail’s Chaplain informing her that her daughter was dead.

    Prude has not been allowed to see the body, nor has the Harris County Sheriff’s Department even spoken with her, according to area media.

    On 4 June 2009, the Justice Department concluded a 15 months-long investigation into the Harris County facility and determined in the subsequent 27-page report that over 142 prisoners had died there since 2001. Most expired due to lack of medical care, the report claims.

    The Associated Press noted that after the Justice Department declined to make its findings public, The Houston Chronicle was able to obtain a copy, which it released on the Internet.

    Wait a minute, how is this possible? According to our last Drug Czar, John Walters, finding a non-violent offender in jail or prison for simple possession is like finding a unicorn.

    Theresa Anthony could be you or me. Or could have been a young Barack Obama. Just another dead unicorn, expiring in a cage for the crime of preferring the safest choice of social relaxant or therapeutic medicine.

    President Obama, if you can stop giggling for a moment, could you please put “legalization” back on the table? Director Kerlikowske, could you please find the time to add “decriminalization” to your vocabulary? You have the power to see to it that Theresa Anthony is the last unicorn to die in a cell.

    155 responses to “Marijuana POW dies in custody in Houston”

    1. Thomas says:

      That’s so scary! I was in a Houston jail for the same thing a few months ago, only just for 24 hours instead of 2 1/2 weeks, was hit and knocked out by another inmate, and was refused medical attention. When I got out I went to the hospital for my splitting headache and it turned out I had a concussion. If I had fallen asleep I could have had brain damage or even died. God Bless America.

    2. cameron says:

      this is absolute bullshit. when is the government gonna grow the fuck up and realize that they are being completely rediculous with this weed shit. i mean i really cant believe that there are still states that will lock you up for a minor pocession charge. for reals, if this doesn’t change soon im moving to canada. we as americans deserve better!

    3. Jennifer Love says:

      I too was a victim of something such as this. I was incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses and I am diagnosed with epilepsy. There were times they didn’t even care about giving my medication. I had many seizures in jail, even fell on my head a few times. This has got to stop. Medical treatment for prisoners has got to get better. Whether they are violent or non-violent offenders. Its a scary thing to have a seizure episode in jail and wake up not know where or who you are.

    4. gfunk says:

      another tragic example of the harmful affects of marijuana…. getting caught

    5. j reid says:

      WOW…I am a native Houstonian and I cannot believe the injustices in the jail system. 142 inmates in 8 years, mostly due to lax medical care! Sad thing is, people die free every day due to no medical care.

    6. steve kimbrell says:

      WOW, seems like the only bad consequences of using marijuana recreationally is the legal ones…

    7. scottd says:

      Yo! Obama,

      We got to chat. Your Administration is jailing political prisoners. Charles Lynch provided medical marijuana to an underage cancer patient undergoing chemo therapy. With his parent’s permission the patient used the medical marijuana to help in regaining his appetite and relieve pain. The medical marijuana helped the young man. Mr. President, you smoked pot, you got the munchies—do I have to draw you a picture. Mr. Lynch will spend a year in jail, his life destroyed, a criminal. You must feel satisfied; Mr. Lynch received a fair trial, he could not bring up the facts: that medical marijuana in California was legal, and that he followed all of the guidelines set up by the state and the city of Morro Bay to comply with zoning, security and patient registration. This is what amounts to a fair trial in our U.S. District Courts? Really? I am not a politician, lawyer, or well connected lobbyist, just a plain citizen so please listen to the following; helping people who are really struggling, will make you feel really good, and get you more support, especially when you get involved. We need more attention than the smart ass response you gave at the online town hall meeting, it was too smart and too cute by half. You know which response I’m talking about. We got it, we heard. “No, legalizing (medical) marijuana will not solve the problems of the U. S. economy.” That was not what you were asked, but you got a giggle from your quick quip. The following stories are America, Mr. President, our country, our people trying to help its weakest amongst us, while creating a more perfect union. Have you heard?

      People United for Medical Marijuana (www.pufmm.org, go and see the video) was founded by a young woman, Kim Russell of Central Florida, whose father’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease led her into a desperate search for the best treatments she could find to stem his demise. As only a daughter can do, Kim threw all her efforts into her quest. She was able to find and communicate with a researcher who reported positive results in studies that had been conducted with medical marijuana, but there would be some additional hurdles for Kim and her Dad that would have to be overcome first. Now, her young daughter gives her hugs as Kim manages and runs public advocacy for a statewide ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana, evaluates fundraising activities, budgeting, and reviews medical information and studies for the group she founded to help patients like her dad. Kim wants what is best for her dad. Kim found that to do it, she would have to change a few laws and FDA regulations to make a solution for her beloved Dad. She does not back down. Would you settle for less than the best solution or treatment, for your kids or Michelle? We all feel a commitment to serve and love the ones closest to us, inspired at times by events or situations that thrust us into the world, to make real changes so that our family member can thrive or just survive. Sound familiar?

      You must have your stones in a vise. That’s a phrase, “stones in a vise”, an old Vet shared with me as he lay dying trying to explain his own condition, frail and wasting away. No access to medical marijuana in Florida, but if he was lucky enough to be dying in Michigan, New Mexico or California where VA Physicians can recommend this course of treatment to restore appetite and thus life sustaining food he might have a better outcome. Tough shit soldier, the law and our inane rules matter more than his worn out, used up in battle, tired and dying ass. Care to go with me to a Vet Hospital and be introduced to a new generation of warriors, smart and brave who are not going to believe and stand by while the Government lies to them about medical marijuana not providing relief to over 48 mental/medical ailments and conditions. It is a shame they will come home from not one, but two wars and find Uncle Sam has revitalized a war on the people at home, the War on Drugs. Actually a war on patients and care-givers, isn’t the most despicable part of this, if you can overlook the fact that in many instances it is more cost effective and provides for a better outcome for the Veteran suffering from PTSD and in some cases Traumatic Brain Injury to forgo the mind numbing pharma solutions doled out. We know the Doctors have been brainwashed and in some cases paid off by big drug company’s to push the pills and belittle the use of a cheaper and better performing treatment (medical marijuana) that the patient/care-giver can grow in a garden for next to nothing. This situation is a mess. Your inaction, makes criminals out of men and women, young former active-duty and older reservist’s, and Guard members who put their lives in the breach for something as altruistic as justice for all, so they can come home and get arrested for something you did yourself “of course I inhaled, that was the point”. I’m sure your career would have turned out different if you had been arrested. Funny, who or what has your stones in a vise that you can’t fix this injustice? Cash or compassion, Mr. President? I know you don’t want to upset the AMA and Big Pharma right now.

      The elderly get caught up in this as well. Yeah, this is someone’s Grandma describing the relief she receives from medical marijuana. This video was shot by people who also care and are willing to step out and respond with action and a strong spirit in spite of overwhelming indifference on your part. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWZrE8akpg0 What do you know about MS? Montel Williams can give you the lowdown on that. My Mama taught me that birds of a feather flock together. Don’t take my word for it, ask your fellow politico, Rhode Island State Representative Tom Slater, he has been diagnosed with cancer and is about to undergo chemo treatment. Imagine Tom Slater’s disgust as Rhode Island Governor Carcieri vetoed an act to provide a single dispensary, regulated by the state and off the streets, for medical marijuana for the 1000 currently enrolled Rhode Island patients and care-givers. As part of his reasoning for the veto, Governor Carcieri’s primary fear was that Grandma will be on a street corner reselling cannabis to kids, now unless that economy gig doesn’t get better, he may be right. Governors Pawlenty (who also vetoed a Compassionate Use act in Minnesota) and Carcieri are willing to let people suffer, because they think kids will have more access to marijuana? Really? Governor Carcieri hope you don’t feel bad when you get the override of your veto.

      I can list more ailments and more of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, moms and dads to the list, but I think you get it, Mr. President. You need to do all that you can to ensure this situation gets resolved. Thank you for the chat, Mr. President.

    8. Jim says:

      Sounds like the jail is killing people. Theresa is now one of them. If weed was legalized she would be alive right now.


    9. Poor poor girl. To die in a place like that for a stupid reason like that. It should serve to strengthen our resolve. Time to double the emails and the letters. Be loud and strong with our reps and cite this poor womans tragedy as added proof the struggle must continue and also end.

    10. Reverend Draco says:

      -=*Everyone*=- who was on duty at the time of her death need to be prosecuted, and if convicted, publicly hung in the town square – it is far beyond time that these kinds of criminals understand that their actions WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED!

      [Editor’s note: I think you mean “publically hanged”. Regardless, unless it can be proven in a court of law that Theresa Anthony was the victim of a pre-meditated capital first degree murder, then nobody should be killed over this (even then, I don’t think Texas hangs death row inmates). Given the limited details we have, it could be a negligent homicide or negligent manslaughter or possibly even just a medical accident or natural causes. There has been enough death already. –Russ Belville]