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Daughter of woman who died in Shelby County Jail sues county, sheriff

Published 2:56pm Friday, September 28, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

Shelby County resident Brittne A. Bell is suing on behalf of her mother who passed away in the Shelby County Jail after allegedly being denied medical care.

Bell is suing Shelby County, Sheriff Chris Curry, Healthcare LLC, the town of Harpersville, Harpersville Mayor Theoangelo Perkins and Judicial Corrections Services Inc.

Bell’s mother, Rebecca Lynn Allred, 45, passed away May 18, 2011, due to liver failure, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 18 by attorney Mary-Ellen Bates. Allred was incarcerated May 13, 2011, for an unpaid fine issued by Harpersville Municipal Court for an expired license tag.

The lawsuit stated Allred was indigent at the time of her arrest, and was unable to secure bail money. Allred’s bail money equaled the amount of the fine, as well as fees added by Judicial Correction Services, a private company that handled probation services for Harpersville.

According to a  release from JCS, the company “only provided supervision services to Harpersville, did not arrest people for Harpersville and played no part at all in Ms. Allred’s incarceration.”

According to the suit, Allred’s son, Dustin Allred, visited his mother May 15, and he “observed her to be in apparently ill health.” Allred allegedly visited the jail nurse at least three times, and was “turned away by the medical providers with no treatment of any sort,” the suit stated.

Additionally, fellow inmates allegedly used their phone privileges to contact Dustin Allred to “inform him of his mother’s failing health,” and, according to the suit, Dustin Allred left five messages for the jail’s medical staff May 16.

According to the suit, if Allred had been given “even rudimentary medical treatment,” her condition would “not have progressed to fatality.”

“Sadly, however, jail personnel repeatedly and callously denied her the right to medical treatment of any sort, refusing to even see her and attempt a diagnosis,” the lawsuit stated.

Phone calls to Shelby County attorney Butch Ellis and Birmingham attorney Mary-Ellen Bates were not immediately returned.

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