Tennessee convict on death row who cut himself with a razor needs health care, judge says

According to a judge in Tennessee, a convict on death row who has self-mutilated sexually and cut himself with a razor should be given better medical treatment.

Henry Hodges, a prisoner at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, cut off his penis with a razor and slashed his wrists with a piece of shattered glass, and wanted to be placed on suicide watch, according to his lawyer, Kelley Henry. The event took place earlier this month.

Hodges was sent to a medical facility so that his penis might be reattached. When he got back to the jail, he was stripped nude and placed on a tiny mattress on top of a concrete slab where he was bound by his arms and legs. This went on for a week.

Henry went to see Hodges in the hospital on Thursday, and after his visit, he immediately filed an emergency request to get a temporary restraining order against the jail authorities.

“He needs competent mental health care,” Henry said. “Surely the prison can find a place to put him where he is not a danger to himself or others and does not have to be tied down like an animal.”

The Chancellor of Davidson County, I’Ashea Myles, told jail staff on Friday to give him clothes and other necessities while he heals from his injuries.

Myles went on to say that he might still be shackled for his own safety, but he forbade the prison staff from giving Hodges “any treatment that constitutes cruel and unusual punishment” or violates Hodges’ rights.

Following Hodges’ conviction for the 1990 murder of telephone repairman Ronald Bassett and the jury’s recommendation that he be given the death penalty, Hodges was executed in 1992.

According to the complaint, he often has psychotic episodes. At the beginning of this month, he lost his temper and started spreading excrement all over the walls of his cell. According to the lawsuit, however, rather than providing him with mental health therapy, staff members at the facility punished him by denying him meals.

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