Jerry Lewis Dedrick

Jerry Dedrick, aka Johnny Cochran, was an inmate at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. He died on August 18, 2016, in an Intensive Care Unit at a hospital near the camp. He was 51 years old.

I spent a morning with Johnny soon after his arrival here. He preferred to be called Johnny Cochran because he considered himself to be quite the jailhouse lawyer. I never knew if he was good, but he was certainly prolific. I called him Johnny, even though I was one of the few here who knew his real name. During our first conversation, he told me that he had been transferred here from the federal prison camp at Big Spring, so he could receive medical treatment for Hepatitis C. I responded that if he came here for medical treatment, it was not going to end well. It didn't.

The last time I talked to Johnny, he told me that his Hepatitis C medication wasn't being monitored by the medical staff and he was suffering from nausea and other severe reactions. He couldn't get anyone on the staff to believe him, so he was going to sue them. He never got that chance.

The last time I saw Johnny, he was laying in the hall next to the officer's station trying to get some medical attention. He was ignored for well over an hour then finally ordered back to his bunk. When he said he couldn't get up, he was charged with disobeying an order and sent to the Special Housing Unit, the SHU, which is a nice name for solitary confinement. I'm told he stayed there for 2 days. From there he went to ICU where he died of kidney and liver failure.

Cruel and unusual punishment may be like pornography in that "it's hard to define, but you know it when you see it". I have now seen it. Had I not seen it, I would never believe it.