Mother of Broward County Inmate Fights for Son's Release Amid Prison's COVID-19 Medical Treatment


The mother of a Broward County inmate who recently tested positive for COVID-19 is fighting for her son’s release, as she fears he is not receiving the proper medical treatment inside the prison.

21-year-old Raul Ponce was diagnosed on Friday, according to Ponce’s lawyer, Jim Lewis.

Lewis says Ponce was transported to the second floor of the prison facility where four other inmates with the virus were being treated. Since being transported, Ponce has been in contact with his mother, complaining about having difficulty breathing.

“We’re very concerned he’s not getting the appropriate medical treatment here,” Lewis says.

Nereida Ortiz, Ponce’s mother, is a nurse. She says her son suffers from asthma.

During their phone calls, Ponce has told Ortiz that nurses have withheld information on his condition from him.

“The medical staff here is not suitable to take care of this virus,” Ortiz says. “I’m afraid for my son and all the inmates.”

Ortiz says, if her son is released, he will be quarantined at her home.

Lewis has filed an emergency motion for Ponce’s release. He says Ponce has served three years in prison for burglary and racketeering.

In a statement, Broward Sheriff’s Office says it is following the guidelines set by the judicial branch when releasing inmates.

BSO did not comment on Ponce’s situation, or the emergency motion for his release, but did provide information on what the protocol is for inmates diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“An inmate who has tested positive will be medically isolated, treated and monitored in accordance with the Florida Department of Health and CDC guidelines. All inmates’ personal health information are confidential and protected by law,” BSO says.

Last Tuesday, Broward Sheriff’s officials confirmed the death of one inmate who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The elderly inmate was transported to the hospital for medical evaluations after refusing to be tested.

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