Untreated injuries and denied surgeries in prison.

Cruel & unusual punishment

Denied surgeries behind bars.


June 26, 2023


I was a law-abiding citizen. Not a model citizen, but law-abiding. 

My name is Jacob Goethe #25756075. I was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration and Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms agents on August 24, 2018 for the distribution of heroin, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime. 

Six days earlier, on August 18, 2018, I was in an accident on the interstate—an unrelated incident. 

The car rolled over several times, and I sustained numerous injuries: a fractured metatarsal in my left foot, a fractured left tibia, three cracked ribs, a left lung contusion, a bruised aorta, fractured L1 and L2 vertebrae in my back, a laceration to my left hand that required sutures, a dislocated left shoulder, a severed AC ligament and attenuated CC ligament, and a concussion. 

I still have nightmares about my momma crying, begging for the chance to hug me when we saw each other in court. But the U.S. Marshals were ruthless. The Chief Judge said he thought sending me to prison with such significant injuries was cruel, but he had a statute to abide by.

Untreated injuries and denied surgeries in prison.

The Eighth Amendment states that citizens shall not be subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment." The Eighth Amendment should be my protection against this cruel and unusual punishment. Well, I guess I'm not a citizen.   

They say pain makes you numb, but I wake up in agony every day. I'm locked inside these cinder blocks with no chance of obtaining the surgeries I need. As I fast-forward through a failing system, I wish to abolish myself.  

My left shoulder is deformed. The U.S. Marshals say that any treatment would "interfere with security." But, I wonder, whose security matters? Being left-handed, I can't defend myself against any dangers that might present themselves on the inside. The truth is they will let you die in a prison, even if it jeopardizes their safety and security. 

After seven years in state prison and five years in federal lockup, I recognize the need for abolition. I see this failed system for what it is: Cruel and unusual. This chronic pain has taken years off of my life. I understand now more than ever Chief Judge Crenshaw's words: "It's cruel to send you to prison." 

At a roadblock with no rehabilitation, I can't work. Therefore, when I am released, reoffending in order to survive is all but inevitable.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Jacob Geothe began his journey into writing with poetry and song lyrics in 2020 and has found a real passion in expressing himself through the written word. He is an avid reader and has gained much insight and knowledge through the works of others. His goal is to share his experiences through writing in order to connect with others.