A critically ill inmate at the Campbell County Jail has been granted conditional release — a move that allows his family, for the first time in almost a month, to receive updates on his condition.
The news they’re getting is worrying. Pierre Taylor is in a medically induced coma, and his release was granted “for end-of-life medical reasons,” according to court documents. Knowing that is still better than weeks of nothing.
“Getting direct updates now is just a complete relief,” said fiancee Dajah Bishop, who spent much of January hunting for information about Taylor’s well-being. “We are just working together just to make sure that he knows he is loved by so many in his community and his family.”
Taylor, 38, caught COVID-19 at the jail in early January and quickly slipped out of reach for Bishop, his daughter and even his attorney. For weeks, their search for answers produced only dead ends and outdated information.
No one could tell them how sick he was. No one could tell them where he was being treated.
They might not have known he was hospitalized at all without a phone call from another inmate.
“Nobody wants to be fearful every second of the day, just being concerned about a loved one that is incarcerated and not understanding and knowing what they are going through,” Bishop said.
She and Taylor’s attorney, Ben Dusing, spoke to WCPO on Jan. 26. Shortly afterward, U.S. Marshals told Dusing he could file a motion to have Taylor released on conditional bond, which would allow his loved ones to visit him virtually and get updates on his status in the hospital.
Judge David L. Bunning granted the motion soon after it was filed.
“He used the word ‘compassion,’” Dusing said. “There was also legal grounding for it. He wasn't overriding the law, but the relief that I saw was the type of relief that would have never been granted in a typical situation but for the medical circumstances.”
The news Taylor’s circle received when it was granted was harrowing: At one point, while they struggled for information, he had been given 12 hours to live. He survived but remains in a coma.
The motion granting Taylor’s conditional release limits the number of people who can receive updates on his condition and conduct virtual visits with him. If he regains consciousness and his health improves, he could return to jail. Still, Dusing said, it was an important and extraordinary recognition of Taylor’s humanity.
“It’s an institutional failure,” he said of the original information blackout. “You can’t really blame the Marshals. They have to follow the rules. It’s an instance of people kind of putting humanity in substance over form. … We have to rely upon good old-fashioned things like kindness, humanity, compassion, and just a sense of solidarity and collectivization of these governmental actors where we haven’t in the past.”
And despite the fact that she’s now got access to the most important information about Taylor’s health, Bishop doesn’t know what’s next. She said she’s proud of herself for fighting as hard as she could on his behalf, and she wants to encourage other inmates’ families to do the same.
“There just needs to be more compassion around the board, but at the same time, for your family, go hard,” she said. “Go as hard as you can until you find out what is going on.”