YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — The death penalty for failing to pay fines, after becoming unemployed because of COVID-19?
Not exactly. But that’s what an imprisoned York County woman’s boyfriend says her predicament could amount to if she doesn’t get help soon.
Lisa Bonds, 38, awoke early one December morning to a knock at the door and was led away in handcuffs — according to her boyfriend, Corey Conklin — without the chance to grab prescription medications she takes for thyroid and mental health issues, nor the medicated inhaler she uses to control her asthma.
The reason for her arrest, according to Conklin? Failure to pay fines related to probation she was serving from when she was first imprisoned years earlier for retail theft. Conklin says she fell behind on the payments after losing her job early in the pandemic, and he doesn’t dispute that she owed the money. It’s almost everything else that has happened since then that he finds unacceptable.
He says she never did get access to the medications and is “a mess” mentally because of the lack of access to her psych meds and — because of her untreated asthma — is particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 in a prison he says is infested with the disease.
Worse yet, Conklin says Bonds shouldn’t even be there. She was due to be released Jan. 15, he says, but is required to pass a drug and alcohol evaluation, ordered by Judge Gregory Snyder. But the people who perform the evaluation aren’t going into the prison right now because of the high incidence of COVID-19.
“So why can’t you do it on Zoom?” Conklin wondered. He can’t understand why she’s incarcerated beyond her release date in a place she’s being told is too dangerous for the drug and alcohol evaluators to visit.
“It’s almost like they’re giving her a death sentence,” Conklin said. “I care deeply about this girl, and I don’t want to see anything go wrong.”
York County spokesman Mark Walters confirmed to abc27 News that the prison has recorded 834 positive COVID-19 test results among inmates, with no deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic. He declined to comment on Bonds’s case. “To say anything about an inmate’s state of health would violate privacy,” Walters said.
Snyder, through a spokeswoman, said he couldn’t comment about the case because it is pending.
Conklin says he has contacted, on numerous occasions, everyone whom he thinks is in a position to help — the court’s medical and records units, and Bonds’s probation officer — but to no avail.
“I didn’t know where else to turn, so I called channel 27,” he said.
Although it’s impossible to say whether this is related to abc27’s calls to county officials, Conklin said hours later that Bonds reached him from prison saying she had finally received medical and psychiatric evaluations. Now she just wants the drug and alcohol evaluation so she can go home to Conklin and their kittens, Eli and Ashton.