|Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is in prison for sexually assaulting girls.|
Jailed polygamist, ill from fasting, moved to prison hospital
HOUSTON - Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, described by a Texas prison official as “awake and alert,’’ was moved yesterday to a prison hospital for additional treatment after he became sick while fasting.
Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said Jeffs was flown 215 miles yesterday from East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he was admitted Sunday, to the Texas prison hospital at Galveston.
Jeffs, 55, last week was assigned to the Powledge Unit, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, to serve his life sentence for sexually assaulting underage girls. On Sunday, he told corrections officers he’d been fasting since his conviction and was ill. He then was taken to the Tyler hospital, about 45 miles from his prison.
“Whenever possible, we send inmates needing medical attention to Hospital Galveston because it is a secure prison facility,’’ Lyons said. His condition was upgraded to serious from critical yesterday.
The prison hospital shares quarters with the University of Texas Medical Branch, the Texas prison system’s chief medical provider.
“This is opposed to conditions at a ‘free world’ hospital where we must station correctional officers as security,’’ she said. “Basically, once he was stabilized at East Texas Medical Center, we then were able to transport him to a more secure setting where he still will have access to hospital care.’’
There was no estimate on how long he would remain at the Galveston hospital but Lyons said the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was expected to make a full recovery. It also was not immediately clear how long Jeffs had gone without food before being hospitalized.
An official familiar with Jeffs’s condition but not authorized to discuss it publicly said Monday that Jeffs had been in a medically induced coma. Lyons yesterday disagreed with that description, but said federal regulations covering release of medical information prohibited her from disclosing more.