Dallas Morning News, Nov. 18, 2006
Charles Billops Jr. was not perfect. He'd been on probation for car theft as a juvenile. Then he went to prison at age 17 for stealing a PlayStation and some DVDs from a house. But the Cedar Hill teen was supposed to be released after two years in Texas' Youthful Offender Program – an older and hopefully wiser, young man. Instead, he died after three months, a thin and incoherent teenager, suffering from an undiagnosed brain abscess due to a sinus infection. A little over a week ago the state of Texas, without admitting wrongdoing, paid the Billops family $250,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging "deliberate indifference" by University of Texas Medical Branch personnel – the prison health care provider. Complaints about health from inmates are common; prisoners have plenty of time to think about their aches and pains, and a trip to the medical department can break the monotony of prison life or allow access to air conditioning on a hot day.