A death row inmate, Henry Hodges severed his penis in his prison cell and asked to be placed on suicide watch.
Hodges, who was sentenced to death in 1992 for murdering a telephone repairman, began smearing feces in his cell because he was upset that officials wouldn’t let him have a special food package he ordered, his lawyer Kelley Henry said.
In addition to receiving the death penalty for murdering Bassett in 1990, Hodges was sentenced to 40 years in prison for robbing the repairman. Hodges was also found guilty of killing a North Carolina chemical engineer at a hotel in Atlanta after murdering Bassett.
Hodges was denied the food package because he had clear conduct for five months instead of the six required, Henry said.
According to the lawyer who visited him at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, a guard stopped feeding Hodges to curb him from continuing to smear feces but Hodges responded by slitting his wrists with a razor in his cell on October 7.
After being transported to the infirmary, Hodges asked to be on suicide watch, Henry said.
A ‘high-ranking correctional officer’ told a medic attending to Hodges that he was manipulating them and could be placed on suicide watch in his jail cell, according to Henry.
Once back in his cell, Hodges picked more razors and broken glass from a window he had busted and cut off his penis.
‘He used that to completely sever his penis’ within two hours, Henry said.
Surgeons at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center reattached Hodges’ penis and he spent about two weeks there.
Once incarcerated again, Hodges was placed in four-point restraints, Henry said. However, he was able to get a hand free and ripped out his catheter. Hodges was then put in six-point restraints, but moved back to the four-point ones when he agreed to take medication.
‘He needs competent mental health care,’ Henry said. ‘Surely the prison can find a place to put him where he is not a danger to himself or others and does not have to be tied down like an animal.’
Hodges has been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder mixed type with psychotic episodes and has been on and off medication, according to Henry.
‘He is enduring ongoing psychiatric harm as a result of these conditions’ and is on a hunger strike, Henry said.
Henry plans to file a complaint alleging that Hodge’s constitutional rights have been violated, in state court on Friday, October 27