Professional Development Blog
Lessons Learned As A Drug Dealer In Federal Prison

Lessons Learned As A Drug Dealer In Federal Prison

Quinn Bott, Staff Pharmacist, Public Health Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons

Duration: 6:44 mins

Discussion Question:

If motivating an inmate to take their medicine leads to following the law later, that’s great progress! Are there baby steps that can be made to achieve a larger goal down the road in your office?


It’s usually an unfortunate story to hear about a commissioned officer who ends up in federal prison…unless you’re Dr. Quinn Bott.

Serving as a pharmacist and an officer, Dr. Quinn ‘deals drugs’ to over 2,100 inmates at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Dr. Quinn says he is one of the many soldiers in an ongoing war against some of our worst enemies: tobacco, heart disease, obesity, depression and other mental illnesses.

Working for the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Quinn touts the agency as being the only uniformed service dedicated solely to improve public health. Their mantra is to protect, promote, and advance the safety of our nation. They do so by targeting those most in need. Crime and violence are like a virus in the way it spreads. The HHS is looking for a vaccine.

Dr. Quinn lists his reasons why our prison and healthcare system are in need of reform:

-Half of those in prison meet the standards for a mental illness diagnosis. Most of them will be mistreated.

-Too frequently, an inmate’s first experience with the prison system is also their first encounter with the health care system.

-America has more people incarcerated than any other country…by far.

-95% of inmates will eventually return to their community and lack the proper tools to reemerge as a contributing citizen.

If Dr. Quinn can convince just one inmate to take their medicine each day and follow their doctor’s orders then maybe they’re one step closer to following the law.

Dr. Quinn’s goal is to do our job so well that prisons close and to work so hard that he’s out of a job.

Dr. Quinn is crossing his fingers that he wakes up tomorrow without a job.