May 5, 2014

ACLU Reminder: Prisoner Do Have Rights for Medical/Dental

The standard is impossibly high; inmates' 'facts' are rarely accepted. But still! Still, prisoners in the US do have rights, and the ACLU enumerated them in 2012. Although some case law may have changed them here and there, nevertheless, this is a good primer
May 2, 2014

California Prison Overcrowding Creates Health Problems, Deaths

Hey! Wake up, California! Your need to imprison everyone has reached epidemic proportions, and now the consequences have epic proportions as well. Of course. Smashing 3-tier bunks side by side in jails and prisons creates a germ factory. Germs fly between those stacked bunks, and inmates get sick. Some were already sick. They get sicker and die. Release the low-level offenders. Release the very old and ill. Stop mass incarceration and these senseless deaths.
April 28, 2014

Mentally Ill Housed In Prisons– Who Cares?

It cannot be news: "At their maximum census in 1955, the state mental hospitals held 558,922 patients. Today, they hold approximately 35,000 patients, and states are continuing to close beds to reduce that number. In 2012, there were estimated to be 356,268 inmates with severe mental illness in prisons and jails. There were also approximately 35,000 patients with severe mental in state psychiatric hospitals. This means that there are ten times the number of persons with serious mental illness in prisons and jails than in state psychiatric hospitals." Yet it continues. Does anyone out there notice? Care? Can anyone out there speak up and get heard?
April 23, 2014

How Inmates Perceive Punishment Is Related to Behavior and Improvement

A college professor and a policy analyzer have discovered major differences between actual punishment and how the inmates perceive punishment. They investigated numerous factors, broke them down into graph form for us, and made suggestions to prison staff about improving the prison environment by understanding the inmates' perceptions. These findings should be shared with all prison staffs. The consequences could make a positive difference in staff lives and safety.
April 10, 2014

Mentally Ill? Why, It’s Off to Prison, Of Course!

Since the Reagan administration, states have closed homes for the mentally ill, saying churches and private groups would step up and care for the mentally ill. Well, we know now, for a fact, that they haven't stepped up. Indeed, looks like they are retreating into their sanctified churches and safe homes. They leave the mentally ill to the criminal justice system instead. How can a society allow the mentally ill to get arrested (for epilepsy, Tourette's Syndrome, anger issues, etc.) and placed in prisons, where they face criminals and people who harm rather than help them?
April 5, 2014

Washington Inmate Dies of Flesh-Eating Bacteria; Medical Staff Allowed to Stay

I don't know about you, but if the medics who oversaw my medical visits--14 times within one month--didn't realize my very flesh was being eaten, I'd change doctors. Then again, I'm in the Free World and can. Inmates can't. That's why this Washington case is so, so sad: after months of pain and a string of medical visits, Ricardo Mejia was taken to a free-world hospital, where he died an unnecessary death . The lawsuit said, “While in state custody, Ricardo Mejia’s medical providers ignored obvious signs of infection and serious illness and he literally rotted to death under their care through negligence and deliberate indifference.” Even that negligence didn't allow the court to find any one person actually guilty of neglect. What does it take?
April 3, 2014

Texas Judge Allows Case: Dr’s Deliberate Indifference?

When you are in prison in a wheelchair, you don't have many options. Certainly you can't pick your doctor or health care system. But things got out of hand for Texas inmate Donald Eubanks. He asked and asked for help; filled out grievances; was turned down and way repeatedly, with minimal care. So finally he's filed suit--because he lost his legs and a testicle, for instance, and part of a colon, etc. Thank goodness a judge agreed to allow a jury to review the facts. Generally, the "deliberate indifference" standard is so high that no facts can reach it. Indeed, plenty of personnel in this story were already relieved of any liability. But one doctor-Dr. Kokila D. Naik-- will face trial over this disaster
March 23, 2014

9th Circuit Denies Prison Employee Negligence When Funds Lacking

The Ninth Circuit looked at the inmate's facts (lost teeth and pain when no dentist helped) and concluded that the inmate cannot sue the employees when the state itself is responsible for funding the dental office. "Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said in the majority opinion. He noted that prisoners seeking damages must prove, under federal law, that government employees intentionally violated their rights or were "deliberately indifferent" to their needs." So what's an inmate to do when denied basic health and dental care? He had already sued the state and lost because the state didn't have adequate resources to pay a reward. Talk about Catch-22 for Inmates!
March 20, 2014

California Women’s Prison Health Decisions and Big Pharma

According to the accompanying report below, officials at Central California Women's Facility gave out improper and unneeded medicines because they had a contract with a pharmaceutical company that sold them the medicines. Can you imagine taking anti-HIV medicine for 10 years, transferring to another prison--and learning you don't even have the disease? Happened
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