In the United States, there has been considerable debate over the treatment of inmates. Also, there is debate over how much medical care they deserve. It has been decided that all prisons should offer at least basic medical services to inmates. They should not get punished for developing mental or physical disorders. Especially in the case of older inmates, physical ailments and mental problems are inevitable. Because these people are in the care of the state, the state must provide medical resources for them. To deny inmates health care is considered cruel and unusual punishment and is no longer tolerated in the United States. A complete explanation of health care for aging or sick inmates exists in this article.
Health Screening and Treatment Plan
Once an inmate arrives at a prison, they undergo a physical health screening and a mental health assessment. The health screening determines chronic and current illnesses of each inmate. Also, they consider disabilities that could affect their ability to perform certain tasks within the prison. With the results from the health screening, the staff will then come up with a treatment plan for each individual inmate. These treatment plans include information concerning special care for diseases or chronic issues.
The medical staff will also determine how much help the inmate will need performing basic, everyday tasks. The mental health assessment is meant to make sure that the inmate doesn’t have any problems that could affect the safety of the inmate, other inmates, or prison staff. If an inmate does have severe mental problems, the prison will decide if they have the means to properly treat the inmate.
Injuries After Admittance
When injuries or disorders crop up after a prisoner gets admitted, they receive appropriate health care. Inmates have to make a co-payment if they want to receive health care. Usually, an initial medical complaint will result in a medical assessment administered by a nurse. If the inmate feels that they need to see a physician after this initial assessment, they get charged another co-payment. Ultimately, the purpose of these co-payments is to keep the cost of health care manageable. However, sometimes this results in inadequate care.
In general, inmates have no choice of a healthcare provider, and if the healthcare provider refuses to provide treatment, the inmates don’t have any other options. In addition, the quality of care is generally low, as infirmary staff is oftentimes not qualified for their positions. Another problem with the health care in prisons is that many healthcare providers become suspicious of inmates and their injury claims. Many inmates take advantage of the system, and feign pain in order to get out of doing unpleasant chores. As a result, healthcare providers oftentimes do not take inmate claims seriously. In some cases, this can have dire consequences. For the prisoners who do require immediate medical attention, this suspicion and subsequent failure to act could mean the difference between life and death.
Protecting Your Rights
While health care in prisons has improved over the course of the last century, there is still a long way to go. Holes in the system still cause some inmates to get seriously injured or to die due to a lack of immediate treatment. For elderly inmates, this is especially true. Elderly inmates require a lot of health care, and prisons need to recognize this and treat the elderly.