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Prison News | Health & Medical Issues

Recent events concerning the corrections industry and the topic of Health & Medical Issues. Comments, suggestions and contributions (below) appreciated.

  • Next focus for Alabama prison reform: Mental health
    The group, whose recommendations on parole and probation passed the Legislature last spring, has turned to mental health issues in prisons and jails, which contributes to overcrowding....[more]

  • Seven out of 10 women in Pa's prisons are mentally ill; why?
    The number of women in America's jails and prisons has risen in recent decades but, compared to men, they still represent a sliver of the nation's prisoners....[more]

  • State prisons transform mental health care; is it working?
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Owing to damage to his frontal lobe when he was born, Jeremy Anthony, 38, has virtually no control over his sexual impulses....[more]

  • Private Manning’s Missing Medical Care
    As a matter of constitutional rights and basic decency, prisoners — including military prisoners — are entitled to proper care for their serious medical conditions. Yet, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other officials continue to deny medically necessary care to Chelsea Manning, the military prisoner formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted in August 2013 of leaking a vast cache of classified government documents....[more]

  • Psychiatry prof. talks health gaps in women’s prisons
    The criminal justice system must ensure both public safety and public health, said Jennifer Johnson, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior. But jails and prisons in the United States do not provide effective health care for their prisoners, especially women....[more]

  • Telemedicine Can Reduce Prison Healthcare Costs: Reaching Out to the Underserved
    COLD SPRING, NY--(Marketwired - Oct 21, 2014) - Across the U.S., many rural jails and prisons either have no mental health services for affected patients or they rely on the limited community mental health agencies for treatment of imprisoned patients with mental illnesses or addiction. CloudVisit Telemedicine offers telepsychiatry solutions to introduce telemedicine in prison that are specially designed to help practitioners safely and securely address those patients' needs, while saving money....[more]

  • Corrections department worries about health care costs
    ?Virginia’s prison system faces a $45 million shortfall in inmate health care through next year, even as the corrections department bears the brunt of the latest round of cuts in the two-year state budget.

    The shortfall emerged this year after a private company that had provided health care to inmates at 17 prisons in hard-to-serve areas ended its contract with the state at the end of September, according to Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke in a presentation Monday to the House Appropriations Committee....[more]


  • Arizona Agrees to Fix Prison Health System
    (CN) - Arizona must reform its prison health care system and pay more than $5 million in attorneys' fees under a class action settlement announced Tuesday.

    The stipulation of settlement filed in Federal Court in Phoenix cancels a trial that was set to start this month in a class action against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) by inmates at 10 state prisons....[more]


  • Pennsylvania courts struggle to intervene early with heroin addicts
    The state won't pay to send addicts who have committed low-level crimes and have scant or no criminal records to drug court, which would provide treatment when they have the best chance, experts say, of turning their lives around.

    The state's Intermediate Punishment grant focuses on more serious offenders.

    ...[more]


  • Judge denies order for mentally ill in jails
    SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge said Wednesday she has serious constitutional concerns about the way the state handles mentally ill people waiting in jails for competency evaluations and treatment, but she denied a temporary restraining order, saying she needs more information before making changes to Washington's mental health system....[more]

  • Counselor strives to help inmates with mental health
    Tate, treatment supervisor at the Blair County Prison, and others associated with lockup have vowed to do something to address the burgeoning number of inmates with mental health conditions who are entering the prison system or who develop symptoms behind bars....[more]

  • Mentally ill North Carolina inmate held in solitary confinement dies of thirst -- Medical Examiner’s Office said Anthony Michael Kerr died of severe dehydration in March of this year
    A North Carolina inmate with mental illness who had been held in solitary confinement died of thirst, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

    Anthony Michael Kerr, 53, was found unresponsive in the back of a van on 12 March after being driven roughly three hours from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to a mental hospital at Central Prison in Raleigh....[more]


  • Jailed, some mentally ill inmates land in lockdown
    Day or night, the lights inside cell 135C of central New Mexico's Valencia County Detention Center were always on.

    Locked inside, alone, for months, Jan Green — a 52-year-old computer technician with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — rocked on a bench for hours, confiding in an imaginary companion.

    "I would talk and hold conversations just in my little crazy world, I guess you would say, just to keep me company," Green says....[more]


  • Ala. prisons hit with worst TB outbreak in 5 years
    BIRMINGHAM, ALA. — Alabama's prison system, badly overcrowded and facing a lawsuit over medical treatment of inmates, is facing its worst outbreak of tuberculosis in five years, a health official said Thursday.

    Pam Barrett, director of tuberculosis control for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said medical officials have diagnosed nine active cases of the infectious respiratory disease in state prisons so far this year....[more]


  • Orleans sheriff plan OKd for mentally ill inmates
    U.S. District Judge Lance Africk's order calls for the city to spend more than $400,000 on the plan initially for renovations and supplies at the state's Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, where the inmates will be housed. The city also will be required to supply more than $200,000 monthly for security and mental health staff at Hunt, and food for inmates.

    Africk's ruling is the latest in the court-ordered jail reform effort. The city, which funds the jail, and the sheriff, who manages it, have been at odds over how to fund the changes....[more]


  • California Prison Officials Rethink Use of Force on Mentally Ill Inmates -- Prison Guards Would Be Required to Consider Mental-Health Status Before Using Force
    California prison officials have proposed new policies regarding the use of force after videos of prison guards dousing mentally ill prisoners with pepper spray surfaced during a civil trial last year....[more]

  • California Revises Policy on Mentally Ill Inmates
    The changes, which were introduced on Friday, were set in motion after videos showed corrections officers in state prisons dousing severely mentally ill inmates with pepper spray and forcibly removing them from their cells. The videos drew public outrage and were called “horrific” by a federal judge who ordered the footage made public last year....[more]

  • State urges court to review prison health ruling
    PHOENIX (AP) — The state of Arizona has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling nearly two months ago that concluded about 33,000 inmates could join a lawsuit protesting the quality of health care in the state's prisons....[more]

  • Thousands of prisoners treated for mental illness
    Nearly 10% of the 216,000 inmates are receiving medications designed to treat an array of illnesses, from depression and bipolar disorder to acute schizophrenia. The BOP's disclosure comes as government officials have raised questions about the costs of confining such large populations, while advocates for the mentally ill argue that prisons and jails have become the new repository for people with mental illness....[more]

  • Mental illness cases swamp criminal justice system -- ON AMERICA'S STREETS, POLICE ENCOUNTERS WITH PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESSES INCREASINGLY DIRECT RESOURCES AWAY FROM TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY ROLES.
    NEWPORT, R.I. — Inside a cluttered downtown apartment that she shares with a cat, the 57-year-old woman is in the midst of a near-meltdown.

    "There's three of them,'' she tells two police officers, referring to "these predators who won't leave me alone. Those sons of bitches won't let me go. ''...[more]


  • Mental Illness Soars In Prisons, Jails While Inmates Suffer
    Armando Cruz tied a noose around his neck and hanged himself from the ceiling of his prison cell. He left a note that ended in two chilling words....[more]

  • Behind the yellow door, a man’s mental illness worsens
    Everyone is worried about the man in the house.

    His ex-wife, his mother, his father, his neighbors, the psychiatrists he has seen and no longer sees, they are all concerned because he has been alone in the house in suburban Maryland for two years....[more]


  • Mentally ill Philly man leaves prison after seven years of waiting for a trial
    Marvae Dunn was wheeled out of the Philadelphia Detention Center on Monday morning, ending a remarkable seven-year stay that advocates said underscores how the prison system has become a de facto hospital for elderly and mentally ill inmates....[more]

  • Special report: Violence rekindles debate over treatment for severely mentally ill
    Each new act of mass violence rekindles the debate over how to prevent another.

    And when the perpetrators suffer from severe mental illness, the question is how to help before they act — even if they resist treatment....[more]


  • NYC Plans Task Force to Aid Mentally Ill Inmates
    NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new task force Monday to overhaul how New York City's corrections system treats the mentally ill — both in jail and out — following the grisly deaths of two inmates with psychological problems....[more]

  • To curb hepatitis C, test and treat inmates
    PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Problematic as it is for society, the high incarceration rate in the United States presents an important public health opportunity, according to a new "Perspective" article in the New England Journal of Medicine. It could make staving off the worst of the oncoming hepatitis C epidemic considerably easier.

    Nearly 4 million Americans may be infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Many of them don't know they carry HCV, which can take decades to make them ill with cirrhosis, cancer, or liver failure....[more]


  • Mom seeks charges for Bridgewater State Hospital guards in son’s death - ‘09 case sparked reforms
    The mother of Joshua Messier, the 23-year-old mental health patient whose 2009 death at Bridgewater State Hospital has sparked outrage and reforms, is demanding that prosecutors hold guards at the facility criminally responsible for her son’s death....[more]

  • Los Angeles Plan Highlights Rift Over How to Treat Offenders With Mental-Health Issues - Should Inmates With Drug or Mental-Health Issues Receive Treatment in Jail or in the Community?
    LOS ANGELES—For 20 years, Paul Dumont lived on the streets here, battling drug addiction and mental-health problems. He did stints in county jail for drug-related offenses, where he received medication and treatment. But each time he was released, Mr. Dumont would return to his vices, continuing what he calls the "cycle of incarceration."...[more]

  • Judge Extends Mandate to Aid Mentally Ill City Inmates
    A Manhattan state judge has extended a 2003 settlement requiring New York City for two more years to help mentally ill inmates of city jails re-enter society....[more]

  • Mentally Ill, in Prison and Outside
    Re “The Mentally Ill, Behind Bars” (editorial, April 7):

    From 2006 to 2011, I was responsible for health and mental health services in New York City jails. Based on my experience, here are some additional recommendations to transform the treatment of people with mental illness both in jail and in the community:...[more]



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