Friday, August 28, 2009

They deny treatment for chronic medical conditions

This is another one of the older stories I referenced a short while back. This is from July 3 of this year in Willacy County, TX (which I mentioned a few posts ago). A man at the Willacy Unit, a CCA facility, succumbed to an asthma attack after he was denied an asthma pump (according to the charges). This is indicative of one of the biggest problems in private prisons; cost cutting measures. Aside from keeping facilities short staffed (which leads to a whole host of problems), private prison operators are becoming notorious for witholding medical treatment even for treatable chronic conditions. I think GEO is probably the worst of the two biggies in this department, as they recently have had a few folks die in their facilities and riots by prisoners protesting, among other things, those deaths and the lack of adequate medical care.

But this is a very serious problem. Especially in recent months, with the economy the way it is, if a prison administrator (in this case, CCA) is looking to cut back on expenditures, one way to do that is through medical care. The contracts these prisons have generally provide them with a set amount of income per prisoner, per day. They spend that money in a bunch of different ways, but it is essentially the decision of the prison administrators how to distribute it. And unfortunately, all too often that means witholding medical care from sick individuals.

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