Many Americans believe prisoners are coddled. One hears the tired refrain over and over that prisoners have it easy. They get three meals a day, a bed to sleep on and free medical care, so what is there to complain about? (Plenty, but those are a topic for future articles.)
Being eligible to obtain medical care in prison doesn’t mean one will actually get it. And, if one is fortunate enough to receive medical care while incarcerated there is a good chance that the care might be substandard.
In an essay written for PLOS (Public Library of Science), James Ridgeway, one of the cofounders of Solitary Watch, discussed the prison health care system in America:
The most striking aspect of this scene is the lack of decent medical care for prisoners in the US whether in solitary confinement or in the general prison population. Over the last two years I have corresponded with prisoners who have been waiting for years to have dental work, and end up pulling their own teeth. Women line up at 4 am in Alabama to receive aspirin. People with hearing impairments are thrown into solitary confinement because, unable to hear, they cannot respond to the orders of officers. According to one doctor in the south, a man with an ear ache was given drops for months but finally became so ill he was examined at a local hospital outside of prison and was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Ridgeway’s blog can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link below.