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NCJ Number: 148947 Find in a Library
Title: Billing Prisoners for Medical Care Blocks Access
Journal: National Prison Project Journal  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1994)  Pages:1-2,17
Author(s): M Lopez; K Chayriques
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 3
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Many States' policy of charging inmates for basic medical care obstructs inmates' constitutional right to receive medical care.
Abstract: In 1976, the U.S. Supreme court established in Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), that the government has an obligation to provide medical care for prisoners. A recent trend in correctional health care threatens to undermine this fundamental constitutional principle. More and more prison officials across the Nation are charging inmates for basic medical care. This policy of charging inmates for medical services is being widely hailed by corrections officials as a cost-cutting measure and a way to discourage those prisoners who abuse sick call. The various arguments in support of payment policies all fail under the requirement that correctional systems provide for the medical care of inmates. A payment policy not only discourages the few who abuse sick call from attending; it also discourages those inmates with legitimate medical concerns. Also, under no circumstances should a State be permitted to pass on the costs of medical care to prisoners by enforcing a fee policy. If that were allowed, there would be no end to the costs the State might seek to recover from inmates and their families. Once prisoners have been deprived of their livelihood, the State must provide for their basic necessities, the most basic of which is medical care.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Inmate health care; Prisoner's rights
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