2006-11-13

Healthcare and Human Rights in Prisons

The Fyodor Dostoevsky quote from this post is again pertinent. The ruling in this case to compensate prisoners who were not given proper access to treatment for opiate addiction while in prison was a sensible decision by the court (relative to the unspecified amount of compensation).

One could argue that the provision of extremely expensive noncritical care , such as brain surgery, is above and beyond the financial responsibility of a state which does not already provide universal care. However, where socialised medicine exists, such as the UK, all prisoners deserve the same level of medical care as everyone else including drug treatment programmes. To deny medicine or access to care to a prisoner is a violation of human rights and compensation is due in such cases.

2 comments:

Mark said...

I was watching a Frontline documentary regarding a similar subject: the fact that the prison system is now used to house something like half a million Americans with chronic mental illnesses.

They originally arrive in prison on some petty property charges, and then quickly get filtered to maximum security because they "can't follow the rules". When they hit serious lows then they finally get administered to hospital clinics and see counselors, but once they get on an upswing they are just put back into the prison population at large, and so the cycle continues. Talk about worse than the old asylums! I have never seen anything more disturbing than this documentary's images of mentally ill prisoners literally lined up in cages like dogs.

This is a disgrace that this country, the alleged defender of civilization, needs to take more seriously. The prison-industrial complex in this country is a virtual gulag archipelago, with a swollen population and substandard living conditions.

Link:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/view/

Yes it is a streaming video link, I apologize, there is probably a good bit torrent link, but to be frank I just haven't gotten the hang of bit torrent yet.

Pace said...

Mark,
Thanks So much for that post. I look forward to checking out this documentary