State prisoners are entitled to numerous healthcare benefits. A large portion of prison healthcare resources are devoted to the testing and treatment of sicknesses including, but not limited to:
- Hepatitis C;
- Chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension;
- Mental illness; and
- Substance abuse.
Certain states, such as Florida, provide healthcare services which are accredited by the Nation Commission on Correctional Health Care. This non-profit agency accredits healthcare programs in prisons, jails, and youth correctional facilities while providing technical assistance and training designed to help develop quality healthcare.
While prisoners’ healthcare rights vary from state to state, some basic guidelines must always be respected. Inmates are protected against deprivation of medical attention under certain U.S. laws, such as:
- The Eighth Amendment, which forbids deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners;
- The Americans with Disabilities Act, which regulates the treatment of individuals with physical and psychological disabilities; and
- The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 and the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, which provide guidelines for prison litigation if medical care has been withheld.
In various states, such as California, doctors mistreating inmates have been disciplined and sued for malpractice, incompetence, and medical neglect.
If you are a prisoner who has been denied medical care or given bad treatment, you may be eligible for relief. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to assess your situation and determine what type of action can be taken.