prisoner health care

After several weeks over the summer without a reported case, new coronavirus infections are turning up at the Indiana Women’s Prison, and some employees want more testing to protect those inside. 

Indiana Department of Correction

Under COVID-19 restrictions, inmates at the Indiana Women’s Prison have spent many hours a day locked in their cells, which do not have toilets or running water and can get hotter than outside. The conditions have prompted health and fire safety concerns from advocates, politicians — even employees — especially in recent weeks as temperatures climbed.

But the prison recently took one step to help with those concerns, at least temporarily. 

Ruth L. Poor

Gov. Eric Holcomb often brags about the Indiana Women’s Prison. Last year, Holcomb showed the prison off to Ivanka Trump. He’s mentioned the prison in his state of the state address and posted videos to his Facebook page. 

Early one April morning, inmates at Indiana’s Plainfield Correctional Facility found a fellow inmate unconscious in his bed. 

“He was barely breathing when we first tried to wake him up,” says one of the inmates, who asked to be identified by his middle name, Andrew, because he feared retaliation from prison staff. “For about 20, 25 minutes, the [correctional officers] were trying to wake him up, so finally, they called the medical emergency.” 

Sean Tackett/WFIU/WTIU

Sherrie Sanders says she last spoke with her husband, George, on April 12. It was Easter Sunday. 

“He told me he was very sick. He had a fever of 102,” she says. “He knew he had [COVID-19], but they weren’t checking him. That’s the last I heard from him.“

Justin Hicks, Indiana Public Broadcasting

This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. on April 30, 2020 to include new information on Edwards' release date.

On the day Scottie Edwards died, he nearly fell over on the way to the bathroom. A pair of fellow inmates at the Westville Correctional Facility propped him up and got him to sit down on a toilet. 

“He had been sick for about a week and a half,” says one inmate named Josh in a recorded call. He asked to be identified by his first name, because he fears retaliation from prison staff. 

WFIU/WTIU

This post was updated at 1:05 pm on 4/13/20 to include new infections reported by the state. 

On Monday, April 6, an inmate at Indiana’s Plainfield Correctional Facility stayed up late. From his bunk, he composed two messages. In the first, he told his son that he loves him, that he’s proud of him. 

In the second message, he told his wife he was scared. “I can tell you right now, with nearly 100% certainty, that I am going to get this virus,” he wrote. The man’s wife says he suffers from lung disease, which could increase the chances of complications from COVID-19. 

Locked In

Aug 22, 2018
Vinnie Manganello / WFYI

Our prison population has been rapidly aging for years, and the additional care these elderly inmates require is expensive. But some prisons have created a surprising way to work around these costs.

In a corner of Jymie Jimerson's house in the town of Sparta, in southwest Missouri, she has set up a kind of shrine. It has Native American art representing her Cherokee heritage alongside Willie Nelson albums, books and photos in remembrance of her late husband.

There's a copy of Willie's mid-'70s LP Red Headed Stranger. "When Steve was young, he had red hair and a red beard, so he always really identified with Willie's Red Headed Stranger," Jimerson says. "I try to keep it up there as a reminder of better days."

http://www.msh.state.ms.us/

The state of mental health care in Mississippi has been in freefall for years.

As a consequence of the ripple effects of the financial crisis, Mississippi saw its state support for mental health care slashed by $42 million from 2009 to 2011, roughly 15 percent of the Department of Mental Health’s budget.

Emily Forman / Side Effects Public Media

Janice McClain climbed aboard the van at a stop in downtown Indianapolis and took a seat among a dozen or so other travelers on a recent September day. They were all women and were all on their way to visit children, spouses and fiancés in prison.


Allison Greene / Indiana Womens' Prison

A pregnant woman in prison typically has 48 hours with her baby after it’s born before it’s taken away: an intensely painful experience for the mother and child alike that additionally has the potential to damage the baby’s development. 


When Time Behind Bars Cuts Addiction Treatment Short

May 11, 2016

Michael Burghardt couldn't sleep. His legs were shaking, his bones ached and he couldn't stop throwing up.

Burghardt was in the Valley Street Jail in Manchester, N.H. This was his 11th stay at the jail in the last 12 years. There had been charges for driving without a license, and arguments where the police were called. This time, Burghardt was in after an arrest for transporting drugs in a motor vehicle.

Stacey McHoul left jail last summer with a history of heroin use and depression and only a few days of medicine to treat them. When the pills ran out she started thinking about hurting herself.

"Once the meds start coming out of my system, in the past, it's always caused me to relapse," she said. "I start self-medicating and trying to stop the crazy thoughts in my head."

An injection is administered to the upper arm.
Blake Patterson via Flickr

Although they can manage drug addictions behind bars, inmates are at a high risk for overdosing and reoffending in their first year once released.

That's why Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections will be one of the first in the nation to begin treating opiate-addicted inmates with medication.

Women incarcerated at the Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia take part in a spinning class run by Gearing Up.

Prisons And Jails Forcing Inmates To Cover Some Medical Care Costs

Sep 29, 2015
tOrange.us

Correctional facilities are responsible for providing health services to people who are jailed, but that doesn’t mean that prisoners don’t face financial charges for care. In most states they may be on the hook for copayments ranging from a few dollars to as much as $100 for medical care, according to a recent study.

No Escaping Medical Copayments, Even in Prison

Jul 23, 2015
Dr. David Mathis examines the ear of an inmate at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville in 2012. California is one of at least 38 states that authorize the collection of medical fees from inmates.
AP

Even going to prison doesn’t spare patients from having to pay medical copays.

In response to the rapidly rising cost of providing health care, states are increasingly authorizing the collection of fees from prisoners for medical services they receive while in state prisons or local jails. At least 38 states now do it, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and Stateline reporting.

There's an inconspicuous metal box mounted on the wall of the gym at San Francisco County Jail No. 4.

When Kate Monico Klein turns a knob, the machine releases a condom in a small cardboard packet. Machines like this one — dispensing free condoms — are installed in all of the county's male jails.

"We set [the machine] off to the side, so that people would have a minor amount of privacy," explains Monico Klein, director of HIV services for Jail Health, a division of the county's health department.