A national report from the Pew Charitable Trust is shedding light on the condition of health care services at correctional facilities throughout the nation. Several stories about poor quality of care and negligence have surfaced since the organization released the study on Oct. 18.
In one case, the family of Marques Davis, a 27-year-old deceased inmate at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility, in Wichita, Kansas, is suing the facility’s private health care provider for ignoring symptoms of his brain infection, the Washington Post reported.
Davis, who died on April 13, complained to the medical team that “it feels like something is eating my brain.” They dismissed it, believing that he was faking his symptoms. However, an MRI showed later that he had a fungal infection that spread throughout his swollen brain.
The Pew report unveiled huge disparities in quality of care and the money spent on state prison health systems—which totals $8.1 billion nationwide. At the bottom of the list, Louisiana spent $2,173 per inmate in fiscal year 2015, and California topped the list at $19,796 per inmate in the same fiscal year.
Two days after the Pew study appeared, a story surfaced in the media that a federal judge’s ruling in September that Idaho prison officials failed to enact court ordered improvements to its prison health care system for two years, from 2014 to 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report.
In another instance, AL.com reported on Oct. 20 that lawyers representing Alabama inmates rejected a state plan to increase staffing to fix poor mental health services at state correctional facilities. This is in response to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s ruling in June, which found that mental illness went undiagnosed and untreated.
Meanwhile, The Augusta Chronicle said on Sunday that an investigation reported on August 31 found that the Augusta State Medical Prison failed to correct more than one issue cited from a previous inspection. One repeat offense was a water leak from the ceiling in the operating room, which the newspaper said could create mold that can trigger respiratory illnesses.