Prison Healthcare and Dental Care

Over the last few months, I have receive a handful of emails about prison healthcare and dental care. Many people want to know about the care of inmates or lack of in the prison system, so I have conducted research and will continue to do so. If you have family or friends in jail, please do not be overly concerned about their care. Most jails offer solid health and dental care. What does it cost the inmate - nothing. What does it cost the taxpayers - everything. Let's cover dental care first and then healthcare.

Dental Care in the Prison System

Do inmates receive FREE dental care? You bet! Although I would not consider it free:) The care is free for the prisoners but not the taxpayers. You might wonder about the quality of care but do not. Did you know the delay of proper dental care for inmates is a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the constitution especially if the prisoner is suffering. In addition, if the prison system deprives an inmate of basic dental items such as toothpaste, this may also violate their Eighth Amendment rights.

I have helped countless people over the years with dental needs and have heard from the lowest of the low. I have seen people beg for dental care only to have doors shut in their face. These are people that have done NO wrong in life, but unfortunately they cannot find basic dental care. However, when that same person in need buys aspirin from the local store to stop a crushing pain resulting from rotten teeth, they are taxed to help pay for the inmate with dental issues. This is a very strange paradox and I suspect most would agree.

Healthcare in the Prison System

Do inmates receive FREE healthcare? You bet! Similar to dental care, but there is a twist. Most prisons will attempt to charge the inmate for medical coverage to help off-set the cost, but let's be realistic. Inmates do not earn any significant amount of money in prison, so how much can they truly afford to pay? If an inmate is unable to pay, the prison system must offer FREE MEDICAL CARE to the inmate. Why? Because if they do not, the prison system will violate the inmate's Eighth Amendment rights.

The prison is obligated under the Eighth Amendment to provide adequate medical care. Medical care may be offered from trained government staff or under contract with a third party provider. Prisoners can file a constitutional claim for inadequate medical care providing they can demonstrate that prison officials treated them with "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." (Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104 ... told you I did my research!:)).

Go to Jail for Free Healthcare and Dental Care?

I suspect most have heard the story about the person who committed a petty crime so they could go to jail for dental care or healthcare. You need to ask the question - what is good health without freedom? You might think the system isn't fair and you would be right, but consider this - most people in prison took a wrong path and simply need help. Inmates lack the one of the most valued commodities - freedom.

If you have been in prison and experienced dental care or healthcare first hand, please send me an email and I will get your comments posted. I suspect many readers will want to know about the quality of care received (I know I do:)). I know care is available, but I am not sure about the quality. I would like to think the quality is good, but I do not know.

God Bless.


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