The heath care system in prison has failed us

by Shelbi Harris, VSPW
The health care system in CDCR has failed us as human beings. Continuous neglect has caused premature deaths. Did the U.S. Constitution stop protecting us from cruel and unusual punishment because we went from citizen to inmate? If help does not come soon, death will be the new prison epidemic.
MTAs are allowed to pre- and misdiagnose us on medical emergencies through a window. How degrading and inhumane is that? We see an RN who can only give us the CDCR?s ?cure-alls? of Motrin or Tylenol and send us on our way. If we?re lucky we?ll get a referral to the yard doctor who hardly seems to exist anymore. Then the Daily Movement Sheets are full of appointments that never happened. Sacramento only sees the numbers on a page, never following up to see how many of us were actually seen, no less treated.
We have real serious issues here that need someone?s attention: premature deaths, preventable diseases, misdiagnoses and delayed treatment (or no treatment), and prolonged pain and suffering. We are exposed to infections and illnesses daily (such as staph infections, STI?s and scabies) with no protection other than the preventative measures we take on our own. The CDCR should meet us half way in preventative care by supplying gloves, disinfectant, hand soap, adequate access to laundry facilities, mandatory posting of preventative care signs (like the ADA and court ruling posters), and to follow their own rules and standards outlined in Title 15.
The inmate population is counting on Bob Sillen, the Federal Receiver. Hang tight. Help may finally be on its way. I, along with thousands of other inmates, look forward to the implementation of procedures, policies, and treatment in the CDCR health care system.