Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Private Health Care in Jails Can Be a Death Sentence

Jerry Stratton, February 27, 2005

I haven’t read it, because I don’t register with the New York Times (also, I’m in a hotel room stealing somebody else’s wireless and wouldn’t want to send passwords through their “warroom” in any case), but Paul von Zielbauer is apparently taking on health care in jails.

Good, because this is important. But I have a suspicion from the title that he’s specifically blaming private health care instead of the fact that we just don’t care about health care in prisons and we tend to hire monopolies instead of promoting competition where it counts: making sick people healthy. But at least someone is paying attention.

Amygdala tends to confirm my suspicions, though it may be their own private (pun intended) spin.

This is not a matter of public vs. private systems. A purely state-run health care system would be just as bad, or worse: more prone to political expediencies, more worries about giving “too much” health care to murderers, etc. But as long as there is still the possibility that we have imprisoned people for crimes that they did not commit, and as long as we continue to imprison people for crimes that should not be crimes, prison health care must be at least as good as health care outside of prisons. In my opinion, it should be the same health care as is available outside of prisons.

In response to Health care for prisoners: Our criminal justice system must account for the possibility that it is wrong. Decent health care is one of the most obvious ways it should do this.