Correctional Support Staff Response Paper

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Correctional Support Staff Response Paper


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Prison Subculture is the culture of prison society and thought by some to arise from the ‘pains of imprisonment’, while others believe it is imported to the prison. Prison Subculture is also known as the ‘convict code’. The Prisonizationmodel postulates that inmates react or adapt to the deprivations of imprisonment by forming the inmate subculture and behaving accordingly. Subculture refers to group that shares common valuesnormsbeliefs and Prison subculture refers to inmate code. The process of taking on norms and customs of prisons is called prisonization. While theoretical integration has its place in explaining the universe of inmate behavior and the prison subculture, wholesale integration may not be necessary when attempting to explain specific behav“Over the past 50 years [America has] gone from institutionalizing people with mental illnesses, often in subhuman conditions, [in state mental health hospitals] to incarcerating them at unprecedented and appalling rates—putting recovery out of reach for millions of Americans […] On any given day, between 300,000 and 400,000 people with mental illnesses are incarcerated in jails and prisons across the United States, and more than 500,000 people with mental illnesses are under correctional control in the community.”[1] Mental Health America (MHA) supports effective, accessible mental health treatment for all people who need it who are confined in adult or juvenile correctional facilities or under

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correctional control. People with mental health and substance use conditions also need an effective classification system to protect vulnerable prisoners and preserve their human rights.[2] Not with standing their loss of their liberty, prisoners with mental health and substance use conditions retain all other rights, and these must be zealously defended. “Position Statement 56”. Proponents of the state’s being the single payer of medical care reimbursement for U.S. residents often quip that prisoners are assured necessary care while law-abiding citizens are not. They make the argument that such a dichotomy is morally intolerable and that all U.S. residents (citizens and non-citizens alike) should also be assured health care. The challenges of providing health care to all U.S. residents are complex and continue to be debated nationwide. A few states have legislation that approaches universal coverage, but implementation requires political will and an agreement on the part of the public to finance the care of large groups of residents—including noncitizens—with low or moderate incomes.

There are legal, ethical, social, and public health reasons why prisoners, as wards of the state, must be supplied with health care. The legal reasons for providing health care to prisoners were stipulated in the 1976 Supreme Court Estelle v. Gambledecision, in which the Court held that

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deprivation of health care constituted cruel and unusual punishment [1], a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. This interpretation created a de facto right to health care for all persons in custody, whether convicted (prisoners) or not (pretrial detainees). The decision also brought forth the concept of “deliberate indifference,” a legal definition that prohibits ignoring the plight of prisoners who need care and translates into a mandate to provide all persons in custody with access to medical care and a professional medical opinion. Correctional authorities and health care professionals who infringe this right do so at their peril and may be prosecuted in federal or state courts [1].

Beyond the legal mandate, there are fundamental ethical reasons why prisoners should be given medical care. Free persons may or may not have health insurance, based, at least in part, on their decisions about how to prioritize the use of their money. Some who decide against buying insurance have the option to pay cash for the health services they seek. The very poor, the aged, and the disabled are generally provided with assistance in the form of federal and state Medicare and Medicaid programs. Even the so-called “working poor,” loosely defined as those who earn too much to qualify for assistance and too little to afford to pay for health care, have the option to use or borrow cash when they need

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medical treatment. Moreover, federal law requires that hospitals provide medically necessary emergency health services regardless of a patient’s health insurance status or ability to pay.

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