According to Sanchez (2005), most of the prisons in America fail to offer quality services due to lack of adequate and well trained staff that can provide medical services especially to the chronically ill patients, lack of specialists to treat special ailments, lack of a chronic disease program to monitor and treat inmates suffering from such illnesses and diseases, failure to prescribe the required therapy necessary to treat the chronic illnesses and failure to ensure continuity of medical care provided if inmates are transferred from one prison to another. 2.
1 Factors Affecting Prison Health Care Despite the fact that there may be other factors that affect the prison health care service, there is a higher incidence of diseases in prison facilities than there are in the general community. The studies of Gardner (2009) reveal that inmates are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases like asthma and high pretension more than people who are not imprisoned. In case of an outbreak, the same prisoners are bound to suffer more due to high rates of transmission as a result of poor conditions and poor preventive measures.
Although the prison life may have a great role to play in the poor health conditions of the prisons, most of the prisoners life before imprisonment has a very big role to play in the same matter. Most of the prisoners may have lived risky lives before imprisonment which make them to be more vulnerable to the chronic diseases. Whichever the case, the high incidence rates of chronic diseases among the prisoners, places more burden to the prison health care and eventually affects the effectiveness of the same.
According to (Sanchez 2005),) most prisons in United States lack enough medical personnel to cater for the medical needs of the inmates. Due to understaffing, it becomes impossible for inmates to receive immediate medical attention when they fall sick. Some inmates are necessitated to wait for some days before they are attended to, an issue that can lead to death if the problem happens to be an emergency. In addition, the majority of the staff are usually not qualified enough to handle all the cases.
There have been instances where wrong diagnosis has been made, a situation which leads to poor intervention measures most of which cannot be helpful to any patient. A highlighted above, most prison health care service lacks specialists to handle some sensitive medical conditions or any medical condition that requires specialized attention. In order for any health care to be effective, some medical programs require to be put in place. The prison health care services lack some of the important programs that help in the delivery of medical services.
Since in most prisons there are many cases of HIV, programs should be put in place to educate prisoners on safer sex and other measures that can help prevent the transmission of HIV and Aids. Most of the prison health care services do not have adequate programs to deal with chronic diseases like asthma and hypertension. However, lack of these programs can be linked to lack of well trained professionals who can come up with helpful programs. Just like in other health care systems, lack of enough finances affects the prison health care services.
Most of the prison health care equipments are old and ineffective and most of them need replacement. Lack of up to date and effective medical equipments affect the medical services accorded to the prisoners. Some laboratory tests which are very important before treatment, fail to be carried out in prison health care facilities due to lack of equipments and the personnel. It has been reported that some of the insurance companies fail to cover some inmates and it becomes particularly hard for such prisoners to receive adequate medical care (Jonas, Goldsteen & Goldstein, 2007).