Some measure has been put in place so as to try and improve the prison health care service although much has not been realized from the same. Since the greatest problem emanates from overcrowding in prison which in turn over burdens the health care system, there have been proposals to limit the sentences of sick inmates and also provide early release to all the sick inmates. Even if such an intervention may not change the prison health care system, it is very helpful since it can reduce the stress that is usually caused by overcrowding.
In order to reduce the high incidence of diseases like the HIV, most prisons have been providing opportunities for testing to all the inmates. Quite a considerable number of US state prisons have instituted mandatory HIV testing to all inmates according to Bureau of Justice Statistics (David et al, 2009). Some prisons test the inmate if they request to be tested, while others provide the information and go a head to test the inmates if they do not protest against the same.
HIV testing is very important since it gives the infected inmates a chance to get the medical care early enough before the progression of the disease. The use of the antiretroviral therapy by the inmates who happen to be HIV positive helps greatly since it leads to decline in mortality rate. Moreover, testing also helps in identifying the cause of infection so as to come up with measures of the same (David et al, 2009). In some states like the state of California, the government has been forced to intervene so as to help and alleviate the problem.
Since numerous court orders that have been issued so as to improve the state of prison health care service have not amounted to much, a federal district judge was forced to propose for a complete change of the inmate hospital by changing everything from the top management officials. Although the change of the system was expected to be very costly, and indeed it is, it was the only way out if the services were expected to improve (Sterngold, 2005). 3. 0 Conclusion and Recommendations 3. 1 Conclusion An effective prison healthcare is very important since it helps in providing medical services to the prisoners.
Prisoners have a right to access the health services as other citizens. Since it can be very difficult to offer these services together with other citizens, a prison health care is established so as to cater for them. Even though the health care plays an important role, the same faces a lot of challenges and obstacles which makes it to look as though it is ineffective. The kind of people that a prison health care is supposed to attend to are criminals, people who may be least concerned with their health and their life.
The same case with any other health care system, lack of enough and qualified medical professionals also affects the effectiveness of the care system. High incidence of communicable diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and the hepatitis happens to be a major challenge to the prison health care system. However, all these obstacles can be addressed if all the relevant bodies joined hand with one aim of establishing and maintaining an effective prison health care system (American Public Health Association: Task Force on Correctional Health Care Standards, 2003).
Recommendations Health education to prisoners is very important especially on HIV and AIDS. Although it has been argued that most of the HIV infection takes place in the communities as Sanchez (2005) reports, a lot of sexual activities take place in prisons as well as the same sex marriages. Some of these sexual activities are usually as a result of coercion while others may be voluntary. Sharing of syringes to drug addicts is also increases the risk of contracting HIV.
Nonetheless, the truth is prisoners need to be continually taught on the risk involved and associated with such habits. Therefore, more programs need to be established that can provide education on safety measures to the inmates. Moreover, condoms should be provided so s to reduce the risk of infection and transmission. Although efforts by the judiciary and the legislature to improve the prison healthcare services have faced many obstacles, much can be achieved if only the two played their role effectively.
The legislature should come up with laws that can help improve the system. Whichever the cost, overcrowding in the prisons is a health hazard and should be addressed. It may actually take some time before the state comes up with more prison facilities but other measures can be taken like reducing the length of the sentence. Similarly, the judiciary should play its role to ensure that all the people who find their way in prison are only those who deserve it. Moreover, the same should ensure that the laws that protect the prisoners are adhered to.
Since a poor prison health care system affects everyone, then all people should join together so as to ensure that the system is upgraded. In some states, some human rights movement has joined with other members of the public so as to oppose some measures that affect the health of the inmates. If the health of the inmates is preserved, definitely that reduces the burden of the healthcare system and eventually it can lead to some improvement (WHO, 2009). The government should actually contribute greatly towards improving the prison healthcare system.
In most of the hospital facilities that take care of the inmates, lack of enough medical staff is major drawback as well as the lack of facilities. Therefore, the government should provide enough and qualified staff and also provide these facilities with enough medical instruments that can assist in the care of the inmates. References: American Public Health Association. Task Force on Correctional Health Care Standards, (2003). Standards for Health Services in Correctional Institutions. New York, American Public Health Association.
Beam, C. , (2009) . What the health care system like in prison? Retrieved on 5th May 2010 from: http://www. slate. com/id/2214621 Chen, S. , (2009). Prison Health-Care Costs Rise as Inmates Grow Older and Sicker. Retrieved on 5th May 2010 from: http://edition. cnn. com/2009/CRIME/11/13/aging. inmates/index. html Chen, S. , (2009). Prison Health-Care Costs Rise as Inmates Grow Older and Sicker. Retrieved on 6th May 2010 from: http://edition. cnn. com/2009/CRIME/11/13/aging. inmates/index. html