Medical appointments of physical illnesses to serious surgery needs are evaluated by the federal prison camp administration and medical staff.
If an inmate needed or wanted to see a doctor for any reason, they are required to fill out a standard form that applied to all inmates for any request and then submitted to the camp administration. Those forms which related to medical services were routed to the medical staff and inmates had to wait for medical to respond.
The medical staff would then send a notice back to the inmate of a scheduled time for medical services and normally the schedule would be for a group of inmates not just one. This usually occurred every three months for regular medical services. Camp inmates were escorted to the high security prison next door where the main medical facility and staff were located.
This simple routine of asking for medical service was not always as it sounds. Response was sometimes quick, other times weeks late and most of the time never heard from. The thing to do is be persistent because sometimes request are treated like trash or like the mail, get lost.
Now if an inmate was hurt during a work detail or during time of recreation. The correctional officer in charge would contact a medical staff on duty and the inmate was taken to the infirmary for medical attention. As to how quick the medical attention would depend on the injury, sort of like going to an emergency room with no insurance, they will get to you when they are ready and available.
When it came down to surgery, I knew of two men with a broken foot wait a week or so before getting medical attention at which point the foot had to be broken again and set properly with pins and plates for proper healing. Another man waited weeks to be scheduled for a hernia operation and a few months later had to get a second hernia operation.
Basically if the injury or sickness is not life threatening, medical attention was slow to come but it is provided to the inmates. Let me just say this, it was socialized medicine at its’ finest.
4 Comments to “Medical Service in a Federal Prison Camp, Part 3”
on 14 Jan at 2:41 am1Todd
These procedures and policies you detailed are essentially identical to what I’ve seen in Wisconsin state prisons.
To underscore, when you say, “Response was sometimes quick, other times weeks late and most of the time never heard from,” you aren’t kidding. The amount of red tape coursing through the system (both in e-form and paper) is astounding. Blame it on lawyers, I guess. And I’m certain that some requests get “accidentally lost on purpose,” depending both on the reputation of the inmate and the prejudices of the receivers of the request along its several stopping points up the decision-making ladder.
Also, when you write, “The thing to do is be persistent because sometimes request are treated like trash or like the mail, get lost,” I agree; in fact, I advise the same to men who vent in my classroom about their treatment (or lack thereof).
You saved the best till last: “Basically if the injury or sickness is not life threatening, medical attention was slow to come but it is provided to the inmates. Let me just say this, it was socialized medicine at its’ finest.”
Exactly right. Proponents of socialized health care would lose their support instantly if citizens could compare it to the process in government-provided prison health care scenarios.
on 07 Apr at 2:25 pm2KMT
You comments and observations were mostly right on. Our website http://www.FederalPrisonCampTour.com spent a lot of time and effort to depict the same information.
One thing that our staff did find was that, although not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, the BOP doesn’t do a bad job in maintaining the Prison Camp System. Indeed, as John Grisham pointed out in his novel “The Bethren,” if you have to do time, do federal time.
on 24 Apr at 7:58 am3Tombstone
I would like to comment on this section too.While I was @ Colman Low,I got into a pretty bad fight in the kitchen,basically over nothing but disrespect,with a food handler.I wound up getting knocked out,& when I fell, I busted open my gum,& lost a couple of teeth.When I came to,I had a 2-inch open wound in my gum,this happened on a Saturday.It was Tuesday,before I was seen & stiched up.Even though I probably had a concussion,I was never X-rayed, never given anything for pain,not even a aspirin. I couldnt let my family know I hadn`t been treated,because I was moved to the ” Hole”,where you can`t make calls,I found out later that the Assc.Warden,who was in charge,on the weekends,was disciplined over this by the Warden,for not calling in medical care on a weekend,because of the overtime that would have to be paid…Lucky it wasn`t a heart attack…..
on 24 Apr at 4:38 pm4Rickey
Ouch! That was bad, I hope everthing healed well. It’s also good to here that disciplinary actions was taken because there are a lot of incidents that are not reported as you well know.
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