Real costs to privatization

Last modified: 1/30/2012 12:00:00 AM
I have been in the prison system for 16 years, starting back in 1996. The medical department and I have been butting heads from Day 1. However, this is just my own personal issue, not the standard. I have spent the past six months studying the privatization of medical care in prisons. I found a 40 percent increase in inmate medical negligent lawsuits nationwide and a 20 percent increase over past six years in death of inmates due to medical negligence. And this is just for starters. The quality of staff won't give the level and quality of care we inmates currently receive.

Today there are a few medical staffers who can't be replaced. Our physical therapist, for example. This woman has been here for over 20 years, rarely misses a day of work and provides physical therapy for not only the Concord prison but also the Berlin prison 2« hours away. If that's not super-human, I don't know what is. Privatization cannot replace her; she's a blessing for all of us.

I would also mention the second-shift nursing staff. We have a nurse who treats us like human beings and cares about us as people. In a place like this that's priceless. Two other male nurses are also great human beings. There is a female doctor on the first shift with a sunny smile and pat on the back for everyone.

If we lose these people, we have truly lost more than we realize. When privatization takes over, our eyes will open and we will come to see what we have lost.



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