Image Source: Pixabay

Good health in every human life, whether a prisoner or a free citizen is something of great importance. It should be handled with the utmost priority as the results could be fatal if not timely addressed. This article will discuss How Are Prisoner Health Issues Best Handled In Jail And Prison?


Prisoners who have health issues and risks need to be promptly and adequately treated and given safe medications, if necessary. So, in this article, we shall discuss things such as the types of illnesses that prisoners acquire while incarcerated to even knowing some of the long-term negative effects of incarcerated and sick prisoners. To this effect, it is important to keep reading to stay enlightened.


Types Of Illnesses The Incarcerated Acquires


There are various types of illnesses that inmates are faced with. Some of them are high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney issues, cancer, stroke, tuberculosis, liver issues, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and even sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These are some of the common sicknesses that prisoners may acquire while incarcerated.


However, it would interest you to know that prisoners are testing positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 happens to be one of the prevalent illnesses in jails and prisons. COVID poses a lot of risk for inmates, especially considering that they are faced with incarceration or are incarcerated.


These illnesses need prompt and proper treatment as well as medications. Prisoners with psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, etc. should be duly treated if they have any of these aforementioned illnesses as well.


Statistics Of Some Prevalent illnesses In Jail And Prison


According to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), one out of three inmates are suffering from one of the above-mentioned illnesses. There is a high number of prisoners who are battling with tuberculosis, high blood pressure, and even COVID. These high numbers of inmates who are faced with various health challenges all need proper and effective care as well.


Good health in every human life, whether a prisoner or a free citizen is something of great importance. It should be handled with the utmost priority as the results could be fatal if not timely addressed. This article will discuss How Are Prisoner Health Issues Best Handled In Jail And Prison?

Image Source: Pixabay

How Incarceration Affects Health


One thing to know is that everyone who is confined within a space can react differently. While some may view it as just being alone, others can suffer from health-related illnesses because of incarceration. Incarceration can and does cause mental illness.


It should be known that mental illness in prisons is very common. In short, these mental illnesses can be the driving force of an inmate exhibiting criminal behavior. They may resort to substance abuse during incarceration or upon release due to them suffering from mental illness.


One common type of mental illness for a prisoner is bipolar disorder. There is a high percentage of female prisoners who have mental health related issues or episodes. Plus, prisoners who are faced with solitary confinement can experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Image Source: Pixabay

Who Pays for Prisoner Treatment And Medications For illnesses?


Safe and effective treatments and medications are important for any patient whether they are incarcerated or not. The treatment and medications for prisoners aren’t by any means free of charge.


There is usually a form of copayments for them to get treated. These fees in some states are relatively low since a prisoner pays very little while incarcerated. However, there are states where the fees are a bit on the high side for the prisoners to potentially limit their frequent demand for health or medical services. Some U.S. county jails may attempt to recover the cost of medical expenses and treatment from the released inmate. 


Prisoners who are either suffering from mental illness or some sickness they acquired while incarcerated are treated in the prison health facility or infirmary. By law, a correctional facility should not only respect prisoners’ rights but must provide them with medical facilities and care. 

Image Source: Pixabay

How Does The BOP Deal With Sick Prisoners?                     


During this pandemic, there have been social and economic impacts on prisoners. Even sick prisoners are greatly affected. The BOP has had a spike in the number of prisoners who are seen for medical issues. While some are being linked to COVID-19, others are the different illnesses associated with being incarcerated. Notwithstanding, the BOP has had to manage the situation and treat those with severe cases.


Some of the incarcerated patients who are either having difficulty breathing are offered respirators. There are controversial opinions regarding the use of respirators versus the administration of oxygen. In all, the BOP reportedly continues to work on several ways to improve the all-around care given to sick inmates.


One option to deal with sick persons may be to examine social distancing, especially if the sickness is either airborne or due to COVID. The vaccinated and unvaccinated are susceptible to transferring this sickness within prison walls, including inmates and staff.


Another way to deal with sick inmates is to ensure that they are properly examined and given safe, proper, and effective medications and treatments. The correctional facility staff and society are expected to avoid coming in close contact with sick inmates either when visiting or when BOP staff is rendering their daily tasks as they can be at risk of acquiring illnesses from inmates or each other as well.


Solitary confinement is one of the root causes of prisoners experiencing or suffering from depression or high blood pressure. There is an urgent need for inmates who have health-related issues to be given the proper medication(s) as well as treatment(s).

Image Source: Pexels



The mental and physical health of inmates should not be jeopardized and certainly not because they are incarcerated. As mentioned previously, some inmates may react differently when faced with solitary confinement for whatever reason(s). They can get addicted to drugs as some go may the extra mile to have drugs illegally smuggled in to deal with their psychological issues.


Some with pressing health challenges should not be restricted from getting the medical attention and safe and effective treatment they need. Also, regardless of the crimes they may or may not commit, they should promptly be granted medical attention and assistance.


Inmates in prison have already received sentencing and confinement and many in jail may not have even had their cases heard. For all inmates and correctional facility staff and employees, it would be detrimental and inhumane to not promptly and responsibly investigate, diagnose, and treat inmate illnesses or health issues, especially during this pandemic that can affect inmates, staff, administration, and the family, friends, and loved ones of inmates. It is in the best interest of all involved.


For more information on prisoner health issues, click the links, below: (Disclaimer: Affiliate Advertising. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)


Prison Health Handbook Paperback – March 7, 2019 by Mike Enemigo


Women Prisoners and Health Justice: Perspectives, Issues and Advocacy for an International Hidden Population 1st Edition by Dianne Hatton (Author)