- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Prisoners, public at health risk
Question of the Day
High rates of disease and illness among inmates in the nation’s jails and prisons, coupled with inadequate funding for correctional health care, has put the nation’s 2.2 million prisoners at risk, along with corrections officers and the public, a report said yesterday.
Every year, according to a report by the 21-member Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, more than 1.5 million people are released from jails and prisons nationwide carrying life-threatening contagious diseases, and another 350,000 inmates have serious mental illnesses.
“Protecting public health and public safety, reducing human suffering and limiting the financial cost of untreated illness depends on adequately funded, good quality correctional health care,” the report said. “Unfortunately, most correctional systems are set up to fail.
“They have to care for a sick population on shoestring budgets and with little support from community health-care providers and public health authorities,” it said.
The commission, co-chaired by former Attorney General Nicholas de B. Katzenbach, is based on a lengthy investigation and hearings, which included testimony from corrections professionals, prison monitors and litigators, former prisoners, scholars and others. The inquiry focused on the “crucial role of oversight and accountability” in creating safe conditions in U.S. prisons and jails, and on the nature and prevalence of gang violence.
“The questions ‘who’s watching’ and ‘who’s responsible’ are at the beginning and end of dealing with all of the problems we’ve examined,” Mr. Katzenbach said.
The report also concluded:
Violence remains a serious problem in the nation’s prisons and jails, with “disturbing evidence” of assaults and patterns of violence in some U.S. correctional facilities. It said corrections officers reported a near-constant fear of being assaulted, and prisoners recounted gang violence, rapes and beatings.
Violence and abuse are not inevitable, but the majority of prisons and many jails nationwide hold more people than they can accommodate safely and effectively, creating a degree of disorder and tension almost certain to erupt into violence.
Because lawmakers have reduced funding for programming in the country’s prisons and jails, inmates are largely inactive and unproductive.
The increasing use of high-security segregation is counterproductive, often causing violence inside facilities and contributing to recidivism after release. People who pose no threat and those who are mentally ill are “languishing for months or years” in high-security units and supermax prisons.
Better safety inside prisons and jails depends on changing the institutional culture, which cannot be accomplished without enhancing the corrections professional at all levels. Because the exercise of power is a defining characteristic of correctional facilities, there is a constant potential for abuse.
The report will be presented today at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime, corrections and victims’ rights.
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors