My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation | Mother Jones:
"Where do you think is one of the No. 1 areas that we get hit on as a confinement business?" Assistant Warden Parker asks us at a staff meeting. "Medical! Inmates have this thing that if they have a sniffle they are supposed to be flown to a specialist somewhere and be treated immediately for that sniffle." His tone becomes incredulous. "Believe it or not, we are required by law to take care of them."
It's true: Under Supreme Court rulings citing the Eighth Amendment, prisons are required to provide inmates with adequate health care. Yet CCA has found ways to minimize its obligations.
At the out-of-state prisons where California ships some of its inmates, CCA will not accept prisoners who are over 65 years old, have mental health issues, or have serious conditions like HIV. The company's Idaho prison contract specified that the "primary criteria" for screening incoming offenders was "no chronic mental health or health care issues." The contracts of some CCA prisons in Tennessee and Hawaii stipulate that the states will bear the cost of HIV treatment. Such exemptions allow CCA to tout its cost-efficiency while taxpayers assume the medical expenses for the inmates the company won't take or treat.
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