Letter to the Editor: Health care for inmates still needs improvement

I must keep ever alert, keeping an eye out for significantly misleading statements like several in a recent article about the Delaware Department of Correction’s “health care” (“Wound care treatment improving for DOC inmates,” Oct. 1).

First, I know from the calls, letters and emails that I receive daily from inmates and their loved ones, my calls to two guards — who refuse to speak publicly for fear of unlawful retaliation — and my frequent contact with other prison-reform advocates that health care in America’s prisons remains a disaster.

Don’t be deceived by statements like: “We will continue to expand upon these innovative ideas to provide the highest quality and cost-effective care to offenders.” High-quality health care has never existed in our prisons.

The head of DOC also says: “Every offender in DOC custody receives medical screenings that identify treatment needs. Inmates with chronic and recurring conditions receive ongoing-care planning and follow-up treatment,” according to the news release.

The “screening” is grossly inadequate, with inmates still dying from various health issues within a few days of arrival and their initial exam — including drug overdoses that either went undetected or were blatantly ignored when the inmate told the medical screener and guards something like, “I am suffering from an overdose of meth, coke, heroin, etc., and I feel terrible and need a doctor!” No fooling, folks, it is that bad!

Whether the much-touted new wound-treatment program works, I do not yet know, but time will tell.

I am simply telling the public the truth, for they deserve no less.

Ken Abraham
Dover