Women Inmates Receive Inadequate Health Care

An article in this week’s issue of The Nation highlights the grossly sub par medical care received by many women in US prisons. With few monitoring the quality of care given to female inmates, many prison medical services are uncoordinated, underfunded, and unaccountable to anyone. Women inmates have complained of delayed medical attention, diagnosis, and even the withholding of medications required as part of their treatment. The problem seems particularly serious in cases of breast and reproductive health-related cancers, where inmates have died after months, or even years, passed between their requests for medical care and the actual receipt of such services. The chronic and pervasive problem of inadequate healthcare for female inmates continues to grow, with the number of women in prison doubling over the last 10 years (mainly due to mandatory drug-related sentences). Unfortunately, women and their medical needs are often overlooked since women comprise only 8-9% of a total prison population of 1.9 million.


The Nation, 5/6/02

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