Senior Seminar Project
Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice
December 11th, 2011
Professor Karina Arzumanova
Identifying the Challenge
Our jails and correction facilities are having many issues lately. The first thing that may come to mind is the overcrowding of the facilities, but one needs to look beyond this and address the health and safety issues of the inmates. Again, one might think that is their problem, why should we care about the health and safety of an inmate. We need to rethink this over. Not only is it their problem, but once these inmates are released into society, we have to deal with the problem in our everyday life. This problem needs to be addressed because we are being impacted both internally and externally by its repercussions.
One thing that is true is that everyone in the United States has certain constitutional rights and these rights have to be enforced. Prisoners are no different. They also have basic constitutional rights that may not be taken away. One of these constitutional rights is health care that falls under the Eight Amendment which deals with cruel and unusual punishment (Gardner, 2009). When addressing the inmates’ health care we are not only looking at the physical health, but also the mental health of the inmates that are being held in the United States correctional facilities.
According to Gardner (2009), it is estimated that there are 2.3 million Americans currently being held in correctional facilities across the country. Gardner, 2009, states that, “compared to non-incarcerated citizens, inmates in state jails were 31 percent more likely to have asthma, 55 percent more prone to have diabetes, and 90 percent more likely to have suffered a heart attack.” The statistics are alarming when we read that despite recurring health problems; fourteen percent of the inmates held in federal prisons, 20 percent of the inmates in state prison, and 68.4 percent of inmates in our local...