Annals of Internal Medicine
16 April 2019 Vol: 170, Issue 8
Ideas and Opinions
Deliberate Indifference: Inadequate Health Care in U.S. Prisons
Ashley Hurst, JD, MDiv, MA; Brenda Castañeda, JD; Erika Ramsdale, MD
Whether health care should be a fundamental right in the United States is an ongoing debate. However, one group—incarcerated persons—has a constitutionally protected right to adequate health care. Nevertheless, there is a growing epidemic of inadequate health care in U.S. prisons. Shrinking prison budgets, a prison population that is the highest in the world, and for-profit health care contracts all contribute to this epidemic. The medical community has an obligation to respond by providing and advocating for adequate health care for incarcerated persons.