New legislature? Time for new and improved prison medical care!
“Seeking Excellence Every
than two decades ago, when I got started in this business, that was the motto
of the Michigan Department of Corrections. My friend Ronnie, who was behind
bars at the time, used to add: “…and
never finding it!”
In the olden days, when we actually played records on a phonograph, an occasional nick or scratch would result in the needle getting stuck. A phrase in a song would just get repeated and repeated until someone bumped the needle arm so it could move on Thus the phrase, “Sounds like a broken record.”
Well, that’s what I sound like on healthcare issues in Michigan prisons. I’m SO sick of writing about these matters…the same problems over and over again, never any improvement, never any solution.
A friend wrote me the other day about a guy in one of the Muskegon prisons. He was a middle-aged dude suffering from flu-like symptoms. As my source worded it, “His situation is an extreme outcome of the ways MDOC has weaponized Covid against prisoners.”
Here’s the story. Mr. A got sick and delayed and delayed going to health services. Why? Because the MDOC now puts inmates and their bunkies in the hole if they show signs of Covid. Why is that a problem? Well, when they get out, they might be given a new bunkie. That’s really an issue, because that next guy might be an exceptionally dangerous person. My friend believes these punishments for being sick are MDOC's way of preventing inmates from using Covid as some kind of “malingering.”
There’s another side issue here. Mr. A probably has a prison job that pays 73 cents day. It will cost him a $5 co-pay to visit health care. When it gets right down to it, Mr. A might prefer to spend that hard-earned 5-dollars on some vending machine food to substitute the slop that he receives in the chow line.
What I’m saying is, truly sick people have good reasons for not seeking help. Meanwhile, they get sicker and sicker. Mr. A reportedly didn’t even have Covid, but he died. I think it’s fair to say that MDOC policies must share in the blame for that death.
You can bet that conscientious guys in the same facility will not be filing a grievance, though. They’re too afraid of possible retaliation.
We have a new legislature, with new philosophies, new aims, new goals. We beg these people to look at Michigan prison healthcare, and all of its related issues, and do something about it!. It’s past time for change!