Saturday, February 5, 2011

American Jails, Prisons Are The New Death Camps

Neglectful health care leads to deadly triad – HIV, Hepatitis C, TB

Shortly after the dawn of the new millenium, when American jails and prisons became the new death camps, about 11.5 million people cycled in and out of jails and prisons annually.

The figure has grown by leaps and bounds, and with that figure's exponential increase, so has the rate of infection of millions of Americans with the deadly, incurable diseases of HIV, Hepatitis C, and TB.

They all three render a slowly progressing, lingering illness, both communicable and chronic, with no chance of recovery under current conditions, and a painful, protracted death - one filled with agony.

According to a largely ignored public health report generated in 2000, 18 percent of hepatitis C carriers, 8 percent of those with HIV, and one-third of individuals with active tuberculosis, cycle through America's gulag each year, most of them short-term inmates.

Experts who sat on three panels – one on communicable diseases, another on chronic diseases, and a third on mental illness – came up with specific recommendations to combat the spread of these diseases, recommendations that were roundly ignored.

Their recommendations included a thorough screening of inmates on admittance, inoculations for hepatitis and careful monitoring of their health conditions post-release.

Corrections officials, legislators, the Congress, Presidents and cabinet members refused to implement even the most basic public health policies in an effort to prevent or curb the growth of the likelihood of contracting a deadly disease behind bars.


We won't go there.

Just as what goes up must come down, what goes in must come out. Sooner or later, inmates who have been raped repeatedly, sold or traded as sex slaves while incarcerated, holed up with tubercular inmates spouting their infection in the close, still air of the jail, or just plain depraved enough to seek the kind of unprotected sex that leads to incurable viral infection will be in your life, on your block, in your face, and ready to do to you what has been done to them.

This ignorant and recalcitrant lack of any real policy to deal with public health issues that affect the entire population, including babies as yet unborn, is clearly genocidal, whether by design or not.

Consider the current figures and think how they affect you and yours.
With a prison and jail population topping 2 million, the U.S. has more people per capita locked up than any other nation in the world.

That figure increased by 77% from the total number of male inmates incarcerated in 1980. The prisoner profile is between 18-44 years of age, the prime of life. Consider the implications.


Of 300,000 prisoners released each year, 30,000 have active TB, but one-third of those have a frightening condition known as multi-drug resistant TB. Overcrowded prisons are experiencing populations with a high incidence of both HIV infection and active TB.

The result, plainly, is that it's very, very hard to bring the TB under control. With no more resources available than we find today, it's impossible.

Good luck.

According to an Associated Press story, Alabama's prison system could save as much as $392,000 per year if it didn't segregate HIV positive inmates from the rest of the population. If the segregation ceased, 56 inmates would be eligible for community-based corrections, which only costs $11 per day, $15 dollars cheaper than incarceration.

Alabama is the only state prison system that still segreagates HIV-positive prisoners.


Let's take a look at the case of Michael Blucker. The first few times he was raped, he got up the courage to get an HIV test. Married at 24, it was fortunate that he tested negative.

But then he was turned into a sex slave, traded for money, cigarettes, whatever. The episode started when 10 men raped him in the showers. When he was next tested, he was HIV positive.

Originally sentenced to 7 years, he caught a death sentence behind bars. It was an extrajudicial sentence, passed on him by appointed corrections officials and meted out by sexual psychopaths in a state prison. He had not committed the slightest offense to receive the death sentence. His only crime was to be alone and friendless in a savage environment.

When Mr. Blucker took the state to court, alleging that prison staff not only let him be raped, they encouraged it, he lost the case.
Thus, the new death camps, incubation centers for dread diseases that will eventually be loosed on an unsuspecting public with no public health apparatus in place to fight the problem.

Stay out of jail and, to stay healthy, stay away from those who have been there.

It's a matter of survival and the federal, state and local officials who administer the jail and prison system are definitely not your allies in your struggle to stay healthy.

Is that really why you pay taxes to support a system that is supposed to protect you from violent, vicious, or insidiously cruel people who have broken the law?

Are those the kind of results you desire?

I put it to you.

You answer the question or ignore it, as you may choose.

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