ACLU: Medical Care at Women’s Prison May Put Inmates at Risk

Press release from ACLU Nevada:

Medical Care at Women’s Prison May Put Inmates at Risk
Submitted by Paige Thie White on Tue, 07/21/2009

The ACLU of Nevada has received numerous letters from inmates at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center (FMWCC) complaining about the medical treatment they have received while incarcerated. These complaints were alarming, and they prompted the ACLU of Nevada to send a letter on July 21 detailing our concerns about the treatment of inmates in FMWCC to Howard Skolnik, the director of the Nevada Department of Corrections, and Sheryl Foster, the warden of FMWCC.

Under the Constitution, prisoners are entitled to adequate medical care for their serious medical needs. Prison officials are obligated to provide for those needs, yet reports from FMWCC reflect a continual pattern of delayed and inadequate care that may result in death or debilitation. Such care reflects deliberate indifference to prisoners’ serious medical needs that puts every prisoner at FMWCC at enormous and unacceptable risk.

Problems the prisoners have brought to the ACLU of Nevada’s attention include:

* professionally and sexually inappropriate comments and questions from the staff doctor;
* retaliation by the staff doctor against women who complain about their medical treatment;
* lack of confidentiality when discussing medical treatment and conditions; and
* staff ignoring medical and dental issues until they become far more serious, and even life-threatening or permanently debilitating.

The ACLU of Nevada is troubled by the consistent pattern of complaints it has received as well as reports of other women whose serious medical issues were ignored. The ACLU of Nevada is asking that Director Skolnik and Warden Foster immediately review the provision of medical care at FMWCC to ensure that every prisoner has access to adequate care in a timely manner.

Click here to read the letter sent by the ACLU of Nevada on July 21, 2009.

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