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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, October 17, 2008

ACLU: Federal death row inmates denied health care

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Death row inmates at the federal prison in Terre Haute are routinely denied access to medical, dental and mental health care, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday in a letter to a governmental official.

One diabetic prisoner showing symptoms of high blood sugar had to wait two hours to be treated with insulin, the ACLU said after a yearlong investigation. And some prisoners with dental problems chose simply to have all their teeth removed rather than suffer pain while waiting for complicated procedures, it said.

The probe by the ACLU's National Prison Project uncovered "grossly inadequate" conditions that "fail to meet constitutional standards and jeopardize the health and safety" of the more than 50 inmates awaiting execution at the prison, the organization said in the letter to Harley Lappin, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"The Constitution prohibits deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners, including those sentenced to die," ACLU attorney Gabriel B. Eber said in a news release. He called on officials to "do whatever is necessary" to correct the problems.

Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said she could not comment because she was not sure whether Lappin had seen the letter.

Eber said his investigation included interviews with prisoners and a review of hundreds of pages of prison records.

According to the letter, prison officials do not promptly respond to medical emergencies, provide "woefully deficient" access to acute health care and consistently ignore signs of possibly serious medical conditions. It cited one instance of an inmate pressing an emergency call button in his cell for 45 minutes before receiving attention for a heart problem. [Mark Godsey]

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Comments

This is disgusting!! People like Eber make me sick. I pay thousands of dollars out of pocket each year for my children's dental care along with health care/medicine. I'm expected to feel sorry for the lowest of the low? Don't you have something better to fight for Mr.Eber? Like the right's of the victims families and perhaps money towards helping them recover for the horrific acts these pigs have given them no choice but to suffer through. I have had it with this society and it's damn reversal of perp and victim. The ACLU defends evil and wrong doing. These people will someday have to answer to the ultimate judge, until then stop treating them as if they deserve some kind of golden treatment. Pathetic and twisted.

Posted by: Sickened | Jan 6, 2009 5:22:13 AM

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