According to a report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than eight out of 10 prisoners reported having had a medical exam or blood test since their incarceration. It's estimated that 44 percent of inmates in state facilities and 39 percent in federal ones report having a medical issue, not counting the common cold or viruses [source: Maruschak]. What do prisoners do when they need medical attention?
Inmates typically have access to a health care professional as often as daily, if needed, and can ask for medical attention by submitting a health services request form, though this process varies from one facility to the next.
"I treat patients as if they're never going to leave," says Bonaparte. "We take the opportunity to educate this captive audience. We run clinics; we bring in specialists. For the majority of patients, the primary care they receive is in the correctional system."