5 Things You Didn't Know About Being a Prison Doctor

Prison Doctors Treat More HIV/AIDS Patients

The most common medical problems treated in correctional facilities aren't necessarily from accidents or fights, as many may think. Rather, they include a variety of both chronic and infectious diseases.

Heart diseases, cancer, liver diseases and AIDS/AIDS-related illnesses are the most common causes of inmate deaths in state correctional facilities. In fact, AIDS rates in the prison population are 2.5 times greater than in the general U.S. population [sources: Mumola; Maruschak]. Outside of the prison population, for comparison, heart diseases and cancer are also the top two causes of death, but they are followed by stroke and respiratory diseases [source: CDC].

"We see a high rate of HIV infections, tuberculosis infections, STDs [sexually transmitted diseases], MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] -- and substance abuse is very common in the correctional setting," explains Bonaparte. "It's a challenging day-to-day job for many reasons. Not only medical issues, but psychosocial issues, as well."

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  • ACLU National Prison Project. "Know Your Rights: Medical, Dental and Mental Health Care." November 2005. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file690_25743.pdf
  • Bernier, Nathan. "Paying for Health Care in Texas Prisons." Texas Public Radio. June 14, 2010. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.tpr.org/news/2010/06/news1006142.html
  • Bonaparte, Dr. Katina. Physician, Cook County Jail. Personal interview. Oct.13, 2010.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "FastStats - Ambulatory Care Use and Physician Visits." Oct. 5, 2010. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/docvisit.htm
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "FastStats - Deaths and Mortality." June 28, 2010. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
  • Kinsella, Chad. "Correctional Health Care Costs." The Council of State Governments. January 2004. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.csg.org/knowledgecenter/docs/TA0401CorrHealth.pdf
  • Maruschak, Laura M. "Medical Problems of Prisoners." Bureau of Justice Statistics. April 1, 2008. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1097
  • Mumola, Christopher J. "Medical Causes of Death in State Prisons, 2001-2004." Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. January 2007. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/bjs/mcdsp04.pdf
  • "Philanthropic Opportunities in Correctional Health Care." Prepared for the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation by View Associates. 2006. (Oct. 13, 2010) https://www.langeloth.org/events/Philanthropic%20Opportunities%20in%20Correctional%20Health%20Care.pdf
  • Public Works, LLC. "Understanding Georgia's Correctional Standards of Health Care: What Policymakers and Stakeholders Need to Know." March 10, 2003. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/pdf/ReportCorrectionalHealthCareSystem.pdf
  • Society of Correctional Physicians. "The SCP's Code of Ethics." Sept. 16, 1998. (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.corrdocs.org/framework.php?pagetype=aboutethics&bgn=1


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