Joe Arpaio's Jails Potentially Hazardous to Your Health, whether You're in Jail or Not
According to one nationally recognized expert in correctional medicine, medical care in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's vast incarceration complex is not just potentially hazardous to the health of pretrial detainees and jail staff, but to that of the general public.
Dr. Robert Cohen, a member of New York City's Board of Corrections and the Board of the National Commission on Health Care, is expected to testify in federal court today on behalf of the plaintiffs in Graves v. Arpaio, a jails-conditions lawsuit in federal court that stretches back decades, long before Arpaio came to power.
The basis for Cohen's testimony during a hearing at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in downtown Phoenix is to be his November 2013 report on the care provided by the county's Correctional Health Services, which is scarier than some horror flick by M. Night Shyamalan.
Not only do county inmates "not receive adequate care," according to Cohen, deficiencies in the jails' medical system "continue to place patients at a major risk of serious harm -- which includes pain, deterioration of health, unnecessary morbidity and death."
Also, inadequate screening for tuberculosis unnecessarily exposes inmates, staff, and those who come in contact with them -- potentially you and me -- to infection.
MCCHS is a separate entity from the MCSO, yet the two county departments obviously work hand-in-hand.
Cohen finds the problems with health care in our jails "endemic to the entire system," and faults both the MCSO and the MCCHS for knowing of these inadequacies "for years," while not taking adequate steps to correct them.
Inmates are not properly examined for various medical conditions, do not have proper access to medication and doctors for emergency and chronic conditions, and are not properly treated for alcohol and drug withdrawal, Cohen finds.
For a public that often regards Joe's jails as hellholes for the deserving, the situation regarding tuberculosis in Arpaio's gulags should be alarming.