studies show that HIV-positive prison inmates still regularly experience dangerous lapses in treatment after discharge.Why do inmates fail to keep up with their meds on the outside? Though the writer at one point says the problem is a lack of "personal responsibility," which I'm sure plays a role, the larger public policy reasons are fairly predictable:
[According to a study from several years ago,] 20 percent of inmates enrolled in an HIV clinic within 30 days of their release, and only 28 percent did so within 90 days.
It's a problem with consequences beyond the personal health of the offenders. Interruptions in medication increase the risk of transmission, can lead to medication-resistant strains of HIV and often require more costly treatment later.
Health officials have launched initiatives to end the lapses, including using telemedicine to connect HIV-positive prisoners with local AIDS organizations that can assist them when they return to their communities.
Former prisoners report several obstacles to getting medication, AIDS outreach workers say. Many are unsure where they will live after discharge, lacking homes and families to which they can return.It's a "learning process," though, that until recently didn't begin until release, and then the inmate was on their own. Recent changes thanks to a renewed focus on reentry services for prisoners begun in 2009 have somewhat mitigated the problem, reported Branch:
Some don't even complete the bus trip home, using the $50 they are given at discharge to fall into previous bad behaviors, they say.
Those who have been incarcerated for a long time have little experience making doctor's appointments, filling prescriptions and understanding bureaucracies, said Shannon Hilgart, associate executive director at the AIDS Outreach Center.
"Navigating a hospital system is daunting if you have been incarcerated since 19 and never had to deal with it," she said. "Getting to a clinic, getting through the paperwork. ... It's a whole new learning process."
Many Texas residents who are law abiding citizens would be very happy to pay $100.00 a year for healthcare for their children and themselves. These same people are probably asking themselves why convicted criminals are getting such a good deal and they aren't.
As it stands now, the Texas Constitution only guarantees one group of people in the Lone Star State healthcare......prisoners.
One Wichita Falls man was appalled to discover that prisoners receive free health and dental care.
"Why do convicted murderers and other felons get better healthcare than those of us on the outside of prison walls? A person has to make less than $434 a month in the state of Georgia where I just moved from to receive free healthcare. There's something wrong with this picture!"
Another Wichita Falls man exclaimed in anger, "The worst of it is we (the taxpayers) have to pay their (convicts) medical bills after they've committed some crime."