Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dallas jail will take fees for inmate health services out of commissary accounts

Dallas County will soon begin charging inmates fees for healthcare services reports the Dallas Morning News ("Dallas County begin charging jail inmates for medical care," Feb. 22, behind paywall). The story opens:
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said Tuesday that she will soon begin charging certain jail inmates for their basic medical expenses, a practice common in some other states and a few Texas counties.

Valdez said Tuesday that within six months she will implement the plan to charge inmates a medical co-payment by tapping money in their commissary accounts, which they use to buy such items as toiletries and snacks. Inmates and their families put money in the accounts.

Those without commissary money will not be charged for medical services, officials said, and emergency and chronic care will still be covered by taxpayers.

“The families are putting money there and inmates can use it for gummy bears or to take care of their health,” said County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

Dallas County spent $32.3 million last year on jail medical services, which are provided by Parkland Memorial Hospital, said budget director Ryan Brown. Roughly 65 to 70 percent of the total inmate population receives some medical care, he said.

The Sheriff’s Department is working with Parkland to establish fees to charge for certain medical services, Price said.

The county has explored the co-payment idea, which is used in Travis, Harris and Collin counties, since 2004. But it has only become possible with a new three-year, $18 million commissary contract that the county commissioners awarded Tuesday to Keefe Commissary Network, Price said.
One statement in the story by Kevin Krause merits correction, where he mistakenly reported that a bill to have state prisoners pay for healthcare died in the Legislature:
A bill that would have increased inmate medical fees in state prisons passed the House in June but died after failing to receive support in the Senate . The bill, authored by state Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, would have charged prisoners $100 per year for medical care unless they were poor.

Currently, state prisoners pay $3 per doctor’s visit.
In fact, though that bill died, the measure passed attached to another bill and has been implemented. See TDCJ's explanation of the new fee (pdf). That said, TDCJ's fee is a little different from how it's done in jails. Reports Krause:
The idea is not to generate revenue for the county but to cut recurring costs of transporting inmates to receive care, Price said.

“We won’t get what is called frivolous calls. So it saves us on staff,” he said. “We’ve got to try to contain costs where we can. Most of the time it’s about staff.”

Collin County charges $10 for a sick call visit, $3 for each medication prescription, and $15 for a doctor visit as well as a dental visit, officials there said. Mental health services are free as are chronic care services for such things as blood pressure conditions and diabetes.
Bexar, Fayette and Stephens counties also charge jail inmates for medical services, said Adan Munoz, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
Grits must admit, reducing malingering and unnecessary clinic visits was by most accounts a big effect of TDCJ's new fee, which is $100 per year, due on the first clinic visit from your commissary account or as your friends and relatives add money in the future (that's a ham-handed summary, see here for details). Though Grits generally disapproves of casting off incarceration costs on prisoner families, at the same time I must admit at being pleasantly surprised that the economic incentive reportedly worked to reduce malingering in an already overburdened system. (Prison Doc, Nurseypooh and other prison health workers/commenters, please correct me if I'm wrong about that in the comments.)

Down the line at TDCJ, it remains to be seen if those who do pay go back more frequently because they've "already paid" the fee (which is still far below the cost of actually providing healthcare). But in the short term, from what I've heard anecdotally, its success in reducing frivolous clinic visits was fairly dramatic when the fee was first initiated. The fee structure described for health services in jails creates somewhat different incentives than the higher TDCJ fee, but then jail inmates are also incarcerated there a lot shorter periods, at least in most cases.

Stepping back to look at the broader picture, there are a lot of important but seldom discussed policy issues surrounding commissaries, which let prisoners purchase goods with money put in an account for their use by family members or friends. So when government mulcts money from the commissary, they're not taking it from offenders (or in the case of pretrial defendants in jail, alleged offenders), but from their families and friends. Lately the state and some counties have been taking money out for healthcare costs. But they've also been in the news related to corruption scandals where private vendors allegedly bribed Sheriffs and or others, took them on lavish trips, etc., in order to get the lucrative contracts.

The Department of Justice says prison gangs use commissary accounts to "support gang members in prison by funneling [drug] money into prison commissary accounts of gang leaders."

Then there are the health issues, since everyone is worried about inmate healthcare costs. The examples of commissary foods given in the article are "gummy bears" and "Twinkies." You've literally got a captive market, why not offer healthier alternatives? (That goes for regular prison and jail meals, too.)

Then there's the big issue that separates TDCJ's fee on families to doing the same thing at the jail: Prisoners in TDCJ have all been convicted, while at the jail most are pretrial defendants who may or may not end up being convicted. Should the inmate or their family get the money back if charges are dismissed? How do you navigate that, or do you just ignore it?

In any event, I doubt we've seen the last of this trend. What do folks think about it?


Anonymous said...

This is the only good idea lupe has come up with in nearly a decade of running the jail. It's time that crime quit paying for convicts. By paying i mean, free healthcare, food, ssi, housing, clothing. Convicts need to start learning how to actually be responsible for their actions, including paying for their own healthcare. Why should taxpayers be burdened with the cost of their own health insurance along with having to pay for some piece of shit child molestor to get everything for free? As for Dallas, it's a great thing that inmates are going to be held accountable for getting medical care. as for the folks that don't like it and want to complain? There is a simple answer for that: Quit committing crimes and getting arrested and you won't have to worry about paying for medical care while incarcerated.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

6:18 we agree on the policy but little about why. As long as the state incarcerates people it remains responsible for their healthcare, and inmates cannot pay more than the tiniest fraction of the costs.

This is about changing use incentives at the margins. Anyone with an empty commissary account will still get free treatment, and even those who pay are paying WAAAAY under the actual cost of service.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:18 "Why should taxpayers be burdened with the cost of their own health insurance along with having to pay for some piece of shit child molestor to get everything for free?"

Because the 8th amendment of the US Constitution says so.

Anonymous said...

6:34, Please explain how being responsible for paying for at least a share of your healthcare is cruel or unusual?

Anonymous said...

I urge any family memeber with a loved one in Dallas county jail to halt any monies to the commissary account.
If it was the offender paying the copay it would be different, BUT IT IS THE FAMILY PAYING. Give the offenders a job and pay them for it, using that money for healthcare. Cathy

Anonymous said...

I didn't 6:40, the courts did as it relates to counties having to provide for the medical costs and treatments of those indigent and housed in jail.

Prison Doc said...

Grits appears correct as usual. Regarding the increased TDCJ fee, most units have experienced a fairly dramatic drop in routine sick calls which ranged anywhere from "my back still hurts" to "my skin is turning purple" or "my teeth itch". It's too early to judge overall effect; all life-threatening, medication-requiring conditions are exempt from the fee, and no inmate is denied care because of an inability to pay. The fee currently is generating a lot of administrative grievances over what should be a charge item and what should not; rank and file providers still receive frequent conflicting updates as to what should be charged and what should not. As I said, it's too early to say if this will be a financial windfall for the correctional healthcare budget, or just another bad idea.

As an old private practice partner of mine used to say, "patients who say they don't care what it costs do not intend to pay the bill anyway."

Anonymous said...

tsk tsk. how about Grits finds those jails who have a million dollar commissary plaque on their walls? Think about it, a jail with approximately 2200 men selling 1,000,000 dollars worth of crap a year? THe commissary is well stocked with lots of junk food and the complaint is they never have the medication the pt demands, dandruff shampoo, lotion, allergy pills, etc.

tsk tsk. malinger away, especially after hours. What does it cost you the inmate? nothing.

Texas Maverick said...

Why do the articles incorrectly state that the purchases are "gummy bears." They buy toothpaste, socks, t-shirts, shoes, Tuna, chilli, sunflower seeds, envelopes, pens, stamps, chlorphen, ruler, ibuprofen, duplex cream, ear plugs, telephone minutes, writing tablet, cough drops, medicated body powder, cranberry juice, detergent, shoe laces, wash cloth, dill pickle, spoon, handkerchief, cereal bar, toilet tissue, electro drink mix,water bottle, shredded beef, pencil, greeting card, oatmeal - the same things anyone would buy at the grocery for normal living needs. I'm surprised at John Wiley Price, he should know better

dfisher said...

inummea AsignoWhen someone gives money to someone who has nothing it is called Charity. I can't think of another instance where the state taxes the receiver of charity.

Parkland Hospital treating Dallas Co. inmates is very problematic in that, Jeffery Barnard is head of autopsy services at Parkland, head of the autopsy department at the UT Southwestern Medical School and the Chief Medical Examiner for Dallas Co. All this while being an appointee to the TX Forensic Science Commission.

sunray's wench said...

@8.16 "Why should taxpayers be burdened with the cost of their own health insurance along with having to pay for some piece of shit child molestor to get everything for free?"

Yes, when it clearly should have been spent on your education instead. The majority of jail inmates are there for being drunk, drugs charges, writing hot cheques, that kind of thing. You can't use the bogeyman as an example for everything you don't like because that way you lose your credibility.

I think families would mind less about contributing to healthcare payments if the inmates actually received timely health care.

Sarrannah said...

This issue is something my state is currently talking about and has a bill before the legislature asking that inmates pay $1.50 per visit. On the surface, for those who have never dealt with the DOC, it sounds reasonable. However, as a family member to someone in their broken system, I resent it. I had nothing to do with why he is in there, but they are asking me to pay for it. I send money so he can have more than one blanket, so he can have shoes, so he can have warm clothes in winter, so he can buy vitamins so supplement a diet that includes food that comes in bags marked "For Prison Use Only," (It used to say "Not for Human Consumption"), and for all of his personal items. Now they are asking me to send money for him to be seen in Medical. In this State's system, if you go to Medical, you have to go three times for one illness before you will be allowed to see the doctor. The nurse will give you an aspirin and tell you to come back if it doesn't help. You will get no help beyond that until you have been there three times. So if this bill passes, a visit to the doctor will be $4.50, not $1.50. Yes, there is some malingering. However, I certainly would not contribute most of the downturn to less malingering. It could certainly be because those with no money are never told they can be seen anyway, AND because those with some money know it will take at least three visits @1.50 each before they can get any help. Most just won't go and hope the problem will go away - not unlike those of us who have no insurance on the outside.

Anonymous said...

Great video on youtube. Better even than the John Bradley one.

I think you look taller on TV.

ColeenSanLeon said...

As a mother of a previously incarcerated at TDC, I would not have minded so much to have contributed a co-payment towards medical. However, I did mind alot about the quality and timliness of the care he did receive.

Anonymous said...

Our jail implemented a stepped copay. $3 for prescriptions, $5 to see the nurse, $10 to see the doctor.

The $5 nurse copay counts towards the doc copay if you see both. Treatment for chronic conditions are not subject to charge. No one is denied if unable to pay.

Medical saw an immediate, and permanent, 65% drop in requests for medical service. It's been over a year now and there have been no observable ill0effects on inmate health.

Dante said...

Charging the inmates begins the slide down a slippery slope.

In China, they execute prisoners by shooting them in the head - then they charge the prisoner's family for the bullet.

I'm sure we can trust our criminal justice beauracracy, though.

Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

Anonymous said...

sunray welch, are you dyslexic? What is a checque? Do you mean check? Seems like you are the one in need of an education.

Incandesio said...

8:44 Uh...As they say in Texas "S.W. ain't from around here."

I believe that is how they spell 'check' in England. And Australia. And New Zealand. And pretty much everywhere except America.

Anonymous said...

7:58, I thought China was the Utopian society all of you liberals aspired to? You know, all those great notions of collectivism, social and financial equality, real socialized health care, no religion, etc. Why are you dissing their criminal justice system? It's bound to be an improvement over our own! I know Obama is doing his dead level best to take us there, but be patient! Just give him time. And y'all hush up about that 8th Amendment stuff! China doesn't have that and such notions just have no place in a society where it's all about the state promoting the "greater good."

The Homeless Cowboy said...

I agree with Grit's on this one, pretty much. I think the only people adversely affected are those whose families can only send a small amount say for extra food, and they lose that for their healthcare, although I agree with the payment schedule, .... I also know he needs the little extra food he's been buying. Now the family will stop sending money, so everyone loses. I admit I do not know the solution, but I know there are a lot of people in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Why should prisoners get free perks for being in prison/jail? It's way past time to make prison/jail an easy place to be. All these losers do is sit around and get fat and watch tv.
Don't like the food in prison? Quit committing crimes.
Don't want your family to have to pay for your medical care?
Quit committing crimes.
When criminals start being held responsible for their actions, that is when change will happen. Until then, they are a bunch of coddled pussies that complain about anything and everything.

Anonymous said...

As the wife of an inmate whose family does try to the best of their financial ability to support my husband and their father, we would pay whatever we could to ensure he received good medical care. Unfortunately this has never been the case from minor problems such as scabies to back surgery and more. I have seen his health deteriorate year by year. If charging families $100 would improve health care, I'm for it. So far it hasn't made a dent in quality care.

Anonymous said...

9:18am, Want better medical care? Quit committing felonies and you can have your choice in the freeworld of what doctor/hospital you want to go to. Criminals need to re-learn what right from wrong is. If they were never taught in the first place, they need to learn that while they are in prison.

Don said...

Puzzled that nobody even mentioned Scott's point that most county jail inmates haven't been convicted of anything. A large percentage of them won't be. But if they are in jail, they can't work. If they were not in jail, they might be working and paying their own medical. The point is, we have too many people in jail, unnecessarily, so it is costing taxpayers money, unnecessarily. Not just for health care, but the rest of the expenses, too. Because of high bonds, no PR bonds, incompetent counsel, etc.

Prison Doc said...

Don nailed it. Too damn many people locked up for minor nonviolent stuff.
We can't afford it. Need politicos with the balls to stop it...but they all want to increase it.

sunray's wench said...

Thanks Inacdesio.

Why is it that no one ever asks inmate families to pay for nice things? I'd be willing to pay for longer visits (I have to pay for a hotel room anyway). I'd be willing to pay for better vocational training for my husband. I'd even be willing to pay for some extra clothing in winter for him or an extra blanket, but we're not allowed to.

And for those Anons who keep calling it "free healthcare" it's not free. It is paid for by the taxes of those families who are working while their loved one is incarcerated. The state is taking two lots of money for the healthcare it is supposed to provide and still not making ends meet.

We don;t want it for free, we just want some evidence that the money taken by the state is actually being used for the purpose it was intended.

Dante said...

One more point about prisons charging inmates for health care:

As the budget crisis deepens, and the bureaucrats discover that the families of inmates have money which can be taken, how long will it take until those families are viewed as a captive revenue stream for everything from soup to nuts, while ignoring the health of the inmates?

Just like asset seizure, they will go for the money big time.

Anonymous said...

When Sheriff Willie Sutton was asked, "Why do you rob prisoners?" he answered, "Because that's where the money is."

Nurseypooh said...

The new $100.00 copay did cut down on the sick call submitted initially but we have seen an increase as of late of those that have already paid, they will tell us "I paid my $100.00 so I'm going to come in here every chance I get." Not to say they are always getting something they don't need so they can sell it, a lot of our providers are wise enough to not indulge into that game.
Good news-a new commissary list just came out and they are carrying a lot of otc meds which offender's can buy so they won't have to come to medical for the things they would treat themselves anyway, the list ranges from acne meds to yeast inf. cream and some better quality lotion etc.
About the families sending $. A lot of inmates have their own $, businesses, craft business inside of prison they sell to the freeworld and make good money at it, and then we have some who have pretty much burned all their bridges with their family and friends and have nothing but 3 hots, a cot, toothpowder, soap, 2 sets of clothes, shoes or boots, 2 sheets, 1 mattress and 1 or 2 blankets in winter and 1 coat, a razor weekly, 1 roll of tp weekly, a toothbrush and tylenol per pod policy. These items are not always the best quality but it is prison. If they get sick we treat them regardless of the balance in their commissary acct. medical doesn't have access to that info anyway.

Crain Watcher said...

Nurseypoo, Is right! I paid $100 medical fee and I instructed those that I paid it for, to go on sick call at least 33 times or I will not pay it next year for them. Dallas County will probably get away with it since TDCJ did. It costs the friends and family and the elected leaders will lose votes behind this with me this year. This will fly until some one files suit in court against it. It is funny how people in California do not hesitate to file suits in courts. The Commissioner with the gummy bear remarks, should be worry about what he may need if the FEDERAL charges against him go through. He is a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black. (No pun here). On my favorite unit in TDCJ, they haven't been able to buy Tampons, sanitary napkins, razors and even some sizes of women tennis shoes for the last two years. YOU THINK THEY CARE! NO! The people in charge have bragged about depriving women of these items. Just like in war, sexual assault is use as a weapon on this unit. All these medical fees approved by the elected leaders sends me a message to vote against them. Some of those people if you look at the news are not guilty in Texas prisons either. HMMM!!! In the Gatesville Gulags, medical is not at Constitutional level and a person sent to this unit could very well be a death sentence. The commissary on the Crain Unit is broken and the people running it are lost. Even Wal-Mart would not touch these people. I will be voting against any one holding a office in the state of Texas this year. I hate to say this but maybe karma will send some of these elected officials, their friends or family members into the current police state criminal justice system we have today and then they will sing a different tune.

Denver DUI Attorney said...

This is highly unfortunate. This is going to keep inmates from seeking medical care when they have mild issues such as colds. These diseases spread throughout the entire jail and often into prisons, costing the taxpayers serious money, when they are dealing with 1,000 sick people instead of 1. In addition, these people are Innocent until proven guilty. When we have deprived an innocent person of his liberty and his ability to work, the very least we can do is provide basic health care. To me, that is both a basic human right as well as a Constitutional issue to protect individuals when their right to liberty has been taken away (prior to a conviction).

Anonymous said...

If these folks are so stupid, criminal minded, and society oddballs, they deserve whatever in prison. They got in prison. Grow up. Get with the world situation. Tired of paying for idiots who are jailbirds. More Obama followers.

Crain Watcher said...

The world situation in this country and especially in the state of Texas is always point fingers at other countries and lecture them about their human right violations. Do as I say and not as I do? We always preach we are more humane and we are better than every country on this earth. Why want we just do what some other countries do and kill our citizens who practice free speach? The real world situation in this state (Texas) is only the poor go to prison and never the rich. Elected Officials and the people running the prison's are worst than any inmate sitting in prison, and the biggest joke here they always thump the bible to justify their inhumane actions. The prison employees are the first to say and I have heard this at visitation is "I can do it because I can" "no one will stop me or help you", "do as I say and not as I do". Sexual Misconduct being the biggest offense and then deny medical care, or write them up for refusal to work because they request medical care. What world are you living in. Let me see? I think they call it FANTASY LAND!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a question NurseyPoo. Does the unit you are on issue one razor a week like TDCJ rule say? I know for a fact that the Crain Unit stopped this practice and only issue one per month. I have been told by many inmates the guards laugh and torment them when they do strip searches because they are no longer able to shave for 3 weeks. The warden sent the razors they came into the commissary back and would not sell them to the inmates. The people running this unit enjoys tormenting the inmates and humiliating them. They have the wrong people wearing white unifroms on this unit.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

To the anonymous haters of offenders, your advise; that if people don’t like being in TDCJ then stop committing crimes. That rhetoric is illogical.
Let’s just say tough on crime is a real agenda and it worked. People for the most part stop committing crimes and TDCJ’s population drops 90% over the next year.
What the hell are we going to do with you people who work in state corrections?
Would it be possible to retrain you people to work in a free enterprise job?
Think about it?
Vocational skills and soft skills may be way too much for you people to take on. That’s why you work in corrections. The attitude adjustments you people would need to effectively work with people could be a tremendous burden on the tax payers. It would be cheaper to re-socialize the current offenders than you people. We would have to keep units open and continue to provide state charity jobs to protect society from you people. The state had to do that with Coryell County when the Feds closed down the Gatesville State School for Boys. There is precedence in Texas for this sort of state welfare for your kind.
So even if we only sent people to prison who are guilty of real crimes we would still need prisons to protect society from you people. You people need these offenders for your livelihood, so you should provide better customer service and a better ROI. As a tax payer your boss, next time you societal bottom feeders interact with an offender, kiss their ass.

As far as Gatesville, those humanoids down there make the rest of TDCJ appear as if it’s up for a humanitarian award.

It’s Schadenfreude how you gatesville humanoids treat those ladies and how your ancestors treated the children before them.

The state knew you humanoids couldn’t be assimilated outside that valley. Not to mention the fear of discovery of the children in unmarked graves your ancestors are responsible for. The best thing for society is to have you humanoids tossed in a hole next to Peckerwood Hill and move those ladies back to Goree. Why next to Peckerwood Hill, because you humanoids are not worthy to be in a hole at Peckerwood Hill.

sunray's wench said...

Crain Watcher said: "I paid $100 medical fee and I instructed those that I paid it for, to go on sick call at least 33 times or I will not pay it next year for them."

The money I send my husband doesn't come with strings attached. And frankly, you wont know whether they put in a sick call unless they tell you, so you'll just have to take their word for it anyway.

Our darling Anon said: "If these folks are so stupid, criminal minded, and society oddballs, they deserve whatever in prison. They got in prison. Grow up. Get with the world situation. Tired of paying for idiots who are jailbirds. More Obama followers."

Get with the world situation? Oh you must mean the majority of other countries who do not treat their inmates worse than captive animals and who understand the need for rehab and education because the inmates will be returning to society eventually. Yes, I fully agree with you there.

I'm not sure what the President has to do with it though. If you can find me a direct quote from him that says he disagrees with locking up people who break the law, then maybe we can discuss politics.

Don said...

Sunray's Wench: I understand the temptation but I think maybe we should not encourage this idiot by responding to his/her vitriolic nonsense.

aninmate'swife said...

I often see so many people say that criminals should have to pay for these fees, they need to learn their lesson, etc. It seems lost on everyone that these people do pay their own way. They are required to work for the state prison without pay. Without free inmate labor Texas could not sustain the prison system, not anywhere near what the current budget is at least. Part of the reasoning for free labor is to cover the care for the inmate. That is what pays for their way. They get a case if they don't go to work. Everyone receives work time, but really it has no impact on the release/parole date for the majority. If the state wants to pay the inmate for their work, fine start taking the fee out of their paycheck, until then it really isn't the inmate paying the fee and everyone knows that.

Humble wife said...

I think as long as we allow the opportunity for the inmate to provide for his/her incarceration. By this I mean raising gardens to feed the inmates, preserving foods, raising animals, working on road crews, and the likes. I do not think that the inmate should be exempt of working the traditional 40 hour week as those on the outside. This leaves them ill prepared to transition.

There is nothing wrong with work to provide for your punishment. I do not think that we should provide television or radio. I do not believe that inmates should be given perks or extra monies on their accounts. I think prison is hard and snacks etc, are part of what people should be giving up.

Michael Jewell said...

At a glance many readers agree that medical co-pay is a good thing. But those of us more intimately involved with TDCJ affairs know that there have been many negative consequences of the practice. Con-Care Services is a Texas inmate family organization and we receive a continuing influx of inmate letters/complaints. Since the implementation of the $100 medical copay we have been inundated with complaints, many of which are valid.
It is not only malingerers who now avoid going to sick call, we have heard from inmates who have lanced their own boils and even pulled their own teeth. Inmates with unidentified rashes and infections, some of which may be infectious and present a threat to other inmates and staff, also refuse to have them treated.
The co-pay is intended to defray medical cost to the state, but when minor ailments that could be nipped in the bud cheaply, turn into major problems, the state pays major bucks way over $100.
Such refusals are not born out of a sense of rebellion so much as to preserve what little money imates have in their trust fund accounts. As Grits readers are well aware, over the past few years the quality and quantity of food served in TDCJ has progressively deteriorated. Inmates who don’t have money often go to bed hungry.

Here are a few issues some Grits readers seem unaware of:
*Despite allegedly being exempt from the $100 co-pay, chronic care patients are being charged.
*Annual physical examinations are supposed to be exempt, but some inmates are being charged for this service.
*Follow-up care recommended by health care staff is supposed to be exempt, but inmates are being charged for such care.

We know of two Dallas attorneys who are presently researching ways to litigate against the co-pay law. Prisoner Lawsuits taken to fruition, win, lose or draw, cost Texas taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if they win, it can be millions, or even billions. Anybody remember Ruiz v. Estelle?

sunray's wench said...

Don ~ I know, but sometimes I just can't restrain myself.

Humble wife ~ just curious, why would you not allow inmates to have a radio? You do realise, I hope, that even though TDCJ inmates have limited access to TVs in the dayrooms, they do not have them in their cells and generally do not get to choose what they watch on the dayroom TVs.

Anonymous said...

This is an improvement to say the least. All other jails who are making "BIG BANK" off commissary should be required to pay for health costs from from profits and not the taxpayer.

Crain Watcher said...

Sunray, I do for many inmates out the kindness of my heart. I do not care what they do with the money; however, that is just my way of fighting what I believe is unfair, if the law makers want to play games, so be it and the 33 trips to the medical makes me feel better just to say it, as does all the people who say inmates should get nothing. I learned long ago when I made my fortune to help people. They can buy gummy bears too. I know the medical is not at Constitutionaal level at one unit and will tell the world of the abuses. I am not trying to be difficult but I do live in the real world also. I hate to say this but I would love to see some of these people on this blog have the tables turned on them. I might even buy them some gummy bears too.

sunray's wench said...

Crain Watcher ~ ahh I understand now, thanks for clarifying.

Anonymous said...

I worry about the fee because it could result in inmates not going for medical attention. The same deterring result occured when Congress passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Certainly the Act reduced frivolous court filings. But by taking away community attorney fees, and by adding strict time lines and rquired administrative steps, the Act has also kept many legitimate cases from reaching the courts.

rodsmith said...

well if this is true!

"Here are a few issues some Grits readers seem unaware of:
*Despite allegedly being exempt from the $100 co-pay, chronic care patients are being charged.
*Annual physical examinations are supposed to be exempt, but some inmates are being charged for this service.
*Follow-up care recommended by health care staff is supposed to be exempt, but inmates are being charged for such care."

And you can PROVE any of it! Sounds like time to visit the state police and file CRIMINAL charges and see if you put a few tdcj officals in JAIL! then we can see how they like it!

If it's not supposed to be taken then it's THEFT! or CRIMINAL MISAPPROPRIATION of private funds

either cna bring a little bit of time in the nearest STATE PRISON!

Helpful said...

I concur that humane treatment should be at the core of any such enterprise but I am in the minority on this topic, especially when it comes to inmates.

Good luck with persuading the public to change its collective opinion, right now such harsh treatment is used as a selling point by a wide variety of elected officials (and contrary to a few of you, it gains far more votes than it loses).

Anonymous said...

Seems like a good way to spread disease. Didn't we just come out from under a court order because inmates were losing skin to widespread infection. Short-sighted and mean.

Anonymous said...

"...I think the only people adversely affected are those whose families can only send a small amount say for extra food, and they lose that for their healthcare..."

In TDCJ, only 50% of your balance is deducted when money is owed. Example, if you deposit $20, they will take $10...this repeated for every deposit until the full $100. is collected.

If this happens "Here are a few issues some Grits readers seem unaware of:
*Despite allegedly being exempt from the $100 co-pay, chronic care patients are being charged.
*Annual physical examinations are supposed to be exempt, but some inmates are being charged for this service.
*Follow-up care recommended by health care staff is supposed to be exempt, but inmates are being charged for such care."

please advise the offender to submit an I-60 to the Unit Practice Manager - these charges can be refunded. This is a new and ongoing policy that was very vague in the beginning and has changed approximately 3 times. You are correct that patients should not be charged for the above but the providers have received mixed instructions. Again, these charges can be refunded if contested.