Legal Guide

Guide to Securing Proper Medical for an Imprisoned Loved One

Detention or imprisonment, while confining an individual’s movement, and restricting their agency and free will as are otherwise available readily on the other side of the bars, cannot be a legitimate ground for curtailing their fundamental human rights. Proper medical care and access to modern medicine, along with other basic healthcare amenities, is a demand that should be met without hesitation or delay. While serving the prescribed sentence, an inmate’s proper physiological condition is the State’s duty to maintain.

Why Is Healthcare a Concern Behind Bars?

Medical protection becomes a source of anxiety for those behind bars. Detention centers or State prisons, for one, are not exactly pristine. When coupled with the fact that a few hundreds or thousands are huddled under the same roof, the likelihood of contracting diseases, both minor and grave, increases tenfold. While the prison authorities are legally obligated to provide inmates with healthcare facilities, they are only meant to be adequate or the most basic and/or temporary remedy, essential to their survival. They need not be the best treatment options available or even the standard ones.

How, then, can you protect an imprisoned loved one from falling prey to ill health during the course of their sentence?

Legal Backing

The most important support that you can obtain comes through via the Constitution. The United States allows its inmates to plead the 8th Amendment, which prohibits them from being subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment”, denial of proper medical care inclusive. In a similar fashion, the Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA recognizes inmates in need of chronic medical attention, such as those with a handicap or those suffering from diabetes. Failure on the part of the authorities to uphold the medical rights of such inmates classifies as discrimination. In cases such as these, one can move court. Additionally, inmates are also provided with concise handbooks regarding their rights in prison so as to recognize their violation immediately.

In order to prove medical indifference, one must cover four grounds:

Serious Medical Condition that Prison Authorities Know Of

A court will only entertain a legal suit if the inmate in question was one with a serious medical need, whose gravity and immediacy for treatment could have been recognized by a layman. This condition needs to be diagnosed and certified by a licensed medical professional. Additionally, records should also show that the inmate’s condition had been communicated in depth and detail to prison authorities beforehand. This includes written complaints, formal letters, a detailed headlining of the same for the medical history part of their case file. Not only do they serve their intended purpose, but they can also be used as recorded evidence in case the matter needs to be taken up in court as counters to prison authorities feigning ignorance regarding the inmate’s plight.

While compiling evidence against authority in court, the inmates and their counsel must be absolutely organized, with correct dates, copies and well-structured arguments and claims to present.

Deliberate Indifference Needs to Be Shown

While this particular provision does not encompass every inmate and their demand for medical professionals, serious, life-threatening situations or situations that may take a turn for the worse need to be dealt with immediately and effectively by the prison authorities with the help of trained medical professionals. While determining whether “deliberate indifference” has indeed been shown depends on the particulars of each case, air-tight cases, where delay or denial of medical care has been meted out to an inmate with a serious medical condition, factors besides medical have been considered to determine the inmate’s claim to healthcare, neglecting an inmate’s grievances related to medical matters, are usually ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

Consequences of the Lack of Treatment

If the lack or delay of treatment has caused the inmate harm, it constitutes sufficient cause to approach the court. Evidence of the harm can be documented by means of hospital bills, medical records, or through testimonies of the medical professionals who were involved in their care. If the inmate fears that the lack or delay of treatment might prove severe in the long run, although no tangible consequence has resulted till date, a doctor’s testimony and professional opinion can be consulted in court to reaffirm the ill effects of the inadequate medical care being offered in the prison.

Legal Counsel Should Be Spot-On

Situations such as these require experienced and strategic legal counsel to help the inmate maneuver through the loopholes that the defense team might utilize to escape scot-free. These are delicate cases, where evidence is not always concrete or blatant and in certain cases, the authorities do try to cover up records that might show their incompetence. Legal experts need to be consulted to combat this system tactically. The lawyers, paralegals and the dedicated teams at Inmate are quite experienced in this domain of legal work.

Concluding Remarks

The claim to adequate healthcare facilities, even behind bars, is a perfectly legitimate one, and on being denied access to the same, it is possible and necessary to move court.

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