Apocalypse Hoosegow Part IV: Prison Doctor Purgatory

Oh, there are so many fun ways we can go here. The first might be to address the teeming mass of Americans who believe increasing prison healthcare spending will mean that inmates can expect better medical services than the rest of us. Failure to scrutinize the source of such claims, stories, and diatribes – and yes, I meant “source,” singularly – has resulted in widespread but misapplied taxpayer indignation. Like most of you, though, I’ve learned that those who rely on only one or two sources for any public discourse are usually the same ill-informed faultfinders who are really only seeking confirmation of their own beliefs. This is and will continue to be the cradle of all narrow-minded tantrum throwers.

Another way to go would be to speak to those who assert, quite literally, that physician neglect and medical incompetence in our prisons no longer exist. Today’s entry would end right here if I chose to go that route.

Given that California prisons are such a hotbed of ineptitude and “surprises,” we could always go after our old friend J. Clark Kelso and the shell game he and the prison guard’s union have made of the federal receivership designed to eliminate California’s constitutional insufficiencies. But we’ve been there and done that.

I could also urge you to consider the word of someone who has experienced prison medical care first hand, someone who can share stories of bumbling, lying, and boozing medical cast-offs in action. That would be your family parolee, or your buddy’s friend who did time. That would be any number of people with whom you’re familiar who have experienced the criminal court system. And don’t give me any of this, elitist, who me?, holier-than-thou business either, because incarceration in America is no longer about “those people.” It’s about every race and every socio-economic destiny. It’s about us people.

Me? I’m happy it was revealed that the highest-paid California employee in 2010 was a prison surgeon with a history of mental illness, incompetence, and censure from treatment because medical supervisors don’t trust his clinical skills. It means the curtain has finally been pulled back in a way the state of California has never seen. Taxpayers can see where their money is going, and as we round the corner to another election the people promising reform are going to have to start delivering for a change.

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