updated March 21st, 2016 > This is unconscionable! It has been a almost a year since I posted this piece. Mumia Abu-Jamal STILL has NOT gotten all the medical treatment he needs. He is NOW gravely ill again and awaiting a court decision for Hepatitis C treatment which was denied to him (and 10,000+ inmates) by the Pennsylvania Corrections Department. Federal District Court Judge Mariani will decide whether or not Mumia will receive life-saving Hepatitis C treatment. See the fact sheet here > http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/letters/pdf/PR1_Factsheet.pdf Meanwhile, Leonard Peltier who was diagnosed with a potentially fatal Enlarged Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm in January 2016 at USP Coleman 1 needs to “wait” until the Aneurysm grows larger before he can have necessary surgery! With Leonard’s history of unstable Diabetes, Hypertension and more the “wait” could cost him his life! His medical/health conditions must be closely followed by medical professionals; this is NOT happening. It does NOT matter where a Prisoner is housed within the USA Penal System , what matters is that no matter where they are incarcerated, Inmates CONTINUE to be denied appropriate & timely medical/health care which is their Constitutional & Human Right! Prison/ Criminal Justice “Reform” has not touched upon this area. With numbers of Juveniles, Men & Women somewhere in the vicinity of 6 million+ housed in Detainment Facilities (Jails, Prisons, Immigrant Centers, Private Prisons, etc) this continues to be a major Public Health problem!
updated 6/6/15 > Mumia’s health has improved thanks to pressure from supporters world-wide, however the Pennsylvania Bureau of Prisons continues to interfere with his Medical Treatment; this remains a blatant Constitutional Violation at both the Federal and State level.
updated 4/23/15 > Loretta Lynch is now the Federal Attorney General
April 12, 2015
Dear President Barack Obama, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Governor Tom Wolf & Others who should be concerned;
There is an urgent situation within the Penal Systems of the United States. This situation has been long-standing, but has been recently brought into the spotlight as so often happens. I’ve written often to both President Obama and Attorney General Holder about the needs of Federal Prisoners especially Native American Leonard Peltier (89637-132). I fully realize jurisdiction over State Prisoners falls to the Governors & Attorney Generals of each individual State, but I feel this urgent situation is such that there needs to be the broadest awareness with the quickest appropriate remedies possible. I bring this urgency to you all today because the lives of Federal, State, and all other Prisoners are at risk no matter where they are incarcerated. Very recently I wrote an essay for my Internet blog entitled “American Prisons; A Public Health Crisis” > http://wp.me/p43rgb-fn After I wrote my piece I found the following article posted on the Internet from a reliable source > http://wp.me/pTjOC-6HO making it more than obvious to me that there is no accountability of merit regarding the health and welfare of those who are incarcerated.
I feel certain that Dr. Murthy will attest to the fact that the moral code of ethics for physicians must be followed no matter to whom or at where they are administering medical care. This follows suit that those who work under the guidance of a physician must also follow a code of ethics. Very sadly such is not always the case.
The life of African American Mumia Abu-Jamal/aka Wesley Cook (#AM 8335) is in very real jeopardy from medical neglect by the State Prison where he resides in Frackville, PA. He had collapsed at the prison on March 30th and was transported to a local hospital where he was found to be in Diabetic Shock; Mumia did not have a history of Diabetes. After 2 days still having an elevated unstable blood glucose level, he was transported back to the prison because the hospital said they needed to use his bed for another patient. Due to Mumia’s status as a Political Prisoner his situation has been made public. He had been under the care of the prison’s medical staff because of a skin condition and other symptoms that continued to worsen for a number of months prior to his collapse. The symptoms Mumia experienced and continues to experience have been seen by family and friends who’ve visited him. The medical neglect that has been imposed upon Mumia is apparent. Physical examination and lab testing should have alerted prison medical staff of the severity of Mumia’s worsening condition. Indeed, the onset of his symptoms should have been an indication that he was having serious issues. SomeOne or SomeOnes were NOT doing there jobs….and Mumia’s “care” is still an obvious case of continued Negligence by the Pennsylvania State Prison System. Mumia’s support network have been contacting key individuals demanding that he see a Physician (Endocrinologist) of his choice and that the Prison provide him with appropriate Treatment for his Diabetes including necessary nutrition & diet; thus far these requests have fallen upon deaf ears. Medical services at SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, PA are contracted out to Correct Care Solutions, LLC a company based in Nashville, TN that employs over 7,000 employees and cares for approximately 250,000 inmates in 37 states. Sources within the Prison Grapevine state that numerous complaints have been launched against this company from a number of places that they contract with… including SCI Mahanoy.
Having been a supporter/advocate for Leonard Peltier for many years I have on occasion contacted various prisons where he has resided regarding his own healthcare. I had always been assured that his treatment was adequate and timely; I knew this to be false. There have been times that Leonard’s symptoms were ignored and his medications were not administered or they were decreased due to “budget cuts”. Leonard has had long-standing Diabetes and to do without closely monitored blood glucose levels and medications could prove to be deadly….the same is VERY true for Mumia and ALL inmates with Diabetes wherever they are housed.
Both Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier are considered “Political Prisoners” based upon their Social Activism for the People. Both have maintained their innocence for the crimes they supposedly committed with no factual evidence of guilt presented by the FBI during the infamous COINTELPRO era. Their racial/ethnic ancestry has also been a factor. In American Prisons, Jails, Detainment Centers, etc. Medical/Health treatment is woefully lacking…and by law it should be administered despite guilt (or innocence). Because of both Mumia’s and Leonard’s “celebrity” status more of the public has been made aware of the reprehensible conditions in the American Penal Systems. The WORLD is Aware and has been Aware for a long time!
I ask you all to Please do all you can to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal by allowing him the medical treatment that is his human right! In Closing… “to willfully neglect, refuse to administer or procrastinate giving humane medical treatment and healthcare to prisoners is torture. So too is withholding needed treatment and care for political and bureaucratic reasons. I refer you to the United States Constitution, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to the Geneva Convention; although the Geneva Convention refers to War, prison in my mind is War (BFW)”.
Respectfully I thank you for your time and consideration. In Peace.
Bonnie F. Walker, RN, BS, LNC