Urgent Update; 1/8/16 — For close to a year now *Leonard Peltier has complained of feeling increasingly ill and has continually requested medical treatment. He was finally seen by Prison Medical Staff and diagnosed with an enlarged Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm; a potentially deadly condition. The Prison says it will schedule tests and surgery. From past experiences we know Leonard has NOT received timely Medical Treatment. Leonard is a Federal Prisoner, his life is in the hands of his current facility; USP Coleman 1 in Florida, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and President Barack Obama. An Alert has been sent out to Leonard’s Supporters to contact Leonard’s Prison, The Federal Bureau of Prisons and President Obama. This is grave situation >> http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/general/new-health-emergency-for-leonard-peltier/
This Is An Open Letter To All Who Should Be Concerned And To Those Who May Be Interested:
There is an extreme problem happening within America’s Penal System that must be addressed. It’s within all types of detainment centers from local to state to federal and private. Proponents of “Prison Reform” have not addressed this issue; no one has. It’s that ugly elephant in the room that no one wants to notice. Some have danced around this issue but they have not addressed it head on. As I write this I’m fully aware that other pieces will be forthcoming and many will be more eloquent than mine. When you put the thought out in the ethers others pick it up. Good. The lives of too many are at stake.
Under article eight of the United States Constitution it states that for all convicted Prisoners, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” It has long been historically mandated that medical care and treatment is a Human Right for all Prisoners and failure to give necessary medical treatment is considered a violation of this article. This failure to ignore/neglect/withhold medical treatment exists not only for those “convicted”, but also for those who are pursued, arrested, and taken into police custody prior to conviction. It is known through prison advocates, human rights advocates, legal advocates and prisoners themselves that medical care by and large is woefully lacking in most detainment facilities in America. Medical Neglect & Indifference runs rampant; this is what I call another form of Slow Genocide. It’s an odd thing, when someone is on deathrow awaiting execution they are treated for any serious medical condition they have so that they will be as healthy as possible when they are murdered by their respected States.
In April 2015 I wrote a piece called American Prisons; A Public Health Crisis (with mention of #MumiaAbuJamal) > https://mommofo2.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/american-prisons-a-public-health-crisis/ and here I push the subject further on.
It’s well known that America houses the most prisoners in the world with numbers around 2+ million depending on what you read. This does not seem to include Metropolitan (Town, City, County, etc) Jails, Juvenile Centers, or some other types of Detainment Centers so the numbers balloon to a total of what some reports say is well beyond 6 million! Because individuals on probation or parole are also denied their basic human rights, this number again balloons even higher…and even after probation and parole the stigma of incarceration lingers and human rights continue to be denied. The numbers of individuals mostly within racial/ethnic minorities, low socioeconomic levels, and those with mental illnesses and other disabilities who have or have had their Constitutional/Legal, Civil, Human (and Treaty where applicable) Rights violated by our very own governments is staggering….and continues to grow. Degree of guilt or crime is immaterial. Innocence is immaterial. Once someone is imprisoned they are treated as guilty and even as reasonable doubts and actual innocence may surface few if any are totally ever Free of the stigma of being an American Prisoner.
The monetary cost of incarceration is exorbitant; there is a huge expense in housing well over 2-6 million individuals for days and years on end. However big business and private (prison) corporations reap high benefits from this indentured servitude and with their contracts with both State and Federal Governments. After all, the Prison industry is an economic mainstay in America that has been force-fed to grow bigger. One way that operating expenses are kept down is to cut-back, neglect, and deny medical care to inmates. This happens in many ways quite simply by withholding/denying/ignoring, or reducing necessary medications and other necessary diagnostic procedures & treatments. Prisoners no matter if they are actually innocent or guilty are nothing more than commodities; like slaves their humanity has been stripped from them and their lives are considered worthless and they become nothing more than chattel.**
America’s prisons/jails/detaining facilities are a hotbed of infectious diseases due to overcrowding, poor sanitation, poor nutrition and staff that are untrained, undertrained or unwilling to follow protocols for infectious diseases, safety, and ethical care. In some of these facilities inmates themselves are used as “staff” for the worst of menial jobs…and that includes caring for those with contagious diseases. Of concern is the growing epidemic of Hepatitis C. Its prevalence not only grows inside America’s various forms of Prisons; the prevalence grows within the general population as well. Hepatitis C is caused by a virus and is transmitted through blood; it can be both acute and chronic. The actual known cases of Hepatitis C in the general population is unknown; there are however estimates that perhaps 4 million people are infected. Individuals can become infected and be symptom free until they begin to feel the effects of the disease, which could take many years if not decades. There are also individuals with HepC, who never become ill, but they still carry the living virus and can spread the disease. Once the disease becomes active the results are devastating and can lead to death…unless appropriate treatment is given. Until recently, there has been no cure for Hepatitis C. In America’s penal system there have been estimates that 1 in 3 prisoners may be positive for HepC. Some but not all detainment facilities within the vast American Prison Empire test inmates for HepC; however prisoners do not necessarily get the results of their tests. Reports indicate that although there may be protocols for both testing and then treating inmates for HepC, these protocols in actuality are rarely if ever followed. An Internet website that has useful and more current information than seen on other websites is The National Hepatitis Corrections Network (NHCN) http://www.hcvinprison.org/; they also have good resource links.
It seems more than sensible that both the General Populace and Individuals within America’s vast Penal System should be treated for HepC. In the past few years new drugs have emerged that produce an actual cure rate that is impressive. These drugs are very costly. There is something evil and perverse within American Pharmaceutical Companies that would produce an effective drug that could reduce the incidence of an epidemic and potentially deadly disease…yet make it unaffordable to the people who need it most.
But there is more than just cost that plays into the treatment of HepC…especially for Prisoners — Politics, Greed, and Prejudice come into play. Why pay to medically treat or cure Inmates…America’s Chattel. And…. it is more than HepC. The medical neglect and indifference towards America’s incarcerated includes all forms of diseases, conditions, injuries, etc. We see this now as the State of Pennsylvania denies *Mumia Abu-Jamal treatment for his Hepatitis C after almost killing him when he developed an acute onset of Diabetes (brought on by the HepC he was unaware of….though his prison knew). We’ve seen this on and off for nearly 4 decades as the Federal Government has at times withheld *Leonard Peltier’s Diabetes and Blood Pressure Medications. Shockingly *Sandra Bland’s (R.I.P.) “suicide” in a Texas County Jail could have and should have been prevented. The truth of the matter is there are and have been countless individuals who have not been in the public eye who have been and are currently being medically neglected and treated with indifference within the American Prison Empire. For those of us who have had or now have Loved ones in America’s jails, prisons, detainment centers, on parole, on probation, or “living with their pasts”….we know of this neglect; we have seen it first-hand. We are in the millions and our numbers are far greater than those with HepC and other contagious diseases!
There is and has been a long established Slow Genocide in American Prisons through Medical Neglect and Indifference that few are willing to acknowledge or recognize. Who cares if inmates become deathly ill and die without compassionate and appropriate care? Who cares if inmates are beaten, brutalized, and killed or found dead from “probable suicides”? Certainly “prison reform” does not address any of this, but then again we are talking about those deemed “undesirable” by a Justice System and its Advocates who have knowingly incarcerated innocent individuals in local, state, and federal detainment facilities due to their own malfeasance and misconduct putting their bias/prejudice/racism, politics and greed before real Justice. Who cares? I do…..and I know there are so many others who also care! AND…..We will continue to speak out for those who thru Medical Neglect and Indifference are too weak to speak or no who longer have a voice.
…..“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)”.
For information on Mumia Abu-Jamal please go to > http://www.freemumia.com/
For information on Leonard Peltier please go to > http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/
Sandra Bland‘s death from “suicide” remains questionable to many.
** Chattel = personal property such as livestock, furniture, slave.