Prison Workers Should Have to Live Like Inmates For a Short Time

Removing programs and recreation time would probably stop.

Damian Delune

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Photo by Henry Boulind on Unsplash

When Demeter was researching another article, she ended up down a rabbit hole of other news stories, which happens quite often. One of them talked about rising healthcare costs in our state prisons. However, it wasn’t the costs so much as a comment made by a fiscal analyst presenting the statistics to an appropriations committee that stopped Demeter in her tracks.

He also blamed the incarcerated themselves, theorizing that perhaps some people are just looking for an excuse to inject some variety into the doldrums of prison life. “They’re bored,” Hamel said. “Offenders want a different setting. They want to talk and interact with other people other than those around them. And they do this by going and seeing the doctor.” — Sean Hamel source

When she read the direct quote to me I was just as annoyed by it as she was. I won’t lie and say there aren’t inmates who misuse the medical system. There are definitely some here at the camp where I’m housed who put in sick calls for numerous reasons who shouldn’t. Do some of them do it because they’re bored? Possibly. Do some do it because they want a different setting? It’s highly likely.

Why? When you’re locked in a room less than the size of a broom closet for 21 or more hours out of 24, you’ll begin to find any reason to get out of it. Even spend money to do so. Because yes, it costs you money to go on a sick call. If it’s not considered an emergency, it’s $7.

But for the most part, I believe those who go to the clinic for the wrong reasons are doing so to get meds to feed their drug habit — they’ll feign sickness they know will get them medications they can get high from. But being honest, most have learned they don’t have to go to the clinic for this, they can get mental health meds that do the trick.

Barring a few bad actors that I’m sure exist in every camp, and also taking into account how difficult it is to even get an appointment in the clinic, this statement by a fiscal analyst who I doubt has ever stepped foot inside one of the prisons, is maddening to someone who spends so much time stuck in such a small space.

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Damian Delune

Incarcerated writer sharing real stories about life on the inside, through my wife, Demeter Delune (editor, publisher, promoter, responder)