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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life in prison is good for black men?

That is surely how some legislators will spin this story, from a study of inmates in North Carolina.

From the article:

"Black men are half as likely to die at any given time if they're in prison than if they aren't, suggests a new study of North Carolina inmates.

"The black prisoners seemed to be especially protected against alcohol- and drug-related deaths, as well as lethal accidents and certain chronic diseases."

But why? Here is the kicker:

"Ironically, prisons are often the only provider of medical care accessible by these underserved and vulnerable Americans," said Hung-En Sung of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

"Typically, prison-based care is more comprehensive than what inmates have received prior to their admission," Sung, who wasn't involved in the new study, told Reuters Health by email.


"What's very sad about this is that if we are able to all of a sudden equalize or diminish these health inequalities that you see by race inside a place like prison, it should also be that in places like a poor neighborhood we should be able to diminish these sort of inequities," said Evelyn Patterson, who studies correctional facilities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

"If it can be done (in prison), then certainly it can happen outside of prison," Patterson, who wasn't linked to the new work, told Reuters Health.

Get that? Black men die more on the outside because they do not have access to quality health care. On the inside--in prison for committing crimes that we abhor--they get quality health care.

Conservatives will probably call for an elimination of quality health care in prisons, because after all, criminals don't deserve quality health care, paid for by taxpayers.

Liberals might say, let's just make sure we provide access to quality health care to all, since it is a human right.

Either way, it is a sad reality that, for many, quality of health care is better in prison than it is in the free world. That's a horrific indictment of our society and what its people find permissible.


  1. Healthy food, hygienic living are a few luxuries black men can afford in prisons.
    Paul @ Criminal Justice Degrees Online

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