From Prison Reform Series
15 February 2004
Subject: Prisoner Health Care
Illinois prisoners are being murdered with impunity by means of medical neglect and abuse. The legal liabilities the state has created over twenty years by the unsupervised use of private contracting for medical care, is enough to bankrupt fifty states. Yet, your focus is fixed upon costs and cost containment. Until quality of care becomes your focus, your legal liabilities for negligent homicides will skyrocket until a class action lawsuit ends the murders and injuries.
Start with the examination of individual prisoner lawsuits based on medical complaints, over the past twenty years. How many were filed twenty years ago? How many last year? What was the nature of complaints? What was the disposition of these suits? How many plaintiffs died before their suits were settled? How many suits were dismissed due to legal and technical issues? How many of you care about the answers to these questions?
Your problem is fairly simple to see, define and solve. It begins with definitions. Health Care: The PREVENTION of disease. Medicine: The treatment of symptoms and diseases caused by the lack of health care. There is little institutional health care available in America at any price. Only medicine. Medicine which treats, seldom cures and often multiplies illness in ways no one observes, including the patient. Where does the name patient come from? It applies to all citizens awaiting medical help. If you want any help at all, you must be patient.
When cost containment of medical care is your primary objective, you must shift focus from medicine to health care. An ounce of prevention is worth ten to one hundred pounds of cure. Prisoners require pounds of prevention, due to a high stress lifestyle forced upon them 365 days, without a break.
Stress destroys immune function. The more continuous and prolonged the stress, the greater the immune destruction. Every prisoner has depressed immune function within six months of entry into your disease mills. You are creating the problem by the nature of imprisonment itself. You have three good solutions to your problem and there may well be more. If you apply them, you can learn more about true health care in two years, than the medical establishment has learned in the past century. This can be passed along to your free citizens in inexpensive health care programs. You have a golden opportunity with a captive population to create health care as an alternative to the medicine no one can afford or really wants. You can quickly create a health care model for the world.
1.Feed your prison population better than you feed your family. You have the choice not to eat as you should, but as you like. You pay for poor choices in sickness and disease, over time. Prisoners have no option but to eat what is provided. Super nutrition has been shown to substantially boost human immune function. Super nutrition can most simply be defined as double the recommended dietary allowances of fresh fruits, vegetables, and high quality protein, along with access to a wide range of dietary supplements. Supplements such as those commonly found in prison commissaries, but not limited to those.
Dietary supplement costs should be heavily subsidized by the state to encourage prisoners to use them. Outlaw all processed foods in the dining halls. Cakes, breads, pasta, meats, sugar, etc.. Whole grain products only, preferably organically grown, which will also support a growing segment of the Illinois economy, organic agriculture. Fifty per cent or more of the diet must be fresh and raw. Temperatures above 118 degrees F. destroy life giving enzymes. Dead food creates dead people and live food, vibrant health. Between life and death, the condition is health or dis ease.
2.The greatest nutrition at the lowest cost is obtained from raw, live sprouts. Sprouts are grown indoors, without soil or light. From soak to harvest, crops typically require 1 to 7 days. All nuts, seeds and grains sprout to create a new plant. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, are rich sources of protein and dietary oils. Pound for pound, fresh, live sprouts have greater nutritional value than the seed they come from or the plants they become. Pure water and a few days of regular rinsing is the cost of production, plus the vertical cabinets or trays required. Sprouts like temperatures between sixty and eighty degrees. Perfect for indoor production. Four square feet of floor space can produce a half ton of super food in one week.
3. With the assistance of Illinois Master Gardeners, state lands near prisons can be made into organic orchards, gardens and vineyards which produce a wide variety of foods and natural medicines, year round. These slash costs of health care and medicine alike. They require a fair initial investment to begin producing and save more money every year thereafter, as they expand. The initial costs of superior sprouts are much lower and the best reason to start there. Inmate labor can produce further cost savings and many would love to learn the basic life skill of feeding their selves and others with health producing foods. Sick people often cost more than they can produce.
4.Apply measures to reduce stress in the prisons. Ear or headphones for TVs and radios. Ear protectors or plugs to reduce the constant din of daytime living. Encourage prisoner suggestions for reducing stress. Adopt the most reasonable.
5.Employ health and medical professionals who are well versed in alternative, natural and integrative medicine and health care. This will quickly reduce medical costs in conjunction with super nutrition. Pay them well and give bonuses for medical cost reductions each year they produce them for you.
6.Totally separate prison health and medical care from the IDOC. If the health care professionals do not have complete autonomy, administrators will forever create obstacles for them because their functions are initially in opposition. Administrators are forever under pressure to cut costs, which has led to the prison murders now widely practiced for the sake of profit and cost cutting. The moral issue is many times greater than the cost issue.
7.Reduce prison populations by making punishments fit the crimes. This creates immediate cost savings. More than half your prison population never deserved to be locked in a cage and should be released. The correct punishment for theft is restitution, double, or triple restitution. For example: Misdemeanor theft is single restitution. Felony theft is double restitution to the victim. Armed robbery is triple restitution.
Those who refuse to restore their victims go to low security work houses that produce more food than required by prison and work house populations. The surplus is sold on the retail market to offset corrections expenses. Regardless of global economic conditions, there will always be a market for good food. A thief who learns the value of intensive organic agriculture need never steal again. Every crime that creates a victim must compensate the victim(s) first and foremost, inside or outside state supervision or custody. This is justice. Compare it to what you are calling justice, where all the costs of crime are laid on victims and taxpayers. Small wonder you are focused on costs.
Victimless crimes can be punished by fines and fines alone. This adds low cost state revenue and lots of it. Habitual offenders go to the state work facilities where they earn their keep and produce a profit, six days per week. A percentage of all prisoner production is paid to victims, prisoner dependents, prisoner savings and monthly prisoner allowance. When prisoners release, they have a small bankroll and new skills to help them re integrate with society. When crime is seen as the best option after release, crime is what you create.
8.For more than thirty years, health care and alternative medical breakthroughs have been suppressed by a professional medical monopoly. Every year, conscientious and compassionate doctors are leaving the monopoly to learn and teach the principles of health care and preventive medicine. More than a half dozen of them are becoming wealthy by simply passing along what they are learning to newsletter subscribers and book buyers. They are educating the public about the difference between health care and bad medicine.
The best of these doctors are selling monthly, eight page newsletters in language ordinary people can easily understand. The typical annual subscription price for these newsletters is $40 per year. They are worth many times their cost. Multi year subscriptions are discounted or accompanied by a dozen or more reports on specific medical and health care issues. Years of back issues are also available.
Most of these alternative doctors would probably allow unlimited newsletter reproduction rights for prisons. As prisoner health improves with health care and alternative medicine, more and more inmates will want to know all about personal health care, instead of lawsuits. If the prison library also stocked a hundred recent books on the subject, some percentage of the prison population would know more about health care than the typical MD., in less than a year. They would gladly assist the state staff in identifying health problems in the population and will learn much that can be applied to any citizen health care program upon release.
You could be training health care professionals in your prisons that will not require college degrees to be extremely useful to Illinois society. There is a lot to learn and newsletters, more than books, report all the very latest breakthroughs.
Your prison population could create health care plans every state in America could use to improve citizen health and dramatically reduce personal medical expenses. Publish the results of this experiment on the Internet and create a positive model for global health care.
The health care industry is in its infancy and growing faster than most every other industry, save prison building and government. Your only alternative to reform is to impoverish your citizens until you are economically and psychologically worse off than Alabama. Not much of a goal, do you think?
9.When government becomes all about cost/ benefit ratios, it becomes critical to compare short term versus long term benefits. I know of few states with that much vision, perhaps because our educations do not teach vision but destroy reason and imagination, the two major components of vision. I have focused my attention on Illinois because Illinois has been executing a prisoner I know and love, at Stateville and Menard, over more than three years. I have sought the Governor's help to stop the execution. I have enclosed Jimmy's story of his own execution so you can have a better idea of what goes on in Illinois behind closed doors. I am publishing all I know about Illinois Prison Murders on the Internet in hopes of finding legal assistance to end this criminal behavior.
It seemed good to me to point out an opportunity for the State of Illinois to become the first and most progressive model in the world for compassionate government, in a very few years. Thank you for your time, attention and consideration. I will happily correspond with any who might wish to further discuss this crisis.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Freelance writer published on websites and in newspapers.