Why is health care in prisons found substandard?
Although providing health care in prisons shouldn’t distinct much from providing health care generally to any patients, specific conditions in these institutions are inevitably reflected onto medical service. This is partially due to the specific rules regulating routine in prisons and partially due to the profiles of patients and common diseases found in these places. You will find a set of illnesses commonly present in every population in prison too, but some diagnoses, such as HIV, hepatitis C, mental issues, STD, substance abuse issues and others are more frequently found in prisons. Prisons in Georgia are not much different than prisons in other countries and all of them are facing substandard health care as a chronic problem. There are many reasons for this and experts are trying hard to address all of them.
Limited budget for health care
There are laws in every country, in Georgia as well, guaranteeing prisoners’ basic human right to achieve quality medical service. However, the state’s budget constraints are rather tight narrowing the capacity of achievable health care significantly. Therefore, many diagnostic methods or commonly available therapies and treatments are often not available to the guys in jails due to a simple lack of money.
Limited space reserved for the infirmary
Most health care in prisons is provided by general practitioners and many other specialists are consulted when and if needed. GPs usually work in quite incapacious infirmaries with a limited assortment of instruments, tools and diagnostic devices. This narrows down significantly the capacity of the overall available medical care and takes time to reach advanced expertise if one is needed.
A limited number of experts and volunteers
Considering the mere nature of the job, most medical experts are not really thrilled about the idea of working in prison. Some of them are simply afraid of the environment, potential violence, risky diseases quite common here and all other properties. Other see this job as a low-level achievement in medical career and some are just repulsed by the low salaries and rough working conditions. Therefore, the health care system in prisons usually lacks stuff and quality experts, as well as counselors and various kinds of required volunteers.