Two Supreme Court decisions – one 35 years ago and another May 2011– are having profound impacts on how the states provide health care to their prison populations.
Estelle v. Gamble established “in order to state a cognizable Section 1983 claim for a violation of Eighth Amendment rights, a prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, and that medical malpractice did not rise to the level of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ simply because the victim was a prisoner.”
Brown v. Plata resulted in the release tens of thousands of California prison inmates. As California’s prisons are designed to house a population just under 80,000. The over-crowding of facilities resulted in inadequate medical and mental health care of inmates and violation of the inmates’ Eight Amendment Rights.
For full article see Two US Supreme Court Prison Decisions Puts Heat on US Prisons & Inmate Health Care by Albert Woodard.