Improving Health Care in Delaware Prisons
The Delaware News Journal recently reported about ongoing litigation over health care conditions in that state’s prisons. Edward G. Williams, an inmate in the maximum security Vaughn Correctional Center, filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 claiming that he has been denied adequate treatment for his health problems, which include “a bulge the size of a canteloupe” in his abdomen. District Judge Joseph F. Farnan is overseeing the lawsuit.
Delaware contracts with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services — to the tune of almost $40 million a year — to provide health care services in its prisons (you can download a redacted version of the contract at the Delaware DOC website). As the News Journal reports, Delaware’s prison health care system is already under federal oversight as a result of earlier litigation:
Williams’ claim comes as the Delaware Department of Correction is being credited by the U.S. Justice Department with showing significant progress under a three-year mandate to improve prison health care for its more than 6,900 inmates. When the agreement was extended last month for another two years, the federal government said the department met 214 of its 217 original health care mandates.
Though there are still problems, Corrections Commissioner Carl C. Danberg said prison health care is far better than it was three years ago when a series by The News Journal revealed high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS and suicides.