This article analyzes the medical needs and treatments of inmates within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and makes policy recommendations based on the findings.
The author explains that there were three main goals for this research project. The first goal was to develop a system-wide data repository and health care review process. The second goal was to analyze disease prevention and health care delivery patterns in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The third goal was to develop recommendations for health care delivery and policy. The main results indicate that the prevalence of all medical conditions among inmates in the TDCJ during 1998 was 29.6 percent for infectious diseases, 10.8 percent for mental disorders, and 6.3 percent for respiratory problems. A breakdown of additional ailments is provided in this article. The author also discusses and provides data for the way in which inmates were treated for HIV/AIDS, active pulmonary tuberculosis, depression, psychosis, and diabetes. Based on this data, the author recommends that personnel target young inmates for diabetes medication since this group showed the lowest compliance scores with regard to both insulin and oral medication use. Furthermore, the author found that depressed inmates over the age of 50 were less frequently prescribed pharmacotherapy than the younger depressed inmates. Thus, TDCJ personnel should determine why this population has lower rates of medication and correct the situation. Finally, the findings suggest that Black inmates who suffer from psychotic disorders are less likely to receive medication to treat this disorder, which presents another area of concern for TDCJ personnel. Tables
Date Published: March 1, 2001