Healthcare in New York Prisons 2004-2007

Source: Jack Beck, Correctional Association of New York, February 2009
The New York State Assembly has requested that the Correctional Association (CA) provide its Health and Corrections Committees with an assessment of healthcare in New York State prisons.

The CA has statutory authority to visit state prisons and report to the public and policymakers about the conditions it observes and its recommendations for improvements. Correctional Association staff last testified about healthcare before these committees in December 2003.
As part of its current analysis, the CA has developed a new series of recommendations for the governor, the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the legislature to address the status of medical care provided to state inmates.

As of April 2008, DOCS confined 62,070 inmates in 69 correctional facilities and the Willard Drug Treatment Center. Between September 2004 and May 2007, the CA conducted general monitoring visits to 17 state prisons and obtained medical data from two additional prisons that were visited for a limited inspection concerning prison violence. These 19 facilities confine 28,250 inmates, representing approximately 45% of the state’s total inmate population. Much of the analysis in this document is based on information from the on-site monitoring visits. (See page 17 for an explanation of the CA visit procedure.) In addition, the CA reviewed DOCS’s computer records, documents and reports about the entire prison system concerning medical staffing, inmate grievances, specialty care services and DOCS’s Division of Health Services medical quality improvement program. The CA also analyzed system-wide information concerning appeals of medical grievances to the DOCS Central Office. The CA has based its observations and recommendations for improvements in the delivery of medical services on both the prison visits and the system-wide information

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