Danger to prisoners' health at HDSP

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada]

Danger to prisoners' health at HDSP

I am housed at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) at or near Indian Springs Nevada. I am writing to you concerning serious problems here at this prison.

The medical department at this prison is inadequate and failing to provide treatment for prisoners, even some with very serious conditions such as Hepatitis C.

It is routine for prisoners to request help and be forced to wait 6 or 8 months to be seen, even when they are in extreme pain or complaining of symptoms which could be indicative of possibly terminal or fatal conditions.

Of the approx 168 prisoners in this unit with whom I have any contact, there are several grievances and civil actions currently under way or being drafted against the medical department due to substandard treatment.

There are several other factors exacerbating this situation, such as:
  1. Correctional officers and HDSP administrative staff making medical diagnoses and directing treatment to be withheld or forcibly administered.
  2. Blanket policies denying medical treatment based on sentence structure or pre-existing conditions.
  3. Blanket screening policy of rubber stamping all requests for help with: "you are scheduled and will be notified the day of your appointment," this is the response to all requests for help, regardless of nature of complaint.
  4. Overcrowding leading to inadequate resources.
  5. Prisoners being assaulted due to reckless and indifferent classification process and forcing volatile housing assignments.
  6. Refusal by staff to answer emergency call button or inoperable emergency call buttons.
  7. Assaultive behavior by staff.
  8. Lack of food and out of cell time leading to physical and mental health problems.

There are other serious problems here, but the above creates a serious health risk to prisoners who are currently healthy as well as those who are not. There are many older prisoners in this unit and others who are experiencing deteriorating health due to conditions in this prison and particular unit.