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2011 Report on Medical Care in Texas Prisons

Jan 11th, 2012 | Category: Reports

In our county jails, medical care is often worse or non-existent,  but they didn’t cover jails in this report!

Prisoners’ Right to Medical Care in Texas

Important point from the report, “Prisoners’ Right to Medical Care under the U.S. Constitution “

“The Supreme Court, in Estelle v. Gamble, established “the government’s obligation to provide medical care for those whom it is punishing by incarceration.”11  In Estelle, an inmate of the Texas Department of Corrections (“TDC”)12 sued the Director of the TDC, the warden of the prison, and the chief medical officer of the prison hospital. The inmate suffered an injury while on a prison work assignment and brought a lawsuit alleging that the subsequent medical treatment, or lack thereof, violated the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment.13

The Supreme Court stated that even though “the primary concern of the drafters [of the

Eighth Amendment] was to proscribe ‘tortur[ous]’ and other ‘barbar[ic]’ methods of punishment,

… the Amendment proscribes more than physically barbarous punishments.”14  The Court held that certain penal measures violate the Eighth Amendment when they are contrary to “evolving standards of decency” or “involve the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”15

Estelle prohibited the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, proscribed by the

Eighth Amendment.”16


A prisoner’s constitutional right is violated by prison doctors or prison

guards who deny, delay, or interfere with medical treatment.

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