Medical Care in Prison

Medical Care in Prison

The ACLU National Prison Project works to ensure that prisoners receive adequate medical care while in custody. Locked out of sight and isolated from their families and communities, prisoners are vulnerable to deficient care that can lead to unnecessary suffering and even death.

Medical Care in Prison: Latest News and Updates>>


Know Your Rights: Medical, Dental and Mental Health Care (2012 resource): Prison officials are obligated under the Eighth Amendment to provide prisoners with adequate medical care. This principle applies regardless of whether the medical care is provided by governmental employees or by private medical staff under contract with the government.

Health Care at Ely State Prison (2010 feature): In December of 2007, Dr. William Noel, a medical expert retained by the American Civil Liberties Union to investigate medical conditions inside the Ely State Prison in Ely, Nevada — a small town located at the junction of State Routes 50, 93 and 6 in Eastern Nevada — released a report that exposed galling inadequacies in the level of medical care provided to the 1,000 inmates — including more than 60 Death Row Prisoners — incarcerated there.

Pregnancy-Related Health Care in Prison (2009 feature): Whether an incarcerated woman decides to continue her pregnancy to term or have an abortion, she has a constitutionally protected right to obtain appropriate medical care. The ACLU works to secure these rights in prisons and jails throughout the country.

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Video: Support Parole for the Elderly (2011 video): States spend huge amounts putting people in prison who simply don't need to be there. A lot of this money is spent keeping elderly people on lockdown. We should not be using taxpayer dollars to keep elderly or ailing individuals in prison when they are not dangerous to our communities. These elderly individuals should at least be given the right to present their case in a hearing before a parole board to determine whether they should be released to their families to care for them.

State Standards for Pregnancy-Related Health Care and Abortion for Women in Prison - Map (2009 map)


Cajúne v. Lake County (2011 case): Settlement ensures proper medical treatment for pregnant mothers in Montana.

Shawanna Nelson v. Correctional Medical Services et al and Nelson v. Norris (2009 case): The case of an Arkansas woman who was shackled to her hospital bed while in labor in 2003.




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