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LOS ANGELES, CA, July 27, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When Orange Is the New Black, the American comedy-drama web television series premiered on July 11, 2013 on the streaming service Netflix no one knew it would be such a big hit. The series is based on Piper Kerman's real-life memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison (2010), about her personal experiences at FCI Danbury, a minimum-security federal prison. The show centers on the main character Piper Chapman (portrayed by the actress Taylor Schilling), a woman in her 30s who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's federal prison, and how she copes with life in the joint. Fast forward a few years, and now the sixth season is scheduled to be released on July 27, 2018. More than pure sitcom or family-style tame entertainment, this show has brought a real rawness and truth behind the bars of prisons. It has won critical acclaim and praise for being able to humanize prisoners and for its honest depiction of race, sexuality and body types and breaking taboos about gender stereotypes. The show has emphasized how rampant corruption, drug smuggling, funding cuts, blaring overcrowding and guard brutality has affected the prisoners' health and well-being among other issues. Having been deprived of their freedom, prisoners should not be deprived of their healthcare as well. Many inmates with a serious chronic physical or mental illness fail to receive care while incarcerated. Improvements are needed both in correctional health care and in community mental health services that might help prevent crime and incarceration in the first place.
General Healthcare for Prisoners
Ideally, prisoners should receive the same standard of healthcare as people in the general population. Overcrowding has taxed the capacity of most prisons in the United States. Coupled with funding cuts, healthcare has been put on the backburner. Healthcare budget allocation is much poorer than in the general community and not sufficient to meet the needs of prisoners. Increasing the healthcare budget and improving the standard of care, would reduce pressure on HMOs (Health Maintenance Organization) later on upon release. In-house, prisons need to fully address the issues of inmates while incarcerated and attend to their needs more thoroughly. Incarcerated individuals have little choice over their own health care. At the very least, a healthcare report must be done for each prisoner, starting with a full assessment on arrival that includes questions on physical health, mental health and alcohol and/or substance abuse, and STDs to name but a few; a customized health plan during incarceration with exercise regimen, diet, and advice on sexual practices and an analysis upon release of the prisoner's overall well-being.
Caring for the Elderly
The show has brought a lot of attention to the plight of the current population in prisons, including the aging one. Rightfully so, more focus needs to be given to the growing pressures of the aging prison population and their collective needs. Older inmates are more likely to have multiple conditions and a higher risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer and heart disease. More often than not, they are sicker and have complex health issues compared with the people of an equivalent age who are living in the outside community. Supplementation is often needed to counter the dietary imbalances. For accurate reviews on health conditions, Reviewy is a good option. Additionally, there are increasing numbers of prisoners requiring palliative care and several hundred more suffering dementia. Inadequacies in monitoring chronic diseases during their incarceration and making sure that care is up to par upon release, need to be addressed. Special attention is also warranted to the alarming number of suicides and natural deaths behind bars, ensuring that people get the physical, mental health and social care they need.
So, stay tuned for the new season and see if healthcare is addressed even further. Hopefully, the show will serve as a beacon and example for healthcare reform in prisons.
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