Some Thoughts and Some Statistics

dr-david-e-marcinko-mba-msl[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA]

Most primary care doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists who work in corrections long enough will end up being named in a lawsuit or having a complaint filed against them with their licensing board.

And, it is a fact that physicians who treat inmates are at greater risk of litigation.

Bureau of Justice Statistics

According to the 2011-12 National Inmate Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

  • Half of state and federal prisoners and jail inmates reported a history of a chronic medical condition.
  • About 2/3 of females in prisons (63%) and jails (67%) reported ever having a chronic condition
  • An estimated 40% of prisoners and inmates reported having a current chronic medical condition.
  • About 1 in 5 (21%) of prisoners and 14% of jail inmates reported ever having an infectious disease.
  • Approximately 1% of prisoners and jail inmates reported being HIV positive.
  • High blood pressure was the most common condition reported by prisoners (30%) and inmates (26%).
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of prisoners and jail inmates reported ever having at least 2 chronic conditions.
  • 66% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates with a chronic condition reported taking prescription medication.And, although specific figures are not available, malpractice carriers are quite aware of this risk.


gavel stethoscope


Risks Not a Work Deterrent

Yet, according to colleague Eric A. Dover MD and Jeffrey Knuppel MD, a psychiatrist who blogs at The Positive Medical Blog, the risk of litigation should not be a deterrent to working as a health care professional in correction facilities if:

1. You truly like working in the correctional setting. This work is not for everyone. If you don’t really like it anyway, then the thought of getting sued is just likely to decrease your career satisfaction further.

2. You have ability to be assertive yet get along well with most people. If you frequently find yourself in power struggles with people or cannot politely set limits, then do not work in corrections. If you let your ego get involved in you interpersonal interactions very often, then you’re likely to irritate many inmates, and you probably will become a target for lawsuits and complaints [personal communication]. 


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4 Responses

  1. Why Prisons Should Try Readmissions Penalties

    An essay by STUART M. BUTLER.

    Dr. Blair


  2. They’re making robots that can escape from prison now.

    A team of engineers created miniature robots that can shift between rigid-solid and flexible liquid states, allowing the bots to escape from a tiny jail cell.

    And while watching a shape-shifting bot reenact is impressive the creators behind these monsters envision less nefarious applications for their creation.

    They put the bot to the test removing a foreign object from and delivering drugs to a model stomach, and they also foresee industrial applications for soldering and repairing hard-to-reach mechanical parts.


    Liked by 1 person

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