Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Morning Retch: lock 'em up; make them pay

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The LA Times [reg. required]reports a new brilliant new scheme to make our bulging lock-ups pay for themselves.

Los Angeles County jails have started charging sick inmates for visits to nurses, a practice that sheriff's officials estimated would reap as much as $2 million a year.

Prisoners — who generally face far worse medical problems than the rest of the population — will be billed $3 for each visit that does not result in a referral to a doctor, sheriff's officials said Wednesday.
. . .
"If we can discourage anyone from going to the doctor if they don't need to, then that's what we're going to do," said Klugman, who heads the department's Correctional Services Division. "We have a limited number of staff, and 6,000 inmates under a doctor's care at any one time."
. . .
California law allows sheriffs to charge inmates up to $3 for medical visits as long as no one is denied medical care due to a lack of funds. Inmates cannot be billed for follow-up visits with doctors or for treatment of a life-threatening problem.

I'm so happy to be living in a regime of private opulence and public squalor. Better throw away the keys on those inmates!

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