Some Alabama prisoners soon to be released because of a budget shortage may be suffering from infectious diseases, the Mobile Register reorts. Recent audits of the prison health care system suggest that dangerous infections have been poorly tracked and inadequately treated. A work-release inmate employed a Mobile restaurant for months was found to have an advanced case of tuberculosis that exposed 90 people to the disease.
After the failure of Gov. Bob Riley’s tax package, legislators and prison officials seem likely to release 5,000 inmates. Officials say it will be up to the prisoners to seek screening and treatment for disease on release.
The 5,000 inmates being released early will not be tested for infectious diseases before being freed. “There is testing upon admission and there is monitoring done while they’re here. Upon release, there is no testing done,” said prison system spokesman Brian Corbett said. “That’s common procedure. Once a person is released, those responsibilities fall back on that individual.”
In Alabama, money spent for inmates’ health care is among the lowest in the nation. A lawsuit filed in March by the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta alleged that the Alabama prison system administered negligent health care, leading to the deaths of nearly 38 HIV/AIDS-infected inmates between 1999 and 2002.