The number of inmates in Orange County jails has increased in recent years, and so has the average length of time that these inmates remain incarcerated. This has resulted in a larger number of inmates requesting medical attention in recent years. The types of medical care authorities must provide to inmates (such as kidney dialysis) are also growing. To counter this trend, sheriff’s officials will begin charging inmates next year a medical “co-pay” of $3 per visit to the nurse.
Officials at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department maintain that the fee is not meant to be a punishment. Their argument is that while some inmates may be truly sick and need to see a nurse, others may take advantage of the medical facilities to meet with friends, exchange information, or simply to get out of their cell for a while.
Putting the fee in place will not cover the cost of maintaining the program, but officials state that it could be effective in reducing the number of “bogus” requests by inmates for medical visits, which would save money.
But what if an inmate in an Orange County jail does not have any money? Officials insist that they would not be denied medical care if they don’t have enough funds in their commissary account to cover the visit. Only those with money in their accounts will see the $3 fee deducted. In addition, if a deputy sees a sick prisoner and requests that the inmate be seen by a nurse, the inmate will not be charged.
If you or a loved one is arrested for a crime, contact Orange County criminal lawyer Staycie R. Sena immediately at (949) 477-8088 immediately for a free consultation.