Some Inmates Forego Health Care to Avoid Higher Fees

Before a recent hearing, attorney Michelle Smith learned that her client, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate, would not be arriving at the courtroom.

Smith, who works on prisoners' rights with the Texas Civil Rights Project, later received word that the inmate, instead of attending his hearing, was lying in an emergency room. He had become sick, but decided not to see a doctor, because it would have cost him $100. In the past it had only cost $3, and he decided the higher price wasn’t worth his commissary money.

“He thought he just had the flu and wasn ...

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