Lujan Grisham says her administration will look into Hepatitis C prison problems
Lujan Grisham, who has been on the job for five weeks, last week named Julie Jones, a former Florida corrections secretary, to take over the corrections system and its many challenges.
NMID’s story reported that, as of last month, 44 percent of New Mexico prisoners screened for the disease tested positive — the highest known share of any corrections system in the country.
On Corrections Secretary Julie Jones watch, the premature death toll of Florida inmates rose and rose. Many deaths are still under investigation, and many will likely result in additional, successful wrongful death suits.
In corrections, callousness costs. Dearly. It’s measured by the number of broken hearts and the size of ballooning budgets.
Although New Mexico ended the death penalty in 2009, there are still inmates on its death row. From my years of battling to keep inmates safe so that the innocents I advocate for can survive until exoneration, I know that corrections officials go all out to find drugs for executions, engaging in activities that infuriate foreign drug companies that have banned the use of their products to take lives. They go so far as to hire compounding pharmacies to make drugs for them, and often convince their state legislatures to make their acquisition activities state secrets.
No state – with or without the death penalty – has gone to such extreme measures to make drugs that cure Hep C available to inmates. There’s a likely explanation.
If our Center for Disease Control was fulfilling its mission, it’s primary focus on infectious diseases sure the hell wouldn’t be the Zika virus. It would be Hep C, hands down. Congress oversees the CDC, and allows it to focus on the wildly less significant risk of Zika. The video below probably explains why.
The only additional connection Julie Jones should have to any corrections department is as an inmate. I hope to see that day, soon.