What are an inmate’s rights to proper medical treatment?

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2011

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What are an inmate’s rights to proper medical treatment?

I visited a friend this morning in jail. She dislocated her shoulder from a seizure last Monday; nurse saw her briefly the next day but could for her because she did not have an appointment. She is being made to wait until this Tuesday (over 1 week later). They gave her ibuprofen but are they obligated to do more than that?

Asked on July 24, 2011 Arkansas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Prisoners rights have been debated heavily over the years and have been the source of many a lawsuit.  Prisoners have rights while they are confined.  Some of them are limited.  As for the right to medical treatment it has been ruled that prisoners have the right to "adequate" medical treatment under the law.  If they are refused or denied adequate medical treatment then it is considered a violation of their Eighth Amendment rights - a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  It sounds like waiting so long for treatment is pushing it here.  I might contact her attorney that represented her and see if he or she can help.  Good luck to her.

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