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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27754
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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How do I get treatment potentially life-threatening

Customer Question

How do I get treatment for a potentially life-threatening condition for my adult daughter
who is incarcerated in jail?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.


My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.

This is a civil rights issue. Your daughter has the right to adequate medical care as an inmate. The Supreme Court has held that a lack of adequate medical care is a form of cruel and unusual punishment, which makes it a violation of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution. The prison doesn't have to provide her with the same caliber of treatment that she can get on the outside. But they are not allowed to be indifferent to a life-threatening medical problem. You can get an idea of what courts have found to be deliberate indifference and what sorts of situations constitute a serious medical need here in this PDF I am attaching.

It's been my experience that when an inmate needs medical treatment and isn't getting it, that family isn't able to accomplish much by calling or emailing the prison. So it's good that you are contacting agencies and advocates outside of the family. Generally, the authorities just give family the runaround and they won't address inmate care issues with them.

One thing you can do is to contact your daughter's lawyer and have him or her look into the matter. Lawyers can see an inmate without having to wait until visiting hours or days,which is more than what anyone else can do. They can see the shape the inmate is in. They can also get the case back in front of the judge, who can order medical treatment.

Another step you should take is to contact the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU been advocating for inmates rights all over the country, and even if it turns out that they can't take on your daughter's specific case, they may be able to steer you to someone local who can. The ACLU is at They have branches throughout the United States, and this sort of a situation is one that's right up their alley.