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Advocates want Connecticut to provide inmates with better health care

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford
The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford

A key legislative committee in Connecticut has advanced a bill that would improve health care and mental health services for inmates in the state’s correctional institutions.

State Senator Dr. Saud Anwar, chair of the public health committee, said on Tuesday that inmates receive unjust treatment while under the state’s care.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that the individuals who are incarcerated are treated as humans,” Anwar said. “Treated like humans, treated like individuals who at times have gone through suffering and there's an opportunity to take care of their mental health, behavioral health, just like there would be in the community.”

The bill would create a commission that would oversee healthcare provided by the state Department of Correction with special attention given to pregnant inmates.

Marisol Garcia is a former incarcerated person who is now a policy intern at the YWCA Hartford region. She claimed her friend, whom she did not name but said is serving time at York Correctional Institution, is not receiving the medical attention she desperately needs.

“Regardless of the crime committed, no one should be left to suffer the indignity and the inhumanity of subpar care and negligence that this shows,” Garcia said. “My friend's quality of life — better still, her life — depends on it. They are not just names, they’re human beings — not statistics.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support from the public health committee and has been recommended for a vote of the state General Assembly.

Brooke is a former intern with WSHU Public Radio.