Oct 17, 2014

What the dying really regret

10-17-2014 National:

Editor's note: Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain in South Carolina and the author of "Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago."

(CNN) -- "I know I'm supposed to hate my body," the patient said in her soothing Southern drawl.

She pushed away her lunch, a brown lump and pile of orange. Her son spent a lot of money to have low-fat, no-sodium, no-sugar, low-calorie meals delivered to the house while he was at work and she was home alone.

They looked like piles of wet rocks.

"I really could die happy if I was allowed just one more bite of caramel cake," she said with a sigh. The woman was dying of cancer, and I was her chaplain. "I don't suppose you have any?"

"No, sorry. But why are you supposed to hate your body?"

Medical Causes of Death in State Prisons, 2001-2004

January 21, 2007 NCJ 216340

Describes the specific medical conditions causing deaths in state prisons nationwide during a four-year period. For the leading medical causes of death, mortality rates are presented by gender, age, race and Hispanic origin, and the length of time served in prison.

The report includes detailed statistics on cancer deaths. Mortality among older prisoners is examined in detail. Prisoner death rates are compared with rates in the general U.S. resident population. Data on medical treatments provided for these fatal illnesses are presented, along with findings on the presence of medical problems at time of admission to prison.

State-by-state mortality rates are presented for the leading causes of illness deaths in appendix tables. Detailed data tables are included in the electronic version. ..Source.. by Christopher J. Mumola

Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails

August 21, 2005 NCJ 210036

Key Report: Specifically Tables 4-5 in PDF file: Shows how many sex offenders (Rpe and Other Sexual Assaults) have suicided or been murdered in jails and prisons.

Describes historical trends in State prison and local jail inmate mortality rates based on inmate death records submitted by local jails (for 2000-2002) and State prisons (for 2001-2002). The report also compares current prison and jail mortality rates by demographic characteristics, offense types, and facility size and jurisdiction and compares the general population mortality rates with mortality rates in correctional facilities. Comparisons are made to both the raw mortality rates for the general population and those standardized to match the demographic makeup of the inmate populations.

This report presents the first findings from the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, which implements the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297). This new program involves the collection of individual records for every inmate death in the Nation s local jails and State prisons. The program also includes the collection of death records from State juvenile correctional authorities (begun in 2002) and State and local law enforcement agencies (begun in 2003). ..Source.. by Christopher J. Mumola

Oct 15, 2014

Prisoners Unlikely to Benefit from New, Highly Effective Hepatitis C Treatment

10-15-2014 National:

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a blood-borne virus that is typically spread through intravenous drug use (i.e., sharing needles), tattooing with non-sterile needles, and sharing razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers or other hygiene items that may be exposed to blood. It is often a chronic disease and, if left untreated, can lead to severe liver damage.

Recent good news in the battle against HCV, in the form of two new drugs that are highly effective in eliminating the virus, is tempered by the fact that the companies that produce the drugs have priced them at $60,000 to $80,000 per 12-week course of treatment. This high cost prices the medications beyond the reach of most prison and jail systems – which is especially troubling considering that a substantial number of prisoners are infected with HCV.

The new drugs, approved by the FDA in late 2013, are simeprevir, branded as Olysio and manufactured by Janssen Therapeutics (a Johnson & Johnson company), and sofosbuvir, branded as Sovaldi and manufactured by Gilead Sciences. Based on clinical trials, Sovaldi has an 84-96% cure rate while Olysio has an 80-85% cure rate. Both drugs are used in combination with other HCV anti-viral medications, peginterferon alfa and/or ribavirin, and their cure rates vary depending on HCV genotype – specific variations of the virus.