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Managing the Paraplegic in the Correctional Setting

NCJ Number
Journal of Prison and Jail Health Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: (Winter 1993) Pages: 63-72
R V Bagby; J H Clark
Date Published
8 pages
Incarcerated paraplegics have many specific health care needs, as demonstrated by a study conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Data were collected on the ethnicity and age of male paraplegics in the Los Angeles County Jail during 1990. Most paraplegics were black or Hispanic and between 18 and 45 years of age. Gunshot wounds or stabbings caused paralysis in 71.25 percent of the cases. In the black population, violence accounted for 94.7 percent of spinal cord injuries. Criminal charges of the study group varied greatly; 25 percent were charged with health and safety violations (primarily drug-related), 12.5 percent were charged with vehicle code violations (primarily alcohol-related), and 62.5 percent had penal code violations ranging from failure to appear to murder and rape. The inmate paraplegic profile reflected that of the paraplegic in the surrounding community. Only 1.25 percent of the paraplegic population were actually seen by jail psychiatrists. About one-third were admitted to the jail hospital with skin problems, and 75 percent were taking some sort of medication. Skin problems alone indicated a need for more health care and rehabilitation than for the general inmate population. 8 references and 2 tables


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