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Health News Florida
Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Florida Accused In Class-Action Lawsuit Of Overusing Solitary Confinement In Prisons

A class-action lawsuit has been filed challenging the use of solitary confinement in Florida prisons.

Florida corrections officials are overusing the practice of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A growing body of medical evidence shows extended periods of solitary confinement can lead to suicidal thoughts and can cause permanent psychological damage.

“Solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment, it violates the 8th Amendment to the federal Constitution. And we say that because the impact of solitary confinement on individuals, there’s a substantial risk of mental health damage,” said Shalini Goel Agarwal, a supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nationwide, about 4.5 % of the prison population is in solitary. In Florida it’s more than double that with about 10 percent of the population in solitary.

Agarwal spoke about the topic on Tuesday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The full audio interview can be heard here.

Melissa Ross can be reached at mross@wjct.org, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

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