Alpha Male Ryan: health care in prison.

Everybody takes for granted that they can have a toothbrush in their home to keep their teeth clean, but even something as simple as there isn't always readily available to a Florida prison inmate. (Photo by Alpha Male Ryan.)

Editor’s Note: Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker has hired two for-profit companies to provide health care for the state’s prison inmates for the next five years to save money. Corizon Health was given the responsibility of treating inmates in North and Central Florida, while Wexford Health Sources is expected to manage inmate medical care in South Florida. Neither firm can start their work until the move is first ratified by a panel of state legislators, and that hasn’t happened yet.
Freeline Media contributor Alpha Male Ryan spent two years in a Florida prison. He knows quite a bit about the kind of health care treatment provided to those who are incarcerated.

The state wants to save money on health care in prison?
What health care?
You mean we had a health care program there at my prison? If so, what did health care do for me?
The only thing I remember was a nurse who saved me from going to confinement after I broke my finger at work. They were going to send me to confinment for missing an appointment, and the nurse stood up for me and said I went through the proper channels to get treated.
Actually, I refused their medical treatment. I knew I could treat my finger better than they could. I hated staying on the prison compound, and I wanted to go back to work.
During the second half of my incarceration, we didn’t even have medical care on site. We had to go across the street to another prison to get it. All they did at my prison was dispense some medicine — whatever prescriptions people had from a doctor.
Dental care was a joke. They put a temporary filling in me — and it fell out. They said they’d put it back in, and I should make an appointment for that. I was there for two years, and I never saw a dentist again.
A nurse saw me and took some x-rays. They knew exactly what they needed to do to fix my mouth. They could have done it at any point. They just didn’t do it. They wanted to save the state some money, apparently. At whose expense? Mine.
Is it my fault that in the first two weeks I was there, I never got a toothbrush? Cavities don’t just pop up for no reason. And forget about trying to get dental floss. The only good that came out of my trip to dental was I got some alcohol swabs that I used to make tattoo ink with, because that’s how inmates would make good money, by running tattoos on people. I drew a Mickey Mouse tattoo on a guy. That turned out pretty good. I drew Mickey Mouse running down an alley.

Alpha Male Ryan used the alcohol swabs in his prison's dental office to make the ink used to draw this tattoo of Mickey Mouse on a fellow inmate. (Photo and sketch by Alpha Male Ryan).

In the meantime, I just had to grin and bear the pain in my teeth. The dentist told me he’d take care of my cavity and put me on a waiting list. I never saw him again. Now, as a convicted felon, I have to go get my tooth fixed. It’s to the point where I’m going to need a root canal.
Inmates get hurt a lot in prison. It happens all the time. I got hurt quite a few times in prison. One time I got into a fight and needed stitches on my face, right below my eye.
What happened was a guy and I had words. We were working and I was in charge of the tool room. I had to keep track of all the tools being used. I had to log them in and out.
I was trying to walk past the walkway to the tool room, and the guy was leaning back with his legs up on the table right across the only way to the tool room. I said ‘Excuse me.’ I said it twice. He wouldn’t move his legs. He just sat there. So I grabbed him by the pants leg and picked them up and walked by, and then set his legs back down on the table. Then I went into the tool room.
He was sitting there with a look on his face. He said something about me being a smart a** cracker. I responded in kind. I went back in, got some tools, and as soon as I walked out he hit me in the back of the head.
We wrestled into the tool room, and he bite me three times. I stood in the cage and shot him a nice right to his ribs. He went down and slid off the wall, and grabbed a wrench and came at me and hit me right in the eye. I fell backwards and leaned up against the shelf, and looked at the blood on my face, and was shocked for a second.
He came rushing at me. I sidestepped him and kicked him on the side of the knee, tripped him up. He fell and hit the peg board, and it had these hooks on it for the tools, and it ripped a nice chunk out of his side. And once he was down, I started nailing him.
Then I heard the cops at the door. When they came in I had my hands up, and the cops had their mace ready. And the other guy stood up and he hit me twice, in front of the cops. I was right next to him.
I was taken to confinement, but they didn’t keep me there. The lieutenant said he didn’t want to charge me because he knew I didn’t start the fight.
They took me to get my face stitched. I tell you, I could have stitched myself up better. The doctor told me he was impressed with his work, but I could have used super glue and made it look better.
I hate to think what they tried to do with the chunk that came out of the other dude.
Overall, on a scale of one to 10 — one being the worst — I rate health care in prison at 0.5. If it gets worse when they privatize it, you might as well shoot yourself if you get sick. At that point, it’s a death sentence.
I knew one inmate, he got his head split open with a lock. They had to send him to an outside hospital for treatment. Our doctors were not equipped to deal with that. If you run a prison where people were getting their heads bashed in and their heads split open and a locker smashed in their face, they should have a facility and equipment there to deal with that.
Theres no reason a two-year prison sentence should turn into a death sentence.

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  1. […] Freeline Media contributor Alpha Male Ryan spent two years in a Florida prison. He knows quite a bit about the kind of health care treatment provided to those …… […]

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