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Health Department shouldn't deny convicts care

Published: January 5, 2013

Regarding “Nursing home housed convicts after prison riot, report shows” (News, Dec. 23): After reading that the Oklahoma Health Department fined a Midwest City nursing home $168,000 for housing four inmates who were in need of skilled nursing care, I suggest the agency be renamed the Oklahoma Department of Hypocrisy. Denying convicted criminals medically mandated treatment is something reminiscent of attitudes taken directly from the dark ages. The punishment for criminal behavior is forfeiture of freedom for a specified period of time, not denial of humane treatment. The responsibility of the state Health Department is to ensure everyone, regardless of social status, gets adequate medical care. The responsibility of the state Department of Corrections is to protect the public from convicted criminals. It appeared the Corrections Department did its job in this case and the Health Department should leave security matters to them.

The Health Department should be ashamed for failing to recognize that the convicts were also residents of the nursing home and entitled to the same level of treatment, compassion and care as any other resident.

Tommy Johnson, Oklahoma City


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