By William K. Harter
Roger Bryant was up in years. He had been a heavy smoker. He also had cancer. Due to the cancer, he had a lung removed and had to give up smoking. Later, he had half of his other lung removed. Cancer returned again. There was nothing they could do for him this time.
Roger was also in prison in R.I. at the ACI. It costs $38,000 a year to keep a person in prison.
Some inmates, like Roger, require hospitalization. Being a prisoner, that requires a Correctional Officer (CO) to be at his bedside every hour of the day to prevent his escaping while he is chained to the bed in a hospital. Of course, that is overtime pay, 24 hours a day.
But RI has a loophole. It is called Medical Parole. It is found in RI General Laws 13-8.1-4, “Permanently physically incapacitated”. The illness with “a reasonable degree of medical certainty will result in death within six months,” can be granted Medical Parole. So, by granting someone who is dying a parole, they can shift responsibility from the Department of Corrections to the Medical Departments, saving them the medical bills plus the overtime.
Roger was paroled to a hospital under terms of General Law 13-8-16. “Upon the terms and conditions that the board may see fit in its discretion to prescribe and the acceptance of the permit by the prisoner shall constitute an agreement on —the prisoner to abide by and conform…”
I met Roger back in prison 7 ½ months later.
“Roger, what happened? I thought you made medical parole!”
“I did. But I got violated.”
“Violated? What did you do?”
“It’s not what I did. It’s what I didn’t do!”
“So what didn’t you do?” I expected he did not take his medication or gave the staff a hard time.
“I didn’t die within the six months.”
He wasn’t kidding. I saw his papers.
Section 13-8.1-4k: “A release may be revoked for violation of conditions otherwise applicable to parole.” Medical Parole stipulates you die within 6 months!
He didn’t. Moral of the story: On medical parole, DIE, or go to prison!