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Civil Rights – prisoners — medical care

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Civil Rights – prisoners — medical care

Charging a prisoner a $2 co-pay for receiving dental treatment does not violate the Constitution.

“[I]n Reynolds v. Wagner, 128 F.3d 166 (3d Cir. 1997), the Third Circuit squarely rejected the argument that ‘a program that requires that inmates with adequate resources pay a small portion of their medical care’ automatically violates the Constitution. Id. at 174; accord, Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410, 418-19 (3d Cir. 2000). See also Shapley v. Nevada Bd. of State Prison Comm’rs, 766 F.2d 404, 408 (9th Cir. 1985); Negron v. Gillespie, 111 P.3d 556, 558-59 (Colo. Ct. App. 2005); Mourning v. Correctional Med. Servs., (CMS) of St. Louis, Mo., 692 A.2d 529, 539 (N.J. App. Div. 1997). In our view, these cases are well reasoned and consistent with the general rationale of City of Revere. We thus join our fellow courts in holding that the imposition of a modest fee for medical services, standing alone, does not violate the Constitution. To the extent that Poole is arguing for some form of per se unconstitutionality, we reject his position. And this is not a case in which the required payment exceeds the inmate’s resources. In fact, had Poole been truly indigent, he would have been exempt from the requirement. The Illinois statute contains a number of exemptions from the co-payment requirement, including one for people with chronic illnesses, one for follow-up visits, one for those meeting the statute’s definition of indigency, and one for juvenile offenders. 730 ILCS 5/3-6-2(f). We have no occasion either to comment on these particular exemptions or to speculate whether others might be needed. It is enough to say that Poole was not deprived of dental services for reasons beyond his control.”


11-2903 Poole v. Isaacs

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Murphy, J., Wood, J.

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