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Death penalty for women in a prison hospital?

At Federal Medical Center Carswell, women prisoners may be getting undeserved punishment

At the only hospital in the U.S. for federal women prisoners-the Federal Medical Center Carswell, in Ft. Worth, Tx., patients have been getting inadequate and even deadly medical care for years, according to investigative reporter Betty Brink. She has been following the story for nearly a decade, hearing frightening tales of women have needlessly suffered or died from what a former Carswell doctor described as "substandard care and unconscionable delays" in treatment.

In Brink's feature article on Carswell in the latest issue of Ms. magazine-on newsstands 7/28/08-she offers just a few of the many stories she's gathered: women whose cancers went undiagnosed or untreated; women who were raped by the prison's chaplain; and one woman who may have been killed while being subdued, a possible crime that was covered up and not investigated.

Brink also exposes the huge profits made in the prison by the slave-wage labor of inmates, who work for a little-known arm of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

What's being done about this disgraceful treatment? Not much, writes Brink. Calls for investigating Carswell have been made to no avail by inmates's families. A retired Texas appellate judge, Ross Sears, has tried to get action from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx.), but, as Brink quotes him, "Sadly, the horror is real, the deaths continue, and there is no help from our elected officials."

Note to editors: Author Betty Brink is available for interviews.