TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein requiring correctional facilities to provide inmates with prescription medications that are prescribed for chronic conditions existing before incarceration was signed into law today.
The law, S-384, will require the commissioner and county chief executive officers, wardens or keepers of any county correctional institution to establish a system to ensure those incarcerated are provided necessary medications in a timely manner while in a State correctional facility.
“A person’s health should not have to suffer due to incarceration and I am pleased to see this legislation become law,” said Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “There are times when individuals within the criminal justice system enter prison with serious chronic conditions for which they are being treated. This law safeguards their ability to continue their medical treatment while they are incarcerated so as not to jeopardize their health.”
The law will also require that previously prescribed medications continue to be administered for a minimum of 30 days from the date the person is committed to the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The law also states the facility receiving the individual to resume appropriate and commensurate management of the chronic condition(s), including, but not limited to, use of appropriate therapeutic treatments and medications or their generic substitution in accordance with the State law and regulations established by the commissioner.
Furthermore, the law will not require the commissioner and county chief executive officers, wardens or keepers of any county correctional institution to supply incarcerated citizens with medication that is not currently accepted for medical use for treatment in the United States as a matter of federal law.
Under the previous law, the Commissioner of Corrections was required to provide a two-week supply of prescription medication to each inmate within 10 days of their release from incarceration.
The new law addresses the gap in treatment that inmates encounter when entering prison.
S-384 cleared the Senate 34-0 and cleared the Assembly 68-7-0.
The law will take effect on the first day of the seventh month after enactment.