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After noticing a pattern of children having to wait months for glasses during the pandemic, Dr. Julius Oatts partnered with Dr. Alejandra de Alba and Jacob Hutt, a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office, to uncover the cause and explore the complex relationship between public health insurance and the prison industrial complex in California.
The authors published their findings in the American Journal of Public Health and reported that California Department of Health Care Services agreed to pay up to $37.9 million for optical services to a semiautonomous prison labor agency in the 2021-22 fiscal year. The authors call for a re-examination of the relationship between health care and prison labor – an entity known to disproportionately affect marginalized individuals.
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