Correctional Medicine


Clyde Maxwell


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The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) created its Correctional Medicine Committee in 1975 – following the prison riots in Attica, New York, and just before Georgia State Prison was placed under the jurisdiction of the federal courts for maintaining health care facilities that violated a constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The committee was charged with “studying and recommending ways to improve the delivery of health care in non-federal prisons in Georgia.”

MAG developed standards for evaluating health care in jails and prisons in the state as part of a national initiative; these evolved into the standards that are now used by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

In 1982, MAG developed legislation to establish an accreditation program for health care for correctional facilities in Georgia.

The state began funding the program in 1983, and MAG subsequently started charging application fees for site accreditation visits.

The Medical College of Georgia assumed responsibility for the health services contract for state prisons in the 1990s.

MAG surveys 10 county jails and 33 state prisons. Each facility is surveyed every three years.

A number of major deficiencies have been corrected at jails and prisons in the state as a result of MAG’s site accreditation visits, including some that were related to…

  • Physician and nurse licensure
  • Physician and nurse CPR/ACLS certification
  • Expired pharmaceuticals
  • Needle and narcotics security
  • Nurse call systems
  • Inmate physicals
  • Mandatory CQI and infection control meetings