Sheriff of Cobb County intentionally arrests terminally ill homeless man for healthcare, reveals larger issue

Every day, numerous inmates make their way to the Cobb County infirmary, not just for routine checkups.

Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens highlighted the troubling reality that local jails have become the default settings for providing healthcare and mental health services.

The Sheriff’s office reported that a 68-year-old homeless man, who was suffering from terminal cancer, made the decision to get arrested in order to receive healthcare.

According to Owens, he committed another crime intentionally to be sent back to the facility in order to receive the necessary treatment.

Last month, a man passed away at a nearby hospital. The office has refrained from releasing his name as they have yet to notify his next of kin.

According to Sheriff Owens, healthcare-related arrests are not uncommon.

“They don’t have any money, no job. Where else can I find free healthcare? Where else can I go to get healed?” Owens questioned.

Dr. Edward Valentin, a member of HOPE Atlanta, highlights that life is a series of trade-offs. In the context of surviving cancer, he explains that individuals may have to sacrifice a certain degree of their freedom.

Dr. Valentin is dedicated to assisting the homeless population in Atlanta by addressing their medical needs. One of the organizations that actively provides healthcare services to those in need is Hope Atlanta. According to the doctor, many individuals experiencing homelessness are in a constant state of survival and may resort to desperate measures to access healthcare.

Owens expressed that although it is a significant financial commitment and a massive endeavor, it is the appropriate course of action to take.

Jails have a legal obligation to provide healthcare to inmates, which ends up costing taxpayers millions of dollars across the metro area.

In Cobb County, every inmate receives a comprehensive physical examination within 14 days. The jail has dedicated doctors and nurses available full-time, as well as dentists who visit three times a week. The county ensures that necessary care is provided and covers the associated costs.

Owens believes that it is the responsibility of the state or federal government to find a solution for providing healthcare to those who are less fortunate, without resorting to illegal means.

According to Owens, our facility is not intended to serve as a healthcare facility, but rather as a detention facility.

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MBS Staff
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