My state does not allow inmates to pay for better health care. Even if they could afford outside care, they’re limited to what the prison provides.
I remember my husband telling me about an inmate, a very wealthy man, who was desperate to get parole. He had cancer, and the prison treatments weren’t working. He was convinced that if he were released, he could be cured by more advanced treatments available to the public, but not in the prison.
As has been said before, inmates’ health care is far better than that of the indigent, which I think is pretty sad. (Not sad that the inmates get it, but sad that a law-abiding, but poor, person can’t.) With long-term illnesses, if there’s no way you can afford any treatment, you *would * be better off in prison.
Inmates also get dental care, which is unnafordable to a lot of poor folks. Some of the inmates in my husband’s prison had never been to the dentist in their lives before they were incarcerated.