Several months ago TexasParoleNow.com wrote about Texas inmates denied access to dentures stating “dentures are not a medical necessity” forcing them to puree their food.
Times have changed in just a few short months. Starting in the Spring of 2019, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will begin to provide inmates with missing teeth 3D-printed dentures. Texas will become the first state in the country with 3D printing capability for making dentures for inmates.
Access to 3D-printed dentures will avoid the need to transport inmates to dental facilities. Technicians at the prison will use a wand to scan the mouth of the inmate and send the images to the 3D printing facility, cutting down the process from months to weeks.
The abrupt change in the prison system was spurred by a report from a year-long investigation by the Houston Chronicle accusing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice of denying inmates access to adequate care. Texas officials changed their policy after the results of the investigation were revealed to the public.
Texas has a history of denying adequate medical care to inmates. In 1974, an inmate was injured by a 600-pound bale of hay. This launched a lawsuit that forced the state to reform their medical care. For years, inmates were provided dentures produced in-house through a vocation program. But that program ended in 2003, which coincidentally, is the same time the Texas Prison System came out from under decades of federal oversight. Since then, access to dentures fell from 1,295 per year to just 71 sets of dentures for a prison population of over 149,000.
Since the release of the report, prison officials announced plans to change the policy. Last week, officials confirmed the plans to purchase a 3D printer for dentures.
Prison spokesperson Jeremy Desel said authorities believe 3D printing will be the most cost-effective solution to the problem.
The state will have to purchase a 3D printing system which will cost somewhere around $90,000. After it is purchased, each set of dentures will only cost $50.00.
Let’s hope the officials at the Texas Prison System follow through with this plan.
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How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet is available in ebook format as an instant download or in bundled form with an ebook and a printed book to be sent to an offender in prison or someone at home. Since we are an approved vendor there are no issues receiving our books at any of the Texas jails or prisons.