Silent But Deadly: Hepatitis C and Prison

The Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) is a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of prisoners. We are organized for the purpose of abolishing class- and race-based mass incarceration in the United States. To accomplish this goal, ALC works on behalf of people whose human rights have been violated in prison. Through producing educational programs, we inform the general public about the harms of mass incarceration. We aim to develop a movement against the United States’ penal system by building alliances and nurturing solidarity across social divisions.
One of our current projects is focused on Hepatitis C, which is a chronic liver disease. It can cause cirrhosis (long-term damage that causes scarring) and liver cancer. When untreated, it can lead to death. Prisoners are the largest segment of Hepatitis C-positive persons in the country. About 10 to 20 percent of inmates carry the disease. Before 2013, Hepatitis C treatment had a low success rate, took a year to complete and had serious side effects.
After 2013, a new series of drugs with a 95 percent cure rate and minimal side effects were created. Most prison systems have refused to provide these drugs. Or, the drugs are rationed, meaning that many prisoners experience permanent liver damage or die of Hepatitis C.
The Hepatitis C Project is recruiting a network of pro bono attorneys to represent Hepatitis C-positive inmates throughout the state to ensure that inmates can receive treatment.
If you want to know more about Hepatitis C, are interested in helping out with the project or know a Hepatitis C-positive inmate, contact the Abolitionist Law Center at
More information about ALC can be found online at
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