An investigation from the Houston Chronicle found inmates without teeth in the Texas prison system are often denied dentures on the premise they aren’t medically necessary. Instead, prisons opt to feed inmates pureed meals. In a population of more than 149,000 inmates in 2016, prison medical providers approved giving out 71 dentures.
The Chronicle heard stories from more than two dozen toothless or nearly toothless inmates, some of whom had their teeth removed in prison and were falsely promised they would then receive dentures. One inmate was told by medical staff he would have to lose weight to qualify for getting dentures. After he lost more than 25 pounds, he said, he still couldn’t get approved.