A more useful decision is Bartling v. Ciccone, 376 F. Supp. 200
(W.D.Mo. 1974). Although it is a 1974 decision from another district, the
case involves remarkably similar facts. There, a federal inmate wanted to
treat his extensive dental problems with implant and bridge work. He was
willing to pay to have his private dentist do the work. The facility in
which he was housed (a federal medical center for federal prisoners) was
unwilling to provide him with the care he wanted and was unwilling to
furlough him to get the treatment at his own expense; instead, the
facility was willing only to provide him with what it termed "necessary"
and "acceptable" treatment — extraction and a denture. 376 F.
Supp. at 201, 202.
The court rejected the Government's position and furloughed the inmate
so that he could get the treatment he wanted at his own expense. The
court did so pursuant to what was then designated
18 U.S.C. § 4082(c)(1), which has been modified and is now recodified
at 18 U.S.C. § 3622. The court was not persuaded by the Government's
argument that it was inappropriate to permit a "[d]isparity in dental
treatment based on wealth alone." 376 F. Supp. at 204; see also
Prushinowski v. Hambrick, 570 F. Supp. 863, 869 (E.D.N.C. 1983) (granting
medical furlough to federal inmate to obtain, at his own expense, an
additional medical opinion as to his physical and psychological
Section 3622(a)(3), which applies to sentenced prisoners, permits a
court to release a prisoner for a period not to exceed thirty days for
the purpose of "obtaining medical treatment not otherwise available."
Although section 3622 is not controlling, it is nonetheless instructive,
for it shows that Congress expressly contemplated that courts would
release inmates to obtain "medical treatment not otherwise available."
In this case, the interests of justice are not served by requiring
Richards — who still has the right to appeal his convictions
— to abandon his treatment midstream, when he has already spent
$11,000, when clearly he has been trying so hard to avoid dentures, and
he is willing to pay himself to have the treatment completed.
Accordingly, in view of the exceptional circumstances of this case, it
is hereby ORDERED that:
1. the Bureau of Prisons complete the implant and bridge treatment and
begin the treatment on or before July 7, 2000;
2. if the Bureau of Prisons is unable or unwilling to provide the
implant and bridge treatment, it is to furlough Richards (starting July
10, 2000) so that he can obtain private dental treatment at his own
3. alternatively, the Court will release Richards on bail so that he
may obtain the dental treatment on his own.