It’s a typical day in a Louisiana prison when the doorbell rings and an inmate is sent to work the yard.
It’s not like he’s out there to run around the yard picking up the garbage or making a phone call.
This is a man who is certified as a diabetes educator, a highly credentialed position in Louisiana’s prison system.
But the job can be dangerous.
When a teacher goes in to work in the prison yard, the prison guards are armed and they often have guns.
This man is a certified diabetic educator and could easily be shot or killed.
“He’s not even a trained diabetic.
He’s an inmate who hasn’t been trained to take care of the people in his prison,” said James T. Gage, a certified instructor of diabetes at Louisiana State University.
Gage is one of dozens of certified diabetes educators who are locked up in Louisiana prisons because of their role in the fight against chronic disease.
He says these types of corrections are often times used to house inmates with severe conditions.
Gages and other diabetes educators say they’re not alone in their fight against the disease in Louisiana.
They say many of them are victims of the disease.
In Louisiana, people with diabetes are one of the most under-served populations in society.
They are disproportionately concentrated in prisons and jails and they have limited access to medical care, Gages said.
“We have very low rates of access to healthcare, access to adequate housing, access of social services, access for families to take advantage of things that they could not have before they were incarcerated,” Gages told CNN.
The Department of Corrections says that in the past two years, there has been an increase in the number of people being held in Louisiana prison with diabetes.
The number of prisoners with diabetes rose from 1,819 in 2016 to 2,913 in 2017, according to data provided by the department.
Gages says that while there is no guarantee that a person with diabetes will be rehabilitated, the department has worked to educate people who work in prison.
“It’s been very, very effective,” Gage said.
Gates says the prison has trained hundreds of people to become certified instructors, including more than 50 people in Louisiana who have worked for the corrections department for the past 18 years.
He has been able to use his own training as a teaching assistant.
Gates said that he is often in the field working with people who have diabetes, helping them understand how to use medications and food to control their diabetes.
“I’m very happy to be able to go back into my life,” Gates told CNN on Friday.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Gates said his work is part of a national effort to train people to help fight diabetes.
He said that many people with a chronic disease are working with other groups that help fight the disease, and that the education efforts will help the fight to end the disease once and for all.
“They’re in a position to make that change,” Gases said.