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Corizon Inc. Is the name of the company that Alabama uses for their privatized prison healthcare. Apparently this company is in quite the pickle but more on that later.

Alabama is one of, what I suspect is every state having privatized any portion of their incarceration system, the state's with abysmal conditions regarding inmate treatment.

The SPLC investigated their medical system and again we see appalling inhumane conditions. Conditions a parent would be imprisoned for if their child were so neglected.

“When a person is sentenced to prison, they are not stripped of their humanity and they are not sentenced to the pain, agony or death that can result from the lack of health care,” said Maria Morris, the report’s lead author and managing attorney of the SPLC’s Montgomery legal office. “Whenever Alabama determines a person must be incarcerated, it must accept the legal – and moral – responsibility that comes from imprisoning a human being.”
These are human beings the state is letting rot in prison. Might as well just throw them into a dungeon and toss them orts.
It was led by the SPLC’s Morris, who, before joining the SPLC, represented prisoners with mental illness as part of a lawsuit that ultimately resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a federal court order requiring California to address its prison overcrowding.

The Alabama investigation found numerous examples of conditions that threaten the health and lives of prisoners:

A prisoner who had survived prostate cancer had a blood test indicating his cancer had probably returned, but no follow-up test was given until a year and a half later. By that time, the cancer had spread to his bones and was terminal. He died less than a year later, in February 2014.

A prisoner undergoing dialysis died after he was given an injection of a substance that sent him into cardiac arrest in January 2014. Although there was a cart stocked with emergency medical equipment in the dialysis unit, no one present knew how to use it.

A prisoner incarcerated eight years ago after being shot in the groin had been told at the time of the shooting that he would have a catheter and a colostomy bag for six months before having surgery to repair damage from the gunshot. Almost a decade later, he has not had the surgery. He is in constant pain, sometimes urinating blood.

Numerous prisoners have had toes, feet or portions of legs amputated as a result of poor diabetes care. Some diabetic prisoners have reported that they have not had their blood sugar measured in months.

The investigation also found the prisons to be severely understaffed. As of March 2014, the ADOC had 25,055 prisoners in in-house custody. Yet there are only the equivalent of 15.2 full-time doctors and 12.4 dentists to treat prisoners. A doctor’s average caseload is a staggering 1,648 patients, and a dentist’s is more than 2,000 patients, according to the report. Some facilities do not have full-time doctors or dentists.

The investigation found that numerous prisoners have been placed under “do not resuscitate” or “allow natural death” orders without their consent or knowledge. In addition, psychiatric medication is often stopped or changed without discussion between the psychiatrist and the patient.

Custody is a word we need to relearn apparently.

But more on Corizon Inc. Moody's has repeatedly downgraded them in the past for poor performance. So if the inmates are not receiving care. And the company isn't profitable.

 Where is the money the states are paying for inmate care going?

In the article linked below state after state is listed with severe problems relating to outright medical neglect in most cases. The piece I excerpted ends on an admission these privatization schemes are in part based on making legal liability murky for those victimized.

According to Corizon’s website, the company provides healthcare services at over 530 correctional facilities serving approximately 378,000 prisoners in 28 states. In addition, Corizon employs around 14,000 staff members and contractors. The company’s corporate headquarters is located in Brentwood, Tennessee and its operational headquarters is in St. Louis, Missouri.

The 2011 merger that created Corizon involved Valitás Health Services, the parent company of CMS, and America Service Group, the parent company of PHS. The Nashville Business Journal reported the deal was valued at $250 million.

“Corizon’s vision is firmly centered around service – to our clients, our patients and our employees,” Campbell said at the time. “To that we add the insight of unparalleled experience assisting our client partners, and caring professionals serving the unique healthcare needs of [incarcerated] patients.”

Corizon has around $1.5 billion in annual revenue and contracts to provide medical services for the prison systems in 13 states. The company also contracts with numerous cities and counties to provide healthcare to prisoners held in local jails; some of Corizon’s larger municipal clients include Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York City (including the Rikers Island jail). Additionally, the company has its own in-house pharmacy division, PharmaCorr, Inc.

The prison healthcare market has flourished as state Departments of Corrections and local governments seek ways to save money and reduce exposure to litigation. [See: PLN, May 2012, p.22]. Only a few major companies dominate the industry. Corizon’s competitors include Wexford Health Sources, Armor Correctional Health Services, NaphCare, Correct Care Solutions and Centurion Managed Care – the latter being a joint venture of MHM Services and Centene Corporation. Around 20 states outsource all or some of the medical services in their prison systems.

As Corizon is privately held, there is little transparency with respect to its internal operations and financial information, including costs of litigation when prisoners (or their surviving family members) sue the company, often alleging inadequate medical care.

I'm sorry greedheads for profit is not always better. The states are spending the same amount if not more. And our incarceration system resembles an abattoir.
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Comment Preferences

  •  advancing backward to/feudalism.. (3+ / 0-)

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:52:37 AM PDT

  •  Horace - Are ANY of the private prison medical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, leu2500

    companies any good?  My county is thinking about moving to a prison medical service - actually we're pretty much being pushed into it as the two doctors who serve the County Jail have resigned, citing abuse from prisoners (mostly verbal, but they have been spat upon) and a plethora of unwarranted lawsuits as to why.  And yes, the complaints and lawsuits are unwarranted as best I can figure out.  They largely seem to be made by prisoners who want drugs the doctors don't deem warranted for the condition.

    The County currently has 2 doctors and 3 nurses on staff - everything else requires prisoner transport to a usually private facility around town.  The last "officer down" occurred during one of those visits.  The Sheriff has been investigating a company - not sure which one yet - that will provide not only 24/7 coverage, which we don't have now, but will provide on-site several medical services we now have to transport prisoners to.  The cost is more than what we're doing now, but not by much - and is just about equal when we add in the security costs (and risks) of prisoner transport to various medical facilities in town.

    I'm not good at looking this stuff up - I can't seem to define my searches small enough - I get so many hits I can't figure out what's useful and what's corporate propaganda - so anything you could tell me would be greatly appreciated.  I'm not sure how soon it's going to come before the Quorum Court for a vote, but I'd like to know what we're getting into before I make that vote.  Thanks, bf

    •  Not that I have found (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bfitzinAR, enhydra lutris, NancyWH

      The profit motive is insurmountable.

      •  Not good - Washington County (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III, leu2500

        is between a rock and a hard place here.  We have to provide medical care for the inmates.  The system we have in place already isn't adequate and depends on transporting them to private facilities under guard for anything other than basic "nurse practitioner" level stuff 6 days a week.  And the 2 doctors who visit regular working hours have just quit.  Anything happens when a nurse isn't on duty or a nurse can't handle means another transport to the hospital under guard.  And we've lost a couple of deputies - one just this year - to prisoners taking advantage of being in a public place to make a break.  

        If what they promise is even close to being true we'd have 24/7 coverage with nurse practitioners including one who specializes in mental health to do the "in-takes" plus weekly to twice weekly visits by regular doctors, eye doctors, and dentist plus at least monthly radiology visits.  Again, if they live up to it, we'd cut our transports by 90% - vastly increasing security all around.

        I was hoping you could find one that at least delivered on its promises, even if they did jump the cost after the first year or so.

        •  Double the deputies on the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Hospital runs.

          •  Cheaper than the worst doctor money can buy. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            •  Right now it's no doctor - we're (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Horace Boothroyd III, leu2500

              ferrying them to the ER which is dangerous as hell.  And with some new "tough on crime" b.s. laws our currently RWNJ legislature pushed through, the jail is almost overflowing - we're having to keep some of the more violent inmates who should be in the state pen but the state pen is full so the county jails are "holding" them until space can be found.  Our deputies are stretched with trying to keep a lid on violence we are totally not used to having.  Like I said - rock and a hard place.

              Not asking for good here - just asking for does what they say they'll do.  I know perfectly well they'll jump the fees damnear as soon as the Judge signs the contract but while budget is A primary concern, it's not THE primary concern in this case.

              •  Put the non violent on work release (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Counties need to start pushing back on this. Use the tools you have to the broadest extent you can to get the numbers inside down. The structure is desinged to house in a manner that allows humans to not become too stressed. Also to reduce the spread of disease. By packing them in beyond or in most cases at capacity creates interpersonal stress. There is no way around that. Human physiology is unable to adapt to those conditions. So stress levels mean increased incidents/safety issues. Also communicable and sanitation based vectors run rampant. Running up health care costs.

                Until you get doctors in house double the officers on hospital runs. Cheaper and safer for everyone. Staffing should be at full levels and have on calls to maintain it.

                •  We already are - we have tried every (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Horace Boothroyd III, leu2500

                  legal avenue we've got.  This is not a problem of our making.  The legislature wrote new "tough on crime" laws and then refused to finance them.  Standard Republican M.O.  We've reduced our load as best we can and our deputies are all stressed out with extra shifts, trying to do the kind of thing you're suggesting.  And the more stressed they get, well, they either quit or become part of the problem.

                  We've got the Association of Counties lobbying Little Rock for us but so far we're getting lip service in return.  People have been hurt (yeah, and don't the Rs feed off that, effen vampires) and I'm afraid it's going to get worse than just hurt before the Rs will get us the help we need.

              •  Remember priority #1 is safety (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Ground zero for an outbreak of something preventable is something we don't want. But that is what we are currently doing.

  •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    Happened here, too. After 9 inmates died.....

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 01:35:05 PM PDT

  •  In Alabama, it wouldn't matter if the state (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    took over the health care.

    The DOJ has been investigating Julia Tutwiler, the women's prison.  I'd say "they got what they deserved" is the general  reaction in the state. And that the Governor, etc have been all "well let's not rush to fix anything."  


    Oh,and in Alabama the sheriff gets a budget for food for the jail and he can keep what isn't spent. Guess how well that's working.  


    Republicans: If they only had a heart.

    by leu2500 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:33:17 PM PDT

    •  Custody means responsibility (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Their punishment begins and ends with being in custody. While in that state the Govenment is responsible for their care.

    •  The county north of us (0+ / 0-)

      unfortunately has that kind of sheriff and that kind of attitude.  Would it surprise you if I told you that's the county where WalMart's home office is?

      Our county makes sure the food gets to the intended recipients.  But then our County Judge, Attorney, and Sheriff all hate to be sued.  That's why - I talked to the Sheriff's folks last night after my Quorum Court Finance Committee meeting - this particular company (Corizon) isn't even in the pool under consideration.

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