The article below was posted from the AP to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. This was the comment I left for their readers:
has been nothing but disastrous to Arizona state prisoners, ignoring
too many to death and leaving their families devastated. We've had a
whistleblower speak out and a class action lawsuit here (Parsons v
Ryan), exposing how evil they are - as well as numerous protests by
prisoners' loved ones and interviews with survivors, but it has been to
think that's due to Good Old Boy Terry Stewart's influence in AZ (he's
the former AZ DOC director - Chuck Ryan's mentor - now in bed with the
folks at Corizon Healthscare), but I can't explain why other states
still have contracts with them. Voters should really scrutinize things
closely if their jails or prison systems are going with these folks and
renewing contracts year after year, there's probably something dirty
going on that keeps them sucking your tax dollars up for their profits
at the expense of some of your most vulnerable citizens. Stop the
privatization all together, if you can. It doesn't deliver what it
promises, and you'll end up paying more after too many die in the end.
Posted as Peggy Plews
only knows why the new governor, Doug Ducey, has retained Chuck Ryan
after the embarassment his administration was to Brewer - must have
something on that guy, too. It's like the whole Republican party here
just dug their heads in the sand when it comes to the AZ DOC, though,
not just the chiefs. Their mascot should be an ostrich, not an elephant.
Elephants are, after all, thoughtful, compassionate, and wise...
the way, if you're fighting these bastards on behalf of a loved one at
the AZ DOC, follow the links to these older pieces, but be sure to be
current on the relevant AZDOC policies (Department Orders) and send them the right copies - the docs and links in these old posts have probably expired.
Corizon's Cruel and Unusual Greed: Follow the Money with Prison Legal News
artwork is mine....
St Louis Post-Dispatch
Janaury 20, 2014
By ADAM GELLER
Months after he landed in Florida’s Manatee County Jail, Jovon
Frazier’s pleas for treatment of intense pain in his left shoulder were
met mostly with Tylenol.
“I need to see a doctor!” he wrote on
his eighth request form. “I done put a lot of sick calls in & ya’ll
keep sending me back and ain’t tell me nothing.”
later, after Frazier’s 13th request resulted in hospitalization and
doctors diagnosed bone cancer, his arm was amputated, according to a
lawsuit by his family.
But the cancer spread. Frazier died in 2011 at age 21, months after his release.
an inmate, his medical care had been managed not by the county
sheriff’s office that runs the jail, but by a private company under
That company, Corizon Health Inc., is under growing
pressure after the loss of five state prison contracts, downgrades by
analysts and increasing scrutiny of its care of inmates held by some of
its largest customers, including New York City.
responsible for 345,000 inmates in 27 states, including Missouri, is the
country’s biggest for-profit correctional health provider, but it’s
just one of many firms vying for billions of public dollars spent on
Corizon was established in 2011 when privately
held Valitás Health Services Inc., the Creve Coeur-based parent of
Correctional Medical Services Inc., acquired America Service Group Inc.,
a Tennessee-based provider of prison health services.
With corporate headquarters in Brentwood, Tenn., Corizon touts Creve Coeur as home to its operational headquarters.
prison care raises questions about ceding public responsibilities to
private companies. It turns, though, on a thornier issue: How do you
ensure care of people who society mostly would prefer not to think
Inmates “are still human beings. I think some people
forget that, I really do. They’re somebody’s child,” said Shirley
Jenkins, Frazier’s grandmother.PRIVATIZED CARE
spend $8 billion a year, a fifth of their corrections budgets, on
prison health care, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts and the
MacArthur Foundation. Local jails spend millions more.
Some critics fault the idea of privatizing the job.
problem is a structure that creates incentives to cut corners and deny
care to powerless people that have no other options,” said David Fathi,
director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison
Others say deficiencies with prison care go beyond whether it is privatized.
don’t have a great love for private health care ... but I don’t think
that they’re the source of the problem,” said Dr. Marc Stern, former
health services director for Washington state’s prisons. Stern, who once
worked for a Corizon predecessor in New York state, issued a 2012
report criticizing the company’s care of Idaho prison inmates while
serving as a court-appointed expert.
“I think the problem is how much money and effort we are willing to put into correctional health care,” Stern said.
Some critics, though, say Corizon is notably problematic.
get letters from prisoners about medical care not being provided, and
the list is endless. And it’s increased tremendously since Corizon took
over,” said Randall Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice
Institute, who represents inmates petitioning for care.
Corizon says it strives to provide quality care.
are always troubled by any questions on the care provided to our
patients and view this as an opportunity to reconfirm our commitment to
operational ethics and professionalism,” company spokeswoman Susan
Morgenstern said in a written statement. The company declined to answer
The criticism surrounding Corizon isn’t new.
Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, which later became Corizon, was
the main subject of a 1998 Post-Dispatch investigation of for-profit
prison health care providers. Looking at CMS and other firms, the
investigation found more than 20 cases nationwide in which inmates died
as a result of alleged negligence, indifference, understaffing,
inadequate training or cost-cutting.
In 2012, Corizon was sued
for alleged medical missteps in the death of Courtland Lucas, an inmate
in the St. Louis jail. He died May 25, 2009, from complications of a
heart problem, congenital aortic valve stenosis, while under the care of
CMS. The lawsuit was settled in the fall of 2014, but the terms were
Corizon’s struggles are widespread.
care of the 11,000 inmates at New York City’s Rikers Island is under
“comprehensive review” by officials, who say they are concerned about
problems including at least 16 deaths since 2009.
Corizon last year to replace Wexford Health Sources Inc. after its care
came under fire. But an advocacy group warned that “if anything, things
have gotten worse” in state prisons. Arizona and the ACLU recently
reached a settlement calling for more monitoring of inmate care.
Corizon has lost long-standing prison contracts in Minnesota, Maine,
Maryland, Tennessee and Pennsylvania since 2012. Auditors in three
states documented problems, including slowness to address poor
recordkeeping and inmates’ urgent requests for off-site care.
which generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2013 and is owned by a
Chicago private equity firm, has battled stiffening competition. In
recent months, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have downgraded
Corizon’s holding company, citing financial underperformance, contract
losses and competition that has squeezed profits.
The connection between Corizon’s contract losses and questions about the quality of care it provides is not clear.
the challenges are evident in Florida, where a year after the state
privatized prison care and awarded Corizon a $1.2 billion contract, news
reports point to rising inmate deaths. If the company does not address
substandard care, the state’s corrections commissioner wrote to
Corizon’s CEO in September, Florida may begin withholding payment.
Minnesota, an audit last year found that inadequate communication
between prison staff and Corizon doctors during overnight hours “may
have been a contributing factor to inmate deaths.”
announcing Minnesota’s change of contractors, the corrections
commissioner said Corizon had provided “excellent” service. In a written
response to questions, the state corrections department said its
decision was not related to the audit. It would not comment on inmate
Corizon’s work in local jails also has come under scrutiny.
October, Volusia County, Fla., officials questioned Corizon executives
about lawsuits and its financial stability before voting unanimously to
switch contractors. The hearing was held in the shadow of a lawsuit
filed locally by the family of Tracy Veira, an inmate who choked to
death in 2009 in a cell where she was supposed to be under watch while
detoxing from painkillers.
A nurse working for one of the
companies that merged to form Corizon saw an ailing Veira in the jail’s
clinic the afternoon before she died. She told a supervisor the inmate
looked as if she needed hospitalization, but Veira was instead sent back
to her cell, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
the commissioners questioned Corizon’s executives, there was no mention
of Veira. But Commissioner Deb Denys said she was mindful of the case,
scheduled for a July trial.
“I think everybody was,” Denys said. “Sometimes you don’t state the obvious.”Jennifer Mann of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.