Healthcare

Lawsuit: Corizon doctor tells New York City inmate to throw severed finger in trash can

On January 26, 2015, Rudolph Richardson sued the city of New York, prison healthcare contractor Corizon Health Services and Dr. Landis Barnes for allegedly delaying and denying him emergency medical care following an incident in which his cell door slammed shut on his fingers. According to the complaint filed in the District Court of the Southern District of New York, Richardson was hanging out in a common room at the Manhattan Detention Complex (MDC) in June, 2014 when he asked a guard if he [Continue reading]

Thousands of immigrant prisoners moved to undisclosed locations after protesting conditions

Nearly three thousand immigrant prisoners are being transferred to undisclosed federal facilities after a two-day demonstration against indecent living conditions and medical care left the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in need of repairs. Willacy is a private prison operated by the Management and Training Corporation (MTC), where thousands of inmates are housed in khaki-colored Kevlar domes. Located less than an hour north of the Mexico border in the town of Raymondville, Texas, [Continue reading]

Florida plans to rebid and revamp troubled prison medical contracts

Florida’s newly-minted corrections chief Julie Jones has announced that her department will rebid $1.4 billion worth of private contracts to provide healthcare to approximately 100,000 inmates across the state. The majority of those contracts are held by the nation’s largest and most controversial prison medical provider, Corizon Health Services. Another private provider, Wexford Health Sources, will have its contracts put up for bidding as well. Under those agreements, Florida was [Continue reading]

Report: Incarcerated people more likely to suffer from chronic illness and infectious disease than public

The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new report (PDF) this month on the health of incarcerated people in state and federal lock-ups from 2011-12. The study focused on both prisoners (i.e. people serving longer sentences) and jail inmates (i.e. people awaiting trial or serving shorter sentences), and found they were not only more likely to have had chronic medical conditions and/or infectious disease than the general population, but were also often denied prescription medication [Continue reading]

New wrongful death lawsuit raises more questions about coming Rikers Island reforms

On February 11th, the Associated Press reported that the mother of deceased Rikers Island inmate Quannell Offley was suing New York City for her son’s wrongful death. The lawsuit is one of many facing the city over Rikers Island and comes after months of reports detailing abuse and neglect by the city’s prison staff. According to the lawsuit, Offley told prison guards on multiple occasions that he wanted to kill himself after being placed in solitary confinement. His final threat [Continue reading]

Corizon Health Services could (and should) lose its $1.2 billion contract with Florida

Florida’s new corrections secretary, Julie Jones, is threatening to toss out Corizon Health Services’ $1.2 billion contract with the state if they refuse to negotiate a new deal “with an eye to enhancing prescription drug delivery, mental health services and nursing care [including] requiring more registered nurses to be on hand rather than less-skilled staffers.” The nation’s largest for-profit healthcare provider in prisons was also recently accused of [Continue reading]

Report: Corizon’s “flagrantly inadequate, substandard and dangerous” care killed Rikers prisoner Bradley Ballard

The New York State Commission on Correction released a new report this week, detailing the findings from its investigation into the horrific and preventable death of mentally ill black inmate, Bradley Ballard. Ballard was left in his cell for six days straight in September, 2013. Guards shut the water off to his cell for over four days, and not once during that time was he treated for his schizophrenia and diabetes. On the rare occasion that he was seen by a medical worker, their talks [Continue reading]

NYC’s new rules for solitary are not the reforms we’ve been looking for

Would NYC’s new rules for solitary confinement have saved the life of 19-year-old Andy Henriquez? Henriquez was brought to Rikers Island when he was only 16. Three years later, he was still awaiting trial when he was placed in isolation. Henriquez had complained of chest pains for seven months before being thrown in ‘the bing,’ but no one at the prison took him seriously. Health and correction staff ignored Henriquez’ increasingly-dire calls for help, to the [Continue reading]

NYC Doubles Down on Solitary Confinement with Latest Rikers “Reforms”

The AP reports that the NYC Board of Correction (BOC) will vote this coming Tuesday on changes to solitary confinement on Rikers Island, including a new Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU) for the prison’s “most dangerous” inmates and policies that seek to limit punitive segregation for other inmates, particularly the mentally ill and juveniles aged 16-21. The proposed BOC rules also include: Ending isolation for ‘owed time‘ Ending isolation for [Continue reading]

Rikers Island Reform: the Good, the Bad and the Omitted

After a summer and fall wracked with reports of violence, corruption and abuse on Rikers Island, it seems like change, in some form, is finally on its way. Growing protests over law enforcement brutality and the advent of prosecutions, federal lawsuits, committee reports and policy changes now conspire to face down many of the NYC Dept. of Corrections’ worst demons. Some of the possible reforms have yet to germinate, such as those stemming from the Justice [Continue reading]
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