Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

US prisons very unlike Norwegian prisons

with 2 comments

In the US, for example, many prisons are run by companies that seek to make a profit from incarcerating prisoners, which of course means cutting costs. These companies generally have little or no regard for the prisoners in their keeping—including one that took away prisoner’s wheelchair in revenge for the prisoner reporting misconduct. Alice Ollstein reports at ThinkProgress:

The for-profit prison health care company Corizon continues to fight accusations from around the country that they have abused or neglected the inmates in their care.

In a new case in Fresno County, California, an inmate with a degenerative spinal disease says a Corizon doctor took his wheelchair away in retaliation for his previous complaints about her. When detectives with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office investigated the complaint, they found the company had also appeared to have falsified and altered the inmate’s medical records to cover up the abuse, as documented in a search warrant revealed by the local ABC channel.

These allegations come just four months after Corizon took over operations at the jail, a $100 million contract they won based largely on a promise to save Fresno County $5 million.

Nearby California counties have found that lawsuits against the company for the death of inmates can make an originally cheap contract quite expensive. The company paid the largest wrongful death settlement in state history in February to Alameda County, and promised to end its cost-cutting tactic of using less-trained vocational nurses instead of registered nurses.

Corizon also paid a settlement last week — the amount is secret — to the family of an inmate in Minnesota who died in their care. Jerrell Hammond, 34, begged Corizon doctors to be taken to an emergency room in the hours leading up to his death from blood clots. The case follows several other wrongful death and neglect lawsuits against the company from other inmates and their families that have been filed in recent years, including a case in which Corizon staff put a notereading “faker” in a suffering inmate’s medical file, then later destroyed the note when he became partially paralyzed due to lack of treatment.

And in Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union is investigating multiple claims that Corizon staff have been denying HIV medication to inmates. Corizon responded that the allegations are “untrue” but refused to comment further. Local advocates warn the situation is causing a public health crisis both in the jail and the greater community as untreated offenders are released.

Early this year in the same county, an inmate died after not receiving his epilepsy medication.

Corizon is currently gunning for a $66 million contract to take over operations at DC’s two local jails, paying for ads on Twitter and Google, hiring local insidersto lobby on their behalf, and enlisting the powerful PR firm Edelman.

Referencing the many lawsuits against the company, which can be massively costly for any county or city that works with Corizon, the Chair of the DC Counciljust announced his opposition to awarding Corizon the contract.

The US not only imprisons a higher proportion of its citizens than other nations (and the difference in incarceration rate is substantial), it also treats its prisons inhumanely as a matter of routine—as in Florida and New York, where prison guards routinely beat prisoners to death or close to death.

This conduct is particularly shameful when, as we see, the people imprisoned are often innocent, railroaded by unethical prosecutors and inadequate public defenders.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 March 2015 at 6:43 pm

2 Responses

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  1. That prison “doctor” sounds very sketchy to me. I could imagine that there are some sadistic prison “doctors…”

    reasonablyliberal

    31 March 2015 at 6:46 pm

  2. Power tends to corrupt, and prison officials (wardens, guards, doctors) have considerable power and also (apparently) little accountability, which increases the corrupting effect.

    LeisureGuy

    31 March 2015 at 6:53 pm


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