“An inmate with a history of seizures was denied emergency care by a prison nurse who overrode a doctor’s orders for an ambulance, and within an hour the man suffered irreversible brain damage that led to his death, according to documents obtained by the Star Tribune.”
Stories like the one here are what lead to my interest in working for the prison reform cause several years ago. My one concern over the privatization of state industries stems from stories like this where a for-profit entity causes abuse or loss of life in an effort to cut corners and increase profits. With more and more people being locked up for non-crimes, we should all be concerned about the simultaneous rise and increase in the use of private prison corporations and all of the subsidiaries of the prison industry.
Not only was this man effectively murdered by the state, his death came only 3 months prior to his expected release date. Whatever money the state may have saved by choosing to hand over the responsibility of incarcerating its citizens can now be spent on a settlement or fighting the lawsuit being brought against them.
And lest anyone think this was a fluke, accident or possibly a freak, one-time event – you can see a list of wrongdoings committed by Corizon here. Every single for-profit prison & prison health provider, have rap-sheets stretching over a mile long…per each company. This is not simply one wrong-doing or mistake by one company operating in just one state…Corizon has had problems from Alabama to NM, up to MN and in numerous other states. This is standard operating procedure – NOT an accident committed by one employee in one place.
More from the article, “…events in the hours before Johnson was found “pulseless” in his cell raise questions about denial of care because of the rationed-care philosophy of the for-profit contractor Minnesota has hired to care for the state’s 9,400 prisoners. Corizon Inc., formerly known as Correctional Medical Services, has had a contract with the state since 1998, worth $28 million this year.
One of the contract’s major cost-saving provisions says that Corizon is not required to provide overnight medical staff in the state’s prisons, except Oak Park Heights and Faribault, where medically complicated, elderly and terminally ill prisoners are held.
No doctors, who are all Corizon employees, work in the state’s prisons after 4 p.m. or on weekends. Corrections nurses, who are state employees, work seven days a week, but their last shifts end at 10:30 p.m. The last time the Rush City prison had 24-hour medical coverage was in 2002….” Full Story Here on Star-Tribune
It may be easy enough to dismiss this story and think, “oh well, if you want decent medical care you shouldn’t commit crimes and land in prison” but please don’t be so quick to cast this off as something ordinary folks shouldn’t care about. As I stated in the beginning of this article, more and more people are landing in prison for NON-crimes…laws are tightening around our necks every day and it is getting harder and harder for average Americans to avoid thinking about those in prison as more and more have family members or friends getting caught in the net.
Consider the arrests made every day that are not only unjust, but often times, outright illegal or without just cause. Film an officer while standing in your own yard? Go directly to jail. Argue for your rights during a traffic stop? Go directly to jail, do not pass Go. Defend your family against armed intruders parading in SWAT uniforms who might have the wrong address? Off to jail with you, criminal!
And heaven help you if you fall ill while in one of their cages…because no one in the prison – not even the paid staff – will be there to help at all…
Tip of the hat to Wesman Todd Shaw for the original link to this story.