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Alabama Department of Corrections
Apr 19, 2014 blog.al.com

WETUMPKA, Alabama -- Patricia Smith was sent to an Alabama prison in February 2008 after her probation was revoked over failure to make $50 monthly restitution payments. A month later, the 58-year-old Birmingham woman was dead. Her estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging that inadequate medical treatment at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women led to her death. The Alabama prison system -- plagued by budget pressures, overcrowded and understaffed facilities and now Justice Department allegations over prisoner mistreatment -- remains responsible for the serious medical needs of its prisoners. If those needs are not met, what can a prisoner do? State and federal courts are wary of inmate complaints, especially those filed without an attorney. Lawyers who represent prisoners in civil rights complaints say that Alabama’s immunity protection for state employees makes pursuing complaints a major challenge. And even a court settlement can come too late, as in the case of Patricia Smith. Response time: Smith had a history of high-blood pressure and heart problems, which the defendants knew about, the suit claims. It named Tutwiler’s then-warden, the Department of Corrections director of medical care and Correctional Medical Services, the company contracted to provide prison health care at Tutwiler and other state prisons. The inmate had a history of high-blood pressure and heart problems. Medical staff advised her to eat ice chips and drink Maalox. The was placed in a Tutwiler isolation room on March 25, 2008, and over the next several days made documented complaints about nausea, chest pains, diarrhea and vomiting. The suit claims Smith’s complaints were made to corrections staff and to the CMS medical personnel. She was taken to the Tutwiler health care unit once between March 25 and March 31 and advised to lie down. Medical staff advised her to eat ice chips and drink Maalox. On March 31, she was found unresponsive in the isolation unit, and the lawsuit claims the CMS employees were not properly trained to use oxygen bottles and a defibrillator. The lawsuit, filed by Montgomery-based attorney Mike Crow, said Smith died of acute myocardial infarction, a heart attack. Crow said the confidentiality agreement contained in the settlement of the lawsuit prevents him from discussing the Smith case, but he said prisons and jails in Alabama have medical staffing problems. “In my experience and involvement in handling other prison and jail cases, most of these facilities do not have the staff that is properly trained, nor do they keep the proper equipment there to handle medical emergencies, especially on the weekends,” Crow said. “When a staff member does recognize a medical emergency on a late night or weekend, the staff that does recognize it doesn’t have the authority to contact the ambulance. “They have to contact their immediate supervisor, who contacts their supervisor, who then contacts the sheriff or warden, and those kinds of delays are critical when you’re talking about an emergency.” Smith had been sent to Tutwiler after her probation was revoked for failure to pay $50 per month in restitution over a 2003 guilty plea on a first-degree theft charge. Crow said Smith, who had no family in Alabama that he could locate, was buried in the Department of Corrections pauper’s cemetery. Both the DOC employees named in the lawsuit and CMS argued the claims should be dismissed. [ What’s your experience with Alabama’s prison system? Click here to share your story: CMS has since merged with another prison health care company to become Corizon Correctional Healthcare. Through a spokeswoman, the company said it could not comment. “Corizon’s goal is to provide quality health care to every patient we serve. Because of patient confidentiality, we are not able to discuss details of the care provided to any individual or actions taken in any individual case. All healthcare providers must follow these same restrictions.” The claims against the DOC defendants were difficult to prove, as state law provides immunity and requires showing a given employee, while acting in their official capacity, violated a regulation, standard or law, Crow said. But CMS was more amenable to a settlement and Smith’s estate and the company reached a court-approved, undisclosed settlement in July 2011 in Montgomery Circuit Court. Crow said he eventually located a second-cousin of Smith’s who received the proceeds from the settlement.

November 11, 2008 Huntsville Times
New allegations in a federal lawsuit accuse the state of punishing a retired Army colonel for being a whistleblower" because he reported mistreatment of inmates at Limestone Correctional Facility. Dr. Larry Camp, a dentist, and Sabrina Martindale, a dental technician, both from Huntsville, were fired in early 2004 after they complained about the "delivery of unnecessarily brutal and painful dentistry" on inmates by Dr. Michael West, their supervisor. The two are seeking compensatory and punitive damages from Correctional Medical Services Inc.; state prison Commissioner Richard Allen; Ruth Naglich, the Corrections Department's associate commissioner of health services; and Laura Ferrell, the department's medical systems administrator. The updated complaint accused Naglich of slander and CMS of negligence. Allen, who was not commissioner when Camp and Martindale complained of the mistreatment of inmates, declined to comment on the case Monday. Corrections Department spokesman Brian Corbett said the agency would have no comment, but its legal department believes the accusations will be proven false. According to the complaint, the mistreatment included the reuse of unsterilized equipment between inmate-patients. David Long-Daniels, an Atlanta attorney representing Camp and Martindale, said West's practices were especially dangerous because many inmates at Limestone have HIV and/or hepatitis. West "liked one instrument in particular," Long-Daniels said Monday. "He would use it in extracting teeth. He would use it before the anesthesia had time to take effect, and if an inmate cried out he would tell him he had to get out of the chair." At the time, West was director of dental services for the state Department of Corrections under the agency's health services contracts with Prison Health Services Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., and NaphCare Inc. of Birmingham. Camp reported West's conduct to Prison Health Services while Martindale reported it to the state Board of Dental Examiners. Ferrell, who was Prison Health Services' regional vice president and now works for the Corrections Department, fired Camp less than a month later. Ferrell, whose husband, Jerry Ferrell, is the longtime warden at the Foundation Correctional Facility in Atmore, also fired Martindale, according to the complaint. The state Dental Board sanctioned West on May 5, 2005, for his failure to comply with recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Recommended Infection-Control Practices for Dentistry. According to the complaint, Ferrell testified on West's behalf at that hearing. After a new $228 million prison health contract was awarded to St. Louis-based CMS last October, both Camp and Martindale reapplied for their old jobs at Limestone. According to the complaint, Camp interviewed with CMS for a staff dentist position at Limestone on Oct. 12, 2007. CMS' dental recruiter told the Corrections Department had to approve all contracts, but he "indicated that this was a mere formality and that he had approved his (Camp's) hire." Camp said he was later told that the Corrections Department had denied his application. Martindale was rehired for her job in October 2007 but told she would start once Camp began treating prisoners. A week after her hiring, she was informed by Limestone that neither she not Camp would be working at there and CMS employees "were told not to ask any questions." Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, called the lawsuit "frivolous and not based on the facts." "We look forward to addressing these assertions based on the facts in court," he said. "We can tell you that we recruit health care professionals based on their ability to deliver quality services in the corrections environment." The Corrections Department declined to comment on West's whereabouts, and Fields said CMS does not comment on personnel matters.

September 9, 2007 Huntsville Times
The Alabama Medicaid Agency will get a $3.8 million contract with a company with a checkered past, but a political cloud may linger over the transaction. And the state Department of Corrections will get a $233.73 million contract with a St. Louis company that bid $6 million more than the losing bidder for inmate health care services. Democrats insinuate that politics may have played a role in ACS Heritage Inc.'s winning the Medicaid contract even though its bid was $500,000 higher than the next company. And the firm that won the prison contract, Correctional Medical Services, Inc., was represented by former Republican Lt. Gov. Steve Windom, a lobbyist with close ties to Gov. Bob Riley.

September 7, 2007 Birmingham News
The Legislative Contract Review Committee on Thursday delayed implementation of a $223 million prison health-care contract after an official with a company that bid $9 million less questioned the process. The panel also delayed a $3.7 million Medicaid contract to computerize medical records after lawmakers questioned the company's performance in other states. The Contract Review Committee reviews state agency contracts. Committee members can delay the contracts for 45 days but do not have the power to cancel them. The Department of Corrections, after taking proposals, selected Correctional Medical Services Inc. of St. Louis to provide medical care to Alabama's more than 20,000 inmates. Another company, Wexford Health Sources, had submitted the low bid that was about $9 million cheaper than Correctional Medical Services'. Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, and other legislators asked Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen why the department had not selected the low bidder. Allen said Correctional Medical Services scored slightly higher on bid reviews, which take quality of care into account. "I don't know that Mr. Holmes would go to the cheapest doctor in town," Allen said after the meeting. Lawmakers also questioned that the prison staff who reviewed the bids included several former employees of CMS. Allen said none had worked for the company in at least six years. "I have full confidence in these people. There was no politics involved in this selection," Allen said. But Michael Davis, a lawyer representing Wexford, said company officials wanted to meet with the commissioner before the contract was finalized. Davis said company officials had questions about how bidders' scores were determined.

September 6, 2007 Huntsville Times
The state corrections commissioner was questioned by legislators Wednesday over a $233.73 million contract for health care for Alabama's nearly 26,000 inmates. Commissioner Richard Allen is seeking approval of a three-year contract with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc. CMS would take over a contract now held by Prison Health Services Inc., of Brentwood, Tenn. Sen. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, a retired physician, endorsed the CMS contract, which would have two potential one-year renewals. "I have a keen interest in (prisons), particularly the health care," Griffith told the committee. "We're rapidly moving into the baby boomers going through the prison system just like we're going through it outside the prison system." Griffith said health care for convicts is a "major, major cost factor" for the state, but he added that "we're capping it with this contract and I think it's well thought out." The committee has the power to delay the contract for 45 days but cannot stop it from being enacted. Some members of the Joint Legislative Contract Review Committee questioned Allen about members of his staff who formerly worked for the two private companies and were involved in the selection process for CMS. A third company that submitted a proposal, Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources, was represented by an attorney who said he will ask for an explanation of the grading process when the committee meets again today. Allen acknowledged that Wexford's bid was about $6 million lower than CMS. "We evaluated the contracts very carefully," said Allen. "All the bidders were told that price would be 40 percent of the score and other things - innovations, cost savings, those types of things - would be scored 60 percent." Allen said Wexford scored third. Rep. Blaine Galliher, R-Gadsden, said he was concerned that Department of Corrections employees who formerly worked for CMS and PHS were on the team that graded proposals submitted by the three companies. But Allen defended the process, calling prison health care "a very narrow specialty." "If you look at the resumes of these (DOC) people, they have worked for several companies, not just this company (CMS)," he said. "Nobody in our department has worked for this company in the last six or seven years. They've also worked for PHS. They've also worked for about a dozen other companies. They go back and forth between the companies and state service."

February 18, 2006 Birmingham News
A nurse hired by the state prison system last month to monitor its medical contract had until then worked for the company he was hired to keep tabs on. After a few weeks on the job, nurse Brandon Kinard resigned from the state to return to Prison Health Services, then rescinded his resignation Friday. Despite earlier plans to go back to the company, Kinard will remain a regional clinical manager with the Department of Corrections assigned to make sure PHS does an adequate job, prisons spokesman Brian Corbett said. The state pays Kinard a $59,000 annual salary. He is one of several regional managers who oversee quality control, protocols and contract compliance, specifically DOC's $143 million contract with PHS, a Tennessee-based company that has come under scrutiny in several states on allegations of placing economic interests above patient care. Kinard's boss at DOC, Associate Commissioner Ruth Naglich, ultimately is in charge of making sure the company lives up to its contract. She also has ties to PHS, where she was vice president for sales and marketing before taking the state job. Kinard's employment falls within a gray area of state ethics law, officials say. Attorneys who represent prisoners treated by PHS say it's a conflict of interest even though it may be legal. "I don't know if it violates any state laws. But effective monitoring of a private company by the state Department of Corrections needs to be done by people who are independent of the medical company and independent of the DOC, and this is ..... something that would seem to prevent effective monitoring," said Joshua Lipman, an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights. Previous state monitoring efforts have resulted in DOC's withholding payments to PHS because the company failed to fulfill minimal contract staffing levels. The state withheld $1.2 million last year when monitors found the provider did not have enough doctors, nurses, administrators and support staff in the prisons, and later withheld $580,000 as a performance penalty. Kinard first worked for PHS at Hamilton Aged and Infirm. He worked both as a director of nursing and in an administrative position, making decisions about patient health care. He'd been with the company since November 2003, when PHS received the Alabama contract. He also had worked in prison medicine with companies that previously contracted with the state. Kinard began his job at DOC the first week in January. In early February, he submitted his resignation, effective Feb. 24, to return to PHS. A day after The News contacted PHS about the situation, Kinard rescinded his resignation, staying with the DOC job. Alabama ethics law prevents state employees from immediately accepting jobs at companies they audited, investigated or regulated for the state, said Hugh Evans, general counsel at the Alabama Ethics Commission. There has not been a ruling on whether that includes returning to jobs they came from. "Under the ethics law, if you are involved in auditing, investigating or regulating a private entity, that would include monitoring or awarding a contract to a private entity, you can't go to work for them for two years," Evans said. However, he said, "The issue is somewhat muddied, if that person is returning to the status quo. It could be a cause for concern."

December 17, 2004 Corrections Professional
Private prison employees' terror claim survived dismissal. Case name: Bullin et al.,v. Correctional Medical Services Inc., No. 2030573 (Ala. Civ. App. 11/19/04). Ruling: Because private prison employees claimed they suffered mental anguish as a result of their employer's failure to properly implement policies to protect them from the prison population, their claim was not covered under the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act. Accordingly, their claim survived dismissal and will proceed. Summary: In August 2002, Jamie Bullin, Lisa Johnson and Tabitha Manuel brought a civil action against Correctional Medical Services Inc., three individuals employed by the Alabama Department of Corrections, and several fictitiously named defendants in the Baldwin Circuit Court. The employees collectively alleged that CMS had negligently failed to formulate policies for the protection of the employees from the wrongful conduct of the prison population. The employees said they had been terrorized and caused to suffer severe and continuing mental anguish and emotional distress as a proximate result of CMS' omissions. The Baldwin Circuit Court transferred the cause to the Montgomery Circuit Court, and CMS filed a motion for summary judgment. CMS alleged that the employees' exclusive remedy was a claim under the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act. The employees contended that their claim alleged purely psychological injuries, therefore the claim was outside the scope of the act's exclusivity provisions. The trial court granted CMS' summary-judgment motion, and the employees appealed. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that the employees' claim against CMS was not barred by exclusivity provisions of Workers' Compensation Act because the employees' injuries were purely psychological in nature. The "injury" the employees complained of expressly included mental injuries that had neither been produced nor proximately caused by physical injury to body. The decision of the lower court was reversed and remanded.

Albany County Jail, Albany, New York
October 15, 2013 timesunion.com

THE ISSUE: Still no sanctions or fines in an Albany County jail inmate's death that a federal probe found was preventable. THE STAKES: Contract medical services providers with shoddy records need to be held to account. Put yourself in Irene Bamenga's shoes: It's summer 2011. Although you are only 29, you suffer from cardiomyopathy, so you have filled your day-of-the-week pill reminder boxes with enough medication to keep you alive. You and your spouse are heading to Canada, then to France to await the green card offering legal residence in America, where you hope to start a family. But you've carelessly let your visa expire. So you're taken into custody by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents to be deported to France — the very place you were trying to go. Except now you've lost your freedom. You cling to your pill boxes and hope. But bureaucracy says you can't take those pills because you don't have your original prescriptions and bottles. The first jail where you are held to await deportation finally gives you some of your medication. Then you're transferred to Albany County Correctional Facility. Here, according to a story by the Times Union's Alysia Santo last week, the facility's main doctor is away. You write, "I am not being given the full doses of my medication." Then: "Shortness of breath ... palpitations when laying down."  Irene Bamenga died in the jail, a death that could have been prevented, according to a physician hired by ICE who determined that missed and incorrect medication dosing contributed to her heart failure. Yet, aside from the evening medication nurse, who is "no longer employed at the Albany County jail," according to a report a year ago from the state Commission of Correction, no person or agency has faced sanctions or fines for this travesty. The commission disagreed with ICE and labeled it a "natural death," citing autopsy and toxicology reports that Albany County withheld from ICE. This denial of responsibility smacks of a whitewash and cries out for further investigation. Albany County must reexamine how it provides medical care. When Ms. Bamenga was being held, health care was provided by Correctional Medical Services Inc., a for-profit business that has merged with Prison Health Services to form Corizon, the country's largest private prison health care business. Albany County has since changed to Correctional Medical Care — but one might rightly question whether its record is any better. CMC has been cited in recent years by state investigators for inadequate care that contributed to inmate deaths across New York. Albany County is not alone in this region in using private medical providers in jails. Ms. Bamenga's case offers no reason for the public to believe that these companies are being held to account. Nor is there any reason not to conclude that a desire among our county executives, legislators and sheriffs to save a few dollars is putting people's lives at risk. A stay in county jail --should not be a death sentence.

December 15, 2009 Times-Union
When Kelly Mayo was arrested for drug possession on a Saturday afternoon in May 2006, she was only supposed to spend a weekend in the Albany county jail. Instead, two days later, a guard found her hanging by a sheet twisted into a makeshift rope. "I didn't want to be in jail, so I tried to hang myself to get out of jail," Mayo said, according to transcripts of a deposition later gave. Her father, Joseph Mayo, 89, is suing the Albany County Correctional Facility and Correctional Medical Services, a private company that runs the jail's health unit, for unspecified damages on her behalf for damages. He claims they should have done more to prevent Kelly Mayo, 46, from attempting suicide and should pay for the 24/7 care she now requires. Both the sheriff's department and the medical company declined to comment on the case for this story. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany dismissed the case in April, saying the jail took all reasonable precautions. An appeal was heard Friday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan. According to depositions of staff on the ward on May 15, 2006, at 4:30 p.m., a guard walked by and saw Mayo peering through the window in her door. One nurse took a cigarette break, while the other had just finished treating diabetic inmates. At 4:41, the guard found Mayo unconscious. The staff called an ambulance and tried to revive her. They saved her life, but oxygen deprivation destroyed her short-term memory and left her with limited brain function. "They ruined my daughter's life," Joseph Mayo said in a phone interview from his home in Manhattan. "She used to flash around, jolly, helping people. She was always out of breath whenever she came into a room. She would hang around for a while, then she was back in her car, going somewhere else." Kelly Mayo grew up in New Jersey and New York City, but was living with her boyfriend in Albany when she was arrested. She was a part-time stagehand by profession, and a free spirit by temperament, her father said, treading gently around his daughter's years of drug abuse. Now every time he visits his daughter at the Belvedere long-term care home in Albany, he finds her sitting in the corner of her room. "I tell her the same joke every time I call her," her father said. "She laughs every single time. She still has a sense of humor, but her memory is gone." The district court said the Mayo family cannot sue because the jail met standards for suicide risk screening approved by the state Commission of Correction, which oversees local jails. The commission provides a 16-question test about suicide risks for guards to give newly admitted inmates. A prisoner who answers "yes" to eight questions is considered a suicide risk. Mayo answered yes to three of the questions. When she was admitted, Mayo told nurses that she injected heroin and drank a pint of alcohol daily. Staff gave her medication to ease withdrawal symptoms, placed her in a cell next to the nurse's station with only a mattress on the floor, and checked on her every 30 minutes, according to her medical file. But the Mayo family's lawyer, James Monroe of Albany, said the jail should have monitored Mayo constantly or sent her to an outside facility after she began suffering from tremors and hallucinating that she saw gnats around 6:30 a.m. the day she tried to kill herself. The staff knew these symptoms constituted a risk for suicide, Monroe said. "It says so in their own training manual. "They took a chance and Kelly paid the price," he added.

June 23, 2009 Courthouse News
Five workers at a New York prison health clinic were unfairly fired for peacefully picketing in their bid to unionize, the 2nd Circuit ruled, overturning a decision by the National Labor Relations Board. Workers at the Albany County Correctional Facility sought to organize in 2002. The Civil Service Employees Association asked Correctional Medical Services, which operated the facility, to recognize it as the collective-bargaining representative of all clinic employees except doctors, supervisors and one clerical worker. CMS rejected the request. Workers responded by organizing a peaceful demonstration outside the facility. Twenty individuals - including five clinic employees - walked in a circle in front of the facility's main entrance for 40 minutes. The five clinic employees were fired for engaging in an "illegal picket," because the union failed to give the facility proper notice of the picket. The union fired back in October 2002, claiming the firings were illegal. The National Labor Relations Board ruled in May 2007 that the terminations were lawful, and that a health-care employer can fire workers who picket on behalf of a union that failed to give the mandatory 10-day advance notice of picketing. In overturning the decision, the New York-based federal appeals court found that picketing for recognition is an employees' right, and the distinction Congress made between striking and picketing indicates its intent to protect workers from retaliation. "While labor organizations are subject to sanction for either striking or picketing without observing the notice requirement," the three-judge panel wrote, "the statute specifies sanctions for employees who participate in the violation only in the case of strikes and not in the case of picketing." The circuit concluded that Congress showed "no intention to punish individual employees who do not strike but peacefully picket," adding, "it would not be appropriate for us to attribute one."

Allegheny County Jail, Allegheny, Pennsylvania
On Oct. 21, 1996, 33-year-old Charles Fine, a heroin addict From Monongahela, became the first inmate to kill himself in what was then the new Allegheny County Jail. He rigged a makeshift noose out of his shoelaces and hung himself from a bunk in his cell. Now, seven years later, the medical company that used to screen inmates for suicide risk at the jail is on trial in U.S. District Court, defending itself against a negligence claim. Fine's stepmother, Barbara Mayfield, represented by local attorney Vincent Coppola, says employees of Correctional Medical Services Inc. of Missouri should have known Fine was going to kill himself. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 24, 2003)

Arkansas Legislature
November 18, 2007Arkansas News
Several companies with ties to state legislators have contracts with the state. The deals involve more than $ 700, 000, most of the contracts were awarded after competitive bidding, the arrangements are legal, and they were publicly disclosed in recent reports to lawmakers because of a law the Legislature enacted this year. Sen. Percy Malone, an Arkadelphia Democrat and a legislator since 1995, is president and the majority stock owner of W. P. Malone Inc., which owns Pharmacy Care of Arkansas. That company does business as Allcare Pharmacy, which has a $ 25, 000-a-year pharmacy services contract with the Department of Human Services’ Alexander, Arkadelphia and Jonesboro Human Development Centers, said the state’s procurement director, Joe Giddis. It was awarded Jan. 20, 2005. Allcare also has had a contract with the department for the Arkansas Health Center at Benton since July 2004, said Julie Munsell, a spokesman for the department. That’s for $ 200, 000 a year, Giddis said. Allcare was paid $ 437, 890 from July 2004 to Nov. 8 this year for drugs under the contract, Munsell said...Malone’s firm also is a subcontractor to the Department of Correction for inmate medical care, Giddis said. That arrangement, too, began before he was a legislator, Malone said. The firm provides prescription drugs and other services through Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis. He and Correctional Medical Services declined to say how much business Allcare does each year with Correctional Medical Services. “It’s proprietary [information ],” Malone said.

Arlington County Detention Center, Arlington, Virginia
March 1, 2006 DC Examiner
The cost of medical services for inmates in the Arlington County Detention Facility has gone up, staff turnover is high and service is lacking, according to an audit released this week by the Criminal Justice Institute. A 43 percent rise in operating costs was due to skyrocketing health care expenses, a higher influx of inmates with acute medical conditions and the rising prices of drugs prescribed for mental illness, said Susie Doyel, the facility's administrative director. Doyel said the report, which outlines a number of problems in the service provided by contractor Correctional Medical Services, is a positive thing for the facility. A number of criteria that were not specified in the contract with CMS led to inefficiencies and costly procedures. CMS's contract ends Oct. 31. In April, the detention facility plans to send out a request for new contracts that includes the majority of the auditor's recommended changes in operations, including allowing inmates to take drugs like Tylenol or antibiotics without the assistance of a nurse - freeing nurses for more pressing duties. But high turnover also contributed. Nurses were leaving, said the report, because of "high costs for parking, transportation issues and higher-paying positions in the vicinity with free parking."

Baldwin County Jail, Baldwin County, Alabama
April 26, 2005 Mobile Register
Scott Allen Winingear spent less than two months in the Baldwin County jail last year before administrators concluded they were not equipped to control the diabetic inmate's blood sugar, according to federal court testimony. So concerned was the nursing staff about Winingear's condition, that officials had him transferred to Mobile County Metro Jail, which has 24-hour medical services on staff, Baldwin jail personnel testified. But in about three months at Metro Jail, the 31-year-old Indiana man's blood sugar readings actually got worse, according to the federal court testimony earlier this year. The case marks another criticism of the Metro Jail system that has come under attack in recent years and echoes findings of a nutritional consultant who reported last week that the jail does not appear to be preparing different meals for diabetics and other inmates with special needs. According to testimony at the sentencing hearing, Winingear's prob lems at Mobile County Metro Jail stemmed from a switch to a cheaper form of insulin and a diet that was not conducive to controlling his diabetes. Testimony at the hearing indicated that the jails in Baldwin and Mobile treated Winingear differently. At Metro Jail, Winingear testified, he received the same meals everyone else did. He said the diet consisted of high-carbohydrate foods like spaghetti and white bread, along with sugar-laden items like fruit cocktail and Kool-Aid. Unsweetened alternatives were not available, he said. Winingear testified that his parents put money in his jail account but that administrators deducted those funds to pay for his medical care. As a result, he testified, he was unable to supplement his meals by purchasing snacks from the jail store. Winingear contended in his testimony that the jail gave him Novolin 70/30, a cheaper mix of Humulin-R and Humulin-L that he said was not as effective. A former nurse at Metro Jail, who asked not to be identified out of fear she might face professional reprisals, said the jail switched insulins in the fall. She also said nurses often did not test diabetic inmates' blood sugar levels frequently enough. "The nurses were pushed so hard that there hardly was a time in the day when we were not so far behind," she said. The nurse said administrators also showed little flexibility in making sure diabetics were regularly monitored. "If they were at a religious service or something else when blood sugars were tested, the unwritten policy was they would do without," she said. Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis company that has provided health services to Metro Jail inmates since July could not immediately offer a response. In testimony at Winingear's sentencing hearing, an administrator with the firm acknowledged that a nurse at one time was late making rounds to check blood sugar levels and administer insulin. Carla Wasden, the jail's health services administrator, testified that it was possible the nurse was late more than once.

Bayside State Prison, Leesburg, New Jersey
A New Jersey inmate infected with potentially deadly hepatitis C has filed a federal lawsuit against the state Corrections Department and its medical contractor, contending that his disease was left untreated for a decade after it was detected. The suit by Jose Lopez, 49, an inmate at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, Cumberland County, is the latest to allege that New Jersey neither treated inmates for the liver disease nor told them that tests had found they were infected. "The conduct of prison officials and medical providers was outrageous. Not to inform Mr. Lopez of a life-threatening disease is tantamount to watching a person having a heart attack and sit idly by," said Lopez's Philadelphia lawyer, Mark B. Frost, who filed the suit Friday in Camden. The Department of Corrections declined to comment on the lawsuit. A spokesman for the department's medical contractor, the St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., said he had not reviewed the lawsuit and could not immediately comment. Lopez, a career criminal who has been in prison since 1983, tested positive for the hepatitis virus in 1992, the suit said. By the time he was notified 10 years later, it said, his health had seriously deteriorated. He has since developed bleeding ulcers, a sign of liver cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C, medical records show. In addition to Lopez, several other current and former New Jersey prisoners have sued the Department of Corrections and Correctional Medical Services - the largest prison health company in the nation. (Philadelphia Inquirer, May 13, 2004)

Bernalillo County Detention Center, Bernalillo, New Mexico
June 8,  2010 The New Mexico Independent
Bernalillo County officials have destroyed bid-scoring sheets used in awarding a $23 million jail health services contract, the Albuquerque Journal reported Monday. The destruction of public records may have violated the state public records law, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (FOG) director Sarah Welsh said. “(They) are certainly something the public would have an interest in seeing,” Welsh said. “It seems strange to just destroy that one part of it. The whole point of open government is so the public can review decisions that officials are making.” Correctional Healthcare Management won the $12 million a year contract to provide medical care to inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center. Correctional Medical Services (CMS) has held the health services contract for seven years. The County is investigating millions of dollars in suspected overpayments to CMS during that time.

Bi-State Jail/Bowie County Detention Center, Bowie County, Texas
October 3, 2009 Texarkana Gazette
A federal lawsuit filed by the family of a one-armed, toothless man who managed to hang himself with a suicide suit while an inmate in the Bowie County jail annex, has been settled. Because of a confidentiality agreement, neither the plaintiff nor the defendants are talking about the terms of the arrangement. The family of Robert Bruce Williams filed the suit in April 2007. Named as defendants are Bowie County, Sheriff James Prince, Civigenics Inc., which manages the jail, Correctional Medical Services, which serves the medical needs of Bowie County inmates, and several...
   

Broome County Jail, Broome, New York
Nov 23, 2012 PressConnects.com
BINGHAMTON — A medical services contractor under contract with Broome County is now the target of a lawsuit over the 2011 death of a county jail inmate. Pennsylvania-based Correctional Medical Care, Inc., was served on Monday with a legal summons and complaint alleging that its employees failed to prevent the July 20, 2011 death of 40-year-old inmate Alvin Rios Jr. at the Broome County jail. After Rios’ family filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court last month against Broome County, the Press & Sun-Bulletin obtained and released a state medical review board’s report on Rios’ death. The five-page report said CMC failed to follow its own intoxication and withdrawal policies and procedures, and that Rios was left “in an emergent life-threatening status without appropriate medical attention.” An amended legal complaint was filed Nov. 2, adding CMC and unnamed nurses as defendants and alleging that CMC, through its employees, “failed to follow policies and procedures with respect to treatment to be afforded to inmates exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal from narcotics and/or alcohol or other hallucinogenic substances.” The amended complaint also accuses CMC personnel of “leaving (Rios) unassisted on circumstances where timely medical intervention could have prevented his untimely demise." Binghamton-based attorney Ron Benjamin, who is representing Rios’ family, said the private company is positioned to absorb any legal ramifications the county faces.“The county has a contract with CMC that requires CMC to indemnify them,” he said, “which means they have to pay them whatever the county gets hit for.” County officials have declined to comment on Rios death due to the litigation. CMC has since 2006 provided medical services at the jail under a contract with Broome County worth more than $2 million per year. CMC executives did not respond to phone and email messages requesting comment for this report. The company has contracts to provide medical care at 12 facilities in New York state, according to its website, including county jails in Broome, Tioga, Albany, Dutchess, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Shenectady and Ulster counties.

Oct 23, 2012 PressConnects.com
DICKINSON — A 40-year-old inmate was left “in an emergent, life-threatening status without appropriate medical attention” before his death at the Broome County Correctional Facility last year, a state oversight agency has determined. While a lawsuit filed last week seeks to hold Broome County accountable for the July 20, 2011, death of Alvin Rios Jr., a report by the New York State Commission of Correction accuses a medical services company under contract with the county of failing to follow its own procedures in the hours before the inmate’s death. Pennsylvania-based Correctional Medical Care Inc. did not respond to phone messages or a written list of questions about the incident. County officials also declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit. According to the commission’s five-page report, obtained by the Press & Sun-Bulletin this week, Rios was arrested at a local motel on July 19, 2011, on a warrant for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Rios died the next day of “cardiac arrhythmia produced by cardiomyopathy” — an abnormal heart rhythm stemming from a deterioration of the heart muscle — “from illicit drug use.” According to the report, CMC failed to implement its own intoxication and withdrawal policy and procedure after Rios was booked into the jail at 4:48 p.m. on the day he was arrested. Medical workers and jail personnel are identified only by their initials in the report, which is heavily redacted. Among the commission’s findings is that the doctor who was at the jail for more than eight hours on July 20, 2011, was never made aware of Rios’ condition. In a statement later to the Commission of Correction, the doctor said he “never touched the chart.” When questioned by the Commission of Correction, a nurse employed by CMC said the nursing staff “typically utilized sick call protocols and over-the-counter medications,” rather than notifying a physician, when withdrawal symptoms are assessed. CMC’s policy, however, requires the notification of a physician as soon as the potential withdrawal is assessed. At 4:21 p.m. on July 20, 2011, a corrections officer heard a “thud” from Rios’ cell, according to the report. “Officer D.T. checked on Rios and saw him laying face down and shaking,” the report states. The officer then notified a registered nurse on staff, but Rios was pronounced dead less than an hour later. “The RN clearly left his patient in an emergent, life-threatening status without appropriate medical attention,” the report states. The report adds the nurse is no longer employed by CMC. The Commission of Correction produces mortality investigations as part of its oversight responsibilities for jails and prisons in New York state. Unanswered questions' The release of the investigation report, through the state’s Freedom of Information Law, comes in the wake of a wrongful-death lawsuit filed last week by Alvin Rios Sr., the father of the inmate. The complaint, filed in Broome County Supreme Court, alleges that negligence on the part of personnel at the jail led to the wrongful death of Alvin Rios Jr. Broome County and Sheriff David Harder, in his official capacity, are named as the defendants. “... Despite calling for medical assistance, and despite (Rios) exhibiting signs and symptoms that could have indicated a heart attack, stroke or catastrophic consequence, no one came to his assistance for a substantial period of time after he first cried out for assistance,” the legal document states. Rios, who immigrated from Puerto Rico in 1971 and was employed as a painter, was married and had children, according to the commission’s report. Binghamton-based attorney Ron Benjamin said Rios’ family is “devastated” by his death, and also unsettled by the lack of clarity about the circumstances leading up to it. “There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” Benjamin said. According to Press & Sun-Bulletin archives, the Broome County Sheriff's Correction Division on July 21, 2011, said an autopsy that day had determined Rios died of an opiate overdose as the consequence of long-term drug abuse. “It was not caused by an overdose,” Benjamin said. “What may have been going on, at least in part, is that Mr. Rios was experiencing some of the symptoms of withdrawal. And had he been given adequate assistance when he began making complaints, we believe that his life could have been saved.” Although the lawsuit seeks to hold Broome County liable, the Commission of Correction report focuses on failures on the part of employees of CMC, which has provided medical care at the Broome County jail since 2006 under contracts worth more than $2 million per year. In addition to a series of recommendations directed at CMC, the Commission of Correction’s report recommends that Broome County Executive Debbie Preston “conduct an inquiry into the fitness of Correctional Medical Care Inc. as a correctional medical care provider.” Preston spokesman Jim Worhach referred questions about the county’s response to the report to Harder, who declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit. In a letter sent to the Commission of Correction in July of this year, Harder said the Sheriff’s Office “took steps to insure that Correctional Medical Care Inc. complied with the commission’s recommendations” and has “monitored the development and implementation of the actions taken by the medical service providers.” A state report issued this month on two inmate suicides at the Broome County Jail last year found fault with medical procedures but said staff security and supervision were performed properly. The state Commission of Correction, the agency that oversees all of New York's jails, issued its report nearly a year after a 20-year-old asphyxiated himself Oct. 18, 2002, with a shoelace by wrapping it around a window frame in his cell and tying it around his neck. A murder suspect died in a similar manner on Christmas Eve by asphyxiating himself using a sheet. The two were the first suicides at the jail since it opened in 1996. Both men had medical issues when they were booked in, the report indicated. Scott Sickles suffered symptoms of heroin withdrawal, but did not receive standard treatment for drug withdrawal from medical staff, the report states.  Both families have put the county on notice that they plan to sue the county and its officials. In the past, inmates waited 24 hours while CMS obtained medication from a facility in Minnesota. (Press & Bulletin Sun, October 27, 2003)

Calhoun County Jail, Battle Creek, Michigan
March 25, 2005 WZZN13
A sneeze changed Linda Peterson's life forever.  Peterson, 53, of Battle Creek, was a licensed practical nurse working in the Calhoun County jail when a female inmate sneezed during an examination on May 15, 2002. What Peterson didn't know at the time was that the woman was infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a bacteria resistant to many antibiotics. Peterson believes it was that sneeze which infected her. For Peterson, the infection forced amputation of her middle toe and a portion of her left foot, forced her to stop working, plunged her into depression and placed her nearly $100,000 in debt because of medical bills and her inability to work.  She can't rid her body of the infection and can only hope to control it. Peterson was working for Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis, Mo., company which contracts with Calhoun County to provide medical care in the jail. The company provides correctional health care in 27 states. Peterson and another former registered nurse working for CMS, Sally Lett of Kalamazoo, and two former inmates, contend CMS and jail personnel did not do all they could to disinfect jail living areas and equipment to help prevent the spread of the bacteria. "It wasn't as clean as it should be," Peterson said. "We didn't always have the supplies." "The health and safety of the inmates and the employees was not a consideration," Lett alleged.

Callaway County Jail, Fulton, Missouri
November 17, 2005 Fulton Sun
With half a month left before inmates at the Callaway County Jail lose their healthcare provider, county officials believe they have found a new provider, one that will offer more benefits at a cheaper rate. The Callaway County Commission decided Wednesday morning to pursue using Advanced Correctional Healthcare to provide medical services to the county's inmates. After Correctional Medical Services - which will provide the county's healthcare until Nov. 30 - notified the county that it was pulling out of the contract at the end of October, Callaway officials have been hurriedly looking for another provider. "I was really concerned when the sheriff said (CMS) would no longer be providing services," said county auditor Rosemary Gannaway. "That was the scary part." CMS generally provides medical services to institutions larger than county jails, but because of Callaway's proximity to the Department of Corrections in Jefferson City - which CMS services - CMS agreed to cover the Callaway jail, Gannaway said. CMS provided a nurse practitioner to work 18 hours a week at the jail, as well as an on-call doctor. Because the nurse practitioner recently accepted another job, Gannaway said CMS decided to end the contract rather than trying to find another nurse practitioner to fill the position.

Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, Mississippi
July 16, 2005 Clarion Ledger
A state prisoner suffering from life-threatening illnesses has been denied medical treatment for more than a month, a lawsuit claims.  The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Jackson, seeks immediate medical treatment for Raymond Winne of Gulfport, an inmate at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees an inmate the right to receive necessary medical attention, the suit says.   Named as defendants are the correctional facility Superintendent Margaret Bingham and Correctional Medical Services, Inc., which provides medical treatment for state inmates.  The lawsuit comes after an American Civil Liberties Union class- action lawsuit was filed in June on behalf of roughly 1,000 inmates in Unit 32 at the state Penitentiary in Parchman.  The lawsuit's allegations include that inmates in the super maximum security unit are subjected to inadequate medical, mental health and dental care.  In 2003, the ACLU filed a lawsuit and won improvements in Unit 32 for death row inmates.

Correctional Industrial Facility, Pendleton, Indiana
December 4, 2007 The Herald Bulletin
A contractual employee at a Pendleton prison has resigned after she admitted to trafficking with an inmate. Tim Horan, public information officer for the Correctional Industrial Facility, said Margie Rickner resigned Friday after admitting to Indiana State Police investigators she brought in tobacco for an inmate. Rickner, a behavioral clinician employed by Correctional Medical Services, had been working at the prison since Dec. 3, 2006. Her job duties included counseling inmates. Rickner has not been charged with any crime, but Horan said ISP is pursuing charges against her. Trafficking in tobacco with an inmate is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. The $5,000 fine is mandatory if the person who committed the crime is a Indiana Department of Correction employee or is an employee of a penal facility, according to state law. CMS provides medical services for about 250,000 inmates in 24 states, according to the company’s Web site. The inmate’s name and the amount of tobacco brought into the prison weren’t released, Horan said, because the case remains under investigation. He could also not release when Rickner allegedly began bringing the contraband inside. Her age and city or residence were also unavailable from prison officials. “CIF staff are due all the credit,” Superintendent Tom Hanlon said in a news release. “Through their observations and communication, this trafficking incident was detected.”

Correctional Medical Services (now Corizon), St. Louis, Missouri
Arizona prisons in health-care quandary: February 16, 2012, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Expose on for-profit health providers

August 30, 2012 ACLU Press Release
The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri’s civil suit against the city of St. Louis and Correctional Medical Services, the medical provider for the city jails that is now known as Corizon, was dismissed today. Originally filed in 2010 on behalf of an HIV-positive inmate at the Medium Security Institute in St. Louis, the ACLU-EM’s lawsuit cited life-threatening deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition. The inmate, known as John Doe to protect his privacy, was incarcerated in early 2010 and for the first 20 days of his stay was denied the life-saving medication for which he had a daily prescription. During that period he was given only Tylenol, despite repeated attempts by him, a friend and his doctor to re-establish his prescribed medical regime. “No one awaiting trial should ever be denied medical care,” says Brenda L. Jones, executive director of the ACLU-EM. “But, this case was especially egregious because people who are HIV-positive can quickly build resistance to medications that are not taken consistently.” Tony Rothert, the ACLU-EM’s legal director, said “This gross violation of our client’s constitutional rights caused him suffering, mental and emotional distress, and great fear of physical harm. Even worse is the gross incompetence displayed by Corizon, the company that also provides medical services to the state of Missouri’s prisons.” The case was dismissed as part of a settlement agreement. A condition of the settlement prevents the disclosure of the amount of settlement funds paid to Doe.

May 24, 2012 Post-Dispatch
About an hour after a doctor instructed St. Louis jail staff to send inmate Courtland Lucas to a hospital immediately, medical records show, the 31-year-old prisoner collapsed in a cell and soon died. The lapse is among a variety of medical missteps alleged in a wrongful-death and malpractice lawsuit against the private contractor that provides medical care for the St. Louis Justice Center. Medical records obtained by lawyers for Lucas' family also contain a nurse's notes indicating a belief at the time that his episodes were 'staged." Lucas died May 25, 2009, from complications of a heart problem, congenital aortic valve stenosis while under the care of Correctional Medical Services Inc. CMS merged last year with PHS Correctional Healthcare to form Corizon. It provides medical coverage to more than 400,000 inmates at 400 correctional facilities across the country, including St. Louis, where its operational headquarters is located. A company spokesman, Pat Nolan, said: "Corizon and its employees work hard every day to provide quality care to thousands of inmates across the country." Mayor Francis Slay's spokeswoman, Kara Bowlin, would not comment on specific allegations. She noted that the city spends nearly $7 million each year on inmate health care and "takes seriously its obligation to provide health care services to the people it confines, many of whom come to us with serious medical problems." The suit, filed this month by the St. Louis Lawyers Group on behalf of Lucas' minor son, Trayon Lucas-McNairy, seeks unspecified damages over $25,000 from CMS but does not name the city as a defendant. Burton Newman, one of his attorneys, said in an interview: "We found several individuals who were quoted on the record as recognizing the care that this gentleman needed, but other individuals seem to have failed to recognize the care needed, or ignored the care needed." It is the second attempt at compensation in the case. A prior wrongful-death suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the city and the health care provider, was voluntarily dismissed last year on a legal technicality. DETERIORATING HEALTH -- Lucas, the youngest of 14 children, was a jokester who wrote poetry and announced a new commitment to God, his family told the Post-Dispatch in 2010. He had been a restaurant manager but struggled with drugs, including heroin, for the last four years of his life. Medical records show Lucas long suffered from serious heart problems, which required several valve replacements and a hospitalization in 2009 for swelling and an irregular heartbeat. He was diabetic, suffered from hypertension and had a pacemaker. When he was arrested by St. Louis police May 20, 2009, on a parole violation — he had a record of drug and traffic offenses — he was taken to St. Alexius Hospital, complaining of chest pain. Doctor's orders from that visit set out a plan for checking his blood sugar and administering insulin. Later orders from a jail physician offered a similar schedule. But Lucas' lawyers, one with a medical degree, say evidence shows the orders were not consistently followed. The suit refers to medical records it says reflect neglect. The plaintiff's lawyer provided a Post-Dispatch reporter with CMS documents that show: • May 24, afternoon: Lucas, in a narcotics detoxification unit, shows signs of trouble. His blood sugar level is elevated, at 228. Nurses administer insulin but don't record another blood-sugar check until the next day. • May 24, 7:15 p.m.: Lucas complains of a fast heartbeat and hallucinations, talking of "little people" in his room. A nurse notes he is agitated and perspiring. A jail physician has asked to be called about any changes in Lucas' mental status but there is no record of such a call; Lucas' lawyers maintain it wasn't made. • May 25, 4 a.m.: Lucas asks to go to a hospital and says he doesn't want to die in the jail. He is taken by wheelchair to an examining room. Nurses try to draw blood but note that it's too thick. Existing hospital orders call for a doctor's care if his blood sugar rises above 300; it is now 325. There is no note of any insulin being administered. • May 25, 1:10 p.m.: A nurse notes Lucas' altered mental status and also writes that "all episodes appear to be staged as (Lucas) easily comes back to normal conversation." • May 25, 5:30 p.m.: Lucas is found lying in his cell in a 'stuporous condition" and answers questions 'sluggishly," according to a nurse's notes. Insulin is administered but there is no note of his sugar being checked. Nurses have trouble detecting his pulse and blood pressure, but ultimately find his heart rate is high, at 160. • May 25, 5:45 p.m.: The on-call physician orders Lucas taken to a hospital emergency room immediately. • May 25, about 7 p.m.: Lucas is still waiting for transport. A sheriff's deputy reports that Lucas has collapsed while sitting in a wheelchair. Records indicate a lost minute while medical staff struggles to have the doors to the holding unit opened by master control. • May 25, 7:10 p.m.: Paramedics arrive and take Lucas to St. Louis University Hospital. • May 25, 7:54 p.m.: Lucas is pronounced dead. OTHER CLAIMS OF NEGLECT -- CMS which has worked for Missouri's prison system since 1992 and has for decades been one of the biggest inmate health care contractors, has been a target of criticism before. It was the main subject of a 1998 Post-Dispatch investigation, which showed that inmates died in more than 20 cases due to negligence, indifference, understaffing, inadequate training or cost-cutting. Such concerns rose again in 2007 after the death of LaVonda Kimble, 30, from an asthma attack at the St. Louis Justice Center. A fire department report, obtained by a lawyer for her family, showed paramedics encountered delays and apathy when trying to get into the jail. Autopsy findings showed no trace of a drug that jail nurses said they repeatedly administered to ease Kimble's breathing. "The discovery in this case showed they did little to nothing for her. They just watched her die," according to her family's attorney, John Wallach. A confidential settlement of that suit was reached last year and fulfilled in the past few weeks. Wallach said that "justice was done to the extent that the law would allow..." In 2010, the ACLU alleged in federal court that an HIV-positive John Doe plaintiff was deprived of medications for 17 days, even though he told jail staff of his condition and his physician faxed information about his medicines and dosages. Also that year, Vanessa Evans, 37, died hours after she complained to staff about having trouble breathing. Jail officials said she appeared fine a half hour earlier. Evans' family complained that the company failed to take her claims seriously despite her history of asthma. Newman said Lucas' case is another chapter in a sad history. He complained: "It's tragic that a man with known medical conditions was incarcerated in the city jail and did not receive any of the medical care that he was not only entitled to, but ... the medical officials at the jail knew he needed."

December 13, 2011 Baltimore Sun
Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano will go into the 2012 legislative session next month with ethics charges safely behind him. Bereano settled a case with the State Ethics Commission earlier this year by agreeing to pay a $2,750 penalty for failing to make required disclosures of meals and other gifts to state officials. Bereano, a convicted felon who settled a more serious ethics cases in 2009 with a $29,070 payment, came to a new agreement with the ethics panel in May under which he agreed to a fine and submitted amended disclosure forms that added detail about which state officials were the beneficiaries of his generosity. Over the years, Bereano appears to be the lobbyist most frequently cited by the panel for violations large and small. He now has seven ethics cases on file with the commission. The most recent settlement was found in an examination of the commission’s records. The panel does not normally send out public notices of violations – helping to account for why the infraction was not reported for months. The agreement stipulated that Bereano did not properly disclose his spending on meals and beverages he bought for Richard B. Rosenblatt, then an assistant secretary in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, each year between 2005-2008. Meanwhile, Rosenblatt was making the required disclosures each year – though he took a short cut by overestimating Bereano’s spending on him as coming to $500 a year for those four years. Rosenblatt was violating no law, according to the ethics commission, because state law allows executive branch officials to be wined and dined in the presence of the person footing the bill as long as the identity and amount are disclosed. But when ethics officials cross-checked Bereano’s disclosures against Rosenblatt's, they found that the lobbyist hadn’t been quite as diligent. Records show Bereano filed amended disclosures for 2006-2008 showing spending between $148 and $300 on wining and dining Rosenblatt for those three years while representing Correctional Medical Services. In the same settlement, Bereano also admitted to a failure to disclose a series of gifts to a Senate staff member between 2001 and 2005. The lobbyist explained that the gifts, including sports tickets, were personal in nature and weren’t paid for by one of his employers. The ethics panel found that such gifts to employees of the legislature are not permitted. The recipient was a former member of the staff of state Sen. John Hafer, a Western Maryland Republican. Bereano’s amended disclosure shows that the gifts followed a running theme involving the Dallas Cowboys, including tickets to the teams games against the Washington Redskins. The agreement noted that the staff member eventually reimbursed Bereano for the gifts. Rosenblatt, who now works in the prison health industry, said he regrets having been imprecise in his disclosures, but not having dined with Bereano. He said his outside-the-office communications with the lobbyist helped improve communications between his department and a company that already held a contract. “He helped improve the service received from the client,” Rosenblatt said. Bereano did not return a call seeking his comment. The infractions were far less serious than the previous case in which Bereano was cited. That involved signing an illegal contingency contract that would have rewarded him for a successful outcome. But the $2,750 settlement is considerably more than the typical fine paid in a case against a lobbyist – which typically involve $250 fines for late filing of a disclosure. Bereano is currently seeking to have his 1994 federal mail fraud conviction invalidated because of subsequent appellate rulings that call into question the prosecution's legal groundwork for the case.

June 3, 2011 Biz Journal
Valitás Health Services Inc. on Friday completed its previously announced acquisition of America Service Group Inc. for $250 million, and the merged, privately held company has changed its name to Corizon. Valitás, the St. Louis-based parent company of Correctional Medical Services Inc., announced in March that it planned to buy Brentwood, Tenn.-based America Service Group, parent of PHS Correctional Healthcare Inc. America Service Group shareholders, who are being paid $26 per share, approved the deal Wednesday. Valitás previously was one of the largest privately held companies based in St. Louis, with $750 million in 2010 revenue. However the newly named Corizon’s operational headquarters will remain in St. Louis, but its corporate headquarters will be in Brentwood, Tenn. America Service Group President and CEO Rich Hallworth is now CEO of Corizon, and Valitás Chairman and CEO Richard Miles is Corizon’s non-executive chairman. Stuart Campbell, formerly president and chief operating officer of Valitás and Correctional Medical, is Corizon’s president and chief operating officer. The combined prison health-care service provider has about 11,000 employees and independent contractors, and serves more than 400 correctional facilities. Corizon's annual revenue is expected to total $1.4 billion for 2011.

March 3, 2011 The Street
America Service Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASGR), the parent company of PHS Correctional Healthcare, Inc., and Valitás Health Services, Inc., the parent company of Correctional Medical Services, Inc., announced today the signing of an agreement and plan of merger (the “Merger Agreement”) under which the two companies would be combined, bringing together two leading companies in the correctional healthcare field – America Service Group's PHS Correctional Healthcare and Valitás’ Correctional Medical Services. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately 11,000 employees and independent contractors and will serve more than 400 correctional facilities. The combined company’s annual revenues are expected to total approximately $1.4 billion for 2011.

October 12, 2010 AP
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a jail inmate in St. Louis, claiming he did not get proper care for a heart condition. The ACLU filed suit Tuesday on behalf of Landa Poke. Her brother, 32-year-old Courtland Lucas, died at the St. Louis City Justice Center in May 2009, five days after he was jailed on a probation violation. The ACLU says Lucas had chronic heart disease and was wearing a pacemaker when taken into custody. The suit contends Correctional Medical Services failed to provide proper medications or care for Lucas. A spokesman for CMS says the company has not yet seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the allegations. A message left with a spokeswoman for the city of St. Louis was not returned.

May 5, 2010 The News-Journal
Three new vendors will replace the company that provides medical care in Delaware's prisons, the state's response to five years of criticism and turmoil over the quality of inmate health care. Correction Commissioner Carl C. Danberg acknowledged the agreements Tuesday, shortly after he signed a $29.8 million contract with Nashville-based Correct Care Solutions, which will serve as the general health care provider. On Monday, Danberg said, he signed a $10 million contract with MHM Services Inc., of Vienna, Va., and a $700,000 contract with Correct Rx Pharmacy Services Inc. of Linthicum, Md. MHM Services will provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to the Department of Correction. Correct Rx will fulfill pharmacy responsibilities. The two-year contracts, with optional one-year extensions, go into effect July 1, the day after St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services' contract expires. The new contracts are expected to be announced today. The breakup of the single medical health care contract was a result of frustration with CMS, the subject of a 2005 investigation by The News Journal. The newspaper's series brought to light problems with high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS and suicide. It also pointed out neglect of sick inmates who were in filthy infirmaries that sometimes lacked beds. Following the series, a federal monitor was appointed by the U.S. Justice Department to oversee prison health care. The state entered a three-year agreement in 2006 with the Justice Department to improve inmate health care.

March 5, 2010 News Journal
Twenty-four companies have submitted bids to provide health care services at Delaware's prisons Four of them are from Delaware, and many critics of the current health care provider, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, say a local contractor is needed to help lift the Department of Correction from under the federal scrutiny it's been under for almost four years. "The good news is that the deplorable tenure and administration of [Correctional Medical Services] will come to an end," said the Rev. Christopher Bullock, senior pastor of New Canaan Baptist Church and co-founder of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. "Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new day for Delaware corrections." Correction Commissioner Carl C. Danberg announced last year he would end the contract with Correctional Medical Services after it was criticized for providing inadequate care despite being paid more than $130 million over three years. In place of hiring a single health care provider, Danberg broke the contract into 10 smaller agreements focusing on specific services. Last week was the deadline to submit proposals. "We've never had more than half a dozen vendors participate in either the substance abuse contract or the medical contract before," Danberg said. "So to have 24 we're doing something right." In addition to the four local bidders, another 10 are from neighboring states. Participants could submit bids to provide more than one service, and eight businesses have done so, including some of the Delaware companies. Names of the bidders were not released because their abilities have not been verified. "We're excited, but still a little nervous," Danberg said. "The hard part is going to be putting this contract together." Danberg said it is too soon to know if the state will save money under the new bidding format. Meetings with the bidders will be held later this month. "Ultimately, the proof of whether or not this whole new system works is going to be in whether or not the provision of medical health care works," Danberg said. Bullock said he would like to see local vendors used, as long as they have a proven record. It also is important that there not be too many companies for the correction department to handle. "We need a healthy balance to fix an unhealthy system," he said. Delaware entered an agreement with the federal government to improve prison health care in 2006 following stories by The News Journal that uncovered problems and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS and suicide. The 2005 series also pointed to poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis, hepatitis and other communicable diseases and bacterial infections.

October 14, 2009 The News Journal
After years of criticism and a federal investigation, state officials announced today they will let their contract with Correctional Medical Services expire and try to find a new provider. The Department of Correction announced it will take bids for a new contract with modifications it hopes will provide better care, including breaking the contract into smaller pieces to allow multiple companies to provide more specialized service. The new contract will also have a “shared risk,” with the DOC paying for certain costs in order to prevent medical providers from limiting inmate care in order to maximize their profits. “The Department of Correction has used the last few months to prepare for and make an informed decision about this [Request for Proposals],” Commissioner of Correction Carl Danberg said. “We have reviewed the best practices from other states and interviewed medical experts from around the country in an effort to develop a better contracting model for prison health services. In addition, the department has interviewed correctional health-care professionals to identify and eliminate the impediments to competition, which existed in previous contracts.” In January, Danberg extended the contract with CMS from a 2009 expiration date to June 30, 2010. At the time Danberg said rebidding the contract would cost the state an additional $4 million on top of the $39 million it’s already paying for health care. The Department of Correction has come under scrutiny for its care of inmates in Delaware prisons. Delaware entered into the agreement with the federal government following a series of articles in 2005 by The News Journal that pointed to problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS. Other findings by the newspaper's six-month investigation included an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria and an inmate's massive brain tumor – largely ignored by staff – which led to his death. Independent reports as a result of the agreement with the federal government repeatedly pointed out that CMS suffers from a "lack of stable and effective leadership." Independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III said in his most recent report that the department made some strides in complying with the memorandum of agreement, or MOA. Martin found the state failed to comply with six of 217 provisions, and was in substantial compliance with 64 of them. The state was said to be in partial compliance with the remaining requirements. Among the improvements was better organization of health records, as well as up-to-date filing of health documents. Training for guards in suicide prevention has expanded and the department created a Bureau of Correctional Health-Care Services to supervise and audit medical programs. However, Martin also said it is unlikely that the state will be in full compliance when the agreement expires. In addition to leadership problems with the medical contractor, other problems cited include shortages of mental health counselors and psychiatrists, incomplete annual staffing plans, poor treatment plans and a continued lack of space that results in inadequate privacy.

September 30, 2009 The News Journal
After spending more than $130 million over three years, Delaware's prison system continues to provide health care to inmates that falls short of federal requirements, according to a report issued Tuesday by an independent monitor. Because of that, the state Department of Correction is at risk of remaining under U.S. Justice Department supervision when an agreement it signed in 2006 expires later this year. While the federal agency declined to comment Tuesday, it can take the more drastic measure of suing for control of the state's prison system. When it did that in California, the penal system was taken over by the federal government, which ordered the release of prisoners because of overcrowding. In Delaware, prisoners who cannot get adequate health care could be ordered released if there is a takeover, said Stephen A. Hampton, a Dover attorney who represents inmates and their families in lawsuits against the department. Delaware entered into the agreement with the federal government following a series of articles in 2005 by The News Journal that pointed to problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS. Other findings by the newspaper's six-month investigation included an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria and an inmate's massive brain tumor -- largely ignored by staff -- which led to his death. "Unfortunately, I'm beginning to accept that we're not going to be in substantial compliance by the end of the year," said Carl Danberg, Department of Correction commissioner. "We are still working very hard to meet that deadline, but I'm beginning to accept that we'll not make it." The state has until Dec. 29 to comply with 217 provisions mandated by the agreement, which was signed by Danberg, who was then Delaware's attorney general, and former Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor. It called on the state to revamp its prison health care system and report its progress regularly to the Justice Department. Independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III said in his report that the department made some strides in complying with the memorandum of agreement, or MOA. Martin found the state failed to comply with six of 217 provisions, and was in substantial compliance with 64 of them. The state was said to be in partial compliance with the remaining requirements. Among the improvements was better organization of health records, as well as up-to-date filing of health documents. Training for guards in suicide prevention has expanded and the department created a Bureau of Correctional HealthCare Services to supervise and audit medical programs. However, Martin also said it is unlikely that the state will be in full compliance when the agreement expires. Problems listed in the 210-page report include a "lack of stable and effective leadership" by the company contracted by the state to provide medical services, an ongoing problem Martin listed on previous reports. Other problems cited include shortages of mental health counselors and psychiatrists, incomplete annual staffing plans, poor treatment plans and a continued lack of space that results in inadequate privacy. Danberg, who previously said there were problems with the medical vendor, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services (CMS), extended the group's $39 million contract for another year because it would cost the state an additional $4 million to seek a new vendor. Danberg said he has penalized CMS for not complying with its contract. "Last year alone, we forfeited over a million dollars from them," Danberg said, adding the money was used on the prisons' medical facilities." We have improved the physical plant space at Howard Young [Correctional Institution], Baylor [Women's Correctional Institution] and [Sussex Correctional Institution]." CMS officials said in an e-mail they are reviewing the monitor's findings and recommendations. "While we are proud of the accomplishments our team has achieved in partnership with the DOC, we remain fully committed to working with the state to do more to strengthen the health care program in Delaware prisons," CMS spokesman Tony Zagora said. 'Lapses in medical treatment' -- Robert Kern, 69, wonders how much longer the problems will continue and how many lives will be affected. "I don't see where any major changes have been affected because the same organization is there," said Kern, whose 41-year-old son, Daniel, died earlier this month while serving a one-year sentence for drunken driving at Wilmington's Plummer Community Corrections Center. Kern said the state Medical Examiner's Office told him his son died of pancreatitis inflammation or infection of the pancreas. The younger Kern complained to prison officials, but the illness went undiagnosed until he was taken to St. Francis Hospital and died, Robert Kern said. "Apparently their profitability is somewhat related on what they spend" on inmate health care, Kern said about CMS. "Right there the incentive to treat people versus having a higher profitability is just in contrast. I'm afraid the patient will lose nine times out of 10." John Painter, department spokesman, said that while the state is prohibited under federal law from disclosing specifics, Daniel Kern's death is "being reviewed in the same manner that all inmate deaths are addressed. Specifically, the Delaware Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and, as of now, no cause has been determined." He also said the case will be reviewed by the independent monitor and others. "To the extent lapses in medical treatment are identified, DOC will be take prompt corrective action," he said.

May 27, 2009 St Petersburg Times
Gov. Charlie Crist has made it a priority to run the "most open and transparent" administration in state history. But a former adviser to Crist is suing the state, claiming the Department of Corrections broke the Sunshine Law by mishandling a contract to provide mental health services to inmates. Attorney Chris Kise of Foley & Lardner, who served as a counselor and climate change advisor to Crist, filed the suit in state court in Tallahassee Tuesday on behalf of MHM Correctional Services, a Virginia firm that pitched a proposal to provide mental health care in the agency's South Florida Region IV prisons. Kise's suit alleges that he obtained public records showing that agency staffers began "secret negotiations" with a competing vendor, Correctional Medical Services (CMS), almost two weeks before competing vendors learned that their proposals were rejected. Kise also said the deal the state negotiated with CMS would cost taxpayers $5.5-million more than MHM's proposal. Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil said he was confident the agency would prevail. We are fully confident that we didn't do anything that would be a problem to the state," he said. "I think the facts will bear that out to be not true." By law, McNeil said, he can't discuss the details of a contract that is "still in the throes of procurement."

November 7, 2007 Financial Times
Madison Dearborn is preparing a sale of Valitas, a company that provides medical care to prison populations, three sources told mergermarket. An auction for the company will probably kick off early next year, and the company is working on putting together a staple financing package at the moment, according to one of the sources. UBS has been mandated to run the process, the second source said. Valitas’ EBITDA is around USD 50m, according to an industry banker. The company’s main subsidiary, Correctional Medical Services, reached USD 750m in revenues in 2007, according to its website. The company is likely to draw interest from private equity buyers only, as there are no natural strategic buyers for the asset, the banker added. Valitas could draw interest from Maximus, a listed provider of healthcare services to the US government, a second industry banker said. Madison Dearborn backed a management buyout of the Missouri-based company in 1997 from Aramark, the company that provides food service and uniforms to institutions, according to news reports. Under Aramark the division was called Spectrum Healthcare, and included a business that provided contract healthcare services to the US military. That business, however, was sold to Team Health, another Madison Dearborn portfolio holding, in 2002. Team Health itself was sold to the Blackstone Group, in 2005. The company is one of the oldest healthcare investments in Madison Dearborn’s portfolio, the industry banker said. A company spokesperson declined comment, and a Madison Dearborn official did not return calls.

November 8, 2001
Gregory Jennings, Jacqueline Reich, Lorenzo Ingram, Sr., Henry Simmons, Calvin Moore, Billy Roberts and Kathy S. Kearns didn't know each other in life, but they shared a common bond in death: All died in U.S. prisons, the victims not of the death penalty, or at the hands of fellow inmates or guards, but in the allegedly negligent care of a single provider of privatized health services.  Correctional Medical Services (CMS) is a St. Louis, Missouri-based for-profit corporation that contracts to provide health care services to over 270,000 inmates at more than 330 prison sites in 29 states.  A 1998 in-depth investigative report done by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, its hometown newspaper, shed light on the downside of prison care privatization. The Post-Dispatch's investigative team spent five months "visiting prisons and jails; gathering hundreds of police, court and medical records and other documents; and interviewing doctors, nurses, inmates, lawyers, scholars, prison and health experts and families of inmates who died behind bars."  Published in September 1998, "Death, Neglect and the Bottom Line: Push to Cut Costs Poses Risks," found that while CMS successfully reduced the cost of health care to several states, there were "more than 20 cases in which inmates allegedly died as a result of negligence, indifference, understaffing, inadequate training or overzealous cost-cutting."  At the ACLU web site, the civil liberties organization posts a late-January 2001 letter it sent to the Connecticut Department of Correction (CDOC) that claims CMS's health care services -- medical, mental health and dental care -- at the Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Virginia is woefully "inadequate."  The ACLU writes: "The health care provided by Correctional Medical Services, the contract provider at [Wallens Ridge], was considered so grossly inadequate that [Virginia Department of Corrections] recently fined CMS nearly one million dollars. The Virginia State Auditor specifically found that CMS did not provide a dentist at [Wallens Ridge] for over three months, and never provided an optometrist. Medical privacy and confidentiality is non-existent at [Wallens Ridge]; as a matter of policy, prisoners are required to discuss their most private medical and mental health issues in the presence of security staff and other prisoners."  In 1998, the Minnesota Department of Corrections contracted with CMS for health care services in its state's prisons.  According to the Twin Cities Independent Media Center, the NAACP called a press conference in mid-October to publicize a lawsuit "over the death of Gregory Jennings, who died in Stillwater prison on April 6, 2001 because the medical staff were indifferent to his complaints of symptoms of diabetes."  Should Calvin Moore, in custody for less than a month at the Kilby Correction Facility in Alabama, have died from being ignored while he lost fifty pounds and exhibited severe symptoms of mental illness, dehydration and starvation? Should Diane Nelson, a 46-year-old mother of three, have died because her request to receive her heart medicine prescribed by her doctor was refused? And what of Charles Guffey, who died of a perforated ulcer because nurses at the Tulsa County Adult Detention Center in Oklahoma refused to pay attention to his complaints of severe abdominal pain? If these folks were around today they'd have a lot to say about the human cost of the growing privatization of prison health care services. Hopefully, privatization will begin to receive the close scrutiny it deserves. That is the least we can do. The deaths of these men and women, while tragic, should not have been in vain.  (AlterNet.org)

Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker, Ohio
August 1, 2009 Toledo Blade
A Springfield Township psychologist whose security clearance was revoked earlier this year by officials of the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio,was named in a lawsuit filed by a former inmate at the Stryker facility. Wallace D. O'Shell was sued Thursday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court by a woman who claimed she was treated in an "improper manner." Specifically, Stephanie Funkhouser, 31, claimed "inappropriate sexual conduct" and "touching in an offensive manner." The lawsuit also alleged Funkhouser's medications were withheld and that she was placed in solitary confinement as a means of obtaining information from her. CCNO was also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. Mr. O'Shell had been a contract employee who worked through the jail's Correctional Medical Services since June, 2008. In March, CCNO officials revoked his clearance and initiated an investigation into Funkhouser's complaints. Yesterday, Jim Dennis, CCNO executive director, said in a statement that the investigation was completed and Mr. O'Shell's clearance was permanently revoked. He added it was determined Mr. O'Shell "violated CCNO ethics policy, but there was nothing criminal in nature, according to the Williams County Sheriff's Department." "Dr. O'Shell admitted to investigators that he gave cash and letters to a female inmate, which is in violation of CCNO policies," the statement said. "Investigators were able to substantiate that there was no sexual contact and no sexual conduct from the victim." According to CCNO policy, "staff and inmates are not allowed to have sex or fraternize with each other," an issue raised in a training session that Mr. O'Shell attended, the statement said. "He knew better. Such behavior was not tolerated and his security clearance was revoked," said Mr. Dennis. Funkhouser was sentenced to CCNO May 20 by the Williams County Common Pleas Court for three counts of theft. She was released June 22. Jail officials said the Ohio and Pennsylvania boards of Psychology were contacted concerning possible discipline against Mr. O'Shell, although no further information was available about the request. Linda Shambarger, manager of inmate programs at CCNO, said the lawsuit had not yet been served on jail officials.

March 6, 2009 Toledo Blade
Officials at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio say they’ve revoked access to the regional jail for a contract employee after an inmate complained of improper behavior. CCNO officials said the male employee, who is a psychologist, admitted to giving cash and sending letters to a female inmate. That was a violation of the jail’s fraternization and ethics policies, which are covered in a handbook and an orientation video, they said. A Williams County sheriff’s investigator is reviewing evidence in the case, which remains under investigation. Authorities said they do not believe a crime was committed. The employee had worked through the jail’s Correctional Medical Services since June.

Cumberland County Jail, Cumberland County, Maine
February 26, 2008 Portland Press Herald
Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion said today that the county has begun its own internal investigation to determine whether a man who is HIV-positive was denied medication when he arrived at the jail on a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay a fine. Dion said he is assessing how much time elapsed between when Charles Wynott arrived at the end of January and when he was provided medication prior to his release about a week later. The jail typically does not store a wide range of expensive HIV medicines but Dion said he will assess whether there was an unacceptably long delay in determining the medical care Wynott needed and then obtaining medicine and providing it to Wynott. Inmates are not allowed to bring their own medication into the jail. Wynott, who is representing himself, filed a federal lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland against Correctional Medical Services, which manages medical care in the jail, saying delays in getting him his medicine may have allowed the virus in his system to mutate, making it more resistant to medicine. Dion said CMS would not have had a financial motive to deny the medicine. CMS does not pay for the medicines it prescribes, but is instead paid a management fee by the county and then passes the cost of medicine and hospitalizations on to the county. Medicine costs alone were almost $400,000 last year.

February 26, 2008 WMTW
A Westbrook man is suing the company that provides health care services at the Cumberland County Jail, saying it took the jail five days to give him his HIV medication. Charlie Wynott spent about a week at the jail last month after being arrested for driving with a suspended license. Wynott, 44, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week against Correctional Medical Services. He said he wants to see policies changed. He told News 8, "It's not about the money to me. It's about taking care of the inmates in the jail. It shouldn't take five days for them to get the meds to you." Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion said the jail tries to provide the best care possible. "I've looked at the timeline. There was a lag,” he admitted. “The reason for the delays is it wasn't available in the pharmacy. It's pretty costly, and we don't normally keep it on the shelf. Once we did get it, he received it." While Dion said he would like to see the lawsuit open up a conversation on the issue, Wynott said he just wants to make a difference. Another man filed a similar suit against the jail’s former medical provider about 10 years ago. David McNally settled out of court.

Craighead County Jail, Craighead County, Arkansas
September 27, 2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
An inmate at the Craighead County jail died after medical officers ignored his urgent requests for attention to a painful blood clot in his left leg, a federal lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in Pine Bluff, says that Kevin Lakes, 24, of Jonesboro died on Sept. 27, 2006, of what an autopsy later determined was a pulmonary embolism caused by a deep-vein thrombosis, or a blood clot, in his left leg. “The doctor could have put him on drugs, or easily done something that would have saved his life, but instead he fell through the cracks,” said Little Rock attorney John M. Hardy, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Lakes ’ younger sister Dominique King, 23, of Jacksonville. Lakes was taken to the Craighead County jail on Aug. 7, 2006, to await transfer to the Correction Department to serve time for a cocaine-possession conviction, Hardy said. On Aug. 12, Lakes submitted a medical request form. “I have acquired a blot clot in my left calf area and it’s unbearable,” he wrote. “It’s constant pain whether I’m lying down, sitting, or standing. And it’s swelling up very badly. I need immediate medical attention.” A medical officer didn’t respond for two days, at which point Lakes thought he was improving, and no tests or examination were performed, the lawsuit states. But two days later, on Aug. 16, Lakes submitted another medical request saying the leg was still swollen and was causing “extreme pain.” Two days later, a “medical officer” without any formal medical training saw Lakes, the suit states. “Even though a blood clot in the leg is a potentially deadly condition and should be treated as an emergency, [the medical officer ] treated the blood clot with an ankle wrap and Naproxen and failed to inform a physician of Kevin’s condition or to transport Kevin to a physician or hospital,” the suit states. The defendants in the lawsuit are the medical officer, Benny Ford, and the jail’s medical administrator, Steve Metcalf, who, according to the lawsuit, is a licensed paramedic but not a doctor. The lawsuit also names Craighead County officials and Correctional Medical Services Inc., which contracted with the state to provide medical services in the prison system, including the Diagnostic Unit in Pine Bluff where Lakes was taken on Sept. 22, 2006. A day earlier, Lakes had fainted while playing basketball in a jail yard and reported that his heart rate was abnormal, his chest burned and that he was dizzy, the suit says. Jail personnel refused to take him to a hospital or allow him to see a doctor, the suit says. At the Diagnostic Unit, Lakes didn’t receive a required initial health-care screening, the suit alleges. Although Lakes informed medical personnel that he had a serious health problem and needed to see a doctor, he “was told he would have to wait until his scheduled ‘health assessment, ’” the suit says. But he never made it. On Sept. 27, Lakes suddenly collapsed, and he went by ambulance to Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, where he was pronounced dead. The lawsuit alleges that inmate medical personnel were deliberately indifferent to Lakes’ constitutional rights. It alleges various “constitutional deficiencies” at the jail, including: a lack of medical intake screening; a requirement that inmates pay for all medical services or go without; absence of staff nurses; no contract with a doctor; and an inadequately trained medical administrator.

Cummins Unit, Lincoln County, Arkansas
September 8, 2005 Northwest Arkansas News
An inmate died last year after a prison doctor neglected to effectively treat an ailment that caused his lungs to fill with infected pus, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court. Willliam Jobes died at Jefferson Regional Medical Center after being transferred from the Cummins Unit in Lincoln County on Feb. 9, 2004. About two months later, he received a posthumous pardon by Gov. Mike Huckabee. Five days before he died, Jobes, 50, had been admitted to the Cummins infirmary after complaining of pain in his left side and back for three weeks. Dr. Olabode Olumofin ordered a chest X-ray, which showed a buildup of fluids in Jobes’ chest. Olumofin tried to drain the fluid, but it would not flow through a catheter. The lawsuit contends that the lab reports "were blatantly and willfully disregarded" by Olumofin, who "wholly failed to take any action in response to save Bill Jobes’ life." Olumofin works for Correctional Medical Services Inc., a St. Louis-based company that provides medical care for Arkansas’ 13,000 inmates under a $38 million contract. The company has contracts for prison and jail health in 26 other states and is responsible for 212,000 prisoners nationwide. According to federal court records, Correctional Medical Services has been named as a party in about 200 suits in the Eastern District of Arkansas. A suit filed Aug. 16 in Little Rock against the company contends that incompetent medical care provided by Dr. Craig Bardell at the McPherson Unit in Newport led to the Oct. 23, 2004, death of 47-year-old Virginia Morris. Morris, the mother of two grown sons, was seven months into a 10-year sentence on drug charges when she died after months of neglect by Bardell, who resigned in late July 2005, according to the suit. The Morris suit alleges that the company "has a history and reputation of customarily cutting corners in prisoner health care to maintain high profits" and trains its personnel "to be deliberately indifferent" to prisoners’ health needs.

Davidson County Criminal Justice Center, Davidson, Tennessee
A state prison inmate who contends that he had to wait months for surgery to repair his fractured wrist has filed suit against the private firm that provides health care for Tennessee's penitentiaries.  Michael W. Mallory, 45, slipped and fell in the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center immediately before his transfer to the state prison system in 2003. The fall fractured his hand and wrist, according to his federal lawsuit against St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc.  Although initially treated with a fiberglass splint at Meharry Medical Center, the Aug. 31 injury failed to heal properly. It was not until March 26, 2004, that he received the surgical repairs he claims he needed all along.  CMS officials said yesterday that medical privacy laws prevent them from discussing the particulars of Mallory's medical case. But Mallory ''was seen and treated by health-care professionals and specialists on numerous occasions,'' according to company spokesman Ken Fields. ''We will defend against these allegations,'' Fields said.  The suit echoes the complaints of other inmates who have filed suit in recent months contending that painful and sometimes life-threatening conditions have been ignored — including that of Terry Crouch, whose headaches and precipitous weight loss were treated with antacids administered by prison doctors.  In fact, Crouch had a brain tumor and was transferred, partially blind and unable to walk, to a local nursing home after long-delayed surgery.  (The Tennessean, September 4, 2004)

DeKalb County Jail, Georgia
December 8, 2004 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
If Adams v. Dorsey were an old movie instead of a lawsuit, calendar pages might blow past the camera, stopping briefly at the turn of the years from 1999 to 2004. Now it appears the story will continue past one more New Year's Day, because some disputes remain in the long and costly battle over medical care at the DeKalb jail. By mid-December, Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller will receive written arguments on one aspect of what may be the final steps in the lawsuit. Lawyers for the Southern Center for Human Rights, representing jail inmates, want to send in their own expert to review the care provided by the jail's private medical contractor. Lawyers for the county government and Sheriff Thomas Brown oppose that request. Also this month, the inmates' lawyers are to meet with the jail's medical staff in the first of what a court-appointed monitor recommends should be monthly meetings to review any complaints. The case began in 1998, finally yielding a settlement in March 2001. At the time, Fuller said that inmates with life-threatening diseases weren't being treated and that the jail's failure to adequately protect against contagious diseases posed a hazard to guards and the public. Later, Fuller ruled the agreement wasn't being followed. He found the county government in contempt and said he would continue to oversee the jail medical program until the agreement's conditions were met. Since the settlement, the jail's annual medical bill has increased from about $7 million to about $11.5 million. The county's legal bills for the lifetime of the case total more than $700,000.

February 16, 2004
A new court-appointed inspector says medical care at the DeKalb County jail has improved enough that a costly six-year legal battle could end soon.   The county has spent more than $700,000 in legal expenses on the case that began when inmates sued over poor medical care. Meanwhile, county jail medical costs have jumped to about $11 million this year from $7 million in 2001.  (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

March 17, 2003
Georgia Philpot knows her complaints about her son's medical treatment by the DeKalb County sheriff's Department won't get the attention of many county residents.  Her youngest child, 21-year old Alan D. Philpot, has been held in the DeKalb jail since September for violating probation on a drug conviction.  He has a history of ear infections that required surgery, and began telling jail officials in October that he had a new infection, his mother said.  She said it took more than three months and at least 10 phone calls to various jail officials to find someone who made sure Philpot got the antibiotics he needed.  "The public is generally unconcerned about the medical care rendered to inmates," Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller wrote in a 2001 ruling in which he nonetheless tried to spell out reasons the public should care.  He cited society's moral duty to treat humanely and health risks to guards, jail visitors and the outside world.  Such charges and countercharges are part of an ongoing 3 1/2-year old battle over health care for the 2,700 men and women housed in Georgia's largest jail.  Tamara Serwer, lawyer representing inmates, insists inmates are still at risk and the public sector could be too, from inmates released with communicable diseases.  Failure to control communicable diseases, including tuberculosis, has been a frequent criticism in reports by Dr. Robert Greifinger, a former chief medical officer for the New York Department of Corrections.  He was appointed by Fuller to monitor the jail's compliance with its 2001 agreement to improve medical care at the jail.  Even as Greinger praised a new management team installed at the jail by private contractor Correctional Medical Services in his latest report in February, he said he found cases in  which there was not "timely and appropriate follow-up" for inmates whose chest X-rays showed a risk of TB.  (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

February 25, 2003
Sheriff Thomas Brown on Monday said the DeKalb County Jail's much-criticized medical care system is close to earning national accreditation.  Brown called a recent positive review by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care a welcome counterpoint to a series of critical reports by a court-appointed inspector.  Brown described medical care at the jail as in a crisis when he took office two years ago. The jail has operated under a court-approved settlement of an inmate lawsuit over inadequate care since March 2001.  As recently as last week, the inspector appointed to monitor the settlement reported that minimum standards were not being met, though there were signs the jail's private medical contractor was trying to improve.  Brown said the reports by the inspector, Dr. Robert Greifinger, have focused on problems with individual inmates, while the accrediting commission review shows that the jail's overall approach to health care is sound. In a jail with 2,700 inmates, "you can miss one and not do something just right," the sheriff said. But, he said, "We think we're well on the way to solving this particular litigation."  That assessment was disputed by Tamara Serwer, a lawyer for the inmates who brought the medical care lawsuit. She said Greifinger reviews random cases and that the examples he has cited show "the system is not functioning."  She said the commission focuses on written policies. "It's a great thing to be accredited by the NCCHC, but it doesn't tell you anything about the way patients are actually treated." She said it was "amazing" that it took two years to get adequate policies in place. Actual improvement will take months more, she said.  (The Atlanta Journal)

January 24, 2003
A court-appointed inspector says some diabetics inmates haven't been getting proper doses of insulin at the DeKalb County Jail and the jail medical staff has been slow to react to potential tuberculosis and HIV cases.  Dr. Robert Greifinger, a former medical director of the New York State Department of Corrections, made the criticisms in a report after visiting the jail last week.  Greifinger visits the jail to monitor compliance with a 2001 settlement in a lawsuit over inmate medical care.  Greifinger said one diabetic inmate received no insulin for three days and "developed a life-threatening condition" that required emergency hospitalization.  He said he reviewed the records of four other inmates with diabetes that was "seriously out of control."  Two had foot ulcers and "none have had insulin adjustments to get them in control," according to the report.  Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, the company contracted to provide jail medical care, said it was not clear if some of the diabetic inmates Greifinger cited were recent arrivals.  Fields said CMS officials do not agree with Greifinger's assertion that no HIV tests had been ordered at the jail since Dec. 25.  He said he could not comment specifically on five cases in which Greifinger said CMS did not appropriately follow up on chest X-rays "suspicious for tuberculosis."  Tamara Serwer, staff attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed the original lawsuit, said Greifinger's report signaled a need for further action to improve conditions at the jail.  (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

August 9, 2001
Earlier this month, the court-appointed monitor released a scathing report about medical care at the jail and said that Healing Touch was doing little to improve it. The lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have filed a motion to put the jail's medical care under control of the courts.  DeKalb County hopes its newest contractor finally will improve medical care at the jail and get the court system off its back.  The County Commission Tuesday hired Correctional Medical Services Inc. of St. Louis to provide medical care to inmates at the state's largest jail. The contract, which is for up to five years, is worth at least $8.16 million a year, an increase of $1 million over the last contract.  In 1998, a group of inmates sued the county over poor medical care. Under a settlement agreement signed in March, the county agreed to improve the care and the court appointed a monitor to oversee the progress.
  In April, the county's medical care provider ---Correctional Healthcare Solutions --- walked away from its $7 million contract. A local company, Healing Touch Inc., was given an interim contract.   Earlier this month, the court-appointed monitor released a scathing report about medical care at the jail and said that Healing Touch was doing little to improve it. The lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have filed a motion to put the jail's medical care under control of the courts.  (The Atlanta Journal and Constitution)

Delaware Department of Corrections
May 5, 2010 The News-Journal
Three new vendors will replace the company that provides medical care in Delaware's prisons, the state's response to five years of criticism and turmoil over the quality of inmate health care. Correction Commissioner Carl C. Danberg acknowledged the agreements Tuesday, shortly after he signed a $29.8 million contract with Nashville-based Correct Care Solutions, which will serve as the general health care provider. On Monday, Danberg said, he signed a $10 million contract with MHM Services Inc., of Vienna, Va., and a $700,000 contract with Correct Rx Pharmacy Services Inc. of Linthicum, Md. MHM Services will provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to the Department of Correction. Correct Rx will fulfill pharmacy responsibilities. The two-year contracts, with optional one-year extensions, go into effect July 1, the day after St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services' contract expires. The new contracts are expected to be announced today. The breakup of the single medical health care contract was a result of frustration with CMS, the subject of a 2005 investigation by The News Journal. The newspaper's series brought to light problems with high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS and suicide. It also pointed out neglect of sick inmates who were in filthy infirmaries that sometimes lacked beds. Following the series, a federal monitor was appointed by the U.S. Justice Department to oversee prison health care. The state entered a three-year agreement in 2006 with the Justice Department to improve inmate health care.

March 5, 2010 News Journal
Twenty-four companies have submitted bids to provide health care services at Delaware's prisons. Four of them are from Delaware, and many critics of the current health care provider, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, say a local contractor is needed to help lift the Department of Correction from under the federal scrutiny it's been under for almost four years. "The good news is that the deplorable tenure and administration of [Correctional Medical Services] will come to an end," said the Rev. Christopher Bullock, senior pastor of New Canaan Baptist Church and co-founder of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. "Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new day for Delaware corrections." Correction Commissioner Carl C. Danberg announced last year he would end the contract with Correctional Medical Services after it was criticized for providing inadequate care despite being paid more than $130 million over three years. In place of hiring a single health care provider, Danberg broke the contract into 10 smaller agreements focusing on specific services. Last week was the deadline to submit proposals. "We've never had more than half a dozen vendors participate in either the substance abuse contract or the medical contract before," Danberg said. "So to have 24 we're doing something right." In addition to the four local bidders, another 10 are from neighboring states. Participants could submit bids to provide more than one service, and eight businesses have done so, including some of the Delaware companies. Names of the bidders were not released because their abilities have not been verified. "We're excited, but still a little nervous," Danberg said. "The hard part is going to be putting this contract together." Danberg said it is too soon to know if the state will save money under the new bidding format. Meetings with the bidders will be held later this month. "Ultimately, the proof of whether or not this whole new system works is going to be in whether or not the provision of medical health care works," Danberg said. Bullock said he would like to see local vendors used, as long as they have a proven record. It also is important that there not be too many companies for the correction department to handle. "We need a healthy balance to fix an unhealthy system," he said. Delaware entered an agreement with the federal government to improve prison health care in 2006 following stories by The News Journal that uncovered problems and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS and suicide. The 2005 series also pointed to poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis, hepatitis and other communicable diseases and bacterial infections.

January 3, 2010 The News Journal
Inmate Edward G. Williams has a bulge the size of a cantaloupe protruding from his abdomen. The 50-year-old believes he is being denied adequate health care in retaliation for a federal lawsuit he filed nearly two years ago seeking surgery that was recommended by a doctor in 2005. "They're trying to act like it doesn't exist," said Williams, who is serving 17 years at Vaughn Correctional Center for selling cocaine and shooting a man in 1997. Sometimes the pain is so severe that Williams cannot walk or get out of his bed in the maximum-security unit, he said. The victim of a shooting prior to his incarceration, Williams was left with a mesh over the portion of his abdomen wall that was damaged, he said. A series of scars now covers his stomach, as well as a large bulge in the right side of his abdomen. At times, he claims, he can feel his intestine flow into the bulge. When that happens, Williams said, he pushes it back behind the abdomen wall. Williams' claim comes as the Delaware Department of Correction is being credited by the U.S. Justice Department with showing significant progress under a three-year mandate to improve prison health care for its more than 6,900 inmates. When the agreement was extended last month for another two years, the federal government said the department met 214 of its 217 original health care mandates. As a result, Baylor Women's Correctional Institution and the medical care portion at Sussex Correctional Institution were not included under the extended agreement. Mental health care provided at the Georgetown prison will continue to be under review. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington and Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna remain entirely under federal scrutiny. For Vaughn, a ways to go Though there are still problems, Corrections Commissioner Carl C. Danberg said prison health care is far better than it was three years ago when a series by The News Journal revealed high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS and suicides. And the department is now in a position to argue whether the Vaughn and Young facilities should be under the new agreement, indicating progress has been made, Danberg said. "Three years ago, we couldn't have argued about it," he said, adding that Vaughn is the prison that needs the most work. "The facility is making progress, but not at the pace I believe it should be making progress." Despite Danberg's claims, Williams said, inmates have not seen much improvement. "They're not telling the truth," he said. Williams points to problems he has with bowel movements, saying he uses his hands to push at his stomach. The force has caused bloody stools and hemorrhoids, he said. "They have me on pain medication since 2005 because of the pain I go through in my stomach," he said. "It's terrible, man." At least two hernia surgeries and a colonoscopy have been recommended since 2005, according to documents in Wilmington's U.S District Court. The same document stated that an abdominal ultrasound performed in August 2005 found that "a nonreducible hernia is [at] risk for strangulation -- need to move forward [with] repair." While Williams has undergone colonoscopies, he has not received hernia surgery. Doctors changed their opinion on Williams' surgery after he filed his lawsuit on Oct. 9, 2007, he said. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan, who is overseeing the suit, said the court has concerns about Williams' care. "The delay in providing [Williams] the colonoscopy, from the time it was first medically determined that it was necessary, until it was finally performed a few months after the filing of the lawsuit, raises concerns of a constitutional dimension," Farnan said in an opinion filed on June 24, 2009. "Moreover, at the time this lawsuit was filed, hernia surgery was recommended and approved at least twice, but it was not performed." Because the suit is pending, state officials and their contracted medical health provider, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services (CMS), would not comment. CMS is being paid $39.8 million by the state this budget year. When asked why CMS offered to settle the suit with Williams in September 2009, company spokesman Ken Fields said they were not able to comment in detail because of the ongoing litigation. "We can tell you that companies involved in litigation may choose to resolve such cases for a variety of reasons, including the potential time and expense involved in ongoing court proceedings," he said. "In addition, in the context of your story about progress that has been made in the Delaware correctional health care system, it is important to point out that this case involves care that was delivered to one patient between 2005 and 2007." Williams, who initially accepted the settlement, then rejected it, said he deserves to have his medical condition taken care of even though he admits he is "no angel."

October 14, 2009 The News Journal
After years of criticism and a federal investigation, state officials announced today they will let their contract with Correctional Medical Services expire and try to find a new provider. The Department of Correction announced it will take bids for a new contract with modifications it hopes will provide better care, including breaking the contract into smaller pieces to allow multiple companies to provide more specialized service. The new contract will also have a “shared risk,” with the DOC paying for certain costs in order to prevent medical providers from limiting inmate care in order to maximize their profits. “The Department of Correction has used the last few months to prepare for and make an informed decision about this [Request for Proposals],” Commissioner of Correction Carl Danberg said. “We have reviewed the best practices from other states and interviewed medical experts from around the country in an effort to develop a better contracting model for prison health services. In addition, the department has interviewed correctional health-care professionals to identify and eliminate the impediments to competition, which existed in previous contracts.” In January, Danberg extended the contract with CMS from a 2009 expiration date to June 30, 2010. At the time Danberg said rebidding the contract would cost the state an additional $4 million on top of the $39 million it’s already paying for health care. The Department of Correction has come under scrutiny for its care of inmates in Delaware prisons. Delaware entered into the agreement with the federal government following a series of articles in 2005 by The News Journal that pointed to problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS. Other findings by the newspaper's six-month investigation included an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria and an inmate's massive brain tumor – largely ignored by staff – which led to his death. Independent reports as a result of the agreement with the federal government repeatedly pointed out that CMS suffers from a "lack of stable and effective leadership." Independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III said in his most recent report that the department made some strides in complying with the memorandum of agreement, or MOA. Martin found the state failed to comply with six of 217 provisions, and was in substantial compliance with 64 of them. The state was said to be in partial compliance with the remaining requirements. Among the improvements was better organization of health records, as well as up-to-date filing of health documents. Training for guards in suicide prevention has expanded and the department created a Bureau of Correctional Health-Care Services to supervise and audit medical programs. However, Martin also said it is unlikely that the state will be in full compliance when the agreement expires. In addition to leadership problems with the medical contractor, other problems cited include shortages of mental health counselors and psychiatrists, incomplete annual staffing plans, poor treatment plans and a continued lack of space that results in inadequate privacy.

September 30, 2009 The News Journal
After spending more than $130 million over three years, Delaware's prison system continues to provide health care to inmates that falls short of federal requirements, according to a report issued Tuesday by an independent monitor. Because of that, the state Department of Correction is at risk of remaining under U.S. Justice Department supervision when an agreement it signed in 2006 expires later this year. While the federal agency declined to comment Tuesday, it can take the more drastic measure of suing for control of the state's prison system. When it did that in California, the penal system was taken over by the federal government, which ordered the release of prisoners because of overcrowding. In Delaware, prisoners who cannot get adequate health care could be ordered released if there is a takeover, said Stephen A. Hampton, a Dover attorney who represents inmates and their families in lawsuits against the department. Delaware entered into the agreement with the federal government following a series of articles in 2005 by The News Journal that pointed to problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS. Other findings by the newspaper's six-month investigation included an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria and an inmate's massive brain tumor -- largely ignored by staff -- which led to his death. "Unfortunately, I'm beginning to accept that we're not going to be in substantial compliance by the end of the year," said Carl Danberg, Department of Correction commissioner. "We are still working very hard to meet that deadline, but I'm beginning to accept that we'll not make it." The state has until Dec. 29 to comply with 217 provisions mandated by the agreement, which was signed by Danberg, who was then Delaware's attorney general, and former Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor. It called on the state to revamp its prison health care system and report its progress regularly to the Justice Department. Independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III said in his report that the department made some strides in complying with the memorandum of agreement, or MOA. Martin found the state failed to comply with six of 217 provisions, and was in substantial compliance with 64 of them. The state was said to be in partial compliance with the remaining requirements. Among the improvements was better organization of health records, as well as up-to-date filing of health documents. Training for guards in suicide prevention has expanded and the department created a Bureau of Correctional HealthCare Services to supervise and audit medical programs. However, Martin also said it is unlikely that the state will be in full compliance when the agreement expires. Problems listed in the 210-page report include a "lack of stable and effective leadership" by the company contracted by the state to provide medical services, an ongoing problem Martin listed on previous reports. Other problems cited include shortages of mental health counselors and psychiatrists, incomplete annual staffing plans, poor treatment plans and a continued lack of space that results in inadequate privacy. Danberg, who previously said there were problems with the medical vendor, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services (CMS), extended the group's $39 million contract for another year because it would cost the state an additional $4 million to seek a new vendor. Danberg said he has penalized CMS for not complying with its contract. "Last year alone, we forfeited over a million dollars from them," Danberg said, adding the money was used on the prisons' medical facilities." We have improved the physical plant space at Howard Young [Correctional Institution], Baylor [Women's Correctional Institution] and [Sussex Correctional Institution]." CMS officials said in an e-mail they are reviewing the monitor's findings and recommendations. "While we are proud of the accomplishments our team has achieved in partnership with the DOC, we remain fully committed to working with the state to do more to strengthen the health care program in Delaware prisons," CMS spokesman Tony Zagora said. 'Lapses in medical treatment' -- Robert Kern, 69, wonders how much longer the problems will continue and how many lives will be affected. "I don't see where any major changes have been affected because the same organization is there," said Kern, whose 41-year-old son, Daniel, died earlier this month while serving a one-year sentence for drunken driving at Wilmington's Plummer Community Corrections Center. Kern said the state Medical Examiner's Office told him his son died of pancreatitis inflammation or infection of the pancreas. The younger Kern complained to prison officials, but the illness went undiagnosed until he was taken to St. Francis Hospital and died, Robert Kern said. "Apparently their profitability is somewhat related on what they spend" on inmate health care, Kern said about CMS. "Right there the incentive to treat people versus having a higher profitability is just in contrast. I'm afraid the patient will lose nine times out of 10." John Painter, department spokesman, said that while the state is prohibited under federal law from disclosing specifics, Daniel Kern's death is "being reviewed in the same manner that all inmate deaths are addressed. Specifically, the Delaware Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and, as of now, no cause has been determined." He also said the case will be reviewed by the independent monitor and others. "To the extent lapses in medical treatment are identified, DOC will be take prompt corrective action," he said.

September 29, 2009 The News Journal
It does not appear the state’s Department of Correction will be able to provide proper prison health care like it said it would nearly three years ago when it signed an agreement with the federal Department of Justice, according to the fifth report by an independent monitor overseeing the state prison system. “The state has made progress toward reaching substantial compliance with the terms of the [Memorandum of Agreement],” according to the report issued this morning by the independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III. “But the state still has a great deal more to accomplish, and it does not appear that the state will have reached substantial compliance with all of the provisions of the [Memorandum of Agreement].” Among problems listed in the 210-page report is “the lack of stable and effective leadership” at the medical provider level. This has been an ongoing problem that Martin listed on previous reports. Department of Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg previously said there were problems with the medical vendor, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services (CMS). Despite his displeasure, Danberg extended the $39 million contract with CMS for another year, saying it would cost an additional $4 million to seek a new vendor. Delaware entered into an agreement with the federal government following a series of articles in 2005 by The News Journal that pointed to problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS. In March 2006, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division launched its probe. Then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner tried unsuccessfully to derail the federal investigation during her second term. Her legal counsel at the time, Joseph C. Schoell, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales calling The News Journal's series "misleading." In December 2006, the Justice Department and the state of Delaware entered into a memorandum of agreement which requires the state to take measures to ensure that adequate medical and mental health care is provided to its inmates. Martin, a Wilmington attorney and former Superior Court judge, was picked to head the monitoring team. Earlier this year, Gov. Jack Markell appointed him to serve as chairman of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council, the state's revenue forecasting committee. Martin is expected to issue his final report sometime next year.

January 30, 2009 The News Journal
Poor performance by the Department of Correction's medical vendor continues to “significantly” hamper the department's efforts to get out from under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, according to the fourth report by the independent monitor overseeing the state prison system. The 236-page report was issued early this morning. “The Monitoring Team continues to be concerned over the lack of stable and effective leadership at the vendor-level,” independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III said in the report. “As the Monitoring Team emphasized in previous reports, without stable and effective leadership, the state will be significantly hampered in its attempts to become compliant with the [memorandum of agreement between the United States Department of Justice and the State of Delaware].” Since monitoring of Delaware prison health care started, Martin has been critical of Correctional Medical Services, a private company Delaware is paying $39 million this year to provide medical care to inmates. Although Martin found the state to be doing better since his last report, he still found problems with prison health care. “It should be noted that, although the State may have received partial compliance ratings in consecutive reports, that does not indicate that the state has failed to make any progress,” Martin wrote. “To the contrary, in many situations, the state has made progress, but still has some work to do before achieving a substantial compliance rating.” Delaware entered into an agreement with the federal government following a series of articles in 2005 by The News Journal that pointed to problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS. In March 2006, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched its probe. Former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner tried unsuccessfully to derail the federal investigation. Her legal counsel at the time, Joseph C. Schoell, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales calling The News Journal's series "misleading." In December 2006, the Justice Department and the State of Delaware entered into the memorandum of agreement, which requires the state to take measures to ensure that adequate medical and mental health care is provided to its inmates.

October 2, 2008 The News Journal
David L. Kalm, a 58-year-old disabled merchant seaman, has filed suit against Department of Correction officials and the prison system's contract medical vendor alleging he was denied care and subjected to a "savage beating," which included death threats and having a nightstick or similar object forced down his throat. Department of Correction officials won't say whether they disciplined any guards over the assault -- none were fired -- and they sent an internal affairs report about the incident to Attorney General Beau Biden's office for review. "Results of Internal Affairs investigations are confidential, but the findings of the Kalm investigation were shared with Delaware State Police and the Attorney General's Office," DOC spokesman John Painter said in a written statement. "Additionally, all personnel matters are also confidential, so I am unable to elaborate any further than to say that the correctional officers involved in the incident remain with the Department of Correction. Based upon the pending litigation, any additional comment would be inappropriate." Biden, who was not willing to be interviewed for this story, said through a spokesman that his office declined to prosecute any guards. He wouldn't say why no charges were filed or elaborate about the case. "The Delaware Department of Justice reviewed this case in April 2007," said spokesman Jason Miller. "As a result of our review, we determined that no criminal charges would be filed." As to whether the type of assault Kalm alleged constitutes a crime in Delaware, Miller wouldn't say. "That's the extent of our statement," he said. When Biden's office investigates a state agency, it creates an immediate conflict of interest, according to Dover attorney Steve Hampton, who filed Kalm's lawsuit Monday. Hampton has represented several inmates or their survivors in civil suits against the DOC. "They're investigating the same people they'll be defending if a civil suit is filed," he explained. "Every attorney knows it's unethical, but it's what we ask the AG's office to do all the time. They get an [internal affairs] complaint, go after the guards, but then defend them during a civil suit." A 'mental health history' -- According to the complaint, Kalm was an inmate in the Sussex Correctional Institution in October 2006, serving a 60-day sentence for DUI. Kalm has struggled with alcohol most of his adult life. In 2006, he was charged on three separate counts of driving under the influence. In prison, according to documents filed in Kent County Superior Court, the medical contractor Correctional Medical Services was on notice that Kalm had a "mental health history and the likelihood that he was suffering from alcohol withdrawal." Kalm -- who is legally disabled -- has a heart condition, high blood pressure, stomach problems and arthritis in his spine that aggravates his sciatic nerve, causing intense, shooting pain down his leg, according to his medical records. His lungs were damaged while serving in the merchant marine, so he uses a "breathing machine" daily to treat a condition similar to asthma. He was admitted to the prison's infirmary for this breathing disorder and hypertension. "While he was in the infirmary, the Plaintiff was essentially in isolation. His anxiety and depression increased daily," the complaint states. "Despite the fact that neither his mental health issues, nor his alcohol withdrawal, had been adequately addressed or treated, the CMS medical staff released Plaintiff from the infirmary to the general population." Suffering from alcohol withdrawal, which was exacerbated by his mental health issues, Kalm did not fare well in the general population. Guards and medical staffers noted his peculiar behavior, but according to the complaint, no one "took appropriate steps to treat his severe mental health problems and alcohol withdrawal." "The basic problem is there was no medical protocol in place for dealing with people suffering from withdrawal or having severe mental health issues," Hampton told The News Journal, adding that he has deposed several corrections CMS staffers about conditions at the prison. "The guards have no training at all in mental health issues," he said. "And CMS is supposed to have protocols for mental health and alcohol withdrawal, but they don't have them." Kalm's condition worsened until the evening of Oct. 6, 2006. Guards noted in their logs he was "displaying anxiety and paranoia." They wrote that he was acting funny and saying that "someone was going to hurt him." Rather than taking the inmate to the infirmary, the guards ordered Kalm back to his cell. Kalm didn't want to go, and a struggle ensued. "During the struggle, Plaintiff grabbed a cord from a computer monitor for support, causing it to fall on C/O Lawson cutting his temple," the complaint states. Kalm told a reporter that he grabbed the supervisor's desk to avoid being sent to a cell. "Then the door flies open and a whole pile of guards run in, spray me with Mace and start punching me," he said of the incident last year. "I grabbed onto a computer and the wires. When they're dragging me out of there, the computer comes off the desk and hits a guard."

July 30, 2008 News Journal
Continued poor performance by the Department of Correction's medical vendor is harming the department's efforts to get out from under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, according to the third report by the independent monitor overseeing the state prison system. Correctional Medical Services, a private company Delaware is paying $39 million this year to provide medical care to inmates, suffers from a "lack of stable and effective leadership," independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III wrote in a 221-page report released Tuesday. The findings are similar to what Martin described in the 229-page report he released in January. "The Monitoring Team has found that the lack of stable and effective leadership at the vendor-level remains a concern," Martin wrote. "As the monitoring team emphasized in the second report, without stable and effective leadership, the state will be significantly hampered in its attempts to become compliant with the [Memorandum of Agreement between the Justice Department and the State of Delaware]." The leadership at CMS is anything but stable. Martin found that the director of nursing position at the Vaughn Correctional Center, formerly known as the Delaware Correctional Center, has "turned over three times in the past year." Also at Vaughn, 75 percent of sick call records reviewed by the monitors showed that "patients were either not seen in a timely manner or at all." When the nurse practitioner at the Young Correctional Institution -- the sole primary-care provider for 700 inmates -- went on vacation, there was no coverage for two weeks other than for emergencies. "This lapse is not acceptable and clearly impacted access to care," Martin found. "Specifically, stable and effective leaders will improve the State's performance by taking responsibility for ensuring that those staff members that they supervise are performing adequately," he stated in his report. "Also, stable and effective leadership will ensure institutional knowledge of appropriate practices according to the State's policies and procedures." Both reports are replete with horror stories caused by staffing concerns and ineffective or nonexistent leadership by the medical vendor. When a licensed practical nurse was running sick call at the Sussex Correctional Institution -- a practice that contravenes prison rules and regulations -- she mistakenly recorded an inmate's complaint of "scrotal pain" on the wrong form, one used for musculoskeletal assessment. As a result, the nurse "did not perform an appropriate patient history or physical examination that was pertinent to the complaint," the report states. No LPN should be conducting sick call, Martin stated in his report. Assessing inmates' medical and mental health complaints requires the skills of at least a registered nurse. Despite the prohibition, LPNs routinely perform sick call at Delaware prisons, the monitoring team found. Additional vacancies at Sussex Correctional, Martin found, "have resulted in a waitlist for inmates for routine mental health referrals, which is approximately 100 inmates long. In addition, routine 30-day visits for mental health caseload inmates are not occurring." Also at Sussex Correctional, the report indicates a patient "had requested to be seen by a doctor five times before he was seen. The day after the physician saw him, he was admitted to the hospital in acute renal failure and is currently undergoing dialysis." 'Best interest' to keep vendor -- Martin, a Wilmington attorney and former judge, was selected by the Department of Correction and the Justice Department to serve as the state's first independent prison monitor. Martin oversees efforts by the Department of Correction to satisfy a settlement agreement with the federal government over "substantial civil rights violations" in four state prisons. Martin declined to be interviewed for this story, as did Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and CMS corporate spokesman Ken Fields. In a written statement, Fields said his firm "values the substantive feedback provided by the monitoring team in Delaware. We will continue to collaboratively work with the Delaware Department of Correction and the monitoring team to evaluate progress as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance inmate healthcare services." "CMS looks forward to building on the progress made with DOC to enhance the healthcare system and deliver quality care to inmates housed in Delaware facilities," Fields wrote. Department of Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg has no plans to boot CMS from his prisons. "We've got a window of opportunity to try to correct the medical problem within the framework negotiated with the U.S. Department of Justice," Danberg said. "We believe it's in the best interests of the state of Delaware to keep CMS in place. Changing vendors now would hinder my ability to comply with the agreement." He described the results in Martin's report as "mixed." "The monitors very clearly expressed pleasure with some progress they saw, particularly at [Young Correctional Institution], and they expressed concern in other institutions, particularly at [Vaughn Correctional Center] and [Sussex Correctional Institution]," he said. "As you would expect when you start out where we were, as you improve you get mixed results." 'It's been this way for years' -- Dover attorney Steve Hampton, who has represented inmates and their families in lawsuits against the Department of Correction, said the system needs to be fixed, not monitored. "They're monitoring the constant failure of CMS to provide adequate care, but they're not doing anything about it," Hampton said. "Everybody in the system knows it's been this way for years. I don't see the point of monitoring it if they're not going to do anything about it." Hampton represented the family of Anthony Pierce, who became known as "the brother with two heads" as an inmate at Sussex Correctional Institution because of a large tumor growing on his head. Pierce, who was being treated by CMS staff, died from the brain tumor in 2002. Hampton regularly receives letters and calls from inmates about health care concerns. "I'm still getting complaints of people getting tumors. Everything is just as bad as it ever was," he said. "There's still not enough staff, and if they get someone who seems like they want to do a good job, they get run off." Problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS, were examined by The News Journal in a series published in 2005. In March 2006, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched its probe. Minner tried unsuccessfully to derail the federal investigation. Her legal counsel at the time, Joseph C. Schoell, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales calling The News Journal's series "misleading." In December 2006, the Justice Department and the State of Delaware entered into the memorandum of agreement, which requires the state to take measures to ensure that adequate medical and mental health care is provided to its inmates. Pleas for help rebuffed -- Several inmates have written Martin letters describing poor conditions of care within the state prisons he oversees. The News Journal obtained several copies of the form letters Martin sends back to the inmates, rejecting their pleas for help. "Due to my role as independent monitor, I am not able to offer legal advice or act as an advocate for individual inmates," the letters state. "Therefore, I am unable to provide you with any direct assistance in response to your letter." The Rev. Christopher Alan Bullock helped found the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. While the prison health care advocacy group has achieved many of its goals, Bullock said, the group continues to meet when they need to. He said he is also in contact with Martin. "I'm in full agreement with Judge Martin and his team," Bullock said. "Though we are disappointed, this delay does not mean there will be a denial ultimately for change at the CMS level. We need a new vendor. Until we get a new vendor, the ultimate change will not happen until CMS is removed."

April 5, 2008 News Journal
Fifteen current and former inmates at Young Correctional Institution filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging their medical care while behind bars was not only negligent but amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. In at least one incident in 2006, a prison health care contractor allegedly used the same needle on multiple inmates, perhaps all 15, to draw blood and inject medicine -- exposing all to blood-borne diseases including hepatitis C and possibly HIV/AIDS. At least three allege they have contracted hepatitis and possibly other illnesses since that incident. Attorney Joseph M. Bernstein, who along with attorney Bruce Hudson is representing the 15, said he didn't know whether the woman identified in the lawsuit as "Nurse Beth" used the same needle to save money, because the prison hospital was short on supplies that day, because she made a mistake, or for some other reason. "Legally, it doesn't matter," said Bernstein. "They were still entitled to a minimum level of care." And just because a person is in prison, there is no lower level of acceptable care, he said. Although inmate Duane J. Williams was not named in the lawsuit, his family says the exposure led to the 32-year-old's death last month. Ken Fields, a spokesman for the prison's medical contractor, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, said Friday the company was aware of the allegations in 2006 but said there was no evidence the nurse did what the lawsuit charges. He added that even if such a thing happened, it was unlikely -- and there is no evidence -- that any infection actually resulted. He acknowledged that the company did contact patients and offer follow-up blood testing, but said it only did so as a precaution because of the serious nature of the allegations against the nurse. Department of Correction officials did not return calls for comment Friday. The Rev. Christopher Bullock, senior pastor of New Canaan Baptist Church and co-founder of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice, said Friday the acts of the nurse and her employer CMS were potentially criminal. "We must decry this kind of behavior. It is not acceptable," he said. Bullock said the situation described in the lawsuit reminded him of the Tuskegee experiments in which hundreds of poor black men in Alabama were allowed, without knowing it, to suffer and die from syphilis by government doctors who were studying the disease's progression. He said inmates deserve to be treated humanely and their families should not have to put up with this kind of pain and anguish. The 15 inmates who filed the lawsuit were at various stages in the criminal justice system when they were exposed, Bernstein said. Some were being held for probation violations, some were serving sentences for drug violations or crimes such as theft, and some were being held pending a trial. Some have since gotten out of jail, but most remain incarcerated, Bernstein said. Normally, he said, a lancet is used to test a diabetic's blood, then a separate syringe is used to administer the insulin. Neither is supposed to be re-used. In this case, the inmates allege, the nurse used the syringe to test their blood, then used the same syringe to administer the insulin -- potentially contaminating the multi-use vial. She then re-used the syringe in the same way with other inmates, potentially compounding the spread of blood-borne disease. The 15 inmates say their rights were violated and are seeking compensatory and punitive damages and changes in prison medical care to prevent a repeat of the incident. Attorneys for the plaintiffs provided a copy of a memo given to the inmate patients sometime in the summer of 2006, which appears to acknowledge some kind of contamination incident. The "Patient Information Sheet" states a nurse "may have" used the same hypodermic needle to draw blood and to administer insulin, in violation of policy. "A few other inmate patients are now making the same claim," it states, with a handwritten notation adding that some have tested positive for hepatitis. The memo offers the inmates a blood screening to check for infection and says the unnamed nurse denied the charges and had left her job at Young Correctional. Bernstein said some of his clients who agreed to the blood screening were never told the results. Harry Williams, the brother of the inmate who died last month at a Philadelphia hospital, said Friday that his brother Duane, who was a diabetic and serving a three-year sentence on a drug and a weapons charge, had received the same Patient Information Sheet and that "Nurse Beth" was involved in his treatment in 2006 at Young Correctional Institution, formerly known as Gander Hill. Some 46 other diabetic inmates were treated from the same multi-use vial. Six subsequently tested positive for hepatitis, although prison officials said they could not definitively state that the illness was linked to the allegedly contaminated insulin. One month before the earliest date of alleged contamination, in March 2006, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched an investigation of inmate health care in Delaware. That federal involvement followed a series of stories published in The News Journal detailing abuses and problems with inmate health care. The state later signed a settlement agreement with federal authorities promising to revamp and reform the prison health care system. In February of this year, a report on the progress of that reform by former Superior Court Judge Joshua W. Martin III gave the state and CMS poor grades. Bullock said Friday that CMS and its "incompetent and unethical" practices have to go. "The coalition will again be calling for the removal of CMS and we will be doing whatever is necessary -- demonstrations, protest marches -- to bring justice to an unjust system. Someone must be held accountable. We are talking about the lives of human beings," he said.

March 13, 2008 News Journal
An inmate mistakenly exposed to blood-borne diseases died Wednesday, months after his initial complaints of abdominal pain were ignored, his family says. "If I die, it's because of the prison," Duane J. Williams said just before he died, according to his brother. In 2006, a prison nurse administered a contaminated insulin shot to Williams. Because he wasn't tested for a variety of diseases and viruses prior to his incarceration for drug and weapons' offenses, it may never be known whether exposure to hepatitis, HIV and other infections contributed to his liver problems. But the prison medical staff's failure to act quickly when pain first developed, his family says, was a deadly mistake. "When I came into his room for the last time, I actually saw his breath leave his body," said Harry Williams Jr., Duane's brother. "I told him it was OK to let go. I saw the life go out of him. He's at peace. He is free now. He is definitely free." Four days before he died, Duane Williams, 32, told The News Journal that he first felt a pain in his gut over four months ago but the pain wasn't taken seriously until this month when a prison guard noticed Williams' eyes were turning yellow. The officer demanded that a nurse or doctor provide treatment or transfer the inmate to a hospital. Williams was taken to Wilmington Hospital and then Philadelphia's Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he died at approximately 1:30 a.m. His family requested an autopsy, but the exact cause of death remains unknown. "One of the doctors said he had acute hepatitis," his brother said. "But no one is telling us anything official." "He didn't deserve this," wife Megan Williams said through tears. "I will miss him very, very much."

March 9, 2008 News Journal
Gander Hill inmate Duane J. Williams is clinging to life in a Pennsylvania hospital, his eyes bright yellow from near-total liver failure. Severe abdominal pain, which he first reported over four months ago, wasn't taken seriously by the prison's medical contractor, Correctional Medical Services, until last week, he says. When a corrections sergeant noticed Williams' eyes, the officer demanded that CMS staff provide treatment or transfer the inmate to a hospital. Ten days ago, the inmate was taken to Wilmington Hospital, where he waited for a week before being transferred to Philadelphia's Albert Einstein Medical Center on Thursday night for specialized treatment. A diabetic, Williams was exposed to blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis in July 2006, when a former prison nurse drew insulin from a multidose vial with a syringe she had earlier used to obtain a blood sample from another inmate. The nurse, who resigned after the mistake was discovered, delivered insulin from that vial to Williams and 46 other diabetic inmates. Six have since tested positive for hepatitis, although prison officials can't definitively link their illnesses to the contaminated insulin. Most of the inmates, including Williams, were not tested for hepatitis before the exposure. To Williams, none of this matters. "My liver's failing me," he said. He doesn't know how long he will live if he doesn't get a transplant. "They won't tell me straight out," he said. Like the other exposed inmates, Williams has lived with the possibility he contracted hepatitis or HIV from the insulin shot. Because viral infections can take months to appear, nurses conducted a series of blood tests in 2006 to monitor the inmates' health. Williams, 32, was retested last week at Wilmington Hospital, but he says doctors tell him they don't know what caused his liver to fail. While hepatitis C can cause liver failure, it typically takes longer between exposure and failure than what Williams has experienced, according to Dr. Robert Fontana, an associate professor of internal medicine and medical director for liver transplant at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The rarer former of hepatitis B, also can lead to liver failure, and progresses much quicker. Other medical circumstances can shorten or lengthen the progression of either strain. Sentenced to three years for drug and weapons offenses, Williams is dying six months before his scheduled September release. "He wasn't sentenced to death," said his mother, Teri Williams.

February 1, 2008 News Journal
Continued poor performance by the Department of Correction's medical vendor could hamper the department's efforts to get out from under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, according to a new report by an independent monitor overseeing the state prison system. Correctional Medical Services, a private company Delaware pays millions of dollars a year to provide medical care to inmates, suffers from a "lack of stable and effective leadership," independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III wrote in a 229-page report released Thursday. "Moreover, there has been consistent turnover at staff-level positions, and, at [Young Correctional Institution] in particular, there is a problem with staff insubordination that needs to be addressed because it affects inmate medical and mental health services negatively," Martin wrote in his report. "The Monitoring Team has also faced difficulty in receiving consistent and accurate information from CMS." While Martin found that the DOC has made some improvements, he concluded that many CMS staff lacked proper credentials or were working outside their areas of expertise: At the Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna, a pathologist is practicing general medicine. The monitoring team also found that for three months last year, no inmate at the Smyrna prison received a referral to an outside specialist because "the person who was assigned to schedule appointments for inmates was on sick leave, and CMS had failed to find a temporary replacement." Inmate medical files were found stashed in boxes, while others were out of date, doctored or missing. At the Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, a book used to keep track of inmates suffering from highly contagious flesh-eating bacteria was lost, the data irretrievable. Lisa Williams got out of the women's prison two weeks ago after spending six days there awaiting extradition to Maryland on a theft charge. Williams was burned over 60 percent of her body when she was a child, after a lighter she was playing with set her dress on fire. Now 31, she dehydrates easily because of the burns. When she overheated in a holding cell with 13 other women, just getting to the prison infirmary was difficult. "I put in a sick call slip, but it was four days before it was addressed," she said. The CMS nurse gave her an ice pack. "She said I was just a crackhead withdrawing," Williams said. "I'm not on drugs. I was very sick. They assume everyone's a crackhead. I saw a girl have a seizure in the cell. They made her walk to the infirmary, once she stopped." 'Lack of supervision' -- According to Martin's report, on several occasions the monitors were told about a practice or procedure staff believed was being adhered to, but "it often turns out that such practice or procedure is not, in fact, being followed in spite of the belief of the individual providing information. This is symptomatic of a lack of supervision of staff, and poor or nonexistent self-monitoring. The Monitoring Team recommends that CMS begin to self-monitor for compliance with DOC policies as soon as possible so as to be able to assess its own compliance, and provide the Monitoring Team with reliable information." CMS corporate spokesman Ken Fields refused to be interviewed for this story. "I am not going to respond to any specifics," he said. Fields also refused to allow CMS employees working in Delaware to be interviewed. "Our healthcare staff are focused on patient care rather than dealing with news media," he said in an e-mail. The "report shows clearly that, working together, the Delaware Department of Correction and CMS have made a great deal of progress enhancing the inmate healthcare system. The report also notes there is more to be done." Department of Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg said the monitor's report was "fair and balanced." "I've made it clear to CMS that I am not satisfied with the pace of progress, but CMS has been working cooperatively with us, and I will continue to hold them to the terms of the contract, and push for total compliance," Danberg said. Danberg's fiscal year 2009 budget proposal includes $40 million for inmate medical care -- $38 million for CMS. A call for change -- Inmate advocates have urged Minner and other state leaders to sever the state's contract with CMS. Danberg would not say if that is an option. "I will consider any change that I believe will lead to improvement of medical care, but at the moment, I'm not prepared to discuss the potential for changing vendors," Danberg said. Martin, a Wilmington attorney and former judge, was selected in May by the Department of Correction and the Justice Department to serve as the state's first independent prison monitor. Martin oversees efforts by the Department of Correction to satisfy a settlement agreement with the federal government over "substantial civil rights violations" in four state prisons. Martin declined to be interviewed for this story, as did Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner. In preparing his report, Martin, together with a team of medical and mental health professionals, reviewed Department of Correction policies and procedures, record-keeping, medication and laboratory orders, staffing and training, screening and treatment, access to care, chronic disease care, medication management, emergency care, mental health care, suicide prevention and quality assurance. According to the mandates of the settlement agreement, the monitors must gauge compliance with 217 provisions. The settlement agreement, signed by Danberg, who at the time was Delaware's attorney general, and former Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor, called on the state to revamp its prison health care system and to report its progress regularly to the Justice Department. The agreement remains in effect for three years, although the state can get off earlier if it achieves "substantial compliance" with each portion of the agreement. Martin found the state failed to comply with 17 of 217 total provisions, and was in substantial compliance with 31 of the 217. The state was said to be in partial compliance with the remainder of the requirements. "The assessment of partial compliance that the Monitoring Team has used is a very broad designation and in some instances reflects minimal progress that the State has made in eliminating the constitutional deficiencies that motivated the parties to enter into [the settlement]," Martin wrote. Advocates, families dismayed -- Prison reform advocates, former inmates and their families didn't need Martin's report to reinforce their belief that inmate medical care in Delaware is poor. Francine Wright, whose son died while an inmate, said she continues to hear complaints from families who have imprisoned family members. "The medical care is not up to par," Wright said. "People are still not getting their medical treatment." Wright's son, Darnell Anderson, was serving a four-year sentence when he was taken to Wilmington's St. Francis Hospital in 2004. During his hospitalization, doctors learned Anderson had pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, an AIDS-related infection that is usually preventable and treatable when caught early. He died at St. Francis. "They need to fire the people over there who are not doing their job," Wright said. Dover attorney Steve Hampton, who has represented inmates and their families in lawsuits against the Department of Correction, said the problems outlined in Martin's report should come as no surprise to DOC officials. "Even with the monitor in place, very little real improvement is taking place," Hampton said. "Our state government officials have turned a blind eye to widespread human rights violations in a program for which they have oversight. It seems that they are not going to seriously address the problems at DOC unless forced to by the Justice Department." Hampton represented the family of Anthony Pierce, who became known as "the brother with two heads" as an inmate at Sussex Correctional Institution because of a large tumor growing on his head. Pierce, who was being treated by CMS staff, died from the brain tumor in 2002. The state settled a wrongful-death lawsuit in a confidential agreement last year. Public health at risk -- "This report tells me that the state is continuing to pay tens of millions of dollars for a health care program that routinely breaches the applicable standards of medicine, violates the human rights of inmates and puts us all at risk of serious infectious diseases," Hampton said. "The prisons have become incubators for all sorts of diseases such as MRSA, TB and hepatitis. These diseases are not stopped by prison walls. Allowing them to flourish in prison means they will eventually flourish on the outside." Problems with prison health care and high inmate death rates, especially from AIDS, were examined by The News Journal in a series published in 2005. In March 2006, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched its probe. Minner tried unsuccessfully to derail the federal investigation. Her legal counsel at the time, Joseph C. Schoell, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales calling The News Journal's series "misleading." The Rev. Christopher Bullock, a founder of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice, said it was time for the state to terminate its contract with CMS. "Until CMS is replaced with a Delaware group -- for Delaware from Delaware -- there will be no significant or sustainable change," he said. "It's now time for the state to act in the best interest of Delaware and our reputation in this country."

January 4, 2008 News Journal
A former inmate who successfully sued the medical contractor for the state's prison system, without an attorney, has resolved his case out of court. Richard Mark Turner, 52, charged that Correctional Medical Services failed to provide him with adequate care in 2001 and 2002 to treat his hepatitis C. Attorney Jeffrey K. Martin, who is now representing Turner, said the resolution with CMS was "amicable" but confidential. He said Turner was pleased with the result. CMS spokesman Ken Fields said the case was settled to "to avoid further litigation." Neither side would say if Turner received money as part of the resolution. In March, District Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled in Turner's favor before his civil case went to trial, stating the undisputed evidence showed Turner's care was "obviously inadequate" and violated his rights. The result stunned legal observers because Turner won the case without formal legal assistance. At the time he filed the case, in 2003, Turner demanded $14.9 million. Martin joined the case several weeks after Robinson's ruling. The two sides agreed to settle the case following mediation sessions with Magistrate Judge Leonard Stark in late November and Tuesday entered a stipulation with the court to drop the case. In her March ruling, Robinson said CMS employees did not adequately instruct Turner on how to give himself injections of Interferon -- a form of chemotherapy -- and then "turned a blind eye" when they saw him improperly injecting himself three times a week for seven months. According to court papers, Turner injected himself in the same spot rather than in different locations -- as medically recommended -- resulting in serious infections. Martin said his client continues to suffer significant health problems as a result. Turner had been in prison on assault and reckless endangerment charges. He was released in 2006 but several months later ended up in a Pennsylvania prison on assault charges. Martin said Turner was released on the Pennsylvania charges in September and now lives in Sussex County. Turner has a second civil case pending in federal courts -- filed in 2006 -- alleging subsequent medical negligence by the state and CMS related to the infections. Turner also filed that case on his own, but Martin has agreed to now represent him in that matter as well.

July 6, 2007 News Journal
The state’s new prison monitor released his first semi-annual report today, which is highly critical of Correctional Medical Services, the Department of Correction’s medical contractor. In May, Joshua W. Martin III, a Wilmington attorney and former judge, was selected by the Department of Correction and the U. S. Department of Justice to serve as the state’s first independent prison monitor. As such, Martin will oversee the efforts made by the DOC in satisfying a settlement agreement with the federal government following an investigation that revealed “substantial civil rights violations” in four state prisons. Martin, together with a team of medical and mental health professionals, is monitoring Department of Correction policies and procedures, record keeping, medication and laboratory orders, staffing and training, screening and treatment, access to care, chronic disease care, medication management, emergency care, mental health care, suicide prevention, and quality assurance. In addition, the team is providing technical assistance to assist the department with reaching or sustaining compliance with certain of the requirements under the memorandum of understanding. Martin spells out that his team’s compliance checks are in their initial stages, with more detail to come in subsequent reports. “This report primarily summarizes the obligations of the state under the MOA, the preliminary observations and recommendations the Monitoring Team has regarding the state's compliance with the MOA, and the monitoring team's plan of action for the coming months,” Martin stated in his report. However, the team did identify several problem areas, such as poor sanitation and chronic understaffing by Correctional Medical Services. “Staffing by the state's medical vendor, Correctional Medical Services, of its leadership positions is a serious concern,” the report states. “Without adequate and consistent leadership, it is very difficult for the state to implement and maintain the changes necessary to comply with the MOA.” The reason for the understaffing, Martin’s team discovered, was an unwillingness by Correctional Medical Services to spend money. “It is the monitoring team's understanding that CMS has had difficulty finding appropriate individuals to fill leadership positions. The monitoring team also has received information that tends to indicate that CMS' regional or national management has not been willing to take such measures as offering relatively small increases in pay in order to attract and retain individuals that would be qualified to fill the vacant positions, nor has CMS' regional or national management been particularly supportive of facility-level CMS management regarding staffing concerns.” Dover lawyer Steve Hampton represents several inmates and their families, including the young daughter of Anthony Pierce, who became known as "the brother with two heads" as an inmate at Sussex Correctional Institution. Pierce, who was profiled in a series of articles by The News Journal, was serving a 14-month sentence from an attempted burglary. “They’ve identified some problems such as horrible sanitation and understaffing, which are well known to anyone in the system,” Hampton said. “The question is, what’s being done about it. I don’t see any details. It’s just another report that describes deficiencies.” For six months in 2005, The News Journal examined conditions of care within the state’s prisons. In late September that year, the newspaper published a series of stories highlighting the findings in a special report.

March 31, 2007 News Journal
The contractor handling medical services for state prisons violated an inmate's constitutional rights in 2001 and 2002 through "obviously inadequate" care, according to a federal judge. Chief Judge Sue L. Robinson further found the evidence was so overwhelming that she granted inmate Richard Mark Turner's motion for summary judgment, meaning he has won his case without a trial. What makes the ruling even more remarkable, according to legal experts, is that Turner, 51, got the ruling in a lawsuit that he filed and argued without an attorney. "This is a very rare event," said Elizabeth Alexander, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. Turner, who is now incarcerated in Bellefonte, Pa., could not be reached for comment. Prison officials and officials with Correctional Medical Services said Friday they had not read the ruling, handed down late Wednesday, and therefore could not respond directly to it. "We intend to review the judge's ruling in detail before taking any additional action," CMS spokesman Ken Fields wrote in an e-mail Friday. He also noted the case involves events that are more than five years old, a time when less was known about the treatment of hepatitis C, which Turner had. The U.S. Department of Justice found "substantial civil rights violations" in Delaware prisons last year, following a 2005 News Journal series on prison medical care documenting abuses in the prison. In December, the state signed a settlement agreement with federal investigators, promising to correct the problems. On Friday, Corrections spokeswoman Gail Stallings Minor said the department is continuing to address every issue identified in the report. According to Robinson's ruling, Correctional Medical Services violated Turner's rights when its employees failed to adequately train him in how to use a syringe to inject himself with Interferon -- a form of chemotherapy -- to treat his hepatitis C and "turned a blind eye" when they observed him improperly injecting himself three times a week for seven months. Turner injected himself in the same spot rather than in several different locations as recommended by the information sheet included with the medicine. As a result of the improper injections, Turner developed a serious infection, according to court papers.

January 16, 2007 News Journal
Legislation that would guarantee public access to any state agency report that was paid for with public money was released from a House committee today, on track for possible action by the full house this month. House Bill 5, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Wagner, R-Dover North, is virtually identical to legislation that passed the House unanimously last year but died in the Senate for lack of action. It was prompted by the Department of Correction’s refusal to release a performance audit of Correctional Medical Services, the contractor that provided medical services to the state’s prisons. State officials refused to release the audit saying to do so would reveal private medical information that federal privacy laws preclude from disclosure. The state also refused to release a redacted version of the audit that would have removed patient identities while retaining the audit's conclusions regarding CMS' performance. John Flaherty, lobbyist for Delaware Common Cause, told the House Sunset/Policy Analysis & Government Accountability Committee that House Bill 5 “essentially makes public what is already public.”

January 13, 2007 The News Journal
Demetrius Caldwell, a 24-year-old drug dealer, had been undergoing unspecified treatment for a month in the state's newest prison infirmary before he was found dead this week, laying on a mattress on the floor of his infirmary cell. A medical staffer had checked on him 25 minutes before he died. Prison officials ruled out meningococcal meningitis as the cause of death Friday, after naming it as a possibility Thursday evening. A less virulent strain of meningitis remains a slight possibility. "Everything's negative," said James Welch, the Department of Correction's health services administrator. "There's no trauma, no heart problems, no brain tumor. We're still waiting on toxicology. We can't find anything. We're as concerned as anyone else is." The length of time Caldwell spent in the state's prison infirmary and the lack of an explanation for his death point to the same medical deficiencies that prompted the U.S. Justice Department last month to find "substantial civil rights violations" in four Delaware prisons, said Senate Minority Leader Charles L. Copeland, R-West Farms. The federal investigation was prompted by a series of articles in The News Journal that revealed inadequate health care and questionable treatment within the prisons. In their report, federal prison regulators found "consistent backlogs with the respect to the treatment of chronic care inmates." Any inmate who has been in the infirmary for a month meets the "chronic care" definition and should have been taken to a private hospital, said Copeland, one of the co-founders of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. "Someone should have recognized that the prison infirmary was not the place for him to be," he said. "The fact they failed to identify that re-emphasizes the legitimacy of the constitutional violations of prison health care performance." Federal investigators, who negotiated an 87-point settlement with the state to improve prison medical care, declined to comment about Caldwell's death. Correction commissioner nominee Carl Danberg said Friday that doctors from Correctional Medical Service, or CMS, the prison's contract medical provider, along with the Department of Correction's medical team, the Chief Medical Examiner's Office and Public Health are reviewing the case. "Additional outside expertise might be sought, depending upon what we find in the tests that are still pending," Danberg said. "We are following Department of Correction procedures and following Delaware law for a death in custody. All information is being turned over to the Medical Examiner."

December 31, 2006 The News Journal
Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna is among the Delaware prisons looking at major changes in inmate health care after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice found the prison system guilty of civil rights violations. It's been more than a year since a coalition of concerned citizens, lawmakers and clergy marched on the governor's mansion and knelt in prayer asking for better health care for inmates in Delaware's prisons. They were galvanized by horrific conditions outlined in a series of stories in The News Journal, the first of which appeared in late September 2005 -- a series Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor charged was "sloppy reporting" in a five-page response the newspaper published. What's happened since will bring groundbreaking changes to Delaware's prison system: • On Friday, following a nine-month investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that federal investigators found "substantial civil rights violations" inside four Delaware prisons. For example, the report noted, flesh-eating bacteria inside Gander Hill prison went undiagnosed and untreated, placing "inmates and staff at risk of acquiring the infection and passing it to others in the community." • Taylor and Attorney General Carl Danberg signed an 87-point agreement with the federal government that calls for sweeping changes in Delaware's penal institutions. The state promised to correct the deficiencies and "meet generally accepted professional standards." However, the state did not admit to violating any inmate's civil rights or breaking any other federal law. • The 55-year-old Taylor, who's served the past 11 years as commissioner, announced this month that he will retire on Feb. 1. On Saturday a prison spokeswoman announced that Paul Howard, Taylor's longtime bureau chief of prisons, is retiring the same day. Prison spokeswoman Gail Minor Stallings said Howard's departure had nothing to do with the federal report that orders the state to completely renovate its prison health care system. • Trial lawyers say the damning federal findings will serve as a road map for inmate lawsuits against the state. • Senate Minority Leader Charles Copeland, R-West Farms, said Saturday the federal government might have taken a "wait and see" approach, if the state had reacted once concerns about inmate care were first raised by the newspaper, and by the citizen coalition he co-founded. "If there had been a positive response from the state, the feds might have not felt the need to be the hammer," said Copeland, who estimates that changes ordered by the Justice Department will cost $20 million to $30 million more than the state already spends annually on prisons. • House Majority Leader Wayne Smith, R-Clair Manor, said he was disturbed about the agreement being signed in secret. "I am troubled that we (lawmakers) were not consulted about something this important. By signing this, the governor and the attorney general have obligated the state to spending money without the General Assembly's consent -- and I think we should have learned about this from them, rather than from a reporter." Copeland wasn't alone in suggesting that had state officials acknowledged serious problems existed, rather than denying their existence, the pain and suffering among inmates and their families -- as well as the final cost of taxpayer dollars -- would not have been as high. Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, an early backer of the federal probe who wrote a letter in support of the investigation to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, said it's not as though the state pleaded no-contest to the federal charges of poor inmate health care. "It's worse than that," Peterson said. "They don't think they did anything wrong."

October 20, 2006 Wilmington News-Journal
Seven months ago, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation of the prison health care system in Delaware -- where the rates of inmates dying of AIDS and suicide have been among the highest in the nation, and where hepatitis and skin infections are constant problems. Eleven months ago, a former inmate's breast cancer went undetected while she was forced to wait five months for a mammogram inside Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, near New Castle. Twelve months ago, an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease hit Sussex Correctional Institution, in Georgetown. And yet little has changed for the inmates, a coalition of prison advocates said Thursday. On the anniversary of the coalition's founding, leaders of the group gathered in Wilmington's Rodney Square to lament a year's worth of what they called inaction by the leaders of Delaware. There has been only "silence" from Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and "stonewalling" from the General Assembly, said co-founders of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. "We are here today to continue to raise the issue in the consciousness of prison crisis in our state," said the Rev. Christopher Bullock, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church. "We are going to continue to fight on behalf of the voiceless, those incarcerated and their families." For six months in 2005, The News Journal examined conditions of care within the state's prisons. In late September 2005, the newspaper published a series of articles highlighting AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides during the past four years; allegations by inmates of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis; and a no-bid $25.9 million contract awarded to St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services to manage health care in the state's prisons. The series revealed: •Dr. Janet Kramer, of Wilmington, an expert in prison health care, said inmates should be screened for hepatitis C and HIV. But pretrial and convicted inmates in Delaware are not routinely screened when they are sent to prison or when they leave. Delaware prisons have become incubators for new strains of the AIDS virus, creating a public health crisis, experts say. •Former prison doctor Ramesh Vemulapalli said a private medical company ordered him to treat inmates for HIV or hepatitis C, but not both. •The state does not routinely conduct autopsies on inmates who die in prison or those hospitalized at the time of their death, a policy the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners believes prevents evaluation of the quality of prison medical treatment. And if it does conduct autopsies, the results are sent to the medical vendor, not the prison. •Dr. Robert Cohen, an expert in prison health care whom state and federal courts have appointed to monitor prisons in five states, said Delaware should investigate medical malpractice claims. Instead, the state's medical board occasionally takes complaints from inmates and their families about prison health care professionals, but it is only an advisory panel.

August 8, 2006 News Journal
The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware filed a civil lawsuit today charging the state Department of Correction with refusing to provide information about how it treats prisoners for with illnesses such as HIV, hepatitis and high blood pressure. The ACLU, represented by Public Citizen, filed the suit in New Castle County Superior Court when the prison department denied its records request. According to the suit, prison officials claimed some information about treatment is “a trade secret” and “privileged or confidential” property of the prison’s medical contractor, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, Inc. The lawsuit maintains that the withholding of documents relating to the correctional facility’s treatment protocols for certain illnesses and operating procedures for wellness visits is in direct violation of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act. The ACLU also said that corrections departments in other states have provided similar prison health care policy information to the public. The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division started investigating prison health care in Delaware on March 8 -- a probe Correction Commissioner Stanley W. Taylor Jr. and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner opposed and lobbied to stop. Last year, The News Journal published a series of articles documenting inadequate medical care in Delaware prisons.

July 21, 2006 News Journal
As many as four dozen current and former inmates at the Young Correctional Institution may have been exposed to blood-borne diseases, including AIDS and hepatitis, by a former nurse accused of improper needle use. "This is a potential crisis in our community," said the Rev. Christopher Bullock, a founder of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. "It goes to our original point, that when there is incompetent medical services provided to those who are incarcerated, it opens up Pandora's Box for things to happen of this nature." According to the Department of Correction, a licensed practical nurse who was hired April 10 used a diabetic needle and syringe instead of an individual lancet to obtain a blood sample from an inmate earlier this month. The nurse later used the same needle to draw insulin from a multiple-dose vial -- potentially contaminating the vial -- then used the vial to provide insulin to other inmates. Department of Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor said the procedure was completely inappropriate and something any health practitioner would be taught early not to do. "It is alarming because it is very basic medical protocol," he said. Taylor would not name the nurse but said she had resigned. The nurse was hired by St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, the state prison's health care provider. A News Journal investigation of the state prison health care last year pointed out high rates of AIDS-related inmate deaths. The series, which looked at the quality of medical and mental health services, is central to an ongoing investigation of the Delaware prison system by a special civil rights team from the U.S. Justice Department. United States Attorney Colm F. Connolly refrained from commenting about the new allegations because of the ongoing Justice Department investigation. 'More of the ongoing tragedy' Dover Attorney Stephen A. Hampton, who has successfully sued the Department of Correction on behalf of inmates or their survivors who alleged improper care, said "this is more of the ongoing tragedy that is CMS and the DOC." Bullock said the investigation should be comprehensive and that all 48 people involved, as well as those with whom they have had contact, should be tested. "There needs to be a health alert within the prison and also in the community due to this unprofessional behavior by this particular nurse," he said.

June 11, 2006 News Journal
A 56-year-old Hockessin man hanged himself last month hours after he was taken off a suicide watch by the Department of Correction -- and despite warnings from family and mental health advocates of a recent suicide attempt. At 4:52 a.m. on May 30, prison guards found Thomas J. Burns hanging from a bedsheet in his cell. Burns had arrived at Young Correctional Institution on a forgery warrant. Only days before the prison suicide, Burns was released from Christiana Hospital, where he nearly died after trying to kill himself by mixing medication and liquor. Mental health advocates flooded the prison with phone calls, trying to alert the jailers that Burns would try to kill himself in the prison. Prison officials initially placed Burns on suicide watch -- a restrictive status involving constant surveillance during which Burns was allowed only a paper gown in his cell. But on Memorial Day, a counselor employed by the prison's private medical contractor, Correctional Medical Services, conducted a mental health evaluation and ordered Burns placed on the less-restrictive psychiatric observation. Burns was given several personal items -- including bedsheets -- and guards were supposed to check on him every 15 minutes. Hours later, he was dead. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death in prisons nationally -- behind natural causes and AIDS-related deaths, which are recorded separately from natural causes by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. According to the bureau's latest report, issued last month, Delaware's prisoner suicide rate for 2001 and 2002 was double the national average of 14 per 100,000 inmates. The quality of medical and mental health services inside Delaware prisons is central to an ongoing investigation of the Delaware Department of Correction by a special civil rights team from the U.S. Justice Department. High rates of inmate deaths from HIV/AIDS, mistreatment of cancerous tumors and the spread of flesh-eating bacteria are just some of the factors attracting federal scrutiny. Burns' death will be reviewed internally, said Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor, and the findings will be closed to the public. Burns' suicide is similar to previous deaths in Delaware prisons. As he was booked into Howard Young (then called Gander Hill prison) in 2004, Christopher Barkes told a mental health screener that he had attempted suicide before -- when he had earlier served time in Gander Hill. Barkes provided a list of drugs he was taking for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of mental illness. Instead of placing Barkes on suicide watch, prison officials put him in a cell, alone and unsupervised. Hours later, Barkes hanged himself with a bedsheet. His widow, Karen, has sued the state over the death. "It is very disturbing that after Chris's suicide, they still aren't going to change anything," she said. "Chris died and nothing changes." According to the Department of Correction, 11 inmates have killed themselves since January 2000 -- most by hanging. Experts say effective mental health care can reduce the number of suicides in the state's nine prison facilities. In Delaware, Correctional Medical Services provides medical and mental health treatment. When an inmate arrives in prison, these CMS counselors use a form that has a series of yes/no questions to determine suicide risk. If the risk of suicide is high, they may require the inmate to sign a "suicide contract" promising not to kill themselves. Mental health experts have described these practices as antiquated and ineffective. Level of expertise. Neither prison nor Correctional Medical Services officials would name the counselor who evaluated Burns. They described the counselor as a "master's-level clinician." "You do not evaluate a person for suicide without a psychiatrist," said Rita Marocco, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Delaware. "If a person has made a suicide attempt, it certainly must be a psychiatrist who makes the decisions. I believe they do not have qualified people doing these evaluations." Dr. Carol A. Tavani, a board-certified neuropsychiatrist and executive director of Christiana Psychiatric Services, agrees that a psychiatrist -- not a counselor -- should have conducted the evaluation. "When you have something of this seriousness, with this kind of history, especially when there's a prior attempt, that ratchets up the seriousness of the risk," Tavani said. "Evaluation of suicidality has to be done very carefully, and it's always the better part of valor to err on the safe side, particularly if there's previous history. Those calls are always safest when made by a psychiatrist, and I know they do have them." Patricia McDowell, Delaware's director of support and outreach services for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, told prison officials about Burns' recent suicide attempt and warned them he would try it again. After Burns' death, these officials stopped taking her calls. "We worked very carefully to get to the right people, to help someone at a very critical point in his life, and the very people we turned to let us down," McDowell said. "The system failed. His life ended."

May 19, 2006 Delaware State News
The General Assembly's budget committee approved creating three positions Thursday to provide additional oversight of the Department of Correction's inmate medical care system. The agency's handling of prisoner health care has come into question in the past year amid newspaper accounts and lawsuits questioning the quality. The positions, which will pay a combined $238,900 in salary, were created by the Joint Finance Committee as it approved the DOC's operating budget for fiscal 2007, which begins July 1. "We just want more oversight and supervision," said Sen. Nancy W. Cook, D-Kenton, a JFC co-chair.

May 19, 2006 News Journal
A bill that would require wholesale improvements in Delaware's prison medical system is dead for this year, crushed by a $30 million annual price tag attached to it by the General Assembly's staff. The demise of Sen. Margaret Rose Henry's reform bill, Senate Bill 291, came Thursday when the Joint Finance Committee included no money in the Department of Correction's budget for next year to pay for the improvements. The bill has been mired in the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. James Vaughn, D-Clayton, for months. Henry and Vaughn said the bill would not be considered this year, in large part because of the fiscal-impact report from the Controller General's Office. The committee, which is amending Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's proposed $3 billion budget for the year that begins July 1, did add some extra money for prison health care. The panel agreed to pay the state's private health care provider more for existing services, and for several positions to better oversee Correctional Medical Services. The panel added $2.9 million as an "inflation adjustment" for the CMS contract, raising the annual cost by 11 percent to more than $28.8 million. The multiyear contract was transferred to CMS without bidding last July on an emergency basis. The committee shifted $238,900 to Corrections for prison health care oversight by the Division of Public Health, and prison care reviewers. That extends changes begun last fall by Minner and Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor to address substandard prison care. Those steps followed the reports in The News Journal. This spring, articles detailed how a female inmate gave birth to twins in a toilet stall at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution in March. She said a prison nurse employed by CMS ignored her complaints of powerful contractions, which began 24 hours prior to the births. The reform bill also would require CMS to deliver records of inmate deaths within three days to the Medical Society of Delaware's Prison Health Committee for review, and make other records available to the state for audit. Inmate medical grievances would have to be sent to the Department of Correction, not to the medical service provider. But all of that would be costly, according to the fiscal analysis. Legislation that would make publicly funded reports open to public scrutiny -- including an audit of prison health care -- passed the state House this month without a vote against it. House Bill 320, sponsored by North Dover Republican state Rep. Nancy H. Wagner, would require the state to release the audit and other such reports, provided that personal information such as medical records is withheld. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

April 9, 2006 News-Journal
Kimwayna "Kim" Allen gave birth to twins in a toilet stall at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution last month, after she says a prison nurse employed by Correctional Medical Services ignored her complaints of powerful contractions, which began 24 hours prior to the births. Each of the babies -- son Ny-Aire and daughter Ny-Bree -- weighed barely a pound. They are clinging to life in intensive care at Christiana Hospital, swaddled in tiny blankets inside incubators monitored around-the-clock by nurses. Even if Kim's daughter survives, her prognosis is poor. The likelihood of brain damage and mental retardation is high. Ny-Bree had no pulse and was barely breathing after delivery. Her tiny brain was starved of oxygen for about eight minutes, until two paramedic units and three ambulances raced into the prison grounds after the nurse called 911. The paramedics began CPR in the prison and continued all the way to Christiana, but Ny-Bree was still in very rough shape by the time they got her to the hospital. Kim, a 19-year-old who lives with her mother, has had to make monstrous decisions about her children's future. "They told me I should pull the plug on my daughter because she wasn't doing too well," Kim said. "I couldn't do it." The U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched a federal investigation into prison health care in Delaware on March 8 -- a probe Correction Commissioner Stanley W. Taylor Jr. and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner opposed and lobbied to stop. Although Minner agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department, the governor told U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the federal probe was not necessary. The bathroom prison deliveries occurred four days before the investigation was launched. Last year, The News Journal published a series of articles documenting inadequate medical care -- including prenatal -- in Delaware prisons. Neither Taylor nor Minner returned e-mail or telephone requests to talk about Kim or her twins, or the care she received before giving birth in the women's prison bathroom. On March 30, The News Journal made a request under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act for a copy of the policy and the lists required as part of the department's health care accreditation. Welch, in an e-mail response, wrote, "The DOC does not have a specific policy regarding the care of pregnant inmates." She couldn't explain why. Correctional Medical Services spokesman Ken Fields couldn't say how CMS staff should respond if a pregnant inmate complains of contractions. And he declined to provide a copy of the CMS policy regarding pregnant inmates. Fields said CMS employees make their own decisions. "Correction health care professionals are trained to address these types of issues using their own training and judgment, in their own assessment of each patient's condition to make decisions about the next step for treatment," he said.

March 9, 2006 News Journal
After years of high inmate death rates due to HIV/AIDS, suicide and poor medical care, federal civil rights regulators have launched an investigation of Delaware's prison medical system -- a process that could take years to complete and forever change the way the state treats its 6,800 inmates. The investigation comes on the heels of a five-month preliminary inquiry by the Justice Department during which federal regulators interviewed many of the same medical experts, inmates and families of dead inmates who spoke to The News Journal late last year during the newspaper's six-month investigation of prison health care. As with the newspaper's investigation, the Justice Department uncovered significant problems at the Delaware Department of Correction. The federal investigation now may involve FBI agents and grand juries with subpoena power."Thank you, Jesus. I've been praying for this so hard," said Susie Wilson, whose son, Jermaine Lamar Wilson, was found hanging in his cell with blood-stained clothes and a gash on his head. It was Feb. 18, 2005 -- the day his family says he was scheduled to be released after serving time for robbery. Wilson's death is now the focus of a federal wrongful death lawsuit, which claims Jermaine Lamar Wilson was murdered while being held at the Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna. The federal investigation will be conducted by the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. A News Journal special report on inmate health care published in September revealed sometimes gruesome details of neglect, such as an inmate's massive brain tumor -- largely ignored by staff -- which led to his death, and an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria. Other findings of the newspaper's six-month investigation were inmate death rates -- specifically AIDS-related and suicide -- far above the national norm. During the newspaper's investigation, reporters discovered that Minner and Taylor awarded a $25.9 million no-bid contract for inmate health care to Correctional Medical Services -- a private medical contractor with a history of litigation over how the company provides medical care. Minner and Taylor also refused to release -- publicly or to lawmakers -- an audit of prison health care they say prompted the emergency hiring of CMS. Former prison doctor Ramesh Vemulapalli, an AIDS specialist practicing in Dover, said the investigation is long overdue. Vemulapalli said he quit working in Delaware prisons because he was not allowed to provide adequate care. "I think the investigation will help make reforms in the prison system," Vemulapalli said. "It's a good thing. It will benefit the people of Delaware."

February 18, 2006 News Journal
Correction Commissioner Stanley W. Taylor Jr.'s failure to properly train his staff to recognize suicidal inmates and properly care for them allowed Christopher Barkes to hang himself in his prison cell in November 2004, a federal lawsuit contends. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington by his family members, said the prison's former medical provider also failed to properly train staff to recognize and properly care for inmates who had made previous attempts on their lives. That medical provider, Arizona-based First Correctional Medical, or FCM, pulled out of its contract last year. During his time at the Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, the suit said, Barkes told prison officials he had attempted suicide before. Prison staff placed him in a cell alone, though, with no suicide watch, the suit said. Barkes, 37, was found unconscious the following morning and taken to Christiana Hospital, where he died. Prison officials determined Barkes used his bedsheet to hang himself. Taylor often defends his department by noting it is accredited by the national commission, a process that cost taxpayers $12,400. Taylor, though, has declined to make public an audit by the commission on prison health care, saying it contains inmate medical information and peer reviews of doctors. Lawmakers, who have repeatedly asked for the report, even if elements are blacked out, are considering legislation to make it public. Barkes' case came to light during an investigation by The News Journal last year. The six-month investigation highlighted allegations by inmates of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis; a no-bid $25.9 million contract awarded to the current health care provider, Correctional Medical Services, based in St. Louis; and a comparatively high rate of AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides over a four-year period. Another lawsuit filed by a prisoner highlighted in the newspaper articles was settled out of court in October. Anthony Pierce, also known to inmates as "the brother with two heads," was serving a 14-month sentence for a parole violation when a small lump appeared on the back of his head. At the time, a prison doctor employed by Correctional Medical Services said the marble-size lump was a cyst or an ingrown hair. The tumor kept growing, and on March 22, 2002, Pierce died from a "brain tumor, due to osteosarcoma of the skull," according to an autopsy report. The conditions revealed in the articles are the subject of an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. "Stan Taylor said that they follow the guidelines, and it is clear that they didn't," said Barkes' wife, Karen. She also said "it is discouraging that the lawmakers aren't doing anything to change the problems in the prisons." The lawsuit targets Taylor and FCM, along with prison warden Raphael Williams, the Department of Correction and unknown Correction Department and FCM employees. The suit, which alleges wrongful death and cruel and unusual punishment, seeks compensatory and punitive damages to be set by the court. Contact Esteban Parra at 324-2299 or eparra@delawareonline.com. Contact investigative reporter Lee Williams at 324-2362 or lwilliams@delawareonline.com.

January 26, 2006 Wilmington News Journal
Lee McMillan, whose husband nearly died in prison after flesh-eating bacteria attacked his body, wants to know why the state won't release an audit of Delaware's prison health care system. So do some legislators, who are backing a bill that would require the state to release the audit and similar reports -- as long as confidential information such as personal medical records is withheld. House Bill 320, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Wagner, R-Dover North, would make reports that are paid for with public funds open to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The News Journal requested the audit, which cost taxpayers $12,400, while investigating AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides of Delaware prisoners as well as reports of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis. Prompted in part by a series of News Journal stories, the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an inquiry into the Department of Correction's management and inmate health care. In defending his record, Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor pointed to the audit, prepared by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, but denied a Freedom of Information request for the report by the newspaper. Taylor and former Attorney General M. Jane Brady ruled the accreditation report was not a public document. Taylor, though, said the audit was critical of the work of First Correctional Medical, a Tucson, Ariz., company. In July, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Taylor awarded a $25.9 million no-bid contract to Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis to pick up the provision of medical care in Delaware's prisons. Rep. Pamela S. Maier, R-Drummond Hill, is a House co-sponsor who said she believes that "sunshine helps" in governmental affairs. "I think the public needs to know, and if they're not satisfied, we need to keep the pressure on the Department of Correction and [prison health care provider Correctional Medical Services] to improve the health of our prisoners."

November 16, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
The Delaware Department of Correction has hired longtime HIV/AIDS educator and advocate James Welch from the Department of Public Health, to serve as the health services administrator for the state's prison system. Welch, a registered nurse, currently serves as the Department of Public Health's HIV/ AIDS/STD director in a program he created 20 years ago to coordinate prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. "Jim will oversee the DOC's day-to-day medical operation," said Ed Synoski, the Department of Correction's deputy chief of the Bureau of Management Services, which oversees the department's medical services contracts. Taylor announced the creation of Welch's position during a public hearing last week called by lawmakers to examine a series of articles in The News Journal highlighting AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides during the past four years, and allegations by inmates of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis. Prompted in part by the series, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a preliminary inquiry into the Department of Correction's management and inmate health care. Welch previously has played a behind-the-scenes role in the inmate health care debate -- lobbying in 2002 against allowing Dr. Keith Ivens to remain as the prison system's medical director when Correctional Medical Services (CMS) of St. Louis, Ivens' employer, was replaced by another medical contractor. In July, Taylor brought CMS back to Delaware with a $25.9 million no-bid contract to manage inmate health care. In a sworn deposition, Kathy English, the former deputy bureau chief of management services for the Department of Correction, said Ivens was a frequent source of inmate complaints. English testified that Welch expressed "informal concerns" about the physician and told the incoming contractor to not allow Ivens to continue as medical director. The Rev. Christopher Bullock, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Wilmington, is one of the founding members of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. "The DOC doesn't need to be hiring new people," Bullock said. "They need to be firing people. This appears to be another effort to cover up and conceal the real issue."

November 8, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
Family members of dead, dying or grievously ill inmates lashed out at Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor on Monday night, accusing Taylor and the prison's medical vendor of causing illnesses and deaths by providing inadequate medical care to the state's 6,800 inmates. Some of those who testified said the state treats its inmates worse than animals. The public scolding occurred at an "informational" hearing called by Speaker of the House Terry Spence, R-Stratford, and Rep. Pamela S. Maier, R-Drummond Hill, who sought to educate lawmakers about prison conditions before the upcoming legislative session. "It's your facility -- clean it up," Matilda Carello, whose son is an inmate with Grave's disease, yelled at Taylor, who was sitting by her side. Also in the audience were representatives from Correctional Medical Services, the company Taylor recently awarded a controversial $25.9 million no-bid contract to run inmate health care. "CMS -- you're a liar," Carello said. "Stan Taylor -- you are a liar!" After about 50 witnesses from the public testified at the hearing, Spence said "it's time for a gut check." "We've lost confidence in the department," he said. "We've lost confidence in CMS." Spence called for an independent oversight panel for the department and CMS. Ann Mac, a nurse practitioner and CMS vice president of operations, told lawmakers and inmate family members that "delivering health care in prisons is a uniquely challenging but very rewarding field." Her message was not well received. "I am sorry, but the things being said from this lady -- this is not what's really going on inside," said Lee McMillan, who says her husband, an inmate, nearly died when flesh-eating bacteria ravaged his body. Monday night's hearing was scheduled after a six-month investigation by The News Journal found a high rate of AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides over the past four years, and uncovered allegations of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis, hepatitis and other communicable diseases and bacterial infections. Prompted in part by the newspaper's series, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a preliminary inquiry into the Department of Correction's management and inmate health care. Maryanne McGonegal, secretary of Common Cause, criticized Gov. Ruth Ann Minner for failing to address evidence of negligent inmate care. On Oct. 3, Common Cause of Delaware asked U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to open a federal investigation. "The lack of response by our governor is the strongest indication of the need for outside oversight of prison conditions," McGonegal said Monday night. Several of those who testified said after the hearing that Taylor should release a recent audit of inmate health care under the state's former prison medical vendor, First Correctional Medical. Performance audited: Taylor asked a medical accreditation firm to audit FCM's performance from December 2004 to January 2005. According to documents Taylor provided to lawmakers, the audit showed "several problems with medical administration and clinical practices including record keeping, utilization management, medical history and sick call follow-up." The News Journal submitted a request under Delaware's Freedom of Information Act for the audit, which cost Delaware taxpayers $12,400, but Attorney General M. Jane Brady denied the newspaper's request. Former CMS substance abuse counselor Denise Rodriguez said she supports punishment for those who break the law. "But that punishment should not be neglect, humiliation or death," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez, who worked for CMS at Gander Hill from 1999 to 2002, told The News Journal in a previously published story that a CMS official ordered her to falsify documents so state inspectors would not pull the company's license to run a prison treatment program. "Stan Taylor, I always told my clients that in order to make changes in your life, you have to hold yourself accountable," she told Taylor at Monday's hearing. "Someone needs to hold you accountable."

November 7, 2005 Delaware State News
The state's correction chief and the medical company hired by the agency defended the level of medical care inmates receive Monday during a hearing at Legislative Hall. Commissioner of Correction Stanley W. Taylor and Ann Mack, vice president of operations for Correctional Medical Services, made their presentation to a hearing called by the House of Representatives' Health and Human Development Committee. Mr. Taylor and CMS have come under heavy criticism recently after news reports questioned the quality of care in prisons based on lawsuits and anecdotes from prisoners and their families alleging poor medical treatment. Scores of members of the public spoke at the hearing and ripped into Mr. Taylor and CMS. "I believe a person needs to be punished when they break the law of the land, but the punishment does not include neglect, humiliation and death," said Denise Rodriguez, a former CMS employee who worked at Gander Hill Prison in Wilmington. "Stan Taylor, I always told my clients that to make changes in your life, you have to hold yourself accountable. Someone needs to be held accountable." Dover residents Lynn and Robert Sadusky, who mentor a Delaware inmate, said the prisoner has relayed a series of complaints about health care inside the walls. The issues include, Mrs. Sadusky said, prisoners being overcharged for care, having their requests for medical attention ignored and misdiagnosis of conditions. The inmate she mentors has been waiting two weeks to be seen by a doctor to determine whether he is suffering from lung cancer, she said. "I understand this is a difficult population to serve, but I hope those at the top will fix these problems," Mrs. Sadusky told the committee. "Denial will not fix these problems, but that is what I am hearing tonight." The Rev. Christopher A. Bullock, chair of the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice, said DOC should stop using out-of-state companies to provide medical care. CMS is based in St. Louis. Its predecessor, First Correctional Medical, is based in Arizona. Mr. Bullock advocated state support for creating a Delaware-based business to handle prison medical care. "Let us do what is right and what is just," said Mr. Bullock, who is the pastor at Wilmington's Canaan Baptist Church.

November 6, 2005 Wilmington News Journal 
Sharon Wall, a waitress and bartender from Claymont, was arrested on Lancaster Pike in Hockessin around dusk 4 1/2 years ago. She had been involved in a minor accident, and a state trooper suspected Wall had been drinking. A breath test administered at the scene confirmed Wall was drunk and she was booked into Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, a 380-bed facility near New Castle that houses adult female inmates in Delaware. About a week after the arrest, Wall complained of pain near her breast. Suspecting she might have broken a rib and worried about a pea-size bump in her right breast, she was examined by a prison nurse employed by Correctional Medical Services (CMS), one of the largest prison health care companies in the country. In a record of the visit, on May 22, 2001, the nurse notes a "mass" of the right breast and suggests Wall be scheduled for a mammogram. In the days and weeks that followed, Wall repeatedly asked prison officials when the procedure would take place. Five months later, she rolled over in her cell bunk and was frightened by the size of the expanding mass. On Oct. 16, 2001, Wall sent a note to the prison's medical staff. "I am writing again to ask when I will be given a mammogram. ... It is a very big concern and I would like to know when it will be done. Please let me know something." According to CMS spokesman Ken Fields, mammograms for female inmates in Delaware are routinely scheduled within two weeks after an examination determines a test is necessary. The tests are performed in a mobile laboratory owned by the Division of Public Health. State records indicate that in 2001, the mobile mammography unit stopped at the Baylor prison three times -- Jan. 24, Feb. 20 and Oct. 19, the day Wall finally received the mammogram ordered by a nurse five months earlier. Fields would not comment on why it took so long. 'A fairly aggressive tumor" By the time Wall's test results were returned, and a diagnosis of cancer was determined to be likely, it was too late to save Wall's breast, says Dr. Irving M. Berkowitz. "It was a fairly aggressive tumor." The delay was inexcusable, said Berkowitz, Wall's oncologist. "That's wrong. That's bad medicine. No matter who it is, whether the person is 25 or 75, that's a little long." After weeks of requests from The News Journal to comment on Wall's care, Department of Correction spokeswoman Beth Welch said late Friday the prison is reviewing the case. "The care received by Miss Wall has raised some questions," Welch wrote in an e-mail. "We are discussing this issue with CMS." Treatment delays similar to Wall's have plagued Delaware's prison health care system over at least the past five years, according to inmates, civil rights advocates and a growing number of Delaware lawmakers. One of the key issues for lawmakers has been a $25.9 million no-bid contract awarded in July to CMS, the St. Louis-based company that held the prison's health care contract from 2000-2002, the period of Wall's incarceration and treatment. Corrections Commissioner Stan Taylor negotiated the current contract with CMS outside of the normally required competitive bid process and contract review, citing a national accreditation team report on "problems with medical administration and clinical practice" at First Correction Medical (FCM), a Tucson, Ariz.-based company that provided inmate care in Delaware from 2002-2005. Before Taylor brought CMS back to Delaware to replace FCM, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner approved the no-bid contract. Questions surrounding the contract, as well as reports of misdiagnosed tumors, Legionnaire's disease, high rates of inmate deaths due to AIDS and suicide and the unchecked spread of flesh-eating bacteria in Delaware prisons, convinced the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to launch an ongoing inquiry into the state's prison system. Six days before Christmas 2001, Wall -- destitute and in need of thousands of dollars of life-saving procedures -- was released from prison, put on a bus to Wilmington and ordered into home confinement. She moved in with friends. "I feel like my life was put in jeopardy," said Wall. "I did something wrong and should be punished. But I shouldn't have to pay with my life." On her first day out of prison in 2001, Wall contacted the American Cancer Society. She also wrote a will, believing she was going to die. The Cancer Society directed her to a Wilmington physician, Dr. Christopher J. Whitney. During an early examination, Whitney discovered portions of the tumor remained, a common complication. A second surgical procedure also failed to eliminate the tumor. A mastectomy was scheduled. On Feb. 5, 2002, Wall's right breast was removed during an operation that combined a mastectomy with reconstruction. Tissue from Wall's lower abdomen was used to form a new breast in a procedure called a TRAM flap, or transverse rectus abdominis muscle reconstruction. Today, Wall visits the doctor every three months to check for a relapse. So far, the cancer has not returned.

November 3, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
In a two-hour meeting Wednesday with the House Democratic Caucus, Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor said he had solutions to improve inmate health care in the state's prisons. Those solutions include seeking an additional $150,000 for contract medical consultants, two more full-time medical employees and a peer review by the Department of Public Health of 50 to 100 cases a year. Taylor answered questions about prison health care from the 15-member caucus for nearly two hours behind closed doors. He explained how St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services was awarded a $25.9 million contract to replace First Correctional Medical of Tucson, Ariz., without the need for a competitive bidding process. According to the presentation, First Correctional Medical was awarded the Department of Correction contract in June 2002, but two years later, the prison's Medical Review Committee identified "problems with First Correctional Medical's performance." The Department of Correction asked its medical accreditation firm to audit First Correctional Medical's performance from December 2004 to January 2005. According to documents Taylor provided to the caucus, the audit showed "several problems with medical administration and clinical practices including record keeping, utilization management, medical history and sick call follow-up." The News Journal submitted a request under Delaware's Freedom of Information Act for this audit, but Attorney General M. Jane Brady denied the newspaper's request. Prompted in part by the newspaper's series, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a preliminary inquiry into the Department of Correction's management and inmate health care. Taylor was accompanied by Mark Brainard, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's chief of staff, and Robert Byrd of Wood-Byrd Government Relations, a Wilmington lobbyist firm. Bird said his firm was hired by Correctional Medical Services. Wood-Byrd has also lobbied for The News Journal.

October 30, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
A former drug and alcohol counselor who worked for Correctional Medical Services at Gander Hill prison claims company officials ordered her to falsify documents so state inspectors would not pull the company's license to run a prison treatment program. Denise Rodriguez, who worked for Correctional Medical Services at the prison's drug and alcohol treatment program from 1999 to 2002, said she would have been fired if she refused orders to fabricate entries contained in inmate files. "I was told to do progress notes on people who were not my clients," said Rodriguez, now a substance abuse counselor at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington. "I told them I didn't want to falsify the charts." The order, she said, came from a supervisor at CMS, one of the largest correctional health care companies in the country. "I received a chart that wasn't touched for four months," Rodriguez said. "I was told to 'catch the chart up' using previous statements from the client." If an inmate had admitted a cocaine addiction, for example, Rodriguez said she was told to write that the client was making progress overcoming the problem -- without ever talking to the inmate about the addiction. Other documents were back-dated or altered with correction fluid, she claims. Rodriguez, a 37-year-old mother of three, said she decided to talk about her work at Gander Hill after reading a series of News Journal stories detailing problems with the delivery of health care to inmates in Delaware. The St. Louis-based CMS no longer runs the drug and alcohol program, called Key, but last July received a $25.9 million no-bid contract to provide health care for the more than 6,600 inmates in Delaware's prison system. Lucian Gambino, Rodriguez's former supervisor, said when he worked in the prison he was aware counselors were updating records at a furious pace and that other supervisors ordered the changes. Gambino worked in the Key program from December 2001 to December 2002. "I knew our people were trying to update records that were very delinquent, that had not gotten through the previous state licensure, or for some reason were just not completed at all," Gambino said. "The pressure on all of us was really great. We had lots of catch-up work to do. We had work that had not been done by folks from previous years." Gambino, however, said he never personally ordered anyone to do anything wrong. He, too, was acting under orders from the same CMS official named by Rodriguez, he said. When contacted by The News Journal, that official declined to comment. CMS administered the Key program from 1987 through June 2002 under a contract, worth as much as $1.6 million annually, that required a valid state license. If Delaware regulators uncovered falsified information, the contract would have been at risk. Rodriguez said she never received personal security or self-defense training. Despite the rigors of the treatment program, inmates with AIDS and other medical problems were forced to participate. "The AIDS patients had it the worst," Rodriguez said. "There were times they couldn't get out of bed, and the guards wouldn't let them go to medical. The guards made the decisions about who was sick. They decided who went to medical." "We were told to change the files when the inspectors were coming, or if we even thought they were coming," Rodriguez said. Reports over a period of five years, obtained by The News Journal, demonstrate a recurrence of either conflicting or missing information in patient charts. A sampling of the problems includes: oOn June 15, 1999: "The progress notes often did not include the actual date services were provided or the length of time the group was held. Notes frequently included non-clinical jargon, i.e. 'Client appears plugged into the process.' and anticipated treatment that is expected, i.e. 'I will continue to work with this client on his problems.'" oOn Nov. 28, 2000: "In one chart the notes were conflicting. The assessment section of the progress note summarized self disclosure statements made by the client, but the plan section of the same note stated that the client was not sharing and unwilling to do so. In one chart there were four weeks of progress notes that were blank except for dates that had been written at the top." oOn Jan. 25, 2001: "In ten charts the progress notes did not contain facts, impressions and anticipated treatment and at times reflected a lack of clinical knowledge and experience. For example, one note indicated, 'Being that I just started the caseload with this client I will need more time because I believe that he is mental.'" oOn Nov. 12, 2001: "In thirty charts (of the 33 examined) the progress notes did not reflect the progress being made in meeting current treatment plan goals." oOn Feb. 22, 2002: "In one chart the entire note for one week of services, over 13.5 hours of treatment, stated, 'Client attended participated in staff seminars and attended and participated in Encounter group to confront and address negative behavior and attitudes.'" oOn March 9, 2004: "In 21 charts (of 22 examined) progress notes were missing."

October 22, 2005 Delaware State News
The Medical Society of Delaware on Saturday urged lawmakers to create a prison health care oversight committee and implement mandatory HIV and hepatitis C testing for inmates. The medical society's voting body, the House of Delegates, approved the two prison health resolutions unanimously at the society's annual meeting, which about 240 physicians attended. Delaware's prison health care system has come under fire of late, with accusations of inadequate care prompting an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. The St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services has a contract with the state to provide health care to inmates. Delaware physicians currently serve in an advisory capacity, but Dr. James P. Marvel Jr., president of the medical society and an orthopedic surgeon in Lewes, said they need actual authority to oversee the care provided behind bars. Physicians on the society's Prison Health Committee are responsible for reviewing the medical records of inmates who have died while incarcerated, Dr. Marvel said. "We're supposed to review the deaths. But we often don't have all the records available to us. "We're sort of working with one hand tied behind our back." The resolution calls for an independent oversight committee authorized to review the quality of health care services. The committee would consist of doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, lawyers, pharmacists, members of the Delaware Center for Justice, and representatives from the prison care provider, according to the resolution. Dr. Joseph F. Hacker III, chairman of the society's legislative committee and an upstate gastroenterologist, said the oversight body should report to the legislature, rather than the governor.

October 23, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
Democratic lawmakers want Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor to answer lingering questions about health care in his prisons. In a letter sent Thursday to Taylor -- signed by 16 senators and representatives -- the lawmakers requested both answers and a personal briefing by the commissioner "as soon as you are able to gather this information." "It is not intended as criticism of the administration," said Sen. Patricia M. Blevins, D-Elsmere, who signed the letter. "At this point, we are seeking information on policy and procedure." Attached to the letter were 21 questions, including what criteria are used to approve or deny an inmate's request for health care and policies regarding HIV testing and treatment. They also want to know what continuing medical responsibility the Department of Correction takes after a prisoner is released. The letter was sent after a series of News Journal articles highlighting AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides over the past four years; a no-bid $25.9 million contract awarded this year to St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services to manage health care in the state's prisons; and allegations by inmates of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis.

October 21, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
The Department of Correction's former medical provider owes nearly $1 million to St. Francis Hospital and late last month other state health care providers were boycotting the department's current provider because of past-due bills, according to documents obtained by The News Journal. The unpaid medical expenses were run up by First Correctional Medical of Arizona, which held the contract to provide inmate health care in Delaware prisons from 2002 until July. The firm's owner and founder, Dr. Tammy Kastre, did not return calls for comment. Delaware taxpayers may be asked to pay the prison's delinquent bills, state Auditor R. Thomas Wagner Jr. said. "The fact that the government is stiffing the public bothers me greatly," said Wagner, who is considering an audit of medical spending by the DOC. The $1 million owed to Wilmington's St. Francis was disclosed in the minutes of the DOC's Medical Review Committee, which is composed of correction officials and private medical providers. According to the minutes, CMS regional manager Mike Hooper told members of the committee the company is having difficulty contracting "with a number of providers in the community ... [and would] provide an updated list of vendors refusing to sign with CMS due to FCM."

October 5, 2005 Delaware State News
The U.S. Department of Justice will review claims that the state Department of Correction has exhibited a pattern of providing inadequate medical care to inmates. U.S. Attorney for Delaware Colm F. Connolly said Wednesday that the justice department's Civil Rights Division has opened a preliminary inquiry into the allegations. Mr. Connolly said the division would collect information and "see if it warrants a full-blown investigation." The inquiry, Mr. Connolly said, stems from a series of articles in a Wilmington newspaper, which he forwarded to the Civil Rights Division in Washington. Articles in The News Journal highlighted inmate suicides and AIDS-related deaths over the last four years, allegations by inmates of poor medical treatment and a no-bid $25.9 million contract awarded this year to St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services to provide medical care to inmates.

October 5, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a "formal inquiry" into medical care and other systemic issues inside Delaware prisons, U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly said Tuesday. A formal inquiry is a precursor to an investigation by the Justice Department. During an inquiry, the Civil Rights Division reviews allegations to determine merit. Depending on the findings, a formal investigation can be launched. The newspaper's six-month investigation highlighted AIDS-related inmate deaths and suicides over the past four years; allegations by inmates of poor medical treatment for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis; and a no-bid $25.9 million contract awarded this year to St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services to manage health care in the state's prisons. Susie Wilson, whose son Jermaine died in a Smyrna prison, said a federal investigation is needed because the state is not capable of impartially investigating itself. "I believe it will make the [Minner] administration shape up or ship out," Wilson said. Wilson's son was found Feb. 18 hanging from a bedsheet in the Delaware Correctional Center eight days after court documents indicate he was supposed to have been released. Most inquiries focus on medical care. However, complaints about excessive force, mental health care, safety, AIDS care and screening, environmental health and safety, sanitation and food service also are covered. When problems are found, the Justice Department can sue the prison in federal court for relief. The Special Litigation Section, the arm of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division responsible for enforcing CRIPA, has never lost a case.

October 4, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
A private medical company running health care in Delaware's prisons has settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Anthony Pierce, a 21-year-old inmate known by cellmates as "the brother with two heads." Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Pierce was serving 14 months for a parole violation stemming from a burglary charge when a small lump appeared on the back of his head. At the time, a prison doctor employed by St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services said the marble-size lump was most likely a cyst or an ingrown hair. The tumor kept growing, though, and on March 22, 2002, Pierce died from a "brain tumor, due to osteosarcoma of the skull," according to an autopsy report. On behalf of Pierce's estate and his daughter Sardia, Dover attorney Steve Hampton filed suit against CMS on Sept. 29, 2004. The lawsuit had been scheduled for a jury trial next month. Hampton said Monday the case was "resolved to the satisfaction of all parties." Earlier this year, Delaware Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor awarded CMS a no-bid $25.9 million contract to replace outgoing prison medical contractor First Correctional Medical of Tucson, Ariz. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner approved the deal, although she called the CMS deal an extension of the old contract. Pierce's death was never reported to the public or to federal prison regulators by the Department of Correction because he was released to his family before brain cancer killed him.

September 30, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
A day after four Delaware lawmakers called for independent investigations of medical care in the state's prisons, Department of Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor admitted there were problems and promised to cooperate with any inquiry. "I am not saying that nothing is wrong," said Taylor, who met with some of Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's senior staff Thursday. "We take our responsibility seriously." Minner declined to specifically address a series of News Journal articles published this week that examine the state's AIDS-related inmate death rates -- the highest in the nation in 2001 and 2003; an inmate suicide rate in 2000 and 2001 that was twice the national average; reports of undiagnosed flesh-eating bacteria, poorly treated cancer, hepatitis, meningitis and pneumonia; and a no-bid $25.9 million contract awarded this year to St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services to manage health care in the state's prisons. Outrage about the stories spread Thursday from Delaware's capital to community leaders. The Rev. Christopher Bullock of Wilmington's Canaan Baptist church said his congregation and other clergy plan to march outside the governor's mansion Monday, calling their protest the "March for Justice and Prison Reform in Delaware." "I'm doing this because it's a moral outrage that the Delaware prison system is sick, in need of healing and repentance," Bullock said. "And I'm concerned about the reputation of the state as it relates to how we treat these people." Sen. Robert L. Venables, D-Laurel, said the images of inmate mistreatment were hard to ignore. There have been similar problems with contract medical services in other state prison systems, Venables said. "I'd like to know how much those companies are making this year," he said. "I'd like to know how well the shareholders are sleeping, if they know what's being done to save money." Calling for investigations of prison medical care are Smith, Rep. Hazel D. Plant, D-Wilmington Central, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, and Sen. Charles L. Copeland, R-West Farms. U.S. Attorney for Delaware Colm F. Connolly said he has forwarded allegations of inmate abuse to the U.S. Department of Justice to review. Sen. James T. Vaughn, D-Clayton, is comparing contracts Maryland and Delaware have with Correctional Medical Services. Forming an independent committee to examine prison health care may be the smartest option, said Delaware Public Defender Larry Sullivan. He said the panel should include doctors and medical malpractice lawyers so the consequences of this kind of treatment are stated as strongly as possible in any report. "I believe that some of the decision makers may have no idea as to the extent of liability exposure the state may have, if this kind of practice is permitted to continue," Sullivan said. "Unless the possible and probable consequences of all of these events are fully understood, there may be an inclination on the part of some decision makers to remedy this 'on the cheap.' " During its six-month investigation of prison medical care, The News Journal submitted a Freedom of Information request to Taylor for the most recent audit report by the commission, which was completed in February. The request was refused. Taylor and Minner have pointed out that prison medical care is scrutinized by the Medical Society of Delaware. But Dr. James Marvel, president of the Medical Society of Delaware, said the state's account of his group's prison work may be overblown. "We don't have any plans to do anything," Marvel said. "We do not have an investigative body. Our prison health committee is simply advisory.

September 25, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
Some inmate deaths are harder than others for Drewry Fennell to discuss. Charles Blake's is the worst. Blake pleaded guilty in November 2000 to possessing cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school. Three years later, while at the Delaware Correctional Center in Smyrna, Blake became sick. "He had an operation on a kidney. They put a stent in the kidney to hold the ureter open. He was released back to the prison," said Fennell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware. "He started calling his mom. He was in intense pain. He later passed the stent through his penis and died ... from that and other complications. They were treating him with an analgesic -- Motrin. They wouldn't send him back to the doctor. He lingered for weeks in the infirmary, before they sent him to the hospital." Blake died Sept. 7, 2003, at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington. He was 36. Some seriously ill inmates are granted a medical discharge by the Delaware Department of Correction, a move that can shift the cost of mounting hospital bills to family members or Medicaid. In its former contract with First Correctional Medical (FCM), the state agreed to provide Medicaid to inmates who are hospitalized for more than 24 hours. But when this happened, the state was allowed to reduce its monthly payment to the medical vendor, so the state's overall expense remained the same. Shortly before her son died, Francine Anderson said, a friendly guard told her prison officials wanted to release Darnell to the family so his death would go unreported to federal prison regulators -- and so the family would be responsible for some of the medical bills. Anderson considered taking her son home from St. Francis Hospital, in Wilmington, but he died before she could arrange it. After an inmate dies, the medical vendors conduct an internal "peer review" led by the contract medical director -- not by an independent board. Occasionally, the vendor will bring in outside physicians to look at the patient's medical records, Taylor said. Under Delaware law, the entire process is confidential. Not even the inmate's family can see the findings. When the peer review is completed, the results stay with the medical vendor. It's not known what, if anything, the vendor does with the findings. When an inmate is autopsied, which happens in roughly 15 percent of prison deaths, the medical examiner's office does not send the report to Taylor or the warden. The autopsy reports go straight to the medical vendor.

September 25, 2005 Wilmington News Journal
Pierce was serving 14 months for a parole violation stemming from a burglary charge at the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown when a small lump appeared on the back of his head. It was January 2001 and a prison doctor employed by a private medical contractor said the marble-size lump was most likely a cyst or an ingrown hair. Seven months later, when the growth had become like a second head, Delaware's contract prison medical director, Dr. Keith Ivens of Correctional Medical Services, stabbed the bulging tumor five times with an 18-gauge needle, withdrawing a bloody fluid. Rather than keeping the sample for analysis, Ivens emptied the syringe into a trash can, according to Michelle Thomas, a former prison counselor who was holding Pierce's hand during the examination. The News Journal gained access to Pierce's medical file through his family, and there was no record of a biopsy performed before cancer ate into the 21-year-old's skull. Asked about the case in a telephone interview, Ivens said, "I'm trying to remember who Anthony Pierce is." He declined to comment further. Near the end of Pierce's life, the tumor stretched the skin around his face, pulling his right eye closed, causing muscle spasms and crippling pain. The medical staff still ordered no tests or treatments, claims a lawsuit that Pierce's family filed against Ivens, CMS and the state of Delaware. On March 22, 2002, Pierce died from a "brain tumor, due to osteosarcoma of the skull," an autopsy report stated. A six-month investigation by The News Journal shows that the lack of care suffered by Pierce is all too common inside Delaware prisons. AIDS, hepatitis, flesh-eating bacteria and other communicable diseases percolate behind the wire. Inmates in their 20s and 30s die from diseases that people outside prison routinely survive. Like other states, Delaware has turned over health care inside its prisons to private companies specializing in inmate medical care. There are two significant differences, however: •Whether they have been convicted or are awaiting trial, inmates in Delaware depend on the state for medical care. In states with county and city jails, care in smaller facilities usually is provided through a local hospital or physicians' group. •National experts say most states employ a medically trained staff to monitor the medical vendors. Delaware does not. Here, the medical vendors oversee death investigations, regulate access to care, and control any complaints that arise over their work. Dr. Robert Cohen, an expert in prison health care whom state and federal courts have appointed to monitor prisons in five states, said all states are constitutionally required to provide adequate medical care for inmates. If Delaware "outsources" that responsibility, it is still obligated to monitor its medical vendors, Cohen said. That doesn't happen. The Medical Society of Delaware, a physicians group, is occasionally called -- at the warden's discretion -- to investigate an inmate death. Yet its investigation is led by the vendor's medical director. And the society's report is confidential under Delaware law; it remains in the custody of the medical vendor. "It's surprising to me that Delaware just lets the vendor do it by themselves," Cohen said. Under the current $25.9 million annual contract with Correctional Medical Services, state prison officials are indemnified against wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuits. If an inmate or survivor sues the state, the medical vendor pays the state's attorney fees and any settlement. However, Cohen said, the indemnification will not protect the state from federal civil rights lawsuits filed by inmates or their survivors. "It's going to cost the state a lot of money in the long run," Cohen said. Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis held Delaware's $12.45 million annual contract from 2000 to 2002, when it asked to be released from its obligations. At that point, Taylor accepted a bid from First Correctional Medical, a Tucson, Ariz., firm, for a $16.44 million annual contract. FCM left the state in July after explaining that it wanted to be released from its contract. FCM's owner and founder, Dr. Tammy Kastre, did not return numerous calls for comment. Taylor would not discuss reasons for the departure, but added that FCM owes thousands of dollars in unpaid bills to private clinics, hospitals and physicians. The exact amount is in dispute. Taylor said he was forced to move fast to find a replacement. He turned to a company he knew well: CMS, the same company that cared for Anthony Pierce while his tumor grew to the size of a grapefruit. Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner said the contract awarded to CMS was not a "no-bid" contract, as described by Taylor. She argued that, even though CMS asked to be released from its contract in 2002, forcing the state to hire another vendor, CMS' return to Delaware came by piggy-backing on the contract of the vendor it replaced, FCM. It's unclear how the "extension" resulted in an annual price hike of $9.5 million. Taylor declined to answer that question. CMS provides medical care for some 285,000 inmates in more than 360 prisons in 25 states. It is named in many lawsuits filed in state and federal courts across the country, although the exact number of suits filed against the 25-year-old St. Louis firm is difficult to obtain. There have been 53 lawsuits filed in Wilmington's U.S. District Court against CMS since 2000. Twelve are still active. Former CMS medical director Ivens, has been sued 15 times in U.S. District Court by Delaware inmates or their families. Each of the federal lawsuits against Ivens has been dismissed, but at least two state Superior Court court cases naming Ivens as a defendant remain active. Michelle Thomas, who worked for Spectrum, a CMS subsidiary that provided substance-abuse treatment to inmates, helped establish the treatment program that inmate Pierce attended before he contracted the cancerous growth on his head. "They're the scum of the earth," Thomas said of her former employer. She quit CMS shortly after Pierce died. Thomas said she watched in horror as Pierce's tumor grew. Thomas said she repeatedly questioned the medical staff about the lack of treatment, but she never got an answer. Yet Dr. Sitta Alie, the former medical director for FCM, who, like many of its employees, was hired by CMS when it took control of Delaware institutions in July, said this about the two companies: "They're both awful." Alie was an employee of FCM when interviewed by the newspaper. Contacted again after CMS took control, she declined to comment further. Before 1978, Delaware's Department of Correction had a long tradition of hiring its own doctors and nurses, or guards who were former military medics, to provide health care for adult and juvenile offenders. But two years after the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that inmates deserve health care equivalent to community standards, Delaware signed a contract with Sacred Heart Hospital of Chester, Pa., to provide care for state prisoners. In 1981, then Correction Commissioner John L. Sullivan hired Claymont-based Prison Health Services, following a national trend of states privatizing prison medical services. The new company was founded by Delaware nurse Doyle H. Moore, who had been Sacred Heart's prison health care program coordinator. A year later, PHS ended its 23-month contract, citing a spike in incarceration rates. Eleven private prison companies bid for the open contract. Decisions about performing medical tests or procedures on inmates in Delaware are not made here, but by company executives at the corporate offices. When an inmate dies in Delaware, the autopsy -- if there is one -- and other investigative reports go to the vendor, not to any state official. And Taylor does not review inmate autopsies.

Douglas County Correctional Center, Douglas County, Nebraska
March 20, 2006 KETV
A Douglas County correctional employee has filed a formal complaint against a supervisor alleging that the boss pressures employees into having home parties to sell sex toys. The formal complaint comes from a medical clerk at the Douglas County Correctional Center. She alleges sexual harassment and a hostile work environment caused by some managers in her department. Specifically, the medical clerk alleges that one of the supervisors "solicits and coerces staff into attending and hosting parties that sell sex toys." Attached to her complaint is a product preview catalog with a Web site, which describes the so-called "slumber parties" and the sex toys available. The clerk addressed her complaint to Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, of St. Louis. That is the company contracted by Douglas County to provide medical care at the DCCC. Douglas County Corrections director Robert Patton said that whether it's sex toys or Girl Scout cookies, if a boss pressures an employee to buy or sell any item, it's inappropriate. Patton said he doesn't have direct control over the investigation because medical employees are contracted. Patton said he has discussed the matter with CNS of St. Louis. He said he'll stay apprised of the investigation and possible disciplinary actions. Calls to Correctional Medical Services were not returned.

Duval County Jail, Jacksonville, Florida
August 22, 2007 First Coast News
First Coast News has obtained statements from medical staff in charge of the care of John Laughon while at the Duval County jail. Laughon is the former inmate allegedly beaten by police while having a seizure. Laughon is now considered to be in a persistent vegetative state. First Coast News has obtained the deposition of Dr. Carey Goodman, an employee of Correctional Medical Services. CMS was the agency contracted out for medical care at the jail. Goodman was the medical director for CMS in the Duval County jail at the time Laughon was there. Laughon's attorneys say numerous problems were noted in jail of Laughon having repeated seizures and yet Dr. Goodman says he never saw the patient on his own. Attorneys for Laughon asked Goodman, "Did you ask to see him?" Goodman replied, "No." Goodman was then asked why not. He answered, "I have a lot of other things to do, you know." Goodman says patients with problems are typically referred to him and Laughon was not. He also says he did sign an order from a nurse practitioner to increase a medication Laughon was taking. Lawyers say the dosage was above the normal recommended dosage level. "Well, I am not going to say I approved it or I disapproved it, but I did have to co-sign it," says Goodman. Lawyers then asked him that knowing what he knows now, was it the right thing to do. "If I had seen him, I wouldn't have. But I didn't see him. She saw him. I mean, I don't know what her thinking was. but I probably would not have done that." When asked why not, Goodman replied, "Again, the man has refractory epilepsy. And to keep giving him more and more medication I don't think is going to be that helpful for him." Lawyers then asked what would be helpful at that point. "I don't know. He might need a magnet or something. I don't know." Laughon's attorneys call it a medical care breakdown that happened on a number of levels. "He's in charge for care for all these inmates and yet he doesn't see patient who is having seizures and does not order prescription for a patient who need medication and says maybe a magnet would have helped. It's tragic," says Laugon's attorney, Bob Spohrer. Spohrer believes if Laughon had received the proper medication and medical care he would not be in the state he is in today.

August 2, 2006 Florida Times-Union
The mother of a Duval County jail inmate hospitalized in a persistent vegetative state after an altercation with corrections officers has filed a civil rights and medical malpractice lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the city, the jail's subcontracted health provider and some of their employees. The suit says John Laughon, now 39, repeatedly complained while in jail for marijuana possession that he was deprived of necessary seizure medicine. It further accuses correctional officers of conspiring to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on Laughon by responding to his violent seizures with physical beatings, then failing to provide timely medical care that could have prevented his vegetative state. I'm hoping to find out who killed my son," said Laughon's mother, Ginger Laughon, in a phone interview. "For them to be punished and never be allowed to do this to another person again. Lawyer Sean Cronin announced Wednesday that the suit had been filed after a year of investigation into what happened Feb. 22, 2005. He provided a report from the trauma wing of Shands Jacksonville that said Laughon had been injured by assault. The same report says Laughon was found pulseless, cold to the touch and not breathing by a nurse in the inmate holding area. Police said Laughon had broken out of a restraint chair with "superhuman strength" and attacked corrections officers without showing signs of tiring. "He had a seizure disorder known to them, and he was not getting those medications properly," Cronin said. "He tells them he's having seizures, and they're saying he's not. Rather than being given medication, he was misconstrued as violent, combative, noncompliant." Cronin said Laughon had nine broken ribs on both sides of his body, brain hemorrhaging and blood in his lungs, none of which were consistent with self-inflicted injuries. Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical Services, said the company could not comment because it had not seen the suit. "We can tell you that the facility is accredited for its health-care operations by nationally recognized accrediting organizations," he said. "In addition, health-care staff at the facility follow well-established procedures for evaluating each patient's health-care needs."

East Jersey Prison, Rahway, New Jersey
February 22, 2009 Courier News
A state appeals court reinstated a lawsuit filed by a prisoner at East Jersey State Prison in which he contends that the company that provided medical treatment to inmates delayed giving him necessary back surgery. Cecil Fearon, 65, who is serving a 50-year sentence for drug trafficking, eventually underwent the surgery to fuse vertebrae, but the delay hurt his chances of a full recovery, he contends. Named as defendants are Correctional Medical Services and doctors involved in Fearon's case or connected to the company, Paul Talbot, Arlene Tinker, Manar Hanna, Lawrence Donkor, Richard Hellander and Ahab Gabriel. A call placed to the attorney for the defendants was returned by a Correctional Medical Services spokeswoman who declined comment, citing the ongoing litigation. A trial judge threw out Fearon's lawsuit, saying his medical negligence claims were outside the statute of limitations. The three-judge panel, which did not identify the trial judge in its opinion, ruled that the judge erred in dismissing Fearon's case. According to the opinion, Fearon received an MRI of his spine in August 2003 and March 2004 after complaints of difficulty walking and pain in his back. A doctor cleared him for surgery, “if approved,” according to the opinion. In June 2004, a neurological surgeon examined Fearon and recommended back surgery. The doctor, Anthony Churico, recommended it again in April 2005. It was not scheduled and performed until January 2006. “According to Dr. Churico, this delay in performing the surgery caused plaintiff's condition to worsen and compromised the results of the surgery,” the appeals panel wrote in its opinion. Fearon filed suit in May 2006. The state Department of Corrections replaced Correctional Medical Services in September with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Elkhart County Jail, Elkhart, Indiana
June 24, 2009 The Goshen News
It was good news all around this week for the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and other named defendants connected to a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of deceased county inmate Nicholas Rice. According to Nathaniel Jordan, an attorney at Yoder Ainlay Ulmer & Buckingham, Goshen, Judge Robert Miller of the Federal District Court in South Bend recently issued a decision in favor of the Elkhart County Sheriff and Sheriff’s Department officers named in the case of Estate of Nicholas Rice v. Correctional Medical Services, et al. “The decision also finds in favor of the other remaining defendants in the case, most of which, like Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, Inc., are located in Elkhart County,” Jordan said. “Certain defendants, such as Elkhart County, had been dismissed previously in this case.”

October 10, 2006  South Bend Tribune
The attorney for a Michiana family whose 22-year-old son reportedly starved to death while inside the Elkhart County Jail has filed a $24 million lawsuit against the county. Nicholas Rice was detained inside the jail for more than a year on an attempted bank robbery charge while doctors and court officials disputed whether he was competent to stand trial. The diagnosed schizophrenic inmate was found dead in his cell Dec. 18, 2004. Autopsy reports later listed malnourishment and dehydration as factors in Rice's death. The Tribune first reported on Nicholas Rice's case -- "Out of Sight: Mental illness and the criminal justice system" -- in a six-day series in February. Niles-based attorney Sean Drew filed the suit last week, alleging that Rice was "denied the ultimate liberty interest of life guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment" and "subjected to inhumane treatment amounting to torture and as a result died." Elkhart County sheriff officials did not return messages Friday and Monday seeking comment. A secretary referred all questions Monday to Elkhart County attorney Michael DeBoni. He had not returned a message or e-mail by late Monday. The negligence suit filed in federal court names multiple defendants, including the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, Oaklawn -- a Goshen mental health facility -- and Correctional Medical Services, a private company that provides medical services to the jail.

El Paso County, Colorado
Last week, El Paso County commissioners dumped the company that has, for the past 13 years, provided medical and mental health services to the county's two jails. You'll recall that the Criminal Justice Center and downtown's overcrowded Metro facility carry the dubious distinction of logging nine inmate deaths since 1998. In November, the county's longtime jailhouse health provider, St. Louis based Correctional Medical Services (CMS), submitted a bid to continue its contract. The upshot is that the commissioners accepted a $1.9 million low bid from Englewood, Colo.based Correctional Health Care Management to provide medical services to the jails. During the commissioners meeting, both the elected officials and county staff only delicately approached the, uh, unfortunate problems of the past, which have resulted in wrongful death lawsuits against the county and tax-paid settlements to the families of the dead inmates. (CSIndy: Public Eye, February 14, 2002)

Fayette County Jail, Lexington, Kentucky
August 2, 2011 Herald-Leader
Nineteen hours before he was found with no pulse in a cell at the Fayette County Detention Center in June, Anthony Dwayne Davis requested to go to the jail's medical unit and was denied, jail records show. The Herald-Leader has obtained the information under the Kentucky Open Records Law as police continue to investigate Davis' death. A nurse and a mental health specialist evaluated Davis at 1:41 a.m. June 25, and the mental health specialist told a correction's officer that Davis, 26, was probably "manipulating the system," according to the records. Instead of being placed in the medical unit, Davis was moved from the general population to a segregated unit for refusing to follow directions. It would be nearly 17 hours, at 6:30 p.m., before Davis was moved to the medical unit and assessed again by a nurse. Two hours after arriving at the medical unit, Davis was found without a pulse. At that point, Davis was rushed to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the records. Fayette County Deputy Coroner Shea Willis said Monday that she is awaiting results from autopsy reports before releasing a cause of death. Urban County Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason said Monday that the case remains under review, but "we haven't found any fault with anybody at the jail." "We are not anticipating any kind of reprimands or any kind of discipline. My review of it looks like the jail personnel and medical personnel did what they were supposed to do," Mason said. "This is a very complex medical situation in terms of, this guy had a very long history." Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Gray, said Monday that a police investigation into the case is continuing and that detectives said they've found no signs of foul play. "Police are waiting for the medical examiner's report in this investigation," Straub said. Officials at Corizon, the company that contracts with the jail to provide medical services, did not return a phone call seeking comment on Monday.

March 30, 2011 AP
Two nurses who were working at the Fayette County jail last year when an inmate died of a pulmonary embolism have been placed on limited/probated status for three years following an investigation by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. Board Executive Director Charlotte Beason says the board entered into an agreed order with licensed practical nurses Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis on Monday. Beason says the order suspended the women's licenses for three years, but the suspensions were stayed. Beason says if they work as nurses, Hodge and Travis will be under rigid supervision by their employer and monitored by the board. At the time of the death, Hodge and Travis were employed by Correctional Medical Services Inc., which contracts with the jail for medical services. Their status with the company could not be determined Wednesday. CMS spokesman Ken Fields said in an email to The Associated Press the company could not provide information regarding specific personnel matters. "All staff providing health care at the corrections facility are appropriately licensed to provide healthcare services," he wrote. The case stems from the death of 54-year-old Dean Ferguson of Lexington, who died last year after complaining of leg pain and shortness of breath.

October 2, 2010 Lexington Herald-Leader
Jonathan Bowen's tenure as Fayette County jail medical director ended two days after the state nursing board subpoenaed the jail for information regarding an inmate's death, according to e-mail between jail officials obtained through an open-records request. Officials have not given a reason for Bowen's departure last month from his job as a health service administrator. According to an e-mail sent to jail personnel from Assistant Jail Director Edye Dabney, Bowen was no longer employed as of Aug. 19. For more than a week, officials have declined to explain why the Fayette County Detention Center's medical administrator is no longer employed at the facility. Jail spokeswoman Jennifer Taylor said she could not say whether health service administrator Jonathan Bowen resigned or was fired. His employment ended the week of Aug. 16, Taylor said. The jail contracts with a private company, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., for inmate medical care, she said. Taylor said any further comment would come from that company. The Kentucky Board of Nursing is investigating two nurses at the Fayette County jail who denied medical assessment to an inmate who later died, according to jail documents. The inmate, Dean Ferguson, 54, of Lexington, died of a pulmonary embolism after complaining of leg pain and shortness of breath all night at the jail. Ferguson's family filed complaints against nurses Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis in August. A Fayette County Detention Center inmate who died while serving a a weekend sentence had been denied medical assessment from jail nurses who said his vitals had been checked already, according to reports and memos obtained from the jail. Dean Ferguson, 54, of Lexington was serving time on weekends after being convicted of driving under the influence. He checked into the jail at 7 p.m. July 9. He was not taken to the hospital for medical problems until after 9 a.m. July 10. He was pronounced dead from a pulmonary embolism at 10:13 a.m. July 10 at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, according to a report from the Fayette County coroner. A sentence of weekends in the Fayette County Detention Center for drunken driving shouldn't carry a death penalty. But that appears to be what happened to a 54-year-old Lexington man who slowly died of a pulmonary embolism while two jail nurses refused to assess his condition, despite his complaints and obvious physical distress. The nurses said he was faking. Bowen was employed by Correctional Medical Services Inc., a company contracted to provide medical services to inmates at the jail. On Aug. 17, the Kentucky Board of Nursing issued a subpoena for "copies of any facility investigation regarding the death of inmate Dean Ferguson on July 10." Ferguson, an inmate serving a weekend sentence for drunk driving and driving without a license, died of a pulmonary embolism after complaining of chest pain, shortness of breath and difficulty walking. Two CMS nurses at the jail, Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis, denied Ferguson medical assessment for around eight hours, saying his vital signs had already been checked and were at normal levels, according to incident reports. Generally speaking, health service administrators such as Bowen "deal with some of the administrative tasks such as staffing or providing care," CMS spokesman Ken Fields has said. Hodge and Travis are still employed at the detention center, jail spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Taylor said Thursday. Bowen could not be reached for comment. Two open records requests to CMS — one for Bowen's personnel file and one for any memos or reports regarding the termination of his employment — were denied because "there is no legitimate public interest in the requested records," according to a statement from Sean Ragland, an attorney for CMS. "It is our position that records which the Herald-Leader seeks contain information of a personal nature and public disclosure of the same would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy," the response said. Employees of CMS are not considered city employees, although the city government pays the organization $223,129 monthly for medical services at the jail. That figure comes from the most recent copy of the CMS contract provided by the jail. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, a company is considered a public agency when it "derives at least twenty-five percent of its funds expended by it in the Commonwealth of Kentucky from state or local authority funds." In his response to records requests, Ragland said that definition was ruled unconstitutional by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge in 2009.

September 4, 2010 Lexington Herald Leader
For more than a week, officials have declined to explain why the Fayette County Detention Center's medical administrator is no longer employed at the facility. Jail spokeswoman Jennifer Taylor said she could not say whether health service administrator Jonathan Bowen resigned or was fired. His employment ended the week of Aug. 16, Taylor said. The jail contracts with a private company, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., for inmate medical care, she said. Taylor said any further comment would come from that company. Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Newberry, said CMS has not given city officials a reason for Bowen's resignation or dismissal. Bowen worked for CMS, not the city. Open records requests sent to the detention center for a jail-maintained personnel file for Bowen and any internal memos regarding his termination of employment were declined because no documents matched that description, according to a letter from James Kammer, assistant jail director. Several more requests were pending Friday. Bowen could not immediately be reached for comment. Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, issued a statement that said it was against company policy to comment on specific personnel matters. Generally speaking, he said, the job of a health service administrator is to "deal with some of the administrative tasks such as staffing or providing care." Fields said CMS regularly evaluates its staff and the needs of inmate patients, many of whom never receive health care until becoming incarcerated. "As part of that, certainly, we always look to see if there are areas where services can be optimized and adjustments made," Fields said. Two CMS employees at the Fayette County jail are the subject of an investigation by the state board of nursing after the death of an inmate, Dean Ferguson. Ferguson's sister Lisa Day filed complaints against nurses Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis after Ferguson died of a pulmonary embolism July 10. The complaints say that during a 12-hour period on jail surveillance video, starting July 9, Ferguson is seen breathing heavily and collapsing. The complaint says "both nurses observed his condition and refused to provide medical care."

September 1, 2010 Lexington Herald-Leader
The Kentucky Board of Nursing is investigating two nurses at the Fayette County jail who denied medical assessment to an inmate who later died, according to jail documents. The inmate, Dean Ferguson, 54, of Lexington, died of a pulmonary embolism after complaining of leg pain and shortness of breath all night at the jail. Ferguson's family filed complaints against nurses Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis in August. The complaints say that during a 12-hour period on jail surveillance video, Dean is seen breathing heavily and collapsing many times. "Both nurses observed his condition and refused to provide medical care," the complaints say. A spokesman for the nursing board said Tuesday that the complaints had been reviewed and would be investigated. Travis could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. Hodge did not return phone messages left with a family member at her home. According to documents obtained from the jail through an open records request, Ferguson's vital signs were normal when he checked in at 9:40 p.m. July 9. When Ferguson collapsed five minutes later, Hodge told a jail lieutenant that "they had just seen him five minutes ago and that they were not going to see him again," records said. At 2:45 a.m. July 10, after Ferguson complained that he was unable to walk, the nurses again advised that Ferguson's "vitals were normal, that he was 'faking' the issues and that they would not be assessing him again." Travis did assess Ferguson at 5:40 a.m. and found "no indication of an acute condition or a change in his current status," records said. At 8:55 a.m., Ferguson was "discovered laboring in his breathing." He was transferred to the medical facility in the jail where another nurse, Pattie Hatton, and guards attempted CPR but were unable to revive him. Ferguson was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:13 a.m. Nathan Goldman, general counsel at the state board of nursing, said that if guilt on the part of the nurses is determined, consequences could range from a reprimand to suspension of their nursing licenses. Goldman said he did not know how long the investigation might take. Meanwhile, the jail's internal investigation into the death has ended after an autopsy attributed the death to natural causes, Sgt. Jennifer Taylor, a jail spokeswoman, said. Todd Henson, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said that the Fayette County jail had reported the death to the department but that investigations into jail deaths are handled by local police. Sherelle Roberts, spokeswoman for the Lexington police department, said police were not investigating the death because it was attributed to natural causes. Nurses Hodge and Travis are employed by Correctional Medical Services Inc., a company that contracts with the jail for medical service. Ken Fields, spokesman for CMS, said: "We are unable to provide the news media with information regarding the care provided to specific patients. On an ongoing basis, we do evaluate the performance of our staff, making adjustments and changes when appropriate." Ferguson was serving a weekend sentence July 9 through 11 after being charged with driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license in May. Ferguson's sister Lisa Day, who filed the complaint, said her brother complained of feeling ill before checking into the jail, but he refused her request to take him to a hospital. Day said her brother insisted that jail personnel would do a full evaluation when he arrived. "He said, 'Believe me, if there's anything wrong, they will get you help,'" she said.

March 29, 2006 Herald-Leader
Lexington jailers, a nurse, police and medics were grossly negligent by denying medical care to a deteriorating Gerald Cornett, who died in August from injuries suffered in jail, a Fayette Circuit Court lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit was filed last week by Cornett's estate, which is administered by his stepfather, Bob Arnold of Lexington. It seeks unspecified punitive damages, medical and funeral expenses, and lost wages. It names as defendants the Urban County Government; Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri firm contracted to provide jail health care; jail director Ron Bishop; a nurse; and detention officers, medics and the police officer who arrested Cornett, who was 45. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants did not provide for Cornett's physical well-being and safety, exercise reasonable care when assessing whether he should go to jail or a hospital, or obtain appropriate medical care. The suit states their actions were intentional and reckless, exceeding standards of decency, morality and constituting "conduct which is utterly intolerable in our civilized society."

June 25 2005 Lexington Herald Leader
The estate of a murder suspect who hanged himself in the Fayette County jail and later died has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.  Dong Zhang, a University of Kentucky doctoral student, suspended himself with a telephone cord on June 22, 2004, hours after he was told he would be extradited to Illinois on murder charges. Zhang was thought to have fatally strangled his former girlfriend Yan Gu in Chicago. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, claims that jailers had known that Zhang was suicidal and were negligent leaving him alone in a recreation room, which had a shower, television and telephone. The suit was filed by Jianquiang Zhang, the administrator of Dong Zhang's estate. The suit lists as defendants the Urban County Government; Ronald Bishop, director of community corrections; the Bluegrass Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board Inc., which operates a mental health unit at the jail; and Correctional Medical Services, Inc., which provided medical services to inmates.

Florida Department of Corrections, Tallahassee, Florida
July 31, 2012 News Service of Florida
A Leon County circuit judge has agreed to hold a hearing next week in the long-running dispute about whether the Florida Department of Corrections will privatize prison health services. Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll has scheduled an August 8 hearing, according to an online court docket. The Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a lawsuit in January challenging a legislative move last year to privatize inmate health services. Carroll early this month declined to rule on the constitutionality of the Legislature’s decision because it was included in budget fine print, known as “proviso” language, which expired at the June 30 end of the fiscal year. The nurses association and AFSCME, a state employees union, asked Carroll for a rehearing. Subsequently, the DOC said it would go ahead with the privatization, regardless of the expiration of the proviso language. The DOC said it had the authority to contract with two private companies under existing state law.

July 26, 2012 Tampa Times
Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, has lodged a formal objection to the Legislature giving final approval to budget transfers that would allow the prison system to privatize health care for 100,000 inmates. Rich wrote a letter (posted below) to Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who chairs the 14-member Legislative Budget Commission. The prison system has asked the LBC to approve a transfer of $58 million between budget categories so the agency can move forward with the privatization and implement it by Jan. 1, 2013. The LBC generally functions as a rubber-stamp for mid-year changes to agencies' budgets, and in the past, an objection from a single lawmaker has carried great weight. The outsourcing of health care in Florida prisons has a checkered history, and this latest venture is highly controversial because it was created under budget proviso language that expired June 30 when the previous fiscal year ended. "But for the proviso, the appropriation would not be made," Rich wrote. "Consequently, I believe the DOC does not have the authority to privatize health services in prisons." Unions representing state workers and nurses in the prison system have threatened to file a new lawsuit seeking to block the project from going forward. Rich's effort to block the privatization comes as the leading vendor, Corizon Health, has agreed to pay a $1.85 million fine to the city of Philadelphia because of irregularities in its handling of a contract in that city's jail system.

July 17, 2012 Tampa Times
The Florida Department of Corrections said Tuesday it will move ahead with plans to privatize all health care for the nation's third-largest prison system, even after a stalemate in court and the expiration of legislative budget language that authorized the sweeping change. Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker issued a late-afternoon statement calling the decision "best for the Department and taxpayers." "This step will allow us to provide the same services we currently have which meet state and federal standards, while saving money for the taxpayers." The action could trigger a new round of litigation by a labor union that represents nurses who work in the system. The Legislature last year ordered the agency to privatize all health care as a money-saving move, by inserting budget language known as proviso and requiring a savings of at least 7 percent over 2010 costs. In April, Tucker announced a decision to tentatively award contracts to Corizon Health in most of the state and Wexford Health Sources in South Florida. Two unions filed a lawsuit. A state judge in Tallahassee did not rule in the case before the fiscal year ended on June 30, and the proposal also required approval by the Legislative Budget Commission, which never took action on it. Florida has more than 100,000 inmates in its prisons. This would be the most extensive single privatization venture ever undertaken by a state prison system in the U.S. Attorneys for the state contend that privatization can be done by the agency without a legislative mandate. "Change isn't easy, and we know sometimes it can be unsettling," Tucker said. "However, the hard work of our employees is greatly appreciated and recognized."

May 25, 2012 The Florida Current
In the coming weeks, Tallahassee judges will hear arguments in two court cases that will test the limits of lawmakers' power to order outsourcing in the state budget. The first of those, which challenges the Department of Corrections' effort to privatize health care in the state's prison system, will come before Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll on Tuesday. In a case that could affect the future of thousands of state worker jobs and almost $300 million in contracts, the Florida Nurses Association is arguing the Legislature did not have the authority to order the department to privatize inmate health care without passing a standalone bill. The lawsuit builds in part on Judge Jackie Fulford's ruling this fall, which blocked the privatization of state prisons in 18 South Florida counties because lawmakers ordered the move in budget language, and Fulford found the procedure conflicted with existing state law. That case will be heard in late June by the 1st District Court of Appeal. The state and the two companies in line to receive health care contracts are arguing the department has the authority to issue the contracts. Court papers filed by Wexford Health Sources say the nurses association is building its arguments on an "erroneous conclusion based on a superficial reading of Judge Fulford's ruling." State law requires prison officials to develop a "business case" that shows the outsourcing will save at least 7 percent, and for the Legislature to provide a specific item in the budget for the private prisons. Those requirements apply specifically to contracts for the "operation and maintenance" of prison facilities and the "supervision of inmates," though, and Wexford says the department has wider latitude when it comes to health care. The state argues in its brief that the department has the authority to sign the health care contracts whether lawmakers order it in budget proviso language or not, and says that unlike the case dealing with South Florida prisons, the department had already developed a thorough business case for health care privatization before the 2011 legislative session. In a brief supporting the nurses association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees argues the state is only authorized to contract specialized services that the department cannot provide on its own, such as substance abuse treatment -- meaning the state would need to change the law to issue contracts for "comprehensive" health care services. Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed Fulford's ruling at the urging of legislative leaders, who have noted that budget proviso language has been used to order the privatization of prison-related services in the past, including in 2000, when lawmakers used proviso to order the department to issue contracts for inmate health care in South Florida, an arrangement that was later abandoned. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has filed a "friend of the court" brief with the appellate court, arguing Fulford's ruling "effectively strips the Legislature of its authority to direct how state funds are to be used to accomplish its goals of privatization," which the chamber contends violates the separation of powers. Stephen Turner, a lawyer for the Police Benevolent Association who is also representing the nurses association, has countered that the constitution requires some budget procedures to be accomplished through general laws. "The purpose for the proviso was to avoid the statutory safeguards, and rush a privatization contract through without fair comparison, careful review, or public scrutiny," he argues.

July 28, 2009 Miami Herald
A state hearing officer has ruled in favor of the Department of Corrections in a controversy involving an $80-million contract to provide mental health to South Florida inmates. Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Hood's 39-page decision concluded that the losing bidder, MHM Correctional Services, failed to prove that the prison system violated the law in awarding a five-year-contract to a rival, Correctional Medical Services. The decision was a setback to MHM and its legal team at Foley & Lardner, led by Chris Kise, a former legal advisor to Gov. Charlie Crist. "I am saddened, as costs will go up and quality of care will go down, but not entirely surprised by the order as the judge does not appear to get it," Kise said in an e-mail message to The News Service of Florida. Kise's administrative challenge included explosive allegations that prison officials negotiated in secret with CMS in violation of the public records laws that his ex-boss, Crist, has championed as governor. "MHM has not met its burden of persuasion in this case," Judge Hood wrote. In addition, she concluded, MHM failed to prove that its proposal met the state's criteria for financial viability (The prison system had rejected MHM's proposal on financial grounds).

June 26, 2009 St Petersburg Times
An ''appalled'' state judge said Thursday that Florida's prison system ''blatantly violated the public trust'' by secretly negotiating with a new firm to provide for inmates' mental health. Leon County Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield said the actions of the Department of Corrections in its secret dealings with Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis were ``at best, offensive, and at worst, illegal.'' But the judge denied the request by MHM Correctional Services for a temporary injunction. MHM wanted to block the award of a five-year contract to CMS through a 120-day purchase order that starts July 1. The judge said MHM still has legal remedies because it has a bid protest pending before a state hearing officer. He added that the public interest would not be served by an injunction because MHM's contract with the prison system expires June 30. To prevent the state from doing business with CMS ''would cause confusion, disorder and produce public injury that outweighs the individual right to the relief sought,'' the judge wrote in a seven-page order. Last February, the state received four proposals for mental health services for 18,000 inmates in the region from Homestead to Fort Pierce. Many of those inmates have serious mental disorders and receive psychotropic drugs. The prison system determined that all four companies failed to meet its criteria, then began secret negotiations with CMS, even though its offer was $5 million higher than MHM's, the judge wrote. Sheffield was particularly critical of a decision by the state to back-date an official document by 13 days that set the CMS purchase order in motion, and then 'engaging in an old-fashioned shell game of calling a short-term contract with the same company as is currently involved in a bid dispute a `purchase order.' '' MHM attorney Chris Kise, a former legal advisor to Gov. Charlie Crist, said: `The people lost today due to the worst abuse of power imaginable. The department engaged in secret negotiations, blatant violations of the public trust and unconscionable practices, then hid behind the very laws designed to protect the people.''

June 22, 2009 News Service of Florida
A high-stakes battle over multi-million dollar contracts with the Department of Corrections took an ugly turn on Monday. Lawyers representing MHM Correctional Services Inc. alleged in a court filing that a high-ranking DOC official may have been negotiating to get a job for a friend from Correctional Medical Services at the same time he recommended that the agency hire CMS. Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, said the allegation was simply a ploy intended to get media coverage. “This latest allegation is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt that is completely baseless," said Fields in an e-mail. CMS was chosen back in April to provide mental health services to South Florida prison inmates. But current vendor MHM has contested the bid, saying the department broke contracting and public records laws by negotiating with CMS in secret before announcing the St. Louis based company had won a contract worth more than $80 million over the next five years. MHM has also filed a separate lawsuit against the Department of Corrections after finding out that the agency planned to bring on CMS on July 1 when the current contract with MHM expires. Leon County Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield is expected to rule this week on whether to block the $6 million four-month purchase order the department approved in late May. Chris Kise, an attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP, filed a motion in circuit court on Monday that suggests that one reason CMS won the 4-month contract is because Dr. Sandeep Rahangdale, deputy secretary for health services, was trying to land a job for a friend with CMS. Kise attached e-mails that show that Rahangdale asked CMS officials to send information to his personal e-mail account about salary range and requirements for a position. He states “I think I have the perfect fit for you and the state" in the e-mail. A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections would not answer the allegation about Rahangdale, who makes $172,500 in his job with the agency. Rahangdale has been deputy secretary since Jan. 31, 2008. But Fields, the spokesman for CMS, said that Kise and his legal team have been in possession of the Rahangdale e-mail for weeks. "Until now and because they seek to avoid legal challenge, they have never raised this false allegation in any hearing related to this injunction or in their bid protest,’’ said Fields. “Instead they have chosen to wait until the hearings are concluded and to make the assertion in the media."

June 18, 2009 St Petersburg Times
A state judge is ordering two prison officials to testify today on their role in a disputed decision to switch vendors for mental health care to inmates in South Florida. "I direct that they appear," Leon County Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield said at a hearing Thursday. The judge ordered the two employees, Millie Seay and Jimmy Smith, to testify in a lawsuit brought by a company that has been fired by the Department of Corrections. The firm, MHM Correctional Services of Virginia, is seeking to block the state from replacing it with Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis, at what MHM says is $5 million more. The lawsuit sheds light on the intense competition among firms to secure lucrative contracts with agencies in Gov. Charlie Crist's administration. As the judge noted Thursday, "There's a lot of money at stake, and we have time frames imposed of July 1." MHM attorney Christopher Kise accused the prison system of flagrant violations of state purchasing and open meeting laws, "a rigging of the process" and a waste of taxpayers' money in switching vendors. He argued that MHM's lawsuit should stay, or prevent, the state from hiring CMS on July 1 for a 120-day period under a special purchase order while the vendor makes the transition as mental health provider. Attorneys for CMS, which was allowed to intervene in the lawsuit Thursday, told the judge a fast decision is needed because the firm needs to start its work. CMS attorney Peter Antonacci called the 120-day transition period a contractual "patch" not subject to the state's purchasing laws. Seay is director of administration for the Department of Corrections, and Smith is assistant program administrator for health services.

June 11, 2009 Miami Herald
A judge in Tallahassee ruled Wednesday that the Florida Department of Corrections improperly withheld public records from a vendor that filed a lawsuit after being ousted from a mental healthcare contract. The ruling is a victory for MHM Correctional Services, which wants to extend its 2 ½-year contract to provide services to more than 15,000 inmates in a dozen South Florida prisons. But it is a defeat for Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose office asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit and argued that the Sunshine Law does not apply to purchasing committees, only boards and commissions. The DOC wants to replace MHM with Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis, even though that company would charge $5.5 million more for the same service over five years. MHM sued to stop the deal and argued that the state violated the Sunshine Law by omitting some e-mails related to the case. ''The court has conducted an in-camera inspection of the document containing the e-mail stream and has determined that it is not exempt under the provisions of Chapter 119,'' Circuit Judge Kevin Davey wrote Wednesday. "It does not appear that any of the communications in the stream were made in contemplation of litigation, which is required for the exemption.'' The bid protest is scheduled before a state hearing officer on Friday.

June 1, 2009 St Petersburg Times
A vendor on the verge of losing a contract to provide mental health services to 15,000 South Florida prison inmates is fighting back. Last week, MHM Correctional Services filed a lawsuit accusing the Department of Corrections of violating the Sunshine Law by holding unadvertised meetings to negotiate a more expensive multi-year contract with another vendor, Correctional Medical Services (CMS). Now MHM wants a Leon County judge to prevent the agency from going forward. In court papers, MHM's attorney says one of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil's top aides, Director of Administrator Millie Seay, refused to sign an exception document that allowed DOC to issue an interim purchase order until a formal contract can be executed -- a very big red flag from MHM's viewpoint. Quoting a May 22 email from DOC's procurement chief Robert Staney to his staff, the motion for injunction states: "Millie Seay is reluctant to sign the waiver at this time." "This fact alone should have stopped the procurement process," the motion states. On a related front, MHM has enlisted the lobbying firm of Smith & Ballard, which has entree to the highest levels of the governor's office. At the center of this contract fight is MHM's attorney, Chris Kise of Foley & Lardner's Tallahassee office, who served as counselor to Gov. Charlie Crist in the first year of his term and was a top adviser to Crist as attorney general.

May 27, 2009 St Petersburg Times
Gov. Charlie Crist has made it a priority to run the "most open and transparent" administration in state history. But a former adviser to Crist is suing the state, claiming the Department of Corrections broke the Sunshine Law by mishandling a contract to provide mental health services to inmates. Attorney Chris Kise of Foley & Lardner, who served as a counselor and climate change advisor to Crist, filed the suit in state court in Tallahassee Tuesday on behalf of MHM Correctional Services, a Virginia firm that pitched a proposal to provide mental health care in the agency's South Florida Region IV prisons. Kise's suit alleges that he obtained public records showing that agency staffers began "secret negotiations" with a competing vendor, Correctional Medical Services (CMS), almost two weeks before competing vendors learned that their proposals were rejected. Kise also said the deal the state negotiated with CMS would cost taxpayers $5.5-million more than MHM's proposal. Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil said he was confident the agency would prevail. We are fully confident that we didn't do anything that would be a problem to the state," he said. "I think the facts will bear that out to be not true." By law, McNeil said, he can't discuss the details of a contract that is "still in the throes of procurement."

Franklin County Jail, Franklin, Ohio
Charles Dials was carjacked while driving past the Franklin County Courthouse. With a few phone calls, a doctor at the Franklin County jail would have been warned that inmate Alva Campbell might be faking his paralysis. That evidence was in a deposition taken for a lawsuit filed by the family of Charles Dials, whom Campbell killed during a 1997 escape. The family recently settled for $1 million with the company that provided medical services at the jail. The settlement between Dials' family and Correctional Medical Services was recorded Monday in Franklin County Probate Court. Campbell jumped out of a wheelchair as he was being brought to the county courthouse on April 2, 1997, and overpowered a deputy. The deputy had not handcuffed Campbell because she thought he was a paraplegic. The hospital treated Campbell for a gunshot wound suffered when a store manager shot him during a robbery attempt. Common Pleas Judge Richard S.Sheward in November ruled in favor of Dials' family. "This was a 1998 case and Correctional Medical dragged its feet and ignored orders to comply so I gave a default judgment to the plaintiff,'' Sheward said. "It wasn't a complicated case, but it was a serious case of a wrongful death of a young person who was executed.'' (The Dispatch, March 7, 2002)

Galveston County Jail, Galveston, Texas
June 7, 2007 The Daily News
A Missouri firm lost its longtime contract to provide medical care to jail inmates when county commissioners Wednesday unanimously awarded a $5.5 million deal to the University of Texas Medical Branch. The island-based medical branch beat out incumbent St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, which had the multimillion dollar contract for nine years. The contract calls for the county to pay the medical branch about $207,500 a month for the first 14 months, beginning Aug. 1, and $216,360 for the next 12 months to provide medical care to inmates. The medical branch will offer inmates medical services that include on-site assessments at intake, chronic and emergency medical management in the jail and hospital-based care if needed. If the average daily population of inmates exceeds 1,000, the medical branch could earn more, based on a pay formula, officials say. Also, the Gulf Coast Center, a mental-health and retardation facility serving Galveston and Brazoria counties, will pay the medical branch $14,000 a month for on-site and on-call services. Galveston County Attorney Harvey Bazaman said Correctional Medical Services had done an adequate job, but county officials wanted to see if there were financial savings to be had by putting the contract out for bid.

January 20, 2006 Texas City Sun
Two county jailers have been suspended, while a third jail employee was fired after an investigation into an inmate’s suicide in November. Sheriff Gean Leonard declined Thursday to give the name of the woman who was fired because she was an employee of the company Correctional Medical Services, not the sheriff’s office. The company could not be reached for comment Thursday. Deputies Louis Padric Heck and Kendra Harris were suspended for five days without pay. John Louis Kenney hanged himself in his county jail cell on Nov. 20. Hours earlier, he had been booked into the jail on a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from a domestic dispute. Kenney, who hanged himself with a belt deputies had returned to him earlier that night, had tried suicide in jail once before.

Genesis Behavioral Services, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
November 18, 2009 Sheboygan Press
A therapist accused of sexually assaulting two clients was sentenced Tuesday to two years probation and no jail time after a prosecutor amended eight felonies to two misdemeanors, citing "proof problems." The amended charges against John Monacelli mention only one of the alleged victims, a woman identified in court records as an approximately 40-year-old Milwaukee County resident. Monacelli admitted having a relationship with the woman while counseling her, saying he should have ended the relationship and referred her to another counselor. At the time of the offense — October 2007 — the woman was a resident at Genesis Behavioral Services in Sheboygan, an in-patient substance abuse rehabilitation facility where Monacelli was a counselor and interim director. The allegations are a far cry from the criminal complaint filed in December, which alleged Monacelli forced the woman and a 29-year-old Sheboygan County man to perform an array of sex acts and threatened them to keep them quiet. He had been scheduled for a jury trial next month on eight felony counts of sexual exploitation by a therapist. "(The amended charges) relate to proof problems and my ethical obligations as an officer of the court to bring counts I believe I can prove," said prosecutor Thomas Storm of the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office. "I believe this is an accurate reflection of the improprieties, the crimes that occurred in this situation." Storm said the investigation revealed conflicting statements from a number of material witness and the alleged victims. Monacelli, 46, of Menomonee Falls, was convicted of two counts of abuse and neglect of patients and residents, misdemeanors carrying a maximum combined penalty of six months in jail. Judge James Bolgert, following a joint recommendation by Storm and Monacelli's attorney, imposed probation and the maximum $2,000 fine. "I think it's an appropriate response to the charges of which you have been convicted," Bolgert said. Storm said the alleged victims were told Monday of the planned amendment, but he said he couldn't say if they supported it. The original complaint had alleged Monacelli had the two people recount childhood sexual abuse in great detail and said re-enacting the sexual acts would help them overcome drug addictions. A civil suit filed by the victims in September 2008 said both were victims of childhood incest and had histories of drug addiction and mental illness. The civil suit was settled out of court in March, and the victims' attorney and Knight declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. The lawsuit — which named Monacelli, Genesis and its parent company, Correctional Medical Services — had alleged Genesis was negligent in screening and supervising Monacelli and slow to respond to the allegations of sexual abuse.

January 5, 2009 Sheboygan Press
A man accused of sexually assaulting several clients while working as therapist in Sheboygan will make an initial court appearance this afternoon, online court records show. John R. Monacelli, 45, of Menomonee Falls, is accused of having sexual contact with a 29-year-old Sheboygan County man and sexual intercourse with a 39-year-old Milwaukee County woman while working at Genesis Behavioral Services in October and November 2007. He was charged last week with eight counts of felony sexual exploitation by a therapist. He is also named in a civil lawsuit filed by the two alleged victims that claims he made them recount childhood sexual abuse in great detail and told them the only way to overcome their drug addictions was to reenact the sex acts with him. The suit, filed in September, says both victims were residents at Genesis, 503 Wisconsin Ave., while Monacelli served as interim director of the residential program. Monacelli — who was arrested following an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice — could face up to 60 years in prison, if convicted on all counts. He is scheduled to appear at 3:30 p.m. before Judge James Bolgert. According to the criminal complaint: Monacelli exposed himself to the man during a session in October 2007 about a week after beginning individual counseling sessions with him at Genesis. The man, who had been assigned to Monacelli, had oral sex with the therapist at Monacelli’s request. Monacelli repeated the sex acts during counseling sessions on two other occasions later in October, including one time when an oral sex act was interrupted by a knock on the door by another Genesis employee. He told the man to keep the sexual contact a secret. The 39-year-old woman said Monacelli kissed her and fondled her breasts during an individual session at Genesis in early October 2007, and the next day he asked her to perform a sex act before they were interrupted by a knock at the door by another counselor. The two had sex during a session in mid-October 2007. A few days later, Monacelli offered to drive her to an appointment in Washington County, and had her perform another sex act on him on the way back to Sheboygan. Genesis began an internal investigation of Monacelli’s behavior in November 2007, the complaint said. The civil suit, which is still pending, was filed in September in Sheboygan County Circuit Court against Monacelli, Genesis and Madison-based Correctional Medical Services.

Hamilton County Jail, Hamilton County, Ohio
March 17, 2006 Enquirer
Seeing her with her head shaved, it apparently was easy for Stacey Erwin's co-workers to believe she was being treated for cancer, and they wanted to help. But police say the 40-year-old Erwin, who worked as a nurse at the Hamilton County Jail, does not have cancer, and they have charged her with theft for taking more than $5,000 in donations. "She was telling people she had brain cancer, and they were giving her money," Steve Barnett, spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, said Thursday. "One of her co-workers got suspicious of her behavior." The sheriff's office said Erwin, of West McMillan Street in Clifton Heights, obtained the money from "numerous co-workers after leading them to believe she was suffering from cancer." Erwin, who was arrested last week, was released on her own recognizance pending her next court appearance. Barnett said Erwin even convinced even her husband she had cancer, and he had unwittingly accepted donations on her behalf. Money problems apparently prompted Erwin's scam, Barnett said. Erwin, a contract employee, has been fired, Barnett said. Erwin was employed by St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, which provides medical personnel for jails around the country.

Idaho Department of Corrections
August 18, 2011 AP
A woman the FBI believes robbed as many as 20 banks throughout the West worked as a nurse at an Idaho state prison facility where she likely met the convicted forger who investigators say drove the getaway car. Cynthia Van Holland, 47, was arrested Monday with her husband, 26-year-old Christopher Scott Alonzo, after a bank robbery in Auburn, Calif. Authorities say Van Holland is the "Bad Hair Bandit," who used wigs to disguise herself during bank heists in Montana, Oregon and Washington state. Alonzo, a northern Idaho resident, spent time in Idaho prisons and jails on fraud, forgery and escape convictions. Placer County, Calif., sheriff's Lt. Mark Reed said witnesses saw Van Holland jumping into a car just after a robbery in Auburn. She and Alonzo were arrested a short distance away on Interstate 80. Van Holland likely met Alonzo while he was at an Idaho Department of Correction facility where she worked as a nurse for a private contractor, Correctional Medical Services from November 2005 to an unspecified date in 2006. Alonzo began serving time in March 2006, shifting several times between prisons near Boise and Orofino where he and Van Holland could have crossed paths. "Investigators believe Van Holland met her accomplice, Christopher Alonzo, while he was incarcerated at an IDOC facility," said Jeff Ray, an Idaho prisons spokesman, in a statement. Van Holland married Alonzo on March 14 in Coeur d'Alene. On the marriage license, she indicated she was living in Tacoma, Wash., the city where the series of bank holdups began in December 2010. As the Bad Hair Bandit robbed bank after bank, she went through a series of wigs and baseball hats that earned her the moniker. Tellers say she often stood in line like a normal customer, then handed a note saying she was armed and wanted cash.

July 22, 2011 AP
A federal judge has appointed a special master to see if the state is complying with court orders in a decades-old lawsuit over conditions at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. The U.S. District Court hired Marc Stern, a doctor and correctional health care consultant from Tumwater, Wash., to determine whether the state is complying with a ruling designed to improve medical and mental health care for inmates at the prison south of Boise. His report is due to the court in six months. "I'm honored to have been appointed and I look forward to learning about it and meeting and working with the parties to help them resolve the issue," Stern said Friday. The long-running case began in the early 1980s when so many inmates from the Idaho State Correctional Institution began filing lawsuits that the cases threatened to clog Idaho's federal dockets. The judge combined them all into one class-action lawsuit, which became known as the "Balla case" after lead plaintiff Walter Balla. Over the next three decades, the various federal judges overseeing the lawsuit made three major rulings. They ordered Idaho leaders to stop overcrowding, provide warm clothing to inmates, improve access to medical and psychiatric care and rehabilitation programs, and take other measures to make sure the prison would no longer be, in the words of former U.S. District Judge Harold Ryan, "an extremely violent place to live." But the case kept bouncing back to the federal courts as inmates maintained that while some issues had improved, problems at the prison continued and wouldn't likely be fixed until Idaho leaders improved prison budgets and facilities. The state, meanwhile, has argued that the prison has changed so dramatically — with new buildings, new contractors, new leaders and evolved policies — that the old Balla rulings essentially focus on a facility that doesn't exist anymore and so are virtually impossible to enforce. The state contends that if there are still problems at ISCI, inmates should file new lawsuits that accurately reflect the present circumstances. But even Idaho Department of Correction officials have demonstrated some concerns with the way Idaho's contractor, Correctional Medical Services Inc., has administered medical care at ISCI. An investigation by The Associated Press earlier this year found that Idaho has fined CMS more than $382,500 in recent years for failing to meet some of the most basic health care requirements outlined by the state. Both Idaho Department of Correction officials and CMS leaders say those problems have since been resolved, and the fines ended in May. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said Stern's opinion of the medical and mental health care situation at ISCI should be informed both by his professional experience in the delivery of prison medical care, and in his knowledge of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits prison officials from being deliberately indifferent to prisoners' serious medical needs. Stern's experience includes a year working as a regional medical director for Correctional Medical Services in New York. He left the company on good terms, and Winmill said the previous association likely wouldn't affect Stern's analysis of the situation at the Idaho prison.

June 5, 2011 AP
The company responsible for providing medical care to Idaho prison inmates has been fined nearly $400,000 by state officials for failing to meet some of the most basic health care requirements outlined by the state. The fines against Correctional Medical Services, totaling more than $382,500, were uncovered through a series of public records requests by The Associated Press. Among the problems detailed in the records: The South Boise Women's Correctional Center was without an OB/GYN for two years, and the Idaho Maximum Security Institution was without a staff psychologist for at least 8 months. Idaho's contract with CMS requires that vacant positions be filled within 60 days. The Creve Coeur, Mo.-based CMS bills itself as the nation's largest prison health care provider, caring for more than 250,000 inmates in 19 states. The private company, which merged with Prison Health Services on Friday and now goes by the name Corizon, has contracted with Idaho to handle medical care at all of the state-run prisons since 2005. Its new regional director for Idaho, Tom Dolan, says CMS has recently fixed the problems and the fines stopped a couple of weeks ago. According to the records obtained by the AP, CMS had a long history of failing to meet contract standards. Nevertheless, Idaho officials turned down four other bidders and renewed the state's contract with CMS last year — not without some changes, however. Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said his department had learned that in order to get CMS to pay attention to problems, the state had to hit them in the pocketbook. The new contract steeply increased the amount of fines, called liquidated damages, that could be levied against CMS. More than two-thirds of the fines — $270,201 — have been brought under the new contract, which began July 1, 2010. "They're bottom-line driven," said Reinke of CMS. "They have shareholders, so we're learning from them and they're learning from us." Rona Siegert, the head of health care for the Idaho Department of Corrections, said the state's tactics are working. "The money was racking up, and they've done a really great job of curing these and getting rid of the liquidated damages," Siegert said. The fact that Idaho renewed CMS's contract after a competitive bidding process shows that the company has done a good job caring for inmates, said CMS spokesman Ken Fields. He said the fines accrued under the new contract were largely for new administrative and paperwork requirements that go beyond the national standard. He said none of the issues had negatively impacted inmate patients. Recruiting and retaining health care workers has "been a challenge," Fields said, because of a national shortage of health care workers. But the vacant positions — including the OB/GYN and psychologist vacancies — have since been filled, he said. Some of the problems found by the state auditors involved the way CMS ran its non-emergency health care services, its infirmaries and extended care units, pharmaceutical operations and mental health services. The company's staff training, diagnostic services, record-keeping, chronic care planning, inmate screening and other services were also found to be deficient enough to warrant fines. Despite the problems, IDOC officials maintain no inmate's health was damaged and no one went without medical care. Instead, inmates they were transported off-site — usually at the state's cost — or a doctor that worked for the state was brought in to fill the gaps. For instance, when the Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise went without a dialysis nurse for two months in 2008, the state had to transport several offenders to an offsite facility daily for several hours each day. The effort cost Idaho nearly $19,000 in personnel costs, an amount that it recovered from CMS through the fines. The findings of some state audits of CMS's operations suggest that it was at least likely that some inmates had longer waits for care or didn't receive immediate care at all. For example, an audit found that inmates that were sick on the weekends weren't getting their requests for treatment triaged by medical professionals. Siegert said that if inmates were visibly sick, correctional officers probably would have noticed while making their rounds and would probably have gotten the inmates help. But correctional officers are trained in security issues, not in how to determine if someone is seriously ill. Inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution — where nearly all of Idaho's sickest inmates are housed — have long complained about the quality of medical care. In a class-action lawsuit dating back to the 1980s, ISCI inmates said they were forced to wait too long for medical care and in some cases were denied access to medical treatment. Though the lawsuit began long before CMS came to Idaho, the inmates have used the testimony of a former CMS worker in an effort to show that the problems with medical care continue today. Dr. Ralph Heckard, a primary care physician who contracted with CMS to treat inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution between June 2009 and January 2010, described several potentially serious problems in a court affidavit filed in the Balla case. In his affidavit, Heckard said there was just one doctor for every 1,500 inmates, compared to a statewide average of one doctor for every 450 Idaho residents. He said ISCI had no pharmacist, and that often unlicensed and unauthorized staffers handled nursing duties, even giving inmates injections. Prisoners frequently experienced weeks-long waits for medical care, Heckard said. One inmate had biopsy-confirmed cancer, and Heckard said CMS delayed providing the inmate with the recommended surgery and chemotherapy. Inmates with mental illness were deprived of necessary (and often expensive) medication because there was no psychiatrist to renew their expiring prescriptions and because CMS would not allow primary care doctors like Heckard to prescribe or renew any psychoactive medications, he said. Fields said that Heckard's characterizations weren't accurate. Few prisons have on-site pharmacists, he said, and he noted that ISCI inmates get prescriptions within 24 hours, or sooner when necessary. During the period where the company didn't have an on-site psychiatric staffer, a psychiatrist from the corporate office and local community mental health professionals met the needs of inmates, he said. He also refuted Heckard's assertion that unlicensed professionals were administering health care. CMS Regional Manager Tom Dolan addressed the Idaho Board of Correction during a meeting last month, telling the board members that when he took the Idaho job in February, "clearly there were some struggles at ISCI ... there was a lot of work for us to do."

October 31, 2007 The Olympian
A child killer who lost his legs in a suicide attempt is suing the state prison system for $1 million after being denied artificial legs in prison, saying he was promised prosthetics in plea negotiations. According to the case filed recently in U.S. District Court, Barry L. McAdoo, 32, of Coeur d'Alene, is experiencing muscle degeneration and may never walk again if he remains confined to a wheelchair. Named as defendants are the Idaho Department of Correction and Correctional Medical Services, a contractor that whether a procedure or device is medically necessary. The state agency received the lawsuit Monday and was investigating, spokesman Jeff Ray said. "We don't have any comment on Mr. McAdoo's claims at this time," Ray said Tuesday. Included in the lawsuit were numerous requests by McAdoo for artificial legs and a grievance with the state agency over the denial of artificial legs, all rejected by state prison officials. McAdoo, convicted of beating his 15-month-old son Brandon to death, is serving 15 years to life at the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Boise. He told authorities that when the little boy stopped breathing on Jan. 14, 2005, he downed 50 sleeping pills and rat poison, left the trailer where he lived with his pregnant wife, Angela Cowles, and wandered outdoors in freezing weather for three days before he sought help. McAdoo was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., where both legs had to be amputated because of frostbite. McAdoo was given no promise the state would provide him prosthetics, Kootenai County Deputy Public Defender Lynn Nelson said, nor does the plea agreement signed by McAdoo, Nelson and Deputy Prosecutor Marty M. Raap mention the issue. When McAdoo pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, 1st District Judge Charles W. Hosack asked whether he had been promised anything other than what was included in the plea agreement and McAdoo said he had not. Nonetheless, Nelson asserted that McAdoo is entitled to prosthetics and has legal precedent on his side.

October 9, 2007 The Olympian
A federal judge has declined to dismiss the lawsuit of an inmate who claims the Idaho Department of Correction is failing to treat her for gender identity disorder. Josephime Von Isaak, who legally changed her name from Augustus Joseph Isaak last year, says she is a male to female transsexual who suffers from gender identity disorder. Isaak claims that she was compelled to remove her own testicles with a razor after the state failed to diagnose and treat her disorder. Even then, the lawsuit alleges, Isaak went without the estrogen treatment she wanted, and a year after self-castrating she amputated the tip of her penis. Isaak claims the state subjected her to cruel and unusual punishment and that prison health workers committed medical malpractice. State and prison health officials deny the claims. The state is now expected to go to trial in Isaak's lawsuit and in a similar case brought by inmate Jenniffer Spencer (formerly known as Randall Gammett), who also self-castrated while in prison after officials allegedly refused to treat her gender identity disorder. A trial date has not yet been set in Isaak's case. Officials with Correctional Medical Services asked U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to dismiss or stay the case, claiming the medical malpractice claims belonged in state court and that they should be kept separate from the Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claim because the legal standards for each claim were dramatically different. But Winmill disagreed, saying recently that it is within his jurisdiction to keep the entire lawsuit in the federal court system.

Indiana Department of Corrections
August 7, 2006 Call 6 TV
Several prison mental health workers say they went unpaid when the subcontractor that employed them was dropped by a contractor, Call 6 for Help's Rafael Sanchez reported. Universal Behavioral Services was contracted by Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services to provide metal health services in Indiana Department of Correction facilities. UBS, based in Indianapolis, claims that CMS cancelled its contract with UBS without warning on July 19, and that CMS failed to pay UBS for services rendered in July. UBS said that because CMS failed to pay for July, UBS is unable to pay its employees for the corresponding pay periods. UBS said it is filing to the state a claim against CMS for $584,475. CMS told Call 6 that it parted ways with UBS in July. It said it met its financial obligations to UBS, and that it began employing and contracting with former UBS staff members to make sure that services were provided to the Department of Correction facilities. Since then, CMS has paid those workers, according to CMS. "It is absolutely incorrect to say that CMS is somehow responsible for UBS's obligations to its former employees," CMS wrote to Call 6 on Friday. The Department of Correction said it paid CMS last week for July services. The department said it would have more comment about the situation on Monday.

August 3, 2005 AP
The new health care provider for the Indiana Department of Correction has come under sharp criticism by prisoner rights’ advocates and faced lawsuits over the quality of health care it has provided inmates in other states. The department has signed a four-year contract with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc. to provide health care services to more than 23,000 adult and juvenile offenders beginning Sept. 1. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Correctional Medical in June over prison health care in Mississippi, and the company also has faced claims in the past nine months in Kentucky and Missouri after the deaths of inmates. In the Missouri case, the family of a 33-year-old female inmate sued after the woman died in 2003 of a ruptured brain aneurysm days after complaining of blinding headaches. That case and the death of a second inmate at the same prison led to an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The division closed the investigation this year without filing charges. Elizabeth Alexander, director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Correctional Medical routinely has failed to provide the minimal level of health care to prisoners required by law. Her criticisms included the company not providing sufficient access to medical care, timely referrals to specialists and appropriate care for chronic ailments, such as chemotherapy for cancer patients. In Michigan, where Correctional Medical also provides statewide inmate medical care, a federal court found the company’s delays in providing prisoners with referrals to outside specialists contributed to three deaths within 18 months, Alexander said. “They have a long record of not doing what they need to do in regard to health care,” Alexander said in a telephone interview Tuesday. Alexander also criticized the contractor that Correctional Medical is replacing. Prison Health Services Inc., whose contract runs through the end of this month, has provided Indiana health care since the state privatized it nearly eight years ago. Celia Sweet, executive director of the Indiana chapter of the prisoner advocacy group Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, or CURE, said the state is sacrificing prisoners’ health to save money. “You’ve got to realize these people, they’re a private corporation and they’re beholden to the stockholders, so they’re in it for the money,” Sweet said.

Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, Michigan
March 23, 2012 WNDU
An employee with the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City has been arrested for trafficking drugs. 41-year-old Phyllis Ungerank, a practical nurse with Corizon Medical, was arrested for trying to traffic marijuana and for possessing marijuana. Officials say around 8 p.m. on March 18, a check-point officer found Ungerank trying to take a package of marijuana inside the jail with her. She was arrested and taken to the LaPorte County Jail.

June 22, 2008 News-Dispatch
Richard Blake, 48, Niles, Mich., was arrested Friday at at 6:45 p.m. at the Indiana State Prison on a charge of attempted trafficking for allegedly bringing eight packages of cigarettes into the facility. Blake is a registered nurse employed by Correctional Medical Services since February, and was assigned to the prison. He was going through a routine search process when custody staff found cigarettes wrapped in aluminum foil inside a frozen TV dinner box in his lunch bag. An additional two cigarette packs were found covered with food inside a plastic bowl. All Indiana Department of Corrections facilities are smoke free and possession of tobacco is forbidden. Prison internal affairs investigators Charles Whelan and Corey McKinney were contacted by custody staff. Whelan called the Michigan City Police Department and officers arrested Blake in the prison parking lot. Blake had refused to make a statement without an attorney present and walked out of the facility. After the arrest, investigators Whelan and McKinney reviewed videotape of the prison search procedure and saw Blake twice had difficulty getting through the metal detector. He then left the search area and entered a restroom. A later search of the restroom turned up two packs of cigarettes in the trash can that were reported to be the same brand as the others found in Blake's possession.

Jacksonville Jail, Jacksonville, Florida
November 8, 2005 Yahoo
John Laughon was in jail on drug charges on Feb. 22 when police officials said he used "superhuman strength" to break out of a restraint chair and attack corrections officers. Investigators said he was injured as officers were subduing him. Since that night, Laughon has been hospitalized in a persistent vegetative state. He is unlikely to recover. Laughon's family attorney, who has already filed a civil complaint with the federal government, has filed a "notice of claim," notifying the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office they intend to sue, claiming officers used excessive force. Attorney Sean Cronin said Tuesday that Laughon suffered from seizures, and the jail medical records indicate that he was not receiving the appropriate medication properly. Cronin believes that lack of proper medication led to his aggressive behavior. "This is but one part of what we are going to be doing legally," Cronin said. "Very shortly, we will be filing a medical malpractice claim against a company called Corrections Medical Services Inc., which is a company that provides medical services at the jail."

Jennifer Road Detention Center, Anne Arundel, Maryland
December 2, 2005 The Capital
Kari Parsons said she can still hear her own screams when she sleeps, days after she delivered a baby alone in a county jail cell. The 25-year-old Pasadena woman, jailed after testing positive for drugs while on probation for theft, said officials at the Jennifer Road Detention Center repeatedly ignored her pleas that she was well into labor and needed to go to the hospital. Instead, they took her out of a holding area with other inmates, who helped to time her contractions, and put her in a cell by herself. "I was screaming so much my whole body was trembling. Everyone could hear it," Ms. Parsons said. "I was screaming and praying for God to help me." County Detention Center officials are investigating why Ms. Parsons wasn't taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center in time for the birth. She'd been taken to a Baltimore hospital a few days earlier when her labor pains apparently started a few weeks early. After paramedics finally arrived at the Jennifer Road jail and took mother and child to the hospital a quarter-mile down the road, it was hours more before she was taken in shackles to see her newborn. She was then returned to jail, where she was held until being released Tuesday. She's free on her own recognizance until her next court hearing. "It was ridiculous and totally inappropriate for the detention center to do what they did," said Michael L. May, her attorney. He wouldn't say whether Ms. Parsons plans to file a lawsuit. "We are examining the situation to determine what is appropriate," he said. Detention center officials declined to comment on the incident, or the actions of Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis company that provides health care at the jail. On Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 24, she awoke at 5 a.m. "I felt like my water broke and I was having little contractions," she said. Ms. Parsons was sent to a nurse, and by 7 a.m. she was shackled and handcuffed in a van headed for Harbor Hospital. "They told me my water hadn't broken, but if it gets worse, I should come back," she said. Taken back to Ordnance Road, Ms. Parsons said she continued to suffer contractions. She was taken back to a nurse at the jail, then put in an isolation booth so her contractions could be monitored. By 5 p.m. Thursday, she said, she was driven to Jennifer Road to be closer to the obstetrics center at AAMC. For the next day and a half, she stayed in a cell with four other women. They helped her time her contractions, but she was still leaking water. "I was using my sheets as a diaper," Ms. Parsons said. "I was saturated." By Saturday, she said, the women in the cell with her were pleading with correction officers to let her see a nurse. At 6 a.m. Sunday she was allowed to leave the cell to see one, but was told she was fine and sent back to the cell. At 11 a.m. Ms. Parsons started yelling, "I'm going into labor!" Taken to a nurse again, she was told that the baby hadn't turned and she wasn't in labor, she said. "They had me thinking I was crazy," she said. Sent back to her cell, she continued to yell in pain. A little after 2 p.m., she was yelling so loudly that corrections officers moved her to a cell by herself. Ms. Parsons was alone in the cell, with a bed with no sheets and a toilet. She said a nurse came by again and told her she wasn't going into labor. Ms. Parsons tried to lie down, but couldn't. She got up and walked closer to the toilet and squatted, bracing herself against the wall. "I felt down there and I felt my uterus open. I felt his head," she said. She put her hand on the baby's head and jumped to the mattress, where she pushed and her child came out onto the green plastic cover. "He slid right out of me," she said. Seeing the child, corrections officers finally called county Fire Department paramedics at 3:53 p.m. When they arrived, paramedics cut the umbilical cord and took Ms. Parsons to the hospital. It wasn't until 11 p.m. that Ms. Parsons was taken in shackles from her room to see her son, she said.

December 1, 2005 The Capital
A 25-year-old inmate at the Jennifer Road Detention Center delivered a baby boy in her cell Sunday afternoon, a jail official confirmed yesterday. The birth came less than two weeks after the woman's attorney asked a judge to keep his client out of jail because she was eight and a half months pregnant. The Pasadena woman, who has a history of drug abuse and was in jail on a misdemeanor theft under $500 charge, was released from the jail and Anne Arundel Medical Center Tuesday. Her newborn son was in good condition this morning at the hospital, according to a medical center spokesman. On a bail review dated Nov. 14, 2005, District Court Judge Megan B. Johnson ordered the woman be held without bond. Her attorney, Michael L. May of Glen Burnie, requested a bond review for his client on Nov. 18. Judge Robert C. Wilcox denied the motion on Nov. 22. In requesting the review, Mr. May said his client was charged with violation of probation and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. "The defendant is eight months pregnant and has a severe drug addiction. The defendant is not getting the necessary medical treatment for herself or her baby from the detention center. . . That the defendant has indicated that since she has been incarcerated the baby has stopped moving," Mr. May wrote. The county contracts with Correctional Medical Services, based in St. Louis, Mo., for its inmate's medical care. Ken Fields, spokesman for CMS, could not explain what happened on Sunday this morning, adding that the incident is under review. "This is certainly a situation that we want to understand how it happened," he said.

Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility, Nashville, Tennessee
Edward Corley's death was an especially bleak one. A paraplegic inmate serving three life sentences — one for murder and two for a 1986 prison break that he managed to stage in his wheelchair and a hijacked ambulance — Corley died after emergency surgery last year. According to autopsy reports and to the federal lawsuit that his surviving daughter filed this month, Corley's flesh had begun to decay. The medical staff at Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility, the prison system's special health-care unit, finally sent him to Nashville General Hospital, where surgeons tried to excise the dead flesh. But 49-year-old Corley soon died after suffering a heart attack. His daughter contends that the gangrene that contributed to Corley's fatal heart attack was the result of a repeated failure of Tennessee prison health officials to give her father a clean supply of colostomy bags. Inmate health care has been provided since 2001 by Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri-based corporation. The contract is worth approximately $26 million a year. The corporation is not named as a defendant in the Corley lawsuit. (The Tennessean, July 14, 2003)

Macomb County Jail, Macomb County, Georgia
March 31, 2006 Macomb Daily
A nurse fired from the Macomb County Jail has retained the law firm of Geoffrey Fieger for a possible lawsuit against her employer, in connection to a baby she delivered at the jail. Lori Helhowski, a nurse who last month performed the first live birth delivery to an inmate in the jail's history, said she has decided to go ahead with civil action over her dismissal. She said the Fieger law firm in Southfield is helping her prepare a case of wrongful retaliation and violation of whistle-blower protection laws. "My son begged me not to even pursue this, but I feel obligated to pursue it for the sake of the inmates," Helhowski said of her legal action. "I just don't even believe it." Helhowski was terminated March 20 as an employee of St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, a private company under contract to provide medical services at the jail. Although her termination is ostensibly linked to a personal relationship she developed with former jail inmate Shawn Jefferson, she and an attorney handling her case have both noted that Jefferson was no longer at the jail when her employer became aware of the situation. Helhowski believes her discharge was really connected to concerns she raised at the jail about proper care for the inmate and her baby. Attorney Arnie Matusz, who represents Helhowski, said Thursday the timing of her dismissal is questionable since the inmate was long gone. Matusz said he is helping her prepare a case, but there are already some obstacles facing him.

March 28, 2006 Free Press
Lori Helhowski, the nurse who delivered the first baby born in the Macomb County Jail, says she has been fired from her job there. Her employer, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services, told her she was let go Wednesday because she has a relationship with a former Macomb inmate, she said. Helhowski, 43, of Macomb Township admitted Friday to talking to Shawn D. Jefferson on the phone and exchanging letters with him. Jefferson now is incarcerated at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson. Helhowski said she believes her firing was because she had received media attention for the birth and privately complained about procedures and conditions in the jail. She said she's considering a lawsuit. Macomb County Jail Administrator Michelle Sanborn said Monday: "I can tell you that she is no longer working there ... but other than that, this isn't the kind of thing that I like talking about when someone loses their job or is terminated."

March 24, 2006 Macomb Daily
A nurse at the Macomb County Jail who made history by delivering the first baby there may now seek legal action against her former employer, who has cited her relationship with a former inmate as grounds to fire her. Lori Helhowski, a Macomb Township resident and nurse with nearly 20 years' experience, said the administration of Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services terminated her employment Monday after learning of phone calls and other evidence of a "personal relationship" with former jail inmate Shawn D. Jefferson. Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, is the private contractor company that employs all nurses and medical staff at the Macomb County Jail, where Helhowski was a nurse on the night shift. Jefferson, 44, of Clinton Township, was in the jail from roughly October through February on a charge of cocaine possession and allegedly had several phone conversations with Helhowski on her personal time at home, when she wasn't working. "Would I sue? I don't know, I'm not really a lawsuit person. But I've been thinking about it," Helhowski said this week of her termination. "This isn't like I tried to smuggle a gun to him or something. I don't understand how they can try to tell me what to do on my own phone, on my own time, with my own money."

Macomb County Jail, Macomb, Michigan
November 17, 2004 Macomb Daily

Macomb County officials approved a $410 million budget for 2005 on Tuesday that holds the line on taxes and paints the kind of fiscally sound picture that contrasts sharply with the red ink plaguing many Michigan cities and counties.
But not all of the news is good. The cost of medical services for jail inmates has risen 34 percent, from $3.3 million to $4.5 million over the past year. On Tuesday, the county Board of Commissioners approved an audit of the medical services, at a cost of $20,000, to determine why costs are skyrocketing. In the interim, the board authorized a temporary, 6-month contract extension with the company that provides the services, Correctional Medical Services. The jail books 26,000 inmates a year.

April 12, 2004 Macomb Daily
The family of a Macomb County woman left an invalid after she leapt from a balcony at the Macomb County Jail may have to pay $100,000 to the medical provider they named in their failed lawsuit at U.S. District Court, Detroit.
  Attorneys for Correctional Medical Services Inc., the medical care provider at the jail, have asked federal Judge Paul Gadola to sign a court order imposing $100,016.31 in court costs, attorney fees and other expenses against the family of Patricia Rose House for suing them in her November 2001 jailhouse injuries.  Earlier this year, the county and the medical carrier both won a motion to have the federal case dismissed. While the county and its employees basically let the matter end there, officials and records indicate CMS is going a step further to demand payback for its trouble thus far.  The plaintiffs claimed that officials should have prevented House from jumping from a second-floor balcony to the first floor, causing severe injuries which left her a quadriplegic. Court documents claim she should have been receiving the drug Depakote to treat bipolar disorder, and mistreatment or neglect by medical personnel caused her to lapse into a suicidal episode.  When she was brought into jail, she was examined by medical personnel who determined she was not suicidal. Days after her arrival, she jumped.

Maine Correctional Center, Windham, Maine
February 16 Kennebec Journal

A Gardiner nurse will get to tell a jury why she feels she was a victim of retaliation when she was escorted from her job at the Maine State Prison on Oct. 17, 2008, and ultimately fired. Katherine Kelley sued Correctional Medical Services, Inc., of St. Louis, Mo., about her firing, claiming it was a violation of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities and the Maine Human Rights acts. A three-judge panel of the U.S. First Circuit Court of the Appeals ruled recently that the case should go to trial. However, that ruling is still subject to appeal. "I am very ecstatic because someone believed me," Kelley said. The circuit court panel overturned a U.S. district court judge's decision dismissing the lawsuit in favor of Correctional Medical Services at the summary judgment stage. "We have to have a trial of the facts," said Kelley's attorney, Guy Loranger. Kelley's lawsuit was filed in federal court Nov. 1, 2010. It was originally filed in Knox County Superior Court. Loranger said he expects the case to go on the trial calendar this spring, depending on whether Correctional Medical Services appeals the three-judge decision to the full U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. "She was ecstatic, and rightfully so," Loranger said. "She went through a lot. It was very difficult to hear the court say she had no case." Attorney Matthew J. LaMourie, who argued on behalf of Correctional Medical Services, Inc., said he could not comment on the decision because the case is still "active litigation." Kelley, a licensed practical nurse, started working for Correctional Medical Services at the prison in spring 2007, and court documents show she was earning almost $49,000 annually. She shattered her pelvis in July 2007, and when she returned to work using first crutches and then a cane to get around, she sought an accommodation for her medical disability. The decision, authored by Circuit Judge Kermit Lipez, outlined a series of encounters between Kelley and a supervisor, Teresa Kesteloot, who required Kelley to bring a doctor's note about her need for a cane and work-hour limitations. On Oct. 17, 2008, Kelley, who was on vacation, agreed to cover a shift in an emergency. She was placed in the main clinic, where she would be required to respond to emergencies and carry equipment, including a stretcher, something she said she would find difficult. After several attempts to shuffle jobs among several nurses, Kelley told the supervisor she "did not feel 'comfortable with the physical responsibilities,'" and mentioned leaving work. She also refused to do a narcotics count, saying two other nurses already had done it. Two security officers escorted her out of the prison at midnight at Kesteloot's direction. "Under these circumstances, a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that Kelley's refusal to obey an instruction of Kesteloot served as a convenient pretext for eliminating an employee who had engaged in ADA-protected conduct one too many times," Lipez wrote. After being fired as a prison nurse, Kelley said she worked only part time. Now 52, she has been disabled and unable to work since July 2009. Part of the reason, Kelley said, is that she had to delay a second surgery when she lost her medical insurance along with her job. "I've always been a real workaholic. I literally worked until my leg gave out," Kelley said. Before working for Correctional Medical Services, she had worked at the Veterans Administration Medical and Regional Office Center at Togus and for agencies in the Portland area.

March 13, 2008 Sun Journal
A medical technician doing contract work at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham was arrested Sunday night after allegedly being found in possession of cocaine. Jeanne-Marie L. Brett, 31, of 277 Fore St., Oxford, was charged with possession of a schedule W drug, a Class D misdemeanor. She was released on $500 unsecured bail shortly after being admitted to the Oxford County Jail. According to jail booking sheets, Brett has been employed as a medical technician for three years. An official at the Maine Correctional Center said Brett is not a state employee, because medical services are contracted through the privately owned Correctional Medical Services. Norway Police Chief Robert Federico said Brett was a passenger in a 2002 Honda Accord stopped by Officer Ron Cole on Beal Street. "The focus of the stop was the driver, who was suspended," Federico said. Federico said an off-duty police officer reported the car after he recognized the driver, 39-year-old Michael A. Pulsifer of 52 Skeetfield Road in Oxford. Pulsifer was arrested and charged with operating after suspension and violation of bail conditions. He remained in jail Wednesday evening. According to Federico, a search of the vehicle turned up a bag of white powder that tested positive for cocaine. Cole also saw open cans of beer in the vehicle, two bags containing a usable amount of marijuana, a pipe, a tin and film container with marijuana residue, and several unidentified pills. Federico said Brett claimed she was holding the cocaine for a friend so she wouldn't get in trouble. He said Brett did not appear to have a criminal history. Brett declined to comment Wednesday on the matter.

The U.S. attorney for Maine released a Westbrook doctor Thursday without filing criminal charges, a day after federal drug agents raided his medical office and arrested him. The arrest of Dr. Juan Carlos Lazaro led to his dismissal as medical director of the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, and caused his lawyer to question the actions of federal agents who detained the 57-year-old doctor. Before learning of his release, state corrections officials banned Lazaro from the prison, citing security reasons. The ban led Lazaro's employer, Correctional Medical Services Inc., to dismiss him as the prison's medical director. The firm, based in St. Louis, Mo., holds a state contract to provide medical services at the prison. (Portland Press Herald, August 13, 2004)

A South Paris woman who had been a counselor at the Maine Correctional Center was arrested Tuesday, along with another former prison employee, four days after she allegedly had sexual relations with a male inmate, prison officials said.  Bethany Bondenheim, 30, of 5 Porter St. was charged with one count of gross sexual assault. She allegedly engaged in a sexual act with a prisoner Friday, according to prison Superintendent Scott Burnheimer. She was arrested at her home by Paris police, who had a warrant issued by Portland District Court, an Oxford County Jail spokesman said. She was booked at the jail in Paris.  April Archer, 37, was a medical technician at the facility, Burnheimer said. She allegedly engaged in sexual acts with a male prisoner on five separate occasions in July. The trafficking charges were "concerning medications," Burnheimer said.  In both instances, prisoners were called from their dorms to report to the areas where the women worked, he said.  The alleged sexual conduct of both prison employees was reported by other workers, Burnheimer said. Bondenheim and Archer were contract employees. Many specialty services at prisons are contracted through large companies, Burnheimer said.  Bondenheim came to the prison through a company called Spectrum Behavioral Services, Burnheimer said. He was not sure where the company is based.  Archer was contracted through Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis, he said.  (Sun Journal, July 22, 2004)

Maine Department of Corrections
January 6, 2012 MPBN
The president of the Maine chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said a state agency review of a company that provides medical services to Maine prison inmates documented problems that rise to "a systemic constitutional dimension." John Patterson, of the Maine ACLU, said a report by the Legislature's Office of Program Evaluation and Accountability concludes that the Corizon's medical services corporation maintained poor medical records and were not fulfilling contractual obligations. One key state lawmaker said Corizon's contract should not be considered for renewal. Last year's review of the state's contract with Corizon produced some of the most dramatic findings ever identified by the agency. The company that oversees the delivery of medical services at most Maine prison facilities was found to have failed to adequately fulfill many of its contractual obligations. The report concluded that 50% of Corizon's medication records were in error and that records could not even be found for nearly 10% of the prisoners treated. Staff training was insufficient according to the OPEGA report which said many of the prisoners never received their annual physical exams. Now, after an eight-year relationship with the state, Corizon's $12 million annual contract may be in jeopardy and for the first time, the company will have to compete with other firms for the state's business. "My question to you is in light of this history, why should the state seriously be considering any proposal your company might make to get this contract back again?" asked state Senator Roger Katz (R-Augusta). He posed some pointed questions to Larry Amberger, the regional vice-president for Corizon who spent an uncomfortable part of the morning being grilled by panelists from the Office of Program Evaluation and Accountability. Amberger insisted that even the OPEGA report indicated that Corizon was providing "more than adequate care" for Maine's prisoners. And although Amberger acknowledged there were areas of concern he questioned the methodology used by OPEGA investigators who found so many errors. Amberger said that if one of the company reports failed to have every checkbox cell filled out on the form, it was dismissed by the investigators as erroneous. "So based on one blank potentially, in a form that might nevcessarily require 300 of these cells to be completed, they then said there wasn't a documentation," Amberger said. Judy Garvey, co-coordinator with Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, said her agency has received dozens of complaints from state prisoners complaining of inadequate medical treatment -- including one man with a long-standing serious medical history. "For the past 18 months, he has been experiencing sharp pains in his left kidney," Garvey said. "He is told by Corizon that there are other inmates with higher needs than his...to be patient. How many men or their wives and partners in this room would be content with so little hope of receiving treatment or attention if diagnosed with a prostrate problem of this magnitude?" "Prisoners have a constitutional legal right under the eighth amendment to receive timely and adequate mental health care," said John Patterson of the Maine Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment on convicted prisoners which has been interpreted to include deliberate indifference to basic human needs, such as medical care." John Patterson is president of the Maine ACLU. He said the state is denying prisoners their constitutional rights to medical care based on the findings of the OPEGA report. Severin Belliveau, a Hallowell lawyer and State House lobbyist representing Corizon said patient confidentiality prevented his client from addressing some of the specific prisoner concerns that were detailed at the public hearing. "Some of the cases that our people heard about this morning, the medical director said he's very familiar with them, can't talk about it and I think they're misrepresented in many ways as to what the true treatment was," Belliveau said. After years of receiving a non-competitive state contract, Corizon will now have to bid against other companies to provide medical services to prisoners as the result of action taken by Governor Paul LePage (R). Senator Katz said he personally would be disappointed if Corizon won the bid based on the company's performance.  

Maine Medical Center, Cumberland County, Maine
January 6, 2011 Portland Press Herald
A Buxton woman whose son died in the Cumberland County Jail two years ago has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the jail, its medical services contractor and Maine Medical Center. Paul Victor Galambos III, 26, died on Dec. 12, 2008, in a cell in the jail's medical unit. The lawsuit, filed by Katherine Cady in federal court, alleges that the jail's medical staff failed to properly treat Galambos for psychosis, and failed to protect him as he battered himself against the floor, walls and toilet in his cell over the course of three days. When Galambos was taken to Maine Med on Dec. 10, 2008, he had a spinal fracture, rib fractures, bruises, head injuries and excessive fluid around his right lung, according to the lawsuit. He was returned to the jail the next day to await transportation to the state psychiatric hospital in Augusta. He collapsed and died in his cell, from blood clots that had developed in his legs as a result of his injuries. The state Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a suicide. Over the next two years, Cady and her sister, attorney Linda Cady of Yarmouth, gathered records and notes from Maine Med, the jail and Correctional Medical Services Inc., the St. Louis-based contractor that has provided health services at the jail since 2001. Based on those records, the family contends that Galambos' death was foreseeable and preventable.

Marion County Jail, Marion, Indiana
October 25, 2008 Indianapolis Star
The wife of an inmate who died inside the Marion County Jail filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against the facility's private medical provider and the Marion County sheriff. The suit, which names Correctional Medical Services and Sheriff Frank Anderson, says James T. Bullock, 45, was denied heart medication for several days after he was jailed in October 2006 on a possession of paraphernalia charge. He collapsed on the floor of a day room, and an autopsy determined the cause of death was a form of cardiovascular disease. His wife, Diana L. Bullock, had earlier attempted to deliver his prescribed heart medications to the jail, the lawsuit says. Her offer was refused, it says, despite state law that requires jails to provide such medication to inmates. The lawsuit, filed in Marion Superior Court by Indianapolis attorney Paul Ogden, says the jail's medical care and policies amounted to negligence and deliberate indifference.

Maryland Department of Corrections
December 13, 2011 Baltimore Sun
Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano will go into the 2012 legislative session next month with ethics charges safely behind him. Bereano settled a case with the State Ethics Commission earlier this year by agreeing to pay a $2,750 penalty for failing to make required disclosures of meals and other gifts to state officials. Bereano, a convicted felon who settled a more serious ethics cases in 2009 with a $29,070 payment, came to a new agreement with the ethics panel in May under which he agreed to a fine and submitted amended disclosure forms that added detail about which state officials were the beneficiaries of his generosity. Over the years, Bereano appears to be the lobbyist most frequently cited by the panel for violations large and small. He now has seven ethics cases on file with the commission. The most recent settlement was found in an examination of the commission’s records. The panel does not normally send out public notices of violations – helping to account for why the infraction was not reported for months. The agreement stipulated that Bereano did not properly disclose his spending on meals and beverages he bought for Richard B. Rosenblatt, then an assistant secretary in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, each year between 2005-2008. Meanwhile, Rosenblatt was making the required disclosures each year – though he took a short cut by overestimating Bereano’s spending on him as coming to $500 a year for those four years. Rosenblatt was violating no law, according to the ethics commission, because state law allows executive branch officials to be wined and dined in the presence of the person footing the bill as long as the identity and amount are disclosed. But when ethics officials cross-checked Bereano’s disclosures against Rosenblatt's, they found that the lobbyist hadn’t been quite as diligent. Records show Bereano filed amended disclosures for 2006-2008 showing spending between $148 and $300 on wining and dining Rosenblatt for those three years while representing Correctional Medical Services. In the same settlement, Bereano also admitted to a failure to disclose a series of gifts to a Senate staff member between 2001 and 2005. The lobbyist explained that the gifts, including sports tickets, were personal in nature and weren’t paid for by one of his employers. The ethics panel found that such gifts to employees of the legislature are not permitted. The recipient was a former member of the staff of state Sen. John Hafer, a Western Maryland Republican. Bereano’s amended disclosure shows that the gifts followed a running theme involving the Dallas Cowboys, including tickets to the teams games against the Washington Redskins. The agreement noted that the staff member eventually reimbursed Bereano for the gifts. Rosenblatt, who now works in the prison health industry, said he regrets having been imprecise in his disclosures, but not having dined with Bereano. He said his outside-the-office communications with the lobbyist helped improve communications between his department and a company that already held a contract. “He helped improve the service received from the client,” Rosenblatt said. Bereano did not return a call seeking his comment. The infractions were far less serious than the previous case in which Bereano was cited. That involved signing an illegal contingency contract that would have rewarded him for a successful outcome. But the $2,750 settlement is considerably more than the typical fine paid in a case against a lobbyist – which typically involve $250 fines for late filing of a disclosure. Bereano is currently seeking to have his 1994 federal mail fraud conviction invalidated because of subsequent appellate rulings that call into question the prosecution's legal groundwork for the case.

January 4, 2011 Baltimore City Paper
After an unusual behind-the-scenes battle, state officials have chosen a new company to oversee medical care for Maryland prisoners. Wexford Health Sources Inc. of Green Tree, Pa., won the $312 million contract in November, but the incumbent company, Correctional Medical Services (CMS) of St. Louis, protested the contract award twice, according to a Wexford spokesperson. “We have been awarded the contract,” Wendelyn Pekich, Wexford Health Source’s director of marketing and communications, said in a phone conversation. “Unfortunately it has now been appealed twice by CMS. It’s within their rights—we understand that. It’s between them and the state.” State corrections officials and CMS spokespeople have kept mum about CMS’ multiple challenges to the contract award, neither returning reporter’s messages nor giving any comment. A Sept. 17, 2010, letter from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) director of procurement services to CMS thanked the incumbent company for its bid but said it “was not selected for contract award.” The state Board of Public Works was originally scheduled to vote on the new contract on Nov. 3, 2010, but the item was withdrawn. On Dec. 1, that body, which must approve nearly all state contracts, voted without discussion to revise the existing contract for one month, at a cost of $13.9 million. Nearly $11 million of that is going to Wexford, which currently oversees “utilization management” in the system. The company acts as a check on the doctors by monitoring who gets what treatment and sometimes denying certain care. CMS’ award was $340,000. Prison health care is a controversial—and expensive—part of the Maryland DPSCS’ budget. In the 1990s, the previous provider, Prison Health Systems, had trouble with regulators. The contract was broken into five pieces—medical care, utilization management, mental health, dental, and pharmacy—in 2005. That year CMS took over the medical care component, which is the largest part of the contract, amid protest by the American Civil Liberties Union. Soon after that, state auditors found that CMS had not hired enough skilled professionals to fulfill its contract, and was actually underbilling. A 2007 state audit found “several significant areas of noncompliance,” and a state auditors’ review of those findings released in April 2010 found that there were still problems (“Prison Medical Care Has a Ways to Go,” The News Hole, citypaper.com, April 5, 2010). At that time, the whole system, serving some 23,000 inmates at a cost of about $150 million per year, had only one medical doctor. Even inmate deaths could not be properly reviewed.

April 6, 2007 The Gazette
Maryland’s private contractors for prison inmate health services were recently cited by auditors from the Office of Legislative Audits for staffing shortages, not performing medical exams in a timely fashion and incomplete data. Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis was paid $49.2 million in fiscal 2006 for medical services for prisoners, according to the auditor’s report. Other companies were paid for mental health, dental and other services. ‘‘Better oversight is needed by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to ensure that health care contractors are effectively providing health care to Maryland’s 26,000 inmates,” the report states. Correctional Medical had an 11 percent staffing shortage in May 2006, the equivalent of 66 full-time positions, the report says. The company was also not required to develop formal plans to correct deficiencies such as ‘‘untimely initial and chronic care medical exams.” Correctional Medical officials did not return calls. The business received a five-year contract starting in July 2005, and more than 600 full-time employees began working in Maryland, according to a company news release. ‘‘Appropriate corrective action has been or will be implemented for all the agreed-upon recommendations noted in the audit report,” Gary D. Maynard, secretary of the Maryland corrections department, wrote in a recent letter to Legislative Auditor Bruce A. Meyers. Substantial improvements to inmates’ health care, including increased staff and more timely exams, have been made since Correctional Medical took over the service in July 2005, Richard Rosenblatt, the department’s assistant secretary for treatment services recently wrote to Maynard. ‘‘No health care delivery system is perfect,” Rosenblatt said. ‘‘The issues cited ... are important, but are not unique to a multi-vendor delivery structure.” The previous prison health care contractors received more scathing criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union, which called the care unconstitutional, and others. A 2002 report by the U.S. Department of Justice found that at least six deaths in Baltimore city’s detention center were due to chronic health neglect. In January, the state reached an agreement with the Justice Department to ‘‘resolve health and safety violations” at the Baltimore center, a letter by Meyers states.

March 1, 2007 Baltimore Sun
Maryland's inmate health care system faced staffing shortages last year, and plans stalled for drug treatment programs and a new electronic database to keep better track of records, a state audit released yesterday showed. Auditors from the Office of Legislative Audits noted "several significant areas of noncompliance" that affected inmate medical services at facilities across the state, including Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center and the city jail, according to the report. "We found a number of areas in which inadequate [state] monitoring appeared to lead to potential lapses in required medical coverage and certain required medical treatments," auditors wrote. The audit was the state's first public, independent look at a new system for inmate health care that the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services pursued in 2005. Until that year, inmate health care costs had been stable because the state had signed fixed-price contracts with medical providers. But because of rapidly increasing costs in the health care industry, for-profit companies that Maryland and other states relied on for inmate health care services were no longer agreeing to fixed-price deals. Faced with pressure to improve the system, particularly in Baltimore, state officials offered separate contracts for the prison system's varying health care needs. Different companies were awarded contracts for medical, dental, mental health and pharmaceutical coverage. These contractors now "pass-through" the costs of their goods and services to the state for reimbursement. For fiscal year 2006, the tab for inmate health care in the state totaled $109.7 million. Auditors found that medical care, dental care and mental health care providers weren't providing required levels of staff. They also noted problems with medical screenings, chronic care checkups, medication dispensation and timely treatment based on inmate needs. The contract system requires more monitoring by state staff than the previous system, auditors found, but the state agency hasn't been able to add more staff beyond the 30 employees who have overseen the system since before the new contracts were signed two years ago. Plans for a methadone detoxification program -- to help treat thousands of inmates dealing with drug addiction -- and for an electronic health records computer system remain in early stages, the audit said. Richard B. Rosenblatt, assistant secretary for treatment services in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, defended the current contract system but acknowledged room for improvement. He said the new contracts have ensured more staffing and more accountability from the state prison system's health care vendors. "It's clearly been improved, if only with the number of feet on the floor," Rosenblatt said. "There's staffing levels now that were never dreamed of under the prior contract. Now, the fact that we're not at 100 percent [staffing], sure that's disappointing to us. "If we've got weaknesses in the system, this is not from a doctor's point of view, it's from an accountant's point of view." Auditors did not identify individual contractors in their report. Correctional Medical Services Inc., a St. Louis-based inmate health care provider, is the main medical contractor for the state and was paid $49.2 million for its work in the 2006 fiscal year, which ended in June last year. CMS made $13 million less than it could have made under its contract. MHM Services Inc. of Tysons Corner, Va., provided mental health care services at a cost of $9.3 million -- or $1.8 million less than it could have made under its contract. In both instances, the companies were paid less than what their contracts allowed mainly because they provided less staffing and services, according to Rosenblatt. Ken Fields, a CMS spokesman, said in a statement that the company has increased staffing coverage over the past year by using overtime and temporary workers. "We will certainly work with the state to answer any questions that may arise from this review, but quality health care services are being provided to inmate patients in state prison facilities," Fields said. Inmate advocates argued that the audit showed that because the system is so important and costly, it should be scrutinized more regularly by outside entities. "We certainly don't fault the state for spending too much money on its health care contracts, we just think there should be better oversight to make sure that it's well-spent," said Sally Dworak-Fisher, an attorney with the Public Justice Center in Baltimore.

August 27, 2005 Baltimore Sun
A for-profit company the state brought in to provide medical care to Maryland prison inmates has hired far fewer staff than required, and advocates for prisoners say that they have compiled dozens of cases of poor and inadequate care since the new contract took effect July 1. St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc. serves as primary medical care provider for Maryland's 27,000 prisoners and is required under its contract to have 603 full-time staff. State officials acknowledge that the company currently has a staff of only 425. The new contract with CMS was part of a comprehensive restructuring of the way Maryland delivers medical care to inmates. The objective was to resolve complaints that have been voiced for several years about inadequate care for prisoners. But Elizabeth Alexander, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, said she has seen no signs of improvement. She said her group has taken sworn statements since late last month from more than two dozen prisoners in the state-run Baltimore City jails about lengthy delays in getting access to doctors, poor treatment and medication mix-ups.
"I see no evidence of any improvement in medical care," she said. "The quantity and quality of these complaints are just what we got before." Recent complaints, Alexander said, include an inmate who broke his jaw in a fight and was merely given aspirin. It was a month before any X-rays were taken, she said. She recounted another case in which a man with a hernia "the size of a racquetball" was given Tylenol but no other treatment. Prisoners with high blood pressure, asthma and other ailments have reported lengthy delays in getting access to physicians and said they sometimes did not receive their medications for weeks, Alexander said. Fields, the CMS spokesman, conceded that the company has fewer full-time workers than the contract calls for but said it is working diligently to hire more people.

June 2, 2005 The Daily Record
Opposition from some civil liberties advocacy groups could not stop the Board of Public Works from approving contracts yesterday with five companies to provide health care services at the state's correctional facilities. In letters to the board, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Justice Center urged against the approval of a contract with Correctional Medical Services Inc., a St. Louis-based company that provides prison health services in 27 states. The groups accused the company of inadequate care and cost-cutting, leading to some inmate deaths. They are taking contracts at too low a cost. They are in business to make a profit, said Elizabeth Alexander, director of the ACLU's National Prison Project, in a telephone interview following the board's vote. I have no confidence that CMS will deliver minimally adequate health care under the contract. Currently, Prison Health Services Inc. of Tennessee holds the contract to provide health services to the state's inmates. Earlier this year, the company came under media scrutiny for alleged inadequate inmate medical care in New York. In a letter to Board of Public Works member Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, the Public Justice Center called the new contract merely a change in form, and not in substance. The new contract also includes more funding for prison health care, and more financial flexibility. Previously, the contract was a flat-rate fee agreement, which meant Prison Health Services was responsibility for any costs above what the state provided. Last year, the company received $54.7 million from the state, and lost $12.5 million. The new contract is a reimbursement contract, which requires the state to reimburse the company for additional costs. For the year beginning July 1, the state expects to spend approximately $110 million for all six contract components.

June 2, 2005 Baltimore Sun
After five years of relatively stable health care costs for inmates, the state Board of Public Works approved an increase in spending of more than 60 percent yesterday that could push the annual tab to $110 million as officials try to improve medical services for the state's 27,000 prisoners, particularly in Baltimore's troubled jail facilities. Contracts were awarded to five for-profit companies, which will run different segments in the prisons' privatized health care system, such as medical, mental health and pharmaceutical services. Last year, the state spent $68 million on inmate health care, state corrections officials said. Correctional Medical Services Inc. of St. Louis won the biggest contract, a two-year, $125.6 million deal that involves providing medical services to state prisons and Baltimore's state-run jail facilities - a total of 32 facilities. Under a state contract signed in 2000, the company has provided comprehensive medical care services for the past five years to three prisons in Hagerstown. The state's main prison health care contractor since 2000, Prison Health Services Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., did not win any piece of the state's business in the latest round of bidding. Prison Health, which provided health care services to more than 20 state correctional facilities, had been criticized by inmate advocacy groups for skimping on services, particularly in Baltimore's jails. CMS has been the target of inmate advocacy groups and unfavorable media coverage over quality of care in the past, including an investigative series in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1998. The newspaper reported incidents of alleged medical negligence that, in some cases, led to inmate deaths in Missouri and elsewhere. "Correctional Medical Services' history of cutting corners to maintain profits jeopardizes the lives of thousands of incarcerated people across the country," said Elizabeth Alexander, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, in a statement opposing CMS' selection as Maryland's inmate medical provider. "Many states have already learned a painful lesson from their dealings with Correctional Medical Services," she said.

Massachusetts Department of Corrections
June 30, 2007 Boston Herald
A Suffolk judge has slapped down a lawsuit alleging improprieties in the awarding of a $300 million contract to provide medical care to prison inmates. Judge Allan Van Gestel denied an injunction filed by Correctional Medical Services that would have blocked the state from a five-year contract with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Correctional Medical Services argued the bidding process was rigged in favor of UMass by Patrick administration officials. The judge’s ruling clears the way for the DOC to finalize the contract.

June 27, 2007 Boston Globe
A company that unsuccessfully bid on a contract to provide medical services inside the state's prisons filed suit yesterday, seeking to block the awarding of the $300 million contract to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which already provides health services to the state's prisoners. Correctional Medical Services, which provided health services to the state's prison population from 1994 to 2002, contends that its proposal was superior, less expensive for taxpayers, and rated higher by an evaluation team. In addition, the firm's lawyers allege that UMass officials improperly obtained an internal memorandum from the evaluation team, which recommended that the correction commissioner choose either UMass or Correctional Medical Services, and then lobbied state officials, seeking to influence their decision, in violation of state bidding laws. A hearing on the firm's request for an injunction is scheduled tomorrow in Suffolk Superior Court. The Missouri-based firm bills itself as the nation's premier provider of healthcare services to prisons and jails, with a presence in 27 states. State officials defended the selection process. "Following a fair and open procurement process, the [Correction Department] awarded the contract to the vendor who it determined would provide the best value to the Commonwealth," said spokeswoman Diane Wiffin. "We are confident the Commonwealth and the Department of Correction will be well served with UMass as the provider of medical services."

MCI-Framingham, Framingham, Massachusetts
December 10, 2007 Boston Globe
She was born in the fall of 1968, shortly after her mother, an inmate at MCI-Framingham, went into labor at the state's only prison for women. She died 31 years later after hanging herself with a bed sheet at the same prison. For Rachael Day, suicide was the last desperate act of a woman whose life began pitifully and ended the same way. By the time of her death on Jan. 5, 2000, she had been charged with nearly 80 street crimes, used as much heroin and cocaine as she said she could find, and lived with a violent drug dealer who fathered two of her four children. But although Day's death in the prison where her mother bore her had a harrowing symmetry, it could have been prevented, her family said in a wrongful death lawsuit pending against the state in Suffolk Superior Court. Day had made at least two prior suicide attempts, according to prison and court records. Just 21 days before she died, she hanged herself with a shirt while left alone for five to seven minutes in a cell in the lockup at the US District Courthouse in Boston, where she was being held on a federal probation violation. But she survived. Day's mother, Kathleen Day, contends in the suit that medical staff at the Framingham prison - where Rachael Day was transferred after the suicide attempt - inadequately evaluated the risk of another attempt and took her at her word when she said she had not intended to kill herself in the lockup incident. Rachael Day's own assessment was plainly unreliable, the suit said. "She was brain-damaged, and she was telling everybody she was going to kill herself," Kathleen Day, who also has a record of drug offenses and other crimes, said in an interview. "Definitely, it could have been prevented." Day's family has been in settlement talks for months with the state and Correctional Medical Services, a contractor that helped provide mental health services at the prison. But Rachael Day's eldest daughter, Kathleen U. Carter, a 21-year-old student at Cambridge College, said she sometimes wishes the case would go to trial to expose the state's care of her mother. She said her mother should have been on a suicide watch in Framingham. Victoria A. Crawshaw, a lawyer defending Correctional Medical Services, declined to comment on the case. Attorney General Martha Coakley's office referred questions to the Department of Correction, which said it does not comment on pending litigation. Day's suicide was one of six at the prison since 1995, although only one occurred after 2000.

McPherson Prison, Newport, Arkansas
March 2, 2006 New York Times
Shawanna Nelson, a prisoner at the McPherson Unit in Newport, Ark., had been in labor for more than 12 hours when she arrived at Newport Hospital on Sept. 20, 2003. Ms. Nelson, whose legs were shackled together and who had been given nothing stronger than Tylenol all day, begged, according to court papers, to have the shackles removed. Though her doctor and two nurses joined in the request, her lawsuit says, the guard in charge of her refused. "She was shackled all through labor," said Ms. Nelson's lawyer, Cathleen V. Compton. "The doctor who was delivering the baby made them remove the shackles for the actual delivery at the very end. The experience of giving birth without anesthesia while largely immobilized has left her with lasting back pain and damage to her sciatic nerve, according to her lawsuit against prison officials and a private company, Correctional Medical Services.

August 21, 2005 Arkansas Gazette
A doctor who recently left his job as medical director at the state’s prison for women in Newport was so incompetent and indifferent to patients’ needs that he caused an inmate’s death last year, according to a federal lawsuit. In the negligence lawsuit filed last week in Little Rock, Larry Morris Sr. of Rosston in Nevada County blames Dr. Craig Bardell, 54, for the Oct. 23, 2004, death of his 47-yearold wife, Virginia Morris. The mother of two grown sons died seven months into a 10-year sentence for a conviction of possessing and selling crack cocaine. The suit also names as defendants a registered nurse, Cheryl Pigg, who worked under Bardell at McPherson Unit in Jackson County; and Correctional Medical Services, the St. Louis-based company that employed Bardell and that has been the target of numerous lawsuits across the country alleging improper inmate care. At least 199 cases have been filed against the company in the Eastern District of Arkansas, according to federal court records. One lawsuit, settled in November 1997, involved the July 29, 1995, death of a diabetic inmate at the Pulaski County jail, where the company then provided medical care. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette filed a successful lawsuit in 1995 against the sheriff’s office to get access to the company’s medical guidelines. The company currently provides medical services to more than 13,000 Arkansas inmates under a $38 million contract. With contracts in 26 other states, the company is responsible for the health care of more than 212,000 prisoners nationwide, according to the lawsuit filed last week. Bardell previously worked as medical director of a women’s prison in Pennsylvania where, according to a lawsuit settled in May for $2.15 million, a 26-year-old woman died in 2002 from an asthma attack after he withheld her medication.
Court records show that, after Bardell pleaded guilty in 2001 to federal Medicare fraud charges, the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine eventually suspended his medical license for f ive years, retroactive to Nov. 6, 2002, with the suspension stayed in favor of five years’ probation.

Medium Security Institute, St. Louis, Missouri
August 30, 2012 ACLU Press Release
The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri’s civil suit against the city of St. Louis and Correctional Medical Services, the medical provider for the city jails that is now known as Corizon, was dismissed today. Originally filed in 2010 on behalf of an HIV-positive inmate at the Medium Security Institute in St. Louis, the ACLU-EM’s lawsuit cited life-threatening deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition. The inmate, known as John Doe to protect his privacy, was incarcerated in early 2010 and for the first 20 days of his stay was denied the life-saving medication for which he had a daily prescription. During that period he was given only Tylenol, despite repeated attempts by him, a friend and his doctor to re-establish his prescribed medical regime. “No one awaiting trial should ever be denied medical care,” says Brenda L. Jones, executive director of the ACLU-EM. “But, this case was especially egregious because people who are HIV-positive can quickly build resistance to medications that are not taken consistently.” Tony Rothert, the ACLU-EM’s legal director, said “This gross violation of our client’s constitutional rights caused him suffering, mental and emotional distress, and great fear of physical harm. Even worse is the gross incompetence displayed by Corizon, the company that also provides medical services to the state of Missouri’s prisons.” The case was dismissed as part of a settlement agreement. A condition of the settlement prevents the disclosure of the amount of settlement funds paid to Doe.

Michigan Department of Corrections
February 10, 2009 AP
Michigan has awarded a three-year, $326 million contract to a Tennessee company to treat prisoners with medical problems. A state board approved the contract Tuesday, which means the company currently overseeing prison health care will be replaced starting in April. Brentwood, Tenn.-based Prison Health Services will take over for St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services. CMS has hired doctors and others to see Michigan prisoners for about a decade. But a year ago, an independent review found that most doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants were seeing too few prisoners a day. The review was ordered by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2006 after reports of inmates dying because of inadequate care.

April 4, 2008 Capital News Service
The Department of Corrections (DOC) has left many prisoners without proper medical care, according to a new report from the Office of the Auditor General. More than half of prisoners with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and neurological problems, weren't seen for regularly scheduled visits with health care professionals, according to the report. The report also noted cases where annual clinic visits and requested visits had been missed. DOC issued a preliminary response agreeing with the audit's findings, and saying that it has fixed or will fix the problems it identified. But DOC also contends that the audit misrepresents the state of health care in its prisons. For example, it says the report ignored unscheduled visits to clinics made by prisoners. The study looked at 130 inmates who had asked for medical assistance and found that only four hadn't been treated, although many visits were late. DOC indicated that a shortage of employees was partially to blame for its failure to comply with scheduling policies. The department has dozens of vacancies in its nursing and health care professional staffs. Sandra Girard, executive director of Prison Legal Services of Michigan in Jackson, said the report focused too much on bookkeeping. "It doesn't address the quality of the care provided." "People with chronic illnesses just do not receive good care," Girard said. Girard also said that the delays in medical help noted in the report are costly in the long run because chronic conditions are likely to worsen when left untreated. Russ Marlan, public information officer for DOC, said the recommendations were helpful. He said large-scale efforts to improve the department's medical services have been underway for some time and the criticisms raised over health care are being addressed. Other parts of the report were largely neutral, finding only small problems with items like the department's management of staffing and of prisoner medications.

March 11, 2008 The Detroit News
Internet chat room promises of sex with a child brought 27 men hurrying to an unassuming suburban home this weekend. But it was police who were waiting instead of the anticipated teen boy or girl the men, including a doctor from Canton Township, thought they were chatting with online. It was a highly motivated crowd. Four took taxi cabs. One man rode a bicycle through the cold from Ypsilanti. Another was dropped off at the undercover decoy house by his sister. All of them got arrested and Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said Monday that the cooperative venture with Wayne County sheriff's deputies and Van Buren Township police expects to round up many more men who made explicit plans with undercover police and volunteers from a nonprofit group that helps law enforcement agencies catch Internet predators. "The truth is stranger than fiction," Cox said. "One man was stopped by police on his way to the home on a shredded tire. He still continued to the house." The men, ranging in ages from 19 to 57 were arrested Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the home in the Walden Woods subdivision. The white-sided, two-story house had been unoccupied, but was made to look inviting enough to cause one man to expose himself to police when he walked in, said Cox. "The universe of people out there that are pedophiles is significant," said Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans, indicating that deputies in his undercover Internet Predator Unit routinely attempt to engage in Internet conversations with people interested in having sex with children. All but one of the men is from Michigan, and most are from Metro Detroit. One man came from New Jersey. The men were to have been arraigned on charges by Monday that carry up to a 20-year prison sentences. One of those arrested included Dr. Audberto Cesar Antonini, who holds a valid medical license according to the Michigan Department of Community Health Bureau of Health Professionals. Antonini, 51, until recently worked as a contract physician in the Michigan Department of Prisons system. His contract was terminated several months ago at the request of prison officials, according to Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical Services, the prison's health care provider. Although Antonini also was listed on documents provided Monday by police as an employee at W.A. Foote Memorial Hospital in Jackson, Antonini has never been on the hospital staff, said Terry Christian, the hospital's manager of medical staff services.

February 6, 2008 Grand Rapids Press
As medical director for a Grand Rapids clinic serving low-income patients, Dr. Jack Walen is no stranger to the medical problems of former prison inmates. The past year as technical adviser for a study of health care in Michigan's prisons gave him insight into what it's like for those still behind bars. The study, released today in Lansing, is the latest of several criticizing the quality of health care in the state's prisons. This one, prepared by the American Friends Service Committee and Prison Legal Services of Michigan -- two non-profit groups that advocate for prisoner rights -- recommends 32 changes to improve health care in the prisons. "I think the biggest issue, practically speaking, is most of these prisoners are not in for life," Walen said. "They're going to get out." Some come out with infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C, that often have gone untreated in prison and can be spread to those on the outside, he said. Some, due to inadequate care while incarcerated, become a burden to hospitals and other health care providers in the community. "Either way, the community loses," Walen said. "We, as taxpayers, ought to be outraged at the amount of money spent without adequate oversight for substandard care." He emphasized his volunteer work editing the report was separate from his role as medical director for Catherine's Care Center, a clinic that serves hundreds of uninsured patients every year. The report noted as examples Timothy Souders, who died of heat exhaustion in August 2006 while shackled to a bed at Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson; Jeffrey Clark, who died in July 2002 of dehydration at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia after the water to his cell was shut off; and Anthony McManus, who starved to death in the Baraga Maximum Security Facility in September 2005. "I think there's a definite culture within the department to deny problems when they arise," said one of the study's authors, Natalie Holbrook, of the American Friends Service Committee. The report recommends reviving the Legislative Corrections Ombudsman, a position the Legislature eliminated in 2003, and creating a permanent legislative committee to oversee prison medical care and mental health care. Some of the 32 recommendations are similar to those in a study by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) released two weeks ago. Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered that study after several news reports about health care in the prisons. The Corrections Department plans to follow virtually all 56 recommendations in the NCCHC study, spokesman Russ Marlan said, adding he is not surprised the latest report is highly critical of the department. "With a title like 'Tolerating Failure,' I figured it probably was not going to be a ringing endorsement of our program," he said. While placing most of the blame on the Corrections Department, the report also faults Correctional Medical Services (CMS), the for-profit company that has been paid nearly $670 million over the past decade to provide medical care in the prisons. A CMS spokesman released a statement saying: "We are focused on working with the Department of Corrections to continually strengthen the areas of Michigan's inmate healthcare system in which we play a role. It is important to note that no one from the organizations issuing this report even attempted to get the facts about inmate healthcare from Correctional Medical Services." Penny Ryder, of the American Friends Service Committee, said she hopes the growing weight of criticism will prompt corrections officials to improve health care. "It angers me that it took these people dying and full embarrassment in the press for this to happen," she said, adding, "I'm not totally convinced they will do the right thing in the future."

January 23, 2008 Detroit News
An independent audit released Tuesday said Michigan's $300-million-a-year prison health care system is fractured and inefficient, leading to unnecessarily high costs, impeding inmate access and diminishing the quality of care. The state needs to reorganize prison health care services, retrain staff, practice more preventive care, fix its electronic medical records system and hold medical providers more accountable for the services they provide, said a 131-page report compiled after a year-long review by the Chicago-based National Commission on Correctional Health Care. "Most of the problems we identified were attributable to system failures, rather than to individuals not doing their jobs," the $400,000 report determined. "We believe the most pressing problem for the Michigan Department of Corrections is to address the lack of medical service provider coverage and their generally low productivity. "Until this occurs, access to care, quality of care and health care staff morale will continue to suffer." State corrections officials said they agree with the report's findings and added the department's own health care improvement team is implementing many of the commission's 56 recommendations. "We have realigned our resources so we have more oversight," said state Corrections Director Patricia Caruso. "We do have the information and tools to restructure this delivery system and get to where we want to go." A federal court case, media attention and reports of inmates dying because of inadequate care prompted Gov. Jennifer Granholm to order the review in 2006. A U.S. District Court ordered the appointment of an independent monitor and called the state's system "systematically defective" and "dangerous." The revamping won't include firing Correctional Medical Services (CMS), an often-criticized private company that has provided HMO-style managed care in the Michigan prison system for the past 10 years, Caruso said. In fact, the contract with the company has been extended by a year, she said. The report, however, says the state should "seriously reconsider the advantages and disadvantages of continuing to contract out provider services," adding that if the state isn't paying medical staff salaries competitive with private industry, it should consider raising them. The report is critical of CMS, saying there are long patient waiting lists, and the company lets many medical provider shifts go unfilled. "We were told that CMS can unilaterally choose to reduce provider staffing from five days a week to two days a week, if it has trouble recruiting, and that CMS is not subject to any penalty or disincentive," the report said. Some staffing cutbacks violated the state contract, according to the report. The commission found that the department had a monitor for the CMS contract "but it is not clear what he actually did. This contract has been running for over 10 years, and we were not provided a single monitoring report." The report called the health care system "cumbersome," adding that it "results in duplication of administration, services and materials." An example: A female inmate attempted suicide by hanging. After guards got her down, she crawled under a bed and yelled that she wanted to die. A psychiatrist was called but did not come, saying he only sees patients after they've been evaluated by a psychologist. She eventually was evaluated and referred to the psychiatrist, which took more than 45 minutes. "This is an unacceptable response to an emergency situation, directly attributable to a faulty organizational structure," the report says. Problems with management of prison pharmacies also were cited. There are delays in receiving same-day medications and a number of drugs aren't available, the report said. Criticisms also are aimed at Serapis, the electronic medical record system. The report says it is difficult to search and loses relevant patient history information, and clinical documentation is "achingly slow" -- taking time from physician-patient visits. If the department rectifies inefficiencies in the prison health care system, the state should save money, according to the report. Caruso acknowledged the department's responsibility to taxpayers, but added: "Totally aside from money, it's about human lives." She said the reformed system won't cost taxpayers more. "We're taking positions that haven't been filled and are available to be funded and assigning them to health care," she said. Barbara Levine, executive director of the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending, an inmate advocacy group, said she's wary of any plan that professes to lower costs and improve health care for the 50,000 state inmates. "If it saves money while adequately protecting the health of prisoners, that's good," she said. "But when they went to managed care, that didn't happen. I'm always cautious about how money will be saved."

July 18, 2007 AP
Michigan will switch to HMOs to provide health care to the state's about 50,000 prisoners, Corrections Director Patricia Caruso says. The plan calls for up to six health maintenance organizations to supply care for inmates, Caruso told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. The services now are provided under a statewide managed care contract. The HMO contracts are scheduled for implementation in March, when current contract expires. The prison system will pay at least $300 million in health care costs this year, excluding security and transportation costs for doctor and hospital visits, Caruso said. "I absolutely think our costs can come down," she said, declining to estimate what the savings might be under the HMO system. Federal courts have been overseeing health care at state prisons in Jackson after inmates sued over what they said was inadequate care. Caruso said she understands public resentment over free health care for prisoners when many honest people go uninsured. But, she added, "prisoners are virtually the only people in our society with a constitutional right to health care."

February 28, 2007 The Grand Rapids Press
Fredrick Heinz needed medical care to save his life. Doing time in Marquette Branch Prison, he begged prison doctors to treat his hepatitis C, but was turned down, told it would cost too much, a friend, Jackie Deming, told a state legislative committee Tuesday. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November, Heinz asked for pain medication and was given two Tylenol in the morning and two at night, Deming testified. But when he asked for something stronger, the doctor took away the Tylenol, she said. He was scheduled for cancer surgery, but then was transferred to another prison where the medical personnel said they had no record of his illnesses. "He will never again be lied to and jerked around like a wounded animal," said Deming, of Hudsonville. Heinz died Feb. 5 at age 51. Deming's testimony came minutes after state Corrections Department officials assured the same panel -- the Corrections Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee -- that inmates receive adequate medical care. "We meet the community standards that are provided in any HMO," Barry Wickman, head of the Corrections Department's bureau of fiscal management, told the subcommittee. Tuesday's hearing came as the Corrections Department is under the competing pressures to cut its budget while improving medical care for prisoners. The department's contract with Correctional Medical Services, the for-profit company that has provided medical care in Michigan's prisons for the past decade, expires May 1, but Wickman said the department may extend it another year while the National Commission on Correctional Health Care conducts an investigation ordered by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. William Clancy, a prison psychologist and union steward, spoke out against what he called "the hoax perpetuated by the Department of Corrections as far as the quality of health care in the prisons." Every year, the department files the same report assuring the Legislature that CMS is providing medically necessary services to prisoners. "I ask you, if CMS is providing medically necessary service, then why are prisoners dying unnecessarily?" Clancy said. He noted the case of Anthony McManus, who died Sept. 8, 2005, in the Baraga Correctional Facility after CMS doctors repeatedly failed to heed nurses' requests to examine him. McManus, who was mentally ill, refused to eat, and his weight dropped from 140 pounds in April 2005 to 75 pounds five months later, when he died. "The citizens of our great state will be paying off wrongful death lawsuits for years to come," Clancy warned the legislators. His remarks were echoed by Gary Peterson, employed to schedule inmates' medical appointments at Marquette Branch Prison. Before the state privatized the medical care, the prison had three doctors, each seeing an average 25 to 30 inmates a day, said Peterson, a steward for the UAW local representing some prison employees. After CMS took over the care, the prison was cut back to one doctor seeing an average of eight to 10 patients a day, he said. The CMS doctors frequently quit, he said, leaving the prison without a physician. On Monday, a CMS doctor was fired, Peterson said, because he was not fully licensed to practice medicine in Michigan. "I believe the attorney general should be asked to look into the handling of this contract, as well as CMS's failure to honor its obligations," Peterson said.

December 12, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Lloyd Byron Martell lies on a bed in Dearborn's Oakwood Hospital, sets the disc player above the colostomy bag on his stomach and slides on the headphones. He shuts his eyes and smiles. For a minute or two, the old-school sounds of Sade make the world go away. "Smooth operator," he sings, way off key. "Smoooooooth operator." Then reality smacks him. He jerks up, coughing, spitting blood and phlegm into a plastic bowl. Waves of nausea run though him. His chest tightens, stomach spins, head pounds. Martell's colon cancer has spread to his lungs. His weight is down from 224 to 180. At 41, he has six months, maybe a year, to live, says his oncologist, Dr. Parvez Khan. Martell didn't have to go out like this. In 2004, driving on a suspended license, he fled from Redford police who tried to pull him over for a broken rear window. He got 1-4 years, but prison doctors effectively turned that short bit into a death sentence. Martell, of Detroit, was released in August to die. His cancer could have been contained had the Michigan Department of Corrections treated it two years ago. But like hundreds of Michigan inmates, Martell got a double sentence: one handed down by the court and another executed by a deadly and dysfunctional prison health care system. So now, once a week, the chemo drips into a port in Martell's chest and through a main artery, delivering the chemicals that kill his cells, cancerous and healthy alike, to prolong his life a few more months. Sometimes he wonders if it's worth it. It would be easier just to pop OxyContin and ride out his last few months in a haze. Without chemo, though, the cancer could spread to his liver and brain. "I don't want it to get any uglier, Dog," he tells me. Still, "every time I do this chemo, I wonder why. In the end, it's not going to change anything. I just want some time without throwing up, without pain, without doctors." The cancer can be slowed, but the beast cannot be stopped. The only time Martell cries is when he thinks of how things could have been. "They killed me, with their evil, neglectful ways," he says. Potentially curable if treated earlier. In December 2004, Martell had what he believed was a hemorrhoid lanced in prison. Medical records show it was actually a cancerous polyp. Dr. Jerome Wisneski, who works for Correctional Medical Services Inc., failed to treat it. By October of last year, Martell was bleeding from the rectum and unable to walk. He was sent to Foote Hospital in Jackson, which contracts with CMS for specialty services. Doctors told him he had terminal cancer. In an oncology report, they noted that his cancerous polyp was not treated, though CMS spokesperson Amanda Brown said in an e-mail that Martell "received prompt care." There are no guarantees with cancer, even with early intervention. But the earlier it's treated, the better. Martell's cancer was potentially curable when it was discovered two years ago. Martell's case isn't the first that Wisneski botched. In 1996, he disregarded a bile leak in inmate Richard LeMarbe's abdomen, court records show. Another doctor later found 3 1/2 gallons of bile in LeMarbe's abdomen, causing serious damage that required several surgeries. In 2001, LeMarbe, now 73, and his attorney settled for $150,000 in a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They would have gotten a lot more if LeMarbe, serving 25-50 years for second-degree murder, hadn't been an inmate. Martell's attorney, Brian McKeen of Detroit, is suing Wisneski, the Department of Corrections and Correctional Medical Services Inc. for medical malpractice and constitutional violations. But Martell probably won't live to see the money. It will go to his mother, father and 6-year-old son, Loyal, who lives with his mother in Missouri. "I won't be around to take care of my son," Martell says. "I don't want him to have to worry about anything." An oasis of hope. Peacemakers International mission sits on Chene on Detroit's east side, surrounded by vacant lots, drug houses and empty, burned-out buildings. It's an oasis of hope, where the homeless, addicted and afflicted come to pick up the pieces of a broken life. Martell has not come here to die, but to live. He first came to Peacemakers four years ago. While driving down Gratiot, a stray .38-caliber hollow-point grazed the back of his head. The car's rear window and headrest slowed the bullet enough so that it just penetrated the surface of Martell's skull. Inside the mission, Martell pulled out the bullet and prayed. The Rev. Steve Upshur -- "Pastor Steve" -- took him in. After Martell got out of prison in August, he came back to save his life again. Upshur, 57, a maverick minister and former heroin addict, wears black denim, flowing gray curls and feathered earrings. His church works with drugs addicts, prostitutes and anyone who needs hope and love. Upshur figures that's what Jesus is all about. "Pastor Steve always had the door open, even when I wasn't right," Martell says. He goes back and forth between a vacant house on the west side owned by his father and the Jesus House men's shelter run by Peacemakers International. Martell spent his first few days out of prison with his mother, Donna Martin, in Dearborn. More than anyone else, Martin, 60, has been there for Martell when he was in prison and before. Still, the two fought when Martell was at her home. They agreed it was best that he stay somewhere else. At the church mission, Martell found new peace. He had been running all his life, chasing the next high, whether it came from drugs, fighting or drag racing. Bored with high school, Martell dropped out in his sophomore year, earned a GED and, at 19, became a diesel mechanic for the Detroit Department of Transportation. His father, Lloyd Byron Hill, also worked for DDOT and raced cars semiprofessionally, as did Martell. Martell was smart and worked hard, often earning more than $1,000 a week as a mechanic, but he'd blow a lot of it on alcohol and drugs. "I had problems with alcohol, drugs and my temper," Martell says. "But I got up and worked every day. My plan was to go back to the dealership and work as mechanic. "Now all my dreams are shattered." Martell gets $800 a month in disability from Social Security. Medicaid covers medical bills. Fresh out of prison, he was almost in a rage, but he has since let much of that anger go. "I'm ready to die," he says. "I've made peace. There's no way I can carry all that anger around. That will kill you, too." Telling his story has helped him heal. I watched him tell it, his voice raspy and raw, at a weekday service at Peacemakers a month ago. On Nov. 16, he told it again at a Lansing public hearing on prison health care sponsored by Prison Legal Services of Michigan and the American Friends Service Committee. He spoke from the heart and, when he finished, 100 people stood up and applauded. "I'm just trying to save the next man," he says. Martell's story and those of others like him, along with public pressure, have made a difference. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has ordered a review of the prison health care system and a federal judge has also ordered changes. Martell's body is failing but, somehow, he feels free. He can't save the world or even his own life, but he's trying to make things better for others. There's no better way to live or die. JEFF GERRITT is a Free Press editorial writer.

December 8, 2006 WOOD TV 8
A federal judge on Thursday held the state Department of Corrections in contempt and threatened $2 million in fines unless it hires more physicians at Jackson prisons. In a scathing 61-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen ordered the department to hire extra doctors within four months. He said inmates' health care is "systematically defective, dangerous and readily results in preventable death, illness and suffering due to untreated serious medical conditions." Enslen also ordered that the department hire more nurses, file a staffing plan within three months and create independent monitoring offices at the prisons to handle inmates' complaints. Health care at the Jackson facilities has been under federal oversight for years, the result of a long-standing lawsuit by prisoners represented by the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. Enslen cited delays causing prisoners to not get proper treatment until it was too late. He said a prisoner deserves to serve his sentence and nothing more. "What he does not deserve is a de facto and unauthorized death penalty at the hands of a callous and dysfunctional health care system that regularly fails to treat life-threatening illness," Enslen wrote. Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said he couldn't comment specifically on the ruling because state attorneys were still reviewing it. He said, however, that it's an "ongoing battle" to recruit and retain health care workers to work inside prisons. Last month, Enslen issued a separate decision criticizing the state's care of mentally ill inmates and halting the use of non-medical, punitive restraints on prisoners. That decision came after a 21-year-old mentally ill inmate died in August after spending four days naked inside a hot, isolated cell at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson. An autopsy determined the inmate, Timothy Joe Souders, died accidentally of hyperthermia and dehydration. Elizabeth Alexander, director of the National Prison Project, said the judge noted in Thursday's ruling that prisoners who need specialty care face too many delays. Between 30 and 40 percent of specialty care wasn't provided within the time deemed medically necessary, Enslen said. Of six randomly selected cases, four involved delays that could have caused unnecessary death or suffering, he said. It took 40 days to test a patient with blood in his urine. Another inmate complained of a mole on his back, and despite a doctor saying it should be removed surgically, there were many delays. Later testing showed malignant melanoma and that the cancer had spread while the patient was awaiting treatment. "This is a very significant decision," Alexander said. "Our hope is that finally the state will turn the corner and understand it has to clean up a dysfunctional medical care system." The ruling covers three of the five prisons in Jackson, Marlan said. Each prison typically houses about 1,000 inmates. Gov. Jennifer Granholm in August ordered an independent review of prison health care. The state earlier this week picked an outside agency, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, to conduct the review. "That should give us a good idea on where we stand," Marlan said. The case is Hadix v. Caruso, et al.

November 14, 2006 Detroit Free Press
In the end, it took a federal judge to get it right. Michigan's state bureaucracy, against all available evidence, has been in denial about Michigan's deadly and dysfunctional prison health care system. Even Gov. Jennifer Granholm's pledge in August to order an outside review of health care in Michigan's nearly 50 prisons is beginning to smell like an election-year ploy. The review was supposed to start in early October but the state hasn't even decided who is going to do it. The strong wording in the preliminary injunction he issued Monday shows that U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen of Kalamzoo had clearly run out of patience with the state. He told the Department of Corrections and its private contractor for primary services, Correctional Medical Services of Missouri, to either treat sick inmates or be held in contempt of court and jailed. "You are valuable providers of life-saving services and medicines," Enslen wrote. "You are not coat racks who collect government paychecks while your work is taken to the sexton for burial. The days of dead wood in the Department of Corrections are over, as are the days of CMS intentionally delaying referrals and care for craven profit motives."

November 14, 2006 Baltimore Sun
A federal judge has ordered prison officials in Michigan to immediately cease the use of non-medical, punitive restraints following the death of a mentally ill inmate who died after four days spent naked and shackled in an isolated cell. U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen's sharply worded order, issued Monday, directly addressed the case of Timothy Joe Souders, who was serving up to four years for resisting arrest, assault and destroying police property. Souders, 21, spent most of his last four days naked inside an isolation cell at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson, his arms and legs bound in shackles and sometimes lying in his own urine. He died Aug. 6, two hours after jail staff removed his restraints. "The court finds that the defendant's practice constitutes torture and violates the Eighth Amendment," Enslen wrote in his ruling. "Its cessation is required immediately to prevent further loss of life, loss of dignity and damage to both inmates and correctional officers." His order also requires the state's Department of Corrections to submit a plan within 45 days for how to improve mental health care for inmates. The state has contracted with Correctional Medical Services Inc., a St. Louis company, to provide health care to prisoners. Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said the department was still reviewing the order and had no comment Monday. Following media reports that examined issues highlighted by Souders' death in August, Gov. Jennifer Granholm called for an independent review of health care in the state's prisons. Souders' family last month filed a federal lawsuit against CMS. The official cause of Souders' death has not been announced.

October 26, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has pledged to do what's necessary to fix the state's troubled prison health care system. To do that, the governor will need the truth -- straight with no chaser -- from the independent review she ordered in August. But getting it won't be easy. The people who really know what's up -- prison employees and inmates who use the health care system -- won't speak freely. They'll fear retaliation, unless the department offers them anonymity and protection. So far, state administrators don't seem even to be aware of the problem, but the people who live and work in the system are. Inmate Henry Donald Franklin, 43, testified in federal court earlier this month about the death of 21-year-old mentally ill inmate Timothy Joe Souders. Before testifying, Franklin apparently took some payback for talking to prisoners' attorneys who were investigating Souders' death. Franklin was locked up near the isolation cell where Souders died on Aug. 6, after spending most of his last four days strapped to a steel table in oppressive heat. In a Kalamazoo courtroom, Franklin said he had heard Souders, who might have died from dehydration, choking and asking for water. Franklin, who is legally blind, said he kicked his cell door on several occasions and yelled for help. Officers told him to shut up and mind his own business, he said, finally threatening to put him in restraints. I visited Franklin last week at Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson, where he's serving 30-50 years for unarmed assault with intent to steal. After he had spoken to the attorneys, Franklin said, someone broke his typewriter into four pieces and pushed in the grill of his radio. He also said pain medication and eyedrops for his glaucoma had been withheld for about a month. Prison officials say they have investigated the matter and deny the allegations that Franklin made to me and under oath in federal court. "No one's given me any help since I talked," Franklin told me through the glass in a prison segregation visiting area. "They left me hanging. If I would have known, I wouldn't have done this (testified)." Even high-level administrators could face reprisals for bucking the system. Dr. Chris Samy became regional medical director in Jackson in February. But Samy, a corporation medical director for 10 years, told me she was forced to resign her Corrections post in June. Her job was to monitor health care and oversee Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., a controversial private contractor delivering primary medical care in Michigan prisons. Still, Samy said she had no authority or support to make necessary changes. While at Jackson, Samy said three or four diabetic inmates died because blood sugar reactions were not properly monitored. "Most medically necessary procedures were denied or withheld from the inmates, resulting in long-term illness or death," she said. When Samy complained, she said prison medical administrators ignored her and finally made her so uncomfortable that she had to resign. She cited a cozy relationship between the department and CMS. In fact, even an MDOC consultant concluded this year that Corrections staff are too protective of CMS. "No one has the guts to say, 'Do what has to be done,' " said Samy, a suburban Detroit resident in her mid-50s. MDOC spokesman Russ Marlan said the department is investigating Samy's allegations. He said she made no formal complaints while employed by the department. Also troubling is an alleged "witness promotion plan." A civil service grievance filed against MDOC last summer alleges that Director Patricia Caruso approved transfers and promotions for about 10 employees who testified in 2004 on the department's behalf during a 27-day grievance hearing against former Pine River Warden Jan Trombley. On the flip side, the 10 or more employees who testified against the department did not get them. Deputy Director Dennis Straub made it clear in an earlier meeting that the department would deny opportunities to employees who went against it, said East Lansing attorney Robert G. Huber, who represents the employees. Employees called it the "witness promotion plan." According to one MDOC employee, Straub said "staff who don't (support the department) can find a home elsewhere." Caruso denies the allegations and has asked the Michigan State Police to investigate. My opinion: Caruso has too much integrity to sanction anything that shady. But the point is, employees undoubtedly will feel pressure to protect the department during an outside investigation. All these allegations underscore how hard it will be to get solid information. The no-snitch rule operates not only on the street, but also inside criminal justice agencies. Granholm should make sure the people who work and live in Michigan prisons feel safe enough to tell the truth. Employees and inmates must get anonymity and immunity, or the governor's so-called independent review will be little more than a whitewash. JEFF GERRITT is a Free Press editorial writer. Contact him at gerritt@freepress.com or 313-222-6585.

October 5, 2006 Lansing State Journal
The family of a mentally ill inmate who died after spending most of his last four days naked inside an isolated prison cell has filed a lawsuit against a company hired to provide medical care to state prisoners. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit claims that Timothy Joe Souders, 21, of Adrian, was restrained to a bed and left to lie naked in his urine and feces without access to food. He died on Aug. 6, two hours after staff at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson removed his restraints. Ken Fields, a spokesman for medical contractor Correctional Medical Services Inc. in St. Louis, Mo., said the company was reviewing the lawsuit and he couldn't comment on patients. Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, told The Detroit News that Souders' death was under investigation, and he could not comment on the claims in the lawsuit. Souders was serving 1 to 4 years for charges including resisting arrest and assault.

September 24, 2006 Grand Rapids Press
In his cell at a Jackson prison, Joseph Griffin was dying, unable to convince his doctors he needed the care that could save his life. Tests to diagnose his illness were repeatedly delayed by doctors working for Correctional Medical Services (CMS), the firm contracted to provide care for the state's more than 50,000 inmates. After five months of suffering with a swollen right arm and legs so bloated he no longer could walk, Griffin, serving time for shoplifting, died May 9, 2005. He wasn't the only Michigan inmate who died last year due to inadequate medical care. In January, Larry Ervans, a 61-year-old window washer doing time for selling drugs, bled to death in his cell two days after complaining to the medical staff about abdominal pain. The prison doctors didn't order a simple test that could have detected a bleeding ulcer. In February, Hakim Muhammad, 45, convicted on a drug charge, died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, untreated for months as a doctor repeatedly ignored requests to examine him. When he complained of severe pain in his hip and legs, the doctor canceled his medication and took away his wheelchair. In June, Steven Boals, 52, convicted of armed robbery and auto theft, died of lung cancer two months after complaining of fatigue, weight loss and a lump on his chest. During the last two months of his life, he suffered in pain as a prison doctor repeatedly failed to examine him or order treatment. Later that month, John McRae, a 70-year-old convicted murderer, died in his cell after the prison's medical staff failed to follow an outside doctor's instructions on caring for his many health problems, including heart failure, diabetes and internal bleeding. In each case, the death certificates list the cause as "natural," but their deaths could have been avoided, or their suffering at least alleviated, if they had received proper medical care, according to an independent doctor who reviewed the cases. Dr. Robert Cohen, appointed by U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen to monitor health care in the Jackson prisons, cited numerous examples of inmates suffering and dying due to understaffing, misdiagnosis and delays in treatment. Cohen, a nationally recognized expert on prison medical care, declined to be interviewed for this story, but in his report to Enslen last September, he cited numerous "significant problems with the care being provided to the sickest prisoners," particularly at the Duane L. Waters Hospital inside the Jackson prison complex. "It was routine in Duane Waters Hospital for nurses to request physicians to examine patients and for physicians not to come," Cohen wrote. "I have never before heard of physicians failing to respond to nursing requests to evaluate a patient, but according to the medical records I reviewed, and according to the nursing staff at DWH, this is routine." After reading Cohen's report, Enslen found the health care in the Jackson facilities amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, and he ordered the state to come up with a plan to improve it. State Corrections Department officials said they are implementing a plan, although they disagreed with Cohen's conclusion that health care in the prisons is substandard. "We do not necessarily agree with everything Dr. Cohen said in his characterizations of these cases," said Richard Russell, head of the department's bureau of health-care services. "What you have to understand is, in any health-care system, there are cases that don't go the way you want them to go." One doctor repeatedly faulted by Cohen for providing inferior care was forced to resign, although Russell called the doctor "a qualified physician. I'm saying I don't believe he needed to be let go." He contended Cohen focused on the worst cases and "made generalizations that are not typical of our system." But in August, Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered an independent review of the entire prison health-care system following the death of 21-year-old mentally ill inmate. Timothy Joe Souders, doing one to four years for assault, resisting arrest and destroying police property, had spent most of his last four days in an isolation cell, his arms and legs shackled to a steel bed. Although Souders suffered numerous physical and mental illnesses and the Corrections Department had issued a heat advisory, no doctor visited him during those four days. His death "was a terrible unnecessary tragedy," Cohen wrote in an Aug. 14 letter to Enslen. " ... There are a number of additional continuing serious deficiencies in the medical program which require immediate action, some of which may have contributed to the abject failure to provide Mr. S. with medical care. ... This is an emergency that's gone on for too long and is having an extremely adverse effect on patient care." While Cohen's reports covered only the medical facilities inside the sprawling Jackson prison complex, some inmates' rights advocates contend the quality of care there is typical of the state's entire penal system. "It's a nightmare," said David Santacroce, a University of Michigan law professor whose students have filed lawsuits for the inmates. "There's an incentive for them (CMS) to keep costs down. The less they spend on medical care, the higher their profit. It's a mess, and it shows no signs of getting better here or anywhere else CMS is present." Patricia Streeter, an attorney in a class action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections, called health care in the prisons "appalling." That lawsuit led Enslen to appoint Cohen to monitor health care in the Jackson prisons two years ago. Prison health care never was all that great, Streeter said, but in the nine years since CMS took over, it has deteriorated. "There are a lot of cases of misdiagnosis," she said. "They don't catch conditions quickly. Screening tests are ordered with no follow-up." Carla Ringleka's family believes her death Aug. 28 could have been prevented if doctors at the Robert Scott Correctional Facility had diagnosed her breast cancer and started treatment earlier. Ringleka, of Stanton, convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her husband, first complained of a lump in her right breast in February 2001, but a prison health-care worker dismissed it as "fatty tissue." Seven months later, a mammogram showed the lump was cancer, which by then had spread to her lungs, liver and bones. She died awaiting a decision on her request for a medical commutation. Robert Walsh, chief psychologist in the Jackson prisons at the time CMS took over, accused the company of "horrendous neglect." "There's a complete failure of the bureaucracy in the central office (of the Corrections Department) to monitor this contract," he said. Walsh, who retired in 1999, is helping Prison Legal Services, a nonprofit organization based in Jackson, prepare a report on the quality of prison health care. St. Louis-based CMS provides health care for some 250,000 inmates in 26 states and 300 facilities. In its home state of Missouri, inmates accused the company of intentionally delaying or denying care for life-threatening illnesses. CMS paid $525,000 to avoid prosecution for manslaughter in the death of a North Carolina inmate. Health care in Michigan's prisons was provided by state employees until 1997, when former Gov. John Engler's administration signed a 10-year contract with United Correctional Managed Care, a for-profit company in Anaheim, Calif. The following year, CMS bought some of United's assets and took over the contract. The idea was to stem the rapidly rising cost of health care for the state's growing prison population. Despite the privatization, the cost of prison health care continued to rise, from $115 million in 1997 to a projected $190 million in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The average annual cost of health care for each inmate rose from $2,573 in 1997 to $3,690 in 2005. Yet the Corrections Department boasts that since 1997, the state has saved $86 million on prisoner health care. The state pays CMS the actual cost of health care plus an administrative fee. The contract includes financial incentives for CMS to hold down costs, but Corrections Department officials insist the provision does not prompt CMS to deny care. Dr. Jerry Walden, an Ann Arbor physician and former medical director for a federal prison in Indiana, disagrees, claiming CMS has a financial incentive to delay and deny treatment for sick inmates. "I'd like to see them get rid of for-profit health care," said Walden, hired as an expert witness for the plaintiffs. A CMS spokesman denied the company delays or denies treatment to maximize its profits. "To the contrary," CMS spokesman Ken Fields said, "CMS health-care professionals are trained and encouraged to use their experience and judgment to decide what treatment is appropriate for a patient."

September 1, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Timothy Joe Souders died on Aug. 6, after spending most of his last four days bound naked to a steel bed in four-point restraints, soaked in his own urine. At 21, Souders' life was tragically short and, in many ways, just plain tragic. Mentally ill and unable to get help, Souders ended up alone and dead in a hot, segregated cell at Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson. His parents did not know how he died. Steven Souders and Theresa Vaughn of Adrian learned the details two weeks later from my Aug. 20 report in the Free Press. A woman who played bingo at the hall where Timothy Souders worked as a caller brought a copy of the paper to his memorial service that day. Steven Souders, 41, a journeyman machine repair worker, said the Michigan Department of Corrections told him his son died in his sleep. MDOC denies that, but Timothy Souders' death helped push Gov. Jennifer Granholm to order an overdue independent review of prison health care. His story touched a nerve in Michigan, which has closed most of its mental health facilities during the last few decades. Thousands of the state's mentally ill have ended up on the street or in homeless shelters, jails or prisons. Geoffrey Fieger's law firm will file a wrongful death lawsuit against MDOC employees and Correctional Medical Services Inc., attorney Paul Broschay told me this week. CMS is the private, Missouri-based company under contract for primary care physicians and other services in Michigan state prisons. Souders was screaming for help, but no one was listening. He went to prison on Nov. 1, having received a one- to four-year bit for assault, resisting arrest and destroying police property. It turned into a death sentence. Prison was no place for Souders, who had a bipolar disorder. He took medications for multiple conditions, including manic depression, psychosis and hypertension. Souders received seven misconduct reports: four for simply being out of place and another three for fighting, assaulting a prisoner and destroying property. Roughly 24% of Michigan's nearly 50,000 inmates have a history of mental illness, Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. MDOC must do a better job of accommodating them, including improving communication between security and health care staff, and between Corrections and the Department of Community Health. Mental health staff at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility tried to transfer Souders to Huron Valley Center in Ypsilanti, a psychiatric hospital for prisoners, but a transfer coordinator working for Community Health failed to move him. The state Health Department has reassigned that coordinator and is investigating the incident. Still, someone from Corrections, knowing Souders' condition, should have had enough sense or sympathy to pick up a phone and try to get him out of that segregated cell in Jackson. At one point, the heat index probably reached 106, and medications put Souders at high risk for heat-related injury or death.

August 28, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Gov. Jennifer Granholm took the right first step in ordering an independent review of state prison health care last week, following an investigation by the Free Press editorial page. Now she must make sure the review is done right. If not, longstanding practices will continue that endanger inmate health, encourage more lawsuits, invite further federal control of state prisons, and provide practically no oversight of the $280 million a year taxpayers spend on prison medical and mental health care. A proper review must include confidential interviews with current and former prison employees, as well as with the staff of outside hospitals under contract to treat inmates. People must feel free to speak their minds without fear of retaliation. Investigators must also talk confidentially with prisoners, who are too often discounted by prison medical staff. Prisoner advocacy groups such as Prison Legal Services of Michigan in Jackson and the American Friends Service Committee in Ann Arbor can provide valuable insights. They have worked on prison health care problems for years.

August 22, 2006 Daily Telegram
The parents of a former Adrian man who died this month in a Jackson prison say they’re angry about the way he was treated while in custody — and that it took an investigation by the Detroit Free Press for them to find out about it. Timothy Joe Souders, 21, died Aug. 6 at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility, where he was serving a 23-month to four-year sentence for felonious assault. He had pleaded guilty in June 2005 to stealing paintball equipment from the Adrian Meijer store and threatening store employees and a police officer with a knife. He was sentenced in October. The Free Press reported Sunday that Souders spent most of his last four days shackled to his bed in a hot cell despite being on medication that left him at high risk for heat-related injury or death — but the man’s father, Steven Souders of Adrian, said he was told only that his son had died in his sleep. “The state of Michigan has been lying to me since the day Timothy died,” Steven Souders said Monday. “They’re trying to cover up their wrongdoing.” But Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, said he believes proper procedures were followed when prison officials placed Souders in segregation and had him restrained. He said prisoners who are restrained in the manner Souders was held are monitored every 15 minutes and released every two hours for a bathroom break.

August 22, 2006 Detroit News
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has ordered an independent review of health care in Michigan prisons as a result of cases that included the Aug. 6 death of an inmate who had spent four days in an isolation cell. "The governor is very concerned about the issue of prison health care," said Granholm press secretary Liz Boyd. "We want to make sure the prisoners are getting proper care. We also want to make sure taxpayers' dollars are being wisely spent." The state's Corrections Department has a $70 million-a-year contract with Correctional Medical Services of Missouri to provide physical care to inmates and spends about $90 million annually on mental health services through community-based agencies. Both programs will undergo review. Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said the state has had its contract with Correctional Medical Services for 10 years. The company supplies prison doctors and other health care workers. It also negotiates contracts with specialized care providers outside the prison system.

August 21, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Michigan legislators remain blissfully ignorant about a big and growing part of the state budget, despite widespread evidence of almost criminal incompetence and negligence in how the money is spent. The state shells out $190 million a year on prison health care, including more than $70 million to Correctional Medical Services Inc., a controversial Missouri-based company, for primary care physicians and other services. But there's ample evidence, for anyone who cares to look, that the state is not only violating its constitutional duty to provide adequate medical care to prisoners, but also spending more on serious medical problems that could have been prevented. Just in the last week, I reported on a 41-year-old inmate who went home to die after prison doctors failed to treat his cancer, and another 21-year-old prisoner who died in Jackson, after spending most of his last four days strapped to a bed in four-point restraints in a hot cell. Michigan is inviting further court intervention into how it runs its nearly 50 prisons. Still, legislators have failed to provide real oversight. Even Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming, one of the state's most capable, experienced and knowledgeable legislators, appeared clueless when I asked him recently about the issue. Practically the only information legislators receive on the CMS contract is a one-page summary twice a year. A July 1 report to the Legislature summed up the quality of prison health care in one sentence: "Investigation of prisoner grievances, family complaints and issues brought to the MDOC by legislators have assured that the quality of services provided by CMS meets MDOC expectations." That statement mocks the Michigan Department of Corrections' mantra of "Expecting Excellence Every Day." Court documents, medical records and interviews with dozens of prisoners and their advocates show that incompetent and negligent medical care, misdiagnoses, delayed or denied treatment, withheld pain medication and poor accommodations for people with disabilities are common in Michigan prisons -- and have been for decades. MDOC has been under a federal consent decree in a case called Hadix since 1985 to improve medical care and other conditions at state prisons in Jackson. Even so, medical care has probably gotten worse since 2000, when CMS took over the contract for primary care. CMS has maintained it "provides medical care that's evidence-backed and medically necessary, and those services are provided at the community standard of care." But there's plenty of evidence of serious, publicly reported problems with the company's performance in state prison systems around the country. A report filed this month in U.S. District Court by Dr. Jerry S. Walden of Ann Arbor, an expert witness in the Hadix case, concludes that Michigan's problems are getting worse, not better, and pose a serious health risk. Walden found that delays and disruptions in patient care were routine, sometimes resulting in death, and even basic medical records were poorly maintained and organized. Due to a "clerical error," Walden reports, almost no death certificates were recorded this spring for inmates who died in the Jackson prisons covered by the Hadix decree. Walden described the system as a "culture of failure," lacking leadership and unable to prevent unnecessary suffering and death. "I am convinced that the necessary leadership will never be in place until CMS is ousted," he concluded. Contact JEFF GERRITT at jgerritt@freepress.com or 313-222-6585.

August 20, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Timothy Joe Souders lived a hard life and, on Aug. 6, died an even harder death in a segregated prison cell in Jackson. Souders, 21, spent most of his last four days naked, without physician or psychiatric care, his arms and legs bound to a steel bed in four-point restraints. He was in a bare, all-steel isolation cell about the size of a walk-in closet. He went to the cell Aug. 2 because of unruly behavior. He lay in urine -- "agitated, disoriented, psychotic" -- as the cell felt close to 106 degrees at times, according to a report written by a federal monitor assigned to scrutinize medical care for Jackson prisons. Souders was found dead on his bed around 4 p.m., two hours after staff had removed his shackles. The death of the severely mentally ill inmate is a glaring example of a troubled state prison health care system, riddled with misdiagnoses, delayed or denied treatment and inadequate accommodations for people with disabilities. The Jackson prison complex, including the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility where Souders died, has been under federal oversight for more than 20 years. Corrections officials are investigating the death. Autopsy results might not be available for two or three weeks. The Michigan Attorney General's Office, which represents the Department of Corrections, disputed the account by the federal monitor, whose report this week brought Souders' death to light. "The governor's office is very concerned about the issue of prisoner health care," Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said Saturday. "We want to make sure that prisoners are getting appropriate health care and that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. Be assured, the issue of prisoner health care will be reviewed and, if changes are warranted, changes will be made." The Corrections Department had issued a heat alert the day Souders went into isolation. Such alerts are issued when the combined temperature and humidity index reaches 90 degrees. Alerts are supposed to trigger actions to ensure that inmates have adequate water and ventilation. Dr. Robert Cohen, the court-appointed monitor, uncovered Souders' death during a visit to the Jackson medical complex on Aug. 8-10. Disturbed by what he found, he issued a special report to U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen in Kalamazoo, who is enforcing federal oversight of the facilities. "Although the circumstances of Mr. S.' death overwhelmed my visit ... there are a number of additional continuing serious deficiencies in the medical program which require immediate attention, some of which may have contributed to the abject failure to provide Mr. S. with medical care," Cohen wrote. "There is a critical shortage of medical staff" at the Jackson facilities "and serious medical staff shortages throughout the medical program. This is an emergency situation which has gone on for too long and is having an extremely adverse effect on patient care." Souders' death was "predictable and preventible," Cohen wrote, "a terrible, unnecessary tragedy." Souders was serving a sentence of 1 to 4 years for resisting arrest, assault and destroying police property. Because he was taking medications for multiple medical conditions -- including manic-depression, psychosis and hypertension -- he was at high risk for heat-related injury or death, Cohen wrote. Still, a physician did not see him from the time he was restrained until he died. He was seen and monitored by nurses, however, Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. Mental health staff at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility tried to transfer Souders to Huron Valley Center in Ypsilanti, a psychiatric hospital for prisoners, but he wasn't moved, Marlan said. At least one person involved in the transfer has been removed, Marlan said. The department is reviewing policies on prisoner restraint. In June, the Free Press reported on Lloyd Byron Martell, whose cancerous polyp had gone untreated. Martell, 41, was sent home last week to die. In response to Souders' death, Cohen called an emergency meeting Wednesday with prison administrators, resulting in some of the Department of Corrections review. Cohen's investigation could take weeks and will include a review of tapes, incident reports and medical records. Critics say the Legislature, governor and correction officials have failed to properly oversee the $190 million a year the state spends on prison medical care, including the state's $70-million contract with Correctional Medical Services Inc. "Responsibility is so dispersed between state agencies, a private contractor, line staff and administrators," said Sandra Bailiff Girard, executive director of Prison Legal Services of Michigan. "No one is held responsible -- so there's little incentive to follow the rules." Contact JEFF GERRITT at jgerritt@freepress.com or 313-222-6585.

August 16, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Wearing prison khakis and a white T-shirt, Lloyd Byron Martell limped off a Greyhound bus in downtown Detroit Tuesday afternoon, looking tired but oh so happy. Smiling, he pushed a raggedy wheelchair with a cardboard box in the seat that held his medical supplies, including a month's worth of morphine and colostomy bags. Free at last, Martell walked into his mother's arms and stayed there, quietly, for a minute, before reaching over her shoulder and shaking his stepfather's hand. "Made it," I heard him say. At 41, Martell has less than a year to live. His colon cancer has spread to his chest and the relentless beast can't be stopped. Still, his worst fear is over: He won't die in a state prison in Jackson. He was released Tuesday. Like hundreds of inmates, Martell got a double sentence: one handed down by the court, another executed by the lame prison healthcare system. In Martell's case, a one- to four-year bit in 2004 for fleeing a police officer turned into a death sentence. Martell, driving with a suspended license, took off after Redford police tried to pull him over for a broken rear window. It was a knucklehead move, but he didn't deserve to die for it. I first wrote about Martell on June 19, revealing that his cancer probably could have been contained if doctors had treated it 20 months ago. In December 2004, Martell had what he thought was a hemorrhoid lanced. Medical records show it was actually a cancerous polyp that doctors ignored. His story became part of a Free Press investigation into the medical care provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections and Correctional Medical Services Inc. of Missouri, a private for-profit company under contract to provide primary care physicians and other services. In hundreds of cases, diseases have been misdiagnosed, undiagnosed or treatment is delayed or denied. When I talked to Martell's mother, Donna Martin, three weeks ago, she thought her son might die in prison. Martell was scheduled for a parole hearing on July 11, but the department canceled it because of a clerical error, rescheduling it for Aug. 15. Delaying Martell's release was inexcusable. He's dying, he's a non-violent offender and he had already served his minimum sentence. With all the grievances he was filing and the medical care he required, Corrections should have been happy to let him go. I called Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan, planning to write a column, and the department moved up the hearing to Aug. 2. He got his parole. Without help, however, sick and dying inmates have practically no way out. Their families are the only outside people who know, and they can't even get a return phone call from prison medical staff. At least Martell will die at home, surrounding by people who love him. Monday was a good day for Martin, 60, who lives with her husband, German Martin, in Dearborn. Almost giddy, she told me about the food she bought for Martell's welcome-home dinner: chicken and dumplings, chocolate chip cookies. She picked up a toothbrush, deodorant, mouthwash, shower gel, shampoo, razors, sheets, pillows and a comforter for the bed. "He's going to get anything he wants today," Martin said. What Martell wants before he dies is a little peace -- and justice. He's filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against CMS and the state. He stood in the Greyhound lobby, filled with joy and rage. "They tried to kill me in there, but it's not over," Martell told me, losing the smile for a minute. "It's going to be a short battle but a good one." For the next few hours, though, he enjoyed the moment: the Whopper his mother bought for him on the way home, his chicken-and-dumplings dinner, the fresh clean sheets and pillow he lay on. Today, the work that will fill the rest of his days begins. He and his mother will need to arrange medical care, as well as Social Security and Medicaid benefits. They'll shop for new clothes, too, something without prisoner No. 335246 on it. Martell will never get back his health but he has regained his freedom. On Tuesday afternoon, that was enough. JEFF GERRITT is a Free Press editorial writer. Contact him at gerritt@freepress.com or 313-222-6585.

June 23, 2006 Detroit Free Press
No one fully understands the state of medical care in Michigan prisons, but snapshots of that system from an investigation by Jeff Gerritt of the Free Press editorial board suggest it's dangerously dysfunctional. Legislators should not wait until the state's contract with Correctional Medical Services Inc. ends on March 31. They must provide more oversight now or invite further court intervention in the prison system, encourage costly lawsuits and perpetuate a standard of care that is inhumane and unconstitutional. Medical records, court documents and interviews with inmates and advocates show longstanding systemic problems with the medical care delivered to Michigan's 50,000 inmates. These include misdiagnosis, delayed or denied treatment and inadequate accommodation for people with disabilities. Legislators can start fixing these problems by appointing a medical ombudsman to investigate hundreds of inmate complaints about health care. That office should employ a physician, or at least have access to consultants who are doctors or medical experts. A medical ombudsman has become even more necessary since the Legislature closed the general office of the Corrections ombudsman in 2003. Now, the worst abuses stand little chance of even getting heard. Second, the state should create a streamlined grievance process for prisoner medical complaints. General grievance procedures are lengthy, cumbersome and often ineffective -- definitely not suited for addressing issues that potentially mean life or death. Finally, lawmakers ought to order a review of prison healthcare to determine how CMS is performing. They should ensure that Corrections exercises proper oversight and that state health care administrators wield the authority to change how CMS operates. Now, the Legislature receives practically no information about CMS, even though the Missouri-based company receives roughly $65 million a year from Michigan taxpayers. A prison sentence rightfully deprives an offender of his freedom. But it ought not subject prisoners to aggravated health problems, unnecessary suffering and even death. In one case, an inmate serving a one- to four-year sentence for fleeing a police officer was diagnosed with cancer but not treated for nearly a year. He now has only a year to live. A veritable death sentence for a minor crime is unjust by any standard of decency, and legislators can no longer claim they don't know. To refuse to act now is practically criminal.

June 19, 2006 Detroit Free Press
Michigan doesn't have the death penalty, but the state of health care in its prison system makes you wonder. Prisoners who get lousy health care don't get much sympathy from politicians or the public, especially when so many people on the outside are uninsured and struggling to get decent care. Still, most people would agree that negligent medical care leading to serious health problems, virtual torture and, yes, even death should not be part of a prison sentence. It has happened, though, over and over, to hundreds and perhaps thousands of inmates. More than 95% of the 50,000 people in state prisons will eventually get out and go back to their hometowns and families. It would be better for everyone, from relatives to taxpayers, if they returned in reasonably good health and not, for example, with untreated infectious diseases such as hepatitis C. Yet the quality of prison health care seems to have gotten worse since 2000, when the state contracted with Correctional Medical Services Inc. for primary care physicians and other services. It should be getting better. The Michigan Department of Corrections has been under a federal consent decree since 1985 to improve medical care and other conditions at prisons in Jackson. "The medical neglect seems worse, not better," Patricia Streeter of Ann Arbor, an attorney for the prisoners in the Hadix case, told me. "CMS has not adequately supervised its doctors or made timely specialist referrals, and MDOC appears unwilling or unable to see that it does." Medical records, court documents and rulings, and interviews with inmates and advocates show a pattern of misdiagnosis, delayed or denied treatment, withheld pain medication and inadequate accommodations for people with disabilities. "If you read the Hadix findings, any individual case might be egregious, but it's the systematic failure that's gut-wrenching -- that really turns your stomach," said Paul Reingold, director of the University of Michigan Clinical Law Program, which handles prisoner rights cases. Last year, a diabetic inmate died after suffering at least 15 episodes of hypoglycemia, some so severe he fell unconscious. "Crisis after crisis occurred, and yet his caregivers did not implement a coordinated care plan," Dr. Jerry Walden, the prisoners' medical expert, wrote in a sworn statement in federal court. Despite the health problems, nurses transferred the inmate back to the general prison population in early 2005. "Sadly, CMS, MDOC and nursing can each point a finger and nothing will change," Walden stated. "There is a system problem and one that ... leadership needs to address." In examining 16 recent prison deaths, Walden found patients with life-threatening diseases who were kept in their cells. Others suffered unnecessary episodes of severe hypoglycemia. One prisoner was taken off his inhaler despite chronic heart disease and failure, and another suffered an almost two-year delay in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. Corrections administrators say most inmates are healthier and getting better medical care than they did when they were free. But even the poorest person outside prison has options that prisoners don't CMS spokesman Ken Fields said he couldn't comment specifically on individual cases, but said CMS "provides medical care that's evidence-backed and medically necessary, and those services are provided at the community standard of care." The company, founded in 1979 and based in St. Louis, Mo., has prison and jail health care contracts in 26 states, with 80 employees in Michigan. Corrections says CMS has performed adequately and saved the state nearly $10 million a year, partly by negotiating cost-effective specialty care contracts with outside physicians. But sworn statements by experts filed in federal court in 2002, after reviewing thousands of documents, showed that dozens of prisoners with urgent and emergency symptoms were not seen for days. Nor did nurses respond properly to written medical requests, sometimes called kites. In some cases, treatment denied or delayed meant unnecessary suffering. A patient with a suspected broken shoulder had an appointment scheduled six days after his written request. One patient vomiting blood was not seen for five days. An inmate requesting a four-point cane because he kept falling and injuring himself did not get an appointment. In other cases, poor medical care probably led to death. Earlier this month, Dr. Robert Cohen, the associate monitor on medical issues for Hadix, informed U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen of Kalamazoo that many prisoners with chronic medical problems, including seizure disorders, HIV infection, hypertension and diabetes, had not received their medications for about five days. You won't hear much about any of these cases. Screwups and poor quality care are shielded by the secrecy of prison life in general, the confidentiality of medical records, and the rights to withhold information that private companies enjoy, even when they get millions of dollars of taxpayer money. Malpractice suits, which could discourage poor medical practices, have little effect on prisons. Unsympathetic juries, hurdles to getting inmates' medical records, and compensation caps under the Prison Litigation Reform Act discourage attorneys from taking any but the most serious and clear-cut cases.

April 22, 2004
Hepatitis C infection among Michigan prisoners is less widespread than feared -- affecting an estimated 13.8 percent of the population -- a new study finds, but the state still needs millions to treat inmates at risk of developing liver failure, corrections officials say.  "I am highly skeptical because it's so out of whack with what other states have found, and there's no good independent reason why Michigan should be any different than any other state," said David Santacroce, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan who has reviewed 200 records of infected inmates.  Santacroce and other critics charge that Michigan corrections officials and a private company the state uses for medical care, Correctional Medical Services based in St. Louis, Missouri, are not treating inmates properly.  "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people dying of this disease because the Michigan Department of Corrections and their primary health provider, CMS, does not want to spend the money," Santacroce said.  (Lansing Bureau)

Hepatitis C infection among Michigan prisoners is less widespread than feared -- affecting an estimated 13.8 percent of the population -- a new study finds, but the state still needs millions to treat inmates at risk of developing liver failure, corrections officials say.  "I am highly skeptical because it's so out of whack with what other states have found, and there's no good independent reason why Michigan should be any different than any other state," said David Santacroce, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan who has reviewed 200 records of infected inmates.  Santacroce and other critics charge that Michigan corrections officials and a private company the state uses for medical care, Correctional Medical Services based in St. Louis, Missouri, are not treating inmates properly.  "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people dying of this disease because the Michigan Department of Corrections and their primary health provider, CMS, does not want to spend the money," Santacroce said.  (Lansing Bureau, April 22, 2004)

Middleton Jail, Middleton, Massachusetts
April 20, 2006 Boston Herald
Just like the 1938 melodrama “Prison Nurse,” passions boiled over behind bars for real-life slammer medic Sandra Rosa when she became fevered for a caddish con she met inside the Middleton jail. But Rosa’s romance did not have a happy ending. By the time the 25-year-old LPN unchained her heart from Felix “Flex” Melendez - a violent felon she bailed out so they could be together - Rosa had lost her job and been bloodied and robbed by her dream man. “No comment,” Rosa said yesterday outside her home in Lowell, her lip no longer swollen from where Melendez’ fist landed two weeks ago after he allegedly picked her pockets of $1,300 during a makeout session in her brother’s borrowed Cadillac. Melendez, 26, of Methuen, whose numerous convictions include armed robbery and heroin dealing, was awaiting trial for larceny when he fell into a forbidden flirtation with Rosa, a nurse in the jail’s infirmary staffed and run by Correctional Medical Services. It’s unclear for how long the couple canoodled in the can, but word on the prison grapevine eventually reached Essex Sheriff Frank Cousin’s security team. On March 29, after love letters Rosa wrote Melendez were seized from his cell, she was escorted off the property. “Based upon information we received, there was some familiarity between the nurse and the inmate that was inappropriate,” said Cousin’s spokesman, Paul Fleming. Fleming did not identify Rosa by name, but said she was employed by CMS. CMS declined to comment.

Minnesota Department of Corrections
December 14, 2011 AP
A former inmate in St. Cloud who says he suffered eye and skin damage after an adverse drug reaction is suing the state prison system's medical provider. Forty-nine-year-old Teddy Korf of Pine City has filed a federal lawsuit against Corizon Inc., formerly known as Correctional Medical Services. He claims that medical officials prescribed him a drug in 2007 used to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy, even though he had no history of either. He says the drug had serious side effects that caused his skin to blister and slough off, and his corneas to deteriorate. He claims that medical officials prescribed him a drug in 2007 used to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy, even though he had no history of either. Corizon attorney Charles Gross declined to comment to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Korf already reached a $275,000 settlement with the state Department of Corrections. His lawsuit asks for damages in excess of $75,000.

Mississippi Department of Corrections
June 22, 2005 Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. - The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the St.  Louis-based health care provider for inmates at Mississippi's Parchman prison, alleging prisoners have been misdiagnosed and received inadequate treatment.   The federal lawsuit against Correctional Medical Services, Inc., one of the nation's largest for-profit medical providers for prisoners, was filed Wednesday on behalf of 1,000 inmates at Parchman's Unit 32.  Other defendants are Chris Epps, the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, deputy commissioner Emmitt Sparkman and other agency officials. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Greenville.  "We're hoping that the lawsuit is going to make a big difference in conditions in Unit 32, which we really do think are so grossly inhumane as to amount to torture," said Margaret Winter, associate director of the National Prison Project of the ACLU.

June 22, 2005 ACLU National Prison Project
WASHINGTON, DC-Citing the extreme health risks faced by nearly 1000 men confined in a Mississippi prison, the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm Holland & Knight today filed a lawsuit against one of the country's largest for-profit medical providers for prisoners. "Correctional Medical Services has a national reputation for providing prisoners with grossly inadequate medical care," said Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project and lead attorney in today's lawsuit.  "We believe that Correctional Medical Services' already poor reputation will sink even lower when its treatment of Mississippi prisoners with life-threatening conditions and serious mental illness is exposed to public view and judicial scrutiny."  Correctional Medical Services, Inc. (CMS), a for-profit private corporation, currently holds contracts in 27 states, including Mississippi.  In April 2003, the state of Mississippi contracted with CMS to provide medical, mental health and dental care to prisoners incarcerated at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.  Today's complaint, filed on behalf of about 1000 men confined in Parchman's Unit 32, the prison's supermaximum security unit, builds upon litigation brought in 2002 on behalf of death row prisoners housed in the same unit.  Among other issues, it charges that officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and CMS routinely deny prisoners access to humane treatment.  Jeffery Presley, 24, contracted a serious "staph" infection while in Unit 32.  A CMS doctor initially misdiagnosed his condition as a spider bite.   Over several days, Presley's condition grew worse and he pleaded for additional medical treatment.  His infected joint became grotesquely swollen and leaked blood.  Ultimately, the doctor removed a section of Presley's infected leg and prescribed Tylenol to dull his pain.  In another incident, a disturbed, deaf-mute prisoner was left for months in his cell on the special needs psychiatric tier, without a mental health evaluation or any attempt to communicate with him.  His cell became filthy and he was allowed to remain unwashed for weeks.  Correctional staff threw things at him to get his attention, and when he threw things back, he was cited for rule violations.  "Treating people suffering from mental or physical illness with disrespect and indifference is abhorrent," said Stephen F. Hanlon, a partner with Holland & Knight and co-counsel in the case. "Correctional Medical Service's improper actions in Mississippi and in other parts of the country violate the Constitution."  The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure had disciplined and temporarily restricted the medical licenses of at least three physicians at the Parchman prison.  The CMS medical director was cited for habitual drug use, and the prison's chief psychiatrist was restricted because of a history of patient sexual exploitation and sexual harassment.  Elsewhere, CMS has established a pattern of hiring doctors with troubled backgrounds.  According to a 1998 investigation by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, nine CMS doctors working in Missouri had been disciplined by licensing boards.  In Michigan, where the company provides care to prisoners statewide and the ACLU has litigated issues regarding inadequate medical care, CMS has come under scrutiny for its attempts to save money by limiting prisoners'  referrals to outside medical specialists.  A federal court found that excessive delays in providing prisoners with referrals contributed to three deaths during an 18-month period. Five other prisoners who died during the same time period also experienced significant delays in treatment. "CMS has a shameful record of jacking up corporate profits by turning a blind eye to the urgent medical needs of sick prisoners," said Winter.  "I am hopeful that today's lawsuit will make it impossible for this company to keep on conducting 'business as usual' in Mississippi prisons."  Today's lawsuit, Presley v. Epps, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi by attorneys Winter and Gouri Bhat of the ACLU's National Prison Project, Hanlon and Cecily Baskir of Holland & Knight LLP, Mississippi civil rights attorney Robert McDuff and Ranie Thompson of the ACLU of Mississippi.  To read today's complaint, go to:  <http://www.aclu.org/Prisons/Prisons.cfm?ID=18558&c=26>.  To read about the ACLU's other work regarding Correctional Medical Services, go to: <http://www.aclu.org/Prisons/Prisons.cfm?ID=18367&c=26>.

Mobile County Metro Jail, Mobile, Alabama
January 28, 2006 Mobile Register
A woman who was jailed in Mobile last year went into a diabetic shock and nearly died because officers and medical staff denied her proper medication and ignored her problems, a federal lawsuit claims. The suit, filed last month in U.S. District Court, seeks unspecified damages from Mobile County Sheriff Jack Tillman, Warden Mike Haley, the private company that provides medical services and several employees of the firm and the jail. Lawyers for the Mobile County Sheriff's Office and Correctional Medical Services denied the allegations in written responses filed in court this month. Lofton, 33, was booked into the jail Feb. 23 on a charge of driving on a revoked license. The insulin-dependent diabetic was not evaluated until 10 hours later, according to the complaint. The lawsuit states that Lofton told medical personnel that she takes two shots of insulin every day, but staffers did not provide her with any insulin until 4 p.m. the following day. At that time, according to the suit, medical staffers at the jail gave her insulin from a bottle given to all diabetic detainees.

March 5, 2005 Mobile Register
A federal prisoner who was being held at Mobile County Metro Jail tried to commit suicide shortly after officials took away his anti-depression medication, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court. Sean Gaston Atwood's lawyer asked a federal judge in December to transfer the man to a federal medical facility. The motion, which Chief U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade granted Dec. 9, states that Atwood tried to hang himself less than a month after his arrest Oct. 27 for escaping from the custody of U.S. marshals. Atwood had been prescribed a drug called seroquel by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but Metro Jail staff took it away amid concerns that other inmates had abused the medication, according to the motion. Assistant Federal Defender Lyn Hillman said jail staff indicated that they had banned the medicine because some inmates had been using it to get high. She said a doctor should have examined her client and replaced the drug with another medication. Jail Warden Mike Haley declined to discuss Atwood's case in detail, citing federal privacy laws regarding medical treatment. He said medical personnel working for Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis firm hired by the jail to provide health care, determine which drugs inmates receive. Haley referred other inquiries to Dr. Charles Smith, a Mobile psychiatrist who works for Correctional Medical Services. "Within that one question that you have asked, there are a half-dozen thorny questions, difficult questions," said Smith, who declined to comment further.

Monroe County Jail, Monroe County, NY
August 9, 2011 Democrat and Chronicle
Monroe County and its former jail health care provider have agreed to pay $275,000 to the family of a man who died of a heart attack in the jail in 2007. Attorneys for the family of Orlando Samuels had argued in a lawsuit that medical officials at the jail ignored Samuels' heart condition, causing his death in May 2007. In court papers, attorney Mark Valerio contends that Samuels — who was jailed on a parole violation — "was a known cardiac patient and was on four medications to control his heart condition." Samuels "was not provided with any of his heart medications for the nine days that he was at the jail before he suffered a fatal heart attack," Valerio writes. Jail health care provider Correctional Medical Services Inc. had experts who argued that Samuels' "history of cocaine and alcohol abuse" was central to the death, and not any neglect by jail officials, records show. The company admits no fault in the settlement. Insurance for Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, will cover the settlement, papers state. Attorney fees will be deducted from the settlement, which was approved last month by a federal judge. The county no longer contracts with CMS and last year sued the company, seeking $2 million in contractual restitution for alleged staffing shortages while CMS ran jail medical care. Court records show that the county and CMS agreed to dismiss that lawsuit last month. CMS handled medical care at the two county correctional facilities from Jan. 1, 2004, through March 31, 2008. Attorney Christopher Thomas, who represented CMS, declined to discuss the county's lawsuit against the company. Court records in that case show that in 2007 Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn and then-Undersheriff Dan Greene complained to CMS about staffing shortages and questions of whether inmate prescriptions were being properly filled. The medical staffing at the jail had been "alarmingly short," the county alleged, and Sheriff's Office and CMS officials met to discuss the problems "on or about May 5, 2007." May 5, 2007, was the day Samuels died.

December 16, 2009 Democrat and Chronicle
Monroe County and the Sheriff's Office have sued the former medical service provider at its jails, alleging that the company did not provide staffing as promised under a contractual agreement. The county is seeking $2 million, according to a lawsuit filed Dec. 9. The St. Louis, Mo.-based Correctional Medical Services, or CMS, provided medical and mental health services at the county's two correctional facilities from Jan. 1, 2004, through March 31, 2008. The original contract with CMS lasted three years and was then extended by the county. The lawsuit alleges that "CMS failed to provide staffing at the (jail) facilities pursuant to the terms of the contract" and that the staffing shortages existed "throughout its term." The allegations, which CMS officials are challenging, come just more than a month after Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn was re-elected. Sheriff's spokesman John Helfer said the suit's timing was dictated by the county's need to preserve a legal remedy against CMS. The statute of limitations on contractual suits can be six years from the time of an agreement. Helfer said the sheriff and other officials would not comment further because the litigation is pending. For the same reason, officials said, they could not comment on why the contract was extended if there had been problems. CMS officials challenged the allegations. "CMS fully complied with the terms of our contract with Monroe County, and we dispute the assertions made in the lawsuit that has been filed," said CMS spokesman Ken Fields. "CMS provided quality services to the inmate patients at the Monroe County Jail. In fact, during our tenure, the facility achieved re-accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care for the quality of its health care program. "CMS is hopeful that this matter can be resolved amicably," he said. Correctional Medical Services has twice been sued by the families of inmates who died in the Monroe County Jail. In 2004, 16-year-old Javon Leggett hanged himself at the County Jail. The family alleged that the jail gave inadequate mental health treatment to the teenager. The state Commission of Correction, which investigates jail deaths, arrived at a similar conclusion. The commission determined that CMS failed to provide adequately trained mental health providers and recommended that the county review whether the company should be retained. In 2008, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, deciding there was not proof that CMS was responsible for the death. In the second incident, Orlando Samuels, 42, died of apparent cardiac failure at the jail in 2007. His family alleges in a lawsuit filed this year that medical officials ignored Samuels' heart condition. Again, the Commission of Correction also faulted CMS, maintaining that Samuels' wait to see a physician after he was first jailed was excessive. O'Flynn answered in a response that the jail had complied with the "applicable standards of care" with Samuels first meeting with a physician. Mark Valerio, the attorney for the Samuels family, declined to comment. Federal court records show a settlement conference is scheduled for later this month, though the conferences are not uncommon in federal court and not necessarily a sign that a resolution to the litigation is near.

July 6, 2009 Democrat and Chronicle
The family of a Monroe County jail inmate who died in 2007 is suing the Sheriff's Office and the former jail medical services, alleging that jail officials didn't provide him medications he needed for a heart condition. The lawsuit from the family of Orlando Samuels contends that he was denied prescribed medications even when he asked for them; that one physician suggested he be given aspirin after Samuels complained of heart pains (he never was given the aspirin, the suit alleges); and that a defibrillator malfunctioned because of a defective battery after Samuels collapsed with apparent cardiac failure at the jail. A 2008 state Commission of Correction report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Law, also faulted jail officials and Correctional Medical Services Inc. in the death of Samuels, who was 42 when he died on May 5, 2007. The commission provides oversight of conditions in jail and prison facilities. The commission recommended a disciplinary investigation into the actions of a nurse for several lapses, including "failure to complete an initial medical assessment of a known cardiac patient." A letter from Correctional Medical Services officials to the commission says the company did fire the nurse after Samuels' death. A spokesman for Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn said the sheriff would not comment on pending litigation. However, in a response to the commission report, O'Flynn defended the actions of jail employees. For instance, the commission criticized jail officials for the fact that Samuels did not see a facility physician from the time he was admitted to the jail until his death nine days later. O'Flynn noted in his response that state regulations say each inmate should be seen by a physician within 14 days of admission, meaning the jail did comply "with the applicable standards of care." Attorney Mark Valerio, who filed the lawsuit for the Samuels' family and fielded questions on their behalf, said jail medical officials clearly erred by not dealing with Samuels' known heart issues. "The main concern is that this was a known heart patient," Valerio said. "He was on heart medication. He was not given those medications the nine days prior to his death. "That should not have happened," he said. According to commission records, Samuels did submit a sick call request and was scheduled for a May 8 visit to the jail physician. The commission said Samuels told a deputy that the date should be fine because he did have possession of "my nitro pills." The lawsuit contends that Samuels was denied other medication he needed to control his heart condition. When Samuels collapsed at the jail the morning of May 5 he could not be revived with a defibrillator "due to the fact that the battery in the device was defective," the lawsuit states. The county no longer contracts with Correctional Medical Service, or CMS, for jail medical care. The letter from CMS officials to the Commission of Correction outlines improvements the company made after Samuels' death while stating that these "subsequent remedial measures" should not be construed as "an admission of negligence or intentional fault."

August 23, 2007 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
A state commission has concluded that a private company gave inadequate mental health treatment to a teenager who hanged himself in Monroe County Jail. A report by the state Commission of Correction stopped short of saying that Correctional Medical Services Inc. of St. Louis, which contracts with the county to provide medical care to jail inmates, was responsible for the death of 16-year-old Javon Leggett on Aug. 29, 2004. But the report charged that: A Correctional Medical Services employee who wasn't trained to deal with high-risk inmates or depressed adolescents was assigned to Leggett after what might have been a previous suicide attempt six weeks before Leggett's death. Leggett wasn't referred for follow-up mental health care or medication even though he was interested in both, and was removed from suicide watch three days after the apparent suicide attempt. The company was at fault for failing to provide properly trained mental health providers and recommended that Monroe County review whether it should continue to retain the company. Despite the report, however, the county renewed its contract with Correctional Medical Services on Jan. 1. The one-year extension was for $7.5 million. The report marks the second time that a state investigation into an inmate death at the jail has sharply criticized private companies for inadequate medical or mental health care. In May 2002, the Commission of Correction said inmate Candace Brown died in September 2000 when she received "grossly and flagrantly inadequate care" from Prison Health Services Inc. after her opiate withdrawal was untreated. Prison Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn., provided care in the jail from 2000 to 2004, when Correctional Medical Services replaced it with a three-year, $17.7 million contract approved by the County Legislature. Prison Health Services agreed to pay $450,000 to Brown's family to settle a lawsuit. The report on Leggett's death, issued in March 2005, was kept private until it was filed earlier this year as part of a lawsuit against the county and Correctional Medical Services by Leggett's mother, Loretta Leggett. Rochester lawyer Van Henri White, who represents Loretta Leggett, said the critical report has prompted him to seek a settlement with the county and the company. "They've refused to talk about settlement," he said. "I've tried everything to convince these people that this is a case that should be settled." A spokesman for the county declined to comment about the case because it involves pending litigation. A spokesman for Correctional Medical Services said he couldn't comment about the case because it involves confidential mental health records. Both the county and the company have filed legal papers seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that they acted properly. In its papers, Correctional Medical Services said its care to Leggett met or exceeded the standard of care and maintained that it's uncertain whether Leggett committed suicide or accidentally hanged himself while attempting to get transferred from the jail to Rochester Psychiatric Center. Leggett was charged in May 2004 with assault and robbery. He pleaded guilty on Aug. 20, 2004, and was expected to receive five years' probation and six months in jail. But a deputy found him dead in his cell, hanging from a sheet tied around his neck, on Aug. 29, 2004. Six weeks earlier — on July 16, 2004 — Leggett was found under his bunk in what was documented in medical records as an attempted hanging. Leggett, who had a sheet around his neck, said he was stressed out but denied a suicide attempt. Correctional Medical Services assigned an employee who had a master's degree in social work — but was unlicensed — to perform a "lethality assessment" of Leggett to determine whether Leggett was in danger of committing suicide. Leggett was watched constantly as a suicide risk until July 22, when the social worker decided Leggett was feeling better. After seeing the social worker again on July 26, Leggett had no more mental health follow-ups, the Commission of Correction said in its report. "Overall, the evolution and treatment afforded Leggett was inadequate," the report said. "There was no referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist and nurse practitioner to evaluate Leggett for medication. There was no treatment plan, no follow-up for release after constant supervision, no monitoring, no medication."

New Castle Correctional Facility, New Castle, Indiana
July 29, 2009 The Star Press
A medical worker at the New Castle Correctional Facility was arrested this week after she allegedly tried to smuggle marijuana and tobacco into the institution. Ann J. Oakes, 31, Milton, was preliminarily charged with trafficking with an inmate, possession of marijuana and trafficking tobacco. She remained in the Henry County jail on Wednesday under a $44,400 bond. State police said Oaks was found to have the bundles of marijuana and tobacco, along with rolling papers, hidden in her pants during a search when she arrived for work Tuesday morning. Oakes, a qualified medical assistant working for Correctional Medical Services, which provides health care to prisoners, has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. Authorities said Oakes acknowledged that she was bringing the substances to an inmate, and anticipated being paid for her efforts by a co-conspirator outside the prison. Oakes' arrest came three weeks after Cynthia Ann Angel, 44, Centerville, was arrested for allegedly trying to throw a package, containing cell phones and tobacco, over the prison's walls. Angel had pleaded guilty in December to a trafficking charge stemming from a similar incident.

New Jersey Department of Corrections
August 12, 2008 The Star-Ledger
Correctional Medical Services said it plans to lay off 949 workers in New Jersey next month, after losing its $85 million contract for prison health care services in the state to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. CMS, a private St. Louis firm, notified the state it would begin the layoffs on Sept. 30, a day before UMDNJ begins providing service to New Jersey Department of Corrections inmates. A majority of the workers facing layoffs are expected to be offered jobs with the university, UMDNJ spokesman Gerald Carey said. "Current employees of Correctional Medical Services have been encouraged to apply for positions with UMDNJ and we are in the process of reviewing those applications," Carey wrote in an email. CMS lost its contract earlier this year, and protested that the switch to UMDNJ was made through an interagency award, not a competitive bidding process. "The Treasury Department's decision to award a no-bid $100 million plus annual contract to a state entity will increase the state payrolls by several hundred workers, costing New Jersey taxpayers millions of dollars," CMS spokesman Ken Fields said in a statement.

April 27, 2008 Asbury Park Press
The administration of Gov. Corzine is awarding a no-bid pact to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to provide medical care for New Jersey's prison inmates. The move, which the administration views as a money-saver, is being scrutinized by some who fear the shift might actually cost the cash-strapped state, and by extension its taxpayers, more than its deal with a private contractor. These critics worry UMDNJ is ill-equipped to handle the job. Federal investigators found that the state-financed health-care university fumbled away more than $400 million through fraudulent and wasteful spending, though it has recently instituted reforms. Also, UMDNJ has a foggy track record in care-giving to prisoners. UMDNJ in 2005 got the state's OK to provide mental-health care for the inmates, and costs thereafter shot up — 50 percent over what what the private company that was doing the work charged, said John Paul Doyle, a former Democratic assemblyman who now represents the company. State Treasurer David Rousseau, disputing that amount, has said he foresees nothing to indicate costs would now go up. "It is expected the UMDNJ arrangement will reduce the state's overall costs," Rousseau told the Senate Budget Committee." Since the mid-1990s, the physical and dental care for the 27,600 state inmates — plus another 14,000 held in county facilities — has been provided by Correctional Medical Services, of St. Louis, whose latest New Jersey contract is worth $85 million. Last October, the state's inspector general issued a harsh report about CMS, saying it overcharged and had been out of compliance with its New Jersey contract. "It should be competitively bid," said Sen. Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon, the budget czar of the Republican caucus. "The lowest bidder should be awarded the contract. That could be in the private sector or the public sector."

April 15, 2008 Star-Ledger
Correctional Medical Services is fighting the state's decision to cancel its $85 million annual contract to provide medical, dental and pharmaceutical services to state prisoners. The company filed a protest letter Friday, alleging that the state's decision to replace it with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey violates state bidding laws and could cost the state $50 million more a year if history is a guide. John Paul Doyle, a former Democratic assemblyman who now represents the company, wrote that the state's cost for providing mental health services for inmates jumped nearly 50 percent in 2005 when it switched from the St. Louis-based company CMS to UMDNJ. "Based on past history and the current budgetary crisis in New Jersey, this unadvertised award, remarkably made in the midst of the existing four-year contract with CMS, makes no sense for the state of New Jersey," Doyle wrote in his letter to the state Treasury Department. He also said the company would forgo a 4.73 percent increase to cover costs associated with caring for the 27,600 inmates in state prisons and an additional 1,400 in mates being held daily in county facilities until a state cell is available. During a Senate Budget Committee hearing yesterday, state Treasurer David Rousseau disputed that it would cost $50 million more to use UMDNJ to provide medical, dental and pharmaceutical services to state prisoners. "We see no basis for this contention," Rousseau said. "In fact, based on the assessment of costs and charges, it is expected the UMDNJ arrangement will reduce the state's overall costs." He said the state hopes to save $3.4 million in built-in profits for CMS and another $5.5 million by enrolling in a pharmaceutical plan --for which CMS cannot qualify -- that caps how much UMDNJ will pay for medication. The treasurer did acknowledge that the state's payroll costs would be greater because it will have to hire more staff, including some of the 800 medical workers who now work for CMS, and pay them fringe benefits. Rousseau also took issue with CMS' numbers on the mental health services contract, saying the state's cost jumped from $33 million to $43.4 million when it switched, not $49 million as the company claimed. He added that the price jumped because the state hired more workers to satisfy a federal settlement that governs how the Department of Corrections cares for mentally ill prisoners. CMS spokesman Ken Fields said the figures came from public budget documents, but "in any event, it's a significant increase over one year compared with CMS."

April 1, 2008 Star-Ledger
The state has canceled its $85 million annual contract with a St. Louis-based company that has provided medical, dental and pharmaceutical services to state prisoners since New Jersey privatized its inmate health care system in 1996, officials said yesterday. The state Treasury Department notified Correctional Medical Services on Friday that it planned to replace it with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the state's medical school, according to a copy of a letter obtained by The Star-Ledger. UMDNJ already provides mental health services for state inmates. CMS, whose contract expired last night, had sought a 4.73 percent increase to cover costs associated with caring for the 27,600 inmates in state prisons and an additional 14,000 inmates being held in county facilities until a state cell is available. "The state has decided that it is in its best interest to contract with the University of Medicine and Dentistry to provide all of the inmate health care services," wrote Alice Small, acting director of Treasury's Division of Purchase and Property. The move ends a contentious 11-year relationship with CMS that was launched during then-Gov. Christie Whitman's push to privatize government services. It comes months after the state auditor and the state inspector general issued separate reports critical of the company. It also gives the state-funded university a shot in the arm as it tries to emerge from federal oversight that documented more than $400 million in fraudulent and wasteful spending. The state told CMS it would need to continue staffing inmate health services for 180 days so UMDNJ personnel can get up to speed. Treasury spokesman Tom Vinz said the state believes the new arrangement, which will be enacted through an interagency compact rather than through public bidding, will "improve both the bottom line as well as services." He said officials don't know exactly how much the state would save. "We believe that overall costs will be extremely competitive with the current contract and that the expanded partnership will result in new economies, efficiencies and conveniences that benefit the state," Vinz said. The cancellation came as a shock to CMS, which employs more than 800 health care professionals in New Jersey to handle the state inmate contract, said spokesman Ken Fields. He said the rate increase was pegged to the Consumer Price Index but "was well below the rate of inflation facing all other areas of health care in New Jersey." "The state has been extremely satisfied with our work and has never given us an indication that they would prefer to make a change in contractors," said Fields. "We are disappointed that the state appears to have started a process that would not include getting any competitive bids. It has been our experience that state and local governments feel that a competitive bidding process results in the best value for them." UMDNJ spokeswoman Anna Farneski said the new agreement is "an enormous vote of confidence in UMDNJ's abilities to effectively deliver care to a population in need of comprehensive services." The state paid the medical school $49 million last year to provide mental health services for inmates. Attorney Patricia Perlmutter, who reached a class-action lawsuit in 1999 against the Department of Correction on behalf of mentally ill inmates, said canceling the CMS contract is the end of "a failed experiment." "For years, they delivered very poor service to the prisoners in the state," she said. "There certainly was improvement over time. The number of complaints we would receive did diminish the last year of contract term. But overall they didn't deliver what they promised."

October 16, 2007 AP
For the second time in two years, an audit has found that the Corrections Department failed to adequately monitor its multimillion dollar contract for inmate dental services. Monday's report by Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper mirrors a 2005 audit by Treasury's contract compliance unit. Both concluded that Corrections could not guarantee that inmates were getting services that were paid for or that the state wasn't overpaying the provider, Correctional Medical Services. The inspector general also found that Corrections did not fine the provider for missing deadlines spelled out in the contract, even though it could have collected $1 million or more for screenings that were not conducted within a specified time of a new inmate's arrival. The quality of medical and dental care was not considered. Both reports blamed Corrections' automated systems for being incapable of collecting and retaining the data necessary to monitor compliance with the contract. Correctional Medical Services was awarded a two-year, $168 million contract in April 2005 to provide health services to about 40,000 inmates a year, including a dental portion worth $7.5 million. The contract was renewed for one year in April, Corrections spokesman Matt Schuman said. The report says the contract dictates that certain services be performed within specific time frames — and gives Corrections the authority to assess damages for missed deadlines — because of concerns over provider performance that developed during a prior health services contract. An initial Treasury audit in 2005 showed that Corrections did not have an automated information system capable of providing data to monitor the contract. When a system was finally put in place, it relied on the vendor to enter data, the inspector general's report shows, and had flaws. Schuman said Monday that Corrections had not yet seen the report and would have no comment. Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical Services in St. Louis, Mo., also said he was unfamiliar with the report and could not comment.

February 28, 2007 The Star-Ledger
Criticizing the state for trying to shirk its responsibility to provide inmates adequate health care, the New Jersey Supreme Court today ordered the prison system to develop regulations on how to notify inmates when they have a serious medical condition. In its unanimous ruling the high court also ordered the Department of Corrections to give inmates access to their complete medical records and to correct those records if they are inaccurate, since both are essential to adequate medical care. "This is a major victory for the medical rights of prisoners," said Princeton attorney Bruce Afran, who argued the case on behalf of a New Jersey State Prison inmate. "Every other patient in the state has a right to their own medical records and the state was refusing that right to prisoners. The court has now reversed that." The case stems from "one inmate's odyssey to correct an erroneous entry in his medical records," Justice Virginia Long wrote in the court's opinion. The inmate, identified only as J.D.A. because he fears retribution in prison, suffers from hepatitis C, a potentially fatal liver disease. He tested positive for the disease in 2001, but a prison-contracted doctor misread the test results and noted in his file the virus was "not detected." When he learned of the mistake two years later, J.D.A. filed paperwork to have it changed. Correctional Medical Services, the private company responsible for treating New Jersey's 27,000 state inmates, refused to change his medical chart because it was "a legal document" that cannot be altered, court records show. Corrections, meanwhile, claimed only CMS had the "ability to make changes to an inmate's medical record."

February 5, 2007 The Star Ledger
Walking across the courtroom, Jerald Albrecht fell and hit the floor. It was emblematic, perhaps, of his status among the righteous that no one rose to help him. The convict, a sick man, tripped over his leg shackles. Albrecht, 50, is suing a company paid nearly $100 million a year in public funds to provide health care to 27,000 state prison inmates. He contends Correctional Medical Services Inc. of St. Louis failed to provide timely diagnosis and treatment of an often fatal disease that infects him and a large number of fellow inmates -- hepatitis C. He is not the first inmate to sue -- handling the infection among convicts is a controversy that has raged for five years in New Jersey -- but he is conducting a complex legal trial completely on his own. Albrecht, imprisoned for robbery 22 years ago, has no lawyer, no legal training, not even a bachelor's degree. And he is clearly not well. He is up against (literally) Philadelphia lawyers and a judge who has thrown out much of his case by refusing to allow witnesses on which he relied heavily. Federal District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton cannot help his case, but some of her rulings seem unduly harsh. For example, she enthusiastically allowed a volunteer attorney -- Bruce Afrin of Princeton -- to help Albrecht conduct a direct examination of himself, but then stopped it, in front of the jury, for no apparent reason. She dismissed Afrin, saying the process wasn't "working," but did not explain why. Albrecht recovered. He elicited dramatic testimony from his own expert witness -- Esteban Mezey, a liver specialist from Johns Hopkins University, who was critical of his treatment. He held up well under cross-examination from the Philadelphia lawyers. And, the other day, the day he fell, Albrecht conducted his own cross-examination of the company's expert witness, a professor named Carroll Leevy, and the contrast with what the legal pros did was remarkable. Thompson harried Albrecht as he tried to ask questions, but let Leevy deliver long, unsolicited lectures as responses. His speeches ate up the inmate's time and often sounded, not like testimony, but arguments for the company paying him $2,500 that day to testify. In the end, however, the performance helped Albrecht. One issue is the amount of medication he received once treatment, delayed for months, finally began. Leevy insisted a lesser amount -- given by the company -- was appropriate, but Albrecht got the doctor to admit that he prescribed more of the drug for his own patients and wrote at least one scholarly article recommending a higher dosage. More important, Leevy, a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, showed little patience and no compassion for the likes of Albrecht, a man who must navigate a courtroom in a beige prison uniform, shackles and a fever. And who falls without help. Leevy said the nearly two-year delay in treating Albrecht "would not make a significant difference," in his condition but, under Albrecht's questioning, Leevy conceded he would never treat his own patients that way. "It's always pleasant to have things done in a timely manner," said Leevy, who then added, in a bizarre moment, that Albrecht may even have benefited from the delay because, while he wasn't being treated, new, more effective medications were developed. Pleasant? Meanwhile, damage to Albrecht's liver worsened. Then, while discussing drugs to be used, Leevy said even his private patients might not have access to the best medications. "Unfortunately not being in prison and not being able to get free drugs," he said, they couldn't afford them. The comment drew gasps from the audience and dark stares from jurors. Who could imagine that, no matter what Albrecht did to deserve time, he was "fortunate" to be in jail, suffering from a fatal disease? After his testimony, he was asked whether the comment was "a little harsh." No, said Leevy, because "that was the reality." The testimony reflected an attitude that Albrecht and other inmates want courts, want everyone, to see: State prisons and their private contractors were in no rush to diagnose and treat thousands of inmates suffering from hepatitis C. Because prisoners are bad guys. Who wants to spend money to help them? Never mind that returning sick prisoners to freedom creates health risks for the general population. And never mind, no matter what he did, Albrecht is a citizen with constitutional rights. As well as a mean guitarist who persuaded a thoroughly nonjudgmental Wynton Marsalis to come to the prison to give a master class to a jazz combo Albrecht started. And, most of all, even in shackles, Jerald Albrecht is a man.

December 21, 2004 The Record
Others spoke about how it was a "day of promise." Bringing in the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to manage mental health care in the state prison system creates a unique partnership between academia and the judicial system, they said. But as state officials were all smiles during this October announcement, Chris Kosseff, who heads UMDNJ's University Behavioral HealthCare division, painted a darker, more realistic picture of the mental health care crisis in state prisons. Facing a group of health professionals, state officials and reporters at the Department of Corrections' Trenton headquarters, Kosseff read from a study published by the Human Rights Watch that talks about how many prison mental health services are "woefully deficient, crippled by understaffing, insufficient facilities and limited programs. Beginning Jan. 1, UMDNJ will provide behavioral health services to the state's 27,000 prisoners - 13 percent of whom have some form of mental illness.
UMDNJ will replace Correctional Medical Services Inc. of St. Louis as the state's prison mental health care provider.

October 30, 2004 Daily Journal
A state Department of Corrections employee has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by a clinical social worker and five other unnamed defendants, according to court papers filed with Gloucester County Superior Court.
The suit, filed Tuesday, claims that licensed social worker Robert Stanley subjected Southwoods State Prison employee Tony Valentine to "a pattern of sexual harassment" and "engaged in a pattern of retaliatory and defamatory activity" designed to embarrass him, according to court documents. Valentine filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Division in Nov. 2003, leading to an investigation. The EED concluded Stanley's actions were inflammatory, and recommended his employer, Correctional Medical Services, take remedial action, which the lawsuit alleges was never taken.

New Jersey prisons failed to tell hundreds of inmates that they were infected with the potentially fatal hepatitis C virus, in many cases withholding the information for more than a year In a mass notification prompted by a Philadelphia Inquirer investigation, New Jersey prison officials told 421 inmates in the last two weeks of July of their infection, a medical audit shows. Uninformed patients can spread the blood-borne disease through shared drug paraphernalia, sex and possibly even blood droplets on shared toothbrushes. In fact, 21 prisoners were recently released into the community without being told they were infected, according to the audit. Art Caplan, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, said that failing to tell patients about a potentially life-threatening condition was a fundamental breach of standard medical practice. "The key moral issue is that every person, including a prisoner, has a right to know his health status," Caplan said. The prisons' private medical vendor, Correctional Medical Services (CMS), said some of the 421 inmates had been told prior to July but it had not been noted in their electronic files. (Bradenton Herald, October 7, 2002)

New Jersey State Prison
October 30, 2008 The Times of Trenton News
Two workers at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton were indicted on charges related to smuggling cell phones to inmates. In an indictment that was handed up Monday, Darlene R. Sexton, 44, of Trenton was charged with five counts of official misconduct and two counts of unlawful use of a cell phone in a correctional facility, said Casey DeBlasio, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor. State Corrections Officer Lisa Whittaker, 32, of Trenton was indicted on two counts of official misconduct and one count of hindering apprehension, DeBlasio said. Whittaker allegedly gave investigators from the Department of Corrections false information during their investigation of Sexton. It's the first indictment of a corrections worker by Mercer County authorities for cell phone smuggling, DeBlasio said, although in mates and others have been indicted on charges of smuggling cell phones at other correctional facilities. Last year the Department of Corrections fired 52 prison officers, some of them for smuggling contra band into the prisons. Sexton, a registered nurse employed by New Jersey State Prison Correctional Medical Services, was allegedly involved in an "unduly familiar relationship" with Arlington King, an inmate, officials said. Sexton allegedly committed misconduct by bringing cell phones to King and Craig Reid, another in mate, while they were incarcerated between Jan. 8 and Nov. 17, 2007, DeBlasio said. Officials at the St. Louis-based company, which no longer has a contract with New Jersey to provide medical services for the prison, could not be reached for comment late yesterday. Sexton, however, "maintains her innocence," said her defense lawyer Robin Lord. "She's not a public official so I don't know where they're going with that charge. She is employed by a private company. I'm going to file a motion to have the indictment dismissed." Sexton was charged with providing "contraband" to several in mates incarcerated at the prison.

November 18, 2004 Daily Record
Former Chester resident Craig Szemple, who is serving three life terms for murdering three people, will be allowed to continue his lawsuit against a state prison medical group he claims neglected to give him physical therapy he needed immediately after elbow and wrist surgery, a state appeals court has ruled.
As a New Jersey State Prison inmate, Szemple underwent two surgeries related to carpal tunnel syndrome on Nov. 7, 1996, on his right wrist and elbow. The surgeon ordered physical therapy to begin "ASAP" but Correctional Medical Services, the conglomerate with the contract to administer health services to some 26,000 state prisoners, did not arrange for Szemple to have a physical therapy evaluation until March 17, 1997. Acting as his own lawyer, Szemple in November 1998 sued Correctional Medical Services and the state Department of Corrections, alleging that he was given substandard care and his wrist and elbow worsened as a result of not receiving immediate physical therapy. The medical group tried unsuccessfully several times to get Szemple's lawsuit dismissed. Its lawyers finally succeeded in 2003, when a judge in Mercer County dismissed the lawsuit, mainly on grounds that a chiropractor whom Szemple wanted to use to prove his case was not qualified to do so. The appeals court, in its opinion released Wednesday, reinstated Correctional Medical Services as a defendant in the lawsuit, saying that the chiropractor is qualified to give his opinion about the treatment Szemple received.

New Mexico Department of Corrections
July 17, 2009 New Mexico Independent
A new lawsuit filed in federal court this week accuses a former corrections department contractor of medial malpractice in its care for the state’s prisoners, the Albuquerque Journal reports today. The lawsuit names Wexford Health Sources Inc., Corrections Secretary Joe Williams, medical professionals and others on behalf of a former Penitentiary of New Mexico inmate named Martin Valenzuela, 52, who now lives in Texas, the paper reports. According to the complaint, Valenzuela was serving an eight-year prison sentence at the Santa Fe prison in 2006 when he developed a urinary tract problem that led to an emergency hospital admission. The complaint describes lack of medical attention leading up to a January 2007 surgery, lack of a policy for follow-up care and the subsequent loss of medical records by the prison and the hospitals, according to the paper. This is not the only lawsuit against Wexford that alleges improper care. Others have been filed previously. Here’s an excerpt of the Journal story: Wexford is also defending against a lawsuit filed by an inmate who claimed he was essentially lost in the system for purposes of chemotherapy he needed to treat colon cancer, although he was housed within a few hundred feet of the Los Lunas prison hospital. Michael Crespin’s medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in 2008, but he died before his attorneys could persuade a court to order a videotaped deposition in the case. The lawsuit, now being pursued by a personal representative on behalf of Crespin’s estate, has been mired in a fight over what documents must be produced by Wexford. Lawyers for the estate are demanding documents related to financial contributions, gifts, meals, entertainment by Wexford company officers between 2001 and 2008 to Gov. Bill Richardson, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish or any of the political action committees that might have supported them, including Si Se Puede PAC and Moving America Forward PAC. The Journal story goes on to list still other lawsuits that allege improper medical care, including one in which four women allege sexual assaults, batteries and rapes by former Correctional Medical Services employee. Another has been filed by the family of a federal detainee who died while awaiting a deportation hearing in southeastern New Mexico is alleging medical negligence. Wexford Health Sources was cited often for problems when it held the contract to provide health care in New Mexico’s prisons. It eventually lost the contract. A May 2007 audit by the Legislative Finance Committee found gaping holes in the delivery of care provided by Wexford, including too few physicians, dentists and optometrists on staff, according to two prison health experts that visited five facilities in February and March of that year. Wexford also failed to issue timely reports on 14 inmates who died at correctional facilities in 2006, the audit found. The Santa Fe Reporter, meanwhile, did extensive reporting on the health care delivered in New Mexico’s prisons and first uncovered the lapses.

Oaks Correctional Facility, Eastlake, Michigan
December 1, 2004 Lundington Daily News
A former Oaks Correctional Facility physician pleaded guilty to four counts of tax evasion with a total tax liability of $139,794. Dr. Daniel Smalley, 56, formerly of Wellston now of Ludington, is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 22, 2005 at the Lansing Federal Building.  On June 28, 2004, Smalley was arrested at the Baltimore Washington International Airport, in Baltimore, Maryland, after returning from Ghana, West Africa. According to a complaint filed in June 2004, during the years 1997 through 2002, Smalley was employed at both the Baraga Correctional Facility, Baraga, and at the Oaks Correctional Facility, Eastlake, working for several different companies, including Genesys Integrated Group, Wexford Health Services, the State of Michigan, and Correctional Medical Services. In 1996 and 1997, Smalley provided Genesys with what U.S. attorneys are calling a false W-4 form, claiming to be exempt from all federal income taxes. In 2002, the IRS submitted a notice of levy to Correctional Medical Services to collect taxes due and owing from his wages. Each count of conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Orange County Jail, Orange County, California
August 17, 2010 Voice of OC
Another "no-confidence" vote is making the rounds among the staff at the Orange County Correctional Medical Services division, which provides primary and specialty medical care for thousands of inmates across the county's jail system. This is the same division that has triggered a series of grand jury reports in recent years along with a critical look last year from the county performance auditor after two controversial deaths. Both inquiries into the Correction Medical Services division found problems with equipment, staffing and communication from managers. And a year later, the union representing medical workers at the jails says things have gotten worse. The no-confidence vote hovers at 96 percent, officials disclosed this week. Staffers are experiencing historic low morale, union officials argue in official letters sent to the Health Care Agency this summer. Doctors won't take the job, and nurses are being left alone in the field and are confronted nightly with needlessly dangerous situations. County officials, including CEO Tom Mauk, acknowledge communication problems but question the veracity of the 96 percent no-confidence vote. In general, they say, the union is misrepresenting the problems facing nurses and doctors in the jails. Officials point to a low death rate compared to other jail systems in the United States. However, a 2009 performance audit did find that the county has paid out over $1.2 million in recent years to defend 55 claims and lawsuits stemming from problems with jail medical care. Union officials say county leaders are flirting with disaster. "There currently are no regular, full-time physicians employed in CMS [Correctional Medical Services]. Two part-time contract physicians serve the approximately 5,000 inmate patients at the jails," wrote Lisa Major, assistant general manager at the Orange County Employees Association, in a May 13 letter to Heath Care Agency Director David Riley. "This alarming attrition rate creates a hazardous situation not only for the patients and patient safety but also for the nursing staff," Major wrote. The no-confidence petition circulated among the jail medical staff -- the second petition since 2007 -- directly takes aim at the Health Care Agency leadership for failing to address staffing shortages and failing to provide inclusive leadership. "The perception persists that licenses are threatened due to the likelihood of errors as a result of the demands placed upon existing personnel to maintain a high level of care with limited access to physicians and other clinicians for support, direction and assistance." A 2009 performance audit at the jail found that many of the problems facing medical staff are longstanding and have potential for significant problems. "Since the 2002 state budget deficit, which resulted in significant program reductions, CMS [Correctional Medical Services] has had difficulty fulfilling its mission in an efficient and effective manner," concluded the report.

Ouachita River Unit, Malvern, Arkansas
September 5, 2005 Northwest Arkansas News
Over the past five months, at least eight staff members have resigned or been dismissed from their jobs at the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern over allegations of improper relationships with inmates, smuggling contraband or personal drug use. In late April, two nursing assistants were ordered off prison grounds, also for becoming "too friendly" with inmates. Both women worked for Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis company that provides health care to more than 13,000 inmates under a $38 million contract. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette obtained a copy of a disciplinary report that cites a sexual relationship between an inmate and one of the nursing assistants. The report said that a sergeant found letters printed on an infirmary computer by the nursing assistant that were intended for the inmate and that provided evidence of a sexual relationship.
Department officials referred all questions about the nursing assistants to the St. Louis-based company that employed them. Company officials declined to comment about why the women were barred from prison grounds.

Palm Beach County Jail, Palm Beach, Florida
September 22, 2005 Palm Beach Post
It took 20 months, $15.6 million, the deaths of several inmates after receiving questionable care and an epidemic staph infection for former Sheriff Ed Bieluch finally to replace the private medical provider at the Palm Beach County Jail. To the benefit of jail and court employees, lawyers, contractors, inmates and the public, current Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is not as indifferent or incompetent with the new company. Just 10 months into its two-year, $20 million contract, Correctional Medical Services Inc. has been warned that Sheriff Bradshaw will not tolerate cost overruns and poor service. The sheriff invited a competing company to tour the jail last week and offer an "assessment." CMS had been told to expect an external auditor, not a competitor. But the unusual, if sneaky, tactic was effective. As Sheriff Bradshaw said, "We got their attention." CMS, low bidder last summer to replace Prison Health Services, contracted to spend $900,000 for care of inmates needing treatment at a hospital or clinic. Already, that cost has reached $3.3 million. Prescription-drug costs also are over CMS' budget. Not surprisingly, CMS blamed its predecessor for higher-than-budgeted expenses. "Quite frankly," a CMS spokesman said, "there were a number of cases left by the previous provider that needed to be addressed." There are other remnants of Prison Health Services' poor performance. Just last week, a circuit judge ruled that Rosanne Bilello could sue Prison Health Services, a former jail doctor employed by the company and the sheriff's office for punitive damages in the 2003 death of her husband, Patrick Bilello. Ms. Bilello says that while her husband was an inmate at the jail, he begged for medical treatment, but Prison Health Services ignored him. Other inmates had complained that PHS denied medications to patients, particularly drugs for psychiatric care. In one case, a county judge released a schizophrenic inmate after learning that PHS had failed to give him any medicine. So Sheriff Bradshaw is correct to not wait for things to get worse with CMS. Sheriff Bieluch hired CMS with more emphasis on cost than quality, refusing even to consider a bid by a Wellington-based team of doctors who missed the deadline by a mere seven minutes. Notably, he hired CMS just months before leaving office. Sheriff Bradshaw's attention to a new prospective bidder should remind CMS that the incumbent is replaceable.

September 21, 2005 Palm Beach Post
The health provider for county jail inmates could be in danger of losing its contract because of cost overruns. Jail officials fired a warning shot to Correctional Medical Services Inc. this month by announcing that external auditors would be examining its operation as part of a contract review. Instead of auditors, a team of executives from a competing health provider showed up at the the jail last week for a tour of CMS' operation. "We got their attention," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. CMS took over inmate health care Oct. 1 with a two-year contract for about $10.1 million a year. In just 10 months, the costs of sending inmates out for hospital and clinic care soared to $3.3 million. CMS is responsible for $900,000 of the costs under its contract. But during a full 12 months, the cost to the sheriff's office could reach more than $3 million. In addition, pharmaceutical costs slipped over CMS' contract ceiling, meaning the sheriff's office will pay about $326,000 out of its own pocket for inmate medications. CMS pays the first $800,000 for medicines. CMS blames the previous provider, Prison Health Services Inc., for the cost upsurge. CMS officials said they were surprised that the notice of a visit by "external auditors" turned out to be for executives from Armor, a competitor based in Coconut Creek in Broward County.

Pima County Jail, Pima, Arizona 
July 3, 2009 Arizona Daily Star
The mother of a 28-year-old man who hanged himself in the Pima County jail has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Correctional Medical Services, the company that provides medical care at the facility. Keith Kehl, 28, was found dead in his cell a little after 4 a.m. Aug. 1, 2007. He was hanging from a bedsheet tied to the upper bunk. According to a lawsuit filed in Pima County Superior Court, Kehl was not placed on suicide watch despite the medical staff knowing he was having visual and auditory hallucinations telling him to harm himself. On June 30, 2007, Kehl's depression was rated at 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, the lawsuit states. He was also known to be having suicidal thoughts. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted in April to settle a claim filed by the family, agreeing unanimously to pay $125,000 to Rose Martin, Kehl's mother.

May 2, 2009 Arizona Daily Star
A Pima County jury acquitted a registered nurse Friday on 10 charges alleging that he sexually abused three female inmates while working at the Pima County Adult Detention Center. Christopher Erin Johnston, 36, was accused of touching each of the women's breasts inappropriately, rubbing his genitals on a woman's back and forcing the same woman to touch his genitals. Lauren Murata, one of the eight jurors on the case, said the jury was initially split 6-2 in favor of not guilty but after some discussion reached its ultimate decision. The jury deliberated four hours. "We believe the state didn't sufficiently prove its case," Murata said. "There were several possible witnesses and items we would like to have seen that would've helped support the state's case."

November 18, 2008 Zonie Report
The mother of a Tucson teenager claims officials at the Pima County Jail ignored several warning signs about her son’s suicidal tendencies, leading to his death just days after he was incarcerated. Daryl Marie Kramer is suing the county, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis-based government contractor that administers medical care in the jail, on behalf of her deceased son, Brian Kramer. In November 2007, Daryl Kramer grew concerned about her son’s mental health while he was on probation, the complaint states. It does not mention the details behind his probationary status. She called her son’s probation officer and told him to return Brian to the jail as an act of “tough love.” She claims she told the officer that Brian had attempted suicide three times recently, including once in the previous week. She claims she asked the officer to put him on suicide watch. When Brian Kramer was admitted, jail officials noted that he had a small wound on his wrist that he had purposely re-opened, according to the complaint. This and other jail reports revealed several “red flags” that should have alerted the jail to Brian Kramer’s problems. He was placed on suicide watch initially, the complaint claims, then removed and put into the general prison population a few days later. The complaint also claims that he was not receiving Zoloft or other medical treatment for his mental health. Two days later, Brian Kramer tried to hang himself in his cell. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced brain dead upon arrival, after which he was taken off of life support and his organs were donated for transplants. Daryl Kramer is suing for negligence and wrongful death. She is represented by Tucson lawyers Michael and Jack Redhair. The case is before Judge Michael Miller.

July 15, 2008 The Arizona Daily Star
Conmed Healthcare Management Inc. on Monday signed a $220,000 transitional contract with Pima County to provide medical services for inmates at the county jail. The contract will allow Conmed to develop a plan for the jail to switch from its existing provider of medical, dental and behavioral health services by Aug. 1, the company said. The Board of Supervisors approved a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the current provider, Correctional Medical Services, in 2006. Citing poor quality and lack of contract compliance -- such as meeting staffing levels and providing timely care -- the county decided to drop the provider. Conmed, based in Hanover, Md., said it currently serves jails and prisons in 31 counties in six states, including Arizona.

July 2, 2008 Arizona Daily Star
Citing poor quality of care and lack of contract compliance, Pima County will drop Correctional Medical Services as its medical-care provider at the Pima County jail. Correctional Medical Services is the largest provider of detention medical services in the country. The Board of Supervisors approved a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the St. Louis-based company in 2006. The contract represented an 18.6 percent increase over the previous contract with Tucson-based First Correctional Medical, which had served the jail since 2002. At the time, Supervisor Richard Elías said he was concerned about cost-cutting measures in the contract and complaints made against the company in other states, but County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said he was satisfied with the company's answers. However, two years later, Pima County officials say the company has failed to meet basic expectations laid out in its contract, including meeting staffing levels and providing care in a timely manner. "Our feeling is they have not met our requirements for quality care at the jail," said Dr. Fred Miller, Pima County's chief medical officer. In a memo to the supervisors, Huckelberry said CMS had five administrators and four corporate liaisons in the 26 months of the contract, leading to inconsistent leadership. The company failed to collect $1.3 million from the contract because it didn't meet staffing requirements. And court officials recently expressed concern about the quality of psychiatric care provided in the jail, including psychological evaluations done by a nurse practitioner. The qualifications of those doing evaluations at the jail came up during a recent hearing involving a murder suspect. In a bench conference in Pima County Superior Court, Judge Nanette Warner said she had big problems with the company. "I have huge issues with the quality of the staff, the quality of the care. It has been a frustration for the court," she said. "Their whole goal is how not to do any work," she said at a later point in the conference. In a ruling issued Thursday, Warner said the court had been told that CMS had hired a psychologist and two psychiatrists to start doing evaluations. She declined to comment further. But by the time the company acted, negotiations apparently had already broken down. In the memo, Huckelberry said Pima County sent CMS a final contract offer on June 13, and the company changed aspects of the contract without discussing the issue with the county. He said the company was not prepared to meet Pima County's requirements. The supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the CMS contract for one month, until the end of July, to allow an orderly transition. They also voted to give a one-year, $9 million contract to ConMed Healthcare Management, a Maryland-based provider of detention medical services. Dennis Douglas, deputy county administrator for health services, said ConMed approached the county some time ago and periodically provided information about its services. He said that's why the county decided to go with ConMed in the short term. He said the county may develop a competitive process to look at other providers along with ConMed by the time the contract is up. Elías said he hopes the county avoids similar problems with the new provider. Douglas said he did not think the problems with CMS could have been avoided through a more careful contracting process because the company looked good on paper. "It was a good contract, a reasonable contract, but they didn't live up to it," he said. Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, said the company negotiated in good faith with Pima County, as evidenced by the fact that it continued to hire people and provided good services. "Correctional Medical Services has well-established policies and procedures that are based on years of experience working in hundreds of facilities," he said. "That experience is brought to every community we serve, including Pima County."

October 16, 2007 Arizona Daily Star
An employee working at the Pima County jail has been accused of sexually abusing female inmates while on the job, according to court documents. Christopher Erin Johnston was charged with five counts of sexual abuse and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct, according to an indictment in Pima County Superior Court. The indictment says Johnston, 34, had sexual contact with three female inmates without their consent between July 30 and Aug. 5. On three occasions, Johnston touched the women's breasts and in one of the incidents he rubbed his genitals on a woman's back and forced her to touch them, according to the indictment. When the incidents occurred, Johnston was working for Correctional Medical Services, a company hired by the Pima County Sheriff's Department to provide health care to inmates, said Sgt. James Ogden, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. Ogden said he did not know what kind of work Johnston performed at the jail, 1270 W. Silverlake Road. He said Johnston did not work directly for the county and that he is no longer employed at the jail.

April 5, 2006 Arizona Star
Health care at the Pima County jail soon will be the responsibility of one of the nation's largest private providers of medical care in jails and prisons. The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an $18.5 million, two-year contract Tuesday with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services. The company will replace First Correctional Medical, the Tucson-based company that has provided medical care at the jail since 2002, at the end of April. The contract represents an average 18.5 percent increase in the yearly cost of providing care at the jail. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the increased cost was driven by several factors, including medical costs rising 7.5 percent a year, the jail population increasing 7 percent to 9 percent a year and the addition of seven full-time employees over the previous contract. Supervisor Richard Elias voted no after raising concerns about aspects of the contract. For example, the contract calls for medications to be distributed two times a day instead of three, a change that will save the county $300,000. Elias wondered what would happen to inmates with chronic conditions if they needed medication three or four times a day. "I just want to make sure we're not creating more liability by creating a situation where people aren't getting their meds," Elias said. Elias said later he also was worried about accountability and records transfers when dealing with an out-of-state company. "I have a lot of concerns about Correctional Medical Services," Elias said. "In the end, I would have been a lot more comfortable with a local provider." Correctional Medical Services runs 320 facilities with 250,000 inmates in 25 states. Former inmates and family members have accused the company of providing inadequate care and cutting corners to save money. Karen Russo, president of the Wrongful Death Institute, has served as a clearinghouse for those accusations. She said the company has a "facade" of providing health care. A 2000 audit by the South Carolina Legislature found problems with distribution of medicine, lack of planning for discharge of mentally ill patients and workers who did not have the right qualifications. Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical, said many of the allegations were years old and false.

Polk County Jail, Bartow, Florida
February 15, 2007 Orlando Sentinel
A Bartow jail nurse was arrested Wednesday after she admitted taking home prescription medication intended for inmates. Lynda Maier, 42, of Woodbriar Loop in Lakeland was taken into custody after she told Polk County sheriff's detectives she took the drugs. A search of her home turned up mostly antibiotics, according to the Sheriff's Office. Maier, who is registered with the state as a licensed practical nurse, works for Correctional Medical Services, which contracts with the jail to treat and dispense medication for inmates. She has worked inside the jail since July 11. Maier faces eight counts of possession of prescription medication without a prescription and eight counts of petty theft. She was being held without bail pending a bond hearing.

March 31, 2001 The Ledger
The head of a local watchdog group says that health care costs for inmates at the Polk County Jail have doubled under a new contract that he says should have been chosen in a more public way.  Sheriff's officials acknowledge a substantial increase, about 31%, from last year's costs to this year's, the first under the new deal with Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis.  But they do acknowledge a unique insurance policy, prompted by a large settlement with an inmate, that costs the Sheriff's Office $195,000 per year.  The new accord ended a five-year relationship with EMSA Correctional Care and Prison Health Services, which bought EMSA in 1999 through a holding company called America Service Group, which is based in Brentwood, Tenn.  Comparing the final year of the previous contract with the first year of the new one, costs increased about 31%, from $3.2 million last year to the projected $4.2 million this year.  Despite the Sheriff's Office's vehement defenses, Doug Bark, the head of Citizens Law Enforcement Watch, a local law enforcement monitoring group, complains that the contract has doubled the cost of health care for inmates.  And on a recent radio show, Bark speculated that poor conditions at Polk jails and mistreatment of inmates have contributed to higher costs.  " We really had them locked in," Kushner, County Commission Risk Manager, said.  " And it's my understanding that they complained about not being able to make money."  Col. Ken Barber, who oversees jails for the Sheriff's Office, said," They've been squeaking for a while about not making any money on that contract."  At least $195,000 of the new contract -- used to fund a joint insurance policy with CMS -- is a cost that most jails do not pay.  And it can be traced to a large claim filed against the county and its health care provider in 1999, for which the two groups are still trying to settle who was ultimately liable, Kushner said.  The joint policy was first put in place in March 2000, in the wake of the $700,000 settlement with an inmate named Tommy Dickens.  Dickens was arrested Nov. 2, 1998, for failing to appear in court on a charge of driving with a suspended license.  Four days later, he was taken to Winter Haven Hospital in a coma.  The lawsuit filed in federal court in 1999 said Dickens was sick when he was arrested, slipped in and out of consciousness at the jail, acted unruly and was placed in a restraint chair.  He suffered an inflamed cheek and bruises on his wrists and ankles.  He won a $700,000 settlement last year from PHS.  The Sheriff's Office paid nothing, but there were unproven charges that Dickens had been beaten by guards.  He said the decision to place Dickens in a restraint chair was made by health care workers, not corrections officers.  Under the joint policy, the Sheriff's Office pays the $195,000 annual premium.  With the joint policy, the two sides are equally on the hook and are represented by county-funded lawyers.  Despite the joint policy, any future claim traced solely to medical malpractice would be the responsibility of the medical provider.  And conversely, any claim that rested solely with the Sheriff's Office would be the sheriff's responsibility.  Other than the Dickens case, which PHS settled for $700,000 PHS has paid a settlement in one other lawsuit during its most recent contract stint.  The company paid $25,000 in 1999 to a woman with an IQ of 53 who was sprayed in the face with a chemical called Freeze + after officials said she became disruptive.

Polk County Jail, Des Moines, Iowa
November 24, 2006 Des Moines Register
Polk County supervisors, concerned that a privately run jail medical clinic hasn't pinched pennies enough, have launched a search for someone to keep an eye on how it is operated. Supervisors voted unanimously this week to hire a new "health services administrator" to oversee the county's contract with Correctional Medical Services Inc., a St. Louis company. The job, intended to be filled by a registered nurse with managerial experience, will pay between $62,012 and $81,744 a year. County Administrator Michael Freilinger said the new employee will be expected to wrestle with the ever-expanding cost of medical care for more than 500 prisoners and help plan for the 2008 opening of a new 1,549-bed jail. Polk County authorities have watched inmate medical costs increase from $1.4 million in the budget year that ended in June 2003 to roughly $2.4 million projected for 2006-07. County officials say Correctional Medical has blamed much of the increase on drug costs. Correctional Medical, one of only a handful of private companies that run jail clinics, has managed medicine in the Polk County Jail since 1998. The company has faced several inmate lawsuits in recent years, mostly based on allegations of delayed care or the use of substitution drugs in a bid to contain costs.

June 9, 2005 Des Moines Register
The Polk County Board of Supervisors will pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by relatives of a man who died in the county jail after his arrest for reckless driving. Mark Girres, a 58-year-old diabetic, died in 2003. His daughters sued, alleging that sheriff's deputies and medical staffers from Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis ignored warnings about Girres' health and put off care. During the past decade, more than a dozen inmates or their families have alleged that officials delayed or denied treatment. Among them were two cases that the county also settled out of court: an HIV-positive man charged with driving drunk who spent 11 days in a coma after he said jail medical workers delayed treating his low blood pressure, and another inmate who said she suffered permanent tendon damage after she had to wait days for treatment of a knife wound to her hand. Girres, a retired tree-trimmer for the city of Des Moines, was arrested Sept. 19, 2003, after his car collided with a light pole, a parked vehicle and a fence at an Ingersoll Avenue gas station. Girres' daughters said the collisions were a sign he needed medical attention. Girres was booked Sept. 20. A guard noticed Girres seemed ill and recommended he be closely watched. The lawsuit alleged that Girres was moved but not treated. He died Sept. 22 at a hospital.

May 5, 2005 Des Moines Register
Polk County taxpayers will pay 20 percent more to provide medical services for the nearly 17,000 people that law enforcement officials expect to lock up next year. The county, which on average has reported a more than 5 percent annual inmate increase over the past decade, will pay $1.8 million for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, dental care and mental health in the budget year that starts in July. That's $300,000 more than this year. For the seventh consecutive year, the county Board of Supervisors will hire Correctional Medical Services, a St. Louis company, to administer the jail health program. Supervisors have praised the company for consistent and quality care during the years. But both the company and the jail have been criticized by inmates and their families. After the 2003 death of Mark Girres, 58, an imprisoned Des Moines diabetic, his survivors alleged that jail officials knew about his illness but did not fully evaluate his health or give him needed care. Jail officials denied wrongdoing, and Iowa's ombudsman's office investigated that and other complaints but ruled that jail officials have made substantial improvements that will prevent future problems. Tracie Botts of Des Moines, who spent six months in jail last year on drug charges, offers a mixed assessment. She claims a fellow inmate endured constant pain from a stomach ulcer and was denied medication for months. At the same time, however, Botts said she was able to kick her addiction to crack cocaine thanks to treatment provided by the jail. "That other girl, she had this bleeding ulcer and was more or less ignored," Botts said. "I got the treatment I needed, and it worked for me. I'm a year clean and counting."

October 7, 2004 Des Moines Register
A Des Moines woman contends that Polk County Jail officials haven't kept a promise to make "substantial and meaningful" changes to medical policies she blames for her incarcerated son's suicide attempt last year. Audrey Rivas said a letter from the state ombudsman's office confirmed that jail officials acknowledged at least some mistakes prior to Robert Rivas' attempted Tylenol overdose. The admission came three months after the 2003 death of an imprisoned Des Moines diabetic, Mark Girres, 58, who allegedly was denied medical attention following his September 2003 arrest for reckless driving. A Polk County lawsuit claims jail officials did not evaluate Girres' health despite repeated warnings about his illness and erratic behavior before his death. Rivas said the two cases demonstrated a pattern of poor medical care at the jail. The ombudsman also faulted Correctional Medical Services, the jail's privately run medical clinic, for failing to adequately assess Rivas' need for a prescribed antidepressant, which the clinic had refused to provide.
The lawsuit, filed by Girres' two daughters, accuses deputies and Correctional Medical of negligence.

September 29, 2004 Des Moines Register
Relatives of a 58-year-old diabetic arrested for reckless driving last year have sued Polk County Jail officials, alleging that deputies and a private medical company were negligent for allowing the man's illness to go untreated until he died. A spokeswoman for St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services said patient confidentiality rules forbid any comment on Girres' case. She stressed that medical staffers "work very hard every day to meet the medical needs of inmate patients in Polk County." Court papers state Girres, who originally was booked into the Des Moines City Jail, was transferred to Polk County's custody about 1 p.m. last Sept. 20. A questionnaire filled out then shows Girres told jailers that he suffered from both diabetes and liver cancer but that no medications were required.
Jailhouse reports state Girres was refusing food by the evening of Sept. 20 and "does not appear to be in good health." That night, according to the lawsuit, Girres was transferred into administrative segregation because he was "seemingly disoriented" and "acting and talking too crazy" to remain in a regular cell. "The family has reviewed all records pertaining to his incarceration," Girres' daughters said. "We are deeply saddened by the withholding of medical attention in spite of 12 separate documented instances in which medical attention was clearly warranted." By Sept. 21, Girres was talking to himself, defecating on himself, "bleeding from open wounds" to his arms and "incoherent," according to the lawsuit. A 2002 Des Moines Register article described more than a dozen allegations that Correctional Medical officials delayed or denied treatment to Polk County inmates during the company's first four years controlling a jailhouse medical clinic.

Polk County STAR Program, Bartow, Florida
July 6, 2007 Orlando Sentinel
A nurse who works with juvenile offenders in Polk County was arrested Thursday on charges of battery and false imprisonment, authorities said. Thomas J. Petreit, 38, is accused of slamming a woman's arm in the front door of an Auburndale home and also striking the woman in the face, records show. Petreit was being held Thursday at the Polk County Jail without bail. Sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Wood said Petreit is a contract nurse assigned to the STAR program and employed by Correctional Medical Services. STAR is operated by the Polk County Sheriff's Office and is the only such program remaining in the state. It replaced the juvenile boot camp that operated in Polk and several other counties. Auburndale police said an officer who responded to the house after the department received a 911 call saw Petreit strike the woman through a window about 2:05 a.m.

Potosi Correctional Center, Potosi, Missouri
January 1, 2006 Daily Journal
A former nurse for Correctional Medical Services has been charged for allegedly stealing prescriptions from the Potosi Correctional Center. Lisa Peery, 41, of Farmington, was recently charged with one Class A misdemeanor count of stealing. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in the county jail or fined $1,000. Peery worked as a nurse for Correctional Medical Services under a contract with the Missouri Department of Corrections. According to court records, Peery stole prescription medications and medical supplies from the unit and took them to her house. The thefts reportedly occurred between January and June of this year. The medications that were removed include a dosage of Vistaril, used for the treatment of anxiety and tension, that was prescribed to an offender at Potosi and a dosage of Cogentin, which is used in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, that was prescribed to another offender there.

Pottawattamie County Jail, Pottawattamie, Iowa
December 20, 2005 The Daily Nonpareil
Pottawattamie County spends more than $650,000 a year on health care for inmates at the county jail, but a new way to save money might become a reality early next year. "It's one of the most substantial costs for the jail," said Supervisor Loren Knauss. "We are forced by federal and state laws to spend more on medical care for inmates than what we do for our veterans." The county has been paying a private firm, CMS, $55,000 a month or $660,000 a year to oversee health care needs for the county's prisoners. The firm, however, announced Monday it plans to cease its operations in February to concentrate on larger state and federal prisons. The Board of Supervisors gave permission to Sheriff Jeff Danker and others at the jail who oversee the inmates' health needs to look into the possibility of the county taking over the operation to save money. "It could be a bunch of savings," Supervisor Delbert King said. Under one possible alternative, the county would hire the three nurses and the administrator currently there as county employees and contract with a local doctor when needed. Inquiries will also be made to see if it's cheaper for the county to purchase prescription drugs locally. CMS, a national company, has its own drug buying policy. The staff provides 16 hours of health care daily for the more than 250 inmates currently housed in the jail. Knauss said this new procedure might save as much as $100,000 a year. "It's a big help to the taxpayers," King added.

South Bay County House of Correction (AKA Suffolk County House of Correction), Boston, Massachusetts
The private company that provides medical care to inmate at the Suffolk County jail said the drug mix-up that sent five prisoners to the hospital was a "highly unusual" mistake. Meanwhile, the mother of one of the inmates, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday that her son was hospitalized two weeks ago for the same reason. On Sunday morning, inmates who were supposed to get a prescribed amount of Viracept, an anti-drug, instead were given high doses of Elavil, an anti-depressant, by Correctional Medical Services staff. (Boston Globe, September 28, 2001)

Three inmates at the South Bay House of Correction in Boston yesterday were hospitalized - two of whom remained in serious condition last night - after overdosing on antidepressants they had been mistakenly given by the private company providing medical care at the Suffolk County facility, jail officials said. The nurse who handed out the medication works for Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis, the nation's largest provider of health services for prisoners. The company's application for a four-year contract with the state Department of Correction for at least $55 million is pending, said department spokesman Justin Latini. At the jail yesterday morning, a total of five inmates were found unresponsive in their cells, according to Richard Lombardi, spokesperson for Suffolk County Sheriff Richard J. Rouse. Their cellmates banged on the walls to alert guards. The jail's emergency service team responded and the inmates were rushed to Boston Medical Center, Lombardi said. Two of the five inmates did not need to be admitted. "It would appear someone put the wrong medication in the envelope," Lombardi said. (Boston Globe, September 24, 2001)

Prince George's County Jail, Prince George's County, Maryland
December 5, 2008 Washington Post Demetri R. Stover was in the Prince George's County jail awaiting trial on charges he stole $60 worth of merchandise from a grocery store when another inmate punched him. Stover fell to the ground. He was found convulsing in his cell less than four hours later; within a week, he was dead. But as authorities sought to prosecute the inmate who hit Stover, evidence emerged that Stover's subsequent treatment at the jail might have contributed to his death. Stover, 46, was evaluated and released from the medical ward in about five minutes. The inmate who punched him, Octuan Gant, was initially charged with manslaughter but pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. He is to be sentenced today. His attorney said in court that he and the prosecution "agree the facts would not show that the injury resulting in [Stover's] death was directly linked to the conduct of the defendant." "The evidence would have shown other actions by the emergency response team and by medical personnel that were the direct link," attorney Michael D. Beach said. Beach did not elaborate. Prosecutors did not dispute his claim. Both sides have since declined to comment on Beach's assertion. A video recording of the Aug. 17, 2007, incident shows that the guards who tended to Stover, 46, after the assault handled him roughly as they took him to the medical ward. The video shows that Stover's evaluation lasted about five minutes. "He did not get the right medical treatment," Stover's mother, Mary Fulwood, said yesterday. "I believe if he had gotten the medical treatment he needed, it would have been a different story. But he didn't, and that hurts me. What can you do in five minutes?" Vernon Herron, the county's director of public safety, said Stover was examined by nurses with Correctional Medical Services, a county contractor. "It is of great concern to us that Mr. Stover later died as a result of his injuries, and we have met with CMS and conveyed those concerns to them," Herron said in a statement. A spokesman for the company declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality.

Richmond County Jail, Richmond County, Georgia
August 30, 2009 The Augusta Chronicle
Since the decade began, at least nine men have died while in the custody of the Richmond County jail. Officially, they were not guilty of anything, but they were being held until the justice system could determine whether charges against them could be proven. Those who died varied from a troubled Vietnam vet to a brain-damaged traffic victim with the mental capacity of a child. Another was a mentally ill inmate who should have been a free man, but the paperwork releasing him never made it to the jail. All the deaths were investigated. No criminal wrongdoing was found. The Augusta Chronicle reviewed the cases at the urging of families and others who all seemed to want the answer to one simple question: How could someone in the restrictive and rigidly supervised custody of incarceration end up dead? IN A PLACE WHERE slaying suspects and tough-talking young men live behind steel doors and iron bars, the old, handicapped, depressed or mentally ill can be overlooked. Charles Brunson was severely disabled when he died at the jail March 12, 2008. The only public notice of his death was an obituary. The severely disabled and brain damaged 52-year-old might have never been thought of again by anyone outside his family, except that he suffered a fatal head injury inside the county jail at 401 Walton Way. Less than four years earlier, another inmate suffered a near-fatal head injury that an emergency room doctor said was exacerbated because of a delay in treatment. Like most people housed in the Richmond County jail, Mr. Brunson had been arrested but not convicted. The Chronicle learned of Mr. Brunson while reviewing the quality of medical care at the jail facilities because of two recent lawsuits involving former inmates and a steady stream of complaints sent to the newspaper by phone, e-mail, and letters written in pencil by inmates. Since 2003, Augusta has contracted with Correctional Medical Services to provide medical services in the county jails. This year's contract is worth more than $4 million. CMS, the largest U.S. corporation in the prison health care business, takes care of all medical needs, from nurses and doctors to medicine and equipment. Maj. Gene Johnson, who is in charge of the jails on Walton Way and Phinizy Road, said he believes the inmates have better health care than most county residents. Every day he meets with the registered nurse in charge of medical services to discuss any especially troubling medical problems among nearly 1,000 inmates, most of whom Maj. Johnson knows by name or accused deed. "They're getting better care here than they can on the street," Maj. Johnson said. Some are getting care for the first time in years. Many have abused themselves for years with drugs and alcohol at a higher level than the general population, he said. The $17.7 million budget for the jails includes just more than $5.1 million for medical care. In addition to the contract payment to CMS, the city is liable for any medical expenses that exceed $10,000 for any single inmate in a single year. CMS spokesman Ken Fields said the company provides qualified and experienced health care professionals to see to the medical needs of the jail inmates. That quality is recognized in the jail's accreditation by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare, he said. THE ACCREDITATION, however, doesn't impress everyone. Attorney Elizabeth Alexander, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's national prison project, said that means the facility can provide an adequate level of care. The way CMS and other for-profit corporations in the business of prison health care make money is the problem, she said. The companies get contracts by providing the lowest bid, and the only place to cut costs is in the medical care, said Ms. Alexander, who works from the ACLU's New York City office. Once the contracts are set, there's no oversight of the care because the state or local officials no longer have independent medical staff, she said. Ms. Alexander represented the family of 21-year-old Timothy Joe Souders in its lawsuit against the state of Michigan and CMS. Mr. Souders, who was mentally ill, was chained to a bed for 17 hours a day for four days in a cell that got as hot as 106 degrees, according to court documents. He died of dehydration. A surveillance video showed Mr. Souders' experience, and the state agreed to a $3.8 million settlement in June 2008. "We're quite familiar with CMS," Ms. Alexander said. The company has a long history of providing inadequate and often unconstitutional care, she said. It's not the only poor-performing prison health care company, she said. States and local governments go from one to the other and back again, usually with the same results, she said. The only real solution she sees is to use nonprofit-based medical personnel. Mr. Fields pointed to CMS' 30 years of experience in what is a specialty in the medical industry. CMS has been a leader in the field, he said, and has developed strategies and techniques that have improved the quality of care in secured facilities. CMS has been named in many lawsuits, but numbers don't equate to a lack of quality care, Mr. Fields said. He estimated that 95 percent of the suits are dismissed or won by CMS. The Chronicle searched for lawsuits involving CMS by using legal databases maintained by Justia.com, a private company that provides free access to courts and other legal issues, and Prison Legal News, a prisoner rights advocacy organization. The Chronicle found 182 lawsuits against CMS. State and local governments who have contracted with CMS have had to pay settlements in 16 cases that totaled more than $28.5 million. Still, CMS wins almost all of the cases, and the same is true of state and local governments sued by inmates who complained about the quality of health care. IN FEDERAL COURT IN AUGUSTA, inmates have sued the county 31 times in the past decade. Nineteen suits alleged civil rights violations based on medical services. The city won every case. Another lawsuit, filed by the mother of a man who died of untreated pneumonia, is pending. In most of those lawsuits, the county didn't even have to respond to the allegations, thanks to federal legislation passed in 1995. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was designed to curb the flood of prisoner lawsuits in federal court. It allows judges to summarily toss out what they see as frivolous cases. Ms. Alexander said the law and case decisions have set the bar at a near impossible height, regardless of the merit of an inmate's complaint. An inmate can't claim a constitutional violation based on health care unless he suffered physical harm, Ms. Alexander said. An inmate also has to prove the staff knew harm could happen but did nothing to prevent it, she said. The techniques once used at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq wouldn't be considered civil rights violations in the U.S. legal system, Ms. Alexander said. The inmates didn't suffer actual physical harm. In an opinion released in January 2007, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that trial judges and appellate courts were taking the Prison Litigation Reform Act too far. "We are not insensitive to the challenges faced by the lower federal courts in managing their dockets and attempting to separate, when it comes to prisoner lawsuits, not so much wheat from chaff as needles from haystacks. However ... adopting different and more onerous pleading rules" is not right, he wrote. Jamie Koss is among those whose constitutional claim based on health care was tossed out in the Augusta federal court. He suffered a head injury in the Richmond County jail Dec. 1, 2004. As he lay unconscious on the cement floor, a nurse did little more than glance at Mr. Koss before deciding he was fine, according to witness statements in the GBI file on Mr. Koss' injury, according to his lawsuit. About seven hours passed before Mr. Koss got help. The delay, the treating physician at University Hospital said, exacerbated the brain damage. He is now disabled, in chronic pain and unable to care for himself, according to his lawsuit. Mr. Koss might have had a case against the nurse who did nothing to help him, but because she has died, Mr. Koss had no valid constitutional challenge, the judge ruled. Neither the sheriff's office nor CMS can be held liable for the nurse's derogation of duty. Mr. Koss, the judge ruled, could not meet the legal standard for such a constitutional challenge: that CMS or the sheriff's office participated in the acts or omissions; that either had a history of widespread abuse so that they should have known there was a risk; or either implemented a policy that resulted in deliberate indifference. When asked about Mr. Koss' case, Mr. Fields said CMS cannot discuss any patient's care because of confidentiality demanded of health care professionals. After death, federal medical privacy laws allow the release of a person's medical information only to the executor of the estate; the person authorized access through a health care power of attorney immediately before death; or a person authorized by the patient while still alive to receive the information, wrote Christine Shaffer, an Augusta attorney with experience in litigation dealing with the privacy law and the state's Open Records Act. Maj. Johnson said the Richmond County jail staff is doing its best to keep watch over the inmates in the overcrowded facilities and separate those who are vulnerable or ill. "This jail here has turned into a mental institution," he said one particularly trying morning in June. Georgia Regional Hospital was full and not accepting new patients, Maj. Johnson said, and he had one out-of-control inmate who broke the iron-restraint chair and tore the ligaments in a captain's thumb. THERE ARE PROCEDURES SET to catch potential medical problems on the front end, Maj. Johnson said. Every person brought into the jail is asked a set of questions to determine whether he or she has any medical needs or could be suicidal. A nurse is to check the answers and follow up on any potential medical needs. Every person can fill out a request to see the CMS physician or dentist, Maj. Johnson said, but the requests are screened by a nurse to determine whether an inmate should see the doctor. The doctor works 40 hours a week. On any given day, the jail facilities hold a combined population of about 1,000. A recent article in a John Hopkins University publication found the average ratio of physician to patients in the United States is 1 to 400. What medicine an inmate receives is up to the physician, Maj. Johnson said. Jail staff cannot allow family or anyone else to provide medication for an inmate because staffers have no way to verify what it is, he said. In lawsuits, former inmates have complained that they cannot get access to the nurses and especially to the doctor. Maj. Johnson denies those charges. Inmates have access to medical care, and the medical staff is trained to deal with inmates incapable of asking for medical attention, he said. Dealing with mentally ill inmates is a huge issue for the medical and jail staffs, he said. There have been at least five suicides since 2001. According to GBI reports reviewed by The Chronicle , most had been on antidepressants. John O. Johnson was a 43-year-old repeat offender looking at life in prison if convicted of a series of armed robberies. After his May 21, 2003, arrest, he tried to choke himself to death with a shoestring and he banged his head into a wall. The jail put him on suicide watch. Mr. Johnson convinced the medical staff he was all right, according to the GBI report. He was moved to the special needs unit in a lock-down status, but he was allowed to have clothing and the normal items other inmates have. The morning after he was moved off suicide watch, Mr. Johnson was found hanging from a strip of bedsheet. He left handwritten copies of a will and testament and letters of apology to his mother and the mother of his children. He also left a note apologizing to the people of Richmond County for his crimes. According to a statement given by one of the nurses, Mr. Johnson swore he would kill himself because staff couldn't watch him all of the time. Though not many people have died in the county jails in recent years, the number shouldn't be the criterion for judging the quality of medical care, said Ms. Alexander, who has been with the ACLU Prison Project since 1981. The critical question is whether any of the deaths were preventable, Ms. Alexander said. The only way to know for sure is to examine the medical records, she said. If something went wrong, the problem needs to be understood and corrected, she said. She compared it to how the National Transportation Safety Board operates. Compared with the number of flights every year, the number of crashes is not statistically significant, but the board examines every accident to find out what happened and whether there was a problem that can be corrected to prevent another accident, she said. Though Mr. Koss' near-fatal head injury in December 2004 was exacerbated because of a delay in treatment, when Mr. Brunson struck his head in March 2008, the nurse took no action to determine whether the severely disabled and brain-damaged man might have had a brain injury, according to the GBI file. Mr. Brunson's family isn't seeking civil unrest or damages from lawsuits. They say they just wanted to know why he couldn't have been saved.

August 30, 2009 The Augusta Chronicle
Jamie Koss liked to drink, and his rap sheet indicates it was usually the reason the Vietnam War veteran found himself repeatedly behind bars. Not anymore. On Dec. 2, 2004, Mr. Koss lay unconscious on the cement floor of a jail cell for hours as his brain bled and swelled. He recovered, somewhat, and sued Richmond County, the sheriff and Correctional Medical Services, the company that has the contract to provide medical services at county jail facilities. Deputies booked Mr. Koss into jail about 6 p.m. for disorderly conduct. It didn't take him long to start an argument with inmate Gilbert Jacobs. He called Mr. Jacobs names and questioned his service during the Vietnam War. Mr. Jacobs responded by punching him once in the face. It knocked Mr. Koss off his feet. Mr. Jacobs and the other men in the holding cell would later tell Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents that Mr. Koss' head slammed on the concrete floor about 8 p.m. One of the men told Deputy David Copeland that Mr. Koss had been hurt, and the deputy could see Mr. Koss had blood on his face and head. The officer called nurse Nellie Williams, who looked at Mr. Koss from the doorway but did nothing else, according to the GBI report obtained by The Chronicle through the state's Open Records Act. Ms. Williams, a registered nurse, told investigators that no one told her Mr. Koss had been hurt. He was breathing OK and she thought he just needed to sleep off being drunk. A review of the jail video recording shows Ms. Williams at the cell door for about 30 seconds. Mr. Koss came to after a couple of hours on the floor, the other men in the cell told GBI agents. He got up onto one of the benches but fell off several times. About 3 a.m., when a deputy came to move the men out of the holding cell, he couldn't wake Mr. Koss. At the hospital, doctors operated on Mr. Koss. They warned jail staff that he might not make it, according to the investigative report. He did survive, however, after a month in the hospital and many more months in physical therapy. He is blind in one eye, unable to stand without support and cannot bathe or dress himself. The physician who treated Mr. Koss at University Hospital said the brain damage was exacerbated by the delay in getting medical care. In a March 30 decision, U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall wrote that Mr. Koss couldn't prove any jail or medical worker was deliberately indifferent, except perhaps Ms. Williams. Because she died in February 2005, Mr. Koss didn't have a federal case, Judge Hall ruled.

South Michigan Correctional Facility, Jackson, Michigan
July 7, 2008 Daily Telegram
A lawsuit over the death of a mentally ill, 21-year-old Adrian man while he was shackled inside a prison cell for four days during a heat wave two years ago has been settled in United States District Court. The parents and three brothers of Timothy Joe Souders are to share in a $3.25 million settlement approved in late June by Judge Bernard Friedman. The lawsuit was completed Wednesday with a dismissal order for Correctional Medical Services Inc., a private contractor providing medical care to inmates at the Southern Michigan Correctional Center in Jackson where Souders died. The state is paying $2.86 million of the settlement total with a private insurance company contributing the remainder, said Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan. The law firm of Geoffrey Fieger of Southfield is to receive more than $1 million as its one-third fee for handling the case. Souders’ mother and father are each to receive structured settlements worth nearly $730,000. His three brothers are to receive structured settlements of $200,000 each.

October 14, 2006 The Grand Rapids Press
The use of four-point restraints as punishment for prison inmates meets the American Medical Association's definition of torture and should be discontinued, a doctor appointed by a federal judge to monitor health care in Michigan's prisons testified Friday. The continued use of restraints is "likely to result in future deaths," Robert Cohen warned U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen. He blamed the Aug. 6 death of Timothy Joe Souders, a 21-year-old mentally ill inmate, on the fact he was shackled atop a steel table in the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson for most of four days during a heat wave. "While naked in bed, he was found to be lying in his own urine and feces," Cohen said, adding that Souders' "condition during a heat wave required constant monitoring ... There should be no policy for maintaining prisoners in punitive restraints. It was that policy that led to his death." After Cohen's testimony, attorney Elizabeth Alexander, representing inmates in the class action lawsuit, asked Enslen to issue an order temporarily barring the state Corrections Department from using restraints to punish prisoners. Enslen appeared inclined to issue the order, but Assistant Attorney General Peter Govorchin stepped outside the courtroom to call state Corrections Director Patricia Caruso about offering a voluntary moratorium on the use of restraints. Afterward, the attorneys met with Enslen behind closed doors, and later would not say whether an agreement had been reached to stop restraining prisoners as punishment. Cohen's testimony came at the end of a three-day hearing in a lawsuit aimed at forcing the state to improve the care of medically and mentally ill prisoners. The allegations include: The hospital and other medical units in the Jackson prison complex are understaffed by doctors and nurses. Written requests by inmates for medical help often are delayed for several days or ignored. Referrals to outside medical specialists are routinely delayed for weeks and even months while sick inmates get sicker and, in some case, die. Prescriptions for serious illnesses often go unfilled for several days. Last May and June, critical medications for several inmates were not provided while the Jackson prison complex was in transition from its own staff of pharmacists to a private firm called Pharmacorp. One inmate testified his medication for glaucoma and migraine headaches was withheld as punishment because he talked with attorneys in the case. Only while he was in court and on the stand Wednesday did a guard hand him his medication. Some of the responsibility rests with Correctional Medical Services, the for-profit corporation that provides care for prisoners under a contract with the state, testified Jerry Walden, an Ann Arbor physician called as an expert witness for the inmates. "There seems to be an indifference about care," Walden said, "and I'm concerned about that."

South Woods State Prison, Bridgeton, New Jersey
November 23, 2005 Today's Sunbeam
Less than a month after a Southern State Corrections Facility employee was sentenced here in Superior Court for having sex with inmates, a staff member at South Woods State Prison has been accused of similar behavior. Dawn Brown, a nurse aide at the 1,500-inmate South Woods prison in Bridgeton, was picked up by state Department of Corrections Special Investigations officers Friday and taken to Cumberland County Jail on charges she had consensual sex with at least one male inmate at South Woods. "This is something that's completely unacceptable," said state DOC spokeswoman Deirdre Fedkenheuer. "It was consensual in the fact that no one was raped. When you have somebody in a supervisory position this sometimes happens." Brown, who has been charged with sexual assault and official misconduct, was hired by Correctional Medical Services in May 2004. CMS provides medical services at South Woods State Prison and other state facilities throughout New Jersey.

St Louis Justice Center, St Louis, Missouri
May 24, 2012 Post-Dispatch
About an hour after a doctor instructed St. Louis jail staff to send inmate Courtland Lucas to a hospital immediately, medical records show, the 31-year-old prisoner collapsed in a cell and soon died. The lapse is among a variety of medical missteps alleged in a wrongful-death and malpractice lawsuit against the private contractor that provides medical care for the St. Louis Justice Center. Medical records obtained by lawyers for Lucas' family also contain a nurse's notes indicating a belief at the time that his episodes were 'staged." Lucas died May 25, 2009, from complications of a heart problem, congenital aortic valve stenosis while under the care of Correctional Medical Services Inc. CMS merged last year with PHS Correctional Healthcare to form Corizon. It provides medical coverage to more than 400,000 inmates at 400 correctional facilities across the country, including St. Louis, where its operational headquarters is located. A company spokesman, Pat Nolan, said: "Corizon and its employees work hard every day to provide quality care to thousands of inmates across the country." Mayor Francis Slay's spokeswoman, Kara Bowlin, would not comment on specific allegations. She noted that the city spends nearly $7 million each year on inmate health care and "takes seriously its obligation to provide health care services to the people it confines, many of whom come to us with serious medical problems." The suit, filed this month by the St. Louis Lawyers Group on behalf of Lucas' minor son, Trayon Lucas-McNairy, seeks unspecified damages over $25,000 from CMS but does not name the city as a defendant. Burton Newman, one of his attorneys, said in an interview: "We found several individuals who were quoted on the record as recognizing the care that this gentleman needed, but other individuals seem to have failed to recognize the care needed, or ignored the care needed." It is the second attempt at compensation in the case. A prior wrongful-death suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the city and the health care provider, was voluntarily dismissed last year on a legal technicality. DETERIORATING HEALTH -- Lucas, the youngest of 14 children, was a jokester who wrote poetry and announced a new commitment to God, his family told the Post-Dispatch in 2010. He had been a restaurant manager but struggled with drugs, including heroin, for the last four years of his life. Medical records show Lucas long suffered from serious heart problems, which required several valve replacements and a hospitalization in 2009 for swelling and an irregular heartbeat. He was diabetic, suffered from hypertension and had a pacemaker. When he was arrested by St. Louis police May 20, 2009, on a parole violation — he had a record of drug and traffic offenses — he was taken to St. Alexius Hospital, complaining of chest pain. Doctor's orders from that visit set out a plan for checking his blood sugar and administering insulin. Later orders from a jail physician offered a similar schedule. But Lucas' lawyers, one with a medical degree, say evidence shows the orders were not consistently followed. The suit refers to medical records it says reflect neglect. The plaintiff's lawyer provided a Post-Dispatch reporter with CMS documents that show: • May 24, afternoon: Lucas, in a narcotics detoxification unit, shows signs of trouble. His blood sugar level is elevated, at 228. Nurses administer insulin but don't record another blood-sugar check until the next day. • May 24, 7:15 p.m.: Lucas complains of a fast heartbeat and hallucinations, talking of "little people" in his room. A nurse notes he is agitated and perspiring. A jail physician has asked to be called about any changes in Lucas' mental status but there is no record of such a call; Lucas' lawyers maintain it wasn't made. • May 25, 4 a.m.: Lucas asks to go to a hospital and says he doesn't want to die in the jail. He is taken by wheelchair to an examining room. Nurses try to draw blood but note that it's too thick. Existing hospital orders call for a doctor's care if his blood sugar rises above 300; it is now 325. There is no note of any insulin being administered. • May 25, 1:10 p.m.: A nurse notes Lucas' altered mental status and also writes that "all episodes appear to be staged as (Lucas) easily comes back to normal conversation." • May 25, 5:30 p.m.: Lucas is found lying in his cell in a 'stuporous condition" and answers questions 'sluggishly," according to a nurse's notes. Insulin is administered but there is no note of his sugar being checked. Nurses have trouble detecting his pulse and blood pressure, but ultimately find his heart rate is high, at 160. • May 25, 5:45 p.m.: The on-call physician orders Lucas taken to a hospital emergency room immediately. • May 25, about 7 p.m.: Lucas is still waiting for transport. A sheriff's deputy reports that Lucas has collapsed while sitting in a wheelchair. Records indicate a lost minute while medical staff struggles to have the doors to the holding unit opened by master control. • May 25, 7:10 p.m.: Paramedics arrive and take Lucas to St. Louis University Hospital. • May 25, 7:54 p.m.: Lucas is pronounced dead. OTHER CLAIMS OF NEGLECT -- CMS which has worked for Missouri's prison system since 1992 and has for decades been one of the biggest inmate health care contractors, has been a target of criticism before. It was the main subject of a 1998 Post-Dispatch investigation, which showed that inmates died in more than 20 cases due to negligence, indifference, understaffing, inadequate training or cost-cutting. Such concerns rose again in 2007 after the death of LaVonda Kimble, 30, from an asthma attack at the St. Louis Justice Center. A fire department report, obtained by a lawyer for her family, showed paramedics encountered delays and apathy when trying to get into the jail. Autopsy findings showed no trace of a drug that jail nurses said they repeatedly administered to ease Kimble's breathing. "The discovery in this case showed they did little to nothing for her. They just watched her die," according to her family's attorney, John Wallach. A confidential settlement of that suit was reached last year and fulfilled in the past few weeks. Wallach said that "justice was done to the extent that the law would allow..." In 2010, the ACLU alleged in federal court that an HIV-positive John Doe plaintiff was deprived of medications for 17 days, even though he told jail staff of his condition and his physician faxed information about his medicines and dosages. Also that year, Vanessa Evans, 37, died hours after she complained to staff about having trouble breathing. Jail officials said she appeared fine a half hour earlier. Evans' family complained that the company failed to take her claims seriously despite her history of asthma. Newman said Lucas' case is another chapter in a sad history. He complained: "It's tragic that a man with known medical conditions was incarcerated in the city jail and did not receive any of the medical care that he was not only entitled to, but ... the medical officials at the jail knew he needed."

November 19, 2010 Post-Dispatch
Medical care in city jails, already the subject of wrongful-death lawsuits, was challenged again on Thursday with an ACLU claim that an HIV-positive inmate was deprived of his medications for 17 days and got only sporadic care thereafter. A lawsuit filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri alleges that the John Doe plaintiff was deprived of his rights at both the Justice Center downtown and the Medium Security Institution on Hall Street. "It's inexcusable, and it's serious," said Tony Rothert, legal director for the ACLU here. The ACLU says this case and others reflect a pattern of failures at the lockups. It made specific allegations in a 2009 report that accused the jails of inadequate medical attention, inmate abuse, falsification of reports and unsanitary conditions. The latest suit names the city and a contractor, Correctional Medical Services, as defendants, along with the jail superintendent, Eugene Stubblefield, and two CMS physicians, Drs. Brenda Mallard and Susan Singer. Deputy City Counselor Nancy Kistler responded, "Contrary to the claims of the ACLU, the records of the inmate in question reflect that he received adequate medical care consistent with his constitutional rights." CMS issued a statement saying it provides quality care, saying it cannot comment on specifics because of confidentiality laws.

October 27, 2010 Post-Dispatch
The 31-year-old collapsed from heart failure at the St. Louis Justice Center on May 25, 2009, five days after he was arrested for a probation violation. His family said he had been taken into custody because he missed a meeting with his probation officer. After he collapsed, he was transported to St. Louis University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Lucas had chronic heart disease and used a pacemaker. In a wrongful death lawsuit filed this month against the city and the jail's health care provider on behalf of Lucas' family, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri contends jail officials failed to provide Lucas with adequate medical care or the necessary medications to treat his condition. "I'm just upset and angry because the system failed him," said one of Lucas' sisters, Landa Poke. The private contractor that provides medical care at the jail says the lawsuit's version of how Lucas died has inaccuracies and insists its staff is "experienced and well-trained." But ACLU officials in St. Louis say Lucas' death is the result of what they see as a series of breakdowns at city jails, including inadequate medical care.

October 12, 2010 AP
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a jail inmate in St. Louis, claiming he did not get proper care for a heart condition. The ACLU filed suit Tuesday on behalf of Landa Poke. Her brother, 32-year-old Courtland Lucas, died at the St. Louis City Justice Center in May 2009, five days after he was jailed on a probation violation. The ACLU says Lucas had chronic heart disease and was wearing a pacemaker when taken into custody. The suit contends Correctional Medical Services failed to provide proper medications or care for Lucas. A spokesman for CMS says the company has not yet seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the allegations. A message left with a spokeswoman for the city of St. Louis was not returned.

December 4, 2008 St Louis Post-Dispatch
The family of a woman who died of an asthma attack while being held at the St. Louis City Justice Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the medical company providing care at the jail. LaVonda Kimble, 30, died April 11, 2007 of an acute asthma attack. She was supposed to have been released on bond posted hours earlier in Bel-Nor, which had a traffic warrant against her. But her release was delayed by a paperwork mixup. The suit alleges that health workers with Correctional Medical Services failed to properly evaluate Kimble, provide adequate care, call for emergency help in a timely manner and use an electric defibrillator to restore her heart rhythm. Kimble's mother, Annie Kimble, is asking for more than $25,000 in damages on behalf of her grandson. Documents in the case include a sizzling complaint by one of the St. Louis Fire Department paramedics called to the scene , who noted that it took up to eight minutes to get to the patient after arrival at the jail, and that jail nurses failed to use a defibrillator . The medic also complained in writing that jail staff distracted medics, and that firefighters who arrived ahead of the medic crew said they found someone doing CPR by pressing Kimble's stomach instead of her chest. A St. Louis Corrections Department report of the incident found no violation of policies or procedures. Officials at Correctional Medical Services, a national company based in St. Louis, could not be immediately reached.

June 7, 2007 St Louis Post-Dispatch
A delay in letting paramedics into the city jail and "substandard" emergency care by staff there may have doomed an inmate who suffered an asthma attack, according to a blistering report by the fire department. One of the paramedics who treated LaVonda Kimble early April 11 wrote of commonly encountering delays and apathy on calls to the St. Louis Justice Center, at 200 South Tucker Boulevard. And autopsy findings obtained Wednesday showed no trace of the drug that jail nurses said they repeatedly administered to ease Kimble's breathing. The reports were obtained with a court order by John Wallach, a lawyer representing Kimble's family in considering a wrongful death lawsuit. He shared them Wednesday with the Post-Dispatch. "People don't generally die of an asthma attack when they go to the hospital," Wallach said. "I fully believe our evidence will show if she was treated properly, she would have been fine." Sam Simon, the city director of public safety, pledged to learn more about what happened, and about the medical care provided under contract for more than $5 million a year by Correctional Medical Services. The Creve Coeur-based private company has come under heavy criticism in Missouri and elsewhere for years. Kimble, 30, the single mother of a 12-year-old child, wasn't supposed to be in jail in the first place. Her boyfriend had posted bond for her about 6:30 p.m. on April 10 in Bel-Nor, which had a traffic warrant against her. That was about four hours after her arrest by St. Louis police. But a release order went to the wrong jail, a mistake that wasn't corrected until she was already dying. Kimble fell ill about 10:20 p.m. According to jail records, she received three separate treatments of Albuterol, a medication to ease breathing, before she collapsed at 1:25 a.m. Firefighters from nearby Engine Co. 2 arrived at 1:40 a.m. and began CPR. Medic 5 was five minutes behind, but spent seven or eight minutes thereafter waiting to get in, according to a report by fire department paramedic Chastity Girolami. The delay was "detrimental to the patient's outcome," Girolami wrote. She said firefighters told her they had arrived to find nurses trying to perform CPR by compressing Kimble's stomach instead of her chest. Girolami noted that when medics asked a nurse if she had used an automatic defibrillator to try to restore Kimble's heartbeat, "She just looked at us and asked what we were talking about." The jail care was "substandard at best," Girolami wrote in her report. She also wrote that a corrections officer distracted paramedics with questions about their ID numbers while they struggled to save Kimble's life; the medics twice asked jailers to back off. "She kept persisting and finally my partner informed the staff that this patient was in cardiac arrest and basically dying, and they would have to wait," Girolami wrote. "The staff was surprised at this. They didn't know the patient was in cardiac arrest." Kimble was rushed to St. Louis University Hospital, where she died at 2:44 a.m. "This experience at the Justice Center was by far my worst," Girolami wrote. She complained, "Every time I've been to the Justice Center, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to even get to the patient. There is never anyone to guide us and never any sense of urgency." Her report was one of a variety of documents Kimble's family has gathered in preparation of a wrongful-death lawsuit. The autopsy report shows that corrections officials asked for and got a special toxicology test for Albuterol, and that none was detected. Wallach said the medical examiner plans to send samples to an outside laboratory for further testing. "If, in fact, she was not given Albuterol, then the official records are false," the lawyer said, "If that's the case, LaVonda's civil rights were blatantly violated and it led to her death." An internal investigation concluded, "There was no evidence that the Division of Corrections violated any policies or procedures." But Simon, the public safety director, said Wednesday there will be an investigation to reconcile reports from the fire department, corrections department and medical examiner. "We need to conclude our investigation and determine what happened," Simon said. "What I know is these are just allegations at this point." Ken Fields, spokesman for Correctional Medical Services, said he could not comment on a specific patient. However, he insisted that the jail's medical staff is trained to properly administer life support techniques, including CPR and use of automated external defibrillators. "Our services and equipment are in keeping with the standards of care in the community," Fields said. "All nurses at CMS are licensed by the appropriate entity and are qualified to provide the care they are asked to provide."

St Louis Medium Security Institution, St Louis, Missouri
November 19, 2010 Post-Dispatch
Medical care in city jails, already the subject of wrongful-death lawsuits, was challenged again on Thursday with an ACLU claim that an HIV-positive inmate was deprived of his medications for 17 days and got only sporadic care thereafter. A lawsuit filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri alleges that the John Doe plaintiff was deprived of his rights at both the Justice Center downtown and the Medium Security Institution on Hall Street. "It's inexcusable, and it's serious," said Tony Rothert, legal director for the ACLU here. The ACLU says this case and others reflect a pattern of failures at the lockups. It made specific allegations in a 2009 report that accused the jails of inadequate medical attention, inmate abuse, falsification of reports and unsanitary conditions. The latest suit names the city and a contractor, Correctional Medical Services, as defendants, along with the jail superintendent, Eugene Stubblefield, and two CMS physicians, Drs. Brenda Mallard and Susan Singer. Deputy City Counselor Nancy Kistler responded, "Contrary to the claims of the ACLU, the records of the inmate in question reflect that he received adequate medical care consistent with his constitutional rights." CMS issued a statement saying it provides quality care, saying it cannot comment on specifics because of confidentiality laws.

June 17, 2009 St Louis Post-Dispatch
The family of a nurse who worked at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution filed a lawsuit Friday claiming she suffered permanent injury when she was not given prompt medical attention after collapsing at the jail on Hall Street in March. The suit accuses the city of St. Louis, Correctional Medical Services, St. Louis Public Safety Director Charles Bryson and two correctional officers for failing to provide adequate care. Karen Thomas lost consciousness from an irregular heart rhythm and suffered brain injury, according to the suit. Her daughter, Jeniece Henderson, claims a properly working defibrillator could have prevented the injury.

Suffolk County House of Correction, Suffolk, Massachusetts
October 10, 2005 WCVB TV
Federal prosecutors said they will not charge Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral following an investigation into whether she lied to a grand jury looking into the firing of a jailhouse nurse. The grand jury was investigating whether Cabral retaliated against nurse Sheila Porter for cooperating with federal authorities. An obstruction of justice charge could have been brought if there was evidence Cabral thwarted the investigation. Cabral was recently sent a letter notifying her that the 2-year-old investigation was closed and no charges would be filed, The Boston Globe reported Friday. Porter had told the FBI about the alleged abuse of an inmate at the Suffolk County House of Correction, the Globe reported. She later told the grand jury that when she was fired, a top sheriff's department official told her it was for speaking with "an outside agency." But Cabral told the grand jury that the nurse, Sheila Porter, was banned from working at the jail because she failed to file paperwork detailing a guard's alleged assault on an inmate, according to the Globe. Last fall, Porter, who had been working as an FBI informant since 1999, filed a $2 million federal lawsuit against Cabral, the Sheriff's Department, and Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services Inc. That case is pending.

July 22, 2005 Boston Globe
New court documents contradict statements from Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, who has denied firing a jail employee for cooperating with an FBI investigation into abuse of inmates at the Suffolk County jail.  The filings include a deposition from Donna Jurdak, who was the supervisor of nurse Sheila J. Porter, the employee barred from working at the jail in 2003. The FBI is probing the circumstances surrounding Porter's firing.  Porter has also filed a civil suit, contending she was punished for being a whistleblower and informing for the FBI. Cabral has said that Porter was fired for failing to file proper paperwork about alleged abuse.  It is a federal crime to retaliate against anyone for providing information about criminal activity to law enforcement authorities.  Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Cabral committed perjury by lying to the federal grand jury about the reasons for the nurse's termination.  Porter, who helped the FBI investigate abuse from 1999 until she was let go, has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the sheriff, the jail, and the private company for whom she worked, Correctional Medical Services, saying she was retaliated against for being an FBI informant.  In her deposition, Jurdak, who was Porter's supervisor at CMS Inc., said that after Porter's dismissal, the FBI came to question her at the jail, but that she was afraid to speak to the agent, she said. ''My first reaction to be honest is . . . now I am going to be barred from the facility."

May 12, 2005 The Boston Channel
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral lied to a grand jury investigating the firing of a jailhouse nurse, The Boston Globe reported Thursday. The paper, citing two unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the investigation, said the probe is focused on Cabral's testimony on the firing of a nurse at the Suffolk County House of Correction who was cooperating with an FBI investigation into inmate abuse at the jail. According to one source, Cabral told the grand jury that the nurse, Sheila Porter, was banned from working at the jail after she failed to file paperwork detailing a guard's alleged assault on an inmate. But Porter told the grand jury she was told she was banned because she spoke to an outside agency, the FBI, the Globe reported. Porter's employer, Correctional Medical Services Inc., said it was forced to fire her after she was banned. Federal prosecutors are considering whether to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges against Cabral, a source told the Globe. An obstruction of justice charge can be brought if there is evidence she thwarted a federal investigation by retaliating against an employee. Porter last fall filed a $2 million federal lawsuit against Cabral, the Sheriff's Department, and Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services Inc.


A longtime nurse at the Suffolk County House of Correction says she was ordered off the property and later fired after Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral's administration discovered she was helping the FBI investigate allegations of inmate abuse at the troubled institution.  Sheila J. Porter, 61, who worked for a private company that provides medical services to the jail, said she was labeled persona non grata at the facility after she told the FBI in May 2003 that an inmate who had worn a recording device for the federal agency had been beaten and was in danger.  After Porter was banned from the facility, her employer, Correctional Medical Services Inc., fired her. Until then, her evaluations had been stellar, said her lawyers, Joseph F. Savage Jr. and Jennifer M. Goddard.  ''They quoted a regulation that said you're not supposed to speak with an outside agency," said Porter, who spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since her termination in June 2003. ''They said: 'At the close of this business day, you will no longer be welcome at the House of Correction.' The words are very well etched in my mind.  (Boston Globe, August 25, 2004)

Tucker Maximum Security Unit, Tucker, Arkansas
June 18, 2008 AP
Authorities say they’ve arrested the director of nursing at the Tucker Maximum Security Unit on suspicion of smuggling bags of tobacco into the prison. Police say 33-year-old Rolanda Barron was arrested June 9 after a routine search at the prison turned up seven bags of loose tobacco concealed in her umbrella. Prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the umbrella also contained a cell phone, charger and four D cell batteries — all of which are considered contraband. Arkansas State Police arrested Barron on suspicion of furnishing prohibited articles, a felony. Barron has been released from the Jefferson County jail on a $2,500 bond. Barron worked for Correctional Medical Services, which provides medical services to state prisons under a $44 million contract. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, Vandalia, Missouri
November 26, 2004 AP
The family of a state prison inmate who complained of blinding headaches in the days before her death has filed a wrongful death suit against the state and the prison's health-care provider. Al'Deana Simmons, who was incarcerated for forgery, died in July 2003 at the women's prison in Vandalia of a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was 33. Her mother, Virginia Terry, and three minor children through their father are seeking actual and punitive damages, as well as compensation for attorney's fees. The defendants include Correctional Medical Services, the Missouri Department of Corrections and several of their employees. The suit alleges the defendants "were deliberately indifferent in failing to provide medical care to the decedent in that they were aware of the serious pain that decedent was experiencing and the blindness she was experiencing, from which an inference could be drawn that a substantial harm to decedent existed."

September 2, 2003
Virginia Terry was thankful when her daughter, a drug addict suffering from bipolar disorder, got locked up at the women's prison in Vandalia, Mo., for a forgery conviction.  "I thought, at least she'd be safe," Terry recalls. That changed when Terry's daughter, Al'Deana Simmons of Camdenton, began complaining, in letters and phone calls home, about the type of health care she was getting behind bars.  She said prison doctors changed her anti-depression medication. She cried about blinding headaches. And Terry will never forget what Simmons said in their phone conversation July 1, the day before she died of an apparent aneurysm.  "She said her head was sizzling and that she was going blind," Terry recalls. "The prison doctor saw her for 10 minutes and said nothing was wrong."  The case of Simmons, 33, is one of many being explored this summer by investigators with the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in Washington. Investigators have been to the prison three times and interviewed 127 inmates about the medical treatment provided by St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services.  They also have met in St. Louis with inmates' relatives, including Terry. She provided them with her daughter's letters and medical records.  CMS won its first Missouri contract in 1992 under then Gov. John Ashcroft, who now as U.S. attorney general heads up the Justice Department.  Yet, in a move rarely seen by the Justice Department, Missouri's prison system has denied the investigators the access they want. The investigators have wanted to see the infirmary and talk to prisoners and staff at the prison, about 70 miles northwest of St. Louis. Prison officials wouldn't allow it, instead telling federal investigators they could talk to prisoners only in the visitation area during normal visiting hours.  That kind of restriction to a prison setting is rare, happening only a handful of times in the Justice Department's 23 years of work using the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.  The act was passed by Congress in 1980. It empowers the attorney general to investigate the conditions at these institutions and file lawsuits to remedy "a pattern or practice" of unlawful conditions.  A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.  Tim Kniest, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections, said investigators weren't permitted to "walk around unescorted" because of safety concerns. Kniest said that, if the investigators make arrangements with the Missouri attorney general's office, they can have a tour.  The investigators work with the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division. That section's job is to protect constitutional rights of people confined to institutions such as state-run nursing homes and prisons.  $80 million a year Correctional Medical Services is the nation's largest prison health care provider. It has contracts to provide medical care for about 228,000 inmates and prisoners in 27 states.  In Missouri, CMS' current five-year contract, renewed in late 2001, covers medical and mental health care for the 29,500 prisoners in Missouri's 21 prisons. The cost to the state is about $80 million a year. It is based on a fixed per-day price (now at $7.50) for each housed inmate. That cost pays for everything from Band-Aids and aspirin to inmates' prescriptions and catastrophic health care.  There are about 1,700 female prisoners in the Vandalia prison. There are women prisoners in Chillicothe, but the federal investigators have not visited that prison.  CMS has been the subject of controversy in recent years. A five-month investigation by the Post-Dispatch in 1998 found more than 20 cases nationwide in which prison and jail inmates died as a result of alleged negligence, indifference, understaffing, inadequate training or cost cutting by private health care companies. Many of the cases involved CMS.  (STL Today)

Vermont Department of Corrections
October 13, 2005 Rutland Herald
The state will likely hire a Virginia company to provide mental health care to inmates of the state's prisons. For several years, Dr. Paul Cotton has been doing that job, although his company has come under criticism in a state auditor's report by prisoners' rights advocates and the state employee's union. The Department of Corrections is negotiating with winning bidder MHM Correctional Services Inc. of Vienna, Va. If the state and the company can reach a final agreement, MHM is tentatively scheduled to take over in February. The contract will likely be for two years or more. After a 2004 audit by then-state auditor Elizabeth Ready - which found that Cotton's company had billed for services that were not provided - the company returned $143,000 in a settlement with the state.

March 21, 2005 Corrections.com
Providing quality healthcare and lowering costs are challenges that drive many corrections agencies towards private companies.  But once the contract is signed and the deal is done, departments can't turn a blind eye to what's going on in their facilities; they need to manage those contracts with private service providers to ensure that they are getting what they bargained for. Vermont learned this lesson the hard way when seven inmate deaths in a year's time prompted the DOC and the State Auditor's Office to take a closer look at healthcare, among other things, at the state's correctional facilities.  Both the Auditor's Report and the report ordered by the Vermont Agency of Human Services found that the DOC needed to step up its contract oversight. Chief among those contracts that required better monitoring was the department's arrangement with Correctional Medical Services (CMS), the state's inmate healthcare provider.  According to the Auditor's Report, the state suffered financially from ineffective monitoring of the CMS contract and had no real way to evaluate the quality of the services the company was providing to inmates. Since the reports were released last year, the Vermont DOC has committed to improving the way it does business with private contractors.  The agency believes it took a step in the right direction in early 2005 when it entered into a contractual agreement with a new healthcare provider, Prison Health Services (PHS).

November 11, 2004 Times Argus
The company recently awarded a $26 million contract to provide health care to Vermont inmates has been the subject of more than 1,000 prisoner lawsuits and complaints from officials of states where it has done business.  The details of Vermont's contract with Prison Health Services are still being worked out, according to Deputy Corrections Commissioner Sister Janice Ryan, who said they will "address the concerns raised by Vermont inmates and advocates,'' but declined to elaborate. Prison Health Services, which beat out four other companies for the three-year contract to provide health care to Vermont inmates that is scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1, is a Tennessee-based firm that provides services to about 235,000 prisoners nationwide. Medical treatment in Vermont prisons has been problematic. In May, state auditor Elizabeth Ready criticized the Department of Corrections for not adequately monitoring the delivery of health care by Correctional Medical Services (CMS), which is under contract to provide health care through January. Ready also criticized CMS for billing Vermont for services that were never provided.
At least one other state that has used Prison Health Services was disappointed with its performance. Maine declined to renew its contract with the company because of "performance problems'' said Maine Corrections Department spokeswoman Denise Lord. An outside audit of the company's work there found numerous problems, including insufficient review of patient charts, inadequate provisions for patient privacy and insufficient peer review of physician performance.

Laura Ziegler, advocate on mental health and inmate rights, made the suggestion at the start of a public hearing Wednesday sponsored by the Department of Corrections. The department is about to solicit bidders to provide medical care at the state's prison facilities and asked for comments on the guidelines it plans to send out to potential contractors.  Barry Kade of Alliance for Prison Justice told corrections officials that inmates certainly have opinions about the medical care they receive now. He's been making monthly visits to Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport for seven years. "The most consistent complaint I've heard is about medical care."  Although the department planned to close the public comment period by Monday, Tom Powell, clinical program director, agreed with Ziegler's suggestion. He promised to provide copies of the guidelines to inmates, invite their comments and allow extra time for their responses.  The state would like to begin advertising for a new medical care provider by the end of August, with bids due Oct. 1. The winning bidder would take over medical care in the prisons by Feb. 1.  Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis provides health services and could submit a bid to continue. The state, however, has drawn up new requirements for the services _ such as providing an ombudsman to settle disputes between care providers and inmates.  Theresa McAvinney, a registered nurse who recently left the clinic at the prison in Newport, said at Wednesday's hearing that she saw a gap between the kind of care required on paper and the kind of care delivered. "I had to intervene in many cases of men who were neglected," she said.  Other nurses who work at prisons raised labor issues that they said ought to be addressed in a contract with the next medical provider.  Deb Moore, a registered nurse practitioner at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, urged officials to require in-depth orientation about security issues for all new health workers. "Nobody trained me," said Moore, who has worked at the South Burlington jail for two years.  Job training and orientation would help retain nurses, Moore said. Turnover is a significant problem at the Chittenden jail.  (Channel 3 News, July 29, 2004)

The Department of Corrections has scheduled hearings for the public to comment about the health services that should be offered to inmates at the state's prisons.  Corrections Commissioner Steve Gold says this is the first time the department has held public hearings before seeking bids for a health care contract. One hearing was to take place Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington. A second is scheduled for Thursday at the Holiday Inn Express in Springfield.  The state contracts with Correctional Medical Services to provide health services at state prisons. The contract runs out this year but has been extended to February.  Health services in the prisons cost the state $7 million a year. Gold expects the cost to increase by 10 percent or more under the next contract.  A rash of inmate deaths has put the health care system at the state's prisons under scrutiny over the past year. In one case investigators concluded that prison officials failed to respond promptly and adequately to an inmate's repeated pleas for medical care. His condition became so serious he couldn't recover.  (Wcax.com, July 29, 2004)

Wyoming Department of Corrections
July 16, 2006 AP
A few weeks ago, the state of Wyoming paid $50,000 to settle a federal lawsuit in which an inmate at the state prison at Rawlins charged he had been denied adequate medical care. This week, another inmate has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that he, too, was denied adequate medical treatment by the same doctor and private medical services company at the Rawlins prison. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, inmate Craig Blumhagen, 50, charges that medical staff at the Rawlins prison refused his requests for treatment of pain and vomiting he suffered over several months in 2003. Blumhagen names Dr. John Coyle and Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri company, as defendants in the case, together with state corrections department personnel. Correctional Medical Services held the contract to provide medical services at the prison for six years before losing the contract to a competitor last summer. Blumhagen's lawsuit charges that Coyle began prescribing Blumhagen daily doses of ibuprofen for treatment of back pain in 1999, at which time Blumhagen weighed about 150 pounds. In May 2003, according to the lawsuit, Blumhagen told Coyle and others that he was experiencing nausea and abdominal pain. The lawsuit states that a nurse at the prison told Blumhagen in August 2003 that Coyle wasn't going to treat his pain and that he should, "grieve in your heart and get over it." By December 2003, the lawsuit claims, Blumhagen was down to 110 pounds and frequently vomiting brown material that looked like coffee grounds. The lawsuit states that Coyle noted that month that Blumhagen's request for narcotic pain medication was evidence of "continued drug-seeking behavior." Blumhagen is serving prison time on drug charges out of Laramie County. The lawsuit states that Blumhagen collapsed in late December and that a guard in the prison infirmary called for an ambulance to take him to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Rawlins. A surgeon at the hospital determined that Blumhagen was suffering from severe ulcer, the lawsuit states. Medical staff at the hospital transfused Blumhagen with red blood cells to raise his hemoglobin level before surgery to address the ulcer. The lawsuit says hospital staff told Blumhagen that his long-term use of ibuprofen was the probable cause of his ulcer and that he could no longer use such medications. Bruce Moats, a Cheyenne lawyer representing Blumhagen, said Friday that prison inmates are incarcerated to serve their time, "not to be denied proper medical care when they get sick." "The care that my client has received did not live up to the standards of humanity and decency required by the law, and adhered to by the people of Wyoming," Moats said.

June 21, 2006 Billings Gazette
The State of Wyoming has paid $50,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a former Wyoming prison inmate who blamed the state Department of Corrections and a private company that provided medical care to inmates for the loss of his lower right leg. Salvatore Lucido, a diabetic, filed the lawsuit in April 2004 charging that he developed sores on his feet when the staff at the state prison in Rawlins refused to give him appropriate shoes. Diabetics often have poor blood circulation in their feet, which means that injuries may be slow to heal and prone to infection. Lucido contended that prison officials and Correctional Medical Services, a private company that provided health care to inmates, delayed taking him to a hospital where his foot might have been saved. The lawsuit states that the officials hoped that if they delayed getting Lucido medical care, "that his release date of April 23 (2003) would arrive before it became too apparent that hospitalization could not be delayed any longer." The lawsuit states that prison officials took Lucido to a hospital on April 18, 2003, more than three weeks after a nurse had noted that he needed emergency surgery to try to save his foot. The lawsuit states that he was taken to the hospital "after his foot literally exploded from the infection and swelling." His lower right leg was amputated on May 2, 2003. U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson has scheduled a trial to start Tuesday in Lucido's remaining claims against Correctional Medical Services and Dr. John Coyle. The lawsuit states Coyle provided medical services for inmates at the state prison. An independent audit last year found that some inmates hadn't receive timely health care because of record-keeping problems caused mainly by changes in the private contractors. Correctional Medical Services, a Missouri company, had held the contract to provide inmate health services at the Rawlins prison for six years before losing the contract to a competitor, Prison Health Services, last summer. Linda Burt, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Wyoming, said Wednesday that her office continues to get many complaints from inmates at the Rawlins prison about health care, particularly from inmates who are diabetic. "I don't think you can do (prison) medical care privately and do a good job, and I don't think you can do it for profit and do a good job," Burt said. "It's extraordinarily difficult, and I haven't seen any success in that area."

September 19, 2005 Star-Tribune
Wyoming Department of Corrections officials hope a new $10 million-a-year contract with Prison Health Services will save them some health care costs in the long run. Unlike the department's previous contract with Correctional Medical Services, the new private health care provider will be an umbrella entity responsible for all medical, dental and health services and other programs for the state's four penal institutions. Prison Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn., will subcontract for some of these services and also assumes 100 percent of the risk with no caps on catastrophic claims. PHS, like CMS and another predecessor, Wexford, has its critics. The May 2005 issue of Prison Legal News said PHS has been the target of lawsuits over inmate health care in New York, New Jersey, Nevada and Florida. Linda Burt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union for Wyoming, said the volume of health care complaints from inmates has remained the same from Wexford through CMS and now to PHS. "It's still one of our big concerns," Burt said. She said she looks carefully at all private prison providers. "Nothing has ever shown me that private providers in the prison system work well. It doesn't matter whether they are private providers of the entire prison or just health care," she said. She noted that both Wexford and PHS also were sued.
"I think the solution is an in-house solution," she added. "If you're working for profit in that kind of system, you can't provide the appropriate care and be a for-profit system. I think it's almost impossible to do that."

April 10, 2007 AP
A Missouri company that was responsible for providing health care to inmates at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins wants a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit in which an inmate claims he was denied necessary treatment. Inmate Craig Blumhagen charges in his federal lawsuit that medical workers with Correctional Medical Services denied his requests for treatment of pain and vomiting for several months in 2003. CMS held the contract to provide medical services at the prison for six years before losing the contract to a competitor in 2005. Back-pain prescription: Blumhagen, who is serving prison sentences for drug offenses from Laramie County, claimed in his lawsuit that Dr. John Coyle, a doctor at the prison, began prescribing him daily doses of ibuprofen for back pain in 1999. At that time, the suit states, Blumhagen weighed about 150 pounds. In May 2003, according to the lawsuit, Blumhagen told Coyle that he was experiencing nausea and abdominal pain. Blumhagen's lawsuit states that Coyle dismissed his requests for narcotic pain medication as "continued drug-seeking behavior." In December 2003, the lawsuit states, Blumhagen was down to about 110 pounds when he collapsed and was taken to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Rawlins. A surgeon at the hospital determined that Blumhagen was suffering from a severe ulcer. Hospital staff told Blumhagen that his long-term use of ibuprofen was the probable cause of his ulcer and that he could no longer use such medications, the lawsuit states. Headed to trial: Blumhagen's lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next month before U.S. Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne. Besides seeking damages from CMS, the lawsuit names state corrections officials as defendants. CMS filed papers in February asking Johnson to throw out the lawsuit. The company stated there were no issues of material fact in dispute in the case. Johnson held a hearing on the company's request Monday in Cheyenne but didn't immediately announce a ruling on the request. Lawyer Scott Ortiz argued that the case against CMS, Coyle and Stephen Noyes, a physician's assistant with CMS, should be dismissed. Ortiz said that Coyle had to consider Blumhagen's past drug use and drug-seeking behavior in deciding what to prescribe. "He's trying to be judicious in his use of narcotics at the same time looking for other answers," Ortiz said of Coyle. Ortiz said Blumhagen told Coyle that the pain centered in his lower back and sometimes his pelvis. Ortiz said Coyle had no reports of pain in the upper stomach area, where the ulcer was ultimately found. "They were being misled, honestly misled, by a disease process," Ortiz said of the health care workers. Ortiz said that Coyle and Noyes were responsible for knowing that long-term use of ibuprofen can result in ulcers, but he said there's no evidence they were being deliberately indifferent to Blumhagen's suffering. Megan Hayes, lawyer for Blumhagen, said there are indeed factual disagreements in the case. She said Blumhagen disputes the defendants' characterization of the lawsuit "as one of misdiagnosis." Hayes said it's not a complicated medical case. "This is a case where Mr. Blumhagen was prescribed high doses of ibuprofen for four years," she said. While Hayes said the CMS officials didn't believe Blumhagen's complaints of vomiting, she said they took no steps to verify whether it was actually happening. "It's just hard to fathom why Mr. Blumhagen submitted so many requests for health care if he hadn't been seriously medically ill," Hayes said.

Salvatore Lucido walks without too noticeable a limp, considering that he's had his new prosthetic leg for just two weeks, he said Monday.  The first two artificial limbs he had last year didn't work, he said. So since November, Lucido got around either on crutches or in a wheelchair.  Had it not been for the negligence and cost-cutting by medical and other officials at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in early 2003, he still would be walking on two legs, he said during an interview at the office of his attorney, John Robinson, in Casper.  On Friday, Lucido filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against former Department of Corrections Director Judy Uphoff, and prison officials and employees, according to the complaint filed in federal court.  The other defendants are Correctional Medical Services, Inc., of Missouri; Lucido was scheduled for release from prison on April 23, 2003, and the defendants hoped that his foot would not need hospitalization until after that, according to the complaint.  "On April 18th, more than three weeks after a nurse noted that Lucido needed emergency surgery to try and save his foot, defendants gave in and took him to a hospital after his foot literally exploded from the infection and swelling," according to the complaint.  Nothing could be done then except to amputate his blackened foot and lower leg, according to the complaint.  (Casper Star Tribune, May 4, 2004)