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American Correctional Association
Lanham, Maryland
CONNEAUT, Ohio — A private prison in Ohio has been making headlines in all the wrong ways since the state sold the facility in 2011. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) paid the state $72.7 million for the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in an unprecedented move that the company’s representatives predicted would serve as a model for other states at the time. The private prison company sent correspondence to leaders in 48 other states, trying to encourage them to make similar deals. Instead, Ohio has fined the company nearly $500,000 because of various violations found during audits of the facility. An audit released Sept. 25 of last year found that the institution was in compliance with American Correctional Association standards in 94 percent of the categories measured, but was only 66.7 percent in compliance when it came to standards set by the state of Ohio. The audit also found that some staff members at the facility, “expressed safety concerns due to low staffing numbers and not having enough coverage.” The report indicated that several doors were padlocked shut, blocking the main escape path in the case of a fire and all 12 staff members interviewed didn’t know which key opened the firebox. The document also noted that Emergency Breathing Apparatus’s were difficult to find, often locked away, and hadn’t been inspected. The audit also found that there were no correctional officers near the medical unit, even though there were many inmates being treated and picking up medications, leaving staff members in an unsafe condition. Another section reported that some inmates felt unsafe and didn’t believe staff members had the authority to improve the situation. Problems in the medical unit were also reported, with inmates often waiting longer than required for doctor appointments and various steps being skipped or forgotten during clinical visits. The facility also reportedly failed to notify other facilities when it transferred inmates with staph infections. An additional walkthrough conducted on Sept. 4 “found unacceptable living conditions of inmates being housed inside recreation areas, with no immediate access to running water for hydration, showers and the use of a toilet.”’ A report from April 7 indicated that an inmate convicted of murder or aggravated murder was working inside the entry building, which was strictly forbidden as “a serious security breach.” A follow-up visit in November found that many of the issues were being addressed, but local citizens and political representatives voiced their own concerns in the meantime. Officials in the small neighboring town of Conneaut reported an increase in crime related to the facility, which they say began after the state transferred responsibility for the facility to CCA. Crime data from the local government indicates that officers responded to 229 calls related to the prison in 2012, nearly four times the amount that occurred in the prior year. This led City Councilman Neil LaRusch to write a letter to the governor’s office asking for assistance. LaRusch sited earlier promises that his local police would not be burdened by the sale of the prison to a private company and pleaded for assistance. “The city is not financially in a position to add more officers to deal with this private prison. With this situation getting out of hand at this pace, what can the governor propose to assure the safety and security of the citizens of Conneaut?”

August 22, 2011 Palm Beach Post
Under pressure from Gov. Rick Scott's office, Florida prison officials quietly terminated a $180,000, 10-month contract with a Washington, D.C. woman hired to oversee the state's planned privatization of health care for prisoners. Department of Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss hired Elizabeth "Betty" Gondles almost immediately after his appointment to head the state prison system by Scott in January. Buss and Gondles had worked together during his tenure as prisons chief in Indiana. Last week, Buss' agency yanked five requests for bids to privatize medical services at all of the state's prisons, which house more than 100,000 inmates. Corrections officials said at the time they were canceled the requests for proposals pending further review. But on Monday, Gondles -- who had at least two months left on her contract as the department's interim health care authority -- was let go. "Her work has been completed," DOC spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said. Scott's staff had raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest on the privatization process because Gondles is married to James "Jim" Gondles, executive director of the American Correctional Association. The association is the only organization that accredits state prison medical services, and the contracts would have required the medical service company or companies hired by the state to pay dues for prisons to join the association and the cost of audits by the association, according to the governor's staff and the request for proposals. Lawmakers estimated privatizing health care at the state's 60 state-run prisons would save $75 million. In a separate action, lawmakers also have required the Department of Corrections to start the process of privatizing not just health care but all operations for prisons south of Ocala.

February 28, 2005 In These Times
"ACCREDITATION IS AWARDED to the 'best of the best' in the corrections field,'" as the ACA explains on its Web site ( "Accredited agencies have a stronger defense against litigation through . . . the demonstration of a 'good faith' effort to improve conditions of confinement." Yet the fact remains that the ACA is still a private, non-governmental organization with no authority to change prison conditions or to enforce standards. The ACA's accreditation process is kept secret from the public; all that outsiders know for sure is which facilities have been accredited. Today, only 10 percent of government-managed facilities are ACA-accredited, compared with 44 percent of privately managed prisons. Texas leads the pack in prison privatization, followed closely by Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Colorado. How meaningful is ACA accreditation? In July 2004, a severe prison riot broke out at the ACA-accredited Crowley County Correctional Facility, a CCA prison near Pueblo, Colo. For nearly six hours, several hundred Colorado and out-of-state prisoners wreaked havoc on the prison, destroying cells, furniture, plumbing and equipment. Prison administrators had continually ignored complaints about food quality, conditions of confinement and the physical abuse of prisoners. At the time of the riot, only 33 guards were watching over 1,122 prisoners. Several of those guards fled the facility in panic. An extensively detailed 174-page "After Action" report, prepared by the Colorado Department of Corrections, noted CCA's deficiencies and serious errors in running the prison. But CCA retained both its contract to run the prison and its accreditation. In September 2004, prisoners rioted at Kentucky's Lee Adjustment Center, another CCA-run, ACA-accredited prison. Correctional officers working there make less than $ 8.00 an hour, and sometimes work 12-hour shifts. The government-run Mississippi State Penitentiary, which was taken to court in July 2002 over its filthy, vermin- and mosquito-infested death row cells, is also accredited by the ACA (see "Cruel as Usual," January 19, 2004). So is the Santa Fe County Detention Center, run by the Management and Training Corporation, which faces a federal lawsuit for violations of civil and constitutional rights, including its former practice of mandatory strip searches of every inmate.

February 28, 2005 In These Times
IN 1971, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST Jessica Mitford attended the 101st Congress of the American Correctional Association (ACA) in Miami Beach. The ACA was founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association by reform-minded wardens who saw promise in the rehabilitation, religious redemption and humane treatment of prisoners. By 1971 they had developed a substantial membership, attracting 2,000 attendees to that year's congress. In her seminal 1973 book, Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business, Mitford reported that the organization had shifted its focus from reforming and rehabilitating prisoners to reaping profit from incarceration. Exhibitors, she wrote, sold everything from tear gas grenades to stun gun prototypes. And with prisons facing costly lawsuits instigated by prisoners, litigation, Mitford wrote, was "very much on everybody's mind." Thirty years later, how much has changed? The 2005 winter conference in Phoenix -- attended by an estimated 4,000 -- found the ACA still touting its principles: "Humanity, Justice, Protection, Opportunity, Knowledge, Competence and Accountability." The organization stresses that it brings together individuals and groups "that share a common goal of improving the justice system." But with the prison industry now bringing in annual revenue of $ 50 billion, the ACA seems most intent on "improving" profits. Today's ACA is a sleeker version of the organization Mitford examined, complete with online certification courses for correctional employees (starting at $ 29.95) and an expensive prison accreditation process that claims to instill transparency and accountability. Members are enticed to earn accreditation in order to receive up to a 10 percent discount on prison liability insurance (see "A Dubious Distinction"). Keeping litigation costs down is only one way prison corporations profit from incarceration. In addition, for-profit prisons also increase revenues by contracting with other corporations to provide substandard or overpriced services to prisoners. In some states, companies like Microsoft pay prisons to employ prisoners at wages far below market rates. The conference was financially supported by private prison giants such as the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the GEO Group (formerly known as Wackenhut), Correctional Services Corporation (CSC) and Correctional Medical Services (see "Detention Blues," July 5, 2004 for background on CSC). The titles of the dozens of overlapping workshops indicated what the ACA defined as the latest trends in corrections: "Faith-Based Juvenile Programming," "Anti-Terrorism in Correctional Facilities," and "Can't Simply Paint it Pink and Call it a Girl's Program." The real draw of the ACA conference was the exhibitors, who had two full days to showcase their wares. The exhibition hall corridors had been given names like "Corrections Corporation of America Court," "Verizon Expressway," "Western Union Avenue," and "The GEO Court Lounge," where one could sip Starbucks and eat free glazed doughnuts. Here, the discussions were all about increasing profit margins, lessening risks and liabilities, winning court cases, and new, improved techniques and technologies for managing the most troublesome inmates. In the glaringly bright exhibit hall, attendees buzzed around booths, snapping up freebies and admiring the latest in prison technology. Following a day of tours at Arizona jails and prisons, about 60 conference-goers headed to the Canteen fete at an upscale Italian restaurant in the nearby Arizona Center. Cocktails and bottles upon bottles of wine were poured out prior to a multicourse meal. Wardens and top-ranking corrections administrators from Arizona, New Mexico and Maryland sat in the outdoor patio under heat lamps. Salesmen from Canteen were pressing flesh and passing out business cards. There were smiles all around. Like so many other private companies working in prisons, Aramark and Canteen have had their share of problems. Aramark was singled out by "Stop the ACA" union-organized protests outside of the conference. On the third day of the conference, protesters snuck in and placed informational materials in the toilet seat cover holders of convention center bathrooms. The glossy GEO world magazine, distributed at the ACA conference, trumpeted the success of the largest "Private-Public Partnership in the World," a sprawling detention center complex in Pecos, Texas. Known as the Reeves County Detention Facility (RCDC), the complex consists of prisons for both Bureau of Prisons and Arizona state inmates. According to GEO, "the joint venture . . . between GEO Group and Reeves County has been a rewarding challenge." Unmentioned was the fact that a Reeves County judge, Jimmy Galindo, is facing a lawsuit over his role in granting the private operation and expansive construction of RCDC. According to the local Odessa American newspaper, building RCDC has led to the "near financial ruin of the county." RCDC is currently the subject of an FBI and Texas Ranger investigation into tampering with government documents. (In addition, two corrections officers resigned in early January 2005 over sexual molestation charges.) The RCDC is a private-public partnership in more ways than one. Randy DeLay, the brother of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), lobbied the Bureau of Prisons to send its prisoners to RCDC, at the behest of county officials. Randy DeLay isn't the only member of his family with an interest in corrections. In December, Rep. DeLay accepted a $ 100,000 check from the CCA for the DeLay Foundation for Kids. The CCA has become a leader in securing private prison contracts. In FY 2003, the CCA generated more than $ 268.9 million in revenue. Greasing the palms of legislators nationwide hasn't hurt: In 2004, the CCA's political action committee gave $ 59,000 to candidates for federal office -- 92 percent to Republicans. This is part and parcel of an industry in the business of locking up human beings. As the industry has grown, the ACA has moved away from the ideals of rehabilitation and redemption of the human spirit. Today, human beings behind bars are little more than commodities to be traded on the open market. Bill Deener, a financial writer for the Dallas Morning News, writing about recent gains in the private prison market, put it this way: "Crime may not pay, but prisons sure do."

Annapolis, Maryland
Dunbar Guard Services, Prisoner Transportation Services

September 4, 2011 The Capital
Law enforcement should not be handed over to the lowest bidder. But that's exactly what has happened when it comes to transporting and securing jail inmates. For most of the past 20 years, the county has paid private companies to do some of the work of the police and detention departments. A private firm handles inmate security at two of the county's three courthouses and transports suspects from county police stations to jail. Bonrick Barksdale, the shooting suspect who escaped from an Annapolis courthouse Thursday afternoon and triggered a massive 12-hour manhunt, was legally in the custody of the Department of Detention Facilities. But in fact, he was being watched by a guard - apparent emphasis on "a," as in one - from a private company, Dunbar Guard Services Inc. Sworn sheriff's deputies always have provided prisoner transportation and security at Circuit Court in downtown Annapolis, where more serious cases are heard. And that building's modern security features make prisoner escapes nearly impossible. For reasons that seem lost to history, deputies have never worked at District Court. Inmate security at the district courthouses in Glen Burnie and Annapolis was privatized for most of the 1990s, then detention officers took it over for about two years. Privatization returned when a shortage of officers coincided with a jail expansion in 2000. "It was a temporary deal until we get bodies hired," said Cpl. Dale Waldroff, president of the county detention officers union. "Then I guess they did the math and said, 'Well, it's cheaper because we don't have to pay benefits and so on.' " Last year, the county paid Dunbar more than $468,000 for guard services. Police budgeted $313,000 for prisoner transport in fiscal 2012. The jails paid $380,900 in 2009. A newer figure was not available Friday, a county furlough day. But the 2011 jail budget notes, "The decrease in Contractual Services is largely the result of a cost reduction in a private firm to transport prisoners and to secure the District Court lockup." Is that really where we want to save money? A company's first duty is not public safety. It's to make as much money as possible. It's not clear how much Dunbar guards are paid, but you can bet it's less than detention officers make. That's the whole point. And those lower salaries don't attract the most qualified people. Bill Swift, a Dunbar vice president who oversees protective services, referred me to a corporate spokesman, who didn't return my call. If he had, no doubt he would have given me some version of the blurb on the company website that advertises its "highly trained and responsible security personnel." Many probably are; Terry Kokolis, superintendent of county jails, said former private guards have been hired as detention officers and have worked out well. But the Dunbar employees who failed to keep a special eye on a man charged with attempted murder, who already had tried to escape the courthouse five days prior, sure don't sound responsible or well trained. Nor does the guard who was by herself, but opened a door to give Barksdale toilet paper, only to be overpowered. This was a rare event. Several prisoners escaped from Wackenhut, the firm that had a contract in the early 1990s. But Kokolis said he's not aware of an incident like Thursday's since he came to the county in 1994. That infrequency is not reassuring. Most bad things are rare until they happen. This time, we got lucky. Barksdale was spotted on Rowe Boulevard by a sheriff's deputy, who chased him before losing him in a neighborhood. What if that deputy hadn't been there and Barksdale decided to, say, carjack a passing driver? Kokolis said he believes his officers are better qualified and trained than private guards. But he thinks Dunbar employees can be reliable, given proper guidance. Effective Friday, Kokolis has ordered a county detention officer to be present in each district courthouse all day to supervise the Dunbar guards. He's not sure how long that policy will last and said it could pose a manpower challenge, but he's worried about a copycat. "My fear is that somebody else could say, 'It was so easy for him. Let me try,' " Kokolis said. In the name of efficiency, we've outsourced other public safety tasks, too. In 2004, a private company was hired to guard entrances at Fort George G. Meade. But sometimes we need to reconsider. It wasn't until after the Sept. 11 attacks that security at airports was federalized. Before that, BWI Airport had contracted with a company accused of hiring convicted felons at the Philadelphia airport. Waldroff said the detention officers union brings up the privatization issue in every round of contract talks. It has been rebuffed so far, but he said he hopes Barksdale's escape will cause the county to reconsider. "I've never liked the idea of private workers doing a public job," Waldroff said.

February 5, 2009 AP
A private prison transportation company lost an attempted-murder suspect somewhere between Florida and Pennsylvania, leading to a search for the cuffed and shackled inmate and drawing complaints that such companies are poorly regulated. The discovery today was at least the second escape in six months involving an inmate being moved by Prisoner Transportation Services of America LLC. Still, industry critics said the major issue is not escapes, but mistreatment of inmates and poor traveling conditions. Authorities searched for the suspect who escaped late Wednesday or early Thursday while en route from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sylvester Mitchell, 33, was being extradited to face attempted murder charges in Philadelphia, where he once lived. He was gone when the van arrived at 3 a.m. today at a police station. Authorities said it was unclear how or where Mitchell escaped. Other inmates and guards said they don't remember seeing him after the van's previous stop in Annapolis, Md. Prisoner Transportation Services, based in Nashville, Tenn., says it is the largest U.S. firm of its type, moving more than 100,000 inmates nationwide each year. The company states on its Web site that its agents are highly trained and "most have military and/or criminal justice backgrounds." A spokesman for Prisoner Transportation Services, who declined to identify himself before hanging up, said today that the company had no comment. A shackled inmate escaped in September at Philadelphia International Airport while in the custody of a Prisoner Transportation Services guard and was captured a week later in Elkton, Md. Taariq Ali, 43, formerly of Wilmington, Del., was serving a life sentence for attempted murder and a weapons charge. He was transferred in 1995 to California and was being returned to Delaware when he escaped Sept. 12. The Delaware Department of Corrections said at the time that Prisoner Transportation Services did not notify state officials until two days later. The state uses private contractors because it is not authorized to move prisoners across state lines. Corrections spokesman John Painter said today that the department is "no longer involved with Prisoner Transportation Services" but declined to say whether it was using a new contractor or had transferred any prisoners since the September escape. Though prisoner mistreatment appears to be more commonplace than escapes in transit, the lack of oversight and regulation of the industry makes it difficult to determine how widespread problems are, said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project in Washington. Because they are privately owned, prison transportation companies are not required to release data on escapes, accidents and numbers of inmates they transfer. It's also unclear exactly how many such companies exist, because many are "thinly staffed, fly-by-night operations" that quickly close up shop when they're sued, Winter said. "One thing that's clear is that the goal with all these companies is to pick up as many bodies along the way as they can to squeeze out the most profits," she said. "We've had many reports of prisoners being taken on weeks-long odysseys and not getting food, water or medical attention." A phone message left for a spokesman of the Association of Private Correctional and Treatment Organizations, an industry group, was not immediately returned.

February 5, 2009 CBS3
Sylvester Mitchell, 33, escaped while being transported from Philadelphia to Florida on February 5. Police are searching for a prisoner who went missing while being transported from Florida to Philadelphia. Authorities said 33-year-old Sylvester Mitchell found missing from a private prison transportation company van when it arrived at 21st and Hamilton Streets at about 3 a.m. Thursday. Mitchell, who was wanted on attempted murder charges, was last seen by guards and fellow inmates during a stop in Annapolis, Maryland. He was last wearing a bright orange vest and slacks. A multi-state search is currently underway for the inmate. If you have any information, please contact Philadelphia Police.

Baltimore County
Correctional Services Corporation

January 6, 2004
Pointing to fierce public opposition, a private prison management firm has dropped its proposal to build a maximum-security federal prison in eastern Baltimore County.  County officials had worked with U.S. Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger to derail the plan for the 1,750-bed prison on Sollers Point in Dundalk. The proposal by Correctional Services Corp. also came under attack from residents, who said it would have dealt a crippling blow to efforts to revitalize the area. Yesterday, community activists and elected officials hailed the company's decision as a "huge victory." "We certainly don't need that in our community here. We're trying to revitalize our community, and that wouldn't be an improvement," said Richard W. McJilton, president of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce. "Very good news."  County Councilman John Olszewski Sr., who represents Dundalk, praised the cooperative effort to defeat the plan for the prison. "The will and voice of the people were heard," he said. "It's refreshing to know our democracy still works and the people are the ones who count."  Last month, Mikulski, Ruppersberger and other state and local officials held a rally in Turners Station, a historic black community adjacent to the proposed prison site, and vowed to fight the plan.  Three days later, on Dec. 22, Correctional Services Corp. President and CEO James F. Slattery wrote to the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee -- a division of the Justice Department that oversees privately run prisons -- that it had learned of local concerns and would look for other sites.  (Sun Staff)

November 26, 2003
Sen. Barbara Mikulski is trying to block federal officials from putting prisons at any of four proposed sites in the state. She says she has added the prohibition to a pending appropriations bill. Two private firms had recommended the sites -- three in Prince George's County and one in Dundalk -- to the U.S. Justice Department. Federal officials have said hearings on the sites could begin in January. Under the plan by Correctional Services Corporation of Sarasota, Fla., the Dundalk prison would be built just south of the historic Turners Station neighborhood.  (

November 20, 2003
Reacting angrily to a proposal to build a federal maximum-security prison in eastern Baltimore County, Maryland's two U.S. senators have told Attorney General John Ashcroft they are "adamantly opposed" to such a facility there, or anywhere else in the state.  Dundalk is one of four Maryland sites being reviewed by the Justice Department for a 1,750-bed prison. But Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes wrote to Ashcroft demanding that all four sites "be immediately withdrawn from consideration."  "We are especially troubled that these objectionable and ill-conceived plans were hidden from the local jurisdictions until recently," the lawmakers wrote this week in a letter released yesterday. Along with Dundalk, three locations in Prince George's County were named as potential prison sites by private companies seeking to build and operate the facilities.  Also weighing in against the Dundalk proposal was Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the former Baltimore County executive, who vowed in a letter to Ashcroft to "use all my resources and power to stop this facility from moving forward."  Correctional Services Corp. of Sarasota, Fla., has proposed the Dundalk facility, an idea that is under review by the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee. Company officials would not comment yesterday.  Two other private corrections companies have offered plans for federal prisons in the communities of Brandywine, East Gate and Cheltenham in Prince George's County.  Federal law enforcement officials and judges in Baltimore have long complained about the lack of a federal facility to hold pretrial detainees and other prisoners in a centralized location. Many have been held at the state's Supermax prison in Baltimore or in jails on the Eastern Shore, such as one in Wicomico County that received federal funds to expand.  Such arrangements have made it difficult to transport prisoners and for attorneys to meet with their clients.  The Department of Homeland Security requested 500 beds for people suspected of violating immigration laws at the proposed Dundalk prison. The rest of the beds would be for pretrial detainees.  Community leaders in Dundalk were surprised by the news of the proposed prison. But they seemed determined yesterday to fight the proposal, saying residents have shouldered more than their share of what they call dumping on Dundalk.  In their letter, Mikulski and Sarbanes raised other concerns about privatized prisons, a new growth industry after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  "Previously, such arrangements have often signaled a sweetheart deal that comes at the expense of the community and taxpayer," the senators wrote. "In a post-Sept. 11 world, privatizing a facility that may house dangerous terrorists is irresponsible.  "Private businesses are focused primarily on the bottom line, rather than the safety and well being of the surrounding communities," they wrote.  (Sun Spot)

Baltimore City Detention Center
Baltimore, Maryland
Prison Health Services
May 19, 2008 Daily Record
The Court of Special Appeals once again ruled Baltimore County was a day late in an attempt three years ago to renew its contract with a medical services provider for inmates. A three-judge panel last week unanimously reversed a Baltimore County Circuit Court decision and remanded the case back with instructions to grant summary judgment in favor of Prison Health Services Inc. “It was the county’s burden to establish that it timely manifested its option to renew the contract, not PHS’s burden to establish the opposite,” Judge Mary Ellen Barbera wrote. “We have concluded that, on this record, the county is unable as a matter of law to carry that burden.” Andrew D. Levy of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP in Baltimore, who represented Prison Health, was pleased with the decision. “We were not bound by their exercise option,” he said Wednesday. “I’m glad the Court of Special Appeals agreed.” Jeffrey G. Cook, an assistant county attorney involved with the case, did not return calls for comment. Clear intent -- The case stemmed from a contract the county and Tennessee-based Prison Health entered into on July 1, 2000, covering two jails. The five-year agreement was to “continue through” June 30, 2005, with options for up to three two-year extensions. The county sent notice of its intention to extend the contract July 1, 2005; earlier that same day, Prison Health sent a letter to the county declaring the contract completed because the county did not extend it by June 30. The county filed a declaratory and injunctive relief action against Prison Health in Baltimore County Circuit Court in July 2005. Four months later, Judge Dana M. Levitz found in favor of the county, saying “through June 30” meant a reasonable time thereafter, a standard met by the July 1 notice of extension. Prison Health appealed the decision, and the Court of Special Appeals reversed Levitz in December 2006, sending the case back to the lower court. Levitz again ruled in favor of the county last May, a decision appealed by Prison Health a month later. The county argued the two sides had conversations prior to June 30 about extending the contract, so its intent to renew was apparent even if not in writing. It cited a May 2005 e-mail from a county official indicating it would grant an increase in Prison Health’s compensation based on a rise in the Consumer Price Index once the company returned paperwork with the necessary corrections. But the court agreed with Prison Health that the county’s e-mail was “not an objectively reasonable expression of its intent” because it did not “explicitly refer” to the contract extension. “We have made clear…that acknowledgement of an existing relationship that is anticipated to continue does not constitute an exercise of an option,” Barbera wrote, citing past court decisions. Levy said the decision means Prison Health does not have to pay the county the difference between the 2000 contract and the county’s subsequent contract with another medical services provider. He did not know the exact amount, but believed it was several million dollars. A county spokeswoman did not know the dollar figure either and said Cook was the only lawyer who did. Prison Health has not performed work for the county since September 2006, Levy said.

April 7, 2008 Daily Record
Baltimore County and Prison Health Services Inc. once again asked the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Monday to determine what difference a day makes when it comes to a contract’s expiration. The two sides repeated many of the same arguments they have used the past three years in a dispute concerning the county’s attempt to renew a contract providing medical services to inmates one day after Prison Health claims the deal expired. The case returned from Baltimore County Circuit Court after the appeals court remanded it there in a 2006 opinion. Lawyers for Tennessee-based Prison Health again argued the county could not seek to extend a contract providing medical services to inmates at two county jails the day after the deal expired. “They are not allowed to create a contract and then hold us to perform what is really connect-the-dots,” said Andrew D. Levy of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP in Baltimore, representing Prison Health. Jeffrey G. Cook, an assistant county attorney, acknowledged under judges’ questioning the county could have handled the renewal process differently but said it was still done lawfully. “It might not be the best way, but it is a permissible way,” he said. The case stems from a contract the two sides entered July 1, 2000, covering two jails. The five-year agreement was to “continue through” June 30, 2005, with options for up to three additional two-year terms. The county did not send notice of its intention to continue the contract until July 1, 2005. Earlier that same day, Prison Health sent a letter to the county declaring the contract completed because the county had not exercised its option for renewal by June 30, 2005. The county filed a declaratory and injunctive relief action against Prison Health in July 2005 in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Four months later, Judge Dana M. Levitz sided with the county, saying “through June 30” meant a reasonable time thereafter, a standard the county met by exercising its renewal option July 1. Prison Health appealed the decision, and the Court of Special Appeals ruled in the company’s favor in December 2006. The three-judge panel sent the case back to Baltimore County. Levitz again ruled in the county’s favor last May, and Prison Health filed an appeal in June. On Monday, Judge Mary Ellen Barbera questioned the county’s reasoning and wondered if Prison Health was simply protecting itself by sending the letter to the county July 1, 2005. Barbera was joined on the bench by Judge James P. Salmon, who also heard the first case, and Judge Sean D. Wallace, who was specially assigned from Prince George’s County Circuit Court. Cook repeated one of the county’s arguments that both sides were discussing terms of a contract extension before July 1, 2005, so the county’s intent was clear even if not in writing. “Everybody knew what was going on,” Cook said. Levy countered that intent to renew is not enough. “They are still required to exercise the option in a clear, unconditional and unequivocal way,” he said. The court is expected to issue its opinion later this year.

June 6, 2007 Daily Record
The mother of a mentally troubled man who died in state custody has filed a $2 million lawsuit following his overdose on prescription medication given to him at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Verbena Harris is suing the state, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and Prison Health Services Inc. for malpractice and the wrongful death of her son, Ronald E. Faulk. She claims he was denied treatment for more than a week, then given a month’s supply of drugs instead of the daily dose he required. “Not only is this another piece of evidence of the way Prison Health Services has failed to live up to the standard of care necessary, it’s another example of what happens to men like Mr. Faulk,” said Alison Kohler of Dugan, Babij and Tolley LLC, Harris’ attorney. Faulk, 51, was a Vietnam War veteran whose ailments included high blood pressure, post-traumatic stress syndrome, bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse. The Baltimore resident had been in and out of the detention center for various minor charges since at least 1990. “He had his mood swings, but he was a good person,” Harris said of her son in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “There was nothing he wouldn’t do for me. He loved his mother.” According to the complaint pending in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Faulk was arrested on Feb. 22, 2004, for disorderly conduct and street fighting. After his arrest, he allegedly went more than a week without receiving medication of any kind, despite being evaluated and prescribed medication by physicians at the detention center. Faulk was twice referred for a psychiatric evaluation he never received, and physicians’ orders to monitor his heart and blood pressure daily were not followed, the complaint alleges. Harris said she learned of Faulk’s arrest the day it happened and contacted the facility herself to explain her son’s medication needs, but said she did not receive a convincing response that they would be met. “There seems to be at best a deliberative indifference to the care while he was in jail,” said Kohler. “As I read through the record, the message that I get is ‘We’ll get to you when we get to you.’” By the morning of March 3, 2004, Kohler said, Faulk was “agitated and manic,” pacing the room and asking repeatedly for his medication. Later that day, staff nurses gave Faulk an entire month’s supply of blood pressure medication, rather than administering it dose-by-dose as ordered by the facility physicians, the complaint says. The next morning, Faulk was found pale and heavily perspiring and taken to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where a doctor called Harris to tell her that her son had overdosed. “I’m thinking it was illegal drugs, I’m not thinking prescription drugs,” Harris said of her first reaction. Faulk died at Hopkins early the next day. An autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was an overdose of the blood pressure medication given to him at the detention center. Harris, on behalf of herself and Faulk’s estate, as well as Faulk’s father and his son, is seeking $1 million each in compensatory and punitive damages. The attorneys for the state and Prison Health Services were unavailable for comment. This is not the first time a death in custody has provoked debate about Baltimore City Detention Center’s health services. The American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prisons Project and the Public Justice Center in Baltimore sued the state in 2003 to improve conditions at the detention center and central booking facility in Baltimore. The suit is in negotiations, according to Elizabeth Alexander, director of the ACLU’s prisons project. Alexander said the ACLU suit highlights multiple cases of serious medical neglect at the jail that have aggravated chronic conditions and in some cases caused death. Prison Health Services Inc., a defendant in both Harris’ suit and the ACLU’s, has traditionally had “a very bad reputation, particularly in administering medication,” Alexander said. The company’s contract with the state expired nearly two years ago, and since then multiple vendors have been selected to provide services in a completely restructured health care system. Alexander called the new standard of care “not quite as dreadful” as in years past. A February report on inmate health care by the Department of Legislative Services in Annapolis also exposed understaffed facilities and found inconsistent monitoring of patients. Although originally filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court earlier this year, Harris’ case was removed to federal court this month.

September 20, 2005 Baltimore Sun
The state did a poor job of providing medical care to prisoners at Baltimore's downtown prison over much of the past five years because of a flawed and underfunded contract with a private company that took effect in 2000, according to a grand jury report released yesterday. The grand jury report came out of a review of prison conditions that are part of the routine of grand juries in Maryland. Circuit Court Judge Stuart R. Berger ordered the Baltimore grand jury in May to examine health care services at the state-run detention center in Baltimore. The grand jury identified what it said were serious problems with the flat-fee contract the state held with Tennessee-based Prison Health Services Inc. Under the contract, which expired June 30, Prison Health was responsible for all health care needs for most Maryland inmates. Putting one organization in charge of all aspects of offender health care was a serious mistake at the outset," the report states. In addition, it said, the documents the state sent out inviting companies to bid on health care services for inmates in 2000 were poorly written. And the state's monitoring for compliance in the initial years after the contracts were signed was inadequate, jurors found. More importantly, jurors said, the long-term, fixed-price contract locked Prison Health into what turned out to be a money-losing deal that affected services provided to inmates. "This resulted in enormous pressure from PHS management to economize on operations," the report says. "Instead of looking for efficiencies, PHS made it more and more difficult for offenders to receive prescription medications, hospital procedures or laboratory tests." The report said that detainees often did not receive prescribed medication for weeks after they were booked into the city's jail, and it listed a series of other problems that The Sun had also discovered in its investigation. PHS officials have consistently denied that economic factors influenced decisions on medical care. They say the company lost $15 million on the Maryland contract, which generated $260 million in revenues over five years. "We hope the report will be helpful, but their tone is a little more hopeful than we think the current situation calls for," said Sally Dworak-Fisher, a lawyer with the Public Justice Center in Baltimore. Her group and the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prisons Project have a long-standing lawsuit against the state to improve conditions at the detention center and central booking facility in Baltimore. Dworak-Fisher said that detainees, in interviews, are currently reporting many of the same kinds of problems as in the past, with few signs of improvement since the new contracts took effect July 1. She noted that the company that holds the $125.6 million, two-year contract for primary care services, by far the largest segment of the work, has fallen short of supplying the number of staff it agreed to provide. The grand jury report also said that St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services "has a history of troubled performance in other states, as well as in Maryland."

June 1, 2005 The Daily Record
The company that provides medical services to Baltimore County inmates is arguing that it should not have to continue delivering those services at the county's expanded prison. Tennessee-based Prison Health Services filed suit against the county in Baltimore County Circuit Court last week, alleging that logistical aspects of the expansion will force the company to spend more to provide the same services. The $74 million expansion on Kenilworth Drive in Towson is set to be completed in the fall. The County did not bargain for, and the PHS did not agree to provide services, personnel and costs at this new facility; rather PHS contracted to provide services to the 'facilities' as they existed at the time the contract was formed, based on the RFP and Bid documents, the complaint states. The County has given notice to PHS that it expects PHS to provide the same services at the new facility as at the old facilities, despite the increased manpower required, at no increase in price.

May 10, 2005 Baltimore Sun
As they were sworn in yesterday, members of Baltimore's newest grand jury were charged with investigating the city jail's health care system over the next four months. City grand jurors, in addition to deciding which felony cases to indict, typically prepare a report on a specific criminal justice issue, such as prison conditions, drug treatment and witness intimidation. A major reason to explore the status of health care is because of "the extent the health issues associated with the ever increasing population in our prisons," he wrote. He also noted that prisoners are 17 times more likely than the general population to have tuberculosis and five times more likely to have AIDS. Since 2000, health care at the jail has been provided by Tennessee-based Prison Health Services. That company has a contract with the state, which expires in July, for health services at more than 20 state prison facilities.

October 20, 2004 AP
The firm providing medical care to Maryland's prison inmates has disciplined four employees in connection with the treatment they gave to a 34-year-old woman who died last month after she became ill at the women's detention center in Baltimore.
A statement from Prison Health Services says the three nurses and a physician's assistant have been reprimanded and reassigned. The statement says the workers didn't perform a function usually done during the sick-call intake process. Hospital records indicate she had been experiencing fainting spells before she was sent to the hospital. Her family wonders if better care might have saved her life.

Charles H. Hickey Jr. School
Towson, Maryland
Correctional Services Corporation
November 29, 2005 Baltimore Sun
As Maryland prepares to close most of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School this week, it has developed a backlog of tough young offenders who are being held for weeks in juvenile jails while state officials struggle to find places to put them. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced in June that 144 residential beds at Hickey would close by tomorrow. Half of those beds have been used for the most dangerous juvenile offenders, those who have committed such crimes as attempted murder, carjacking, armed robbery and assault. A jail and a sex offender treatment program are to remain open indefinitely at Hickey until replacement facilities can be built elsewhere. Advocates, legislators and others have long called for Hickey to be shut down. The reform school in Baltimore County has long been criticized by state and federal regulators for what they call a violent, dilapidated environment that often failed to rehabilitate youngsters. Ehrlich has drawn fire from judges, legislators, advocates and others for closing Hickey before alternative programs were developed in Maryland.

September 29, 2005 Baltimore Sun
Two Maryland judges said yesterday that the Ehrlich administration's decision to close the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School without a clear plan to replace it is jeopardizing the welfare of youths and putting public safety at risk. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox and Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Pamela North told legislators that with Hickey preparing to close, there are not enough places to send tough young offenders who need to be removed from their homes to protect their safety and the community. The department said some Maryland youths will be sent to programs in Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio with rates ranging from $47,450 to $116,800 per child per year. The list includes three facilities run by a for-profit Texas-based company that, according to published reports, was forced to close one of its centers amid complaints of abuse. Under pressure from Pennsylvania authorities, a company operating as Cornell Abraxas closed its New Morgan Academy near Reading in 2002 after about a dozen children were sexually assaulted by adults over the span of less than two years, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The same company runs programs that the Department of Juveniles Services plans to use in Shelby, Ohio; Marienville, Pa.; and South Mountain, Pa., according to a list provided to legislators yesterday. Another facility on the list has had a more recent, but less severe, incident of violence. The Summit Academy reform school in Herman, Pa., has said that four workers were fired in July over a June 18 incident in which a 17-year-old male student suffered cuts to his face and ear.

June 30, 2005 Washington Post
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said Thursday that the state would close the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, the state's beleaguered juvenile detention facility in Baltimore County, as part of what he called a "new day" for the juvenile justice system.  During a news conference outside the school's barbed wire-topped fences, Ehrlich (R) also announced a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, which had been investigating conditions at Hickey and the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County.  In a report released last year after a nearly two-year probe, the Justice Department found a "deeply disturbing degree of physical abuse" by staff members at the facilities, instances in which staff members did not intervene in fights, and a lack of suicide-prevention, medical and mental health services.  Conditions at the facilities violated the residents' constitutional rights, the report found.

March 29, 2005 Baltimore Sun
A former social worker with the public defender's office who said she was raped by a 15-year-old boy she was visiting at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School settled a civil lawsuit yesterday against the corporations that ran the juvenile detention center. Amy Bibighaus, 29, will receive $125,000 from the companies that ran the juvenile detention center in Baltimore County, lawyers on both sides of the case said yesterday. While acknowledging that the settlement was far less than the $20 million they had sought in the civil suit, an attorney for Bibighaus characterized the resolution as "a complete vindication" for the social worker, who also was acquitted in 2002 by a Baltimore County judge after being charged with statutory rape for the incident involving the juvenile detainee. "I think for her, the idea was to be vindicated, for them to say, 'Yes, we were responsible for what happened to you.' And I think that happened," said Anton L. Iamele, who represented Bibighaus. Youth Services International ran the troubled Hickey School for nearly 11 years until the state decided not to renew its $16 million-a-year contract last March. After assuming control of the juvenile detention center in Cub Hill, state officials found it to be an out-of-control operation where housing units reeked of urine, walls were covered in graffiti and locks didn't work on the doors of the rooms of dozens of potentially dangerous offenders. The lawsuit alleged that the teenager propositioned Bibighaus after asking the attorney who accompanied her to the meeting to leave the room so he could speak with the social worker alone. He then raped her, according to the lawsuit. When Bibighaus tried to leave the small office, a malfunctioning lock prevented her from being able to escape, and the absence of attentive Hickey staff members kept anyone from quickly discovering the attack, the lawsuit alleged.

July 23, 2004
Maryland juvenile justice officials have stopped, at least temporarily, looking for a private contractor to run the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School and may continue to operate the Baltimore County school themselves rather than seek a new vendor, state officials said yesterday.  LaWanda Edwards, a Department of Juvenile Services spokeswoman, said vendors were informed about a week ago of the state's decision to withdraw a request for proposals that had been distributed to companies that expressed interest in running Hickey.  Florida-based Correctional Services Corp./Youth Services International had operated Hickey under a five-year contract that ended March 31. The state Department of Juvenile Services has been running it while searching for a new operator.  The U.S. Justice Department reported in April "a deeply disturbing degree of physical abuse of youth by staff" and "unacceptably high levels of youth-on-youth violence."  Stacey Gurian-Sherman of JJ Fair, a statewide advocacy group that works with youth and families, said the problems noted by the Justice Department reflect poor oversight of Hickey by Maryland juvenile justice officials.  State Sen. Brian E. Frosh, who is chairman of the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee, said he thinks contracting out services such as Hickey's operations is "very bad policy."  He said a contractor has financial incentives to run such facilities in ways that do not necessarily serve the best interests of Maryland youths.  (Baltimore Sun)

May 27, 2004
When the state assumed control of its sprawling Charles H. Hickey Jr. School from a private contractor on April 1, it found an out-of-control wreck of a juvenile detention center where housing units reeked of urine, graffiti covered walls, and locks didn't work on the doors of the rooms of dozens of potentially dangerous offenders.  Conditions at the state facility in Baltimore County were even worse under the management of Correctional Services Corp./Youth Services International than previously disclosed, an investigation by The Sun has found and state officials now acknowledge.  Malfunctioning motion sensors couldn't detect escapes. One dormitory was in such bad shape that it had to be shut down. Scores of youths with not enough to do were stashing scissors and pens for weapons. Dozens of the adults in charge had criminal or drug-abuse histories that should have prevented them from working at the program for juvenile offenders.  State Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. says he hadn't realized how bad things were until the Florida-based company left.  "We were shocked and surprised," Montague said in an interview this week. The state had been paying the contractor about $16 million a year to run Hickey, home to about 185 boys, including some of Maryland's most troubled and violent juvenile lawbreakers. Though the population has varied, the company was getting at least $60,000 for each youth per year - several times the cost of tuition at an elite private high school.  Montague said the state knew about some of the problems but that "a lot of it was not visible, was not something you could see physically. The sensors on the security fence weren't working. The phone system wouldn't support enough lines."  He said that the company left virtually no accounting of how and when millions of dollars in state money was spent. "There was no budget," Montague said.  He said the state is withholding $1.8 million that the vendor has requested for Hickey expenditures because there isn't documentation to prove the money was spent as claimed.  The state says it is also ensuring that residents are attending classes at Hickey for the mandatory five hours each day. The monitor reported in March that there was "a lack of education and programming." On two visits late last year, it reported finding no school at all occurring on one unit.  (Baltimore Sun)

May 8, 2004
The school, which houses 188 juvenile offenders, has been beset by violence, including abuse by staff. Recent incidents there have included a fight in February involving four teen-agers and a staff member that sent two youths to a hospital. The same month, The Sun reported that a Hickey youth was assaulted by two staff members who held him in his room and repeatedly punched him in the face.  When it took over in April, the state asked all those employed at the facility to re-apply for their jobs, and it began screening all 320 of them. It soon learned that the contractor - Florida-based Correctional Services Corp./Youth Services International - had hired workers the state considers unfit.  "It's my understanding there were people here who would not have passed background checks," said former Baltimore police officer Joseph Newman, a Department of Juvenile Services consultant.  After a civil rights investigation, the U.S. Justice Department said in a report last month that it believed workers with felony convictions and histories of using excessive force were being hired at Hickey and the Cheltenham Youth Facility, another state-run detention center, in Prince George's County.  "Notably, we found several instances where we believe that staff with either felony convictions or previous histories of excessive force in a juvenile detention facility were involved in incidents of abuse," the department said in the report to the state last month.  The state pays entry-level youth supervisors between $20,000 and $25,000 - significantly less than their counterparts in surrounding states. At Hickey, the staff had been earning even less under the private contractor - a little more than $19,000, Adams said.  When it took over, the state found other problems at Hickey besides the staff. In one dormitory, 24 of 30 locks on residents' doors were broken,  Newman said. Many of the buildings were dirty and had graffiti.  (Baltimore Sun)

March 3, 2004
Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services will take over management of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School later this month until a replacement can be found for the outgoing contractor, Youth Services International, officials said yesterday.  Hickey, in the Cub Hill area of Baltimore County, is a state juvenile detention center in housing about 260 youths charged with offenses ranging from drug possession to armed robbery.  It has been managed by Youth Services, a subsidiary of Correctional Services Corp., since 1993. Another contractor, Rebound Inc., ran Hickey for 15 months before that.  The Youth Services contract expires later this month, and state officials recently began accepting bids from competitors.  Youth Services initially was a local company owned by W. James Hindman, better known for creating Jiffy Lube. But Hindman took the company public in 1994, and in late 1998 it was acquired by Correctional Services, based in Sarasota, Fla.  Shortly afterward, Youth Services won a new, five-year state contract at Hickey, although state officials were threatening within months to fire the company.  Youth Services managed to hold onto the job for the duration of its contract, even though Hickey has often been troubled by outbreaks of violence, sometimes involving staff members assaulting students.  (Baltimore Sun)

February 24, 2004
A fight yesterday involving four teen-agers and a staff member at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School sent two youths to the hospital, just as state police were beginning efforts to bolster security at the troubled juvenile detention center.  The confluence of events put state Juvenile Services Department officials in the awkward position of promoting a new security initiative one moment only to have to explain yet another outbreak of violence the next. And it occurred amid growing criticism that disorder in the detention centers has reached critical levels.  "I think the point has been made that circumstances at these facilities need improvement," Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. said. "So the fact that we are instituting these initiatives should let staff members and members of the public know that we are trying to make those environments better."  Critics weren't convinced.  "It's a Band-Aid approach to a mortal wound," said Stacey Gurian-Sherman, director of the children's advocacy group JJ Fair. "The vast majority of these children are in these facilities for nonviolent offenses, and the abuse is happening every day. We're not just talking about physical abuse - youth on youth, or staff on youth - we're talking about a sick system that the Department of Juvenile Services has shown itself to be incapable of remedying."  Officials said the new security initiative came together hastily Friday, after Montague called Maryland State Police Superintendent Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins. By late that night, they had agreed on a plan: State police patrols would immediately begin stopping by, every hour, at the Hickey School in Baltimore County and the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County.  Beginning today, the plan also calls for a state police investigator to serve a full shift daily at each facility, either in the day or the evening.   Hickey, which houses about 260 boys, is run by Youth Services International, a private contractor based in Sarasota, Fla. The state runs the 132-year-old Cheltenham facility, which houses about 100. Youths charged with offenses ranging from drug possession to armed robbery are sent to the centers to await court dates or placement in treatment programs.  The new security plan is a stopgap response to a spate of violence at the facilities, a surge which has had legislators up in arms, partly because of the length of time it has taken for some episodes to come to light.  Two weeks ago, state police disclosed that four staff members at Cheltenham had been charged with assaulting a 17-year-old on Nov. 30. Police reports said the youth was held down and repeatedly kicked and punched in the chest and face.    Last week, the news surfaced that a youth at Hickey had been assaulted Jan. 13 by two staff members who allegedly held him in his room and repeatedly punched him in the face, according to police records. The two men were charged by state police with assault.  Legislators have also heard recent testimony describing frequent drug use at the facilities, both by resident youths and staff members. That's one reason the new security plan calls for a tough regimen of extra drug searches.  Yesterday's violence at Hickey provided an early test of the new security plan. About 8:30 a.m., according to Juvenile Services spokeswoman LaWanda Edwards, there was "an altercation between four youths and a staff member."  Two of the youths, whose ages range from 14 to 17, were taken to area hospitals, one to be treated for a broken tooth and cut lip, and the other for a puncture wound to the head. Both were released after treatment, Edwards said. The staff member involved was placed on administrative leave, pending the results of a criminal investigation by state police.  Although the new hourly patrols had begun two days earlier, no state police officer was present at the time of the fight. The significance of the bad timing wasn't lost on the department's critics.  "To just have somebody swinging by once an hour isn't going to do it," said Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery Democrat who is chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. "And perhaps the incident today is an example of why."  Nearly lost in the rush of yesterday's events was the report of another violent incident Friday at Hickey.  A 14-year-old boy awaiting transportation to court in Hickey's "bullpen" was attacked by another youth who attempted to set his clothes on fire, according to Juvenile Services officials. The boy's aunt, Rondalyn Vaughn-Horton, said that his mother appealed to a juvenile judge later that day not to send him back to Hickey.  "The state is supposed to be looking out for his well-being," Vaughn-Horton said in an interview, "but the whole time he was out at Hickey he was fighting for his life every day."  The judge complied, assigning the youth instead to the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, which opened in October. The center has helped ease crowding at Cheltenham but has already had its own reports of violence. A 16-year-old boy was severely beaten there last month by five other youths, who have been charged as adults with attempted murder.  Vaughn-Horton said her nephew was threatened at the center two days ago by other youths for not giving up a telephone quickly enough.  "I am just dumbfounded by these reports of violence and abuse, but it's not just Hickey, it's not just Cheltenham," Gurian-Sherman said. "It's a system that relies on facilities that we wouldn't put our dogs in."  (Baltimore Sun)

February 20, 2004
A youth in state custody at the Charles H. Hickey School in Baltimore County was assaulted last month by two staff members who held him in his room and repeatedly punched him in the face, according to police records.  One of the staff members offered the victim's roommate, who witnessed the incident, free telephone calls and a CD player to keep quiet about the beating, the roommate told police.  It is the second case to come to light in the past week in which staff have been criminally charged with assaulting a youth at a state-owned juvenile detention center. In the other incident, at the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County, four workers were charged with holding down a 17-year-old and striking him on Nov. 30.  In a third case, a 16-year-old boy at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center was severely beaten last month by five other youths.  None of the incidents was disclosed by the state Department of Juvenile Services until word began to leak out from police or others. The department acknowledged the Hickey case yesterday only after The Sun learned about it from other sources.  Juvenile Services officials contend that they are not obliged to alert the public to such incidents but will reply to queries if the cases become known. The officials have acknowledged asking state police investigators not to disclose any details without consulting with them first.  The department's practices amount to a coverup, said Heather Ford, director of the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition, an advocacy group.  "Things will never change for kids until the department stops covering up abuse," Ford said.  But department spokeswoman LaWanda Edwards said, "We're not hiding anything." She said department policy is to notify the public about any safety issues, such as an escape. Edwards said the agency is currently "looking to see if there are other situations" that warrant alerting the public.  Hickey is run by Correctional Services Corp./Youth Services International, a private contractor hired by the state. Tom Rapone, chief operating officer for the Florida-based company, was not available for comment late yesterday afternoon.  Edwards said the two workers, identified in police reports as Ronald Shaw Jr. and Wade Simmons, have been fired by the company. She said that, like the Department of Juvenile Services, the contractor "does not tolerate staff hurting children." The two men were charged by state police with assault, according to police records.  State legislators expressed frustration yesterday with the continuing violence.  Sen. Brian E. Frosh, chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the panel is drafting a letter to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to urge him to take immediate action at the state's juvenile facilities to ensure children are protected.  Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, said reform legislation before the General Assembly will not take effect until a year from now, and he and others believe that is too long to wait. "It's an emergency," said Frosh. "Every week we get a report."  The committee's action was in response to a call from Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, who told the committee yesterday: "This is a crisis, and we should identify this as a crisis."  In an interview, he said the state needs to quickly upgrade the salaries and qualifications of the hundreds of workers supervising youngsters at the state's eight juvenile detention centers.  Youths charged with offenses ranging from marijuana possession to armed robbery are sent to the facilities to await court dates or placement in treatment programs.  According to police records, the Hickey incident occurred on the afternoon of Jan. 13 after the youth - whose age was not disclosed by the department or police - became irritated after an inspection of his room by staff.  He pointed a finger at Simmons, who grabbed him by the face and neck, the police account said. It said two other staff members tried to pull Simmons away.  As the boy held his hands up to cover his face, Simmons and Shaw punched him, the document said. His face swollen and his body cut, the boy was left in his room for three hours before being taken to a nurse, it said.  Hickey has had troubles before. In the past 14 months, the independent state monitor's office has chronicled instances of staff abuse, repeated youth-on-youth assaults, and staff bringing in alcohol and pornography.  The contract with Hickey is up at the end of next month. The state is considering bids for a new pact, and several dozen companies, including Correctional Services, have expressed interest.  Sun staff writer Ivan Penn contributed to this article.  (Baltimore Sun)

January 5, 2004
THE ILLS that beset the privately run Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for troubled boys are deep and long-standing. Despite continued close monitoring by the state Department of Juvenile Services, including adding more child advocates on the campus, the rate of youth-on-youth attacks and other violent incidents has not dropped from an average of 2.5 each day reported back in the spring.  Yet the state agency responsible for the boys' well-being has stretched by another three months its contract with the private firm that runs the facility.  Hickey's current operator, Correctional Services Corp./Youth Services International, has had trouble fulfilling its contract, the largest funded by DJS - budgeted at $15 million in fiscal 2004.  The problems include failures to provide enough training, staff and youth education programs. The company hired workers who allegedly beat kids, and one who allegedly assaulted a police investigator during questioning on the matter. A scathing independent monitor's report, made public in June, detailed an appalling level of violence at Hickey.  To better ensure the children's safety, DJS officials should have taken over for at least a few months while it plans Hickey's anticipated overhaul, slated to begin with a new contract in July. Instead, the agency offered two fiscal arguments against dumping the operator:  Its contract will expire in March, leaving too little time for DJS to pull together the staff and resources to run the facility itself - DJS would need at least six months to take over.  There's also a federal funding obstacle: A private firm can recoup some medical costs by applying to Medicaid for each child in its care, while the state is expected to pay its own way for care. Perhaps a short-term solution would have been to contract out just those services, as has been done at the Cheltenham Youth Facility, which DJS operates.  (Sun Spot)

December 19, 2003
The Charles H. Hickey Jr. School continues to be beset by violence, some of it perpetrated by staff, and conditions have not improved since a scathing report in May detailed 20 cases of child abuse and neglect at the juvenile detention facility, according to the state independent monitor.  With the number of assaults and other violent incidents showing no signs of abating, the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor recommended in September that the state consider firing the private contractor that operates Hickey, according to documents obtained by The Sun under a public records request.  The monitor has backed off from that recommendation - not because conditions have improved but because the vendor's five-year contract will expire in March.  The Hickey School, which serves about 260 troubled boys, is run by Youth Services International, a private contractor based in Sarasota, Fla. In the past year, the monitor's office has chronicled instances of staff abuse, repeated youth-on-youth assaults, and staff bringing alcohol and pornography into the facility in Baltimore County.  (The Baltimore Sun)

July 17, 2003
State officials are considering replacing the operator of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, or taking over the facility, because of its history of failing to provide adequate services, a state official said.    "We are still looking at the Hickey contract, and in my communication with the governor's office all of the options remain open," Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth Montague told state officials on Tuesday.  (AP)

June 13, 2003
Gov. Robert Ehrlich has asked attorneys to find out if the state can end a contract with a Sarasota, Fla., company that runs a juvenile detention center in Baltimore County.  Ehrlich wants to know if the state can place the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School under new management in the wake of a report that staff members hit, sexually abused and intentionally intoxicated children.  Correctional Services Corp., a subsidiary of Youth Services International, has a five-year contract to operate the Hickey School until March 31.  "All options are being looked at," Ehrlich said Thursday after seeing the report on the Hickey School by the state Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor.  (Gainesville Sun)

June 12, 2003
More than 20 cases of suspected child abuse and neglect have occurred at Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County so far this year, including instances of staff allegedly having sex with youths and bringing alcohol and pornographic materials into the juvenile detention facility, according to a report by an independent monitor.  The highly critical report further revealed that documented cases of youth-on-youth assaults and other violent incidents occur at the school, on average, 2.5 times each day.  "There may be many other cases that go unreported by staff and youth for fear of retaliation," according to a May 29 report by the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor, an advisory group that is part of the governor's office. The report, submitted to state officials by Philip J. Merson, was obtained by The Sun yesterday.  The Hickey School, which serves 262 troubled boys ages 14 to 17, is run by Correctional Services Corp./Youth Services International, a private, Sarasota, Fla.-based contractor hired by the state.  Advocates expressed outrage yesterday at the report's findings, which follow a similar, sharply critical report about conditions at Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County.  They called for the state to terminate the company's contract. "The state cannot continue to rely on this vendor to take care of Maryland's youth," said Heather Ford, director of the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition.  Among the incidents related in the report:  On Jan. 5, staff members allegedly pulled a youth who set off the sprinkler system from his room, slammed him against a wall and allowed older youths to beat him up. State investigators charged with investigating such incidents failed to follow through and interview the youth despite prodding by the independent monitor.  On Jan. 22, a staff person incited what was labeled as a "riot" when he used a fire extinguisher and a club to threaten youths. Two of the youths were injured during the melee and taken to a hospital. The staff person's conduct was deemed "inappropriate" and he was dismissed after an investigation.  On Feb. 7, a youth who had been reported missing was found when he had a car accident in Anne Arundel County. The car he was driving was registered to a female staff member, later fired, who was alleged to be having sexual relations with the teen-ager.  On March 16, a youth who was reportedly locked in his room was found to be severely intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of 0.25 -- more than three times the state's 0.08 percent blood alcohol level for drunken driving offenses.  He said a male staff member gave him the alcohol, but investigators were unable to identify the staff member involved.  Other cases included an incident in which a youth's wrist was broken when a staff member broke up a fight between a group of youths; a student whose back was hurt when a staff member allegedly threw him against a bathroom sink; and allegations that a staff member brought in a DVD player and pornographic material to one of the units and had sex with a youth. Sharon Rubinstein, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition, said the report shows that the Hickey School, which is east of Towson, is not a safe place for youths.  "These findings are outrageous," she said. "When the boot camp scandal broke, it was called state-sanctioned child abuse. Why are these abuses continuing?"  The state's juvenile justice boot camps were shut down in 1999 after abuses by guards were exposed by The Sun. Maryland recently paid $4.6 million to settle a lawsuit on behalf of young offenders. Company's response Tom Rapone, chief operating officer for the company that runs the Hickey School, said he had not seen a copy of the independent monitor's report and could not comment in detail on specific incidents.  However, he said, monitoring has "been significantly enhanced" during the past six months. He said his company follows state rules and regulations in reporting incidents and that it takes firm disciplinary action against staff members when situations are uncovered that warrant it. "Events take place in these types of facilities," Rapone said. "Is it a perfect world? No, but certainly we endeavor. This is a continuing process."  (The Baltimore Sun)

July 1, 2002
Nine teen-age boys who removed a window and cut through two fences to escape from the Charles H. Hickey School on Saturday were back in custody by the end of the night, authorities said yesterday.   The boys, ages 15 to 17, were on foot, unarmed and wearing their Hickey School uniforms. They have committed "everything from drug crimes to assault," said Lee Towers, a spokesman for the Department of Juvenile Justice.  (Sun

March 8, 2002
Two teen-age sex offenders were back in custody yesterday after escaping from the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County, officials said. The offenders, 17 and 19 years old, escaped about 7 p.m. Wednesday, said Lee Towers, spokesman for Maryland's Department of Juvenile Justice. He said the teens were dressed in street clothes. A guard, apparently believing they were employees, opened the gate and let them pass. The two were being held at a 26-bed facility for sex offenders run by the Chesapeake Center that is housed on the Hickey grounds. An employee at the Kmart at North Plaza Mall called police after seeing two teens shoplifting walkie-talkies yesterday morning, Towers said, and county police arrested them across the street. (

December 5, 2001
Officials for the private company that runs the jail admitted this year to destroying dozens of reports of force against teens in 2000, and an investigator with the juvenile justice agency concluded that cases of abuse were hidden by employees who destroyed records the two previous years.  (Sunspot)

November 29, 2001
Top administrators at two state juvenile jails have resigned amid allegations of continuing abuse and public outcry concerning youth detention.  Donald Brooks became the third director this year to leave Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County when he announced his resignation Wednesday, said Laura Townsend, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice.  Brooks took over the top job at Hickey in July.  Townsend said Richard Daugherty, the clinical director of Victor Cullen Academy in Frederick County, also resigned Wednesday. Daughtery was responsible for administering the substance abuse program at Victor Cullen.  A coalition of 50 juvenile justice advocacy groups demanded reform, including the closing of Cullen, at a forum on Wednesday.   High turnover of staff was one of the deficiencies the state cited in an audit of Florida-based Youth Services International, the private agency which has a contract to run Cullen until 2002 and Hickey until 2004, Townsend said.  Calls to Youth Services International by The Associated Press were not immediately returned on Thursday.  The firm paid a $600,000 penalty in August after auditors concluded Cullen was severely understaffed and fell far short of requirements for mental health care, education and financial controls. The state ordered the audit after at least four inmates escaped in 18 months. Several other escapes have been reported since.  In July, two Cullen employees were fired and another resigned amid allegations they staged fights between teen-age inmates.  (AP)

June 25, 1999
A male teenager disguised with a tee-shirt wrapped around his face, sexually assaulted a female nurse.  The inmate had slipped through an un-locked door in the kitchen and jumped a Dutch door to get to his victim. (AP, June 28, 2000)

Frederick County Juvenile Detention Facility
Correctional Services Corporation
September 10, 2002 The state Department of Juvenile Services and the private contractor that runs the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County disclosed yesterday that the company will pay the state $792,470 to settle claims resulting from numerous contract violations at the facility. As it announced the settlement, the state released a recent performance audit that detailed the company's failure to live up to the terms of the five-year, $ 79 million contract to run the troubled juvenile detention center. Hickey has been the site of numerous assaults and other violent incidents in recent years, resulting in the ouster of its top administrator late last year. Sarasota, Fla.-based Corrections Services Corp. is the parent corporation of Youth Services International, which won the lucrative privatization contract in 1999. Lee Towers, a department spokesman, said yesterday the state is confident The departmental audit covered the period from April 2000 through September 2001. It found that the company did not live up to its promises in the areas of staffing, training, record-keeping, health and education. Among its findings: In almost every case, the company failed to provide the required 40 hours of in-service training to staff members employed at the school before the contract. The audit found that of 108 existing employees, only one received full training while 34 got none at all. Meanwhile, 14 percent of 58 new employees were put on the job before completing their 40 hours. The contractor failed to provide adequate supervision and record-keeping when juveniles were put on suicide watches. The company failed to fully staff 19 percent of the posts specified in its contract in fiscal 2000 and 24 percent in fiscal 2001. The auditors found that 60 percent of "incident reports" - detailing rule violations, use of force or similar matters - occurred on shifts that were short-staffed. Youth Services did not meet all of the educational requirements in the contract, including some related to the length of each school day, the library collection, the number of textbooks and teacher qualifications. The findings were similar to those of an audit last year of the Victor Cullen Center, a juvenile detention center in Frederick County that was also run by Correctional Services. The company was required to pay the state more than $ 600,000 after that audit, which helped lead to a decision to scale back Cullen's operations severely. The company's poor performance on the audit will not block its chances of winning an extension when its contract comes up for renewal in 2004, Towers said. (The Baltimore Sun)

November 28, 2001
A group of juvenile justice advocates is urging Maryland to close a Frederick detention home that state investigators found failed to provide adequate treatment, education and staffing and where workers committed numerous incidents of violence. The group has made similar charges against other state facilities. The incidents at the Victor Cullen Center include a "Saturday morning fight club" in which staffers set children loose to settle their differences with their fists. In addition, numerous youths have been taken to the hospital with broken bones and other injuries caused by staff. The incidents were documented in a state audit completed this fall and were publicly detailed for the first time this week in the Baltimore Sun. (The Washington Post)

June, 1999
Three inmates escaped yesterday from the facility in the second security breach at a Baltimore-area CSC facility in 48 hours. They pried open the security screens and escaped in a stolen facility car. The escape follows a rape last week of a female employee. (The Baltimore Sun, June 28, 1999)

Howard County
April 19, 2002
A 20-year-old Elkridge man who eluded authorities for eight days last summer after bolting from the Howard County District Court commissioner's office during a bond hearing was sentenced yesterday to a year in jail for the escape. The day of his escape, Porter was one of eight people Wackenhut Security had driven to Ellicott City, according to court files. He had been arrested on a charge of violating probation in a case stemming from a fire at Deep Run Elementary School. During his hearing, Porter complained to a Wackenhut guard that his left leg restraint was too tight around his ankle, according to police and court files. One of Porter's hands was out of the cuffs so he could sign paperwork. As the guard loosened the restraint, Porter pulled his leg out and ran out of the building, according to court files. (

September 6, 2001
A second prisoner's escape from Howard County District Court in little more than a year has bolstered county officials' plans to station a court commissioner at the Southern District police station on Scaggsville Road in Laurel.  The two escapes reinforced what Howard Police Chief G. Wayne Livesay has been saying since he took office in 1998, said police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn: "Eliminate the transports."  The most recent escape occurred Aug. 20, after J.C. Porter, 20, of Elkridge, had been arrested and was being transported by armed security guards to a hearing before a court commissioner.  Just before the hearing, police said, Porter told a guard his leg was bleeding.  As the guard began to loosen the shackle, Porter kicked free of the restraint, ran from the courthouse and disappeared into woods, police said.  The private security guard in the Porter case has been barred from working in the county and the incident remains under investigation, Llewellyn said.  Both transports were handled by Wackenhut Services Inc., which is under contract with the county.  (The Washington Post)

August 30, 2001
His hair had been dyed and he was no longer wearing shackles and handcuffs, but Howard County police found escapee J.C. Porter in a West Virginia motel Tuesday night, authorities said yesterday.  Porter ran barefoot from security guards the evening of Aug. 20 while he was at Howard County District Court in Ellicott City to see a bail commissioner.  The security guard present at the time of Porter's escape has been suspended from transporting prisoners in Howard County, police said.  (The Baltimore Sun)

August 21, 2001
With shackles trailing from one of his ankles and handcuffs dangling from one wrist, a barefoot 20-year-old led Howard County police on an extended chase last night after he fled the court commissioner's office where he was being charged with a probation violation.  The man ran right out of his shoes as he slipped past two guards and into thick woods north of the Howard County District Court on Court House Drive in Ellicott City, police said.  The two guards, employed by county-contracted Wackenhut Security, chased Porter, who fled the building and slipped into the woods, county police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn said.  Porter's escape comes a year and a day after burglary suspect Thomas Rudolph Jordan escaped after he appeared before a bail commissioner in the same building.  Jordan, whose transport to and from the district courthouse was also overseen by Wackenhut, was captured about 20 minutes later in the vicinity of the courthouse.  (The Baltimore Sun)

October 26, 2000
A grand jury had added its voice to a heightened effort to place a bail commissioner on site at the Scaggsville police station, a focus spurred by a prisoner's escape after a bail hearing at the District Court building in August. "The recent escape of a prisoner awaiting a bail hearing points out the need for the commissioner to go to the prisoners and not vice versa," the grand jury wrote in its report. Chief District Judge Martha F. Raisin said, "The escape was not caused by the location of the District Court commissioner. The escape was caused by very, very poor security measures." Wackenhut was temporarily suspended after the escape but was reinstated. (Baltimore Staff, Oct. 26, 2000)

August 19, 2000
A robbery suspect escaped for the day after he was left without leg restraints while waiting for a pre-trail hearing. (The Baltimore Sun, August 30, 2000)

Jennifer Road Detention Center
Anne Arundel, Maryland
Correctional Medical Services

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.

Maryland Department of Corrections
Wexford (formerly run by Correctional Medical Services and formerly run by Prison Health Services)
Jun 19, 2020

BPW questions $30M emergency contract for prison health care provider amid coronavirus

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday took up a controversial emergency contract with a prison health care provider totaling nearly $30 million. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services told members of the spending board that Corizon Correctional Healthcare had to be hired amid the coronavirus pandemic and a staffing shortage. As Public Safety Secretary Robert Green made his case, Comptroller Peter Franchot, a member of the Board of Public Works, raised questions. "Of the $3.2 million, only $2.5 million was spent on COVID-19-related expenses in April that Corizon did not spend. Did they return that to the state?" Franchot asked. Green said Corizon did not return the money to the state. Franchot said while the state has an obligation, and frankly, a moral imperative, to take care of inmates, it also has an obligation to taxpayers. The board ultimately backed Franchot's motion to scrap the proposed 30% contract increase going forward, and instead, reimburse Corizon for COVID-19-related expenses that can be audited and checked for accuracy. Prison health officials told the board they're doing universal and point preference testing of 19,000 inmates at an average cost of $56 per test. As of Wednesday, across the state prison system, they've tested 4,036 staff members with 407 positive cases. Of those staff members, 266 have recovered. They've also tested 7,892 inmates in the system with 359 positive cases, 90 of which have recovered. "Sadly, eight deaths have occurred due to COVID-19, one of those in a system external to the state of Maryland where an individual was being housed," Green said. State prison officials told the spending board they're finding a large number of asymptomatic positives inside Maryland facilities after seeing a 56% increase in hospitalizations and a 68% jump in inpatient days from March to April. "Our cases that averaged a length of stay of four days, escalated to an average of 10 to 14, increased by 56.25% from March to April, which was COVID-related," a prison doctor said. Officials said they're bracing for the virus to make a comeback, possibly, in September and October.

Nov 28, 2015 
State auditors say prison agency curbed contract competition
State auditors say the agency that oversees Maryland's prisons structured a multimillion-dollar 2012 contract for commissary services in a way that stifled competition and limited the bidding to a single company. The actions described in a recent report by the Office of Legislative Audits occurred under Gov. Martin O'Malley and Gary Maynard, his secretary of public safety and correctional services. The O'Malley-led Board of Public Works approved the contract for Keefe Commissary Network of Edison, N.J., in 2012. The deal was structured in a complex way that made it difficult to put a value on the overall deal, auditors said. But they said it was estimated that it would bring in almost $16 million in revenue for the state over a five-year period. When officials in Maynard's office put together a request for proposals from potential contract bidders, auditors said, they lumped the job of running the commissaries, at which inmates buy goods, together with the task of setting up an information technology system for a bank for inmates. Auditors found the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services also added in a procurement contract for "inmate welfare kits" with toiletries and other necessities. When prospective bidders asked department officials whether they could bid on the various items individually, they were told no, auditors said. The result was that the state received one bid — from Keefe. Auditors also faulted the department for failing to consult with the Department of Information Technology, which generally has oversight over such procurements. Auditors did not find fault with Keefe Commissary Network. The company did not respond to a request for comment. The department recommended the contract with Keefe to the board, saying its bid was "fair and reasonable." When the contract came before the board, it faced opposition from Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Council 3. But most of the discussion by O'Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp centered on whether the contract would displace union-represented state workers — not the question of competition. After the audit was released, Moran said the deal "reeks of cronyism and doling out favors to the private prison industry." "It is a bad deal for taxpayers and for employees when multiple functions are rolled into one contract and there are not competitive bids," Moran said in a statement. He said AFSCME anticipates that the Hogan administration will "clean this mess up." Hogan's public safety secretary promised to do just that. In a terse response to the audit, Secretary Stephen T. Moyer said he agreed with the auditors' findings. He said future bid requests will be "structured to promote maximum competition." He also promised that his agency would consult with the information technology department on future computer-related contracts.

August 2 2013 Acc Lexology

Wexford Health Services, a company that offers medical services to prisons, lost out to its competitor Corizon, Inc. on a contract with the state of Maryland. Apparently a sore loser, Wexford retained a public relations firm to create a Web site. Wexford’s CEO and its president authored the content on the site. And that’s where the trouble began. Wexford wrote the content to make it look like a Corizon insider drafted it. The post blasted Corizon for its terrible service and its lack of concern for its customer, the state of Maryland. Corizon filed a lawsuit, alleging among other things, a violation of the federal Lanham Act. The Lanham Act prohibits false and deceptive statements in commercial advertisements. And that raised an interesting question – was the Web site a commercial advertisement? According to the court it was. Corizon had to establish three elements to make its case – the communication was an advertisement, it referred to a specific product or service and Wexford had an economic motive for posting the content. To be a commercial advertisement, the statements had to be “disseminated to the relevant purchasing public within the industry.” Wexford said it failed on that test, because less than two dozen people saw the Web site. But according to the court, the issue isn’t who sees the content, it’s the speaker’s intent. The question is whether the statements are part of an organized campaign to penetrate the relevant market. If so, element one is satisfied, even if the campaign is a dismal failure. In this case, the court found that Wexford intended wide dissemination because it posted the content on the Internet. Round one to Corizon. The court also found the content referred to a specific service – providing health care services. The fact that the statement focused on Corizon’s failings did not change the general topic, which was Corizon’s services. Round two to Corizon. As to the economic motivation, Wexford claimed there was none – it was simply trying to assist with the transition to a new provider. But the court wasn’t buying that story. In its view the circumstantial evidence – consisting of the content itself and Corizon’s status as a competitor – proved Wexford’s economic motivation. As the concept of “content marketing” becomes increasingly popular, the lines between “editorial” and “advertising” may blur. The point is, just because you call it a Web site, as opposed to an advertisement doesn’t necessarily make it so! As Abraham Lincoln said: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

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 19, 2011 City Paper
The state of Maryland is rebidding several contracts to provide health care to prison and jail inmates after preliminarily awarding a key component to a new vendor last fall, and neither state nor corporate officials are saying why. Wexford Health Sources of Pittsburgh was told by state officials last fall that its $331 million, three-year bid had been accepted on the Medical Care and Utilization Management Services contracts, according to Wexford spokesperson Wendelyn R. Pekich (“Con Care,” Mobtown Beat, Jan. 5). The inmate medical care contract is the main medical services contract for the state’s inmates. The incumbent Medical Care contractor, Correctional Medical Services (CMS), of St. Louis, protested the bid award, but later withdrew its protest. The Utilization Management contract, for oversight of the doctors and pharmacists in the system, is currently held by Wexford. Hiring the same company for both contracts is a common practice, Pekich says. The Board of Public Works, composed of the governor, comptroller, and state treasurer, was originally set to ratify several prison health contracts on Nov. 3, but the items were withdrawn from the agenda without explanation. Then on Dec. 15, the board voted to extend the existing contracts for six months, “with three one-month renewal options in order to complete a new procurement,” according to the board’s minutes. Pekich says Wexford received a “notice of intent” in September saying the state was going to award them the new contract. CMS protested the award, but withdrew its protest in November, she says. “Then on Dec. 13 the state said we’re holding everything” to rebid, Pekich says. “The pharmacy [request for proposal] is already out. I won’t be able to fill you in on this because it’s a live contract. Nobody will want to talk.” State officials and corporate spokespersons have kept quiet about the contracts for months. Numerous calls and e-mails to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services have gone unanswered. CMS spokesperson Ken Fields—often quoted in the media—did not return messages left during the final nine weeks of 2010. Reached by telephone on Jan. 12, he confirmed that the contract was being rebid but had no further comment. “I think you really need to talk to the state’s people,” he said. “It’s their process.”

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,, 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 10, 2005 Baltimore Sun
In mid-March 2002, Marcella N. Leski, 39, was jailed for failing to appear in court on a drug-possession charge. Twelve days later, she was so ill that her legs were amputated below the knees. Her family alleges in a lawsuit that the prison contractor's doctor failed to diagnose and treat an infection that can be cured with antibiotics. While the question of legal responsibility is in dispute, what is not in question is that Leski's condition deteriorated while she was in the custody of the state-run Baltimore Women's Detention Center. Maryland's prisons are no place to get sick. The state's own audits and correctional system records show that the prison health care system has been underfunded, understaffed and poorly run. A Sun investigation found that many inmates over the past five years have received inadequate medical attention, according to interviews, independent state audits, internal state records and other documents. Maryland corrections officials acknowledge underfunding and providing spotty oversight of the state's main medical contractor, Tennessee-based Prison Health Service Inc. As of June 30, Prison Health, one of the nation's largest for-profit correctional health care providers, will no longer be providing inmate health services in Maryland. Its contract expires on that date, and the state recently selected other vendors to provide services for the state's 27,000 inmates in a totally restructured system. Prison Health executives say they pleaded to get out of the contract two years ago but the state refused, and that Maryland continued to pay far less for services than it was costing Prison Health to deliver. The company says it was paid more than $260 million in Maryland over the past five years, but lost $14 million. State audits, lawsuits, internal memos and other documents reveal a grim picture of inmate heath care since 2000, when Prison Health got its contract. The problems include: Insufficient staffing. Staff shortages have caused lengthy delays in prisoners being seen by physicians, psychiatrists and nurses, according to audits of prison infirmaries done by the state Office of Health Care Quality, an independent state agency that monitors health care facilities in Maryland. And records that are kept are not always reliable. For example, state corrections officials discovered in March that Prison Health staff members apparently had altered records to falsely indicate that they had conducted required checks on suicidal inmates every 15 minutes at the Women's Detention Center in Baltimore, according to e-mail between state and Prison Health officials. The employees involved resigned, Prison Health executives said. Failure to examine closely enough and follow through on inmate medical complaints. For example, Ricky Scearce, 48, reported in 2001 all the classic signs for colon cancer to a prison doctor on the Eastern Shore, according to a lawsuit he filed against Prison Health. Although his symptoms persisted, no colonoscopy was ordered to test for the disease until two years later, as Scearce's release date approached, the lawsuit said. The diagnosis then: advanced-stage, terminal colo-rectal cancer. Prison Health settled the lawsuit last year for an undisclosed sum and declined to discuss Scearce's case. The problems of drug delivery were also the subject of internal discussions among Prison Health's staff in Baltimore. At a Feb. 13, 2003, meeting, Prison Health's nursing managers complained that critical documents that doctors and nurses rely on to track drugs given to inmate patients were "not being completed properly," according to minutes of the meeting. In interviews this year, Prison Health executives insisted that they met their obligations and did not cut corners on care - despite losing millions on the Maryland contract. They said the audits reflect occasional mistakes they worked to correct, not deliberate neglect. But what turned out to be a bad deal for Prison Health was a good one for the state, at least in financial terms. One of the few detailed analyses done by the state showed that Maryland was spending $2,293 per inmate on health care in 2002 - well below the national average of $2,722. "Most of the states at that level are poor states, like Alabama and Mississippi," said Elizabeth Alexander, director of the ACLU's National Prison Project. "I think it should bother the citizens of Maryland to be in that category." She noted that Maryland is a wealthy state. The ACLU is a lead plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit alleging poor health care services and deplorable living conditions at the state-run Baltimore jail facilities. As costs rose much faster than Prison Health had projected, the company pleaded to be released from the contract at the end of three years. But the state exercised its option to extend the contract for two years. Alexander and other critics say that decision ultimately compromised inmate health care. The ACLU's Alexander said state officials demonstrated a "lack of concern" for the welfare of inmates by extending the contract - even after serious problems with medical care at the Baltimore City Detention Center were highlighted in a highly critical U.S. Justice Department report in 2002. Dr. Ronald Shansky, a nationally recognized expert on prison health care, said a state cannot be excused from its responsibility to deliver an appropriate level of health care services to inmates in its custody. "If a contract is underfunded, and not just poorly managed, that's also a state responsibility," he said. "They should know what it takes per capita to provide the services ... and shouldn't support any bidder whose proposal is too low" to do the job properly. Staffing was another daily challenge. Prison Health officials say they had trouble hiring and retaining staff because the state's prisons were perceived as dangerous and recruiting in the medical field was highly competitive. In a May 2004 e-mail, Benjamin Brown, assistant commissioner for the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, complained of continual disputes with Prison Health over staffing and how medical evaluations of new arrivals at the facilities would be conducted. "Their cavalier attitude to their contractual and ethical responsibilities is unacceptable; their inability or unwillingness to communicate effectively is equally unacceptable," Brown wrote to a state corrections official who oversaw inmate medical services. In one highly publicized case last year, Prison Health reprimanded and reassigned four employees who failed to perform their duties properly in the case of a female inmate who died Sept. 14 from an advanced case of cryptococcal meningitis. Deborah Epifanio, 34, who had been held at the women's prison in Jessup and the women's jail in Baltimore, had experienced fainting spells for days before Prison Health staff sent her to an emergency room. State corrections officials have not released additional details about the circumstances surrounding her death. Both Prison Health and its main rival, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., submitted bids for the medical service component, the largest of the contracts, with CMS winning. Prison Health's contract expires June 30. A separate company, Wexford Health Sources Inc. of Pittsburgh, was chosen to manage and oversee the use of hospitalization and other care to keep costs in check, Rosenblatt said. He said the contract gives Wexford financial incentives to hold down costs.

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.

May 10, 2005 Baltimore Sun
A Tennessee-based company that has provided medical services to most of Maryland's prisons for the past five years announced yesterday that it failed to win a new contract for inmate medical care potentially worth tens of millions of dollars. America Service Group Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., said in a statement that it had not yet received formal notification from Maryland officials that its subsidiary - Prison Health Services Inc. - lost the state's business in a bidding process that began last fall. But the company said it was its "understanding" that contract awards would be made to other companies. Prison Health has held the contract to provide medical services to most of Maryland's prisons, as well as Baltimore's jail facilities - a total population of more than 20,000 inmates. The for-profit company has been criticized in Maryland and other states over the quality of care it has provided. Prison Health signed an inmate medical contract with Maryland in 2000 worth about $270 million over five years, company officials have said. But the contract - known generally as a flat-fee model -left Prison Health vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the health care industry. As health care costs skyrocketed, the company increasingly lost money in Maryland and other states where it had signed similar contracts. Last year, the company warned investors that significant increases in hospitalization and prescription drug costs for Maryland inmates would cause it to lose roughly $1 million a month until its contract expires June 30. Prison Health officials said they had asked to be released from the Maryland contract two years ago because of the losses, but the state had the unilateral right to renew the contract. Maryland corrections officials have said that they renewed the contract with Prison Health at the time because it represented a good deal for the state. Inmate advocates allege that Prison Health cut corners on inmate health care to reduce its financial losses - a criticism that company officials reject. Critics have also blamed the state for allowing a for-profit company to operate the inmate medical system in Maryland while absorbing heavy losses.

Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice
February 12, 2003
The wind blew cold and hard between the tombstones of the cemetery in Aspen Hill, knocking over the pots of plastic flowers around Vanessa Salmeron's grave and muffling the sobs of her mother and sister, who were there for their daily visit.  It has been almost a year since Vanessa, a slender 15-year old with amber hair, hanged herself from her bunk bed at a juvenile detention center in Laurel.  Her death, one of two suicides last year at state-licensed centers for young offenders, helped trigger Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign vow to overhaul the Department of Juvenile Justice -- historically one of the state's worst troubled agencies.  The mess has spurred a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, focusing on complaints about the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County and the Cheltenham youth detention center in Prince George's County, where there were reports of beatings and a teenager impregnated by a staff member.  A state investigation last year revealed a "Saturday morning fight club" at the Victor Cullen Center in Frederick County, in which staff members promoted brawls between juveniles.  Investigations also found that several children had been taken to the hospital with injuries caused by staff members.  The center has since been closed.  (Washington Post)

April 26, 2002
Ending a long struggle by advocates of juvenile justice reform, Gov. Parris N. Glendening signed a bill yesterday creating a permanent, independent office to oversee programs for youthful offenders.  The legislation was sponsored by Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr., who has been pushing for independent oversight of the troubled Department of Juvenile Justice since the disclosure in 1999 that guards at boot camps for youthful offenders assaulted children in their care.  (The Baltimore Sun)

February 27, 2002
Maryland should create an independent commission to oversee the state Juvenile Justice Department, which has been rocked by repeated reports of abuse, youth advocates told lawmakers yesterday.   The state juvenile justice secretary, Bishop L. Robinson, said such a panel is not necessary because a monitoring program hastily created two years ago in response to findings of violence against teen-agers is working adequately.  In November, The Sun reported that guards frequently injured young male criminals being held at the state's three largest youth detention facilities and that youth-on-youth violence was common.   Robinson initially disputed the newspaper's accounts in testimony before lawmakers but backtracked when his figures on numbers of incidents proved to be inaccurate. Department officials could not provide corrected statistics to members of the House Judiciary Committee seeking the information yesterday.  (

 February 6, 2002
A top official with the Department of Juvenile Justice has resigned after disclosures that he twice understated the number of assaults against teens at Maryland's juvenile jails, the agency announced yesterday.   Henry R. Lesansky is on leave until Feb. 18, when his resignation will take effect, according to an agency spokesman.   Lesansky had been responsible for overseeing investigations of conditions at the jails, including reports of guards assaulting teens. His departure comes after a series of embarrassments for the department and its secretary, Bishop L. Robinson.  For example, at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County, the number of reported assaults by guards against teens were reported to have declined from 40 to 16. Towers said a review of that report found it was also incorrect. The department will issue a correction as soon as possible, he said.  Vincent Schiraldi, director of the nonprofit Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in Washington, said the discrepancies in reporting on assaults in the facilities were evidence of the need for an independent citizens' group to monitor them.  ( - Maryland News)

December 6, 2001
Bishop L. Robinson, secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice, arrived armed with numbers and complaints when he appeared before state legislators Tuesday. For 10 minutes, he criticized The Sun for reporting that guards at the state's three largest juvenile jails were assaulting teens in their care.  But Robinson was wrong.  Robinson's misstatements, made in the process of defending his department, inadvertently gave advocacy groups for children new energy in their demands that an independent citizens group -- not government workers -- be permitted to inspect the facilities.  Earlier this year, The Sun, using state public records laws, obtained dozens of reports from Robinson's department on juveniles at Victor Cullen who were taken to the hospital's emergency room last year.  For example, on Aug. 29, a teen was taken to the hospital after complaining of numbness and tingling in his arms and legs after an altercation with a guard.  In addition, some documents containing information about physical abuse at the jail last year were destroyed, altered or never completed, according to officials from Correctional Services Corp., the private company that operates Victor Cullen.  Robinson declined to be interviewed for this article.  "It's extremely disappointing that the administration is spending it's time trying to discredit reports of the violence rather than working to end it, especially when it's pretty well accepted by everybody involved that those facilities are loaded with problems," said Vincent Schiraldi, executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in Washington.  (Sunspot)

Maryland Legislature
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.

March 9, 2005 City Paper
A consultant hired by the state of Maryland to write the parameters for a new prison health-care contract is a co-founder of Prison Health Services Inc., the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company that has the contract now. Jacqueline Moore, of Jacqueline Moore and Associates, co-founded Prison Health Services in 1978 with her then-husband. Prison Health Services has held the Maryland prison contract since 2000 and is paid about $53 million annually to care for the 24,000 inmates. The company says it’s losing about $1 million per month on the contract. The company and other observers estimate the new contract will total about $100 million annually. Moore’s company was hired in September to help write the request for proposal—a set of specifications that prison health companies can use to guide their bids for the contract. Critics say Moore has a conflict, even though she says she has not been associated with Prison Health Services since 1990, and her ex-husband has since founded at least two other prison health-care providers. The new bid specifications include a cost-sharing arrangement between the vendor and the state, Moore says: “In the past, RFPs had a lot of fines, and there was a lot of risk associated for the vendors. They were trying to do something different in this RFP.”

Prince George's County Jail
Prince George's County, Maryland
Correctional Medical Services

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.

Victor Cullen Juvenile Facility
Frederick County, Maryland
Correctional Services Corporation
December 27, 2001
In a victory for child advocates opposed to Maryland's large juvenile jails, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend announced Thursday that the 185-bed Victor Cullen Center will be sharply scaled down and most of its teens sent to community programs.  Victor Cullen is operated by Correctional Services Corp., a Florida-based company whose contract expires June 30.   The company, which also operates the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County, has been in financial trouble and under fire from juvenile justice officials for not living up to its contract.   Correctional Services paid Maryland a $600,000 penalty in August for failing to meet contractual obligations at Victor Cullen. The facility was short on security staff and teachers, among other deficiencies.   The Department of Juvenile Justice has found similar problems during an audit of Hickey, according to sources, and the agency and Correctional Services are negotiating a fine for that facility.  Vincent Schiraldi, director of the nonprofit Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in Washington, said Townsend's approach was "a bunch of steps" in the right direction.   "They're downsizing substan tially, increasing mental health treatment and relocating kids into the community," he said. "Those are three great steps and we're real pleased with that."  James F. Slattery, Correctional Services president, said in a statement that he had no quarrel with Townsend's decision. He said the rural setting of Victor Cullen made it difficult to recruit employees trained to deal with teen-agers who increasingly seem to be arriving with mental health issues.  (The Baltimore Sun)

December 22, 2001
The father of a teen-aged boy formerly incarcerated at the Victor Cullen Center said Thursday the boy was sexually assaulted by other students last month at the Sabillasville treatment center. Guards witnessed the act but did nothing to try to stop it, the father said in an interview Thursday. "He'll be testifying against the kids," the father said of his son. "It's a shame he's not testifying against the guards. As far as I'm concerned, they're conspirators in the whole thing." The attack occurred Nov. 30, only days after Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend ordered around-the-clock monitors at Cullen in the wake of reports of abuse and mismanagement. Youth Services Inc., a part of Correctional Services Corp., has a contract to operate Cullen through next year. In August, YSI paid the state back $600,000 for its failure to live up to its contract. "While he was being attacked, the guards came into the room and left again," the father said. Ms. Townsend, the DJJ spokeswoman, said the guards — called "youth supervisors" — did question the individuals in the room, but they were told nothing was going on. Then they left. Vincent Schiraldi, president of the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice in Washington, noted the attack occurred after the state began 24-hour monitoring of the center. "If you can't to keep kids safe at the peak of supervision, when can you keep them safe?" Mr. Schiraldi said. (Fredrick News Post)

December 5, 2001
Officials for the private company that runs the jail admitted this year to destroying dozens of reports of force against teens in 2000, and an investigator with the juvenile justice agency concluded that cases of abuse were hidden by employees who destroyed records the two previous years.  (Sunspot)

December 1, 2001
When state officials audited the Victor Cullen Center earlier this year, they found a mess at the juvenile jail: not enough staff, a failing education system, inadequate mental health services and way too much violence.  The findings were predictable for at least two reasons.  Private companies across the country are struggling - and often failing - to turn a profit by operating state facilities.  And the company that operates Victor Cullen, Correctional Services Corp., has a history of serious problems at facilities in several states, and its financial condition has been steadily deteriorating.  The company's most recent problems in Maryland - which include reports that guards at Victor Cullen and the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School have been assaulting teens in their care - have state officials debating whether to continue contracts with Correctional Services.  It's a debate similar to those being held in many states around the country, as the wisdom of having private companies run juvenile facilities is increasingly called into question.  (

November 29, 2001
Top administrators at two state juvenile jails have resigned amid allegations of continuing abuse and public outcry concerning youth detention.  Donald Brooks became the third director this year to leave Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County when he announced his resignation Wednesday, said Laura Townsend, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice.  Brooks took over the top job at Hickey in July.  Townsend said Richard Daugherty, the clinical director of Victor Cullen Academy in Frederick County, also resigned Wednesday. Daughtery was responsible for administering the substance abuse program at Victor Cullen.  A coalition of 50 juvenile justice advocacy groups demanded reform, including the closing of Cullen, at a forum on Wednesday.   High turnover of staff was one of the deficiencies the state cited in an audit of Florida-based Youth Services International, the private agency which has a contract to run Cullen until 2002 and Hickey until 2004, Townsend said.  Calls to Youth Services International by The Associated Press were not immediately returned on Thursday.  The firm paid a $600,000 penalty in August after auditors concluded Cullen was severely understaffed and fell far short of requirements for mental health care, education and financial controls. The state ordered the audit after at least four inmates escaped in 18 months. Several other escapes have been reported since.  In July, two Cullen employees were fired and another resigned amid allegations they staged fights between teen-age inmates.  (AP)

November 22, 2001
The state warned yesterday that it might shut down Victor Cullen Center, a juvenile jail in Frederick County, because of contractual failures by the private company that operates the facility.  Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, in a statement released yesterday, said she has asked the state Department of Juvenile Justice to send a 24-hour monitoring team to the center for delinquent boys in rural Sabillasville.  She also has ordered the department to prepare an operational plan by the end of the year, a strategy that could include closing the institution. Townsend, in a note to Juvenile Justice Secretary Bishop L. Robinson, said the center - designed to house more than 200 offenders - lacks adequate security, teaching staff, food service and recreation workers.  The deficiencies were revealed in an audit conducted in August by the department.  The audit concluded that the contractor - Youth Services International, a division of Florida-based Correctional Services Corp. - was not meeting "staffing levels required by the contract," "failed to sufficiently provide mental health services" and, among other items, "the contractor has too many vacant positions."  Last year, at least four guards from Victor Cullen were charged with assaulting juveniles and two others were charged with sexually abusing youths at the center. At least six guards have been fired this year after allegations of physical assaults.  A spokeswoman for the department said in an interview last night that Youth Services has demonstrated failure to meet contractual obligations to shape up after the audit.  "We've been monitoring, and we came to the conclusion that conditions were not improving, when the contractor said they would," said spokeswoman Laura Townsend, who is not related to the lieutenant governor.  (The Baltimore Sun)

September 15, 2001
The contractor that manages Victor Cullen Academy has agreed to pay the state $600,000 after auditors concluded the boys reform school was severely understaffed and fell far short of requirements for mental health care, education and financial controls.  After nine months of negotiating, the Department of Juvenile Justice announced the settlement with Youth Services International on Wednesday.  The Cullen audit was ordered more than a year ago after two students escaped through a third-floor window using a makeshift rope. Their absence went unnoticed until state police returned them four hours later, and it was at least the fourth escape in 18 months.  (AP)

July 3, 2001
Two Victor Cullen Academy employees have been fired amid a broadening state investigation into allegations that they staged fights between teen-age inmates.  The employees, who were not identified, were dismissed about two weeks ago, said Woodie Harper, a vice president for Correctional Services Corp., the parent company of the contractor that runs the school.  A third employee at Victor Cullen resigned, state officials said.  The counselors allegedly took the boys to secluded parts of campus and let them fight out their differences.  An audit was ordered after at least four inmates escaped in 18 months.  Several escapes have been reported since.  (AP) 

June 27, 2001
Two counselors at the Victor Cullen Academy have been suspended while officials determine whether they allowed youths to resolve conflicts in "fight club."  Victor Cullen staff told The News-Post that the fights involved boys from the academy's Silver Charm cottages, which houses youths with drug and alcohol problems.  The counselors allegedly took the boys to secluded parts of campus and let them fight out their differences.  State auditors recommended fining Youth Services International, the Owings Mills-based contractor that runs the school.  Youth Services is a division of Corrections Services Corp. of Sarasota, Fla.  The audit was ordered after two boys escaped from a third-floor bedroom using a makeshift rope.  The escape, which went unnoticed until state police arrested the boys hours later, was at least the fourth escape in 18 months, and several have been reported since then.  (AP)

June 30, 2000
Two 16-year-olds were apprehended by state police about four hours after sliding down a makeshift rope from a third-floor dormitory window around 1:30 a.m. Staff members did not know the boys were gone until police brought them back. One staff member was fired and another resigned as a result of an initial probe into the June 11 escape (Frederick News-Post, 6/30/00)

March, 1999
A 19-year old escaped by running toward railroad tracks behind the center. (Frederick News-Post, 6/30/00)

January, 1999
An 18-year old inmate escaped by running away from a group of youths being escorted to the gymnasium. (Frederick News-Post, 6/30/00)