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El Paso County Jail
Colorado Springs
1 May 27, 2017

El Paso County jail care provider under fire

By: Lance Benzel and Rachel Riley  May 21, 2017 Updated: May 23, 2017 at 6:06 pm

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is re-evaluating a nearly two-decade relationship with its controversial jail health care provider, potentially dealing a costly blow to a private,  nationwide contractor under scrutiny for claims of substandard care. The possible loss of a contract worth more than $63 million over the past 15 years comes as Correct Care Solutions of Nashville, Tenn., faces six wrongful death lawsuits in Colorado and numerous others in at least nine states. County administrators say they invited proposals from competitors in December and could select a new jail health care contractor by Monday or Tuesday. The issue involves a company that has attracted claims of putting profits over patients - "a massive corporate machine" with "a trail of dead in its wake," in the words of Denver attorney Darold Killmer, who is involved in several pending lawsuits. El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby wouldn't comment when asked if Sheriff Bill Elder's decision to seek competing bids has anything to do with the company's involvement in at least eight lawsuits filed over inmate deaths in Colorado in the past decade. "This was not the result of any incident but occurred as part of our efforts to continually evaluate the services providers available and competitively bid our contracted services as each contract comes up for renewal," she said in an email. Across Colorado, Correct Care Solutions and companies under its corporate umbrella are blamed for a string of preventable deaths. They include an inmate who shed 30 pounds and became delusional before dying of prescription drug withdrawal; a man who died in a pool of his vomit and blood from treatable conditions; and an inmate with the mind of a 6-year-old who died of seizures after jailers confiscated a medical device that could have prevented them. In addition to the accusations it faces related to inmate deaths, the company has been named as a defendant in an additional 37 pending lawsuits in the state. Many are legal complaints filed by inmates without attorneys, a review of court records shows. Lawyers involved in several of the wrongful death cases have cited a culture of "deliberate indifference" among Correct Care Solutions staff and a business model that makes money off patients who have no other options for medical attention. "The problem is, it's hard to overcome the corporate culture of maximizing profits," Killmer said. "It will always be true that it will be cheaper to not provide medical care than to provide medical care." Correct Care Solutions denies accusations that it understaffs its facilities and provides subpar care as a cost-cutting measure. Jim Cheney, a spokesman for the company, dismissed the claims as "advocacy and argumentation by trial attorneys who are promoting their clients' and their own personal financial interests by distorting the facts and our record of service." Nationwide, Correct Care Solutions and the company it purchased in 2014, Correctional Healthcare Companies, are involved in more than 60 active, pending or open lawsuits filed in at least 15 states, according to a review of federal court filings. "The suggestion that our business model is to cut costs and deny care in order to reduce expenses is false," Cheney said in a statement. "A company with such a business model would not last long in the correctional health care field; it would be unable to retain clients and to cover the resultant professional liability expenses." Cheney added that the company contracts with 14 detention facilities in Colorado, serving about 4,000 inmates "under what can often be very challenging circumstances." Nationwide, the company serves more than 302,000 inmates at upwards of 400 local, state and federal detention facilities, according to its website. The company's identity has shifted three times, as it changed in name or ownership, in the years it has served as the jail's health care provider. Killmer said the same executives are always at the helm, and the changes in title are an attempt to "limit their liability and camouflage the persistent pattern of neglect and indifference that emerges when the organization is evaluated as a whole." Media reports suggest the company is under increasing scrutiny. In Virginia, federal investigators are looking into the company's ties to the ex-sheriff of Norfolk County, which contracts with Correct Care Solutions for jail health care, according to The Virginian-Pilot. In Nassau County, N.Y., contract negotiations with Correct Care Solutions were terminated in February amid media accounts of widespread lawsuits. Who's watching? In Colorado, no state agencies monitor jail health care systems to ensure that adequate services are provided, El Paso County officials confirm, but two private organizations regularly monitor El Paso County's facility: the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. The jail is audited by both organizations every three years based on a set of standards. If violations are found, El Paso County must correct the issues to the organizations' satisfaction to maintain accreditation. Losing the American Correctional Association accreditation could cost the Sheriff's Office its contract with the state Department of Corrections, which houses some of its prisoners at the jail. The latest ACA audit, conducted in November 2015, found no health care violations. But in the year leading up to the review, inmates filed more than 400 grievances complaining about health care access or quality, according to the audit, which was provided to The Gazette by the Sheriff's Office. During that time, a dozen errors were logged in how medications were administered, as well as one "lapsed licensure and/or certification." The most recent audit by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare, conducted in October 2014, found four violations, including one involving an inmate death. National Commission on Correctional Healthcare standards require jails to issue reports on medical care provided and the circumstances leading up to the death occur within 30 days. In the case of an inmate who died of natural causes in February 2014, the assessment was not conducted until six months later. The Sheriff's Office submitted revised policies to the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare, which renewed the jail's accreditation. The history between El Paso County and Correctional Healthcare Companies began in 1998, when the county contracted with Correctional Medical Services. Correctional Healthcare Management bought CMS in 2002, and later changed its name to Correctional Healthcare Companies in 2006. It wasn't until 2014 that Correct Care Solutions purchased Correctional Healthcare Companies. The contractor has long been a source of legal strife for El Paso County. In 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the jail and Correctional Medical Services for the death of Andrew Spillane, a pretrial detainee who died of seizures related to alcohol withdrawal the previous year after being pepper-sprayed by deputies. About six months after the lawsuit was filed, the ACLU called for the county to launch an investigation to determine whether "systematic and ongoing deficiencies in the delivery of medical and mental healthcare" were responsible for a string of inmate deaths, many of them suicides. The county settled the Spillane lawsuit for $40,000 in 2002. The company paid an additional $60,000 in the settlement, said ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein. Assessments by the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare and a citizen review panel also cited deficiencies in the jail's mental health care system in the three years that followed, according to the ACLU. In 2011, the county agreed to pay $85,000 to the widow and daughters of Bruce Howard, a Fountain man who died of heart problems in a courthouse holding cell after he was reportedly deprived of medications for several days at the jail. Correctional Medical Services and Correctional Healthcare Management were also named as defendants in the case. A sheriff's spokesman told The Gazette in 2014 that the jail's health care contractor struggled with basic responsibilities in the years following a 2011 National Commission on Correctional Healthcare audit, which cited nearly a dozen violations. They related to health assessments, continuity of care, chronic disease services and mental health evaluations. The Sheriff's Office later considered cutting short the contract, then-spokesman Sgt. Greg White said. Another lawsuit came in 2015, when Christopher Spencer sued the jail and its health care provider over the loss of his toes, which had to be amputated after he developed gangrene during a jail stay two years earlier. He was denied medical attention after he was shot in the chest when he and three others were trying to steal marijuana, the suit says. In the past 13 months, the county has shelled out more than $71,000 in legal fees to fight a claim by Philippa McCully, who sued the jail last year for excessive force and failure to provide medical treatment after jailers pulled her legs out from under her, tearing her ACL and fracturing her knee, during her five-day stay at the institution in 2014. Shortly after the takedown, a nurse hastily cleared her of injuries; she was not offered medical attention for roughly 80 hours. When a jail staffer offered to escort her to see a medical professional, she declined, believing she would soon be released and would see a doctor immediately after. Correct Care Solutions is also named as a defendant in the suit. Seven companies, including Correct Care Solutions, responded to a request for proposals the county issued in December. An evaluation team of sheriff's officials and a county attorney are assessing the proposals for costs as well as the quality of services provided, according to the county's Contracts and Procurement division. The county's procurement policy, approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 1976 when the department was created, follows a Colorado law that limits the life of contracts to five years. However, a spokesman for the State Controller's Office was not aware of authority that would allow the state to enforce a violation of state law. The company's contract was renewed after the county issued requests for contractor proposals in 2002, 2007 and 2013. After county's detox facility was established in 2009, the county expanded its contract to include detox services. Last year was the last full year of the jail's most recent contract with Correct Care Solutions, which ends June 30. In a 2015 report, a consulting firm hired by the Sheriff's Office found the jail's health care contract "well-considered and complete, when compared to the contractual medical services provided in the detentions facilities of organizations of similar size and complexity of EPSO." The assessment, prepared by KRW Associates, suggested that the Sheriff's Office should at least consider inviting proposals from competitors - if only to cut costs. The Elder administration, the report said, "should ensure that all possible discounts and economies are considered in future contract discussions without diluting the level of medical services provided or increasing the liabilities to the community served."

Hampton Roads Regional Jail
Correct Care Solutions
Nov 25, 2018
Jail and Medical Provider Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — A jail in Virginia and its medical provider have agreed to pay $625,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit. The Daily Press reported Wednesday that 60-year-old Henry Clay Stewart Jr. was being held at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail on a probation violation stemming from a shoplifting charge in 2016, when he died from bleeding from a perforated stomach ulcer. His family's lawsuit alleged that "his pleas for urgent medical care were either ignored or the care provided to him . did not address his life-threatening medical needs." The lawsuit was filed in 2017 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. Settlement records show that Correct Care Solutions paid $525,000. The jail paid the other $100,000. The jail and medical provider did not admit liability for Stewart's death.

Sep 15, 2017
Court records: Jail puts potential blame for inmate death on medical provider
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – In a recent court filing, Hampton Roads Regional Jail denies any liability or negligence in the death of inmate Henry Clay Stewart. Stewart’s family is suing the jail for $40 million dollars in his death. They claim in their suit that jail and medical staff ignored Stewart’s multiple pleas and filings for help. In a letter dated July 18 sent to the medical provider, Correct Care Solutions, from Lind Bryant, Assistant Superintendent of the jail, Bryant writes, “Consider this also a demand to assume and defend this lawsuit, including any and all expenses, legal and otherwise.” The letter is part of the response the jail filed to the Stewart family lawsuit. In its response, the jail alleges that should a judge find negligence, CCS should be on the hook for any settlement payments. Writing that the jails, “Agents neither mistreated nor ignored Mr. Stewart during his incarceration.” and that “at no time did CCS, its physicians, nurses, or healthcare professionals advise HRRJA, its administrators, or jail officers that Mr. Stewart was suffering from a life threatening condition or required medical intervention.” In its filing, the jail does not outwardly blame CCS in Stewart’s death, but says rather “based upon claims made by the plaintiff, CCS Breached the agreement by failing to provide appropriate clinically necessary medical services.” If a judge does find that CCS staff acted with negligence, HRRJ writes in its court filing that the medical provider would then be in breach of its contract with the jail. CCS filed a response to the jail’s claims. Though it does not elaborate, the medical provider denies the jail’s allegation that jail staff were never informed Mr. Stewart was suffering form a life threatening condition. CCS also writes that at the time of the filing it “lacks sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief about the truth of the allegations.” In its response, the medical company denies that HRRJ is entitled to the relief requested under the claim, and asks the judge to dismiss it

Feb 11, 2017
Feds probing ex-Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe's ties to jail contractor. What is Correct Care Solutions?
Federal investigators are probing the relationship between former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe’s office and Correct Care Solutions, the jail’s medical contractor since 2004. But what is Correct Care Solutions? Gerald “Jerry” Boyle founded the company in 2003, after previously heading a similar business named Prison Health Services. CCS employs nearly 11,000 people in 38 states and Australia, according to the Nashville, Tenn.-based company’s website. It provides medical and behavioral health services for nearly 250,000 patients at local, state and federal facilities, including jails, prisons, hospitals and civil commitment centers. The bulk of those employees – more than 6,000 – work at 333 detention facilities like the Norfolk City Jail. It handles medical services for four of six jails in South Hampton Roads. The city’s Sheriff’s Office was required last year to pay the company a base amount of about $3.8 million, according to a copy of the contract obtained by The Virginian-Pilot. The contract was signed in December 2010 and was for up to six years. It should have ended Dec. 16, but the office does not appear to have signed any new contracts with CCS or any other medical provider. An attorney for the Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the status of the contract, referring questions to a spokeswoman who she said was out of the office until next week. The Sheriff’s Office has contracted with CCS since June 2004, when then-Sheriff McCabe signed his first six-year deal with the company. That contract called for a base compensation of just over $3 million in the first year. The latest contract, signed in 2010, saw price increases after the first, second and fourth years. Before CCS, the Sheriff’s Office contracted with Boyle’s former company. The Chesapeake and Portsmouth sheriff’s offices also contract with CCS, as does the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. The Virginia Beach sheriff contracted with the company until May 2015, when he signed a three-year contract with NaphCare Inc. of Birmingham, Ala. Western Tidewater Regional Jail does not contract with an outside company for medical services, choosing to hire staff directly. Federal prosecutors secured two grand jury subpoenas last month, seeking documents relating to the Sheriff Office’s and CCS. The subpoenas were served months after McCabe’s name surfaced in a public corruption case. One subpoena was issued to the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 18; the other went to the city of Norfolk on Jan. 27. The records requested must be turned over to a federal grand jury, which meets Feb. 22. Among other things, the subpoenas seek records of payments or items of value from CCS to McCabe and other Sheriff’s Office employees. They reference gifts, airline travel, hotel expenses, professional and college sporting events, fishing charters, auto racing schools, concerts, campaign contributions and use of condominiums in Nashville. Calls to McCabe – who has previously denied any wrongdoing – were not returned. Spokespeople for the Sheriff’s Office and CCS declined to comment on the investigation. McCabe, the sheriff since 1994, announced in late December that he was stepping down effective Feb. 1 after previously announcing that he would seek re-election. McCabe’s former second in command, Joseph Baron, was sworn in last week as interim sheriff. Over the years, CCS has been the target of at least 35 federal lawsuits in Virginia. Judges dismissed most of the cases, but eight are pending. One of the pending lawsuits names McCabe as a co-defendant. It involves an inmate of the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, which started contracting with Correct Care in December 2015. McCabe headed the regional jail on an interim basis for about four months last year before resigning toward the end of December.

Apr 10, 2016
Inspector general report says multilevel failures led to Va. man's death in jail
The doctors and nurses responsible for providing health care to inmates at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail failed to properly assess Jamycheal Mitchell before he died of “wasting syndrome” in his feces-smeared cell last August. That’s one of the conclusions reached by the Office of the State Inspector General in a report released Tuesday that attempts to explain how a 24-year-old mentally ill man accused of stealing $5 worth of snacks from a Portsmouth convenience store died behind bars. Mitchell was supposed to be treated for his mental illness at Eastern State Hospital near Williamsburg, but because of a series of clerical errors, he was kept in a cell at Hampton Roads Regional Jail for 101 days. While there, he lost 46 pounds and refused every opportunity he had to shower and recreate with other inmates, jail officials said. His leg also became severely swollen with fluid, but the jail reports for June 15 provided to the inspector general’s office indicated that no action was taken by health care professionals. He was taken to a clinic 15 days later and appeared “disheveled, psychotic and uncooperative.” The report notes that the records provided by NaphCare, the company that contracted with the jail to provide medical and mental health care services, were “incomplete and inconsistent.” Also, patients were expected to “put in sick call requests” on their own. “As the individual was thought to lack capacity to assist an attorney in his own defense, expectations that the individual would have the ability to seek out medical treatment independently while acutely symptomatic seems unreasonable and likely to fail,” according to the inspector general’s report. Even though NaphCare has been replaced by a new contractor, “a change in provider offers limited promise of improvement in care or documentation in the absence of a change in oversight practices.” “Review of NaphCare records raised significant concerns regarding the quality of assessment, care, follow-up and documentation,” the report says. “It is those professionals trained and licensed to provide clinical care who have a duty to provide that care, and the agency that contracts with the provider is responsible for ensuring that care is provided.” Still, the review didn’t fully delve into the medical care Mitchell should have received at the jail. The report said select information “was reviewed to identify additional areas for future review.” NaphCare has not returned several calls for comment in recent weeks. Lt. Col. Eugene Taylor III, an assistant superintendent of the jail, said last week that no policies or procedures had changed since Mitchell’s death because an internal investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of jail employees. Taylor said the decision not to renew the contract with NaphCare when it expired in December did not have to do with Mitchell’s death. The inspector general report detailed a series of shortcomings that went beyond the failings of medical staff. The report found fault with mental health providers on the state and local levels as well. The recent Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services audit of how the state handled Mitchell’s death doesn’t effectively address systemic problems, and a risk of recurrence remains, the inspector general’s report says. Mark Krudys, an attorney representing Mitchell’s family, said the report “details multiple and extreme failures by those charged with caring for Jamycheal. It also notes broader systemic failures across multiple agencies that affected Jamycheal and others suffering from mental illness.” G. Douglas Bevelacqua, a former inspector general who investigated mental health services, said both reports leave Virginians with unanswered questions. “Regrettably, after reading the OSIG Critical Incident Report and the DBHDS Investigative Report, I cannot answer the basic question of how did corrections staff and mental health workers allow Mitchell to waste away in plain sight for 3½ months,” Bevelacqua said. Pressure had been building for the release of the report in the past few weeks. In a news release issued Tuesday, State Inspector General June W. Jennings defended the length of time it took to complete the report. “We took the time necessary to ensure that this report addressed the issues we have the authority to investigate,” Jennings said in the statement. “It is our belief that the individual in question, and all those who suffer with mental illness and encounter the justice system, are deserving of the in-depth review conducted by our office.” Several weeks ago, Bevelacqua and Pete Earley, a former Washington Post reporter and prominent mental health author, questioned why the report still hadn’t been released seven months after Mitchell’s death. Last week, four advocacy organizations, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Virginia and the Portsmouth NAACP, sent a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe urging him to force the inspector general’s office to immediately release the results of its investigation. McAuliffe said he would not interfere with the investigation and that he would let it run its course. The review involved the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Eastern State Hospital, Hampton Roads Regional Jail, the Portsmouth Department of Behavioral Healthcare Services, Portsmouth General District Court, NaphCare Inc. and Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center. “We are glad that the OSIG has finally, almost eight months after the tragic and unnecessary death of Jamycheal Mitchell, released their investigation report,” said Mira Signer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Virginia. “We look forward to reviewing it, and we truly hope that it provides useful information in the ongoing quest for accountability and system transformation in Virginia.”

June 20, 2004
Three inmates at Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth who suffer from mental illnesses say the jail's medical staff failed to prescribe drugs that effectively treat their conditions.  For months they were wracked with feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, sleeplessness and delusional thoughts, they say. Sometimes they even wanted to harm themselves.  The men didn't get the medicine they requested until the end of May, after repeated calls to the press and to an advocacy group for the mentally ill. Since then, they say they're feeling better.  Hampton Roads Regional Jail holds about 1,060 inmates from Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Of those, about 260 inmates are treated for mental illness by Prison Health Services, Inc., a private company that provides health care to inmates in 400 jails and prisons in 35 states. The quality of medical care for mentally ill inmates treated by private companies has been the subject of investigations and lawsuits throughout the country in recent years. In Virginia, officials are examining the quality of mental health care at jails and prisons to see if mentally ill inmates are receiving the proper medications. The issue boils down to this: Mental health advocates say these private companies often care more about their bottom lines than about the well-being of inmates. They say these companies are reluctant to prescribe expensive drugs, even if they provide the most effective treatment.  Prison health care companies typically devise their own pre-approved lists of drugs that often don't include more expensive, proven drugs, said Valerie Marsh, director of the Alliance. They can prescribe drugs not on the list, Phelps said, but they may be reluctant to do it.  (

Luzerne County
Correctional Facility
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Jan 13, 2018
County officials say no easy solutions to inmate suicides
Officials of Luzerne County and its department of corrections are searching for solutions following the suicide of a female inmate on Tuesday — the fourth female inmate to die at the county jail in slightly more than seven months. Hailey Povisil, 21, was found unresponsive in her cell at Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Wilkes-Barre, at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to Mark Rockovich, the county’s director of correctional services. She was pronounced dead Tuesday night at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Following an autopsy Thursday, Povisil’s manner of death was ruled to be suicide, and the cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging, according to Luzerne County Deputy Coroner Barney Dobinick. Four female inmates have died at Luzerne County Correctional Facility since June 8. Three of those deaths were ruled suicides; one was ruled accidental. Rockovich, county Manager David Pedri and county council Chairman Tim McGinley on Thursday said they will do everything they can to prevent any more inmate suicides. The question remains as to what can be done. The county already has a protocol for screening incoming inmates for potential suicide risk, Pedri and Rockovich said in a joint interview Thursday afternoon. The process starts with a report from the arresting police officer. After that, all incoming inmates undergo screening for mental health issues, including suicidal tendencies, Rockovich said. Inmates are asked a series of 19 questions, such as whether they have thought about hurting themselves or if they feel hopeless and see no way out, according to Rockovich. All correctional officers are trained in the screening protocol, he said. If the screening indicates an inmate is at risk, he or she is placed under observation — in some cases an around-the-clock suicide watch — and a mental health professional will be at the jail within eight hours to provide treatment or counseling, according to Rockovich. But no screening protocol will ever be perfect, Pedri and Rockovich conceded. Correctional facility staff intensified the screening process for incoming inmates following three inmate deaths last June and July, Rockovich said. The staff became “hyper-vigilant,” he said. Povisil, who was incarcerated Saturday, was not under suicide watch and did not have a cellmate, Rockovich said. Povisil faced a misdemeanor charge of promoting prostitution and a more serious federal firearms charge, but even if she served the maximum sentence for both charges she would have been out of jail in a few years, with most of her life ahead of her, Pedri said. “It’s a sad situation when a young woman decides there’s nothing else in life,” he said.   McGinley said he will invite representatives of Correct Care Solutions, the company that provides mental health services to the county jail, to attend a county council meeting to discuss what can be done to prevent future inmate suicides. “That’s back on the agenda, to get them in to talk to them about what they are doing, protocols,” McGinley said. “Council will probably have some discussion about it.” Pedri said he hopes the discussion with Correct Care Solutions will be on the agenda at council’s next meeting, on Jan. 23, or in February. Officials need to “leave no stone unturned” to find answers to the recent spate of inmate deaths, Pedri said. “Is there another question we can ask?” he said. “Is there something else that could be done? What are we doing to address these things?” “The prison situation is very unfortunate,” he said. “They are looking for answers. I hope we can come up with some.”

Metro Jail, Nashville, Tennessee

May 23, 2010  Tennessean
A 52-year-old Davidson County inmate who suffered from inflammation in his stomach and an untreated ulcer died last year from lack of medical care, claims a federal lawsuit filed Friday. With a bloated stomach, Roy Glenn Hall Jr. was feeling ill while he sat in jail on May 24. Hall was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell at the Criminal Justice Center on Second Avenue. He was not treated while he was in Davidson County Sheriff's Office custody, even though medical staff was aware of his illness, the lawsuit states. Lawyers for Hall's estate are suing Metro, Davidson County, the Sheriff's Office, Correct Care Solutions, which has the contract for medical care, the sheriff's officers involved and the nurses individually. The sheriff's office declined to comment. Efforts to reach representatives of Correct Care Solutions were unsuccessful. Records show the sheriff's office conducted its own investigation and disciplined an officer for ignoring security precautions. That report also shows that Hall, who also had diabetes and hepatitis, complained of pain and was taken to medical staff, which sent him to his cell. Hall had been arrested on May 19 on misdemeanor warrants and was screened by medical staff, who were made aware that he was a diabetic who had liver disease and hepatitis, according to the lawsuit. Six days later, Hall was found shaking, gasping for air, saying he was going to die. He wasn't given medical treatment. He died hours later, the lawsuit states. Video image described Lawyer David Randolph Smith has also notified the parties of his intent to file a medical malpractice suit against the state. He said the case highlights the conditions in jail. Smith represented two inmates who died in Metro jail. Estelle Richardson was found dead in 2004 after a confrontation with guards and Terry Battle died of pneumonia. Hall's estate is also represented by the Human Rights Defense Center, the parent company of Prison Legal News, a magazine that advocates for inmates' rights. Alex Friedmann, associate editor of the publication, conducted his own investigation into Hall's death. Video shows Hall's bloated stomach, Friedmann said. "His stomach was obviously grossly distended," Friedmann said. "I've watched the video, and he looked nine months pregnant. "They had a dead man who had a treatable condition. Correct Care Solutions, the sheriff's office has a responsibility to keep him safe and secure." An autopsy report shows Hall had three quarts of liquid drained from his body after death. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

September 24, 2007 Fairview Observer
Two years after Correct Care Solutions won a $36 million contract to provide medical care for Metro's jail inmates, some prisoners are filing lawsuits alleging their treatment has been inadequate. The lawsuits are being filed at a time when the cost of providing medical care to inmates in Nashville is rising. The budget last fiscal year for inmate medical care was $7.8 million, but this year, the budget is $9.4 million. Most of the money goes to Correct Care Solutions, while about $250,000 pays for salaries and benefits for three Metro employees, officials said. The budget increase is because of inflation, spending in offsite care and growth in Metro's average daily inmate population, city health officials said. "We feel very good about the care we are providing," said Patrick Cummiskey, spokesman for Correct Care Solutions. "The fact that we have a couple lawsuits, that's just typical of this industry." Despite the lawsuits — a total of five in state and federal court collectively seeking $4.8 million in damages — Metro officials are pleased with Correct Care Solutions, noting that the provider ushered in changes to improve inmate medical care since winning the contract in 2005. Metro switched providers after a diabetic inmate died while the city was contracting with Prison Health Services, a company that had held the Metro contract since 1995. Allegations against the new provider range from delays in treating broken bones to failing to provide heart medication. A contract monitor for the health department reviewed the case files and found no reason for concern, said Cathy Seigenthaler, the health department's director of correctional health services. "We're satisfied with what they're doing, and we're glad to have them," Seigenthaler said.

September 12, 2005 Tennessean
Metro government officials are hoping that a two-year-old Nashville company with a virtually flawless record of service will be the cure for inmate health-care problems at the city's main lockup. After less than three years in business, Correct Care Solutions won a $36 million contract to provide medical care to Metro Jail inmates beginning Oct. 1. The contract comes after a year during which the jail's previous health company, Prison Health Services, was accused of providing substandard care to diabetic inmates after the death of one prisoner and serious illnesses of two others. Of particular concern was the Jan. 19 death of inmate Ricky Douglas, who was found unconscious in his cell hours after pleading for medical attention he didn't receive. Subsequent investigations found many problems with the training of jail health workers and the mishandling of prisoner records. The company's chief executive is Jerry Boyle, a former president and CEO of Prison Health Services who left in 2003 to form the new company. But the company's work has not gone entirely unchallenged. In Norfolk, Va., the family of a 35-year-old female inmate is questioning the care she received before her July 11 death. Relatives said the woman complained for days that her pneumonia was not being adequately treated and that her condition was not improving. In Durham, N.C., a judge ruled earlier this year that a triple homicide suspect did not receive adequate medical care after a dispute over whether jail staff withheld medication that the prisoner's family had purchased and provided. It was unclear what role Correct Care Solutions would have played in obtaining the medication from jail guards. In Santa Fe, N.M., an attorney complained to a District Court judge that her client's life-threatening medical needs were not being met. A company that operated the jail, and subcontracted medical service to Correct Care Solutions, backed out of its contract there, citing challenges in providing adequate medical services.
Correct Care officials said the problems in New Mexico involved the private prison management company and were not a reflection of its service.

Silverdale Detention Center, Tennessee
Oct 31, 2017
Chattanooga judge intervenes for Silverdale inmates claiming poor medical attention
A Chattanooga judge is using his courtroom to dig into inmate allegations of delayed medical care at a privately owned jail. Criminal Court Judge Tom Greenholtz has subpoenaed Silverdale Detention Center officials in five cases over the past few months to explain why nonviolent inmates are complaining about medical abuses. Their allegations include an untreated broken bone, denial of prescribed medication, irregular pill calls, unhealthy food, and inaccurate write-ups that inmates are "refusing treatment." CoreCivic, the private company that has managed the facility for Hamilton County since 1984, said medical privacy laws prevented it from commenting on these details but stressed its commitment to inmate safety and well-being. Jail deaths aren't uncommon, whether the facility has been county owned or privately owned. In August 2016, 26-year-old Madison Deal died from pneumonia caused by heroin withdrawal that Silverdale staffers didn't treat for nearly a week, her family's attorneys said. In May, 45-year-old Jeffery Simmons experienced a "medical emergency" and died at the county jail even though his family said deputies knew he had a history of deadly heart issues. The difference, inmate advocates say, is private jails are designed to generate profits and will cut corners on medical expenses to do so. "One way to generate profit is to not provide medical care until [inmates] get out," said Alex Friedmann, managing editor of the Prison Legal News. "Because if you're denying medical care, you're not paying for it. "It's pretty abysmal across the board, but at least in those county systems there's not a profit motive." Judges don't often spearhead investigations into health care at the jails. In 2009, then-U.S. Magistrate Judge Todd Campbell arranged five days of hearings for inmates at a county jail in Middle Tennessee who said the facility had failed to provide a nutritionally adequate diet. Over government arguments, Campbell ordered authorities to remove a pretrial detainee from the jail as a result, news accounts show. Like many judges, Greenholtz usually denied requests from inmates for reduced sentences due to mistreatment. But then he read Jared Hodges' fifth plea to the court in late August that claimed the facility wasn't treating his broken bone. "Some people in the workhouse are accused of or have been convicted of serious crimes, and for those convictions they deserve the punishment they have," Greenholtz said Thursday. "But no just society can tolerate the medical mistreatment of those for which we have the obligation of care." Greenholtz asked jail officials to bring medical records to his court and arranged a hearing in Hodges' case for Aug. 30. Hodges, who also has cancer, was convicted in April of drug possession and theft of property and had been in Silverdale for nearly four months. "So, no one had any follow-up with respect to this man's bone cancer?" Greenholtz asked that day. "No, sir," said Veronica Winters, a medical administrator at Silverdale. "And is that based simply upon the initial note that he refused treatment?" Greenholtz asked. "Yes, sir," Winters said. Hodges had developed a treatment plan with a doctor following his 2013 diagnosis, which is why he declined chemotherapy and radiation, his court records show. Greenholtz turned his attention to the bone popping out of Hodges' shoulder. "What has [the jail] done since he's been in there? What else happened other than Tylenol?" he asked. "I want to say that we sent him for X-rays of his shoulder," Winters said. "I haven't been to have X-rays on my shoulder," Hodges said. "They haven't?" Winters asked. "OK, it may have been somebody else I was looking at." That day, Hodges became the first person Greenholtz released on probation because of the hearings into allegations of medical mistreatment. Days later, Greenholtz released a second inmate, 57-year-old Lola Matthews, of Tampa, Fla. He has a few more medical cases coming up on his docket. Former inmates, family members of the incarcerated and local attorneys applauded Greenholtz's initiative but said they believe medical issues will continue as long as there's a privatized, for-profit system at Silverdale. The county recently announced it's destroying its downtown jail and expanding Silverdale to house about 1,700 inmates. Chris, a professional chef who asked to be identified by first name only, said he went about a month in May 2016 before Silverdale gave him medication for his bipolar depression. The 37-year-old is fighting a case right now in Criminal Court. Chris also reported a swollen elbow from a spider bite and asked for Aleve for a degenerative neck condition. When he received medical attention about two weeks later, a nurse claimed he'd already been to the clinic twice, Chris said. Not only was that untrue, "but there were no visitation notes in their system," Chris said, "so they rescheduled me for next week." Chris said he never received Aleve during his roughly four-month stay. But he documented many instances of poor medical management in a 10-page diary he smuggled through spot inspections. "June 9, no pill call last night," he wrote. "June 13, no pill call." "June 14, pill call at 3 a.m.," he wrote. "I missed it because I'm in a closed four-man room and if you don't hear it, or nobody wakes you, you're in trouble." A different inmate, who asked not to be identified by name, said she entered Silverdale in February 2014 with a hypertensive blood pressure crisis and a doctor's note confirming her medical prescriptions. Silverdale, however, made her check the pill bottle at the door. For the next three days, nurses checked on her three times daily and gave her diuretics so she would urinate but never administered blood-pressure medicine, she said. The former inmate, now 40, said Silverdale also didn't adequately address women's health care. Women had to roll their own tampons and sometimes got infections because Silverdale only provided a few, cheap, one-size-fits-all sanitary pads, she said. Silverdale also made her come off birth control, which she used to stabilize her mood swings, she said. When she asked about it, a nurse said it was Silverdale's policy. What if inmates needed it? "Well, you got yourself in here," she recalled the nurse saying. Jim Cheney, a spokesman for CorrectCare Solutions, Silverdale's medical provider since November 2015, said birth control can be administered "as long as it has been approved by the medical director." The company tries to verify a person's prescription once they enter the facility, Cheney said, but it's difficult to pinpoint how quickly the medicine arrives. "It is difficult to identify a specific timeline for the arrival of the medication because the verification process varies based on the patient's medical history and record availability," he wrote in an email. Robin Flores, a civil rights attorney who frequently sues CoreCivic on behalf of inmates, said he's encountered these stories for almost two decades. "They screw up over there all the time," Flores said, "primarily in two areas: They hold people over their release dates, and they withhold medical care. That's what I've consistently seen over the last 17 years litigating with them." It's not unusual for jails to take people's medications upon entry, said Friedmann, the inmate advocate. Officials have to verify prescriptions because they don't want illegal drugs or contraband floating around behind bars. "The question is whether it's done in a timely manner or not," Friedmann said, "because some medications need to be taken on a daily basis." Sylvia Mayer, a nurse and employee at Southern University, said her son is a Type I diabetic who faced a medical crisis at Silverdale earlier this year because officials weren't aligning their food service and pill call. "What they would write is he refused insulin," Mayer said. "And it's like, 'Are you serious?' What they did is they didn't wake him up. One reason he might not have woken up is because his blood sugar might have put him in a coma." Because the food is starch and carb heavy, her son has been buying beans from the commissary and sprinkling ramen noodle flavor packets on top, Mayer said. His expected release date is in early December. Many of these families and former inmates feared retaliation for speaking out, especially if their loved ones are still inside or have a chance of returning to Silverdale. But in some cases, Greenholtz's involvement has improved the medical situation. Matthews, who is also a Type I diabetic, said she received no insulin for two days when she entered Silverdale in late July for a theft conviction, her court records show. Since then, she said, officials were limiting how much insulin she could take. Furthermore, medical officials said they couldn't provide a prescribed ointment for Matthews' blindness in one eye or an optometrist because they didn't have one on staff, her records say. Then, in late August, Greenholtz asked to speak to Matthews while he was arraigning Silverdale inmates on a jailhouse video call. It wasn't time for Matthews to plead guilty or not guilty; she was already sentenced. But Greenholtz had noticed the emails and letters Matthews and her daughter had written to him, records show. "So what happened since [we spoke]?" Greenholtz asked. "I'm curious." "Last Friday, they started to increase the insulin," Matthews said, "and the staff member told me last night that I can have it monitored as much as I want." Winters, the medical administrator at Silverdale, said Matthews wasn't on her medication because the facility "can't guarantee when the food trays are going to come," so providers use a faster-acting insulin to stabilize blood sugar levels, according to a transcript of the hearing. Matthews had refused the diabetic tray, Winters said, adding that Silverdale can't control what inmates buy from the commissary. Matthews said she refused the tray because "there was always something wrong with it," her court records show. Matthews said she bought granola bars at the commissary, heading off any insinuation that she was eating unhealthy sweets. Greenholtz ultimately granted a temporary release from custody, partly so Matthews could care for her dying aunt in Florida and partly so she could visit her doctors and bring back the right medication, which Silverdale agreed was fine, according to her court records. "My sense is that your case is on their radar," Greenholtz said at the end of the Sept. 5 hearing, "so they're going to be watching out for you." Matthews still needed to return by Oct. 1 to finish serving her six-month sentence, Greenholtz said. Could she do that? Matthews said she could and did. But her story didn't end there, court records show. Matthews wrote Greenholtz again on Oct. 3, saying Silverdale administered her medicine for two days, then switched her to something in-house. So Greenholtz intervened. He issued another subpoena to Winters on Oct. 10. He scheduled a hearing for Oct. 16. At that point, Matthews' scheduled release date was Nov. 6, records show, roughly three weeks out. Turns out, he didn't need to do anything. A day after the subpoena, records show, Matthews was released on "time served."

Sussex Correctional Institution, Delaware
May 31, 2014

WILMINGTON, Del. — Nine inmates have filed a civil lawsuit in Superior Court against a former doctor at Sussex Correctional Institution alleging the doctor sexually assaulted them on numerous occasions "under the pretext of performing medical exams." The suit claims there was no medical reason for the contact and the doctor, Lawrence McDonald, acted "to satisfy his own prurient sexual desires." Dover attorney Stephen Hampton filed the lawsuit on behalf of the inmates this month and said the doctor's practices were so well known at SCI that correctional staffers referred to him as "Dr. Feelgood" and "the finger." Hampton said prison officials ignored repeated complaints about McDonald from both inmates and staff, defended him against the charges and retaliated against inmates who complained. Department of Correction spokesman John Painter said the department does not comment on pending litigation. McDonald could not be reached for comment and an attorney who previously has represented the doctor said he could not comment until he was authorized. The inmates claim in the lawsuit that McDonald performed unnecessary rectal exams, often without gloves, and fondled their genitals without any medical purpose. In one case, an inmate reported McDonald fondled him when he sought medical treatment for a rash on his face. In a different case, McDonald reportedly made the inmate say "thank you, doctor" after he performed rectal exams. Another inmate claims despite years of invasive examinations — that included inappropriate contact by McDonald — it was only after McDonald left the prison that he was diagnosed with hepatitis C. The suit charges that McDonald ignored or was indifferent to the prisoner's actual medical issues. A fourth inmate claimed McDonald stuck him in the groin with a needle, allegedly to draw blood, but no blood was drawn. The lawsuit is the latest reported problem at the Sussex County prison. A former guard, Christopher Peck, pleaded guilty earlier this month to six counts of having sexual relations in a detention facility. He was charged in November with having sex with at least three female inmates on 11 occasions. In July, a guard was suspended with pay on charges that he had sickened several inmates by baking Ajax or Comet into bread. Hampton said this latest lawsuit "is just another symptom of the malaise at SCI." Hampton charged that the prison and state officials had been put on notice about McDonald in 2008 when inmate Ben Roten filed afederal lawsuit alleging that McDonald had molested him. In 2007, a part-time psychiatrist resigned from SCI in protest because superiors ignored her when she reported several inmates accused a medical colleague of sexual abuse. "I was told ... that I should be a team player and let those allegations pass. ... I felt I had to resign and seek the opportunity to discuss these issues with you," wrote the psychiatrist in a letter to former DOC Commissioner Carl Danberg, according to the suit. Danberg replied that the allegations were investigated by Internal Affairs and the Medical Society of Delaware and determined to be unfounded, according to the suit. Roten's federal lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, though the suit notes that Roten, "as an unrepresented inmate, was unable to retain medical experts to contradict those employed by McDonald." McDonald no longer works at the prison. The suit alleges prison officials fired McDonald after hearing allegations made by inmate Theodore Barrett, a plaintiff in the case. The suit states Barrett was later a target of prison staff who called him "the snitch of the month" over the intercom. The prisoners who filed the suit include Barrett, Ronald Keis, Wilbur Medley, Victor Talmo, Raymond Brown, Gene Schultz, David DeJesus, Derrick Jackson and Joseph Vincent. Hampton said all had ongoing, serious medical issues that required them to frequently visit the infirmary. All nine are still incarcerated. The suit also names Correct Care Solutions LLC — the private company that employed McDonald and took over from Correctional Medical Services — along with Jill Mosser, identified as McDonald's supervisor, and Warden G.R. Johnson, Deputy Warden Linda Valentino and Correctional Officer Lamont Hammond. The lawsuit charges McDonald with battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress and alleges constitutional violations against the remainder of the defendants, including a prisoner's Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment.It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and court costs.

Vermont Supreme Court
Sep 8, 2021
Prison Contractor Subject to Public Records Act, Supreme Court Rules
A private contractor hired to do a crucial government function can't sidestep public records law, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled last week. The justices' decision overturned a lower court ruling and declared that a former Vermont prison health care contractor was effectively a "public agency" as defined by the state's Public Records Act. Writing for the high court, Justice Harold Eaton Jr. concluded that "providing medical care to incarcerated persons is a quintessential governmental function," and that a private company hired to perform that function "acts as an 'instrumentality' of the state." The case stemmed from a 2015 records request made by the Human Rights Defense Center, a Florida-based nonprofit focused on prisoners' rights, to Correct Care Solutions, which at the time handled medical services in Vermont prisons. The organization sought records of legal actions or settlements arising from the care provided under Correct Care Solutions' state contract. The company, now known as Wellpath, denied the organization's request on the grounds that it was not covered by Vermont public records law. Wellpath provided five years' of medical care to Vermont inmates under a contract worth more than $91 million. The defense center sued in 2019, but a trial court judge ruled in Wellpath's favor. The nonprofit appealed, and numerous groups, including the ACLU of Vermont, the Prisoners' Rights Office, Secretary of State Jim Condos and State Auditor Doug Hoffer filed briefs in support of the nonprofit. In reaching their conclusion, the justices followed a line of legal logic distinct from those put forward by the parties. The court examined the definition of a "public agency" under state law, which includes "any agency, board, department, commission, committee, branch, instrumentality, or authority of the State." Justices then determined that the arrangement to use a private company to deliver health care in prisons qualified the contractor as an "instrumentality" of the state. The Department of Corrections "crafted, in minute detail, policies governing when, whether, and how Wellpath was to deliver services to persons in custody," Eaton Jr. wrote. "Wellpath necessarily exercised the authority of the state in administering these policies on the DOC's behalf." He continued: "Thus, we conclude that the language of the [Public Records Act] is unambiguous: where the state contracts with a private entity to discharge the entirety of a fundamental and uniquely governmental obligation owed to its citizens, that entity acts as an 'instrumentality' of the State." The court did not order Wellpath to hand over the records that HRDC had requested; it sent that matter back to the lower court to decide whether the specific records in question are "public records" under the law. But the decision provides legal precedent for a matter that has remained unsettled for years. The defense center, through its publication Prison Legal News, has previously filed other records lawsuits against different prison contractors. A 2013 case against Corrections Corporation of America, now CoreCivic, ended when the company agreed to provide the requested records voluntarily, before a judge could rule on the legal question.

Jun 23, 2021
Public or secret? High court weighs records of prison health care contractor

In a virtual session, the Vermont Supreme Court listens to arguments Tuesday on access to records held by a private company about medical care for prisoners. The Vermont Supreme Court will decide whether a private contractor working for the state has to abide by the same rules as a state agency in providing information to the public. The high court heard arguments during a video hearing Tuesday. After presentations by the disputing attorneys, the justices took the matter under advisement and will issue a written opinion, which could take several months. At issue is whether a private company contracted by the state to provide health care to Vermont prisoners has to publicly release information related to legal claims against it. Since 2017, the Human Rights Defense Center has been seeking the records from Correct Care Solutions between 2010 and 2015, while the company held the contract to provide health care for incarcerated individuals in Vermont. "In this case, your honors, you will decide whether the citizens of Vermont have the right to know how well or how poorly the government has spent $90 million of taxpayer money," Daniel Marshall, an attorney for the Human Rights Defense Center, told the justices. Marshall said that's how much the state paid under the contract with Correct Care Solutions, which has since merged with another company and is now called Wellpath. "Despite the fact that Wellpath took over this mandatory governmental function mandated by both the Constitution and Vermont statute, and despite the Legislature's clear intent in the Public Records Act," Marshall told the justices, "Wellpath is arguing that it is not subject to Vermont's public records law." Justin Barnard, a lawyer for Wellpath, countered that lawmakers, not judges, should decide who the law applies to.  "This is fundamentally a question that the Legislature has to take up," he said. "I don't think it is dodging an obligation of the court to say that the statute, as written, applies to public agencies." He added, "It is a complicated undertaking to go from that to determining how it should apply to private entities, when the very structure of the statute, I think, is clearly intended to apply to governmental entities." According to the Public Records Act, people are permitted to inspect or copy any public record of a public agency. The act also allows financial penalties if an agency does not comply, including payment of the requesters' legal fees. Barnard argued Tuesday that applying the act to private contractors would be unfair. It could subject them to fines and require them to follow the same rules that the state government must use on document retention and destruction, he said. In a 2019 decision, Washington County Superior Court Judge Timothy Tomasi sided with Wellpath. The judge said that including private contractors under the law could require them to publicly release confidential or proprietary information. That decision essentially dismissed the case. The Human Rights Defense Center appealed that ruling, leading to Tuesday's hearing before the Vermont Supreme Court. Several organizations signed onto a brief in support of the organization's position, including the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Vermont Prisoners' Rights Office, the New England First Amendment Coalition, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and State Auditor Doug Hoffer. During the attorneys' oral arguments Tuesday, justices frequently interrupted to ask questions. "It's a little unclear to me in your briefing here," Justice Harold Eaton told Marshall, "whether you're arguing that Wellpath is an instrumentality of a public agency, or whether you're arguing that they are the functional equivalent of a public agency, or are you arguing both?" "We think the result is the same either way," Marshall replied. Justice William Cohen then jumped in. "You're looking for records regarding incidents where there's been a complaint, settlement, some type of remedial provision involving the care that was provided, that's the limit of your request is it not?" Cohen said to Marshall. "You're right," Marshall responded. "What we are requesting, as your honor said, is instances where Wellpath - there was either a claim or a lawsuit, and Wellpath actually had to pay out more than $1,000." Eaton then asked Marshall if he believed that, had the state corrections department provided the health care services itself, those records would be public. "You are absolutely correct, your honor," Marshall said. "If the state had elected not to contract with Wellpath, but instead to have provided these services themselves, then those records would be public records." Barnard, Wellpath's attorney, told the justices that a request for public records could be made to the state agency that had contracted out a service. "If someone has a question about the contracting activities of a public agency and its contractor, he can submit a request to the contracting agency," Barnard said. "The purpose of the Public Records Act is to allow citizens to review and criticize the actions and decisions of officers of the government. That function still stands." Marshall, attorney for the Human Rights Defense Center, responded that asking the corrections department for the records would not work. "These particular records are not in the possession of the Vermont Department of Corrections," he said. "For that reason, going to DOC to get these records is just not viable." The corrections department is not a party to the lawsuit and Rachel Feldman, a corrections department spokesperson, said Tuesday that it's the department's policy to decline comment on pending litigation. The Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Defense Center has been seeking the information about claims against Wellpath to publish in Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, two publications it distributes mainly to incarcerated individuals. The Human Rights Defense Center's website says it is a nonprofit organization focused on "public education, prisoner education, and outreach in support of the rights of prisoners." Similar issues have been raised previously involving private contractors and public records. In a 2010 case, a different medical contractor for the corrections department voluntarily turned over the records before the court could rule.