Arizona report points to prison healthcare atrocities

Date of Alert: 
Thursday, October 4, 2012


DOC report points to prison healthcare atrocities

Posted: Sep 29, 2012 9:13 PM PDT Updated: Oct 01, 2012 1:50 PM PDT

By Lindsey Reiser 

 Arizona Dept. of Corrections document Arizona Dept. of Corrections document

Leone Hamm Leone Hamm


Inmates not getting their medication, exposed to Hepatitis C, even committing suicide - all happened on Wexford Health Sources' watch.

This is all according to the Arizona Department of Corrections, which recently blasted the company they contract with to care for inmates. [Click here to read ACLU's original complaint (PDF)]

And it's only two months into the contract between the Department of Corrections and Wexford.

"No matter what you think about prisoners or the harm they've caused and so on they still have a constitutional right to be cared for," said Donna Leone Hamm with Middleground Prison Reform.

But the Department of Corrections said that's not happening, and they're demanding change. According to the letter, it's for good reason.

"Inmates having to lick powder medication out of their hand because they weren't given a cup of water," Leone Hamm said, describing one of the claims the DOC made in the letter it sent to Wexford.

Leone-Hamm said they brought this to the DOC's attention back in August. And that's not all.

"One hundred twenty inmates were potentially infected with Hepatitis C while getting their diabetic medication," Leone Hamm said.

This was also in August, when a nurse reused a syringe, contaminating a vial of insulin. And that same week, an inmate was found hanging from a sheet in his cell after not receiving his mood-stabilizing medication all month.

"Wexford has put the state of Arizona, the taxpayers of Arizona, in an enormous position of liability," Leone Hamm said.

The DOC also said Wexford didn't have an action plan when an inmate caught the extremely contagious whooping cough, has inadequate staffing and is unresponsive to inmate grievances.

Leone Hamm said only two months into the contract, you'd think Wexford would be trying a little harder.

"That they would do extra work to show how worthy they were to have this multi-million dollar contract," Leone Hamm said. "I guess not."

The state told Wexford it has until next month to clean up its act or face a $10,000 fine.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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