Weekly Update: November 29, 2022

COCHS Weekly Update: November 29, 2022

Highlighted Stories

Annals of Internal Medicine: Health Care During Incarceration: A Policy Position Paper From the American College of Physicians
American College of Physician recommends that U.S. jails and prisons and policymakers adopt adequately funded policies and procedures to promote the engagement of dynamic clinical care teams. U.S. jails and prisons must ensure that clinicians meet credentialing requirements and are granted privileges in accordance with standards required for community-based clinicians. The quality of care and ethical principles of professional engagement must be consistent with that provided to community-based patient populations.

Stat: ‘Mass incarceration is one of the greatest health challenges of our time’: MacArthur ‘genius’ Emily Wang on building solutions
The U.S. has two separate health care systems: one for people who aren’t incarcerated, and one for people behind bars. Since 2006, physician and researcher Emily Wang has been working to integrate the two. Wang to co-founded the first of many clinics under the Transitions Clinic Network, which hires formerly incarcerated people as community health care workers who help those newly released from prison navigate new health care and social service systems.

Private Equity Stakeholder Project: Private Equity’s Influence On The Prison Healthcare Space
This report examines Wellpath, a company that claimed more than 15,000 healthcare professionals serving over 300,000 adult and juvenile patients across the United States and Australia in 2019.21 The report also looks at Wellpath’s private equity owner22 H.I.G. Capital,23 and more generally examines private equity’s healthcare profiting from prisons, jails, and mass incarceration. As discussed below, Wellpath has been found by regulators and watchdogs to provide inadequate healthcare in some of its facilities and has continued to staff some facilities to levels inadequate to provide adequate care.

NY Times: They Were Unjustly Imprisoned. Now, They’re Profit Centers.
Across the nation, exonerations — and cash settlements — have risen steadily thanks to DNA-based reinvestigations, conviction-integrity units created by prosecutors and the vigor of innocence organizations. Now, the billions in payouts have attracted companies offering high interest cash advances while exonerated people await their claims. Many firms are backed by private equity investors eager to bet on nearly certain short-term profit.

Politico: New York Democrats didn’t defend their bail law changes. It bit them at the polls.
New York Democrats knew Republicans would hammer them over public safety during the midterms. They expected the messaging around changes to the state’s bail laws — the claims that the so-called reforms had actually allowed dangerous criminals to roam the streets. State lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul even took steps to insulate themselves, rolling back some of the changes and devising a fact-based response to the attacks. But it didn’t work.

Violence In Corrections

NY Times: A Report on Violence at Rikers Is to Be Kept Secret
A report tracking violence at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City will be hidden from the public, preventing people from viewing documents with statistics about assaults on staff, and incidents involving force against detainees, a federal judge has ordered. The judge, Laura T. Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is in charge of the case challenging the city’s administration of its dysfunctional jail complex in the East River, filed the order.

NY Times: Jail Is a Death Sentence for a Growing Number of Americans
Deaths have spiked in cities across the country, including New York, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky. California, Texas and Georgia have also recorded statewide increases in deaths. Covid-19 accounts for only part of the rising toll — suicides and fatal overdoses have also increased in some places.

Daily Beast: Georgia Cops Arrested Over Savage Jail Beating of Black Man
Three Camden County, Georgia, cops were charged with battery and violating their oath of office on Tuesday after an explosive video unveiled the vicious beating of a Black jail inmate named Jarrett Hobbs. Last week, three videos were released showing the brutal beating of Hobbs, 41, by Camden County Sheriff’s Office employees.


NY Times: The Judge and the Case That Came Back to Haunt Him
In 1981, Anthony Kline helped send a juvenile offender to prison for four decades. This year, in a twist of fate, he had a chance to decide her case again. Kline learned about a case coming his way, one in which the defendant was not a minor at all. She was a 58-year-old woman. When Kline sought an explanation, he learned that California had recently passed a bill to help reduce the state’s prison population through resentencing. Now, an inmate serving an inordinately long sentence for a crime committed as a minor could return to juvenile court and have the case reconsidered, once, by a juvenile judge.

LA Times: Inside months of chaos at L.A. County’s juvenile halls
The desperation pervading Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls can be distilled into a single incident and its aftermath. A veteran probation officer — too afraid of retaliation to reveal their name or gender — was so overwhelmed by the staffing crisis in the facilities that house the county’s most violent young offenders that they begged to be demoted so they wouldn’t have to go back inside. The officer had been left alone as a fight broke out among more than a dozen youths. When they radioed for help, none came.

Sacramento Bee: New Folsom Prison health care deemed ‘inadequate,’ still under federal oversight
One of two state prisons in Folsom is still getting failing grades for the health care it provides to inmates, leaving it among the institutions that remains subject to oversight from a federal receiver. The institution — known as California State Prison, Sacramento — recently received an “inadequate” rating from the California Office of the Inspector General on the overall quality of health care it provides.

CalMatters: Mentally ill prisoners in California are three times likelier to get shuffled around
Newly acquired state data shows that the Corrections Department transferred patients with serious mental illnesses an average of five times over a six-year period, underscoring a CalMatters’ investigation this year that revealed the practice and raised questions about the harm it could cause.


KFOR: Oklahoma County Detention Center fails another state health inspection with 40+ violations
The Oklahoma County Detention Center has now seen five surprise visits from the Oklahoma State Department of Health with the most recent one resulting in 45 violations. The state’s latest inspection happened on October 11 and 12. Their previous inspection dates back to April. Of those 45 violations, 24 are repeat deficiencies from previous inspection reports, including the inspection in April. The detention center was found in violation of not conducting counts and sight checks, inadequate staffing, failure to provide 24-hour supervision of detainees, cleanliness and more.

KFOR: 15th Oklahoma County Detention Center inmate this year dies; woman dies at hospital following medical emergency
Another inmate death at the Oklahoma County Detention Center, making it the 15th inmate death this year. The 57-year-old woman died just before 1 a.m. Saturday morning following a medical emergency. The jail said the Oklahoma County Jail inmate, Renee Houston, passed away at the hospital after a medical emergency. The death comes just over two months after inmate John Basco died inside Oklahoma County’s Jail.

Native Religious Rituals

KPBX: Native inmates in Washington happy to see prison powwows return
When the pandemic hit, Washington’s prison powwow program was put on hold, as were some of the other spiritual activities to which Native American inmates had access. They were considered too dangerous. Correctional officials agreed it was time to restart the powwows. Earlier this year, negotiations began about how and when to do it.

Maui Now: Hawaii inmates at CoreCivic's Saguaro Correctional Center celebrate Makahiki
CoreCivic’s Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, celebrated the opening of the ancient Hawaiian festival, Makahiki, on Nov. 16. As part of the celebration at Saguaro, which officially began at sunrise on Nov. 16, inmates from Hawaiʻi who observe the festival participated in traditional Hawaiian dancing, praying, games and other religious activities that are part of the Makahiki celebration.

Aging In Corrections

WVTF: Elderly population may triple in 20 years
Dr. Steve Herrick is director of health services for the department of corrections, and he’s concerned by how fast the prison population in Virginia is aging. And those inmates have many more chronic health problems – heart disease, diabetes, orthopedic injuries and cancer -- which can easily double the cost of medical care.


ACLU: The Reality of Mealtime in Prisons and Jails
Sixty-two percent of formerly incarcerated respondents to a 2020 survey reported that they rarely or never had access to fresh vegetables while incarcerated. The typical prison diet, which is high in salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, contributes to the elevated rates of diabetes and heart disease among the incarcerated population. People who are incarcerated in the U.S. are also six times more likely to contract a foodborne illness than the general population.

Correctional Health Care Infrastructure

WLOS: South Carolina hospital wing becomes new inmate hospital
A wing of an abandoned rural hospital in South Carolina's Chester County has been transformed into a health facility for inmates that could start accepting patients as early as next week. The $3.3 million project by the state's Department of Corrections over the past few years has fortified the new wing with prison bars, specially secured doors and cameras throughout the building. The move gives the state Department of Corrections a medical resource while at the same time saves a community hospital from disappearing.

The Gazette: Linn County Jail will add medical isolation cells
The Linn County Jail will use $1.7 million in federal pandemic relief money to fund the creation of special cells designed to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases. The money was granted to the jail by the Linn County Board of Supervisors when it approved in October a second round of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Criminal Justice's Detrimental Impact On Mental Health

ABC: Tenn. inmate's mutilation highlights prison mental care woes
Three years before Tennessee death row inmate Henry Hodges cut off his own penis during what his lawyer called a “psychiatric disturbance,” a fellow prisoner told a federal judge that Hodges was being mistreated

Corrections 1: Advocates, families seek more measures to prevent jail suicides
Hugh Hall's phone rang about 11 p.m. Oct. 10. The call was from an inmate at Rappahannock Regional Jail. He answered it, expecting it to be his son, Michael, but it was a voice he didn't recognize, that of another inmate, Markus Todd. "Your son in here, is his name Michael Hall?" Todd asked. "Your son hung himself tonight."

Mental Health Initiatives in Criminal Justice

Cureus: Jail Diversion Program Implementation in a Homeless Patient With Schizophrenia: A Case Report
With a majority of prisoners in the United States having a history of mental illness and only half of these receiving mental health treatment, it became imperative to develop programs to assist those with mental illness to avoid repeated incarceration. The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project (CMHP) was developed to decrease recidivism in patients with serious mental illness (SMI).

Salt Lake Tribune: Forget jail and ERs, another mental health option is on the way in S.L. County
Salt Lake County Council members banded together Tuesday to fast-track a temporary mental health facility that will serve residents in crisis while a permanent center is being built. The nine-member council voted unanimously to spend $2.5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to retrofit and expand the existing Huntsman Mental Health Institute, giving police a new place to take those in crisis that isn’t a jail or an emergency room.

CoreCivic & GEO Group

Searchlight New Mexico: Immigration invoice
U.S. immigration authorities are paying nearly $2 million a month to detain 15 migrants in Torrance County Detention Facility, a privately-held jail better known for its egregious conditions, including a foul stench and leaky walls. This undertaking’s annual cost is more than enough to buy each of these migrants a $1.28 million house, and the spending has continued despite a scathing report by the federal government, prompting a “management alert.” Nevertheless, records reviewed by Searchlight New Mexico show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has continued paying CoreCivic, the facility’s corporate operator, a total of $19.2 million a year.

The Paper: New Mexico is Paying Millions to Take Control of Private Prisons as Inmate Populations Decline
In 2019, the state assumed control of the Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility, a 628-bed prison in rural Clayton, a town of some 3,000 near the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Its private operator, the Florida-based GEO Group Inc., had announced that it intended to close the prison because it was too difficult to keep staffed at the required levels. Rather than shut it down, the state stepped in and took over operations; state and local officials at the time stressed how important it was to protect jobs in a small town like Clayton.

Correctional Health Care Vendors

Tallahassee Democrat: Former inmate sues LCSO, two deputies and jail over injuries and medical response
A former Leon County Jail inmate filed a federal lawsuit against the Leon County Sheriff's Office, alleging that he was injured because of a deputy's reckless driving and medical staff treated his neck and shoulder injuries with "deliberate indifference." The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee names LCSO, two sheriff's deputies, the jail’s contract health provider (Corizon), and a jail doctor.

FOX 6: Milwaukee County Jail death, Armor Correctional fined $175K
Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. has been fined $175,000 for the 2016 Milwaukee County Jail death of Terrill Thomas, court records show. The Miami-based company was convicted of seven counts of intentionally falsifying a health care record in October. The fines must be paid within 18 months.