prison health care

Access to healthcare inside South Florida prisons and jails is under renewed scrutiny after a pregnant woman with a mental illness delivered her child alone in a Broward County jail cell last month.

The state may have to pay millions of dollars more in treatment costs for inmates infected with hepatitis C.
Florida Department of Corrections

The state may have to pay millions of dollars more in treatment costs for inmates infected with hepatitis C, following a federal judge’s ruling Thursday that said prison officials have been “deliberately indifferent” in caring for thousands of inmates infected with the virus.

Health Costs Hamper Criminal Justice Budget

Mar 21, 2019

Senate criminal-justice budget writers rolled out a spending plan Wednesday that reflects a funding squeeze caused by the rising costs of health care at state prisons. 

Health Care Dominates Prison Priorities

Mar 7, 2019
Prisoners crowding around a table
Florida Department of Corrections

Florida Department of Corrections officials on Wednesday asked Senate criminal justice budget writers for $206 million to fund the agency’s priorities, which are heavily focused on providing inmates with health care as a result of litigation. 

Inmate Health Costs Drive Up Prison Budget

Feb 5, 2019
Prisoners crowding around a table
Florida Department of Corrections

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to fund the Florida Department of Corrections next year at $2.7 billion, a spending plan that has some criminal-justice reform advocates pointing to struggles facing Florida’s prison system as a result of increased health-care costs. 

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half his life alone in a prison cell in Illinois — 22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

"It was pretty broke down — the whole system, the way they treated us," says the 43-year-old Rasho, who has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including severe depression, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

Federal law requires prisons and jails to provide medical care to people who are incarcerated. But in a recent medical journal, a group of South Florida researchers make the case that too many inmates suffer and die in part because "they lack adequate access to timely care."

"We wanted to know: what are people dying of while they're incarcerated in Miami-Dade County?" says Dr. Tanya Zakrison, a trauma surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

DeVonte Jones began to show signs of schizophrenia as a teenager. His first public episode was nine years ago at a ballgame at Wavering Park, in Quincy, Ill.

"He snapped out and just went around and started kicking people," says Jones' mother, Linda Colon, who now lives in a Chicago suburb.

The police were called. Jones was arrested, charged with aggravated battery and placed in Adams County Jail. Colon says Jones had no recollection of what happened.

Prisoners crowding around a table
Florida Department of Corrections

As a candidate, Gov. Rick Scott pitched the idea of having private companies provide health care to the state's prisoners in a plan to save taxpayers $1 billion over seven years. But in the first five years of privatization, the cost has climbed from $278 million to $375 million.

Judge Turns Down Challenge To Prison Health Contract

Apr 13, 2016
Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons

An administrative law judge has rejected a challenge to a Florida Department of Corrections decision to award a $268 million contract for health services at the majority of the state's prisons.

State Brings On New Prison Health Provider

Feb 2, 2016
Florida prison
Associated Press

State corrections officials have hired Centurion of Florida LLC to take over prison health services for more than three-fourths of Florida's 100,000 inmates after Corizon Health walked away from a five-year, $1.2 billion contract three years early.

State Looking For Prison Health Answers

Dec 2, 2015
Associated Press

Florida prisons chief Julie Jones is considering hiring temp agencies to fill in the gap after Corizon Health officials decided to walk away from the largest prison health-care contract in the country.

Prison Health Firm Cancels Contract With State

Dec 1, 2015

Saying a contract with the state is "too constraining," a company that provides health care to 75,000 Florida prison inmates gave notice Monday that it will end the agreement as of May 31.

Prison System, Contractor Accused Of Denying Inmate Surgeries

Sep 21, 2015
Florida Department of Corrections

Lawyers for Florida inmates have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections and prison health-care provider Corizon, alleging that the state agency and the company are denying hernia operations to save money.

Florida Department of Corrections

The health care company under contract at most of Florida's state prisons was fined $22,500 after the Florida Department of Corrections found the firm did not meet expectations set by their contract, the Ocala Star Banner reports.

Pointing to issues with understaffing, increasing numbers of mentally ill prisoners and private health-care providers that aren’t fulfilling their contracts, the new head of the Florida Department of Corrections told state lawmakers the department needs more funding and oversight, the News Service of Florida reports. Julie Jones, the newly appointed prisons chief, shared a wide-ranging agenda that could include terminating contracts with health vendors, News Service reports.