Corizon settles landmark death suit; forced to use better-qualified health workers

No, not a good week for Corizon, the private prison health care company with a $1 billion deal to treat Florida inmates.
Even as state prisons chief Julie Jones announced she will revise the Corizon contract – and possibly toss it- in the wake of reports by The Post of rising deaths and horrific medical treatment, Alameda County and Corizon this week abruptly ended a wrongful death case in California; agreeing to pay $8.3 million dollars to the children of Martin Harrison, who died during three days of untreated alcohol withdrawal.

Martin Harrison

Martin Harrison


It is the largest wrongful death settlement in a civil rights case in California history.
Corizon fired the vocational nurse who played a key role in Harrison’s death. And the company reported her to the California Board of Nursing.
But the case is much broader than any single incident. The lawsuit settlement requires that Corizon now only use registered nurses or other highly qualified medical staffers to assess inmates – and not just at the Alameda jail, but in every jail or prison in California where it provides care.
That create something of a Florida intersection with the California suit. Jones said new negotiations with Corizon will include making sure there are enough registered nurses on hand to ensure that less-qualified staffers, such as licensed practical nurses, would not be making decisions.
She did not elaborate on why this was an issue.
If California inmates are entitled to have registered nurses, said California lawyer Julia Sherwin, who represented Harrison’s adult children, then so are inmates in Florida- and in Arizona, Alabama, New York, Michigan, and “every other state where Corizon has contracts.”
We’ll see. It could take a year to finish revisions to Florida contracts with both Corizon and Wexford Health Sources, which also provides care to state inmates- though far fewer than Corizon handles, and with far fewer complaints.
For a look at the Harrison suit:Martin Harrison case
And to understand, in part, why Julie Jones felt compelled to switch gears with Corizon and Wexford: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/private-health-firms-withheld-details-of-some-inma/nj6dr/icmp=mypalmbeachpost_internallink_megamenu_link#6f299be5.3545241.735642