The Indiana Department of Corrections has discontinued its contract with Corizon Health, the private corporation that handles most of the state’s inmate healthcare. Corizon announced last week that it would be laying off about 700 employees in 22 locations around the state.
The contract, which is worth $100 million a year, is being taken up by Pittsburg-based Wexford Health Sources. A representative from Corizon said in a letter to the state that Wexford may end up hiring many of Corizon’s former employees, though there’s no guarantee that will happen.
The loss of the corrections contract is the most recent in a string of contract losses for Corizon. In the last two years, the for-profit company has lost their contracts with at least five states. They also lost an especially lucrative contract managing healthcare for Riker’s Island in New York City. The losses were driven by a wave of complaints, lawsuits, and wrongful death settlements. Corizon has faced dozens of lawsuits in Indiana alone, alleging poor healthcare and at least one wrongful death. The firm paid $4.5 million to settle lawsuits in New Mexico resulting from two inmate deaths and alleged sexual assault by a company doctor. Corizon also paid $8.3 million to the family of a California inmate who died of severe alcohol withdrawal after being denied treatment.
An investigation by the South Bend Tribune last year revealed hundreds of inmate complaints and dozens of lawsuits against Corizon in Indiana. One severely disabled patient died after just 37 days in a state prison under the care of Corizon employees. Another died in an ambulance during a two-hour drive to a hospital, despite a much closer hospital being available.
Wexford Health Sources’ record isn’t spotless, either. Wexford paid out $3.1 million to settle five years of complaints in Illinois, including delayed treatment and low-quality care.