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This site contains over 2,000 news articles, legal briefs and publications related to for-profit companies that provide correctional services. Most of the content under the "Articles" tab below is from our Prison Legal News site. PLN, a monthly print publication, has been reporting on criminal justice-related issues, including prison privatization, since 1990. If you are seeking pleadings or court rulings in lawsuits and other legal proceedings involving private prison companies, search under the "Legal Briefs" tab. For reports, audits and other publications related to the private prison industry, search using the "Publications" tab.

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Articles about Private Prisons

Investment Firm Buys Corizon

Flacks Group specializes in “operational-turn-around of under-utilized companies.”

In other words, it purchases companies that have good prospects, but are performing poorly and improves their performance. It has over 7,500 employees and manages in excess of $2.5 billion in assets. It had recently announced that it was looking for bargain-price purchases of companies that had been stressed by the pandemic.

Corizon employees number more than 5,000 and the company’s annual revenue is around $800 million. A Corizon spokesperson said the transaction was not related to the pandemic but caused by Corizon’s maturing debt. Corizon’s debt had reached $300 million before Blue Mountain Capital Management became its majority owner in 2017. In November 2018, Blue Mountain injected another $100 million into the company, reducing its debt load to less than $90 million.

Unmentioned in the press releases were Corizon’s numerous litigation issues and the collapse of its business. In 2018, Corizon contracted with 534 facilities in 27 states ...

$70,000 Settlement in Private Firm’s Failure to Treat Arizona Prisoner’s Broken Wrist

Eric Kevin Pesqueira incurred a wrist injury on October 17, 2013. He alleged it “was not promptly treated with medical devices or ...

$75,000 Settlement in Florida Pretrial Detainee’s Suicide Death

Corizon Health, Inc. paid $75,000 to settle a claim that it failed to provide proper medical care to a pretrial detainee who was suffering from a psychiatric emergency.

Mariangela Woycenko suffered a psychotic episode at St. Lucie Hospital on April 11, 2010. Based on the hospital report, officers from the Port Saint Lucie, Florida, Police Department went to her home to question Woycenko, as well as her son, and her boyfriend. They made a decision to involuntarily commit her via Baker Act to New Horizons of the Treasure Coast.

The next day, she was evaluated and discharged. The discharge diagnosis noted “that the goal of improvement in paranoid thoughts was not achieved.” Woycenko’s son gave into her requests to drive. Minutes later, she became “irrational and combative, yelling that people were trying to kill her, and she accelerated the car to excessive speeds and ran traffic lights,” the complaint says. Her son was able to wrestle control and stop the car.

Woycenko fled the vehicle and her son caught and restrained her. Saint Lucie County Sheriff’s deputies arrived in response to a 911 call.

A decision was made to return Woycenko to New Horizons. On the way, Woycenko was able ...

$21,000 Settlement in Suit Alleging Violations of Family Medical Leave Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Corizon Health, Inc., agreed to pay $21,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging it violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

The November 1, 2012, settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by Makayla Wright. She was employed by Corizon from August 2010 until her termination on June 29, 2011, at which time she was over eight months’ pregnant.

In early June 2011, Wright asked her human resource representative about taking some time off for doctor-requested bed-rest as she neared her due date of July 16, 2011.

Because she was not yet eligible for leave because she had not been employed for 12 months or had not worked at least 1,250 hours, she inquired about taking FMLA leave after her baby was born. She was informed she could use two accrued “PTO/sick days” and that she had 60 hours of extended time that could be used to cover the time she was on bed rest.

To further assist her, Wright was placed on a four-day per-pay period schedule until her leave accrued in July 12, 2011. It was advised that she use her short-term disability to cover her absence up to August 9, ...

PrimeCare, Berks County Prisoner Who Loses Leg Agree to $850,000 Settlement

PrimeCare Medical agreed to an $850,000 settlement in a civil rights action alleging it failed to provide care for a prisoner at Pennsylvania’s Berks County Prison (BCP). The prisoner suffered amputation of her left leg below the knee.

Alice J. Neuen was sentenced on April 18, 2008, from 364 days ...

$37,500 Settlement in Discrimination Suit Against Corizon Health

Corizon Health agreed to pay $37,500 to a former employee who alleged she was discriminated against based on race and was subjected to a hostile work environment.

Laurie Astern was hired by Corizon on August 11, 2014, to work as a physician assistant at the Union Correctional Institution medical clinic ...

$350,000 Settlement in Florida Detainee’s Suicide

Corizon Health agreed to pay $350,000 in a lawsuit that alleged it failed to provide mental health care to a pretrial detainee who committed suicide at Florida’s Charlotte County Jail.

Victor H. Ackers was arrested on May 21, 2013, for domestic violence and violation of probation for a 2012 conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. Prior to his arrest, Ackers had a history of mental health disorders, major depression, anxiety, hospitalization for mental illness, recent treatment for mental illness, and was prescribed medication for depression, anxiety, and insomnia. He informed officers of these conditions at booking.

While incarcerated, Backers informed guards and Corizon staff that he could not sleep, was depressed and needed his medications and to see a doctor, and that he was going to commit suicide if he didn’t get help. At no time during his imprisonment did Ackers receive medical care, see a doctor, or undergo suicide observation or watch.

Moments after Ackers told a guard and Corizon employee on May 29, 2013, that he was going to commit suicide, Ackers was returned to his cell and committed suicide.

Represented by Sarasota, Florida attorneys H. Roger Lutz, Elizabeth Lutz, and Charles W. Telfair, IV, Ackers’ ...

$47,000 Settlement in Detainee’s Overdose Death Claim

Corizon Health agreed to pay $47,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging it negligently failed to assure street drugs did not enter its Jail Alternatives to Substance Abuse (JASA) program.

Brian G. Brewer was transferred from Florida’s Polk County Jail on May 12, 2012, to the rehabilitative JASA program. That same day, he died from an overdose of gamma hydroxybutyrate and Doxepin, neither of which were prescribed to him.

The complaint, which was filed on July 8, 2014, alleged Corizon and the Polk County Sheriff were negligent for allowing those drugs to enter the JASA program.

Corizon agreed on April 20, 2017, to pay $47,000 to settle the estate’s claim against it.

The estate was represented by Tampa attorneys Martin W. Palmer and Joseph K. Lopez, Jr. See: Brewer v. Judd, et al., Florida Tenth Judicial Circuit Court, Case No. 2014-CA-1801000000

$50,000 Settlement with Corizon in Failure to Treat Suit in Florida

Corizon Health agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging it failed to provide a Florida prisoner with medication for his heart and blood pressure. He also alleged that he was not provided postoperative dental care or treatment for glaucoma.

Henry Washington was described as “a frail and elderly prisoner who relies on a wheelchair” and who suffers from “multiple disabilities and chronic medical conditions, including paralysis, a pacemaker, and glaucoma.”

In 2012, the Suwannee Annex prisoner was subjected to an alleged excessive use of force by guard Leonard Myers. After that incident, “Washington found it hard to get health care.” He alleged medical passes were taken away from him, that staff falsely witnessed “refusal of care” forms, and was told by Corizon staff to get over his pain.

Represented by Tallahassee attorney James V. Cook, Washington filed a civil rights complaint on September 22, 2016, in federal court. As to Corizon, he alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. On March 19, 2018, Washington accepted the $50,000 settlement to resolve his claims against Corizon. The lawsuit remained pending against the Florida Department of Corrections and several guards for excessive force and violations of the Americans with Disabilities ...

GEO Group and CoreCivic Lose Critical Financial Support

But they also stand out for another reason: Like other corporations accused of prioritizing profits over people, both firms have been plagued by allegations of controversial business practices. Critics claim that the public-private partnerships through which the companies take over prison operations actually serve to line the pockets of politicians in exchange for regulatory concessions that curb oversight and protect the industry’s financial bottom line – all at the expense of the prisoners they are charged to oversee.

That, however, may soon be coming to an end.

Criminal justice activists have long sought, without success, to dismantle the private prison industry. Their efforts have been thwarted, in large measure, by an apathetic public with little appetite for addressing issues related to mass incarceration in America. But with the 2018 immigration crisis, that began to change. Images of children being separated from their families and the abysmal conditions inside ...