ACLU Says ADOC’s Decision to Terminate Wexford Contract Demonstrates For-Profit Prison Contractors Are the Problem, Not the Solution

January 30, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

PHOENIX – The following statement from ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Daniel Pochoda is in response to a court filing earlier today by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) announcing that it is ending its contract with the plagued Wexford prison health-care contractor as of March 4, 2013 and hiring another for-profit prison contractor – Corizon Inc. – to handle the delivery of medical and mental health care at all of the state-run prison facilities.

“There's no question that over the past year Wexford has been providing abysmal care to Arizona prisoners with serious medical and mental health needs,” said ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Dan Pochoda. “Through our existing litigation against ADOC, we’ve documented deteriorating medical conditions that have caused prolonged suffering for thousands of inmates and likely resulted in unnecessary deaths.”

“Merely replacing one for-profit prison contractor with another will only prolong the crisis in Arizona’s prisons. There is no reason to think that anything will change under Corizon Inc. When saving moneyš is the stated legislative and executive priority, prisoners are guaranteed to encounter the same problems, including the documented inadequate staffing levels and failures to administer medical and mental health care in a timely manner.”

The ACLU of Arizona, joined by the Prison Law Office, the National ACLU Prison Project, and the law firms of Jones Day and Perkins Coie LLP, filed the lawsuit, Parsons et al., v. Ryan, on March 22, 2012. The lawsuit alleges that ADOC prisoners receive such grossly inadequate medical, mental health and dental care that they are in grave danger of suffering serious and preventable injury, amputation, disfigurement and even death.

Click here to see the ADOC filing.

For more on this lawsuit and documented problems with Wexford visit: http://www.acluaz.org/FairCareForAll.

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