Trial Begins Over Basic Health Care Provisions For Arizona Prisoners
Media outlets cover the beginning of a "landmark" trial over allegations of poor provision of health care in Arizona's privatized prisons. Separately, reports say U.S. prisons are facing a staff crisis as people quit during the pandemic, and in Aroostook County, naloxone is being given to released prisoners.
Trial Starts Over Quality Of Health Care In Arizona Prisons
An incarcerated woman who testified at a trial Monday over the quality of health care in Arizona prisons tearfully recalled her frustration about the length of time it took to be diagnosed and treated for multiple sclerosis. Kendall Johnson detailed her repeated attempts to get help for what started as numbness in her feet and legs in 2017 and was diagnosed as multiple sclerosis in 2020. (Billeaud, 11/2)
The Marshall Project:
Arizona Privatized Prison Health Care To Save Money. But At What Cost?
In 2017, Walter Jordan wrote a memo to a federal judge from the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. “Notice of Impending Death,” it said in a shaky hand. Jordan told the judge that Arizona corrections officials and Corizon Health, the state prison system’s private health care contractor at that time, delayed treating his cancer for so long that he would be “lucky to be alive for 30 days.” Jordan, 67, had a common form of skin cancer that is rarely life-threatening if caught early, but said he experienced memory loss and intense pain from botched care. Other men in his unit were also denied treatment, he wrote, “all falling, yelling, screaming of pain.” Jordan was dead eight days later. (Schwartzapfel and Jenkins, 10/31)
Arizona Prison Health Care Trial: Jensen V. Shinn
The landmark trial Jensen v. Shinn began Monday in Phoenix, the latest chapter in an almost decade-long struggle to determine whether Arizona’s prisoners are getting the basic health care they are entitled to under the law. The federal trial pits Arizona against the people held in its prisons, who argue in a class-action lawsuit that the medical services they receive are so poor, they constitute cruel and unusual punishment. (Jenkins, 11/1)
In other news about health care in the prison system —
The Marshall Project and AP:
US Prisons Face Staff Shortages As Officers Quit Amid COVID
At a Georgia state House of Representatives hearing on prison conditions in September, a corrections officer called in to testify, interrupting his shift to tell lawmakers how dire conditions had become. On a “good day,” he told lawmakers, he had maybe six or seven officers to supervise roughly 1,200 people. He said he had recently been assigned to look after 400 prisoners by himself. There weren’t enough nurses to provide medical care. “All the officers … absolutely despise working there,” said the officer, who didn’t give his name for fear of retaliation. (Blakinger, Lartey, Schwartzapfel, Thompson and Sisak, 11/1)
Bangor Daily News:
Aroostook Will Distribute Lifesaving Naloxone To Every Inmate Leaving County Jail
One of the best places to intervene in the opioid epidemic is at the exit doors of jails and prisons. Aroostook County Jail is launching a pilot program to give a naloxone kit, naloxone training and opioid recovery resources to every person leaving incarceration. Sheriff Shawn Gillen and organizers at Aroostook Mental Health Center are targeting January 2022 to begin the project. The initiative is funded by a $1 million federal grant to combat substance use disorder stigma and prevent overdose deaths. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the grant to the AMHC last month. (Catlin, 11/1)