Private Jail Healthcare Company Fails to Protect Prisoners with Mental Illness

Private Jail Healthcare Company Fails to Protect Prisoners with Mental Illness

Miami-based Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. (ACHS) receives $25 million annually to care for the inmates at Broward County’s four jails.

Under their contract, they must pay up to $50K if an inmate is sent for care outside the jail facility – an amount that gives ACHS an incentive to not send seriously ill inmates to the hospital when needed.

Taxpayers may now be on the hook for large settlements paid to the families of inmates who died due to ACHS’ indifference to their loved ones’ plight.

Many of the same doctors and nurses are named in the lawsuits as failing to provide adequate treatment and ignoring the obvious mental issues afflicting the inmates.

“Profits before Patients” for ACHS says Lawsuit

According to a lawsuit filed by the estate of Scott Burrell, Coral Springs, ACHS put “profits before patients” and is responsible Burrell’s death and others. Burrell, 62, was a developer with bipolar disorder found incompetent to stand trial in mid-March, 2016.

He had boasted of his CIA connections, cocaine trafficking arrests and of the degrees he’d earned in law, psychology and electrical engineering – none of which were true. He also said he was divorced, while in fact he was incarcerated because he had attacked his wife’s locked bedroom door with an axe.

The week prior to this incident, Burrell had been involuntarily hospitalized for psychiatric treatment. His psychiatrist said he should stabilize if given the right medications and placed in a secure psychiatric setting. When in jail, he had exhibited delusional behavior, such as saying he was a Colombian freedom fighter and that he owned the jail, and refused to take his medication.

On March 30, 2016, Burrell was discovered in his Broward County jail cell, covered in filth and complaining of severe abdominal pain. He died two days later -16 minutes after entering a hospital emergency room - and the lawsuit states his death was entirely preventable had he been transferred to a hospital and treated properly. The Burrell lawsuit seeks $10 million in compensatory damages.

The attorney representing Burrell’s estate says that five other inmates died earlier under similar circumstances.  Those inmates included William Herring, 23, a young man with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who refused to eat, drink or take his medication during his month-long stay, eventually starving himself to death.

Herring was sent to jail on a probation violation, when he was found sleeping on a bus bench in Ft. Pierce. His mother had contacted jail officials with concerns about her son’s physical condition. Her son spent his last five weeks in a coma, dying at Fort Lauderdale’s Broward County Health Center. His death was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner.

A lawsuit in Herring’s death was filed in December, 2016, almost exactly four years after his death.

Another case involved that of Charles Jones, a Brevard County Jail inmate also serviced by ACHS, who died in August, 2016 from what his family claims was lack of treatment after persistent complaints of severe abdominal pain. He died as a result of his bowels bursting and spreading infection throughout his body.

Jones was a convicted sex offender, but had been out of jail for years. It was a parole violation – failing to register his address – that put him back behind bars.

Not Just Florida – ACHS’ Apparent Pattern of Neglect in Other States

Although based in Florida, ACHS provides services nationwide, and it appears that its patterns of inmate neglect are national, as well.

In October, 2016, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlementbarring the company from providing health services in the state for three years and paying a fine of $350K. The situation involved ACHS’s contract with the Nassau County Correctional Center on Long Island.

“For-profit jail providers must ensure that appropriate medical care is provided in jails, where many inmates suffer from complex medical needs. When these companies fail to uphold their contractual obligations, they not only defraud taxpayers, the health of inmates, and, by extension, the health of the general population, is jeopardized,” according to Schneiderman.

“Many” inmates reportedly died after ACHS took over the Nassau County Correctional Center contract, with six dying in 2016 alone.

Several families of those inmates are suing ACHS and Nassau County.

If you are a victim of ACHS’ medical neglect or lost a love one due to ACHS profits-over-patients service model, you can file a lawsuit to expose, and hopefully stop, the illegal conduct and you may be entitled to money damages.

Call us now before evidence “goes missing” or the time limit to file a lawsuit (statute of limitations) expires.  866.836.4684 or CONNECT ONLINE

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