Demand Adequate Medical Care for Minnesota Prisoners

prison

Target: Minnesota Department of Corrections

Goal: Improve medical care of prisoners by ending contract with for-profit medical care provider

Minnesota prison inmate Xavius Scullark-Johnson unnecessarily died in prison as a result of inadequate medical care. His death resulted from multiple untreated seizures. An on-call doctor advised that an ambulance be called to transfer Xavius to the hospital when he was having seizures. Unfortunately, when the ambulance arrived the prison nurse turned it away as part of an effort to reduce medical care costs. The Minnesota Department of Corrections contracts with Corizon Inc. to provide medical care for its 9,400 prison inmates. The company cuts costs by closely monitoring ambulance runs and by limiting the hours of medical staff at prisons. As a result, there are no medical professionals available at Minnesota prisons after 10:30pm and only one doctor on-call for the entire prison system. These cost-cutting measures have resulted in inadequate medical care for prisoners. The Minnesota Department of Corrections should rectify the problem by ending its contract with the for-profit medical care provider Corizon Inc.

Prisoners are guaranteed the right to adequate medical care by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. The Eighth Amendment guarantees that the government will not inflict cruel and unusual punishment. Multiple court cases have determined that deliberate indifference by prison officials in regard to providing medical care constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Xavius Scullark-Johnson was deliberately denied access to medical care to save costs which is a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Several reports have found multiple problems with medical care provided by for-profit medical care providers at prisons. These problems include: providing minimal medical staff, underqualified doctors and nurses, doctors practicing without proper certification, prescription drugs being withheld from patients, and employee conduct that went unpunished. For-profit medical care providers receive millions in tax payer dollars to provide inadequate care to prisoners.

By signing the petition below, you will help urge the Minnesota Department of Corrections to improve medical care in prisons by ending their contract with the for-profit medical care provider Corizon Inc.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minnesota Department of Corrections,

In June of 2010, Minnesota prisoner Xavius Scullark-Johnson died due to receiving inadequate medical care. His death resulted from multiple untreated seizures. An on-call doctor ordered he be transported to a hospital via ambulance to receive medical care. Unfortunately, a prison nurse turned away the ambulance when it arrived in order to reduce medical care costs. Medical care in Minnesota prisons is provided by for-profit medical care provider Corizon Inc. Corizon Inc. reduces medical care costs by closely monitoring ambulance trips and reducing the number of medical personnel at the prisons. As a result, no medical care providers are available at the prisons after 10:30pm and only one doctor is on-call for the entire prison system. The on-call doctors do not have access to patient records, which severely limits their ability to effectively care for patients.

Prisoners are guaranteed access to adequate medical treatment by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. According to the Eighth Amendment, the government cannot inflict cruel or unusual punishment. Deliberate denial of medical treatment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, the lack of treatment Xavius received constitutes a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

There are multiple problems with for-profit medical care providers in prisons. These problems include: providing minimal medical staff, under qualified doctors and nurses, doctors practicing without proper certification, prescription drugs being withheld from patients, and employee conduct that went unpunished. Prisoners deserve access to adequate medical care and for-profit medical care providers have proven that they cannot provide it.

I urge you to improve medical care for Minnesota prisoners by ending the contract with for-profit medical care provider Corizon Inc.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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108 Signatures

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