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Corizon Responsible for 'Breakdowns' in Jail Health Care: Report

By Rosa Goldensohn | June 10, 2015 11:01am | Updated on June 10, 2015 1:15pm
 Local Corizon offices sit next to Rikers Island.
Local Corizon offices sit next to Rikers Island.
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Katie Honan/DNAinfo

CIVIC CENTER — The Department of Investigation has found Corizon, the for-profit medical provider at work in the city's jails, responsible for "significant breakdowns" in medical services for inmates.

The DOI has “significant concerns about Corizon’s suitability as a contractor,” according to the report, after conducting a six-month review.

DNAinfo first reported that the city has plans to replace Corizon as the jail health care provider at Rikers Island.

"DOI surveillance and document review over the past six months revealed that a number of Corizon employees have failed to properly provide the medical and mental health services for which the City contracted," the report says.

"Further, on several occasions, Corizon staff improperly removed inmates from suicide watch or otherwise failed to supervise inmates with serious mental illnesses. Two of those inmates died while unsupervised."


DOI Corizon Report

The report refers to the death of Bradley Ballard and of an unnamed 17-year-old boy.

More than a dozen people have died since 2013 after Corizon's questionable care: Alvin Nelson, Fabian Cruz, Jerome Murdough, Victor Woods, Rolando Perez, Carlos Mercado, Bradley Ballard, Andy Henriquez, Mark Johnson, Darnell Smith, Horsone Moore, Quannell Offley, and Judy Jean Caquias.

"These failures should not be seen in isolation," the report says. "Rather, they have occurred in the context of the failure to engage in proper screening and supervision of staff."

The Department of Correction, which was tasked with conducting background checks on Corizon staff, failed to do so adequately, the report says. A stack of fingerprint cards that were supposed to be processed had stacked up on a DOC deputy commissioner's desk, DOI investigators discovered.

The DOI also questioned the current model for oversight of medical care in the jails. The Department of Health and DOC must work together to coordinate oversight.

"[The Department of Health] failed to adequately supervise the care provided by Corizon despite multiple red flags that such care was deficient," the department wrote.

Corizon vehemently disagreed with the report, saying it scapegoats them for the city's failures.

"The Department of Investigation (DOI) report is misleading, mistaken, and most importantly, improperly tries to shift responsibility for security lapses on Rikers Island from the two government agencies which control every aspect of operations there to the health care provider which it reluctantly acknowledges followed every directive and contract provision," they said in a statement.

The Department of Health and DOC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.