A state appeals court in Florida has ruled that the state will be allowed to go forward with a plan to privatize the healthcare in their prisons, something that has proven disastrous in other states. A lower court had blocked the plan last year.
Private prison contractors have become popular with many Republican lawmakers across the country because of their promises to cut costs. But these companies also often cut corners to increase their own profits, leading to abysmal conditions, inmate abuse, and frequent riots.
Private health care companies have especially bad records on inmate treatment. Nightmarish stories of inmates dying from treatable diseases because they were refused care arefrighteningly common in prisons that have outsourced their healthcare. One of the largest prison health care providers, Correctional Medical Care, is under criminal investigation in New York after its negligence led to nine deaths.
Other states with private prison health care can forecast the conditions Florida inmates will now face. A Kaiser report on these systems found “inhumane” conditions, with terminally ill inmates left in soiled linens without food or water for days. One Arizona man with lung cancer begged for treatment, only to be told by medical staff that he should drink energy shakes to cure his symptoms. Others who have begged for medical aid have been told they were simply making it up or that they should “pray to be cured.”
I’m sure it will come as a huge surprise that private prison companies have already donated more than $100,000 to Gov. Rick Scott’s reelection campaign.