Private healthcare companies banking on US prison system – video

Source: Laurence Mathieu-Léger and Rupert Neate, The Guardian, June 16, 2016

Private healthcare companies descended on Austin, Texas, last month to tout their services to jail administrators at a trade fair where they market everything from jumpsuits and meal trays to straitjackets and other restraints. …


Welcome to Jail Inc: how private companies make money off US prisons
Source: Rupert Neate, The Guardian, June 16, 2016

…The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Some 2.2 million adults were incarcerated in 2013 in US federal and state prisons and county jails, according to the bureau of justice statistics. States spend about $8bn (£5.5bn) a year on healthcare to try to keep prisoners alive. … There is no centrally collated data on prison healthcare privatisation, but Dr Marc Stern, an expert on correctional health at the University of Washington and former head doctor of Washington state prisons, estimates that more than half of all state and local prisons and jails have outsourced their healthcare and that the industry is worth more than $3bn a year. Federal prisons spending on outsourced healthcare increased by 24% to $327m between 2010 and 2014, according to a justice department report published last week. It surveyed 69 prisons and found that all of them paid much more for medical services than the Medicare rates, with some prisons spending as much as 385% more. The office of the inspector general report suggested the bureau of prisons explores “potential legislative changes that could help contain medical costs”. … Murphy declined to state how much the company charges counties for its services but said “it’s typically not cheaper, but it’s always better”. Not everyone agrees. Analysis of California department of justice data by Fairwarning found that about 200 inmates died under the care of California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG), the Californian arm of the CMGC, between 2004 and 2014. Excluding homicide, it works out at a death rate of 1.7 per 1,000 inmates at CFMG jails compared with 1.5 in other jails. …