Handling prisoner accounts is not the only service that has been privatized. Across the country, jails and prisons have been contracting with private, for-profit companies to provide medical services to people inside.
In Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal suit against the state’s prison system for ignoring the medical and mental health needs of its prisoners. (Corizon provides medical care only. MHM, another private company, holds the contract for mental health care.) Unlike its contract with New York City, Corizon’s 34-month, $224 million contract with Alabama requires it to pay for any legal work in the event of a lawsuit, even if it is not named in the suit.
Arizona recently settled class-action suit Parsons v. Ryan. The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2012, charged that the state ignored the basic needs, including medical needs, of people in its prison system for years. Corizon took over the state prison’s health care system in March 2013 after the state terminated its contract with private health care provider Wexford.
Prison systems have contracted with private companies to handle money sent by family members to their loved ones inside. In the federal prison system, the contract was awarded to Bank of America. In 32 state systems, the contract belongs to private company JPay.