A U.S. District Judge has ruled that the Southern Poverty Law Center did not prove its case against the Polk County Sheriff's office. The federal lawsuit alleged that juvenile detainees at the county jail were kept in conditions that violated their rights. Corizon, the medical services company contracted to treat juveniles in custody, was also named in the suit. According to an Orlando Sentinel story, seven juveniles filed their case in 2012.
This is not the first time that Corizon has drawn the ire of prison reform advocates, inmates and their families. Corizon provides medical treatment to prisons and jails in 27 states and treats more than 345, 000 inmates. Critics contend that the company is more concerned with profit than with offering high-quality health care. The critics allude to the multiple lawsuits Corizon faces. In 2012, a prisoner in Minnesota died when he was, allegedly, denied appropriate medical treatment. In Arizona, the ACLU has filed suit against the company claiming that they provide inadequate care especially to those with signs of severe mental illness. In February, Corizon and Alameda County settled with the family of an inmate who died while in a Northern California jail contracted with Corizon. The family received $8.3 million dollars for what they allege was the wrongful death of Martin Harrison, Jr. because he did not receive proper medical treatment.
In the Polk County case, there is not convincing evidence to show the company and the Polk County Sheriff's Office engaged in misconduct or negligence. Perhaps most of the allegations throughout the nation against Corizon cannot be effectively supported. However, those of us concerned with the treatment of our prisoners will continue advocating for them and keeping a close watch on the behavior of companies like Corizon.