Private Company, Corizon Health Services, Supports New House Bill to Privatize Medical Care In TDCJ Facilities: Say No To Corizon in Texas!

HB 1211, a bil

l recently proposed by Texas State Rep. Allen Fletcher, if passed would begin a competitive bidding process to contract out medical and healthcare services in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities. According to the language of the bill, this would need to happen no later than October of 2015 with the contract beginning no later than July 2016. Fletcher’s support and privatization proposal should come as no surprise given his role as a consultant with private prison corporation Southwest Correctional. Even less surprising is the fact that during the public hearing for HB 1211, private prison medical company Corizon Health Services showed up loud and proud in support of this bill.

For those who don’t know, Corizon Health Services is preceded by an abysmal track record of neglect and abuse. Currently, Corizon Health Services is being sued after Dr. Mark E. Walden was accused on numerous occasions of sexual abuse in a New Mexico prison. There are currently seven lawsuits against former Corizon employee Mark Walden that also name Corizon, GEO Group, and a number of New Mexico prison officials as responsible parties.

According to the latest lawsuits filed on February 13th and 16th of this year, Walden is “accused of fondling prisoners’ genitals and conducting superfluous, aggressive rectal exams for ailments like toothaches and toe fungus.” While the latest incidents involve seven individuals examined by Walden, they have increased Walden’s total number of accusations to around 50. Walden received his first complaint while working at a private prison facility operated by GEO Group in 2011. Nevertheless, prior to his time there, he was terminated from Union County General Hospital for failing to adequately complete his medical records. According to many of the accusations posed against Walden, he often performed unnecessarily intrusive procedures for basic medical needs. Consequently, this is just one of many scandals associated with services provided by Corizon.

On January 26, 2015, Rudolph Richardson sued the city of New York, prison healthcare contractor Corizon Health Services and Dr. Landis Barnes for allegedly delaying and denying him emergency medical care following an incident in which his cell door slammed shut on his fingers. While these are more recent examples, Corizon admits to having “amassed more than 1,300 lawsuits across eight states in the past five years…”

Other states have said no to Corizon.

In April, a number of advocacy groups successfully organized to stop a new Corizon contract in D.C. They released a sign-on letter, called key legislators, and compiled a short list of Corizon horror stories. Now it seems that Texas may be next on the list. Put a stop to Corizon’s (and any other private prison company’s) efforts to expand their profits in Texas.

Below is a list of the members of the House Calendars Committee where the bill is currently sitting. Stop by to fill out opposition slips or call today to oppose HB 1211 and say no to Corizon in Texas!

Position                     Member                                   Phone

Chair                         Rep. Todd Hunter                  (512) 463-0672

Vice Chair:                 Rep. Eddie Lucio III                (512) 463-0606

Members:                  Rep. Roberto R. Alonzo        (512) 463-0408

                                 Rep. Byron Cook                   (512) 463-0730

                                 Rep. Sarah Davis                   (512) 463-0389

                                 Rep. Charlie Geren               (512) 463-0610

                                 Rep. Helen Giddings             (512) 463-0953

                                 Rep. Patricia Harless            (512) 463-0496

                                 Rep. Dan Huberty                  (512) 463-0520

                                 Rep. Eric Johnson                (512) 463-0586

                                 Rep. Ken King                       (512) 463-0736

                                 Rep. Lyle Larson                   (512) 463-0646

                                 Rep. Four Price                     (512) 463-0470

                                 Rep. Debbie Riddle              (512) 463-0572

                                 Rep. Eddie Rodriguez         (512) 463-0674