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Thursday, July 14, 2005


Home - Black Mississippi

Home - Black Mississippi: "ACLU sues provider over health care of Mississippi inmates
By Shelia Byrd
The Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the St. Louis-based health care provider for inmates at the State Penitentiary at Parchman, alleging prisoners have been misdiagnosed and received inadequate treatment.
The federal lawsuit against Correctional Medical Services, Inc., one of the nation's largest for-profit medical providers for prisoners, was filed today on behalf of 1,000 inmates at Parchman's Unit 32.

Other defendants are Chris Epps, the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, deputy commissioner Emmitt Sparkman and other agency officials. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Greenville.

'We're hoping that the lawsuit is going to make a big difference in conditions in Unit 32, which we really do think are so grossly inhumane as to amount to torture,' said Margaret Winter, associate director of the National Prison Project of the ACLU.

Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, said the company, which holds contracts in 24 states, is still reviewing the complaint.

'A review of the facts will show that the quality of care provided to inmate patients in Mississippi prisons is excellent. The care inmates receive meets the standards of care in society,' Fields said today.

Leonard Vincent, an attorney with MDOC, said the agency was expecting the lawsuit and would fight it. 'We feel like they're absolutely incorrect in what they say,' Vincent said.

Since 2003, CMS has provided medical, dental and mental health care to prisoners at the Mississippi Delta prison. The lawsuit, which gives only one side of the legal argument, alleges CMS employees routinely ignore inmates' health complaints."

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