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Jacksonville’s Jail Death Rate Triples After Privatized Healthcare

At least a dozen people have said they didn’t get their prescriptions while jailed between December and June at Duval County Jail, the Tributary reports. Since Armor Correctional Health Services started handling health care, deaths have tripled with about 13 deaths per year since 2018. Some of those deaths include people who died in custody, like 33-year-old Amanda Howard and 28-year-old Lina Odom. Others, not reported by the Sheriff’s Office, died shortly after their release, like Dexter Barry. Barry, 54, went two days in jail without anti-rejection medications for his transplanted heart and died after he was released. Howard died of diabetic ketoacidosis, which can occur when someone with Type 1 diabetes doesn’t get their insulin. And Odom died after her extreme alcohol withdrawal symptoms were ignored. An Armor spokesperson said there are many things that could prevent someone from getting their medications such as unruly behavior preventing officials from administering it or if medication is refused by a detainee.

In October 2017, the City of Jacksonville announced that it was ending its medical care in-house, and had hired Armor to manage the jail's health care. Two people died in the last year that the city used its own medical care, and there were nine deaths in the first year since Armor took over. That number has only gone up since. “I will say that there have been things that have happened that shouldn’t have happened,” Sheriff T.K. Waters said. “It’s what probably takes place in just about every healthcare system inside of a facility like that.” Since Barry's death, Amor has been under a Sheriff's office review and is being investigated by the state for failing to report that it had been convicted after another death elsewhere. According to state law, public agencies aren't allowed to use convicted companies for medical care. Previous reports have shown that contracts between Armor and at least 8 Florida counties have lapsed over the past few years, for reasons ranging from lack of accountability to poor care from the company's employees.


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