Inmate, denied health care in an Arizona private prison, chews his own fingers off

An unnamed, paralyzed prisoner in one of Corizon Correctional Healthcare's for-profit prisons in Arizona chewed part of his left hand off because Corizon refused to give him the correct medication for his pain.

In 2015, a group of prisoners successfully sued the state of Arizona and Corizon for their human rights abuses, and reached a settlement; but last October, federal judge David Duncan held that the state and Corizon have had "pervasive and intractable failures to comply" with its terms, asking Arizona prison health director Richard Pratt how he could sleep at night, knowing that the cancer patients he was responsible for were being denied care. Pratt blamed Corizon.

As the Prison Law Project files court documents detailing the state and Corizon's failure to comply with their settlement, new and horrifying abuses continue to come to light, including women with masses in their breasts being denied mammograms and being given Aleve for what turned out to be cancer pain; and a prisoner named Walter Jordan who died of untreated cancer.

A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections declined to comment on ongoing litigation last month, but told Newsweek in an email the department expects Corizon to provide all inmates with the "constitutionally-mandated health care" to which they're entitled.

The man who gnawed off his own fingers told the lawyer from the Prison Law Project who interviewed him in December that he tries to keep the pain inside him, but "the tears fall inside."

In a letter to the state, the lawyer wrote, "He keeps a photograph of his daughter posted above his bed to remind him that he needs to get out of prison for her."

Inmate Chews Own Fingers Off After Private Prison Health Care Left Him in Unbearable Pain, Court Papers Say [John Saul/Newsweek]

(via Naked Capitalism)