6 resign after investigation into jail deaths


Associated Press

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 5:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville Metro Corrections says six medical care providers at the jail have resigned after a probe into the deaths of two inmates.

The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/Z2RB0X) reports the internal investigation found that the workers may have contributed to the deaths. All six worked for Tennessee-based Corizon Inc., a contractor that provides medical care at the jail.

Corrections Director Mark Bolton told the newspaper on Wednesday that the police department's death investigations were taking longer than usual and prompted him to take action. After looking at records, Bolton said he concluded that the inmates should have been taken to a doctor sooner though he's not sure if it would have saved their lives.

"That's a tough question," he said. "I have no way of knowing that."

The Jefferson County Coroner's office says Savannah Sparks, 27, died from opiate abuse and withdrawal, and Samantha George, 27, died of complications from diabetes, compounded by heart disease.

Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said he couldn't comment because the deaths are still under investigation.

Corizon officials are cooperating, but Bolton said he wants the company's performance and its $5.5 million contract to be audited by a health care compliance monitor.

Officials at Corizon, which provides medical care to about 400,000 inmates at jails and prisons in 31 states, declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed, but released a statement.

"At Corizon we are committed to providing quality health care services and we welcome the opportunity to work with an independent contract monitor who will assist Louisville Metro Corrections and Corizon in our ongoing efforts to continuously improve the delivery of health care services to our patients," the statement said.

The names of the six employees who resigned weren't released, but they included nurses, supervisors and an on-site administrator.

Bolton said the contract is renewed each year and expires in February.

"They're one of the biggest groups out there," he said. "They have a fairly good reputation but, like anything else, you're only as good as the personnel who's working for you. I'm going to wait and see what the evaluation is of the compliance monitor to see if we're getting the right health care, and if not, I'm going to put the contract out to bid."

Mayor Greg Fischer met with Bolton on Wednesday to discuss his concerns, according to Fischer's spokesman Chris Poynter.

"The mayor has been fully engaged with Mark on this and supports Mark's decision to hire a compliance monitor," Poynter said.


Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com