In recent months, there has been a health care crisis at the Allegheny County Jail. The main official in charge of ensuring the health and safety of inmates at the ACJ has allowed this crisis to take place and continue. It is time we hold Warden Orlando Harper accountable!
The ACJ has twice the national average death rate, and this is directly caused by medical neglect. Multiple cases and testimonies have emerged of incarcerated people being denied their life-saving medicine and treatment for conditions ranging from seizures, HIV/AIDS, cancer, mental disorders, diabetes and more.
The correctional officers at the jail have actively been preventing inmates from receiving medical treatment, criminalized medical conditions, and used brutal and unnecessary force on incarcerated people.
Warden Harper could have addressed these issues, which are his responsibility, but instead has allowed the health care provider and correctional officers to violate the human rights of ACJ inmates.
Sign the petition and tell Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to fire Warden Orlando Harper and replace him with someone who will fight for the rights of incarcerated people!
Allegheny County Council conducted a public hearing June 23, 2015 to hear from the public regarding the healthcare crisis at the Allegheny County Jail.
The first two speakers were invited by County Council Member Terri Klein. Jeff Skakalski, Staff Attorney from the Disability Rights Network of PA and Vicki Sirockman, Executive Director at Healthy Start. Public comment begins around the 38 minute mark.
It’s been one month since Frank Smart, 39, died, after less than a day in ACJ custody. “I lost one whole child because of one pill. All he needed was one pill,” said Tomi Harris, mother of Frank Smart, who died at ACJ on January 5, 2015. During a phone call hours before his death, Frank said that he was not being provided his anti-seizure medication.
Unfortunately, Mr. Smart was not the first member of our community to lose his life at the hands of Corizon Prison Health Management under the careless watch of Allegheny County officials.
It is time to act to ensure that no more fathers, sons, sisters or wives suffer dire health consequences as a result of unconstitutionally inadequate care created by Corizon’s poor management and cost cutting measures.
Over 18,000 residents of Allegheny County pass through ACJ each year. Once there they are experiencing unacceptable delays in receiving medical care and the denial of necessary prescriptions simply because Corizon has deemed crucial medications too expensive. Compounding matters, the medical staff at ACJ are being denied critical supplies and organizational supports they need to provide care: all with an almost $12 million annual cost to Allegheny County.
Despite repeated warnings and admonishments from public officials and private citizens alike, Corizon is refusing to even admit there is a problem. This should come as no surprise from a national prison profiteer that has been named in over 660 medical malpractice lawsuits.
The ACJ Health Justice Project calls on Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Jail Warden Orlando Harper and the members of the Jail Oversight Board: Judge Cashman, Judge Williams, Ms. Lazlo, Ms. Moss, Sheriff Mullen, and Dr. Walker to step up to the plate and sincerely oversee the abysmal medical care at ACJ. They cannot continue to look the other way when the mortality rate at the ACJ is twice that of the national average. The ACJ Health Justice Project calls on these members of our County government to ensure that members of our community are not being sentenced to death at the time of incarceration at ACJ. Corizon Health has shown time and time again that they do not care about the health and well being of our community.
Rich Fitzgerald, Warden Harper, Judge McDaniel, Judge Williams, Ms. Lazlo, Ms. Moss, Sheriff Mullen and Dr. Walker, have the responsibility to stop these human rights abuses. Do not commit another taxpayer dollar to Corizon Health, show them the door this September. Our community deserves better.