Illinois contractor providing health care in prisons is subject of numerous complaints by inmates, grantee finds

“Although a program of comprehensive medical care is required, not every diagnosis mandates treatment,” says a handbook issued by Wexford in 2008. Credit: John Garrison for Chicago Reader

The company providing health care in Illinois prisons was the subject of several confidential court settlements about complaints of poor care, even as it held the $1.4 billion state contract for prison health care, Clarissa Donnelly-DeRoven found in an investigation for the Chicago Reader, with support from the Fund. The company, Wexford Health Services, has worked with the Illinois state prison system since the 1990s. The company also controls the medical systems of at least 120 prisons and jails in several other states, including New Mexico, Arizona, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia and New Hampshire. In addition to a grant, Donnelly-DeRoven received free legal assistance on the story through the Fund’s partnership with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.