A group of nine U.S. Senators sent a letter to Corizon and its successor companies, including YesCare, criticizing a bankruptcy maneuver the Senators called “abusive.”
YesCare is the recipient of a $1 billion prison healthcare contract in Alabama, and is for all intents and purposes the same company as Corizon. Facing tens of millions in lawsuits, Corizon utilized a complicated bankruptcy in Texas, coined the “Texas two-step” to split into two companies—leaving all the liabilities and debts to Corizon and moving all of the assets to YesCare.
Senators Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Peter Welch, Mazie Hirono, and Jeffrey Merkley signed onto the letter sent Tuesday.
“We are writing to strongly object to the attempt by Corizon Health, Inc. — and related companies … to manipulate bankruptcy law with the aim of skirting accountability for the harms that incarcerated individuals have endured under Corizon’s care,” the Senators wrote in the letter.
The letter points to numerous examples of Corizon being found to provide inadequate care:
Undertreatment of acute and chronic illness (such as the case of a father of four who died three days into a six-day sentence after Corizon providers ignored complaints of intense pain caused by an entirely treatable existing condition providers should have been aware of);
Lack of psychological care (such as a detention center housing 400 mentally ill patients which Corizon chose to staff with just a single psychiatrist);
Failure to adequately staff facilities (including at a facility in Oregon which Corizon left without a registered nurse for almost 20% of the time, though one was supposed to be on call at all times);
Refusal to prescribe appropriate medications (with one nurse alleging that she was explicitly asked “not to prescribe medications that [she] felt . . . were necessary”);
Failure to rectify a culture of sexual abuse and misconduct (such as in the Rikers Island facility in New York, where two Corizon staffers were indicted on multiple charges of rape, sexual abuse, and related crimes); and
The Senators also draw attention to the company’s “largely anonymous investors” and the company’s “obfuscation of its ownership structure” as further casting shadows on the company’s dealings.
“The bankruptcy system has many aims, but it was not designed to provide an avenue for companies to evade accountability for wrongdoing,” the Senators wrote.