Privately run health care in prisons : an industry and health impacts analysis




Larsen, Rebecca Ann

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The following report is an assessment of the privatization of health care in prisons. It attempts to better understand the industry, the leading companies, and to determine whether they are providing adequate and constitutionally mandated levels of care. The report begins with an overview of prison health care in the United States, covering its history and its current state. It then examines the private correctional health care industry by looking at industry structure, market share, and leading companies. In an attempt to analyze the impact this industry has on people behind bars, several research approaches were utilized, including a literature review, a review of government reports and court documents, a review of case studies, a narrative report of one individual's experiences, and an assessment of mortality rates. Research findings suggest that the current privatization model incentivizes limiting services rather than improving oversight and access to care. Mortality rates were found to be the highest in privately run care facilities. Case study findings further suggest that private correctional care is routinely inadequate and exposes prisoners to harm and risk of harm, including inhibited access to care, severe medical conditions, amputations, suicide, and death. The propensity of this harm compared to publicly run care remains inconclusive. Increased independent oversight and population reduction over privatization are recommended.



LCSH Subject Headings