State must take care of prisoners

South Bend Tribune

In looking at the health care in Indiana’s prisons, we discovered heart-wrenching tales of death and anguish, as well as questions about the state’s oversight.

When Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2005 decided to turn prison health care over to a private company — as part of a larger push to privatize state services — was it the right move? There are legitimate concerns about how well inmates are being served by the company, Corizon Health, and how well the state is monitoring the level of care.

Complaints spiked in Indiana 2015, while officials in other states have accused Corizon of cutting corners to save money. Then there are the human stories, including that of the Centerville man who died in prison after just 37 days even though prison officials knew of his health struggles, including the need for a tracheostomy tube.

Inmates have a right to quality health care, and the state has an obligation to provide it, as difficult as the task may be. It’s time for Indiana to meet that obligation.