On July 16, 2020, Judge Roslyn Silver of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona set a trial between Arizona’s Department of Corrections and a class of Arizona’s prisoners alleging grossly inadequate health care in the state’s prison system. Arizona, like more than half of the states in the U.S., has outsourced prison health care to private correctional healthcare providers. While correctional healthcare providers win states over with promises of cost-effective care and limited liability, ever since the emergence of the correctional healthcare industry in the 1970s, problems with privatized health care in jails and prisons have persisted, creating legal and ethical concerns about the role of forprofit providers in public correctional institutions. This Note examines the rise of the correctional healthcare industry and brings awareness to the inherent flaws of the private delivery model. This Note also provides a case study of New York City’s successful departure from privatized correctional health care to illustrate the benefits, capabilities, and policy-driven goals of a public delivery system led by invested stakeholders. This Note then concludes with an argument supporting the deprivatization of correctional health care in favor of public alternatives and hybrid models. This Note contends that only states and public interest partners can ensure adequate oversight and delivery of correctional health care that meets constitutionally acceptable levels. States, and states alone, should take responsibility and accountability for the health, safety, and well-being of their incarcerated populations.



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