Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has ordered an independent review of the troubled state prison health care system, reports the Detroit Free Press. The move comes after a Free Press investigation showed widespread problems with how medical care is delivered to the state’s 50,000 inmates, including the Aug. 6 death of a mentally ill inmate who had spent most of his last four days in four-point restraints. The review will be done by an entity outside the state government.
Michigan asked the federal National Institute of Corrections to advise how to review the health care system, which covers nearly 50 prisons, spokesman Russ Marlan said. The review will cover the entire $190-million-a-year prison health care system, including a $70-million contract with Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., and the additional $90 million a year the state spends on mental health services. The Free Press found widespread problems with misdiagnosis, delayed or denied treatments and inadequate accommodations for people with disabilities. The cases that sparked the review include the death of Timothy Joe Souders, 21, a mentally ill inmate sentenced to 1-4 years for resisting arrest and assault. He died Aug. 6 after being tethered to his bed in a hot isolation cell for most of four days. Doctors failed to treat a cancerous polyp in Lloyd Martell, 41, sentenced to 1-4 years for fleeing a police officer. Martell was released last week — sent home to die.