Denise Isaacs suffered from a slew of ailments, including bipolar disorder, anxiety and chronic abdominal pain. Isaacs, 54, who was wanted in Florida on a probation violation for shoplifting, was crammed into a stuffy transport van with 10 other shackled inmates for a nearly 1,000-mile trip from Kentucky to Punta Gorda, says the Miami Herald. This month she was found slumped over dead inside the van — operated by Tennessee-based Prisoner Transportation Services of America — during a stop at a restaurant.
Her case offers a window into the world of private inmate-transport companies. It has prompted a law enforcement investigation into whether the transport officers provided her with proper care during the grueling two-day road trip. The company bills itself as the “nation's largest prisoner extradition company and one of the largest international transporters of detainees.” The firm says it transports 10,000 detainees each year for law enforcement. “We can move your prisoner at less cost than if you did it yourself,” the company's website boasts. Last year, two agents of the company left their transport van unattended in Oklahoma, and the inmates broke through a partition and drove away. The eight prisoners were recaptured.