Legislators Seek to Block Privatization of Prison Mental Health Services

HARRISBURG — A bill that would allow 27 Pennsylvania state prisons to outsource mental health services has encountered heavy opposition from state legislatures who are saying such action would put local communities at risk.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections proposed the idea, which would contract out as many as 187 mental health positions including 159 licensed psychologists, with the idea that the plan would be a cost-effective method of improving mental health services.

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New Hampshire Rejects Privatization Bids

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire has dropped its bid to build private prisons for state inmates after an evaluation of the four proposed companies posed concerns of security and failure to meet state compliance, the state announced last week.

MGT of America, a Tallahassee-based consulting company, released a report detailing the evaluation of bids from Corrections Corporation of America, The Geo Group, Management and Training Corporation and The Hunt Group.

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Conmed Signs New Contract in Howard County, Maryland

HANOVER, Md. — Conmed Healthcare Management, Inc., a provider of correctional facility healthcare services to county detention centers, announced in May it signed an agreement with Howard County, Md., for a one-year term with options for nine one-year extensions.

Effective July 1, 2012, this new contract is expected to generate more than $16 million for Conmed from the initial annual rate of $1.6 million plus annual price increases based on the Consumer Price Index.

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Arizona Department of Corrections Privatizes Health Care

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Corrections awarded a $349 million, three-year contract to Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Wexford Health Sources Inc. to privatize health care in Arizona’s state-run prisons.

The contract was approved by Corrections Director Charles Ryan and reviewed by Governor Jan Brewer before issued. The contract will be renewable for two additional years.

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Ohio Looks to Reduce Inmate Population, Privatize

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio House of Representatives passed a measure to reduce the size of the state’s prison population.
The state currently houses approximately 51,000 offenders with capacity for only 38,389 inmates. It is the sixth largest prison system in the United States. House Bill 86 passed by a vote of 95-2.
House Bill 86, passed in a 95-2 vote, allows for the release of inmates who have served at least 85 percent their sentences.

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Michigan Mulls Privatization of Juvenile Justice

LANSING, Mich. — In an effort to make up a $2.8 billion shortfall in statewide revenue, Republican state legislators introduced a bill that would complete the privatization of Michigan’s juvenile justice system.
The long-term plan, which will be considered for the 2011 budget cycle in an effort to streamline government services and avoid statewide tax increases, would result in the state closing at least four high-security facilities and the estimated loss off 274 state employees.

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