Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, June 16, 2024
After more charges have been filed in the 2016 homicide of a Milwaukee prison inmate, State Sen. Lena Taylor has called for more oversight and resources for the treatment of people incarcerated by the state.

After more charges have been filed in the 2016 homicide of a Milwaukee prison inmate, State Sen. Lena Taylor has called for more oversight and resources for the treatment of people incarcerated by the state.

As new charges arise, state and local governments face increased scrutiny over inmate treatment

Amid a litany of abuse allegations around the state criminal justice system, new charges have been brought forward in the 2016 dehydration death of Milwaukee County inmate Terrill Thomas.

Thomas had gone a week without water and lost 34 pounds before being found dead last year in his cell.

After an investigation into Thomas’ death, which was ruled a homicide, criminal charges were recommended against seven prison workers by a county jury, though only three have been formally charged.

Now, several charges are being brought against the prison’s contracted health care company for intentionally falsifying health care records.

A complaint by the county alleges that Armor Correctional Health employees falsified several health reports, claiming to have completed several health assessments of the inmate, during the week leading up to his death, while video surveillance from the prison shows otherwise.

The company disputed the allegations in a statement.

“The charges are based upon the alleged failures of three individuals. This is not a reflection of Armor’s culture or representative of the many care-providers dedicated to providing medical and mental health treatment in the Milwaukee County Jail,” Armor Correctional said in the release. "At the jail, approximately 37,000 health screenings occur annually which facilitates an additional 90,000 medical, mental health, and dental patient encounters.”

The county complaint argues that if the company's medical staff had performed the assessments they had reportedly completed, Armor would have been able to identify and treat Thomas’s eventually fatal condition.

“It’s unbelievable that those facing incarceration can be deprived of their humanity by so many entities. If Armor Correctional Health Services had done its job and checked in on the health of Mr. Thomas, it’s likely that he’d still be alive,” said state Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee.

The state has faced a mountain of allegations against state prison and juvenile facility employees and contractors in the last several months, as plans to close the Lincoln Hills juvenile center at the center of the controversy has hit obstacles.

This is not the only case brought against Milwaukee County and Armor Health, who were also sued for the wrongful death of an inmate’s newborn infant last year, in which the mother alleged she went days without receiving medical attention in her maximum security unit before going into labor. She claims her child lived several hours, long enough to breastfeed, before their death.

The suit claims that the mother, Shadé Swayzer, was “deliberately ignored and neglected while she was in the custody and under the care/control of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Milwaukee County, and Armor Correctional (the company contracted to provide medical services at the jail). As a result, (the baby) died in the very same place where she was born — the maximum security unit of the Justice Facility.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

The claim implicates the county sheriff's office as well as Armor Correctional Health.

“People do not stop being humans when they are sentenced or detained, yet their treatment on the part of this contractor says otherwise,” Taylor said. “It’s dumbfounding to see our government fail on so many different levels. First Milwaukee County is unable to fill the prison’s healthcare positions on their own, then they outsource to a company that abandons its patients altogether.”

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal