by Pam Zubeck
Armor Correctional Health Services of Miami, the private company paid to handle jail health care, has failed to protect some Broward inmates endangered by their mental illnesses — with deadly consequences, a Sun Sentinel investigation has found.
An examination of inmate deaths since 2010 and a review of thousands of pages of court, medical and jail records shows:
• Armor has left severely mentally ill inmates unmedicated and malnourished, despite having the authority to help them. Lack of medication can worsen mental health symptoms, leading mentally ill people to not eat and to harm themselves.
• Despite longstanding concerns about the impact of isolation on mentally ill inmates, seven killed themselves or suffered dramatic weight loss while being held alone in cells.
• Armor staff acknowledged mishandling the care of at least four mentally ill inmates before their deaths.
• Though the Sheriff's Office pays Armor $25 million a year in taxpayer money to provide health services in the jails, Armor does not share its death investigation reports with the Sheriff's Office.
• County taxpayers since 2004 have paid more than $1.5 million for federal court monitoring of Broward jails. Yet attorneys appointed to oversee the jails weren't aware of Herring's death until the Sun Sentinel inquired about his case.
The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists honor outstanding achievement by professionals under the age of 35 in local, national and international reporting.
The largest all-media, general reporting prize in American journalism, the Livingston Awards judge print, broadcast and online journalism against one another, a practice of increasing interest as technology blurs the traditional distinctions between the branches of journalism.
Each year three prizes of $10,000 are presented by the judging panel at a New York luncheon. Leading media figures and the winners’ families and colleagues attend to honor the winners. By recognizing the best young talent early in their careers, the Livingston Awards seeks to support the work of young journalists, create modern role models for the next generation of news consumers and advance excellence in journalism.
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