For Immediate Release
April 10, 2015
Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
Grosso Will Vote “No” on D.C. Jail Healthcare Services Contract
Washington, D.C. –- Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) released the following statement today on his plan to break with his history of abstaining from votes on contracts before the D.C. Council:
"On Tuesday, the Council is scheduled to vote on a contract to provide healthcare services to inmates across D.C. Department of Corrections facilities. I will vote "no." This decision was not made lightly; sometimes one strong, principled stance outweighs another principled stance. And, after careful consideration and a review of Corizon Health, Inc.'s well-documented history of failing to provide adequate medical care to inmates across the country, I must take a strong stand.
"In my time on the Council I have championed good government and ethics reform. I believe the Council's role in voting on contracts over $1 million can be used as a vehicle for corruption and I have consistently voted "present" on those contracts. Despite this practice, it has always been my contention that Council oversight of the contracting and procurement process is critical. Even if the Council was not required to vote on contracts, I would still work diligently to prevent this company from operating in the D.C. Jail given their objectionable track record.
"Awarding this contract would be an absolute failure of government to protect the health and well-being of District of Columbia residents who are in jail. Corizon's history of failing to provide necessary medical care, allowing extreme delays in medical services to persist and operating substandard facilities cannot and should not be ignored. The circumstances surrounding this contract are too egregious to overlook.
“Just as I have worked to encourage greater government transparency, accountability and heightened ethics standards, I have also grounded all of my work on the Council in the principles of human rights. Our inmates, just like everyone else, deserve to be treated with dignity. Those in D.C. corrections facilities have a human right to the highest standard of healthcare and safeguarding those rights is imperative. Therefore, I am obligated to take this deliberate, important and principled stance against this contract.”