What to Know
Of 12 inmates who died at the jail since Armor started providing service there in 2011, 5 had inadequate care, the AG's office says
Armor denies the claims of neglect and said it is proud of its work caring for inmates at the facility
The lawsuit is seeking to compel Armor to pay damages to Nassau County and to forbid the company from bidding on contracts in the state
New York's top prosecutor announced Tuesday that his office is suing the medical provider for a Long Island jail after an I-Team investigation uncovered allegations the company repeatedly denied inmates adequate care.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the lawsuit against Armor Correctional Health Services, a for-profit firm that supplies medical care to inmates at Nassau County Correctional Center, alleging that the company failed to provide proper health care to inmates.
"Prison inmates rely on companies providing health services for a wide range of medical issues, many of which have gone untreated," Schneiderman said. "Those struggling with chronic diseases, mental health and substance abuse problems deserve comprehensive, reliable and high-quality medical care.”
Schneiderman's suit alleges that Armor failed to meet several performance standards but repeatedly billed Nassau County in full for services. The attorney general's office alleges that neglect dramatically impacted inmates' health; a state investigation found of the 12 inmates who died at the jail since Armor started providing service there in 2011, five were found to have received inadequate care.
The suit is seeking to compel Armor to pay damages to Nassau County and to forbid the company from bidding on contracts in the state.
In a statement, Armor spokeswoman Yeleny Suarez said the company would not respond specifically to the lawsuit until it has time to review the complaint, "but any allegation that Armor has failed to provide quality correctional medical care at the facility is simply false."
"Armor has responded to the Attorney General’s office’s numerous requests for documents, repeatedly has presented its personnel to answer any and all of the Attorney General’s questions, and repeatedly has offered to give the Attorney General’s office a tour of the facility so that it could see first-hand the quality of care provided by Armor," Suarez said. "However, the Attorney General’s office has refused to visit the facility. Further, Armor has provided a substantial amount of data that simply is contradictory to any claim of deficient patient care."
"Armor is proud of its work caring for the inmates at the Nassau County facility, and will continue to do so as long as Nassau County wants it to do so," Suarez added. "Armor also intends to vigorously defend against claims filed by the Attorney General."
The attorney general's office had no immediate response to Armor's statement about its invitation to visit the facility.
The lawsuit comes months after a robbery suspect sued the medical provider alleging that he was denied care by Armor after suffering a broken jaw.
The state's Commission of Correction also accused the company of being negligent, deficient and incompetent in the treatment of a burglary suspect died after a hereditary condition caused his neck to swell behind bars, constricting his air passage.
Nassau County officials had renewed an $11 million contract with Armor in 2015 without putting it out to bid. A spokesman for the sheriff's department also praised the company at that time. A county attorney later told the I-Team that it had looked into canceling the contract but found the costs too high.
The county did not respond to the Associated Press' requests for comment Tuesday.