Arlington ends contract with jail health provider a year after inmate death

Arlington County has decided to cut ties with a controversial for-profit health care provider at the county jail.

The Northern Virginia county’s contract with Corizon Health will end next month after 15 years of providing services for inmates.

Officials says they have entered into negotiations with another, as-yet unnamed provider, and the new medical contractor is expected to start offering health care services on Nov. 15.

“The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing the highest level of medical services to those in our custody and I take each individuals care very seriously,” Sheriff Beth Arthur said in a news release. “How we care for those remanded to our custody is a priority.”

Arlington’s decision to end its contract with Corizon comes two weeks after Corizon worker Antoine Smith was charged with falsifying patient records in connection with the death of a 46-year-old man in custody, D.C. resident Darryl Becton.

Becton was found dead in his cell at the Arlington County Detention Center on Oct. 1, 2020. A state medical examiner determined he died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease complicated by opiate withdrawal.

The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney announced Smith’s charge in relation to the case on Oct. 12 of this year.

Corizon has faced more than 1,000 lawsuits over substandard care for inmates across the county, The Washington Post reported, and has paid out millions to settle wrongful death lawsuits.

In a statement reacting to Corizon’s termination, the Arlington County NAACP noted six in-custody deaths in six years under county custody, and said it would “continue to seek justice to find all who are responsible, complicit, and/or negligent in the deaths of those in-custody and hold them accountable.”

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez contributed to this report.

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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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