Illinois signed $1.4 billion prison contract without doing homework

October 3, 2012

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The State of Illinois signed a $1.4 billion prison contract last year without doing its homework. That's according to a study by the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group.

The study found that Illinois never audited Wexford Health Sources' performance providing private health care to Illinois inmates before re-upping Wexford's contract.

John Maki with the John Howard Association says he hears a lot of complaints from inmates about the health care, which is costing taxpayers $115 million a year. “I don't think we fully know what we're getting for this contract. Again, I think it's just good government, you got to show me.  We need an account of how this money is being spent,” said Maki.

In an emailed statement a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said, "The department monitors Wexford through a comprehensive and continuous quality improvement process." Over the course of weeks IDOC refused to provide someone who could explain exactly what's involved in that quality improvement process.