: News

Death of Inmate Raises Questions

Play associated audio

By Michael Pope

In Virginia, health-care providers at the Alexandria city jail are facing a wrongful death lawsuit allegeding a constitutional violation of cruel and unusual punishment.

As Northern Virginia Michael Pope reports, the complaint is based on a case involving a 24-year-old mentally ill inmate who died of dehydration.

Like many people who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, Farah Salah Farah's disease didn't materialize until he was 18.

After he began acting strangely, he was expelled from T.C. Williams High School.

Then he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and taken to jail, where he died of dehydration.

Attorney Victor Glasberg says part of the problem is the private health care in the city jail.

"To put it into the hands of a profitmaking enterprise is, I think, a terrible, terrible policy mistake and bespeaks the fact that inmates have no advocates and no political clout," Glasberg says.

American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia director Kent Willis says the problem is systemic.

"We're talking about a delivery of health-care services that is embarrassingly poor in Virginia, and one that results in a lot of illness that shouldn't have to happen," he says.

A spokesman for Tennessee-based Correct Care Solutions wouldn't comment on the lawsuit.

But he says the Alexandria operation is accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare.


An Exuberantly Dark First Novel Explores The Chaos Of Central Africa

Fiston Mwanza Mujila's novel, Tram 83, is a freewheeling tale about life in an imaginary place inspired by the author's home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Critic John Powers has a review.
WAMU 88.5

Marion Nestle: "Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (And Winning)"

Changing public attitudes have led to a decline in U.S. soda sales. But health expert Marion Nestle believes many people still consume unhealthy amounts of sugary drinks. She argues beverage companies are spending millions on research that misleads consumers.


Sen. Harry Reid Sues Makers Of Exercise Band Over His Injuries

The Senate minority leader and his wife are seeking more than $50,000 in damages over what they say is a defective resistance band that caused him to lose sight in his right eye, among other injuries.

How Skyscraper Construction Ties Into Tech Bubbles

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about a tech bubble.Our Planet Money podcast team examines one possible indicator of a bubble: architecture. Very, very tall architecture.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.