Death and the Bottom Line

by
Abby Zimet

Xavius Scullark-Johnson is why the profit motive and a politically powerless population should never be combined. Scullark-Johnson, 27, was three months from getting out of prison for a probation violation when Minnesota corrections officials "put him to death" in his urine-soaked cell in June 2010 by refusing him medical care and turning away an ambulance after he suffered several seizures, says a federal lawsuit brought Monday by his family. A state spokesman says the DOC's contract with a for-profit health care company works to "manage care in a cost-efficient manner" and "balance the needs of our offender population with the limited resources appropriated by the Legislature." That balancing act, says Olivia Scullark, killed her son.

"They failed him that night, and they need to have some consequences for what they didn't do and for what they let happen...These people are supposed to be there to help...Taxpayer dollars don't go to them to do that to my kid, let alone anybody else's kid."

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