Audit Begins Into Medical Care At Milwaukee County Jails

Audit Comes After 4 People Died In Recent Months At County Jail

meesh (CC BY 2.0)

Milwaukee County auditors have started an investigation into medical care at the county jail where four people have died in recent months.

Audit director Jerry Heer said his staff will investigate whether Armor Correctional Health Services is meeting the requirements for medical care. Amor is under contract with the county to provide care at the Milwaukee County Jail and the House of Correction.

The jail has been under scrutiny following the deaths of four people, including a newborn, since April. Heer said they will be aware of the publics concerns about the deaths during the audit.

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“Our hypothesis is always take those and determine whether the evidence is there to affirm or refute what is becoming kind of common perceptions or the beliefs about what’s going on,” Heer said.

He said he won’t speculate on details surrounding the deaths.

“I can’t, as an auditor, tell you that I’ve got an opinion one way or the other about whether or not it’s just a series of unfortunate events or whether it’s something that would have been preventable,” Heer said. “That’s up to those conducting the investigation to sort out.”

Heer said he expects the audit to fully ramp up after the new year and it could take six months or longer to complete.

Milwaukee County Board chairman Theodore Lipscomb Sr. recently requested an audit for both jails after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailed Armor’s staffing and performance issues in light of the four deaths.

A report released earlier this year by court appointed jail monitor, Ronald Shansky, showed more than 30 percent of required medical positions were vacant. The report also highlighted psychiatric services were only being offered two days a week at the jail which currently holds about 950 inmates.

The Milwaukee County Jail is run by the sheriff’s office. The House of Correction, run by county officials, has about 1,250 on a daily basis. The deaths are under investigation.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include original reporting from WPR