MHM provides mental health services to federal and state prisons and local jails in more than 250 facilities across 14 states, serving approximately 280,000 inmates. As part of its service package, MHM offers community re-entry programs, caseload management, pharmaceutical/psychotropic management, and specialized mental health programming. The company also provides correctional medical staffing services using a blended system of care wherein the state retains select management staff. In addition, MHM is responsible for corrections facilities’ pharmacy management. The company was founded in 1981, and its headquarters are in Vienna, Virginia.
Human rights groups and state investigators have repeatedly reported an inadequate quality of services by MHM Services. In 2014 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed suit against the company in Alabama, citing a failure to provide adequate care, medicating prisoners against their will, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, and cruel and unusual punishment. In 2002, women prisoners at an MHM-contracted facility in Alabama filed a class action suit against the company citing “inadequate medical and mental health care.” They won their case in 2007. Still, former employees charge that an enduring “culture of abuse” and systematic inefficiencies in care continue to exists.
In Maryland, auditors found that inadequate staffing lead to a breakdown in treatment, including denial of medical services, untimely dispersal of medications, and issues with chronic care and screening. Tennessee auditors came to similar conclusions. Prison-advocates have also accused MHM of violating its contract terms in Missouri by failing to provide individual counseling, and substituting therapy with overuse of medications, though the state has yet to investigate.
In Pennsylvania, an investigation by the Human Rights Coalition discovered MHM was responsible for inadequate, often non-existent, and sometimes abusive treatment, denial of medications, and a lack of staffing, privacy, and inpatient treatment programs. For these reasons several state legislators and the Service Employees International Union opposed the renewal of MHM’s contract in 2014.
In MHM-contracted facilities in Utah, Vermont, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Florida, deaths have occurred as the result of starvation, denial of necessary medication, neglect, and improper use of restraints. In all of the above instances the families of the deceased have sued MHM and won, or are currently pursuing litigation against the company.
In 2013 MHM co-launched Centurion, a joint venture with Centene Corporation, another corrections health service provider. As of 2015 Centurion operates in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Vermont, where its state contracts include full healthcare staffing and management for state prisons.