- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The nation’s largest for-profit provider of inmate medical services has reached a nearly $4.6 million settlement with New Mexico prisoners.

Corizon Correctional Health settled claims filed by 59 inmates at two New Mexico facilities. Most of the payouts appear to be related to a former Corizon doctor who was accused in lawsuits of sexually abusing dozens of inmates at those prisons.

The prisoners receiving settlements were housed at Guadalupe County Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa and the Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility in Clayton. Payment amounts ranged from $7,130 to $192,400, with 21 settlements of more than $100,000.

The information was released as a partial response to a public records request filed by The New Mexican, the Albuquerque Journal and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

Matthew Coyte, an Albuquerque lawyer who represented 11 inmates who have settled complaints, said he can’t discuss specifics about the cases because he is bound by confidentiality clauses in the settlements.

“It’s terrible that they have to be kept confidential,” he told The New Mexican. “It’s against the public’s interest for them to be that way. The public should know what terrible things are happening in our public jails and prisons.”

More than 75 inmates have filed lawsuits saying they were sexually assaulted by the doctor, and at least three others said he provided inadequate medical care. The doctor, Corizon and The Geo Group, which operates the prisons, denied the allegations in their court responses to the lawsuits.

Corizon fired the doctor in July 2012 after several inmates made complaints to police. The New Mexican reported that the FBI has been investigating the doctor since at least November 2012, but no charges have been filed. His medical license has been suspended by the state medical board.

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