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Woman Dies during 1,000 Mile Private Prisoner Transport Trip

The death of a woman on a private transport van raised a much needed spotlight on the private prisoner transport industry. The 54-year-old woman was found slumped over in the back of the Prisoner Transportation Services of America (PTS) van after a grueling two-day transport from Kentucky to South Florida.

Denise Isaacs was placed on 18 months’ probation in August 2012 for a grand theft charge related to $1,200 worth of merchandise stolen from a Port Charlotte, Florida, Wal-Mart. Her conviction was to be expunged upon completion of probation. In August 2014, the Florida Department of Corrections moved for her probation to be violated for failure to perform 200 hours of community service and pay $607.98 in court fines. Her probation was previously transferred to Kentucky.

She was arrested and placed in the Fayette County Detention Center. While there, Isaacs complained of not being given medication to treat her bipolar disorder, anxiety, and chronic abdominal pain. Nonetheless, PTS loaded her onto one of its vans for transport to Punta Gorda, Florida, which is the state’s most southwestern coast.

Along the way, stops were made to pick up and drop off other prisoners. When the van stopped at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade to pick up another prisoner, there were eight mail and three female prisoners in the van. The transport offices made a stop at 10 PM at a Taco Bell in Doral; it was then Isaacs was discovered slumped over dead.

 “They shouldn’t have let her make the trip in that condition, knowing she was not eating, knowing she was hallucinating,” said her daughter, Kallie Isaacs. “I knew she wouldn’t be able to make a trip like that because of her weakness and pain.”

 “They let someone die on their watch, and this should not have happened.” said Donald Cohen, executive director of In the Public Interest.

The exact cause of Isaacs’ death has not been determined, but her daughter believes the lack of medical care on the 1,000 mile trip was the major contributor.

Sources: Miami Herald; 

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