fbpx Skip to main content

Punishment & Profit: Healthcare

Punishment & Profit

Originally Aired: Tuesday, April 13, 2021


A year after returning home from prison, formerly incarcerated people have a mortality rate nearly four times the national average. After overdoses, chronic health issues are the leading cause of death, due to poor treatment, neglect and a lack of affordable resources. COVID-19 has raised more acute health risks as staff carry the virus into facilities where access to testing, hygiene products, personal protective equipment, and medical supplies are limited — and social distancing virtually impossible. Join us as we examine healthcare within prisons with former Chief Medical Officer of the NYC Correctional Health Services Dr. Homer Venters, Caroline Isaacs, the Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee, attorney Marcy Croft, and Sheron Edwards, who is serving a 20 year sentence in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for a conviction that he already completed a 20 year sentence for in the Federal system.


Leadership support for The Greene Space’s Artist-in-Residence program is provided by:


Worth Rises is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industry and ending the exploitation of those it touches. The organization exposes the commercialization of the criminal legal system and advocates and organizes to protect and return the economic resources extracted from affected communities and strip the industry of its power. Through this work, Worth Rises is helping to clear the road toward a safe and just world free of police and prisons. Find out more at worthrises.org.

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Bianca is the Founder and Executive Director of Worth Rises, combining her direct experience with the criminal legal system and expertise in financial and legal services to challenge the prison industry.

Before founding Worth Rises in 2017, Bianca was a legal fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she investigated the perverse financial incentives created by correctional funding. Previously, Bianca also worked with various state and local corrections agencies, including New York City, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Most notably, in New York City, she drafted the young adult plan that eliminated solitary confinement for young adults 21 years old and younger—a first in the nation.

Bianca has also consulted to the Association of State Correctional Administrators and worked for the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration at the American Civil Liberties Union. Bianca co-founded College Pathways at Rikers Island, a preparation program for incarcerated students interested in pursuing higher education. 

Before committing her career to the struggle for justice, Bianca worked as a financial analyst at Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. 

Bianca has been honored as a Draper Rickard Kaplan Entrepreneur, Art for Justice Fellow, TED Fellow, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Harvard University Presidential Public Service Fellow, Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellow, Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellow, and an Education Pioneers Analyst Fellow. Bianca holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

homer venters

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Dr. Homer Venters is a physician and epidemiologist working at the intersection of incarceration, health and human rights. Dr. Venters has recently been appointed to serve on the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Since April 2020, Dr. Venters has focused on addressing COVID-19 responses in jails, prisons and immigration detention facilities. Dr. Venters is the former Chief Medical Officer of the NYC Correctional Health Services and author of Life and Death in Rikers Island. Dr. Venters has also worked in the nonprofit sector as the Director of Programs of Physicians for Human Rights and President of Community Oriented Correctional Health Service. Dr. Venters is a Clinical Associate Professor of the New York University College of Global Public Health.

Caroline Isaacs Headshot

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Caroline Isaacs is the Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee’s Arizona office. Caroline has worked for over 20 years advocating for just and effective criminal justice policy in Arizona. She has authored several reports on the poor performance of private prison companies in Arizona, conditions in correctional facilities, and criminal justice policy and sentencing. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Salon.com, The Appeal, Dan Rather Reports, In These Times, Al Jazeera America, The Huffington Post, and numerous state and local media outlets. Caroline also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Network for Justice, of which AFSC-Arizona is a founding member. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of Wooster and a Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University.

Marcy Croft

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Marcy Croft has over 20 years of experience litigating complex cases in difficult jurisdictions including, but not limited to, mass tort, product liability, personal injury, and unfair trade practice matters.

Sheron Edwards

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Sheron Edwards is serving a 20 year sentence in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for a conviction that he already completed a 20 year sentence for in the Federal system. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @freesheronedwards.

The Greene Space is funded by you.

Make a monthly donation of $10 or more to support us and all the programs and podcasts you love from WNYC, WQXR, Gothamist and more!