Monday, August 31, 2009

MTC Getting in on the action

Wow, I'm busy today. Anyway, MTC (Management & Training Corporation, a great name for a prison operator by the way), is encouraged by recent actions taken by ICE. Why? Because they think they could stand to take over a bit more of the booming immigration detention market as the agency refocuses its detention policy. And how it is so sure it will be able to snag more of the market? Easy.

"In recent years, MTC's Willacy and Otero facilities have received deficient ratings in inspections for such things as access to a telephone, food service and environmental health. They have not had the more serious medical violations found in other contract facilities. "

So they're clearly fit to house illegal immigrants.

Sneaky, Sneaky

More from Hernando County, FL:

CCA offered county commissioners a proposal for extending the contract they have (which has been in dispute; see below). Part of the proposal would rework the rate structure for the beds the county helped pay for to give CCA more revenue from them (surprise, surprise.) But when all was said and done, in full knowledge that the county has already withheld nearly half a million dollars and wants to cut half a million more, CCA's proposal would have cost the county an additional $1 million. Thankfully, the board of commissioners promptly rejected this proposal.

They should have seen it coming

Follow up on the case in Kentucky in which numerous instances of sexual assault were uncovered between guards and the female inmates:

Despite nearly 4 years' worth of internal reports performed by the KY-DOC showing the Otter Creek Correctional Facility was understaffed, the department never found it necessary to invoke their right to fine CCA for not properly staffing the facility. Further, some of the positions may have been vacant for longer than 60 days, which should have escalated the fines against CCA. Oh, and Kentucky happens to be 1 of only 3 states in which sexual assault by a correctional officer is treated as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Friday, August 28, 2009

They try so hard to be secretive

Back to current events...

CCA has been arguing back and forth with county commissioners in Hernando County, FL for a few months now. The county withheld more than $400,000 in fees due to a discrepancy over the payment formula in the current contract. That contract is now up for renegotiation, with the county requesting that CCA wave the schedule 4% increase in fees scheduled for the next fiscal year so they can save more than $500,000 (as they try to balance their budget). CCA has pushed hard for the negotiations to take place in private (even meeting privately with a few commissioners individually), but (most of) the county commissioners, citing a statute known as the "Sunshine Law" are arguing that the negotiations should take place in a public forum. Bravo, Hernando County Commissioners. Even if you're going to continue to contract with them, I hope you are successful in making the negotiations public.

Why I hate ICE too

(the last of the older ones, I promise; from July 21)

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) broke numerous laws and internal agency regulations in their notorious raids. I know it seems a little off-topic, but these raids and the enhanced pros/persecution of immigrants under the boosh administration has coincided neatly with the resurrection and recent proliferation of private prisons, many of which house the immigrants, legal or not, and make a pretty penny doing so.

Ooh I hate them so much!

(another older one)

Political corruption, questionable construction timelines, and the usual assaults and denial of medical care

all resulting in nearly $600 million worth of contracts in the past dozen years.

GEO clearly earned it.

They're branching out

(another slightly older story)

The GEO group used a subsidiary company to fleece the TX legislature into giving them a $7.5 million contract to run a psychiatric hospital. When lawmakers found out that GEO was behind the company awarded the contract, they weren't too happy, especially in light of all the recent problems that had surfaced at the prisons they operate.

It's been said that prisons are this country's largest mental institutions (after mass shutterings of such facilities from the 60's through the 80's left thosuands of mentally ill on the streets, many of which have been locked up for drugs and other minor crime). Maybe GEO just thought this was the next logical place to branch out....

They deny treatment for chronic medical conditions

This is another one of the older stories I referenced a short while back. This is from July 3 of this year in Willacy County, TX (which I mentioned a few posts ago). A man at the Willacy Unit, a CCA facility, succumbed to an asthma attack after he was denied an asthma pump (according to the charges). This is indicative of one of the biggest problems in private prisons; cost cutting measures. Aside from keeping facilities short staffed (which leads to a whole host of problems), private prison operators are becoming notorious for witholding medical treatment even for treatable chronic conditions. I think GEO is probably the worst of the two biggies in this department, as they recently have had a few folks die in their facilities and riots by prisoners protesting, among other things, those deaths and the lack of adequate medical care.

But this is a very serious problem. Especially in recent months, with the economy the way it is, if a prison administrator (in this case, CCA) is looking to cut back on expenditures, one way to do that is through medical care. The contracts these prisons have generally provide them with a set amount of income per prisoner, per day. They spend that money in a bunch of different ways, but it is essentially the decision of the prison administrators how to distribute it. And unfortunately, all too often that means witholding medical care from sick individuals.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

They torture the mentally ill and get away with it

A mentally ill man in prison for violating the terms of his parole stemming from a drug charge was placed in solitary confinement at a CCA facility in Nashville, TN for nine months. A lawsuit filed on his behalf was recently dismissed because he could not demonstrate a physical injury stemming from his time in the hole.

The physical injury requirement is part of a law called the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). One provision of this law says that, in order to proceed on damages for mental or emotional distress/injury, one needs to also demonstrate a physical injury that resulted from the same action. So take for example a Jewish prisoner who is being denied kosher meals by prison staff. Because this would not constitute a physical injury, he could not seek damages in court for the mental and emotional anguish he suffered.

The PLRA is a terrible law with a few other provisions that make it excessively difficult for prisoners to challenge the conditions of their confinement in court, but seeing as it's not the topic of this blog, I'll lay off for now. I have a feeling it may surface again...

But this story is pretty big right now. Here's a link to another article on it:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unecessary Profits

This is a pretty general article on the private prison industry in the US but one thing in particular stood out to me. CCA makes $22-$23 per inmate, per day, in profit (at least according to the article). I still haven’t quite figured out how to get in touch with the author to ask him where he came across this number, but if I do I’ll let you all know (all 1 of you who are reading this at this point :) )

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A conflict of interest? Not if Dick Cheney is involved

Dick Cheney’s son-in-law, a former lobbyist for CCA, moved to DHS some time ago and has played a large role in the incarceration of undocumented immigrants, which has resulted in CCA drawing more than half its business from locking up immigrants (costing taxpayers nearly $3 million every day).

PS - you should also look back at some stories from near the beginning of 2009 concerning a DA in I want to say Willacy County TX named Juan Angel Guerra. He brought indictments against Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez for what essentially amounted to a conflict of interest along these lines. If I remember correctly, Cheney invested in the parent company of the GEO group heavily right around the same time the boosh administration ramped up its immigration prosecution (which saved the entire private prison industry), similar to how he invested heavily in haliburton and then had the government contract with them for the war, giving him millions of dollars.

PPS - I hate dick cheney too. hate him. It astounds me that there seems to be no strong impetus to bring him to justice. he's the biggest criminal this country has seen in a long time, far worse than Bernie Madoff, because at least Bernie didn't cause thousands of US men and women to die for a few bucks. but I digress...

Just ridiculous

CCA apparently has a profit margin of nearly 10%. And they made $1.6 BILLION in revenue over the last year. Glad to see that my tax dollars aren’t being wasted or used for amoral purposes.

They profit from taxpayer dollars

Another slightly older article. This is just a quarterly earnings report for the GEO group, which made $7 million more in revenue in the second quarter of 2009 than the second quarter of 2008. That includes more than $2.5 million in extra profit over the 2nd quarter of 2008. That's right; GEO group made more than $16 million in PROFIT in 3 months in 2009. And they're not even the biggest dog on the block

First of a few older articles

So this blog arose out of a string of emails I would send describing why I hated a particular private prison company on a given day. I am going to post some of the more ridiculous things I came across in those emails, here. So these articles are a bit older, but definitely help explain the reasons I hate private prisons.

For today's article, we have a really good in-depth report on how the GEO group uses tons of money to lobby the Texas legislature to have them essentially ignore the egregious vioaltions of human rights going on in their facility. They then propose building new prisons, which of course would be run at the highest standards like all other GEO facilities, and have high-priced lobbyists with connections in high places work towards securing them more contracts. I highly suggest reading this to get a good idea of how these private companies still push their political agenda even though the atrocities that take place in their facilities are well-documented.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Just a link to an article that sums up the immigration detention situation pretty well, while detailing the factors that contribute to people's ignorance/apathy. (Click title for link)

Friday, August 7, 2009

They're trying to rip off Hernando County, FL

CCA has been in a dispute with county commissioners in Hernando county, Florida, for a while over more than $400,000 in witheld funds for the facility. Apparently, CCA agreed to give 30% of the revenue made from new beds added during a controversial and county-assisted expansion of the facility, and now doesn't want to give the county the revenue they originally promised. Stay Classy, CCA.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

They're taking all our money

CCA reported its quarterly earnings today. They earned $32.6 million in net income over the past quarter (3 months, or about 90 days). That comes down to more than 322 THOUSAND dollars EVERY DAY that they made in profit, from taxpayer dollars. What is even worse is that "conservative" economic policies and politicians are the biggest proponents of private prisons, while they complain about taxing people who earn more than $250,000 per year to improve health coverage. I guess it makes sense, though, since so many of them invest in private prisons, like Mr. Cheney and Gonzalez.