Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Great Op-Ed on the Cluster**** that is GEO

Just wanted to pass along this great Op-Ed by the advocacy coordinator at the ACLU of Texas regarding the GEO group and the delporable conditions that exist at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, TX (The site of those riots from about a year ago)

Underpaid, Undertrained Staff

Corrections officers at CCA facilities in Arizona get paid about half as much as those employed by the state, and only receive about 1/3 of the training. No wonder CCA is able to provide such a great bargain on incarceration. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More of the same

A female inmate was raped at a CCA facility in New Mexico by an education director who threatened to prolong her sentence if she refused. Unfortunately, this isn't very surprising given the fact that CCA doesn't provide as much training for their employees as government-run facilities, or conduct proper background checks of their employees. Until they raise their standards, they can expect to have more employees engaging in inappropriate behavior with the prisoners under their care.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Greasing the wheels

CCA has spent thousands of dollars on ethically-questionable fundraisers for Congressman Benny Thompson (D-MS), who is currently under investigation in an ethics probe. They apparently spent this money for a party in honor of Mr. Thompson, which was thrown by a private company run by two current and one former House staffers. This is bad because these staffers are using their political connections to increase their own personal wealth (see: everything Dick Cheney does), and CCA is happy to contribute.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview with Tom Barry

Tom Barry, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for International Policy, will be featured in an interview available online tonight. He will be discussing the prevlance of privately-operated prisons in the midst of our country's overzealous persecution and imprisonment of immigrants. Should be a good one. You should also check out Mr. Barry's fantastic expose on the private prison industry that came as a result of the riots at a GEO facility in Pecos Texas, from the Boston Review.

Sticking it to the little guy

In response to the numerous lawsuits filed by a coalition of citizens opposed to bringing a private prison to their community, CCA has filed a claim to be reimbursed $7,500 in legal costs. Of course, CCA, who spent nearly 1,000 times that amount to secure the land for this project, before a final deal was in place, doesn't need this money. They just want to pressure the group into stopping their legal challenges to keep their community how they like it. And on top of all that, these legal bills were likely only so high because of delaying and diversionary tactics used by CCA during the litigation. And take it from someone who knows a thing or two about lawsuits; CCA likely did everything they could, at practically every stage of the process, to prolong discovery or distract attention from the merits of the suit.

I hate you, CCA.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why you should hate privatization too

An excellent article detailing the lapses in oversight and common sense the allowed for two corrupt judges in PA to funnel literally thousands of juveniles to private facilities without giving them due process or often even access to an attorney, while they received kickbacks from the owners of the prisons for sending kids their way. This was a deplorable situation that serves as a good example of everything that is wrong with privatizing corrections and making them a for-profit venture.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I hate privatization, in an editorial nutshell

Please just click on the link to read an editorial from the Indiana Tribune-Star on how privatizing prison services like food delivery and medical care harms not only those in prison, but their families and loved ones as well.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Go Get'er, Ken!

Just a quick link to a powerful, succinct letter to the editor from Ken Kopczynski of Private Corrections Institute (check out the link to their site on the right), slamming Louise Grant's condemnation of PCI and outlandish claims of all the "great" things CCA does for the communities that host them.

(Also see my previous entry, "Why I Hate Louise Grant Today")

The tide is turning!

OK, well no it isn't. But a guy can hope, can't he? CCA announced it is closing one of its prisons because they can't get a large enough inmate population to make it economically viable. Hopefully, this is the first of many private facilities to be clsoed as states realize locking up perpetually increasing numbers of people isn't economically feasible. But I'm not exactly holding my breath

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why I Hate the Fresno County, CA Grand Jury Today

They want to use more private prisons. I know, I know; California's system is wicked overcrowded and something needs to be done, and fast. But turning to private prisons is not the answer, in the short term or long term. If you ever want to get serious about not having a system at 180% capacity, you need to start removing people from prison with things like sentencing reform, expansion of parole/probation, and alternative sentences. Don't just keep shifting folks around to new facilities; that doesn't help dig you out of the hole at all. And you're in a pretty deep one, CA.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Costly, Inhumane, and Inefficient Mess

Just a quick link to a story in today's NYT by a great reporter named Nina Bernstein, who has written extensively on the failings of our immigration detention system. Enjoy

Monday, November 30, 2009

Political Contributions = new contracts

After donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns in California(specifically, for the governator and some power-wielding members of the legislature), CCA was awarded a contract extension that gives them an extra $54.4 million per year from the state. Nice to see a little quid pro quo in action.

PS - Can't find the link, but this ran in a story in the Los Angeles Daily Journal on November 23, 2009 by Matthew Pordum titled "CCA $$$ to Governator had nothing to do with contract extension – Right"


A state rep from PA resigned from GEO's board and exercised more than $100,000 in stock options right before he stepped down, which came only days before he was indicted on multiple felony counts. He realized he would lose his pension if convicted of the fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice, so he just wanted to make sure he got his fair share before that happened.

More Aramark Controversy

Prisoners in Georgia are protesting the cold food they've been served for over a month by Aramark. A bunch of equipment (kettles, etc.) in the kitchen has been broken for more than 5 weeks and has yet to be repaired. Of course, Georgia hasn't stepped in to do anything, despite the fact that this is a clear violation of the law (in Georgia, prisoners must receive at least 2 hot meals every day).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Funding Republican Bashes

CCA was a primary sponsor of a recent gala party for the Republican Governors' Association. What a nifty little way for them to woo conservative jerks who funnel them contracts without explicitly donating to their campaigns. I hate backdoor politics, and I hate CCA

How many times do I have to say it? You get what you pay for

A recent investigation found that cell phones are being smuggled into TN prisons frequently, especially into private facilities run by CCA. As the article properly points out, the COs often bring in the phones because they need extra money and can sell them to prisoners for hundreds of dollars. Why do these guards need more money? Because CCA and other private prison companies don't hire unionized workers, and pay lower-than-market wages to non-unionized, undertrained, often poorly qualified staff. You get what you pay for, Tennessee.

PS - the inmate who shot officer Mark Chestnut, who is now suing CCA for failure to follow even their own policies to keep him incarcerated, was able to escape via a smuggled-in cellphone.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why I hate the feds today

The widow of a Chinese immigrant who died at a Rhode Island Jail is fighting to keep the federal government as a defendant in her suit. I hate the feds because this is exemplary of their entire mentality towards private prisons; as long as they aren't operating them personally, they think they're absolved of responsibilty for any problems that occur there. Man up, US government; you sent the man there and gave this company the right to imprison him. This is partially your fault.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Riots over Food

A CO from Kentucky testified that the riots that took place at Northpoint Correctional Facility in August were a direct result of the food, or better yet, "slop" that the prisoners were forced to eat. Of course, Aramark, who provides the food for all the KY-DOC, denies this, regardless of the fact that complaints about their food services have spiked dramatically in the past few months.

A great OpEd

Just a quick link to a wonderful OpEd by Yoni Binstock reagrding prison privatization and our country's drive to incarcerate everyone

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why I Hate Louise Grant Today

Louise Grant, VP of Communications for CCA, recently submitted a letter to the editor in a newspaper in Millen, GA, attacking the good folks over at PCI for properly pointing out that CCA prisons aren't all they're cracked up to be. Of course, using the typical conservative method of attacking your opponent's credibility and motives, she summarily dismissed PCI's involvement in the debate as a bunch of uninformed outsiders trying to screw over Jenkins county. Well, I hate you Louise Grant, and all the fools from Jenkins, GA who buy your slanderous, fallacious drivel.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why I Hate GEO today

A top-flight fundraiser for dubya is on trial for insider trading involving his stock activity with Correctional Services Corp right before it was purchased by the GEO group. Zach Zachariah's (seriously, that's his name) brother was working as a consultant for GEO at the time and tipped him off to the acquisition, in which he purchased 35,000 shares of stock at $21 that was going to be sold at $26 the next day.

Mind you, this is the same company that ole dick was involved with (i.e. investing tons of money in) that spawned the conflict-of-interest suits brought by DA Juan Guerra about a year ago. That suit revolved around cheney having a considerable sum invested in the company while dictating (yes, that's what he did) immigration policy that subsequently exploded the immigration detention business, of which GEO has been a major player. So cheney dictated policy for his own financial advantage. Who would have thought?

So this is now two people very closely tied to Bush that have had very shady investment activity in one of the major private prison operators in the country. No wonder they're able to continue their operations in light of the fact that they continuously fail to live up to the standards of government-run facilities.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

i hate you too cornell

Cornell Corrections just released their quarterly results: $7.5 million in profits. Cornell is the 3rd-largest private prison operator in the country. So the top 3 private prison operators in the country made more than $72 million in profit in the past four months. By incarcerating people. Am I crazy to think this is just wrong?

And the results are in....

CCA earned $45 effing million dollars in the past quarter. that's profit, not revenue. so GEO and CCA have made more than $65 million in profit off taxpayer dollars in the past 4 months. I should probably stop now before i delve into a string of expletives. but i really, really hate you today, CCA

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Police Officer Suing CCA for $14 million for failure to follow policy

Officer Mark Chestnut was shot by an escaped CCA inmate during a traffic stop. CCA failed to follow even its own policy upon learning of the escape, taking 2 days to alert authorities to the situation. I applaud Mr. Chestnut for taking them to task on failing to follow even their own policies. I hope that he is awarded significant damages if for no other reason than to send a message to private prison operators that they will be held accountable if they fail to protect public safety, which should be their primary function and objective. I worry however that we may only see more of this in the future as states seem to be increasingly turning to private beds in the (misguided) belief that they will offer some sort of savings over public facilities.

Unfortunately this is not the first, and won't be the last time lax security at private institutions threatens public safety. Maybe if CCA and others were a little more concerned with providing quality supervision of the inmates in their ward and less with turning a profit, this wouldn't have happened.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I Hate GEO today

The GEO group just released its 3rd-quarter stock results. They earned nearly $20 million in profit over the past 4 months (profit from taxpayer dollars, mind you). It just blows my mind to try to think of ANY reason a private company should be able to profit off taxpayer dollars at all, let alone to this extent. Maybe if we didn't divert tens of millions of tax dollars to the pockets of the scumbags who run private prison companies and other government-funded ventures, we wouldn't be in such economic distress. But no, it's those damn tax-and-spend liberals who cause all the problems in America, right?

PS - I haven't seen CCA's earnings but they usually come close to doubling what GEO makes, so that's about $60 million of taxpayer dollars going to these companies as profit.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm a little torn, but pretty sure I'll end up hating them

A Christian non-profit group has proposed opening a private prison in Oklahoma.

I don’t know how to feel about this. On the one hand, a nonprofit private prison would be a welcome relief from the profit-driven world of private incarceration we currently have. On the other hand, it seems like the operation of this prison would violate the separation of church and state on numerous levels (though, considering private prisons aren't often perceived to be government entities, they could possibly circumvent that obstacle). Oh, and the prison administrators for some reason think that the “criminals” that go into prison (you know, that homogenous group of like-minded evildoers ready to ruin society) are somehow distinct from “citizens,” because when you go into prison you relinquish your citizenship and the rights and privileges that go along with it (following their unstated logic), and they’re ready to transform them back into that group of right-minded “citizens.” So maybe I’m leaning a little towards hating them.

Oh I'm sure this couldn't possibly end bad

Oklahoma, in the midst of a huge budget crunch, has decided to reduce its payment to private prison operators CCA and GEO for the next fiscal year, to try to trim some of the shortfall. There were initially discussions of ending the contracts altogether, but of course the private interests would never let that be. However, they found a great solution. The state will just pay the companies less, and the companies will accordingly reduce the services they provide for the time being. Which is great, in an industry already notorious for cutting corners on its services, leading to all sorts of public health and safety problems. I'm curious as to which services they will reduce? Food for the prisoners? Security? How do you reduce services at a prison? You get what you pay for, OK, so don't be surprised when you have a ton of problems at these facilities in the near future

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What is going on with food recently?

Prisoners in Michigan City, IN have begun to protest the food they're being served by Aramark, saying it's insufficient and gross. So naturally the entire prison is on lockdown. And over in Tennessee, an inmate was ordered to be moved from the prison he was at because he had lost too much weight from a lack of nutrition (http://www.wsmv.com/news/21442692/detail.html). I guess when you try to feed people for $1 at a time it doesn't quite give them the nutrition they need. Are you listening, Sheriff Joe?

Monday, October 26, 2009

They're Branching Out

Arizona wants to privatize ALL its correctional facilities, including death row. Never mind that no private company currently houses or has any experience in housing DR inmates, or that private prisons are probably either just as expensive or even more expensive that public facilities. But CCA expects to submit a proposal to take over a number of public beds, including the death row fellows. Stay tuned as this is sure to turn into a cluster**** of fun for Arizona.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why I Hate GEO: They deny medical care to epileptics

This is a great article on immigration detention, as viewed through the lens of the Pecos riots last January, drawing a parallel between private prison construction and the factors that led to our economy collapsing. For a great in-depth expose on the Pecos riots, check out Tom Barry's piece from the Boston review at:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

They refuse to pay prevailing wages to folks building their facilities

So the construction workers have gone on strike at the site of a CCA facility in Nevada. This facility at Pahrump has had all sorts of problems from the moment it was proposed. I imagine it will continue to provide ammo for years to come.

Why I hate Aramark today

Aramark, the food service provider for the state of Kentucky is literally starving the inmates it serves. The approval rating for their food service at one prison (Northpoint CC) was a 2.6 out of a possible 10. The prisoners rioted at this facility back in August and told multiple sources they did so because the food was inadequate and not very clean. Aramark of course denies this and just claims the prisoners have ulterior motives for trashing their company. That's right Aramark; prisoners in Kentucky are just out to get you. Or could it simply be, as one prisoner put it "(They) would not like to be hungry ALL THE TIME" (emphasis added).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Debunking the Savings Myth

Pirvate prisons are more expensive than public facilities. Well, at least in Oklahoma they are. A recent study found that housing prisoners at a private prison, reagrdless of security level, is more expensive per day than housing them at a public facility, or very comparable. Now that this cat's out of the bag, I wonder what CCA and GEO will rely upon to claim they're still relevant and needed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lobbying Against Oversight

This is a few months old, granted, but certainly worth your time, I promise. Matt Pulle of Texas Watchdog did a great investigative piece on how the GEO groups has been successful in lobbying against enhanced oversight and public records laws conformity in the Texas legislature. This is especially bad because Texas readily admits it doesn't collect data on private prison operations.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last one, I promise

Just wanted to post a link to Newsweek's story on the Hardin case. It's actually really good

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Former CCA employees awarded $1.3 million in suit

the terms of a settlement between CCA and some former employees has been finalized. A few women who worked at the Crowley County CF in CO were sexually assaulted by their superiors. I wrote about this before (these are the same women who were forced to take dangerous shift assignments when they spoke out against the harassment/assault). They won $1.3 million. The only bad thing is that this was a settlement, which means CCA doesn't admit liability or fault in the decision. Otherwise, it's good to see some justice served.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting Development in the Hardin Case

It turns out the drama with the APPF and Hardin Jail wasn’t the first time the town had been duped in the private prison market. The facility was built by a company called Corpland Corrections, which appears to be little more than a fraud perpetrated on small communities in dire need of economic stimulus. In one instance, four of the people involved in the awarding of a contract to the company were convicted in a corruption probe. The company comes in to build prisons but rarely if ever fulfills its promises of providing long-term revenue for a town or county (because they don’t operate the prisons or secure a contract for someone else to do so). I’ve seen a few stories on this in the past few days, and I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear about the company.

More here:

LCS has cleaned up its act, maybe.

LCS Correctional Services has worked on improving conditions at a facility that failed inspection on 17 points about a month ago, in preparation for an upcoming inspection. Among the issues they failed in compliance checks on were training for guards and checking for contraband. Hopefully they can begin to run it as only a substandard prison, instead of an abysmal one.

The deal is dead

APPF has backed out of its agreement to run the Hardin jail, giving some BS reasoning. but the fact remains that we won't have a private army in Montana.

Also, they released the contract drawn up between APPF and the TRA, which would have made APPF Hardin's own private police force. that could have been catastrophic:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Really? I would have never thought....

Turns out Michael Hilton has already been convicted of stealing from the government before.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More on the APPF/Hilton Scam

If you want to read more about the APPF scam and how the supposed director of the jail was nearly duped by shady McHilton, go to the article.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Even more fallout

Just read this. Michael Hilton is a fraud, APPF is a HUGE SCAM, and Hardin should run away from this as fast as its legs can carry it. Seriously Hardin, get out before you realize ole dick and his blackwater cronies have taken over your town. I'm begging you

More fallout from Hardin Jail / APPF

The director of the agency who granted the contract to APPF to run the Hardin jail has just resigned, after being placed on paid leave for two months. While there's no specific word on why he resigned, I'll go out on a limb and say the council wasn't too happy with his giving that contract to the shadesters at APPF. Call me crazy

HI Inmates Can't Catch a Break

A Hawaiian inmate who was housed at the Otter Creek CF in Kentucky is suing the state (KY) and CCA for sexual assault suffered while she was incarcerated. I've reported on Otter Creek before, but didn't realize until I read this that the women (female HI inmates) were moved there after they had been sexually assaulted at a private prison in CO. Maybe Hawaii should stop sending its female prisoners to private facilities in other states? Maybe?

Whoo Hooo!

The Hardin Jail project has been put on hold! The scammers at APPF apparently won't be moving in after all. But another interesting fact was revealed; the man who was supposed to be the jail's director was NEVER EVEN OFFERED THE JOB. I don't think anything APPF has ever said about this jail project has been the truth. None of it. Nice try, cheney.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Michael Hilton's day in court

Well, another day in court for the multiple-time felon. Michael Hilton, the head of APF/APPF, has been called into court in California over an outstanding judgment in a fraud lawsuit

Much more on these con artists

So over the weekend, APF's attorney and "Major" resigned,

APF was outed for illegally claiming to provide police/investigative services,

their spokeswoman, a former local newspaper reporter they (APF) pilfered away because she was reporting on them, broke down during a press conference because company officials up and left town, leaving her to deal with the mess,

And a state senator harshly criticized not only APF but the whole idea of privatizing police and corrections,

(Title link goes to APF's absurd website. I suggest you take the time to poke around it; who couldn't use a good laugh on Monday morning?)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Illicit, Unauthorized Proposals

In another interesting twist, the Two Rivers Authority, the agency responsible for APPF's contract to run the Hardin, MT jail, apparently stepped outside its jurisdiction by offering to permit APPF to function as Hardin's own private police force. The administrator of TRA has been placed on administrative leave over the contract negotiations.

But the only board member who commented, Tim Murphy, said he doesn't care about the criminal history of APPF's leader or all the problems that have come to light over the past few days, only that the company makes its lease payments on time. As with all private prisons, it just comes down to the bottom line: the almighty dollar. Mr. Murphy is a jerk who doesn't care that his town is about to be overrun by a private police force. Way to look out for the people of Hardin.

APF's leader, and entire company, is a FRAUD

Montana's AG has launched an investigation into the leader of APF, Michael Hilton, who is a convicted felon with a history of fraud that uses at least 17 known aliases. He has requested proof that the company works with the federal government and evidence to support the claim that they "have operations in all 50 states." He is also seeking the contract between APF and the agency responsible for the jail, a contract that would give APF millions of dollars to run the jail for more than ten years.

Oh, and Mr. Hilton goes by the title "Captain" even though no record of his military service could be found and he even admits it doesn't refer to an actual rank. And he has more than a million bucks in outstanding civil judgments against him. Certainly a stand-up guy that is more than qualified to have control over other human lives.

I've heard rumblings from comments on the Huff Post and elsewhere that APF is somehow tied to Xe (the new name for Blackwater). It wouldn't surprise me in the least, knowing the kind of shady criminal ole Dick is.

Justice for Harassed Former Employees

I wrote a short while ago about women at a CCA facility (Crowley County CF in Olney Springs, CO) who were sexually harassed. When they complained about the sexual harassment they were intentionally given dangerous shifts/assignments. Well, those ladies just won a $1.3 million against CCA and the former operator of the prison, Dominion Correctional Services. The 21 women will receive between $7,500 and $155,000 each. Good for them

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thank you, PLN

Prison Legal News has done some wonderful investigative work into American Police Force, finding a whole slew of questionable claims (Aside from the fact that their front man is a convicted felon. Yep.) Among them:

They claim the US government is their biggest customer, but there are no records of the government contracting with them

They claim to be headquartered in DC, but a records search showed they weren't registered. When the address was investigated, it was found to not actually be a physical address. They have sinced stopped claiming this.

They claim they've been operating for years, but were only incorporated March of this year, and their website launched May of this year.

Oh, and the guy who awarded them the contract has been placed on administrative leave. but the company wants to hire his wife.

This just gets weirder and weirder every day. Stay tuned for more

It Gets Better

So this "American Private Police Force" I wrote about a little while ago, who is taking over a jail in Hardin, MT seems SUPER creepy. Please read this article on their organization, which no one seems to know where it came from, how it got its claimed expertise, or how it's being funded to operate this jail. While there are some tenuous conspiracy theories, the company does seem rather sketch. When they arrived in Hardin, they had decals on their truck claiming they were the "City of Hardin Police Department." (Hardin has no police department) But they claimed it was only a gesture of goodwill. RIGHT.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

They give female COs dangerous shifts in retaliation

A settlement was just reached in a lawsuit in Colorado that alleged female corrections officers were intentionally put on the most dangerous assignments in retaliation for objecting to ongoing, pervasive sexual harassment. The prison was operated by CCA since 2003. I hate them because this now permits them to avoid liability for tacitly condoning persistent sexual harassment, and they got out of the situation with what amounted to a slap on the wrist.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why I Hate LCS today

LCS Correctional Services, one of the bit players in the market, recently had a facility fail an inspection for, among other things, failure to train their COs, a lack of an adequate TB management plan, and not requiring their employees to be licensed by the state. The prison opened just 1 year ago. Oh, and if you want to see the proud faces of a company that can't run a prison properly for even a year, go here:


Friday, September 11, 2009

A New Player in the Market

American Private Police Force Organization, Inc., just signed a contract to run its first detention center in Hardin, MT. And in case you were worried that they may not be able to run a secure facility, “The company … claims to be able to organize a special force battalion for deployment within 72 hours.” I don’t anticipate a company with such an MO to have any problems treating inmates properly.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

They Should have Known Better

A lady who died at the Otter Creek CF in Kentucky last year was permitted at the time to refuse medical treatment. The only problem with that is that this woman was mentally ill and refusing treatment for her diabetes. And when someone refuses treatment for reasons connected to their mental illness, the prison has the authority (and responsibility) to mandate treatment.

They cover up sexual assaults

In addition to the assaults that were reported at the Otter Creek CF, CCA covered up at least one other allegation of sexual abuse at the facility, and apparently thinks it doesn't need to meet the same reporting standards as state-run facilities

Business is Booming in Arizona

Arizona just passed a bill that mandates putting 5,000 prison beds up for privatization. CCA, naturally, thinks this is a great business oppportunity.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

They deny books to indigent prisoners

A CCA facility in Arizona has been denying books to prisoners. Though they are probably technically in the right, legally speaking, since the books in question weren’t sent by a publisher, I hate them all the same. Things that are legal aren’t necessarily right.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Contract Finalized

CCA has finalized its contract with Hernando County, FL. It has agreed to reduce its per day cost to $53 per inmate, down from the nearly $60 they would have charged under the current contract. They also will still have to pay liquidated damages (damages to the county if an inmate escapes, etc.). All things considered, I think the county came out of this OK but CCA was still the victor. They're still going to reap ridiculous profits from incarcerating the poor citizens of Hernando County. I worry that the level of care and supervision at the facility will only decrease moving forward, as CCA will still seek the same profit margin from the decreased revenue. I wish I could be more optimistic about this, but....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Following the Hernando County Contract Dispute

Here are some more details on the contract negotiations taking place between CCA and Hernando County, FL. One thing I'd like to note: CCA has proposed eliminating a provision whereby they would be required to reimburse the county for damage caused by their failure to secure their facility. And the county has unfortunately agreed to this (though I don't understand why).

They even shortchange their own employees

In February, CCA settled a class-action suit involving over 30,000 employees who weren't compensated for a lot of the extra work and overtime they put in. CCA successfully had the settlement sealed by the court, but thanks to the diligent efforts of Prison Legal News, the settlement was unsealed yesterday to reveal that CCA had withheld more than $7 million in back pay from their employees (and that only includes $100 per employee per year worked).

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.

Friday, July 31, 2009

CCA requests rape lawsuit be dropped

Prison company asks judge to dismiss prisoner rape suit
By Beth Musgrave
I’ll try to sum this up in CCA’s own words:
1. In documents filed this week in federal court in Pikeville, CCA says the Kentucky woman never filed a formal grievance about the rape and therefore the civil lawsuit she filed July 2 should be dismissed
2. "CCA has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate contact between staff and inmates and takes any such allegations seriously," said Steve Owen, a spokesman for the company, which is headquartered in Nashville. "We will support full prosecution under the law for any criminal activity detected."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Post

If you've found your way to my blog, I probably sent you here, or, hopefully, you hate CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and prison privatization in general as much as I do. There are myriad reasons WHY I hate CCA, GEO, MTC, Cornell, and anyone else who strives to make money from the incarceration of human beings. You will hear all about them, I assure you. So check back often to see why I do, and you should, hate CCA and their ilk.

Adios for now