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