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