Friday, January 29, 2010

KY's Governor is an insensitive moron

Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky can't understand why his state should spend money to audit Aramark Corp.'s food delivery services when Kentucky is strapped for cash. Well Aramark's substandard provision of food led to riots in multiple facilities last year that will end up costing the state nearly $10 million to recover from. Listen here, Steve Beshear: if you keep allowing this company to skimp on the food they provide inmates to the point where they RIOT, it's going to cost you a hell of a lot more to clean up the damage, and pay off lawsuit settlements, than it would to audit Aramark. Again I must say, you get what you pay for, Mr. Beshear, so if you don't want prisoners to riot, make sure you feed them properly (i.e. don't bring in a private, profit-driven company to do it).

Why I Like Prescott Valley, AZ Today

For the second time in 3 years, Prescott Valley, AZ has turned down a bid to bring a private prison to its town, this time despite the fact that their unemployment rate is rather high and the prison would bring much-needed jobs. Way to stick to your guns there, Prescott Valley

Phone Taps and Bribes

Those "conservative activists" who called out ACORN a while ago and more recently tried to break into Senator Mary Landrieu's office are apparently all tied to a conservative think tank called Pelican, based in New Orleans. On Pelican's board is a lady whose husband owns LCS correctional services, which the FBI is currently investigating for allegations of bribery in its contract negotiations. So I hate you today, LCS correctional services for your shady contracts, and everyone at Pelican, for being a bunch of subversive conservative operatives.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Make up your mind you Hypocrites

CCA has declined to pay a $1 per prisoner per day tax to the city of Youngstown, OH. Their reasoning? They say that because they're acting as “an instrumentality of the federal government,” the fee violates the intergovernmental tax immunity doctrine in the supremacy clause of the Constitution. Oh isn't that nice; you're a government agency for tax purposes, but you claim you should be exempt from FOIA and public records laws because you're not a government agency. I hate you, you damn hypocrites. Either man up and accept the fact that you're performing a governmental function, meaning you submit your records to FOIA requests, or pay the tax. Preferably the former, but hey I'll take what I can get.

Why I Really Effing Hate GEO today

GEO's CEO is putting his home up for sale. Or should I say, his 12,000 square foot, $11 million overly extravagant symbol of his infinite and sinister greed. George Zoley, you are a terrible human being.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Taking the legislature to task

CA Councilman Hector De La Torre is upset, and rightfully so, over the $600 million contract the state has with CCA. The contract started as a $23 million venture, but was amended numerous times over the past few years to its current point, without any sort of competitive bidding process or evaluation of its efficiency. The link goes to a transcript of his recent remarks on the situation, as well as English and Spanish audio files. Enjoy

Why We Need Transparency

One of my biggest beefs with the private prison industry is the lack of adequate oversight and transparency in their work. Private prison companies are not bound by Freedom of Information Act or Public Records Laws to provide information to the public upon request, as are all government agencies (except in two states; TN and FL). While they argue that they shouldn't have to provide such info because they're a private company, I wholeheartedly believe that any agency performing an essentially governmental function should have its records available for public review. Why do I believe so firmly in this? Well, for one reason: they cover up deaths that result from a lack of medical care. Lots of them. In fact, some deaths of immigration detainees in private facilities weren't even reported to ICE, who has the power to review such information.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Briefing on FOIA requirements

If anyone of my 2 readers might be in the DC area on Monday, january 25, you should swing by a briefing on private prisons and FOIA requests. Or try to find it on C-SPAN.

Congressional Briefing: Expanding Freedom of Information Act Accountability to all Federal Prisons and Detention Facilities
Monday, January 25, 2010, 2pm - 4pm
2226 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee will hold a congressional briefing concerning H.R. 2450, a bill to ensure fiscal accountability and reduce fraud and waste by expanding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include all correctional facilities that hold federal prisoners or immigration detainees. The briefing will be held on Monday, January 25, 2010 from 2:00PM - 4:00PM in 2226 Rayburn House Office Building.

That's what you get

After CCA tried to strongarm Colorado into raising its per-diem fee for prisoners housed in the Huerfano county (CO) correctional facility, the Colorado legislature smartly ended its contract with the company for that facility. CCA instead turned to Arizona, who promptly shipped a few hundred inmates over at the rate CCA had requested. Now, Arizona, facing its worst budget deficit ever, is likely going to pull all its inmates from that prison, forcing it to close. While I certainly feel bad for the 200-or-so Coloradoans who will lose their jobs, the county should have sought some other means for creating those jobs than bringing a prison to town. But I definitely don't feel bad for CCA. That's what you get.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

even people in other countries know CA is screwed up

another quick hit to a great article from the Guardian (of the UK) on how terribly wrong the governator is in trying to privatize most/all of CA's prisons

3 more articles on CA

Just some quick hits to other great editorials and articles on how the budget crisis is ruining California, and schwarzy's short-sighted plan to privatize prisons will only make everything worse. this is what happens when you elect a man who played both a pregnant man and danny devito's twin in films to be your governor.

Here are the articles:,0,6935367.story?track=rss

privatization is never the answer

A wonderful article by the deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance Network in SoCal, explaining why the governator's plan to privatize prisons will only serve to exacerbate the already egregious problems of his state's corrections system.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Deaths and Cover-ups

Through Freedom of Information Act requests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the NY Times and the ACLU uncovered information on hundreds of deaths of detained immigrants in private facilities that had not been properly reported over the course of about a decade. These were people detained by the Dept of Homeland Security under booshy's ramped-up immigration detention policy, which has been supported in large part by an explosion in private detention (of course, ole dick owns a huge share in the parent company of the second-biggest private prison company, and the one that has more contracts to house federal immigration detainees, but that's a different story).

Essentially, this is a prime example of why private companies should not be permitted to perform basic governmental functions, especially when they aren't subject to open records laws, making them able to easily conceal things like deaths.

a great column you should read

Just a quick hit to a column by David Warren detailing some of the hidden problems that arise in privatized corrections, and how they can be avoided (spoiler alert: DON'T PRIVATIZE YOUR PRISONS)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

more on CA's mess

A nice little piece about the highly inefficient and dysfunctional CA Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the governator that can't seem to find his way out of the mire he helped create. I hope Mr. Simon is correct that arnie's bid to privatize all of California's prisons will fail

Friday, January 8, 2010

calling out the governator

A group called CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget) have called on Schwarzenegger to quit paying lip service to reforming prisons and actually do something about the billions of dollars the state wastes by incarcerating way too may people. They have some pretty strong words for Mr. Predator. Also, you should check out CURB's website for some great information and ideas on how to reduce prison spending without just privatizing everything:

You made this mess

A great editorial on how the governator's budget decisions over the past 7 or so years put his state in its current predicament, by throwing billions of dollars away funding an overpopulated, run-so-poorly-it's-unconstitutional prison system while stymieing the public higher education system, all to the great detriment of the people he's supposed to be serving. Who would have thought Conan the Barbarian wouldn't make the best financial decisions?

Why I Hate the Governator Today

In his state of the state address earlier this week, schwarzenegger proposed a ballot to make a constitutional amendment requiring the state to spend more on public universities than prisons. Sure, that sounds all well and good, until he basically said he wants to dramatically increase the use of private prisons to save money. I wonder if that has anything to do with the hundreds of thousands of dollars CCA, which holds the very large majority of California's private prison market (at a cost of over $625 million per year), has donated to his campaign and committees?

Why I Hate GEO today

the GEO group just reached a settlement in the case of a beating death of one of its inmates (actually, the inamte was killed while guards and the warden looked on, then GEO tried to cover up the incident by destroying evidence). I know this isn't exactly a new reason to hate them, but I hate them for their track record and inability to manage a prison humanely, while they reap tens of millions of dollars in profits. I just can't fathom why a company that repeatedly pays out millions upon millions of dollars in lawsuits for their actions/inaction can still be in business. Oh, that's right; dick**** cheney owns a large stake of their parent company. I hate you too dick, because your influence over bushy in immigration policy pretty much single-handedly resurrected the private prison industry. You should be in prison, preferably a GEO one where the guards and administration turn a blind eye to assaults.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You Hypocritical Jerk (Why I Hate Charles Overby Today)

Charles Overby, renown journalist and newspaper executive and CEO of the Freedom Forum, a group which espouses freedom of the press, also sits on the board of directors for CCA. Why is this bad? CCA lobbied heavily against a bill in the last Congress that would have required private prison operators to be subject to public records / FOIA requests (Introduced by Tim Holden, D-PA, it was called the Private Prison Information Act, if you want to look it up). In fact, CCA spent more than half a million dollars lobbying against the reintroduced (by Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-MO) bill in a little over 5 months. Way to promote free speech, CEO of the FRIGGING FREEDOM FORUM! I hate you, Charles Overby

Monday, January 4, 2010

For-profit incarceration is just plain wrong

A wonderful Op-Ed by a Corrections Officer and union leader in NJ opposing a private prisons, in response to a new facility in Essex and a proposed facility in Camden. Mr. Amato does a great job of explaining the moral depravity inherent in profit-driven incarceration.

community organizing

Community organizers in Prescott Valley, NV have launched a website to help stir up opposition to a proposed private prison in their town (CCA has proposed the facility). Click on the link to check it out. And if you happen to be from the area, call your local elected officials and tell them you don't want a private prison in your town.