Friday, April 30, 2010

Surprise! CCA Doesn't Want Competitive Bidding Process

Apparently, CCA has never engaged in a competitive bidding process in Hernando County, Florida, even though they've operated the jail there for ove 2 decades.  Now they're upset that County Administrator David Hamilton has called for just such a process to find an operator for the jail, since CCA let so many maintenance problems go unchecked it now needs a few million dollars worth of repairs.  Yes CCA, I'm sure you don't want anyone to come in and possibly underbid you for the embarassingly poor work you've done so far, so that you can continue to reap profits by ignoring major issues, all at the expense of Hernando County taxpayers.  I hate you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Glimpse Inside Idaho Correctional Center

Just a quick link here to a story detailing an assault that took place inside the Idaho Correctional Center, which is run by CCA and known as "Gladiator School" locally because of how violent the facility can be.  An inmate was beaten so badly he suffered severe brain damage, while guards at ICC watched; he was then denied proper medical care to cover up the extent of the assault.  This is an individual lawsuit against the same prison the ACLU is suing because of the levels of violence.


CCA has now announced its intention to opt out of its contract with Hernando County, Florida when it ends in 120 days.  As I've written about before, an inspection of the jail recently by Sheriff Richard Nugent, who at the time wanted to take over operations of the facility, uncovered millions of dollars worth of maintenance issues.  I think this is CCA's way of trying to force the county to pay for the upgrades to the jail they should have made over the years; that will probably be part of any new contract they sign.  Or they'll just let the county deal with the huge mess they've created by their malfeasance and inability to operate a humane facility.   I really hate you, CCA.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keeping It In the Family

An awesome article from the Texas Observer on how one influential Texas family has lobbied for Corplan Corrections for years, systematically destroying the finances of desperate small towns all across the country.

GEO's Debt Crisis

The GEO Group is so far in debt it may wind up in bankruptcy, according to analysts reviewing its recent quarterly statement.  How did they get so far in debt?  By buying up all their competitors (like Cornell, circa a week ago) and assuming their debt.  Also, a bunch of their contracts will expire at the end of this year, and as states are increasingly looking to reduce prison costs, hopefully some of them won't be renewed.  Here's hoping this is the beginning of the end of the GEO Group.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The FBI Will Learn to Hate GEO, Too (I Think)

The FBI has launched an investigation into the political influence wielded by the GEO Group in the Florida Legislature. The group has come under criticism in the recent debates surrounding the Blackwater Correctional Facility (which was built after a last-minute budget amendment was passed in 2008, but has not been filled), and the government is wondering whether the nearly $300,000 they've contributed to Florida's Republican party over the last 2 years had anything to do with that. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say yes. Yes it did.

CCA's CEO Selling MORE Stock

This is starting to just become routine.  John Ferguson, CEO of CCA, just sold another 20,000 shares of company stock.  He has recently sold at least 80,000 shares of company stock as the value has consistently devclined

Thursday, April 22, 2010

CCA and Cornell Get What They Pay For

The private prison industry is known for not always having the most qualified corrections officers, because they don't run as extensive background checks as the government, they pay considerably less (because they hire non-union), and they don't provide as many hours of training.  This of course results in all sorts of abuse and foul play taking place among the guards.  The title link goes to an article about a Cornell employee who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old under his watch (yes, they run juvenile detention centers too), and here's a link to an article about a CCA employee who tried to smuggle cocaine into the prison for an inmate:

And it was apparently a good deal of cocaine, because he received $1,600 and a half ounce of the stuff as payment (great too, by the way, for a corrections officer to get half an ounce of cocaine.  I'm sure he's supremely qualified to have authority over prisoners)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Even I Didn't Expect a Lawsuit Already

Cornell shareholders may file a lawsuit over the recent acquisition of Cornell by the GEO Group, claiming "breaches of fiduciary duty."  Looks like they run their business about as ethically as they run their prisons

Monday, April 19, 2010

HUGE News!

The GEO Group has just announced plans to purchase competitor Cornell Corrections for $374 million.  This dramatically increases GEO's market share, and now gives them access to tens of thousands of new prisoners to exploit and abuse.  This will give them more facilities and almost as many beds as CCA.  Given their track record of showing up even CCA in the abuse field, I think this is a terrible development.

Quit Your Whining!

CCA has asked the US District Court for the District of Idaho to dismiss the ACLU's lawsuit against them, claiming that it is unduly prejudicial and that they shouldn't have piggybacked it on an individual prisoner's lawsuit.  Nevermind the fact that the original plaintiff wanted the ACLU to file a joint class-action suit.  CCA feels that Mr. Rigg's lawsuit will unfairly bias the jury against them.  Well, CCA, maybe you should have run the Idaho Correctional Facility to a higher standard, so that it wouldn't be called "gladiator school" because of the absurd levels of violence that took place in the facility.  Maybe you shouldn't have intentionally denied prisoners medical care after subjecting them to assaults in order to hide the extent of their injuries.  Had you operated this prison in a professional and humane manner, maybe you wouldn't be sued for the sum total of your profits from last year.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Private Prisons are Risky Investments

The town of Littlefield, Texas is suffering the repurcussions of funding a private prison on a bond venture. The GEO Group cancelled its contract to run the facility in January of last year, and the town has not been able to secure a new contract to bring prisoners in. Because the facility there has sat empty for so long, the bonds used to finance it have dropped in value. So now Littlfield becomes a higher investment risk, meaning future bonds investments will likely cost more. This is another unforeseen consequence of bringing a private prison to town; people get so excited by the prospects of new jobs that they fail to think about what might happen when the private prison company leaves town. So the next time you hear about all the economic benefits that come with a private prison, take that advice with more than a grain of salt.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Blame Game

The Hernando County Jail's myriad maintenance issues are apparently no one's fault, and everyone's. The jail had been inspected by numerous agencies over the past few years, none of which found major maintenance issues (even though it is now estimated that it will cost $2 million to repair). Even the Amercian Correctional Association, an "independent" jail/prison accreditation agency, found them to be in 100% compliance with their mandatory standards (and more than 97% compliance with the non-mandatory ones). But the fact remains that the facility is a conditions lawsuit waiting to happen. I note the ACA here because they inspect and then accredit a lot of private prisons, and people seem to think that means the facility is being operated in a humane fashion. Well it appears from this case, and the holdings of numerous courts around the country, that accreditation by ACA is not equivalent to providing constitutionally-acceptable living conditions.

For more on how everyone is passing the buck:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Death by Deliberate Indifference

A lawsuit recently filed against CCA alleges that guards at the West Tennessee Detention Center acted with deliberate indifference, which led to the death of a mentally ill man who had threatened suicide on multiple occasions.  Prison staff consistently failed to ensure that the prisoner was taking his psychotropic medications, which is especially terrible considering he explicitly told doctors he planned on storing them up to take all at once and commit suicide.  So he stockpiled the medications and took a lot of them one day, then got violently ill, suffered seizures, and lapsed into a coma, while he was put in an observation cell and only checkd on every 6 hours.  Are you terribly surprised that he died as a result?  I'm not.

Utterly Reprehensible

Who can blame Sheriff Nugent for changing his mind on taking over operations of the Hernando County Jail from CCA?  The facility is riddled with problems, because it has not been properly maintained over the years, and is in need of millions of dollars in repair work.  And whose fault is that?  No one, apparently.  The county owns the facility, so CCA has skirted responsibility, even though they're required to provide minor maintenance (and report major problems, which they have largely failed to do).  And the county purchasing director says it's not his fault because he wasn't notified of the problems (even though it's his job to oversee the facility and contract compliance).  And of course, CCA has CUT COSTS at the Hernando County Jail for the upcoming year.  On behalf of humans with a conscience, I apologize to the inmates of the Hernando County Jail for having to suffer at the hands of these greedy corporate pigs who can't even provide basic maintenance for their facilities.

You get what you pay for, Hernando County.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This is terrible.  Sheriff Richard Nugent has now withdrawn his proposal to take over the Hernando County Jail, after his office and CCA traded assertions they could each do it cheaper over the past few months.  He isn't backing out because he was necessarily proved wrong, however; he backed out because the jail is deteriorating so rapidly, and in such poor condition, that it would take too much money to get it back in operational shape.  That's what happens when you cut corners for 22 years (how long CCA has run the jail).  There are "roof leaks all over the facility" and "doors and hinges that have rusted so badly that you can no longer open them."  What a shame for the poor prisoners who have to stay there, as CCA has not made any attempt to improve the facility (in fact, they're cutting costs at it left and right, as I previously reported).  I Hate You, CCA, for failing to maintain an adequate facility for the prisoners of Hernando County, Florida.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Study Shows Privatization Doesn't Actually Save Money

A recent study looking into the prison industry in Florida has essentially concluded that private prisons do not offer any significant cost savings over government-run institutions.  Though the two types are hard to compare, since private prisons typically house only low-level offenders (which cost way less to house than violent offenders), but this is especially damming information considering there is a law on the books in Florida mandating that private prisons provide the state with at least 7% savings over government-run facilities.  It also mentions how programming, such as education and anger management, are almost completely ineffective in private prisons.  I'm shocked.

CCA's Executives Must Really Be Worried

John Ferguson, Chairman of CCA, sold another 20,000 shares of his company stock yesterday.  He has sold at least 60,000 shares of company stock in the past month as the value continues to plummet.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Bit Off-Topic

With apologies to my regular readers who love hearing about all the travesties that take place daily inside our nation's private prisons, I must venture a bit off-topic with this post. I would like to encourage you to follow the title link to a online petition in support of commuting one of the most absurd prison sentences I've ever heard of. Richard Sipe was sentenced to 60 years in prison in Oklahoma for a nonviolent drug offense (his first). If you happen to think, like I do, that this punishment is incredibly disproportionate to the crime, please consider signing this petition to Governor Henry requesting that he commute Ric's sentence. This was a terrible miscarriage of justice and I'm asking the CCA-Hating community to help out. Ric happens to be incarcerated at a CCA facility, if you need any more encouragement. I hope you will all show your support. Thanks!

Why CCA Should Be Kicked Out of Hernando County, Florida

A great, short letter by Ken Kopczynski of Private Corrections Institute that details all the problems CCA has had in operating the Hernando County Jail over the past few years.  Sheriff Nugent has proposed taking over the jail because he claims he can run it cheaper and better than CCA (see my previous posts on this).  As Ken rightfully points out, "This isn't just about who can run the jail the cheapest.  It's about the quality of service and the safety of the community."  Well said.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Elva McCraig Fights the Good Fight

Elva McCraig, a correctional nurse at a state-run prison in Florida, has requested both state and federal investigations into the situation that allowed for the state of Florida to not only purchase land for the GEO Group for the Blackwater facility (at a cost of more than $1.5 million), but also the mechanisms that went into awarding them a $110 million contract to run it. Her complaint is actually very-well researched and quite damming of the insider trading, shady real estate deals, and favoritism within the Florida legislature for former GEO employees. Ms McCraig, I applaud you for your efforts and the exhaustive research you compiled on how GEO has influenced the Florida legislature.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh I Hate You, CCA

CCA opened its books to county commissioner Jeff Stabins in Hernando County, Florida as part of their attempt to prevent Sheriff Nugent from taking over operations of the jail there. CCA currently operates the facility but the Sheriff claims he can do it better and cheaper than they can (see previous posts on this). I'm inclined to believe him (at least about doing it better), considering CCA, a company notorious for cutting corners to maximize profits, has cut costs in nearly every aspect of the operation of the Hernando County Jail for 2010, including food services, utilities, supplies, and medical care. Great CCA. Juuuuuuussssssst great.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ken Kopczynski Sheds Some Light on GEO's Role in Florida Politics

Now that JD Alexander's GEO bailout has fallen by the wayside, I won't post about it anymore, after this.  The link is just to an interesting article that details some of the connections GEO has in the Florida Legislature.  The article features some great information from a hero in the anti-privatization movement, Ken Kopczynski