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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Real Savings Needed For Private Prisons

The Florida Legislature has been frugal about most things in recent years, with one exception - prisons.

Florida has been on a prison-building binge.
And despite the state's avowed fiscal conservatism, the binge has been financed with what amounts to a $1 billion credit card.

Things are so out of hand that prisons continue to be filled while crime declines. So where are the new prisoners coming from? Too often, from first-time offenders and nonviolent drug offenders.

Other states, most notably Texas, have responded by finding alternatives to prison that save money and still protect the public.

Florida, unfortunately, has responded by simply transferring more prisons to private companies. That doesn't necessarily save money. In fact, after more than a decade of prison privatization, the savings are still vague.

Major examples

- There is no hard evidence that private prisons save money or have better outcomes than public ones, reported the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy last year.
- A 2008 report from the Legislature's accountability office concluded that there was no good assurance that private prisons had comparable levels of health and mental health care as public ones.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bribery Pays Off For Aramark in MI

It looks as though the half a million dollars that Aramark spent on lobbying legislators in Michigan has finally begun to pay off after a plan to privatize the prison food service industry has been passed by MI lawmakers…all in the name of ‘saving money’, of course.

Michigan’s governor has a theory that laying off 300 state workers and handing the food contract over to Aramark (in spite of their long, long list of lawsuits, contract issues and wrongdoings) is going to save their state money. Or so he claims. Odds are that he cares far more about keeping his friendly relations with corporate (re: donating) interests intact than he does about saving the citizens of Michigan any money. After all, why care if a little more $ is spent s’long as its other people’s money being spent, right?

I hope that Michigan lawmakers had the foresight to set some money aside for potential lawsuits from prisoners, not to mention, to cover any cost connected to possible future audits of Aramark’s bookkeeping and (over)billing system as other states have had to do. Findings by the FL legislators audit in 2007 to the end of contractual relations with Aramark and fines totaling more than $864,000 between 2001-08.  Kentucky is looking at spending over $18 million to repair/rebuild after damages from a riot over Aramark food.

Other states have had faced problems with Aramark ranging from breaking state wage laws to public health hazards like rat droppings and maggots found in Aramark kitchens and food. Mind you, Aramark serves more than just the prison population; they service several school districts throughout MI.

Isn’t it disgusting to know that lawmakers are so happy and willing to (A) charge the citizens of their states extra money in order to *Reward* campaign donating corporations contracts and that (B) they don’t even care if they put the health and safety of not only prisoners, but that of the general public, at such unnecessary risk to do so?

Sooner or later hopefully people will start to do their homework and vote for candidates without ties to corporate owners and interests who are nothing more than parasites feeding from the trough of our corrupt political system. Until then…

Condolences to the citizens of MI for Aramark’s advancing take-over of your state institutions and services. Oh, and you might want to find out who feeds your kid at school – and consider sack lunches should the answer be Aramark!

Original Post Here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ohio's Prison 'Ethics'

Wow, this is rich! I feel sorry for the citizens of Ohio because it is obvious that the public officials think their constituents are nothing but a bunch of morons...

From the Columbus Dispatch-

"The Ohio Ethics Commission says prisons director Gary C. Mohr does not have a conflict of interest with plans to privatize state facilities - even though he previously worked for a private prison company.

Paul M. Nick, interim executive director of the Ethics Commission, said in a letter on March 30 to state Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, that even though Mohr formerly worked for Corrections 

Corporation of America, there is no conflict if a state employee "has fully severed his relationship with a former employer or business associate, with no understanding that the relationship will be resumed in the future."

Nick noted that Mohr took the "possibility of perceived conflict seriously" because he turned over decision-making authority to Linda Janes, his chief of staff."


Private Prison Bribes Beginning to Pay Off in FL

GEOGroup's bribes to FL legislators is obviously beginning to pay off for them...

"The Florida Legislature’s push to privatize many more prisons, its most far-reaching cost-cutting plan in years, could open a lucrative door to politically connected vendors who stand to profit.

Senate and House budgets require the state to privatize prisons in South Florida, home to one-fifth of the statewide inmate population of 101,000. The region is the home of the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest private prison operator, which currently runs two private prisons, including the largest private lockup, the Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Milton.

GEO also operates five state psychiatric hospitals, including South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines, which got its long-sought accreditation after GEO’s takeover.

The Boca Raton company, a reliable contributor to the Republican party, employs more than 2,000 people and a stable of 16 Capitol lobbyists. It donated $25,000 to Gov. Rick Scott’s inaugural celebration in January. A top transition budget adviser to Scott, Donna Arduin, is a former trustee of a GEO real estate company, Correctional Properties Trust. The company’s healthcare subsidiary, GEO Care, is led by Jorge Dominicis, a familiar figure in the Capitol from years of lobbying for the sugar industry."

Read more: Miami Herald

Friday, March 25, 2011

Push For Prison Privatization In MN Oppossed

By KEVIN GILES, Star Tribune 

A House bill that would require the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) to solicit offers from private companies to house state inmates has run into strong opposition.
In an apparent reversal from practice under Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration, the state's new corrections commissioner prefers that prison inmates remain under public management. Some legislators also question the purpose of opening private prisons, and the union that represents 1,900 correctional officers condemns the legislation as a union-busting effort.

But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, said this week that Minnesota needs competitive bidding between public and private prisons to reduce costs to taxpayers. Westrom described his bill, HF 939, as "a budget-saving measure," but also said that he hoped it would allow a mothballed private prison near his district in western Minnesota to reopen.

"It had a good record and was a well-run prison," he said of the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, which was closed in early 2010 for lack of business. "Toe to toe I think it could match up with what our state facilities are running."

Commissioner Tom Roy, who took over the Corrections Department just seven weeks ago as Gov. Mark Dayton's appointee, said he believes in principle that state prisons, like other public safety agencies, should remain accountable to the public. He's also sympathetic to union concerns that three of Minnesota's nine adult prisons are understaffed.

Roy said the public holds the DOC to a high standard and "I have total confidence that the public entity of corrections should properly fall in the public realm."

Private prisons find no favor with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 5 (AFSCME). "We are concerned that private prisons for profit have become a nasty business," said Eliot Seide, the union's executive director. "They're trying to make a profit out of human incarceration. That's a throwback to the Middle Ages."

Full Story

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Private Prison Fails In Scotland

If anyone thinks that private prisons are ineffective only in the US, they need to think again. No matter where in the world these facilities operate, be it Idaho or Istanbul; turning rehabilitation and incarceration over to nasty corporations like CCA, GEOGroup & overseas, G4S Securior, (Wackenhut) always fails. 

Excerpt From Daily Record UK

SCOTLAND"S showpiece private prison is more violent than any other jail of its size in the country, a shock report by inspectors has revealed.

Addiewell jail has been dubbed the Addison - after the Radisson hotel chain - because cons enjoy flat-screen TVs, Sky Sports and en-suite bathrooms in their cells.

But there were more attacks on staff and inmates at Addiewell in 12 months than at Saughton in Edinburgh, Perth or Kilmarnock prisons, which are about the same size.

And the West Lothian jail has been hit by two major riots since it opened little more than two years ago at a cost of £130million.

As he unveiled his first ever report on Addiewell, Scotland's chief inspector of prisons, Brigadier Hugh Monro, said: "I worry about the violence here, as I do in all Scottish prisons - particularly the staff assaults."

 And politicians described the level of attacks on Addiewell officers as "unacceptable" and "deeply disappointing".
Addiewell staff suffered 49 "minor" attacks - almost one a week - in the 12 months to October 2010. There were also two serious assaults on officers.

That compares to just 14 "minor" attacks and two serious staff assaults in the same period at Saughton, seven "minor" assaults at Kilmarnock and only five "minor" attacks at Perth.
Addiewell was also worst for attacks by cons on other prisoners. There were 16 serious assaults - more than at Saughton (15), Perth (11) and Kilmarnock (11).

The reports also records 278 "minor" prisoner-on-prisoner attacks at Addiewell. The figures for Saughton, Perth and Kilmarnock were 274, 195 and 154 respectively.

Rioting erupted at Addiewell in October 2009. About 20 cons ran amok and an officer needed treatment in hospital.
Just three months later, an officer was hit with a pool cue as violence erupted again.

Reacting to the inspector's report, Tory justice spokesman John Lamont MSP said: "Addiewell has, in a short space of time, developed a poor history of protecting staff. It is deeply disappointing that they have not addressed this problem.

"The level of violence in this prison is unacceptable. More must be done to ensure that better safety is provided so staff do not bear the brunt of it."

Full Story

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Corrections Corporation of America - The 'Gladiator' Of Rotten Industry in Idaho

How nice to see CCA back in the headlines…yet again. Not surprisingly, they seem to be making headlines for doing what they do best – abusing prisoners, participating in dirty cover-ups and of course, costing us taxpayers a damnable fortune for their sorry ass screw ups and inability to safely house so much as a dog, let alone any human beings.

While the political contributions may be a surprise to some residents of Idaho, they certainly are not anything new to anyone remotely familiar with the companies like CCA that operate these prison-for-profit scams to fleece the states and taxpayers out of their money. They buy the lawmakers of every state they do business in; Idaho is not unique at all. In fact, all they’ve done in Idaho has been to implement the same formula for ‘success’ that they have already used in TN, NM, AZ and every other state they do business in.

This page has numerous resources and links to help the general public educate themselves as to how private prison industry operates in this country and to simplify, they are all linked at the bottom of this article. Before you vote for your next state legislator or leader, isn’t it worth your time to make sure they are not on the payroll of one of these appalling companies who don’t care a damn thing about the safety of the public so long as the CEO’s and shareholders can keep lining their pockets…with our tax dollars!

Excerpts from an outstanding two-part investigative series by KBOI 2News which can be found Here and Here.

"Back in July, 2000, the Idaho Correctional Center opened as the state's first privately run prison. Recently, I.C.C, run by Corrections Corporation of America, has come under fire after a lawsuit filed by the America Civil Liberties Union, alleging misconduct, mismanagement and more.

Last year, officials with the Idaho Department of Correction discovered 10 of 13 drug and alcohol counselors at the prison weren't qualified to provide treatment. A separate medical audit revealed I.C.C. had extensive problems administering medical care, including delays in providing medication. In total C.C.A. was fined more than $141,000 by the state.

But the problems for C.C.A. are not limited to Idaho. We found complaints against C.C.A. in all 19 states they operate, all within the past decade, involving much more than just medical care.

Last year the governor of Kentucky ordered 400 female inmates to be removed from a C.C.A. run prison after allegations of sexual misconduct by male guards. In 2009, C.C.A. settled with 21 former female workers in Colorado who claimed male managers forced them to have sex to keep their jobs. In Florida, a corrections officer pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into a C.C.A. run jail. And in December, C.C.A. settled another lawsuit with the A.C.L.U. in California requiring, in part, the San Diego Correctional Facility hire more nurses.

“It’s not just unique to this facility,” says B.S.U. Criminal Science Professor Dr. Michael Blankenship. Blankenship says part of the problem is that private prison companies like C.C.A. exist to make a profit. “If you’re not delivering profits,” say Blankenship, “who’s going to buy your stock?”

We checked into the financial health of C.C.A. A decade ago on February 1st, 2001, their stock was trading at $2.50 a share. Four weeks ago, on February 1st, 2011, it was ten times that amount at $25.09 a share.

But not only does C.C.A. make money. They give money. KBOI 2News obtained a list of candidates receiving money from C.C.A. between 2003 and 2010. At the head of the pack receiving $19,000 is Idaho Governor Butch Otter.

We called C.C.A. to find out why but the company declined our request for an on camera interview. Instead, Spokesman Steve Owen sent a statement that reads in part: “Because C.C.A.’s political contributions reflect the specific laws and limits of individual states, it is difficult to compare our corporate giving to elected officials from different regions of the country.”

The disparity in campaign contribution is even more noteworthy when you consider of the 75,000 inmates C.C.A. supervises nationwide only 2,000 of them are here in Idaho. That’s less than 3%.

But here's why every Idaho taxpayer should care about what happens to Idaho inmates.

If the state of Idaho is dragged into court it takes taxpayer money for a defense, not to mention a judgment.

Originally the A.C.L.U. named Idaho on the lawsuit, right along with C.C.A. in the case. But last June the A.C.L.U. agreed to drop Idaho as a defendant, saving taxpayers the possible expense in this case.

Currently the A.C.L.U. is suing C.C.A. for $155 million dollars, which is equal to the amount of profit the company earned in 2009."

Check out the full story on  KBOI 2News

For More Information on CCA's wrongdoings and legal woes - Click Here
For More Information on Private Prison Industry - Click Here
For Information on CCA stockholders, CEOs and other connections - Click Here
To Find Out Which Lawmakers Are On CCA's payroll - Click Here
For a complete overview of how private prison industry impacts our laws, our freedoms and our way of life - Click Here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CCA Prison Detainee Count Distorts MS Census

For anyone who might think that there are no connections between our open-border policy and refusal to deport criminal immigrants and corporate and legislative profit motives, examples like this one ought to help explain why our legislators continue this insane push to incarcerate vs. deport the criminals streaming across our borders.

It is no secret that CCA helps write immigration policy and anyone who thinks they don't force an agenda that is in the best interest of their stockholders rather than the best interest of American citizens and communities might want to spend some time doing a bit more research into who is behind the shaping of our national and state legislative actions and policy making.

Corporations like CCA are able to work with our lawmakers for a $50,000 fee paid to The American Legislative Exchange Council - is it any wonder they promote policy that will increase their profit margins and value on Wall Street?

So while they make a fortune, we the taxpayers get to foot the bill for facilities like the $128 million dollar Adams County Correctional Center. The census should reflect the true population, and not be distorted by counting the imported and illegal immigrant status criminals housed in the districts simply to boost corporate and dirty legislative profits.

Excerpts From Natchez Democrat, "Reality of Population Drop Worse" Posted by By Emily Lane

NATCHEZ — The 2010 U.S. Census included a sizable chunk of people as Adams County residents who do not live in these parts by choice.

Approximately 2,000 inmates at the Corrections Corporation of America prison were counted as Adams County residents in the recent census, Adams County Correctional Center Warden Vance Laughlin confirmed.

That means that the county lost approximately 4,000 — approximately 13 percent — of its population in the last decade when excluding prison inmates at the Adams County Correctional Facility from the equation. Adams County’s population decreased to 32,297 in 2010 from 34,340 in 2000, counting the inmates.

The extra boost in census population explains the growth reported in District 5.
Inmates included, District 5 has 23-percent more residents than the average of all of the districts’ populations.

The census also counted 1,878 Hispanics in District 5, compared to an average of 68 Hispanics in Districts 1-4.
Most of the 2,567 beds at CCA are filled with inmates from Central and South America. An exact breakdown of the prison’s census count was not available by press time.
CCA has a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house 2,567 criminal alien offenders in Adams County Correctional Center. 

The offenders are low-security illegal immigrants who committed offenses in the United States and will be returned to their country of origin after completing their sentences.

Stacy Vidal, a public information officer for the U.S. Census Bureau, said each state is responsible for its own rules and processes for how they use census data to draw district lines.

Read The Full Story on The Natchez Democrat

Monday, February 7, 2011

Milo, Maine Falls Prey To CCA Private Prison Industry

How sad to see another town falling to the sales-pitch of corporate prison piggies. 100 good paying jobs? Yeah, why not investigate some other towns who believed the same thing. New industry! More schools! More revenue! Because business just flock to build near prisons, dontcha know?

And I bet with just a few minutes of digging people would discover that CCA was a major contributor to Senator Thomas' campaign. That is standard operating procedure of Corrections Corporation of America and their ilk; buy out lawmakers first, then push for more privatization contracts. Disgusting.

From CorrectionsOne AUGUSTA, Maine—Prospects of building a privately run prison in the economically depressed town of Milo appear to be gaining momentum with a new administration in the State House and legislation being prepared to pave the way for such a project.

Republican Sen. Douglas Thomas' bill has yet to be fleshed out, but it's clearly aimed at authorizing a prison in the Piscataquis County town of about 2,400, which has a double-digit unemployment rate and has been buffeted by a loss of businesses not to mention devastating fire in 2008 that wiped out a third of its downtown.

"If there's a chance of getting 100 good-paying jobs, I'm interested," said Thomas, of Ripley.
Read more at Boston.com.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Abuse Reported at Private Prison Operated By CCA

"Gov. Neil Abercrombie has promised to bring back all Hawaii inmates serving prison sentences on the mainland because of previous allegations of mistreatment by guards at Saguaro,"according to the Jan. 14 newspaper report.

Eighteen Hawaiian inmates sued CCA in December 2010, claiming that guards stripped, beat, kicked and threatened to kill them, banged their heads on tables while they were handcuffed, and that "the warden himself" threatened their families. Those inmates claim that CCA "deliberately destroyed and failed to preserve evidence of their wrongdoing, including videotapes," and "deliberately falsified reports."

Hawaii's governor also cited a December 2010 "riot" at another CCA prison in Arizona, Red Rock Correctional Center, which holds about 50 Hawaiian prisoners. The Saguaro prison holds about 1,800 Hawaiians...

Link to Article Here

Link to Suit filed Here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

California Governor Brown's Budget Cuts Private Prison Spending

This year's California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget assumes $410 million paid to for profit private prisons for housing California inmates. Next year the expenditure would drop to $224 million.

Out-of-state private prison costs, the most expensive line item in the CDCR contracted facilities budget, would go from $272 million in the current year to $148 million in 2011-12.

Click here to see details of the CDCR budget.

Read the complete article Here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aramark Violates Contract with KY DOC

*GASP* A prison corporation over billing the state and screwing taxpayers out of their hard earned money? How shocking! Makes me wonder how much they over bill the states for their university contracts and how old the food is that they serve to college kids...

A state lawmaker wants Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate possible violations of Aramark Correctional Services' $12 million food service contract with the Kentucky Corrections Department.
Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said Aramark broke the terms of the deal last year by refusing to provide cost-related records to state auditors who were conducting their own investigation of food served to inmates at Kentucky's 13 prisons.
In a Jan. 4 letter to Conway, Yonts also listed other "examples of contract breach" identified in state Auditor Crit Luallen's final report, including Aramark overbilling the state and serving old food to inmates that was not stored properly.

Another Lawsuit Against CCA For Sexual Abuse

No worries, even if CCA is forced to pay out money for damages I'm sure they can find ways to recoup their losses by overcharging states for the so-called 'service' they provide.

A German woman has filed a lawsuit against a private company that ran a Kentucky prison and some of its employees, saying she was forced to trade sex to call her ill mother.
The suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville is the latest in a series of cases alleging sexual assault at the Otter Creek Correctional Complex in Wheelwright. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered all the female prisoners removed from the facility a year ago when a scandal involving corrections officers and inmates reached its height.
The lawsuit says the inmate, a 38-year-old German citizen, is serving 12 years for theft and other charges. Although the lawsuit names the inmate, the Associated Press does not generally identify those who say they have been sexually assaulted.
The lawsuit accuses Dwight Crowell, an internal affairs officer at the prison, of sexual assault. It also names several of his superiors — former Otter Creek Warden Jeff Little, currently the security chief at another CCA prison, Lee Adjustment Center, John Ferguson, chairman of CCA's board of directors and Tony Grande, an executive vice president of CCA — and says they didn't stop the wrongdoing.
Louise Graham, a spokeswoman for CCA in Nashville, Tenn., declined to address the specifics of the inmate's allegations.