Last month we were nauseated by Corrections Corporation of America’s “celebration” of Black History Month. In a message from CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger, citing Dr. King’s legacy and the second inauguration of President Obama, the company touted themselves as one that values progress, equality, and diversity. Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program, in response to Hininger’s message stated, “we believe that there is nothing to celebrate about an industry that has built a fortune on the incarceration of people of color”.
This month CCA is at it again with their commemoration of Women’s History Month – “celebrating women’s contributions to history and society”. A few days ago, the country’s oldest and largest private prison corporation posted an article on their website that oozed with pride for their female CCA employees who “continue to make history and challenge old ideas by advancing in corrections”.
The article cites two female CCA employees who have ascended to leadership roles within the company, in addition to two women who serve on the CCA board of directors. The women are lauded for “challenging stereotypes” and the “unique contributions” they bring to the workplace. Twice women are quoted expressing their gratitude to men who have mentored them and helped them to succeed… a view that seems to support old ideas rather than challenge them.
One of those women was featured in our blog last week, but we weren’t “giving kudos” for her leadership. Anne Mariucci is one of two CCA board members who also sit on the Arizona Board of Regents. Serving on both boards, Mariucci represents two entities competing for Arizona state funds – education and incarceration. We call on Mariucci, along with Dennis DeConcini, to step down from the Arizona Board of Regents because this controversial conflict of interest leaves little to be honored.
While CCA continues to do a poor job of convincing themselves and others that they are a company that embraces equality and progress, we will continue to expose the truth about CCA – as pioneers of the private prison industry, they continue to make millions in profits from the incarceration of human beings. Cutting corners and failing to provide adequate care, people are dying on their watch.
Grassroots Leadership is also taking time to honor women this month. Tomorrow, on the eve of International Women’s Day, we will travel to downtown Dallas, TX for a candlelight vigil to honor the women who have died while incarcerated at Dawson State Jail – a private facility run by the one and only Corrections Corporation of America.
We’ll also be honoring Gracie Miller, a baby girl born prematurely into a toilet inside Dawson State Jail who lived only four days. Gracie’s mother, a woman incarcerated in the facility, was denied a pregnancy test and adequate care despite her pleas for help.
Tell us, CCA - where is the honor in that?