After two puzzling celebrations -- Black History Month and Women's History Month -- CCA is back at it, this time with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We have our own ideas about CCA's treatment of people of color and, after the jump, a special message from Kat Brady, our ally in Hawai'i and longtime activist for criminal justice in her state.
Not surprisingly, Hawai'i incarcerates the largest proportion of Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander (API) individuals, and more than 1,700 people from Hawai'i are incarcerated in CCA facilities on the mainland. As a result, Asian/API men are disproportionately represented in CCA facilities relative to state-operated facilities. In state-operated facilities, Asian/API men represent 63% of the total population, whereas in out-of-state CCA facilities Asian/API men represent 69% of the total population. These facts make CCA's latest public relations exploit of people of color particularly nauseating. It's Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and you-know-who is "honoring" it! In his commemorative blog post, CCA CEO Damon Hininger writes,
"Last year, I visited Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, Calif. I was inspired by the preservation of history and values in the midst of other cultural influences in L.A. The fact that it remains a close-knit community is evidence that we all carry the strength to keep traditions alive and uphold standards set before us at CCA."
We had no idea that CCA holds up the preservation of history, traditions and culture and standards for their company! We decided to reach out to our new friend in Hawai'i, Kat Brady, to see what she knows about Hawai'i's incarcerated population in CCA facilities.
Kat, a community advocate for justice, is the Coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons, a community initiative working to develop effective interventions for Hawai'i's incarcerated population and to improve the quality of the states justice system. I reached out to Kat while doing research on interstate transfer of inmates to private correctional facilities - a practice Hawai'i is all too familiar with. Kat has long been committed to advocating for Hawai'i inmates who have been shipped to private prisons on the mainland since 1995, and knows the truth about how CCA has "honored" them over the years. Today, we're happy to be featuring her as a guest Humpday Hall of Shame blogger, letting CCA know that they're not fooling anyone!
30 YEARS OF SHAME
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. This is a sad example of how our civilization has devolved. Is there any reason to celebrate when profit is derived from human misery?
To add insult to injury, CCA’s website features an article by CEO Damon Hininger entitled Honoring Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Native Hawaiians, the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands, are an over-represented group in CCA’s corporate prisons. Many of these men practice spiritual beliefs first established by their ancestors, who exercised sovereignty over the area that now comprises these Islands.
While other faiths meet several times a week, are allowed to worship together, and are allowed to access religious items that are integral to their faith and that express their religious and spiritual beliefs, our Native Hawaiian men have been denied this right.
In 2004, there was settlement of a lawsuit on this issue. True to form, CCA has gone back on their word; now there is another pending lawsuit to allow our men in Saguaro to practice their religion and spirituality.
This is a real-life example of how CCA honors the Asian-Pacific heritage of our people.
Kat Brady, Coordinator
Community Alliance on Prisons