Grassroots Leadership Blog

Humpday Hall of Shame: High Point, NC Planning & Zoning Commission

Welcome to The Humpday Hall of Shame – every Wednesday we’ll highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week's Hall of Shame inductee is the Planning & Zoning Commission in High Point, NC.  Last night its members had an opportunity to halt The GEO Group from building a for-profit facility for the mentally ill in the criminal justice system.   A rezoning motion (Zoning Case 11-16) would have halted the troubled private prison corporation’s proposed forensic psychiatric hospital at the U.S. 311 and Greensboro Road interchange.

The commission issued a unanimous recommendation opposed to a City Council request to rezone the Evergreens Senior Health Care property, a request by the Council that would have prevented industrial use and block the facility.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Welcome to the Humpday Hall of Shame: every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week we induct Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the powerful Democratic Congresswoman from Florida and chair of the Democratic National Committee for her support of a new Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) immigrant detention center in south Florida.

Corrections Corporation of America has done their part to win Congresswoman Wasserman Shultz's support, donating $1,000 to her campaign in April of this year.  Wasserman Schultz has received at least $7,250 in private prison donations since 1998, according to data accessed at TransparancyData.org and analyzed by Grassroots Leadership.

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Protesting immigration detention for International Human Rights Day

Today, the New York Times called the immigration detention system "dangerously broken." More than 34,000 immigrants awake each day in the immigration detention system.   The system relies heavily on for-profit corporations who own and/or operate prisons and county jails to detain migrants.  According to the Times,"The paradigm is wrong. The system is dangerously broken." Read more about Protesting immigration detention for International Human Rights Day

Humpday Hall of Shame: Corporations and Legislators Get Cozy in Arizona

Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

ALEC’s (The American Legislative Exchange Council’s) States & Nation Policy Summit in Phoenix, November 29th – December 3rd, 2011, is packing them in.  Corporations and elected officials are meeting at the posh Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, shown in the picture to the right.

 

What’s the attraction?  ALEC is a powerful group of corporate lobbyists, along with legislators, that draft legislation without oversight.  Learn more about ALEC from an NPR report.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Group Journeyman Joe Williams

Welcome to the Humpday Hall of Shame: every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week's inductee into the Humpday Hall of Shame is Joe Williams.  Williams' revolving door career demonstrates how the industry profits at taxpayer expense.  Williams is a former GEO Group warden who became the New Mexico Secretary of Corrections under Governor Bill Richardson.  Now, Williams is back at GEO Group as the head of that company's U.S. Corrections arm.

According to a recent article in the Albuquerque Tribune:

Williams came under scrutiny from New Mexico legislators last year for his decision not to fine GEO and another private prison operator for understaffing. A report by the Legislative Finance Committee at the time said there were potentially millions of dollars to be collected. Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Group Journeyman Joe Williams

Humpday Hall of Shame: CCA's Stewart Detention Center

Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week, we focus not on an individual lawmaker, but on a private prison facility itself.  Meet Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia - our newest inductee into the Humpday Hall of Shame.

Stewart is the nation's largest immigrant detention center, and is located in state that recently passed a strict anti-immigrant law that is modeled after Arizona's infamous SB 1070.  As NPR reported ("Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law," October 28, 2010) last year, CCA actively helped draft SB 1070.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Texas Governor & Presidential Candidate Rick Perry

Every Wednesday we’ll be highlighting the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

While Texas Governor Rick Perry's record on criminal justice reform has been mixed, his cozy relationship with the private prison industry has raised eyebrows.   Texas has more private prisons, immigrant detention centers, and jails than any other state.

And, according to an article by Tim Murphy in Mother Jones ("Flush With Prison Industry Dollars, Rick Perry Pushed Privatized Prisoner Care," September 1), Perry has been a friend to the private prison industry:

"As governor, Perry, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, has supported privatizing everything from public lands to highways, but according to Scott Henson, a criminal-justice watchdog who runs the blog Grits for Breakfast, the governor had remained largely quiet on the prisons issue—until this year... Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Texas Governor & Presidential Candidate Rick Perry

Humpday Hall of Shame: Gladiator School

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we’ll be highlighting the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

"This isn't even what we know of as a prison — this is a gulag."  -- Steven Pevar, ACLU Attorney

The Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) has a reputation as being one of the most violent correctional facilities in the nation, earning its nickname “The Gladiator School” from its inmates.  ICC was built almost a dozen years ago on state-owned property by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and was the first state-owned but privately run facility in the nation.  Since last year, Timothy Wengler has been warden at this facility of more than 2,000 medium security men.

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