Grassroots Leadership Blog

Humpday Hall of Shame: CCA's Harley Lappin

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.

Today's inductee is Harley Lappin, the former chief of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) who "retired" this spring after a DUI arrest only to become the Cheif Correctional Officer" for private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America.  Here's how Walter Pavlo described the relationship in a recent Forbes Magazine column:

"On May 25, 2005, while Lappin was Director, the BOP awarded a $129 million contract to Corrections Corp. for management of a low-security federal factility in Youngstown, OH.  In April 2009, again while Lappin was Director, the BOP awarded Corrections Corp a contract to house criminal alien offenders at its facility in Adams County, Mississippi.  In fact, these are just a few of the awarded contracts to Corrections Corp. from federal agencies, including the BOP.  According to 10-K (SEC Annual Filing for 2010), the federal government accounts for 43% of the total revenue of the company.

... My hope is that Lappin will be the best Chief Corrections Officer that he can be without having to call in any favors from his old friends he made at the BOP.  Like I said, I’m HOPING." Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: CCA's Harley Lappin

Humpday Hall of Shame: Rick Scott

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.

According to the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, the Sunshine State has seen a significant drop in crime over the past decade; violent crime by 

41% and property crime by 46%. And during this period of plummeting crime rates, the number of incarcerated rose from 47,012 in 1992 to 98,192 in 2008 and in June of 2010 there were 102,232 in custody in Florida’s 144 prison facilities. Approximately 8% of the prison population was housed in the state’s for-profit facilities at a cost to the taxpayer of approximately $133 million a year.

Florida Governor Rick Scott received generous contributions from the private prison industry.  The GEO Group contributed $400,000 to GOP candidates in the 2010 election cycle and the maximum $25,000 to the Governor’s Inaugural Fund.  In fact, politicians in Florida received nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from private prison corporations in that time frame. The Governor appointed top lobbyist, Brian Ballard, who works for both The GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America, to his Inaugural Fund and Ballard reciprocated by raising $3million for the event.  Ballard has hosted fundraisers at his home where Governor Scott was the guest of honor.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: ALEC in Arizona

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.

“ALEC is unique in welcoming the private sector as an equal partner in creating model legislation.”  From New Model Legislation,” ALEC, 2009

“ALEC’s goal is to ensure that each of its legislative members is fully armed with the information, research, and ideas they need to be an ally of the free-market system.”

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) will bring legislators and corporations from all over the nation to consider ‘model’ legislation designed by and for the corporate members of ALEC. This is the group that offered up what would become Arizona’s SB1070, the egregious immigration law that put Arizona on the map as Ground Zero for reactive immigration policy.

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"A Culture of Cruelty" details rampant abuse of detained immigrants

 

No More Deaths in Arizona has released an important report detailing the horrific conditions migrants often face in detention.  A Culture of Cruelty shows rampant U.S. Border Patrol abuse of immigration detainees, deportees and migrants apprehended on the U.S.-Mexico Border.

The report chronicles more than 30,000 reported instances of abuse.  Amongst its findings:

• Border Patrol agents denied food to 2,981 people and gave insufficient food to 11,384 people. Only 20 percent of people in custody for more than two days received a meal.

• Agents denied water to 863 people and gave insufficient access to water to 1,402 additional people. Children were more likely than adults to be denied water or given insufficient water. Many of those denied water by Border Patrol were already suffering from moderate to severe dehydration at the time they were apprehended. [More after the jump] Read more about "A Culture of Cruelty" details rampant abuse of detained immigrants

Teamsters challenge Florida prison privatization effort

A plan to privatize up to 30 south Florida prisons has run into more opposition. Here's what the Teamsters Union has to say about it:

"Florida policymakers' push to privatize a huge part of its prison system has drawn the wrath of the Teamsters union, which announced Wednesday that it had filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Rick Scott.

The complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics says Scott's privatization push is "tainted" because he accepted $30,000 for his inaugural committee from the two largest companies vying for the contracts, the GEO Group and Corrections Corp. of America. The companies also contributed more than $1 million to candidates in 2010, it says.

It also says Scott has a conflict of interest because the State Board of Administration, which he chairs, owns $10 million in stock in the two companies in the state pension fund." (Orlando Sentinal, September 14, 2011)

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Prison Power Couple

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.

Rarely do we have the opportunity to induct a husband and wife team into the Hump Day Hall of Shame.  Paul Senseman, formerly Governor Jan Brewer’s Chief of staff and his wife Kathryn (Kathy), a lobbyist for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), offer us such an opportunity. Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Prison Power Couple

AFSC files suit to postpone Arizona private prison contract

 

We’ve been following Arizona’s request for proposals (RFP) from private corporations to build 5,000 new private prison beds. We've also documented the cozy ties between many Arizona legislators and prison officials with the private prison industry and its lobbyists.

So, it was welcome news yesterday to see that the American Friends Service Committee, who has been leading a charge against prison privatization in Arizona, has filed suit to postpone the RFP.  Read the AFSC's rationale from their press release after the jump.

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Humpday Hall of Shame – AZ State Senator Ron Gould

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 week’s Hump Day Hall of Shame inductee is Ron Gould, who has served in the Arizona State Senate since 2005.  He hails from Lake Havasu where he served on the City Council.  Gould is a small businessman who owns “Air Conditioning Guy”, a heating and cooling company.  His district includes the city of Kingman, home of the infamous MTC prison.

His trajectory in the Senate is impressive:

And his politics are steeped in the Tea Party.  If you look closely at his laptop, you will see the Gadsden flag with the “Don’t Tread on Me” logo — an emblem of the Tea Party movement.

True to his conservative beliefs and connections Senator Ron Gould, as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, refused to hear bills on private prison oversight or sentencing reform.  In response he said that he “did not believe these bills are necessary.”  Take look at the bills after the jump.

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