CCA Dirty 30

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

The Dirty 30 | #13 Columbia Training Center Juvenile Abuse

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

Juveniles are frequently taken advantage of as amongst the most vulnerable population in the criminal justice system. One of the oldest and most egregious examples comes from CCA’s Columbia Training Center, a now-shuttered facility in Richland, South Carolina.

The Columbia Training Center was renovated from a mental health treatment center into a juvenile detention facility in the 1990s. Originally run by Rebound, it was intended to hold young offenders temporarily until they could be placed in a wilderness treatment program. [1] In 1996, the state decided to end its contract with Rebound and instead rely on Corrections Corporation of America to manage the facility. CCA took control in June; by August, seven young people incarcerated there had escaped (all were recaptured). CCA blamed the building, saying that it was never meant to house 400 people.

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Dirty 30 #12 | CCA Attempts Takeover of Entire Tennessee Prison System

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

In 1985 the Tennessee prison system was in crisis. The state’s prisons were dramatically overcrowded thanks to a push to expand incarceration through tough-on-crime policies like mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Governor Lamar Alexander, whose wife Honey was an early investor in Corrections Corporation of America, called a special session of the legislature to deal with a federal court order that ruled the Tennessee prison system needed 7,000 prison beds to relieve its unconstitutionally overcrowded conditions. As a result, CCA proposed an audacious and at the time unheard of solution. [1] The company offered to buy the entire Tennessee prison system for $50 million in downpayment, $50 million over the course of 20 years, and a promise to make $150 million in improvements to the system. In return, CCA would be paid up to $175 million a year to operate the system and would be granted a 90 year lease. [2]

Read more about Dirty 30 #12 | CCA Attempts Takeover of Entire Tennessee Prison System

The Dirty 30 | #11 Fines, Failures and Scandal: Chased Out Of Australia

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

CCA’s global aspirations were also focused on the Australian market where, in 1989, the company formed the joint venture, Corrections Corporation of Australia Pty. Ltd. CCA again earned itself further distinction internationally, this time in the state of Victoria, as the only private prison operator to have had a government buy out its contracts due to failure.

CC Australia made significant inroads into the prison market and was awarded several management contracts including one in December 1994 to finance, design, build and operate Melbourne’s 125-bed Metropolitan Women’s Correctional Center (MWCC). The prison opened in August 1996 despite large anti-privatization protests. It was only a month before concerns were raised about safety standards, working conditions and substantially decreased salary levels in comparison to the public sector.[1] MWCC was plagued by a catalogue of failures under CC Australia’s management including documented reports by the Federation of Community Legal Centers (FCLC) of the brutalization of a remand and protection prisoner, the widespread prevalence of drugs, the denial of adequate clothing and access to medical treatment to women at the center, as well as allegations that women were subjected to humiliating strip searches.[2] The FCLC also quoted media reports that CC Australia was attempting to escape government penalization by covering up incidents of abuse.

Read more about The Dirty 30 | #11 Fines, Failures and Scandal: Chased Out Of Australia

The Dirty 30 | #10 UK Aspirations: Unlawful Death and a Violent Legacy

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

From early on, CCA identified potential markets abroad and formed joint ventures with politically well-connected and experienced security and construction companies and financial institutions to lobby governments, promote prison privatization and bid for contracts.[1]

In the 1980s and 1990s the company tried to win contracts in the United Kingdom (UK), France, Italy, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. In 1994 CCA formed a partnership with Sodexho (as it was then known) to bid for contracts outside of the USA, UK, Belgium and Australia aiming to split profits 51/49 per cent in English-speaking countries where CCA would take the lead, and 49/51 per cent in the rest of the world where Sodexho would lead.

Read more about The Dirty 30 | #10 UK Aspirations: Unlawful Death and a Violent Legacy

The Dirty 30 | #9 Tax Loopholes and Avoidance

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

It is of little surprise how often Corrections Corporation of America - a private corporation invested in maximizing its profit margins as much as possible - has made efforts to avoid paying taxes. Several cases have brought CCA’s attempts at tax avoidance to light. In 1998, CCA was sued by the Cleveland Independent School District in Texas after the company failed to pay its stipulated local taxes, reducing its $180,000 tax payment by $100,000 without prior permission. CCA settled the case, agreeing to pay $300,000 in outstanding tax payments before pulling out of its contract to operate the Cleveland Pre-Release Center. Meanwhile, at CCA’s Leavenworth Detention Center in Kansas, the company filed a property tax protest with the county in February 1998, arguing that the prison’s tax status should be reclassified as residential rather than commercial. CCA’s request was denied, with Kansas State Representative Candy Ruff commenting, “They’re located in a for-profit industrial park surrounded by for-profit enterprises. They’ve got these bars on the windows. They’ve got barbed wire on top of the fence, and they want to say they’re a residence? Give me a break.”[1]

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The Dirty 30 - #8 “Gold Star” Accreditation and “Impartial” Research

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

Throughout its history, CCA has claimed to uphold high operational standards, using both American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation and a small body of research literature to demonstrate the advantages of prison privatization. What CCA fails to mention is the repeatedly exposed financial exchanges and close ties between the company and so-called impartial analysts.

One way CCA argues the quality of its facilities is ACA accreditation. The ACA is a private, non-governmental organization composed of current and former corrections employees that offers accreditation services of corrections facilities based on the company’s own self-created standards. The company’s cozy ties with the ACA go back to 1984, when CCA founder T. Don Hutto was the president of the ACA. There is no regulation of the ACA beyond its own employees, who include immediate past president Daron Hall (a former CCA program director) and at least one current CCA employee, Todd Thomas, who serves as an ACA auditor.[1] In August 2009, the ACA gave its stamp of approval to thirteen CCA managed facilities for $63,000, shortly after CCA sponsored ACA’s 139th Congress of Corrections conference banquet held in Nashville, Tennessee. ACA-accredited CCA facilities include the notorious Idaho Correctional Center or “Gladiator School”, Kentucky’s Otter Creek Correctional Center, where six CCA employees were charged with sexually abusing or raping prisoners, and Arizona’s Saguaro Correctional Center, in which two prisoners were murdered in 2010. Donna Corno, a former CCA employee who served as an accreditation manager, candidly admitted that she helped falsify documents for an ACA audit. “I was the person who doctored the ACA accreditation reports for this company," she stated in December 2008, referring to her employment at the CCA-operated Southern Nevada Women’s Correctional Facility.

Read more about The Dirty 30 - #8 “Gold Star” Accreditation and “Impartial” Research

The Dirty 30 | #7 - Denial and Death: Cutting Operational Costs Through Basic Medical Care

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

Over the course of its history, Corrections Corporation of America’s failure to provide adequate medical care to people in prisons has been called into question far too often. Rather than fulfilling its original promise of raising standards in corrections, the frequency of allegations of poor medical care belies the extent to which CCA shirks providing necessary medical attention in even the direst of situations.

CCA was hit with its first major lawsuit in 1988 when the company was accused of failing to provide adequate medical care to pregnant 23-year-old Rosalind Bradford. Bradford was held in CCA’s Silverdale facility in Tennessee, where she died from pregnancy complications. A shift supervisor later testified that Bradford had suffered in agony for at least twelve hours before staff agreed for her transferal to a hospital. The supervisor said in a deposition, “Rosalind Bradford died out there, in my opinion, of criminal neglect.”[1] CCA agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by her family.

Read more about The Dirty 30 | #7 - Denial and Death: Cutting Operational Costs Through Basic Medical Care

The Dirty 30 | #6 - Riots Spiral Out of Control

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

The high number of uncontrolled protests amongst people prisoners at Corrections Corporation of America’s facilities continues to draw attention to the facility conditions that provoke riots, and the failure of staff to adequately respond when they arise. In many cases, protests have been explicitly aimed at the substandard conditions in CCA’s prisons, but have been dramatically mishandled by staff, far too often as a result of insufficient training. In April 2001, three-quarters of the 800 prisoners at New Mexico’s Cibola County Correctional Center engaged in a non-violent protest against their treatment at the facility by refusing to return to their cells. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, it ended with guards firing tear gas into the recreation yard where prisoners had gathered.[1]

The Dirty 30 | #5 - A Testament to Ineptitude: Escapes and Mistaken Releases

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

Numerous escapes and mistaken releases demonstrate Corrections Corporation of America’s failure to properly train its staff and sufficiently invest in its facilities. In the case of Florida’s Hernando County Jail, a catalogue of cost-cutting operational failures manifested in a series of escapes, eventually leading the county to take over the facility in 2010. The escapes began shortly after CCA constructed the $8 million jail in 1989, with a state investigator highlighting “a combination of improper cell security checks by staff, defective cell doors and ineffective security grating behind the light fixture.”[1] Following the escape of four prisoners in January 1990, it transpired that prison staff had not been following the required state protocols of checking prisoners who were known escape risks every fifteen minutes, and had falsified state-mandated logs. Escapes ranged from a prisoner removing a stainless steel plate in a shower stall,[2] one cutting a hole in the ceiling,[3] another walking out through an unlocked door and then climbing out over the roof[4] to a prisoner replacing his identification bracelet with a low-security one fished out of a trashcan, enabling him to join a work detail outside the jail and then flee.[5] After the jail went into county hands, Michael Page, who led the Sheriff’s Office in the takeover, pointed to mismanagement and routinely ignored maintenance problems as pivotal reasons for CCA’s failure at the facility. Page interviewed former CCA employees applying for jobs at the new county-run jail, rejecting most either as a result of failed background checks or not meeting standards. “Frankly,” Page said, “I don’t understand why a few of them weren’t in jail.”[6]

Read more about The Dirty 30 | #5 - A Testament to Ineptitude: Escapes and Mistaken Releases

The Dirty 30 | #4 - A Disturbing Culture of Staff Misconduct

In 2013, Corrections Corporation of America is "celebrating" its thirtieth anniversary.  We believe there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting off of incarceration.  In response Grassroots Leadership and Public Safety and Justice Campaign published "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About Thirty Years of Corrections Corporation of America," a list of thirty stories that exhibit the most troubling aspects of the company's history.  Each week we'll highlight one of these stories.  Click here to view the full report.  Printed copies are available in limited quanitity.  For more information please contact Kymberlie Quong Charles.

Given Corrections Corporation of America’s cost-cutting methods of not providing adequate salaries and training to its employees, it is unsurprising that instances of gross misconduct are well documented across the company’s facilities. Allegations of violence, sexual abuse, incompetence and mistreatment have become endemic to CCA’s facilities, as have numerous charges of CCA employees using prisoners for profiteering, from cases of drug trafficking to outright theft. Following several allegations of missing cash from people incarcerated at CCA’s Hernando County Jail in Florida, an investigation revealed that Jeffrey S. Hodges, the booking officer at the facility, had been pocketing incoming prisoners’ money, giving them significantly lower sums upon their release. Hodges pleaded guilty in March 2006 to two counts of grand theft, was placed on probation for 18 months, and ordered to pay back the $750 he had stolen from two prisoners.[1]

The involvement of CCA employees in selling drugs to prisoners is far too common. In December 1996, more than 200 federal agents and local law enforcement officials stormed the Silverdale Detention Facilities in Tennessee as part of an 18-month undercover investigation into drug trafficking at the jail. Although it was alleged that CCA management had been tipped off and were able to swiftly clean up the facility, the raid resulted in the conviction of nine people.[2] Raids have continued at Silverdale, with the warden and security chief fired over further allegations of illegal drug use and the escape of two prisoners in November 2002, and an officer charged with smuggling in marijuana in October 2011.[3]

Read more about The Dirty 30 | #4 - A Disturbing Culture of Staff Misconduct

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