Action in Arizona: CCA, GO AWAY!

On May 1st, we announced a series of protests and informational events that are taking place around the country in opposition of for-profit incarceration and Corrections Corporation of America’s celebrations of their 30th anniversary this year.  Collectively, organizers across the nation are sending a message to CCA  that thirty years of profiting from pain is nothing to celebrate! 


The first event took place on Tuesday in Washington, DC where civil rights leaders, people of faith, criminal justice reform groups, and immigrant rights organizations protested outside CCA’s Correctional Treatment Facility. In preparation for the event, Seema Sadanandan, ACLU organizer in DC, gave three reasons why everyone should join the Public Safety and Justice Campaign, citing the deaths of Juan Villanueva and Catlin Carithers in CCA’s Adams County Correctional Center in Mississippi.  

Villanueva, despite being a Legal Permanent Resident and having lived in the U.S. since the age of four, was deported to Mexico in 2007.  Desperate to get back to his family in California, he risked his life to cross the border, but was detained by immigration authorities and sent to Adams County to serve a 41-month sentence.  Just two months before he was to be released, Villanueva died in 2012 after his deteriorating health was ignored and CCA staff failed to provide adequate medical care.  That same year at the same facility, Carithers was beaten to death during a prison riot that was allegedly a response to prisoner maltreatment.


The third reason brings us to Arizona, a state that is no stranger to CCA scandal.  We’ll be participating in Tucson’s CCA protest this Monday, May 13th  which is being organized by the American Friends Service Committee. Sadanandan cited the unwarranted and unprecedented 2012 drug sweep at Vista Grande High School that included CCA correctional officers as the third reason to join the protests. The drug sweep came around the same time CCA was awarded a new 1,000-bed facility in the area.  Coincidence?  Or has CCA stooped so low that they are preying on children to fill their prison beds and increase their bottom line?

While we’re thinking of Arizona, just last week reports surfaced that two Guatemalan inmate suicides occurred within days of each other at a CCA run immigrant detention center in Eloy.  Human rights groups in Arizona are demanding answers, calling for more transparency and independent oversight at the CCA facility.  Alessandra Soler, executive director of ACLU in Arizona, said, “Suicides are a red flag… They usually signify a much larger problem.  Sometimes it’s because of ineffective mental health treatment, but often times it’s caused by poor staffing issues.” 

As recent additions to the growing list of deaths inside CCA facilities around the country, these two mysterious suicides are yet another reason to say NO MORE to CCA and prison profiteering.



It was really good to see that majority people were protesting against such bad lame excuses by the authority. I want to tell you that I had a great time reading the article. I live in California though. I want to thank you for sharing this well written article with us.