ACA

Humpday Hall of Shame: Profit motive leads to revolving door, corruption, federal indictment in Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is a repeat offender in our Humpday Hall of Shame.  In recent years we’ve highlighted stories of violence, inmate and staff deaths, uprisings, lawsuits against MDOC and the private prison companies that operate several Mississippi facilities.  

Last week, long-time MDOC Commissioner, Christopher Epps, abruptly resigned from his post, offering no comment on his reasons for leaving the agency.  Other spokespeople for the agency and the state remained tight-lipped about the resignation, raising eyebrows for many.  Within twenty-four hours it came to light that Epps is facing a 34-count federal indictment on charges of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud, offenses that were conducted through MDOC and Epps employing position as Commissioner to cover the scandal.

Allegedly, under Epps’ leadership, MDOC paid close to $1 billion to firms affiliated with Cecil McCrory, a local businessman, former state legislator, and Rankin County School Board President (until he also abruptly resigned from his post this week).  In exchange, McCrory paid Epps nearly one million to guarantee the contracts go to his firms.  Evidently, Epps received so many bribes that he had to launder the money through his multiple properties.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Prison Companies Buying “Impartial” Accreditation Agency … Again

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but every time a private prison company pops up as a top sponsor of the largest “impartial” accrediting association in the world, we are. This time not one but eight private prison and private correctional healthcare companies, each with a history of human rights violations, are the top sponsors of the American Correctional Association’s 144th Congress of Corrections conference.

Among them are Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, Management and Training Corporation, Corizon, Wexford Health, MHM Correctional Services, Centurion, and Naphcare.

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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.

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