We are appalled to learn of CCA’s recent humiliation of a female visitor, a regular, to one of their Tennessee facilities where she was forced by guards to expose her genitals to prove that she was menstruating. According to a federal lawsuit filed this week, despite already being cleared through one security checkpoint and offering to relinquish the sanitary napkin that prompted the scrutiny, she was not free to leave the facility without being searched.[node:read-more:link]
In a September 2014 press release Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) CEO Damon Hininger stated, “We are determined to prove that we can play a leadership role in reducing recidivism and that we have every incentive to do so. The interests of government, taxpayers, shareholders, and communities are aligned. We all just need to recognize that and commit to that.” The media framed this apparent sea change for the largest private for-profit prison company as sound reaction to the realities of incarceration and recidivism; that reincarceration is costly, largely because rates of recidivism remain high. Recent studies have found that recidivism is higher than average at privately operated prisons.
At Grassroots Leadership we know that investing in re-entry and rehabilitation is a key component to driving down rates of incarceration, but we weren’t so quick to applaud what seemed to us a dubious announcement by CCA. How is it that an industry that relies on ever-increasing numbers of people behind (their) bars could stay in business if it’s suddenly going to invest in getting and keeping people out? The plain and simple answer is that it can’t, unless it changes its business model.[node:read-more:link]
Grassroots Leadership's Cristina Parker tells WBAI host Donald Anthonyson about the new privately-run family detention center in Dilley, Texas and abuses coming out of the Karnes County Residential Center, a GEO-run detention center that began detaining families this summer. Christina Fialho and Christina Mansfield of CIVIC talk about their work establishing immigrant vistitation programs, the injustices of the legal system immigrants must navigate, and influences of private prison lobbying on mass immigrant detention. Interview begins at minute 13:00. [node:read-more:link]
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the same for-profit prison corporation opening a controversial new detention center for refugee families this week in Dilley, Texas, accidentally tear-gassed children last week at a South Texas middle school near another one of its prisons. [node:read-more:link]
The Locked Up and #ShippedAway Campaign is in full force in Vermont, with our friends Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform leading the fight to bring approximately 500 men home from out-of-state private, for-profit prisons. More than a decade ago, Vermont prisoners were shipped away as a tactic, or "temporary solution" to alleviate prison overcrowding, yet little has been done to resolve this crisis. Vermont prisoners remain a steady revenue stream for Corrections Corporation of America, filling their prison beds in Kentucky and Arizona. Now, we are proud to stand with Vermonters and affected families who are bravely speaking out to put an end to this.
That is why today's Humpday Hall of Shame belongs to the Caledonian Record, a rural Vermont paper whose editors have chosen to attack and intimidate the individuals who are fighting for the return of their loved one from out-of-state private prison. In an editorial comment titled, Keep Away, the authors attempt to shame two women who have spoken out about the pain and struggle they experience having their sons shipped away by calling them "sobbing moms" and exposing details from the two men's court cases. They wrote, "Ship 'em all to Kentucky, we say. Or Siberia for all we care."
The Caledonian Record completely misses the mark. The paper can choose to spew hate and attack vulnerable women who are speaking up for their loved ones and for better criminal justice practices. But, that doesn't solve the problem for Vermonters whose loved ones are locked up out-of-state or for all Vermonters whose best interests include maintaining community ties for incarcerated people who eventually return home and in lowering prison populations and prison spending. At Grassroots Leadership, we stand in solidarity with prisoners and their families and all Vermonters fighting for safe and sane criminal justice policy, one that benefits communities and not private prison corporation bottom lines.[node:read-more:link]
"A private prison company could be making hundreds of dollars each day keeping 7-year-old Nayely Beltran under lock and key.
Instead, on one warm October morning, Nayely is zooming around a home in East Austin, Texas, showing off her new braids and handing out hugs to anyone who’ll take one. She’s finding a lot of takers at Posada Esperanza, a nonprofit shelter for immigrant moms and kids—currently about 20 people—who are seeking asylum in the United States."
Read more to find out what Grassroots Leadership's Cristina Parker says about the return to family detention by the Obama Administration. [node:read-more:link]
For immediate release: October 30, 2014
(BURLINGTON, Vermont) — A letter signed by nearly thirty Vermont organizations, groups and businesses was delivered to the Administration and to political candidates today calling for the return of Vermonters from out-of-state, private, for- profit prisons. Letter signatories believe taxpayer dollars would be better spent on sustainable supports to keep people out of prison and serve those re-entering society.[node:read-more:link]