CCA

Idaho Gov. Otter takes step in the right direction, but when will he bring prisoners home?

Grassroots Leadership and our friends in the fight against prison profiteering are celebrating after Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced on Jan.3 he is ordering the state to take over the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) — a private prison operated by industry giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) with a long and sordid history of scandal and abuse. Read more about Idaho Gov. Otter takes step in the right direction, but when will he bring prisoners home?

Lunch date with GEO Group? Not cute.

On Monday Texas House member Cecil Bell Jr. tweeted from a lunch with GEO Group representatives:  

Bell is a first-term member of the Texas House with only one legislative session under his belt.  Since he’s new at this, we thought we’d give him a little advice.  

Representative Bell, lunching with the GEO Group really isn’t a great look.  As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where you have decision-making power over how state funds are allocated, this for-profit private prison corporation is going to take an interest in you because they want you to support their stability and expansion in your region and across the state of Texas.  We’re sure you’re aware that in Montgomery County, which intersects your district, GEO has been managing operations at the Joe Corley Detention Center since 2008 and the Montgomery County Mental Health Treatment Facility (MCMHTF) since March 2011.  Last spring GEO finalized the purchase of the Joe Corley Detention Center, is looking to purchase MCMHTF, and planning on building a second federal prison in Conroe.  Evidently, local law-makers in Montgomery County are anticipating that GEO is turning their county into a hub for their business -- the business of profiteering from incarceration, mind you.  As a former Deacon and a person of faith, we know you understand the moral conflict in caging human beings for profit.  

 

The thing is, GEO’s track record with these two facilities hasn’t been great.  The contract with GEO and the construction of the Joe Corley Detention Center were done on speculation of a rate of occupancy that has not panned out, and the financial burden was left to the county.  Furthermore, scandals, deaths, and lawsuits have brought much negative attention to the state of Texas, Montgomery County, and GEO.  This July 2012 article in the Austin American Statesman provides a comprehensive and damning overview of GEO’s troubles at MCMHTF and other Texas facilities, for your reference.

 

Others’ alignments with GEO haven’t gone so well, either.  In May this year, Florida Atlantic University’s president Mary Jane Saunders had to resign because of the negative attention she received for her heavy involvement in brokering a deal with GEO to name FAU’s football stadium after the private prison company!  Students started calling the stadium “Owlcatraz” and even Stephen Colbert got wind of it.  It was pretty embarrassing.  

 

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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]

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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.

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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.

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