CCA

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.

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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]

It's Elementary: The Cost of Immigration Detention Doesn't Add Up

This week, National Immigration Forum posted their report, The Math of Immigration Detention: Runaway Costs for Immigration Detention Do Not Add Up to Sensible Policies, examining the cost to taxpayers of detaining immigrants, the majority of whom have no criminal record.  Additionally, the report highlights how the private for-profit prison industry stands to gain the most from the growing number of immigrants in detention facilities.   

The report paints a clear picture of the exorbitant amount of money the federal government continues to spend on detaining hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year, while funding allocated for alternatives to detention, which would keep immigrants in their communities with their families, remains dwarfed in comparison to detention.  

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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

Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Operators Poised to Cash In on California's Crowded Prison Crisis

 

Are private prisons the only answer to the current overcrowding crisis in California’s correctional system?  Having recently lost five state contracts and suffered a decrease in shares and revenues, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s largest for-profit prison company, certainly hopes so.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that California’s severely overcrowded state prison system had resulted in such poor prison conditions that they were in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  Accordingly, the court ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to take immediate action to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 prisoners.  

Though the state has reduced the number of prisoners in its 33 prisons from 150,000 in 2009 to about 119,000 prisoners today, a federal three-judge panel has rejected Governor Brown’s recent request to delay the order, ordering the state to further reduce its prison population by approximately 9,600 by the end of the year.  

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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]

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The Dirty 30 | #3 - Keeping Costs Low and Profits High Through Employee Mistreatment

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.

Corrections Corporation of America’s record of malpractice is not just confined to the treatment of prisoners within its facilities but has often come at the expense of the company’s own employees. In an effort to maximize its profit margins and bill itself as a cheaper alternative to government-run prisons, CCA’s cost-cutting measures have frequently been through practices like reducing employee benefits and salaries, operating on routinely low and dangerous staff-to-prisoner ratios, and not offering sufficient staff training. 

Research for a lawsuit brought by people incarcerated at the Idaho Correctional Center revealed the facility’s 2012 monthly staffing reports, which showed guards working 24, 36 and 48 hours straight without time off, sometimes without appropriate compensation and in direct violation of state laws.[1] In May 2012, a group of shift supervisors at Kentucky’s Marion Adjustment Center sued CCA for forcing them to work extra hours, denying them overtime or meal and rest breaks, and requiring them to attend training sessions without pay.[2] Similarly, a class-action Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit was settled in Kansas in February 2009 for up to $7 million, alleging that some employees were required to perform work duties without financial compensation. Meanwhile, several lawsuits have also drawn attention to CCA’s failure to pay even the prevailing wage rate to employees, with cases settled in 2000 at Louisiana’s Winn Correctional Center[3] and the San Diego Correctional Facility.[4] The low wages of most CCA employees certainly do not extend to its top executives. In 2011, CEO Damon Hininger was paid $3,696,798, while Chairman of the Board John Ferguson received a salary of $1,734,793.[5]

Read more about The Dirty 30 | #3 - Keeping Costs Low and Profits High Through Employee Mistreatment

The Dirty 30 | #2 - A “Groundbreaking” Example of Prison Privatization: Squalor and Violence at Lake Erie Correctional Institution

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.

2. A “Groundbreaking” Example of Prison Privatization: Squalor and Violence at Lake Erie Correctional Institution

As the nation’s first state prison to be sold to a private company, Corrections Corporation of America’s purchase of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution for $72.7 million from Ohio in late 2011 was widely hailed as a “groundbreaking” move that would pave the way for other states seeking to cut costs.[1] The excitement of this transaction quickly soured when, only a year into CCA’s control of the facility, state audits found staff mismanagement, widespread violence, delays in medical treatment and “unacceptable living conditions”, including a lack of access to toilet facilities, with prisoners forced to defecate in plastic containers and bags. Amongst numerous concerns over medical provisions, the audit detailed how staff did not follow proper procedures for chronically ill prisoners, including those with diabetes and AIDS, medical appointments were severely delayed, and prisoners were often triple-bunked or forced to sleep on mattresses on cell floors. As a result of the violations, CCA was fined nearly $500,000 by the state.[2] Read more about The Dirty 30 | #2 - A “Groundbreaking” Example of Prison Privatization: Squalor and Violence at Lake Erie Correctional Institution

GEO Group lauds industry-funded study, Ohioans deserve all the facts

A guest column, Privately run prisons offer value to Ohio, ran in the Toledo based paper, The Blade, on Monday.  The authors, economic professors from Temple University, Simon Hakim and Erwin Blackstone, point to findings from their recent study to argue that private for-profit prisons are “proven solutions that deserve a second look” from state governments.  GEO Group, the nation’s second largest private prison operator, posted the piece on their website and lauded the study’s findings on twitter.  

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The Dirty 30 | #1 - Auspicious Beginnings: “Just Like Selling Hamburgers,” CCA Opens First Detention Center in Houston, TX

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. Read more about The Dirty 30 | #1 - Auspicious Beginnings: “Just Like Selling Hamburgers,” CCA Opens First Detention Center in Houston, TX

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