Victory in Texas - The Dawson State Jail Will Close!

Grassroots Leadership and our allies are celebrating today as the Texas Department of Crim

Int'l Women's Day Vigil
inal Justice has announced that the notorious Dawson State Jail and Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility - both operated by for-profit prison company Corrections Corporation of America - will close on August 31st, according to reports in the press, including the Dallas Morning News. 


Trending: Mass Incarceration, For-Profit Private Prisons & the Rise of Immigration Detention

Carl Takei is a staff attorney with the National Prison Project of the ACLU.  The ACLU has been a key partner in our efforts to put an end to for-profit incarceration, and this year's campaign to protest Corrections Corporation of America's "celebration" of their 30th anniversary.  Last week in Nashville, on the eve of CCA's annual shareholder meeting, we co-hosted an educational panel on for-profit incarceration where Carl shared these remarks, which are an excellent synthesis of the the major trends that are bound by the private corporations that profiteer from imprisoning human beings.

Three trends – the mass incarceration paradigm, private for-profit prisons, and the rise of a massive immigration detention machinery – emerged within the past forty years.  And there is a common thread linking them all: The private prison companies that profit from mass incarceration and immigrant detention.


Humpday Hall of Shame: CCA Lauds Results of Study that was Paid for By the Private Prison Industry

Quick on the heels of our protest outside the Corrections Corporation of America stockholder meeting, a study emerged last week from Temple University that outlines the fiscal benefits of privatizing prisons.  The researchers concluded that privatization could save the state of Arizona between 14% and 22% without sacrificing quality -- the exact opposite findings of a study by the Tucson Citizen, which found that the price to incarerate someone had increased 13.9% since the contracts began.  Even data from the Arizona Department of Corrections revealed that for-profit prisons cost the state an extra $10 million a year.  We certainly weren’t surprised to find out that the study was funded by "members of the private prison industry." Prison Legal News issued a press release on May 22 which cites numerous other studies CCA has funded to promote its "benefits."


Humpday Hall of Shame: CCA Refuses Moment of Silence to Honor Employee Slain During Prison Riot

Last week Grassroots Leadership joined people from around the country in Nashville, TN to protest outside of Corrections Corporation of America's annual shareholder meeting where, this year, the for-profit prison company was "celebrating" their 30th anniversary.  Among the protestors was long-time Grassroots Leadership ally Alex Friedmann who is a former prisoner and current President of the Private Corrections Institute (PCI).  Alex spent six years in a CCA-operated prison and since his incarceration he has dedicated his life to criticizing the private, for-profit prison industry.  To that end, he became a CCA shareholder in order to engage in shareholder activism.  Alex owns enough shares in the company to attend shareholder meetings and to advance shareholder resolutions; a tool that he has used to try and force the hand of the company to acknowledge and address its record of abuse, neglect and mismanagment.  


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.  


Adding Insult to Injury: CCA "honors" Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

After two puzzling celebrations -- Black History Month and Women's History Month -- CCA is back at it, this time with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  We have our own ideas about CCA's treatment of people of color and, after the jump, a special message from Kat Brady, our ally in Hawai'i and longtime activist for criminal justice in her state.

Not surprisingly, Hawai'i incarcerates the largest proportion of Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander (API) individuals, and more than 1,700 people from Hawai'i are incarcerated in CCA facilities on the mainland.  As a result, Asian/API men are disproportionately represented in CCA facilities relative to state-operated facilities.  In state-operated facilities, Asian/API men represent 63% of the total population, whereas in out-of-state CCA facilities Asian/API men represent 69% of the total population.  These facts make CCA's latest public relations exploit of people of color particularly nauseating.  It's Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and you-know-who is "honoring" it!  In his commemorative blog post, CCA CEO Damon Hininger writes,

"Last year, I visited Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, Calif. I was inspired by the preservation of history and values in the midst of other cultural influences in L.A. The fact that it remains a close-knit community is evidence that we all carry the strength to keep traditions alive and uphold standards set before us at CCA."

We had no idea that CCA holds up the preservation of history, traditions and culture and standards for their company!  We decided to reach out to our new friend in Hawai'i, Kat Brady, to see what she knows about Hawai'i's incarcerated population in CCA facilities.  


Colorado at a Crossroads

Colorado has a great opportunity to close some of their prisons.  The state’s incarcerated population is decreasing even faster than anticipated, which, at just over 20,000 total incarcerated persons, is down to what officials expected to see in two and a half years.  Serious crime is down by a third since 2002; restructured sentencing is sending fewer and fewer people back to prison for parole violations.  All in all, the state has 7,500 fewer people behind bars [node:read-more:link]

Another Bad Party: CCA "Celebrates" Women's History Month While Women Perish at Dawson State Jail

Last month we were nauseated by Corrections Corporation of America’s “celebration” of Black History Month.  In a message from CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger, citing Dr. King’s legacy and the second inauguration of President Obama, the company touted themselves as one that values progress, equality, and diversity.  Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program, in response to Hininger’s message stated, “we believe that there is nothing to celebrate about an industry that has built a fortune on the incarceration of people of color”.

This month CCA is at it again with their commemoration of Women’s History Month – “celebrating women’s contributions to history and society”.  A few days ago, the country’s oldest and largest private prison corporation posted an article on their website that oozed with pride for their female CCA employees who “continue to make history and challenge old ideas by advancing in corrections”.

The article cites two female CCA employees who have ascended to leadership roles within the company, in addition to two women who serve on the CCA board of directors.  The women are lauded for “challenging stereotypes” and the “unique contributions” they bring to the workplace.  Twice women are quoted expressing their gratitude to men who have mentored them and helped them to succeed… a view that seems to support old ideas rather than challenge them. 



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