interstate transfer

May 19, 2017
The VT Digger

Prisoners in Pennsylvania is not the solution


Vermont inmates are now going to Pennsylvania. That’s good news … or is it? Vermont recently signed a three-year contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to house Vermont inmates.

Let us not forget, too, the transportation of the inmates from Baldwin, Michigan, to Pennsylvania. There was areport by Grassroots Leadership in conjunction with Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform in 2013, in which an inmate describes the transportation process: “John, (who preferred we did not use his real name) was transferred to a private prison in Kentucky in 2006, said he had no clue what was happening when officers came into his Vermont cell in the middle of the night, told him to get up and grab his things, and refused to answer when asked where he was going. Shackled to the person next to him, he endured the 36-hour bus ride, still without any idea where he would end up …” The transport process sounds like an awful process, filled with inhumane treatment; in my view the only transport for these men should be back to Vermont. Other men soiled themselves because they could only use the facilities when allowed, even in emergencies. The report went on to state: “The transfer to Kentucky stripped John of access to rehabilitative programs, which simply did not exist at the private prison in Kentucky. Now out of prison and back in Vermont, John regularly advocates for prisoners’ rights, and said, ‘This practice of transferring inmates out-of-state is horrendous. You’re taking people who, whatever support network they may have, is gone. The truth of the matter is [that as an incarcerated person] you’re alone. You’re isolated.’”

Vermont is not only promoting this kind of treatment, in the transfer of inmates, but is continuously allowing inmates to be warehoused with little or no opportunity to work on programs that help them with the reintegration process. [node:read-more:link]

Idaho kicks Corrections Corporation of America out, but work remains to bring prisoners home

On July 1, 2014, the Idaho Department of Corrections officially took back control of the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) after 14 years of operation under the private, for-profit prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). As the Lewiston Tribune put it in their opinion piece in the Idaho Statesman today, “... after a long, dark chapter, Idaho has cast aside a profit motive more suited to making widgets or selling hamburgers than to warehousing human beings.” 

Kicking CCA and the profit-motive in imprisonment out of the ICC is absolutely a step in the right direction. However, we cannot forget Idaho is not completely rid of CCA quite yet. More than 200 Idaho prisoners remain locked up in a for-profit CCA prison in Burlington, Colorado. Prisoners, their families and loved ones, and Idaho taxpayers continue to pay the price for the state’s failure to prioritize real solutions to prison overcrowding.


Open letter to WV prisoners: Beware of private prisons before signing away your rights

As part of our ongoing efforts to stop the state of West Virginia from shipping prisoners across state lines to private for-profit prisons, Grassroots Leadership is sending an open letter to prisoners in West Virginia to raise awareness of their constitutional rights that are at risk. State lawmakers continue to debate sending prisoners to private facilities run by the Corrections Corporation of America in Kentucky instead of pursuing other options that would truly address the state’s overcrowded prisons issues and would adhere to the state constitution.  Unlike other states that we highlighed in our recent report Locked Up and Shipped Away, West Virginia's constitution bars banishment of prisoners, which places prisoners in a unique and critical role in advocating against CCA profiteering from their transfer.  They have the right to say no and to be incarcerated and rehabilitated within the state of West Virginia.

West Virginia Poised to Join Shameful Trend of Shipping Prisoners Out-of-State

In October we caught wind that West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein is looking to transfer and house up to 400 prisoners out-of-state in attempts to alleviate prison overcrowding at home.  

According to the West Virginia Gazette, representatives from two private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Community Education Centers (CEC) — attended a mandatory pre-bid conference and were able to submit bids for the contract on November 5th.  The conference was open to other state departments interested in bidding on the deal, but only the two private contractors attended to express interest.  The opening of those bids has been postponed twice. They are now set for December 5th.    


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