Michigan

May 15, 2015
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Seven Days

Vermont Might Send Its Out-of-State Prisoners to Michigan

GEO representatives told shareholders during a recent conference call that the company was finalizing a contract with Vermont, according to Grassroots Leadership, a national watchdog that opposes the private prison industry. "We are very concerned that the people who are currently housed out-of-state in Kentucky will be transferred to Baldwin," Kymberlie Quong Charles, Grassroots Leadership's criminal justice programs director, said in an interview. Read more about Vermont Might Send Its Out-of-State Prisoners to Michigan

Michigan, don't help GEO reopen troubled private prison. Stop HB 4467 now!

Last Thursday the Michigan House approved legislation that would help private prison company, the GEO Group, get one of their shuttered prisons up and running again.

House Bill 4467, if passed, would allow GEO Group to house Level V high-security prisoners at the now-empty North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, MI. Although the prison has been empty since 2011, Michigan law allows for the GEO prison to house prisoners, including those from other states, but only prisoners requiring Level IV security and below.

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Aramark Serves States Lies While Making Themselves Fat

Back in February we blogged about our concerns with the privatization of food services in correctional facilities and since then have followed the decision-making in Michigan and Ohio where the state governments have been weighing the option.  This week the Association Press covered both states’ recent decisions to contract with private corporation Aramark to provide food service in their prison facilities.  

Our concerns and the ones that are highlighted by the AP article are similar: food quality and portion size is diminished, food workers are paid less, and many other general safety concerns.  The AP digs deeper and describes some of the specific ways in which cost savings is found in compromising quality, including substituting cheaper ingredients for the ones the company claims to be using.

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“Whack-A-Mole” in Michigan

Keeping up with the goings-on of the private prison industry is like playing “Whack-a-Mole.” Every time you smack down a proposed prison, another one pops up elsewhere, like the pesky critter in the old carnival game. Just a few weeks ago, an extraordinary coalition of people of faith joined with labor, and civil and human rights groups to expose Florida’s hasty attempt to deliver more than two-dozen, publicly-run prisons into the hands of the private prison corporations.  It would have been the largest mass prison privatization in the history of the nation.  But on-the-ground pressure coupled with solid research and data helped move the issue. The bill was eventually defeated by just two votes.

These past few weeks the for-profit prison industry has its sights on Michigan.  The Michigan House of Representatives is considering bills HB 5174 and HB 5177 to reopen a youth correctional facility in order to house adult inmates. The North Lake Facility for Youth, or Baldwin facility, was opened in 1998 by Wackenhut Corrections Corporation – now know as The GEO Group shuttered the facility in 2005.  GEO, in a speculative move with high hopes of filling the prison with Californians, expanded the prison from less than 500 to about 2400 beds. The expected California contract did not fully materialize and the GEO Group’s Lake County facility, dubbed the ‘punk prison’, stood empty for some years.  See more about Wackenhut/GEO Group’s atrocious track record at the youth facility after the jump.

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