Corrections Corporation of America

Humpday Hall of Shame: CCA, put your money where your flimsy PR campaign is

In a September 2014 press release Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) CEO Damon Hininger stated, “We are determined to prove that we can play a leadership role in reducing recidivism and that we have every incentive to do so. The interests of government, taxpayers, shareholders, and communities are aligned. We all just need to recognize that and commit to that.”  The media framed this apparent sea change for the largest private for-profit prison company as sound reaction to the realities of incarceration and recidivism; that reincarceration is costly, largely because rates of recidivism remain high.  Recent studies have found that recidivism is higher than average at privately operated prisons.

At Grassroots Leadership we know that investing in re-entry and rehabilitation is a key component to driving down rates of incarceration, but we weren’t so quick to applaud what seemed to us a dubious announcement by CCA.  How is it that an industry that relies on ever-increasing numbers of people behind (their) bars could stay in business if it’s suddenly going to invest in getting and keeping people out?  The plain and simple answer is that it can’t, unless it changes its business model.  


Dec 18, 2014
WBAI 99.5 FM

Advocates discuss new family detention center in Dilley, Texas

Grassroots Leadership's Cristina Parker tells WBAI host Donald Anthonyson about the new privately-run family detention center in Dilley, Texas and abuses coming out of the Karnes County Residential Center, a GEO-run detention center that began detaining families this summer. Christina Fialho and Christina Mansfield of CIVIC talk about their work establishing immigrant vistitation programs, the injustices of the legal system immigrants must navigate, and influences of private prison lobbying on mass immigrant detention. Interview begins at minute 13:00. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 28, 2014
National Public Radio

How will a small town in Arizona manage an ICE facility in Texas?

The South Texas Family Residential Center, in Dilley, TX sounds like it could be a pleasant apartment complex, but it's actually going to be a detention camp for female and child immigrants who have arrived from Central America.

Located next to a state prison and a man camp, the facility is currenty under construction, with workers quickly installing the modular buildings that will eventually hold 2,400 detainees, technically under the custody of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Corrections Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison corporation in the country, is contracted to run and maintain the facility. However, the contract is slightly unusual. While the facility is located in Dilley, the contract is going through the town of Eloy, Arizona—effectively bypassing the typically 18 month process that involves competitive bidding, environmental impact reports, and other safeguard measures before breaking ground on a new detention facility.

Immigrant rights advocates are worried about the contract for a multitude of reasons. Among other concerns, the immigrant detention center in Eloy has had the most detainee deaths in the country—13 since it was opened in 2004, says Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership.  [node:read-more:link]

Humpday Hall of Shame: Corrections Corp. of America wants to lock up your puppy?

Private prison company Corrections Corporation of America has long been accused of caging incarcerated people like animals for a profit.  Now the private prison giant — founded on the simple principle that prisons could be sold "just like you were selling hamburgers" — is looking to branch into a new market — building an animal shelter for a Florida county.

With CCA's track record of staff misconduct, squalid conditions, and unsafe prisons for people incarcerated in its facilities, we aren't optimistic this is will turn out well for the animals of the Citrus County.  Here are the details from GTN News in Gainesville:

Citrus County and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) are considering a partnership to build a new animal shelter. The county says there is a definite need for the new facility.

Citrus County Spokesperson, Tobey Phillips, says, "Space issues-- we have-- we need new runs for the animals, we have kennels that are being doubled up, it's just this facility has been here for a while and we've made it work, but we need a new facility."

The CCA's proposal says the company will handle the logistics and building the facility, but the county has to foot the $2.8 million bill. 

Phillips says, "The county pays CCA a per diem rate per inmate. So CCA's proposal is to increase that per diem rate to cover financing."

 The proposal suggests upping that per diem rate by $5.25, meaning each inmate could now cost the county just over $74 per month. If the new facility is build it will be on county property right next door to the jail. The CCA and the county agree this could be a benefit because inmates could help with the upkeep. [node:read-more:link]

When it comes to detention, it's about the stories behind the statistics

The following are remarks made by Elaine J. Cohen, a consultant with Grassroots Leadership's Hutto Visitation Program, at ImagiNation: Immigration, an event held at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas featuring immigration reform activist Jose Antonio Vargas and his film DOCUMENTED.   

I have been visiting women at the Hutto Detention center in Taylor, Texas for almost three years — and it has changed my world view and understanding, not only of geo-politics, but of the human experience.  I want to tell you a little about what I’ve learned visiting women in immigrant detention and how you can visit, too. 

I’ve met many women in detention over the years. Out of respect for the dignity and safety of the women that I visit, I will not say their names, though I believe mentioning their country of origin is timely and may help you understand better what has driven so many to come to the U.S.

The first woman I would like to tell you about is from Honduras, the same country that so many families and children are fleeing from right now.   I met her a few weeks ago and two different members of our visitation program have interviewed her.  The story she told each of them was the same.  She told us of the repeated rapes she endured as a young girl — and again by the coyotes who were supposed to bring her safely across the border.  Something else happened, she was picked up by the border patrol and she now sits in immigrant detention at Hutto, which is very much like a prison, hoping to be granted asylum. 



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