Ohio

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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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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Privatizing Prison Food Leaves a Bad Taste in Our Mouths

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

It’s no secret that prison privatization is not merely bad policy, but fundamentally counters our efforts as a nation to reduce incarceration and rehabilitate members of our society who need it most.  Week after week, we highlight the pitfalls of privatized corrections with accounts of inadequate medical care, understaffing, security and safety issues, inhumane conditions, and the list goes on.  

Today, however, we want to highlight not the privatization of prisons, but something just as troubling and dangerous - the privatization of services within correctional facilities, public and private alike.  

In the past week, reports have surfaced of plans by Ohio Governor John Kasich to hire a private vendor to provide meals to over 50,000 inmates within the state’s prison system, including juvenile detention facilities.  Kasich argues that privatizing Ohio’s prison food service will save the state up to $16 million annually... but at what cost?

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Ohio’s prison privatization debacle should be a warning to other states

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

In 2011, Ohio debated the wholesale privatization of its prison system.  While the mass prison privatization efforts were largely curtailed, the Lake Erie Correctional Institution was sold to Corrections Corporation of America for $72 million. The state now rents back beds from the facility as part of the sale-leaseback deal.  Operation, but not ownership, of another prison – the North Central Correctional Complex – is now carried out by private prison corporation Management & Training Corporation.

As may have been expected, conditions at the facilities have turned sour according to a new a report by state auditors, including what a contract monitor deemed: “unacceptable living conditions of inmates being housed inside recreation areas, with no immediate access to running water for hydration, showers or the use of a toilet.”

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