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Another Wrongful Death Suit Against CCA

12:59 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

First published on WhyIHateCCA

 

The ACLU of Hawaii has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the family of Clifford Medina, a 23-year-old Hawaiian prisoner who was murdered in the Saguaro Correctional Center, a CCA prison in Arizona.  The lawsuit contends that the company’s negligence and drive for profit led to Medina’s murder by a fellow prisoner.  This murder was one of two in a very short time frame at the facility, and one of a few issues that led the Governor of Hawaii to pledge to return all his prisoners to the islands, including an alleged sexual assault by a staff member at this same prison.

The lawsuit has already been covered by a ton of media outlets, so I won’t go into a detailed breakdown.  Suffice it to say, I effing hate CCA.  I’ll just give you links

KVOA News in Tucson, AZ
KITV News in Honolulu
Hawaii Reporter
Hawaii News Now
Nashville Scene
Courthouse News Service

Arizona’s Political Leaders are Crazy for Private Prisons

1:08 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Arizona’s Political Leaders Are Crazy for Private Prisons

Arizona

(Photo By tolomea via flickr)

I’ve been remiss in updating everyone on the situation in Arizona, the state that loves private prisons, even though it’s likely paying more for them than what the government could operate facilities for.  After a few reports came out detailing how the state was paying through the nose for private prisons, its legislature continued to bullishly forge ahead with a request for proposals to construct an additional 2,000 private prison beds.  This came despite evidence that private prisons in the state cost more and are more dangerous; the American Friends Service Committee filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to prevent the state from entering into a new contract for these beds.  But it was thrown out on a technicality; the judge basically said that citizens of Arizona have no standing to ask the Department of Corrections to follow the law.

So the AFSC and the NAACP joined together in filing a formal protest asking the court put a stop to the request for proposals, which came alongside a piece of legislation designed to prevent the state from conducting cost comparisons in the future.  The Department of Corrections swiftly dismissed the request, again on a technicality basically amounting to “we don’t want to listen to socially conscious organizations working in the best interest of Arizona citizens.”  The state seems to be quite insistent on these new private prison beds, possibly because its politicians have long had cozy relationships with the industry.  From SB1070, which came out of ALEC, to the governor’s staff consisting of CCA lobbyists, Arizona politicians and the private prison industry are well acquainted.  In fact, Dennis Deconcini, a former senator from the state, sits on CCA’s board.  And it appears as though the state’s Chamber of Commerce is rife with conflicts of interest related to the industry; CCA, the GEO Group, and PHS are all represented on the board of the Chamber, either directly or through lobbying firms.

So it seems like Arizona’s political leaders are really just oblivious to common sense and the advice of groups who have thoroughly studied the problems inherent to the private prison industry.  I want to believe that, rather than the alternative, which would be that they just don’t care about how terrible and inefficient the industry is, because they want to give handouts to their political allies. As Sasha Abramsky at The Nation writes, “One might think that, faced with evidence that the state isn’t getting enough bang for its buck, Arizona legislators would rethink their commitment to putting ever mroe prisoners into private facilities.  Instead, in a move Orwellian even by the gutter standards of Arizona politics, they’ve simply tried to bar the state from collecting the evidence.

With all the news about the state attempting to further privatize its prison system, it might have been easy to overlook the state’s decision to bring in a private, for-profit medical care provider, Wexford, to manage healthcare for the entire system.  Which is just another clusterfuck waiting to happen.  The company will charge more than the state paid last year to provide healthcare this year, and estimates it will reap of profit of more than $5 million in the process.  I’m sure none of that will come from denying treatment or neglecting prisoners.

Some of the Worst Abuse Ever Seen in a Private Prison

1:17 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Some of the Worst Abuse Ever Seen

Following on the announcement of the removal of all juvenile prisoners in Mississippi from private prisons, the Department of Justice has just released a report of its findings in investigating the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, which is run by the GEO Group.  Walnut Grove was the target of the lawsuit that resulted in the prohibition on sending juveniles to private prisons, and it turns out the state was more than justified in ordering such a removal.  Juveniles incarcerated at the facility were subjected to ongoing sexual misconduct and other forms of abuse; the abuse was “among the worst that [the DOJ has] seen in any facility anywhere in the nation.

This is truly one of the most gut-wrenching tales of the horrors of privatization that I’ve ever seen.  The report indicates that the profit motive inherent in the private prison industry led the GEO Group to ignore the suffering of children under its care; the company earned more than $100 million from the facility’s operation.  Staff were frequently involved in gang activity, and children suffered from excessive use of force regularly.  The children were sexually assaulted, guards smuggled drugs into the facility, numerous extremely violent riots occurred, and the kids were routinely subjected to long periods of isolated confinement, denied medical care and access to educational programming.  It was so bad that the judge who just ruled on the settlement remarked that “The sum of these actions and inactions … paints a picture of horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world.”  The inaction the judge refers to is not only the fault of the GEO Group; the state of Mississippi was remiss in repeatedly failing to enforce and monitor the contract it has with the company to ensure its own citizens, children of all people, would not suffer through such horrendous experiences.

It looks like long-needed change has finally come to the children housed at Walnut Grove and their families, all of whom were victimized by the prison-industrial complex, and more specifically, by the profit motive inherent to the private prison industry.  Judge Reeves, who approved the settlement, claims he will avidly enforce the agreement to ensure that no other children fall prey to the GEO Group.

Death of Hawaiian Prisoner Sparks Lawsuit

10:34 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Death of Hawaiian Prisoner Sparks Lawsuit

Hawaii contracts with CCA to house some of its prisoners on the mainland, because they don’t have room for them in prisons on the islands.  But their relationship has been marked by problem after problem, from the sexual assaults of women in a prison in Kentucky (after they had been moved there following sexual assaults at ANOTHER CCA prison) and coverups to mistreatment of male prisoners in Arizona.  In light of these issues, and a report of the state’s solicitor general that was highly critical of the private prisons housing Hawaiian prisoners the governor has pledged to bring all Hawaiian prisoners home, but has found the process for doing so more difficult than anticipated.

One of the most serious issues that has arisen is the deaths of two young men at the Saguaro prison in Arizona.  After a class of prisoners sued the state and CCA over their mistreatment at the facility, the ACLU of HI has just filed a lawsuit against the state and CCA over the death of Bronson Nunuha, who was murdered at the prison.  The 26-year-old’s death is being challenged as preventable; the ACLU of Hawaii claims the state and CCA were both negligent, leading to his wrongful death.  Nunuha was even being held in segregated confinement, where he was separated from the general population, but even that wasn’t enough to prevent him from being murdered only months before he was set to be released; only 1 guard was responsible for overseeing about 50 prisoners.  The lawsuit contends that CCA’s “unchecked hunger for profits” led the company to cut staffing to such unacceptably low levels as to allow for Nunuha’s murder.

Unfortunately for the state, which gives the company $10 million annually to allow its citizens to be murdered, their own officials have faced significant difficulties in trying to extract information from the facility. The aforementioned report of the Solicitor General noted major obstacles the agency encountered in trying to conduct an investigation of conditions Hawaiian prisoners were housed in.  Maybe it’s because CCA doesn’t give a shit about the people it houses, and does everything possible to prevent governments from seeing just how poorly their tax dollars are being spent.

What CCA’s Q2 Earnings Mean

6:34 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Cash Cash Cash! (Photo: athrasher, flickr)

Cash Cash Cash! (Photo: athrasher, flickr)

What CCA’s Q2 Earnings Mean

Another piece from a guest author, Elaine Hirsch:

(Elaine Hirsch is a kind of jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and video games.  This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for an online doctorate blog.)

A few weeks ago, Mike covered the $42.4 million in profits that CCA announced as part of its Q2 earnings report.  It doesn’t take an online doctorate to figure out that profit equals revenues minus costs, and whitout any significant spike int he supply for prison needs, this article will look at how CCA reaped profits by cutting costs in the recent months.

According to the company’s earnings call, headed by CEO Damon Hininger and CFO Todd Mullenfer, one of their main focuses has been on cutting costs in operations.  Citing a company-wide initiative in 2009 aimed at driving greater efficiencies, Hininger admitted that CCA gave merit increases to employees last month, causing a dent in their bottom line.  It seems counter-intuitive that a CEO would apologize for pay raises (especially merit-based ones!), because such raises are essentially investments into employees.  Given that statement, it seems as if CCA values its employees as little as the prisoners they manage, a terrible way to run a company. Read the rest of this entry →

They Rapin’ Errbody Up in Here

10:16 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

They Rapin’ Errbody Up in Here

To borrow a line from Antoine Dodson.  

Forgive me for making light of the situation in the title, but two CCA officers are currently facing charges of rape in separate incidents.

In Florida, a guard is on trial for allegedly raping a fellow employee who was suffering an asthma attack.  Meanwhile, over in New Mexico, a trial against a corrections officer who has admitted to raping 4 women under his watch at the Camino Nuevo Women’s CF in 2007 has been delayed as CCA tries to buy more time to mount a defense.

Once again, these shining examples of private prison professionalism give us a glimpse into what happens when profit is a higher priority than providing quality service

 

3 Escapes and 2 Murders Don’t Warrant Improving Security

1:55 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

I Guess 3 Escapes and 2 Murders Don’t Warrant Improving Security

A recent report by the Arizona Republic, which reviewed audits, correspondence, and interviews from the Department of Corrections reveals that many of the security lapses that led to the escape of 3 murderers from the MTC facility in Kingman last year have not been resolved. In fact, 14 prisons, a mixture of private and state-run ones, suffer from the security flaws that allowed these prisoners to escape and elude the law for weeks, while killing a vacationing elderly couple in the process.

Among the failures in security are “faulty alarm systems, holes under fences big enough to crawl through, and broken perimeter lights and cameras.” The report also found a systemic ignorance of proper security protocols at nearly all the facilities studied.

The amount and extent of these security failures is just staggering, but they come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the industry and its all-consuming drive for profit. By cutting corners in these areas, the private companies that run these prisons put their staff, their prisoners, and the general public at great risk. They continuously fail to live up to contractual obligations because executives at these companies are greedy, despicable people who not only profit from incarcerating people, but do so in such an unscrupulous manner.

The first report to come out on this is linked in the title; another, appearing in the Tuscon Citizen, can be found here.

Private Prisons Suck in Australia Too

12:32 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Private Prisons Suck in Australia Too

Five GEO Group guards in Australia were just fired over the scandal I reported on previously. Basically, they had been using surveillance cameras at the prison to watch female inmates undress and shower.

This is what happens when private corporations are given control over inherently governmental functions. The overriding profit motive led the GEO Group to hire unsatisfactory employees, at this facility and every other one they operate.