1:58 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (photo: studio08denver/flickr)
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz represents Southwest Ranches, Florida, which has been at the epicenter of a debate over a proposed immigration detention facility. Residents of the town have consistently demonstrated their opposition to the facility, which they feel was designed and planned without much public knowledge of the proceedings. Basically, they think they have been fleeced by CCA, who hopes to build the facility on land it already owns, into having a detention center that they fear will lower property values and present a risk to public safety.
Unfortunately, they’ve got a pretty poor representative in Ms. Wasserman, who’s basically taking a “lesser of available evils” approach. She initially called a town hall meeting to allow residents to voice their opposition and learn more about the project. After more than 250 people showed up to let CCA and the town council know they didn’t want a private prison, Wasserman, who had called the meeting, decided she would support the project. She now thinks it’s a good idea and that the town should move forward, saying she thinks “it is going to be far better to have that ICE detention center there than to have any other facility that would have a much more negative impact on residents there.” Other than a lead paint producing puppy mill, I can’t really imagine what would be worse for a community than a privately operated, for-profit human rights violations incubator. But there’s no chance she could have been partially swayed by the nearly $20 million CCA has spent lobbying the federal government over the past decade. Right?
Unfortunately for the residents of Southwest Ranches, Wasserman isn’t alone in ignoring her constituents interests and supporting a company with a long track record of failing to live up to its contracts. The mayor of Southwest Ranches just basically told his constituents to pound sand, because the deal is done. CCA owns the land, and has for a decade, so he says there’s really nothing residents can do to stop the construction at this point. If there’s any saving grace in all of this, it might be found in Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart from Miami, who just sent a letter to ICE to demonstrate his opposition to the proposed detention center. So there is at least one Congressperson from Florida who hasn’t been bought off by the industry yet. Read the rest of this entry →
11:09 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
Proposals to privatize health care and mental health care for prisoners have begun to meet resistance in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Let’s start with the NC situation, which really scares the crap out of me
First is a quick read; a great little editorial discussing the drawbacks of privatization and how private vendors often fail to live up to the public’s expectations. According to the author, “the logic in privatizing the services falls short… Anticipated savings might be difficult to come by… state oversight would have to be not just maintained but intensified,” and the lack of competing bids calls the wisdom of the plan into question.
The community has started to pay attention as well. A town hall meeting was convened earlier this week at a church, where many residents expressed concerns about personal and public safety if the GEO Group starts providing mental healthcare for serious criminals.
Then there’s Pennsylvania, where Governor Tom Corbett wants to privatize liquor sales and has tossed around the idea of privatizing healthcare for state prisoners. Thankfully, that foolish plan has already met with opposition both from the general public, as nurses picketed in protest of the plan, and from local politicians. State Senator David Argall contends that the plan presents a serious risk to public safety, as would any plan in which instruments designed to promote public safety are turned over to the lowest bidder among companies with long histories of abuse and negligence.
9:40 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
The Prison Industry Divestment Campaign, which launched earlier this year, has already gotten off to a strong start. Following multiple protests in May, Pershing Square Capital divested itself of millions of shares of private prison stock
, to the tune of nearly $200 million. More protests followed in July
, taking aim at Wells Fargo offices across the country. Wells Fargo holds nearly $100 million in private prison stock, mostly in the GEO Group. Activists were able to secure 2 meetings with Wells Fargo regional vice presidents to discuss the company’s stock holdings in an industry that purposefully tries to incarcerate an ever-increasing number of people to drive up profits. Unfortunately, one of those meetings has since been cancelled, but the regional VP in Denver is still scheduled to meet with activists next month. Here’s wishing the best to the brave folks who have stood up to the private prison industry and called for corporate accountability.