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GEO Group Fined More Than $100,000

8:35 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

First published on WhyIHateCCA

OSHA has fined the GEO Group more than $100,000 for occupational hazards present in the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, one of the prisons it had operated for years before losing its contract with the state in the wake of some terrible abuses that took place in the juvenile detention center they also ran.  Some of the violations at EMCF included malfunctioning locks and staffing levels so low that guards had to conduct head counts of prisoners alone.

 

Curbing Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention

12:25 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

First Published on WhyIHateCCA

A few weeks back, the Obama Administration finally got around to releasing new regulations governing sexual abuse in correctional facilities, as mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003.  PREA initially only applied to DOJ facilities and agencies, but the Administration has expanded its scope to include immigrants in detention here in the US (mostly under the jurisdiction of ICE).  This is particularly relevant for the private prison industry, which houses about half of the immigration detainees in the US, though it remains to be seen how effective these new regulations will actually be in stopping sexual abuse.  ICE will have to draft rules and regulations to govern its facilities, but given all the problems ICE has had in ensuring the private prison companies it contracts with provide humane treatment to its detainees, I’m not overly optimistic that the oversight of efforts to stop prison rape will be any more stringent than for a host of other issues.  Especially considering the fact that CCA just recently finished battling a shareholder who wanted the company to report on its efforts to curb sexual assault in its facilities.

 

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

Mississippi Tosses Private Prison Company, The GEO Group

6:53 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Previously published on WhyIHateCCA

Cell in Alcatraz. Photo by Miss Millions.

Mississippi, of all places, has had enough.  Not exactly known for its hospitable prison system, the state announced last Friday that it intends to terminate its contract with the GEO Group to operate 3 facilities, effective in July.  One of those facilities is Walnut Grove, which was recently the target of a lawsuit that brought sweeping change to the way Mississippi incarcerates its youth.  Plagued with violence, medical neglect, and persistent sexual abuse, the facility’s conditions were so abysmal that the Department of Justice called it “some of the worst abuse” they had seen in any investigation of a prison or jail.  Children housed there used terms like “barbaric,” “a war zone,” and “the deepest depths of hell” to describe it.  The settlement in the lawsuit removed all juveniles from Walnut Grove and mandated that they never be held in solitary confinement.  Lest you feel bad for GEO getting slapped around so hard in the lawsuit, remember that they earned millions of dollars in profit by treating children like shit.

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Ask CCA to Report on Sexual Assault

8:36 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

First Published on WhyIHateCCA

I just want to drop a quick link here and encourage everyone to go sign a petition on Change.org asking CCA to report on its efforts to reduce sexual abuse within its facilities.  Sexual abuse in prisons is a serious problem in both government and private facilities, so a CCA shareholder introduced a resolution asking the company to provide regular reports on the efforts it is taking to combat sexual assault and protect the prisoners it houses.  CCA initially objected to the resolution, but that objection was rejected by the SEC, so it now will move to a vote by all shareholders of the company.   Please go sign this petition.

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.

MS Bans Juvenile Solitary Confinement, GEO Group Housing

11:26 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

MS Bans Juvenile Solitary Confinement, GEO Group Housing

In a really monumental settlement agreement, the state of Mississippi has been ordered to remove all its juvenile prisoners housed at the Walnut Grove YCF, a juvenile facility operated by the GEO Group (formerly by Cornell), and place them elsewhere.  Following rampant sexual, physical, and verbal abuse, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the children detained at the prison to try to relieve the nightmarish conditions they were housed in.  In addition to removing the children from a prison that profits with every additional incarcerated soul, the settlement mandates that no children in the state can be housed in solitary/isolated confinement, a notoriously dangerous and harmful classification that typically involves 23-hour per day lockdown and extreme sensory and social deprivation.

CCA Tries to Suppress Information on Sexual Assaults

10:54 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

CCA Tries to Suppress Info on Sexual Assaults

This story is almost too ridiculous.  A CCA shareholder introduced a resolution to the company that would require it to disclose information on sexual assaults that take place inside their facilities, and the company’s efforts to combat sexual abuse within its prisons and jails.  The resolution would bring a measure of accountability to the largest company in an industry that, despite performing an inherently governmental function, is not required to disclose information to the general public in the same way a government agency must.

Now, CCA has had some trouble dealing with sexual assaults in its facilities in the past; female prisoners from Hawaii were removed from not one, but two separate CCA facilities (in Kentucky and Colorado) after routinely being victimized by staff.  Other women have been sexually abused in CCA facilities in New Mexico, Florida, The District of Columbia, and Texas.  And those are just the sexual assaults that have been reported within the past 3 or so years.

Maybe that’s why CCA objected to the resolution calling on them to disclose information about sexual assaults; there’s a good chance that, if more information on the sexual victimization of people they are charged with protecting comes to light, it could hurt the company’s chances to secure future contracts, or cut into their bottom line if they’re fined for non-compliance with existing contracts.  Thankfully, though. the SEC saw through their BS (they called the resolution a “personal grievance” of the shareholder – apparently wanting to reduce sexual assaults is a personal grievance), and rejected CCA’s objection to the proposal, which was supported by numerous advocacy and policy groups.  Now, the resolution will come before all shareholders at the next annual meeting, where it will be put to a vote.

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.

Yet Another Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against CCA

10:06 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

ACLU files new lawsuit against CCA

By Elaine Hirsch
A lawsuit recently filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU-TX) against the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) underscores the perils of the American prison-industrial complex, an aspect of corrections facility management studied by politicians, master’s degree candidates, and lawyers in the United States.
The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of three female detainees whose identities were withheld to maintain anonymity. According to the ACLU-TX filing, the immigrant women were being transported from the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Williamson County to Austin, Texas, when they allegedly suffered sexual abuse while in the custody of ICE. One CCA employee and three ICE officials have been named in the lawsuit.

This isn’t the first time that CCA has come under fire for prisoner abuse. The CCA has operated the T. Don Hutto Residential Center since 2006. The day-to-day operations of the detention center are conducted by a cadre of ICE employees and CCA guards. In August 2010, the ACLU reported that a CCA guard was charged with numerous counts of sexually abusing female inmates at the same ICE facility in Williamson County. The Graduate Employees and Students Organization at Yale University teamed up with the school’s employee union to force a divestment based on CCA’s long record of civil rights violations.

Days after the filing the latest lawsuit against the CCA, the ACLU released a scathing report criticizing the massive profits realized by private prison contractors such as CCA during recessionary times. “Banking on Bondage: PrivatePrisons and Mass Incarceration” is the name of the report that shows the two most prominent prison profiteers, CCA and the GEO Group, received a combined revenue of $3 billion and earned hundreds of millions in profits in 2010.

CCA’s sketchy record of managing American prisons comes at a time when the state of Arizona is preparing to award a lucrative contract to private jailers despite a report from the Auditor General that state-operated facilities would actually cost less to maintain.

The meteoric rise of the private prison population in the United States is certainly sobering: a 1664% increase over the last two decades. According to industry analysts, there are plenty of long-term growth opportunities for business entities such as CCA. Mark Whitburn, an attorney at the ACLU of Texas, believes that the complaints lodged by the three plaintiffs in the most recent lawsuit against the CCA are only “the tip of the iceberg.” 

Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.  She is currently a writer for a master’s degree program resource.