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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

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 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.

Private Prisons Are Run by Super-Classy People. /s

8:08 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

They’re Run By Super Classy People

Sometimes this stuff is just too easy.  Grady Sims, the former warden of a halfway house run by the GEO Group in Walnut Grove, MS, has been charged with sexually assaulting a prisoner under his watch, then attempting to cover up the incident.  This should not be confused with the juvenile prison in Walnut Grove, also run by the GEO Group, which is the target of a wide-ranging lawsuit by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center alleging, among other things, rampant violence and neglect of serious medical and mental health care needs.

But he didn’t stop there.  Mr. Sims, who was also the mayor of this small town for decades, used the town’s taxpayers’ money to perform maintenance on the private prison.  In fact, he used over $30,000 worth of their money to perform labor on the facility.  Because apparently the GEO Group, which already takes in literally billions of dollars every year in taxpayer money as revenue, tens if not hundreds of millions of which ends up as profit, couldn’t perform that labor themselves.


CCA Being Sued Over Sexual Assault of Immigrants

10:40 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Entrance to T. Don Hutto Facility (Photo: Courtesy

Entrance to T. Don Hutto Facility (Photo: Courtesy

CCA Being Sued Over Sexual Assault of Immigrants

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CCA on behalf of three women who were sexually abused at the T. Don Hutto Immigration Detention Center.  The facility was previously the target of a lawsuit that CCA lost over squalid conditions and negligent medical care; after the lawsuit, the facility was transitioned to a female-only prison.  Before, it had housed entire families of immigrants, including children who were forced to dress in prison scrubs and provided with the barest minimum of education and programming.  Converting the facility to female-only has not stopped the problem however, and this is not even the first instance of sexual abuse of immigrants AT THIS PRISON. 

To allow CCA to continue to operate this, and other, facilities is a reprehensible moral failure.  We as a nation have an obligation to our fellow human beings, these immigrants, many of whom come to this country seeking asylum from their homelands, to treat them respectfully and humanely.  Despite all the rampant anti-immigrant settlement sweeping the nation, many of the 400,000+ people who pass through ICE custody each year are only guilty of status violations, not a major criminal offense.  Private prison companies are quite efficient at avoiding effective oversight (which is about the only thing they’re efficient at), a situation which has permitted companies like CCA to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from taxpayer dollars while systematically abusing and neglecting the human beings in their care.

This is Why I Hate CCA.


Finally Starting to See the Light?

1:42 pm in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

Finally Starting to See the Light?

In two separate instances, national politicians have begun to question some of the primary issues surrounding private prisons; namely, security and transparency.  Last week, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, rising star of the Democratic Party, began questioning the secrecy surrounding the planned ICE immigration detention center in Southwest Ranches.  This would be the same facility CCA has successfully persuaded the local town council to keep mum about.  Though she initially supported the proposal, the lack of clarity on the contract negotiations has caused her some alarm, and she has made it known that she expects local communities to have a say in the final word on the facility’s construction.

Then, on Friday, Senator Dick Durbin (IL) addressed the sexual abuse of detainees in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.  Recently revealed documents detail extensive sexual harassment and abuse of (primarily female) immigrant detainees.  The immigration detention system is already notoriously devoid of oversight, so the revelation of pervasive sexual abuse should certainly raise alarm.  A large and growing percentage of detained immigrants are in private prisons (more than half of them), and the government has a responsibility to protect them from sexual assault, especially since the majority have not committed any serious criminal offense.  Dick Durbin says he expects “Zero tolerance” on the issue, and I hope he pursues that until it is achieved.


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


CCA Guard Pleads Guilty to Molesting Women

9:58 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

"CCA" by publik15 on flickr

"CCA" by publik15 on flickr

Their Guards Molest Women

Private prisons often appear so attractive to lawmakers because they claim they are able to save bundles of money compared to government-run prisons.  While this isn’t exactly the truth, these companies still routinely cut corners in almost every aspect of their operations in order to maximize profits, because, after all, that’s what they really care about.  Since staff expenses (salary, benefits, training) comprise the largest portion of any facility’s budget, private prisons often pay dramatically less to their staff in the name of profit. 

The problem with this approach lies in the fact that private prisons, because they offer less in salary and benefits, aren’t able to attract as high-quality candidates as government-run prisons.  Just recently, when Hernando County Florida took over operation of its jail from CCA, the sheriff hired only about 1/3 of the private company’s employees to work for his department (and remarked at the time that he couldn’t believe a lot of CCA’s employees weren’t incarcerated themselves).  Anecdotally, it’s rather well-known that many guards at private prisons have some unsavory histories, and guards who screw up at one prison or another (government-run or not) can usually find work at a different private prison, where the companies rarely perform background checks that are as extensive as the government would.  Combine all this with the industry’s aversion to providing adequate and consistent training to their guards (because, again, that would hurt the bottom line), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, this disaster revealed itself to women who immigrated to the US but found themselves locked up in the Hutto Correctional Center, part of ICE’s network in Texas, which is operated by CCA.  A guard at the facility just pleaded guilty to sexually molesting immigrants as he transported them to and from the facility.