Category Archives: Corrections

One man’s death hints at the wretched medical care in private immigration prisons

Source: Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, November 1, 2016

Jose Jaramillo was 52 years old and in the middle of a three-year sentence when he collapsed inside his cell at the Cibola County correctional center in May 2008. His crime had been to illegally enter the US to reunite with his wife and children. Jaramillo would never regain adequate cerebral functions, as his impoverished family battled on his behalf, first to keep him in America and then to sue the prison’s private contractor, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), for medical negligence. … Just weeks after Jaramillo’s death this year, the US Department of Justice announced that all 13 of these private prisons would be closed following a scathing audit that revealed they were markedly less safe than similar facilities run directly by the government. The first scheduled to close would be the one where Jaramillo suffered his catastrophic illness, as reports indicated that the Cibola County prison was among the worst providers of medical care in this cohort of private prisons, and the DoJ found that medical complaints were the most frequent grievance of inmates held in the contract network. Advertisement But just as migrant rights advocates celebrated the planned closure, it was announced last week that the Cibola County facility would in fact remain open, as CCA secured a new contract with a different arm of the federal government, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), to turn the prison into an immigration detention center. The failings in Jaramillo’s case, reported here for the first time and pieced together through court documents, depositions, public records and interviews, reveals extraordinary details of the substandard medical care given to inmates in this facility and, advocates warn, the likelihood of continued failure when the institution reopens its doors to detainees this week. …


CCA Awarded New Management Contract at the Cibola County Corrections Center
Source: Global Newswire, October 31, 2016

Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE:CXW) (the “Company” or “CCA”), which announced on October 28, 2016, that it is rebranding its corporate enterprise as “CoreCivic” later in 2016, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Cibola County whereby CCA has agreed to operate its Cibola County Corrections Center to meet the responsibilities of a separate Intergovernmental Service Agreement (“IGSA”) between Cibola County and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) regarding detention services for up to 1,116 detainees. The new contract at the Cibola County Corrections Center commenced on October 27, 2016, and contains an initial term of 5 years, with renewal options upon mutual agreement. CCA had previously housed inmates from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) at the Cibola County Corrections Center under a separate contract that expired on October 30, 2016.  On November 2, 2016, in connection with its report of financial results for the third quarter of 2016, CCA will update its financial guidance for the financial impact of this new contract. …

Cibola County supports reopening private prison to help detain immigrants
Source: Uriel J. Garcia, Santa Fe New Mexican, October 27, 2016

Critics of private prisons applauded the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision in August to end 13 contracts with for-profit corporations operating detention centers for immigrants convicted of federal crimes, including one in a small community in Western New Mexico. The cause for their cheers ended this week when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — an agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Justice — reached out to Cibola County officials with a request to reopen the prison in the village of Milan to detain immigrants who have entered the country illegally, many of them seeking asylum after fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America. The Cibola County Correctional Center has been run since 1998 by one of the nation’s largest prison firms, Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America. … On Wednesday, the five-member Cibola County Commission was scheduled to discuss federal immigration officials’ plan to house undocumented immigrants there, according to a meeting agenda on the county’s website. County officials said Thursday they are supporting the plan, but it was unclear if they took official action. For the tiny community of Milan and nearby Grants, reopening the prison means hundreds of jobs for residents who have limited economic resources. The federal agency’s plan to reopen the facility is part of a larger deal with Corrections Corporation of America to increase its capacity to house immigrants. With an influx of Central American refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador and Honduras, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have extended a contract with the company to run a 2,400-bed facility in Texas. The immigration agency, known as ICE, also is considering a contract with the company to operate an immigrant detainment facility in Youngstown, Ohio. …

The Justice Department closed this troubled private prison. Immigration authorities are reopening it.
Source: Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, October 27, 2016

When the Justice Department announced two months ago that it wanted to end the use of private prisons, Cibola County Correctional Center was exactly the kind of facility that officials desired to shut down. After a history of questionable deaths and substandard medical care, the New Mexico facility lost its contract. In recent weeks, it was emptied of inmates. But the vacancies won’t last for long. As soon as this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — which is separate from the Justice Department — is going to begin moving immigrant detainees into the facility under a new set of agreements with Corrections Corporation of America, a county official said. … Singling out the Cibola facility in particular, the advocacy organization wrote that the case “illustrates how CCA is literally operating a revolving door — shuttling out prisoners one month, shuttling in immigration detainees the next month.” … Cibola County Board of Commissioners Chair T. Walter Jaramillo said local authorities had been pushing for the private prison deal since the Bureau of Prisons decided to end its contract to use the facility this summer. …

ICE Seeks to Use Private Prisons Shuttered by DOJ
Source: Alan Neuhauser, US News and World Report, October 25, 2016

Barely two months after the Justice Department announced it would curtail its use of privatized prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is apparently negotiating to reopen two of those same facilities, including one repeatedly cited for abuses that included several questionable deaths. ICE is seeking as many as 5,000 beds to help house the record number of people in the country illegally who are being detained and deported by the Obama administration. It’s considering at least three detention centers owned and managed by private corporations, including a pair of troubled facilities in Youngstown, Ohio, and Cibola County, New Mexico, both owned by the Corrections Corporation of America and previously used exclusively by the Justice Department. … In late July, in the wake of The Nation investigation and a little more than a week before the release of the inspector general’s report, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons abruptly announced it would cancel its 10-year contract with the facility in Cibola. The Corrections Corporation of America subsequently announced it would close the prison. The next month, the Justice Department said it would “substantially reduce” its use of private prisons overall, citing the findings of the inspector general’s report. … ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is conducting its own review of privatized prisons, the results of which are expected to be released by Nov. 30. Previous reports raising concerns about ICE detention practices, however, have had seemingly little impact on the bureau’s decisions. Although an ICE advisory committee earlier this year called for ending family detention and overhauling detention policies for families and children, for example, the agency renewed a contract with the Corrections Corporation of America for detaining families at a facility in Dilley, Texas.

State looks to hire those laid off due to jail closure
Source: Matt Howerton, KOAT, August 22, 2016

The New Mexico Department of Corrections is looking to turn a devastating situation for Cibola County into an opportunity for hundreds without jobs. A few weeks ago, the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan announced it will close after the Federal Bureau of Prisons told prison officials that its contract would not be renewed. An estimated 300 people working at the prison were told they were being laid off, but had the option of transferring to other prisons run by the Corrections Corporation of America, the private company that runs the jail. The federal Department of Corrections is now looking to give those people jobs. … The Department of Corrections will be holding a job fair at the National Guard Armory in nearby Grants this Thursday and Friday. The state already has two prisons in Grants and is trying to curb a staffing shortage. …

Feds will shut down troubled private prison in Nation investigation
Source: Seth Freed Wessler, Reveal, August 15, 2016

… Cibola is one of several facilities that have been the focus of a Nation and Investigative Fund series that has uncovered dozens of questionable deaths in 11 privatized federal prisons. Based on 30,000 pages of previously unreleased federal records obtained through an open records lawsuit, we documented dozens of premature deaths following shoddy medical care in these federal prisons, which are used to hold noncitizens. The documents, as well as interviews with former BOP officials and contractors’ medical staff, reveal the BOP’s own oversight monitors issuing increasingly stern warnings about medical neglect, understaffing of medical units, and underperforming internal quality control systems. Yet federal administrators repeatedly extended contracts at the same prisons that the agency’s monitors declared to be in trouble. …

Private Prison Company Already Shopping Around New Mexico Prison That Doesn’t Close Until October
Source: Donald Cohen, Huffington Post, August 11, 2016

Last week, the country’s second largest private prison company told its investors it had some bad news. The federal government had just decided to remove its prisoners from a prison the company owns, the Cibola County Corrections Center in rural western New Mexico. Come the end of September, the 1,200-bed prison now holding immigrants will sit empty. But Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) also told its shareholders not to worry. In a practice remarkably common in the mass incarceration era, the publicly traded corporation has already begun to, in their words, “actively market” the prison to potential “customers.” For CCA, which made $222 million in profits last year, there’s no value in an empty prison. … And they’ve often been successful at doing so. In early 2010, CCA lost a contract to incarcerate prisoners at a prison in California City, California. Before the end of the year, the company inked a new deal with the state of California and other federal agencies to fill the facility. GEO Group began “actively marketing” a California prison in 2014 and filled it with immigrant detainees a year later. Private prison companies are roadblocks to meaningful criminal justice reform. Every taxpayer dollar that goes to their profits is a dollar not spent on improving conditions in jails and prisons or investing in alternatives to incarceration. …

New Mexico Prison Closure to Impact 300 Workers
Source: Correctional News, August 10, 2016

The upcoming closure of the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan is set to relocate approximately 1,200 inmates to other facilities and leave some 300 employees without work. The facility, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) of Nashville, Tenn., is scheduled to close in late September. The Cibola County Correctional Center houses minimum-security federal male inmates and has been owned and operated by CCA since 1998. However, the facility leadership was notified in early August that the Federal Bureau of Prisons will not renew the company’s contract. … Senators George Munoz, (D-4-Cibola, McKinley and San Juan) and Clemente Sanchez (D-30-Cibola, Socorro, McKinley and Valencia) have also expressed concern for the facility’s soon-to-be-unemployed workforce. …

Texas prisoner’s death casts spotlight on privatized health care

Source: Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, October 27, 2016

With five prison guards on his back, Michael Sabbie takes a blast of pepper spray point-blank to the face. Guards then frog-march him to a nurse for a 40-second exam, take him to a shower, where he collapses, then toss him in an isolation cell. In the span of 10 minutes, Sabbie drools, spits, apologizes, pleads. He never asks the guards to lift up his pants, despite his genitals and buttocks being exposed as he’s led through the halls of Texas’ Bi-State Jail. … The next morning, on July 22, 2015, Sabbie was found dead in an isolation cell. A medical examiner said he died from natural causes. The case illuminates an ongoing debate about the quality of privatized healthcare in American jails and prisons, which critics say sacrifices the well-being of inmates to satisfy bottom lines. Prison and prison health care companies counter that they save governments money and their services meet national standards. … Still, the family blames the for-profit firm running the jail, LaSalle Corrections, which they accuse of ignoring accepted medical procedures. They also say the company refuses to provide transparency into the father of four’s death. … The autopsy lists hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease as the cause of death. Erik Heipt, an attorney for Sabbie’s family, says the respiratory distress Sabbie experienced was a result of pulmonary edema, also cited in the autopsy. Common symptoms include coughing up blood, wheezing, rapid breathing, sweating and speech inhibited by shortness of breath, all of which Sabbie was experiencing, Heipt said. The nurse should have monitored his lungs, blood pressure, heart and breathing rate, the attorney said, adding he thinks Sabbie’s condition would have been treatable with simple measures including diuretics, nitrates, oxygen and medication. … Like many private prisons, the contract between LaSalle Corrections and Bowie County, Texas, has a clause indemnifying the county for costs and claims “arising from any and all acts done or omitted to be done by operator.” …


East Texas jail sued by family of dead inmate
Source: Associated Press April 7, 2014

The family of a man who died in custody in a Texarkana jail is suing the private company that operates the facility. The Texarkana Gazette reports that the sister and two daughters of James Hankins have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Community Education Centers, which is contracted to run the Bowie County Jail.

CCA jailer charged with drag racing, having gun while drunk

Source: Michelle Willard, Daily News Journal, October 26, 2016

A correctional officer with Corrections Corporation of America was arrested and charged by police early Wednesday morning with possessing a firearm while under the influence, according to an arrest report from the Murfreesboro Police Department. Francisco Dominguez III, 28, of Kings Ridge Drive in Murfreesboro was charged after Sgt. Allen Cox reported he stopped two drivers for drag racing on Memorial Boulevard. …

Lawyer alleges federal prosecutor said he could listen to attorney-prisoner phone calls

Source: Jonathan Shorman, Topeka Capital-Journal, October 26, 2016

An attorney for an inmate at the Leavenworth Detention Center alleges federal prosecutors not only obtained recordings of her client’s phone calls with a lawyer, but also listened to them. Melanie Morgan said in court documents filed Wednesday that an assistant U.S. attorney indicated that he could “freely listen” to calls between her client, Michelle Reulet, and another defense lawyer. Morgan, a Kansas City-based attorney, charges the prosecutor defended his actions, saying the lawyer no longer represents Reulet. Morgan said that wasn’t the case. Disclosures in the ongoing saga over the surveillance of detainees at the detention center, run by Corrections Corporation of America, had slowed after U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson appointed a special master earlier this month to examine the situation. Prisoner phone calls with attorneys have been recorded and videos were made of attorney-client meeting rooms. … The controversy over the recordings emerged in the background of a sprawling investigation of drug and contraband trafficking within Leavenworth Detention Center. A handful of people have been charged, but prosecutors indicate they believe upwards of 90 inmates may be involved as well as a number of workers. Defense attorneys representing inmates have said the recordings violate the inmates’ Sixth Amendment rights. But prosecutors have argued the phone recordings are not privileged because the facility warned inmates their calls may be recorded. …


Federal Judge Names Ohio Expert In Kansas Prison Recordings Case
Source: Associated Press, October 12, 2016

A federal judge in Kansas has appointed an Ohio attorney to investigate whether recordings of attorney-client conversations at a for-profit federal prison violated inmates’ constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Tuesday appointed David R. Cohen as special master, or expert, to identify and retain confidential information contained in recordings at the Corrections Corporation of America facility in Leavenworth

Defense lawyer raises new questions about secretly recorded jailhouse calls
Source: Jeff German, Las Vegas Review Journal, October 5, 2016

A defense lawyer has stepped forward to allege the federal detention center in Pahrump secretly recorded her confidential phone conversations with a client and then turned over the recordings to prosecutors in the case. Kathleen Bliss, a former longtime federal prosecutor, cited the alleged attorney-client breaches this week in a motion to dismiss a robbery case against her client, Robert Kincade, because of government misconduct. … They said hundreds of federal inmates at the Pahrump facility, run by Corrections Corporation of America, might be affected, and they asked a judge to appoint a special master to determine whether the practice is widespread. In her motion, Bliss said prosecutors in June turned over hundreds of recordings of Kincade at the detention center, including some with her. … Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a new indictment against Kincade, who has been at the Pahrump detention center for the past 18 months, charging him with a series of bank robberies between 2011 and 2014. Corrections Corporation of America, which operates federal detention centers across the country, has been “lambasted” by federal judges for invading the privacy of inmates at some of the company’s other facilities, Bliss wrote. …

Leavenworth CCA phone provider was accused of recording attorney calls in Texas
Source: Jonathan Shorman, Topeka Capital-Journal, September 16, 2016

Before revelations last month about the recording of inmate calls at Leavenworth Detention Center, a coalition of attorneys sued in Texas accusing a county sheriff, prosecutors and a phone technology company of recording attorney-client calls, despite assurances they didn’t. That company — Securus — also provides phone services to the Leavenworth facility. … The continuing disclosures surrounding recordings at the detention center, run by Corrections Corporation of America, has frustrated lawyers. Attorney-client privilege is a bedrock principle of the American legal system — a protection defense attorneys argue was violated at Leavenworth. It is unknown at this point how many attorney-client calls were recorded at Leavenworth, and how many attorneys were recorded despite requests to be shielded. Nor is it known why one attorney’s calls were recorded despite his requests otherwise. …

How a prison drug smuggling case in Kansas led to a showdown over recordings of inmate-attorney talks
Source: Johnathan Shorman, Topeka Capital-Journal, August 17, 2016

When attorneys said in court Tuesday that phone calls between lawyers and inmates at Leavenworth Detention Center had been recorded and obtained by federal prosecutors, the development was just the latest revelation in what a United States public defender says was a systemic violation of constitutional rights. The assertions by defense attorneys that federal prosecutors obtained video recordings of in-person meetings and audio of calls between inmates and their lawyers at Leavenworth Detention Center have already affected criminal cases resulting from a sprawling investigation of drug trafficking within the facility. Other cases could be ensnared as well. … The recordings have been brought to light as part of the ongoing prosecution of seven individuals who are accused of participating in a smuggling ring while in Leavenworth Detention Center, a facility privately run by Corrections Corporation of America. …

New Disclosure: Attorney-Client Phone Calls Were Recorded At Leavenworth Detention Center
Source: Don Margolies, KCUR, August 16, 2016

New revelations emerged at a court hearing today that the private prison contractor operating a pretrial detention center in Leavenworth recorded phone conversations between attorneys and their clients and turned them over to federal prosecutors.   The disclosures came atop revelations at a hearing last Tuesday that the contractor, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), had made video recordings of meetings at the Leavenworth Detention Center between lawyers and their clients and turned those over to prosecutors. … Brannon’s impassioned denunciation elicited an objection from Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett, who said Brannon was making allegations against her colleagues without proof. Judge Robinson, however, let Brannon continue. Brannon told Robinson that communications between her office and the U.S. Attorney’s office had broken down and urged that as an additional reason to appoint a special master. … Brannon also told the court that government prosecutors had made additional, unspecified threats against the private attorney who first disclosed that the government possessed privileged communications between attorneys and their clients. Robinson granted her request to present that information in the judge’s chambers, so further details were not available. …

Kansas federal public defender requests inquiry into jail recordings
Source: Roxana Hegeman, Wichita Eagle, August 16, 2016

The federal public defender’s office in Kansas on Monday requested a special master’s inquiry into prison recordings of confidential conversations between inmates and their attorneys. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to determine the appointment and scope of a special master in the case. The practice surfaced in a case over distribution of contraband at the Leavenworth Detention Center in which video recordings, which contained no audio, were subpoenaed by a grand jury. But the defense outcry is now rippling across cases. … Brannon contends the Corrections Corporation of America has routinely and surreptitiously recorded video of meetings between counsel and clients that were supposed to be confidential, as well as attorney-client phone calls that were recorded and provided to the U.S. Attorney’s Office without notice to the defendants.

Recordings Of Attorney-Client Meetings Spur Outrage Among Criminal Defense Lawyers
Source: Dan Margolies, KCUR, August 12, 2016

An investigation into the distribution of contraband at the Leavenworth Detention Center has morphed into an explosive case involving possible violations of attorney-client privilege on a massive scale. Evidence at a hearing Tuesday revealed that the private contractor operating the facility, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), made video recordings of confidential conversations between inmates and their attorneys and passed some of it on to government prosecutors in response to a grand jury subpoena. … The Kansas Federal Public Defender Office says it first learned of the recordings last week after a private attorney, Jacquelyn Rokusek, was told by federal prosecutors they had evidence, in the form of a video recording, that she had a conflict of interest and should withdraw from a related case. The Federal Public Defender represents about 75 clients at CCA Leavenworth, a pretrial detention center that houses inmates from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rokusek was later given an opportunity to review the recording, which included videos of meetings between other attorneys and their clients. She brought the recording’s existence to the attention of an employee of the Federal Public Defender, which led to the emergency hearing on Tuesday. … The existence of the recordings was disclosed in court by Rokusek, who was put on the witness stand by Melody Brannon, the head of the Kansas Federal Public Defender’s office. Brannon told the court that CCA had video recordings of attorney-client meetings in the contraband case spanning a 10-month period from July 2015 to April 2016. … Unknown at this point is whether CCA has recorded attorney-client meetings at its other facilities and whether it routinely turns the footage over to prosecutors. CCA manages 85 facilities for federal, state and local governments throughout the country, according to information on its website. …

Private Prison Company Lets Mass Killings Break Out In Prisons

Source: Carbonated TV, October 24, 2016

A lawsuit alleges that one of country’s biggest private prison facilities is letting inmates kill each other. The suit was filed against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)—a multi-billion dollar company, operating 88 facilities in 20 states — after four inmates died in a September 15 fight, which lasted just two minutes and yet became the deadliest incident in the history of Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections. Kyle Tiffee, along with the other members of the Irish Mob prison gang were preparing for a violent altercation with the members of the United Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang which shared a housing pod with them. In just two minutes, Tiffee lay stabbed and bleeding on the floor from wounds inflicted by improvised weapons made form light fixtures. When the guards arrived, they maced Tiffee while a nurse and attempted to tend to the prisoners’ life threatening wounds. Four inmates were taken to the hospital where they soon died. … The lawsuit also claims internal corruption enables these prison gangs to fight to the death. Just one month after the deadly fight, Lockett and another prison guard from Cimarron, Megan Hood, were called in for reportedly smuggling contraband into the facilities to sell to the inmates. Hood said she wanted to use the $2000 one of the inmates promised her for two cell phones to get away from her abusive spouse. Lockett has been accused of bringing in drugs, including marijuana and meth into the prison. This isn’t the very first litigation to hit CCA. There have been lawsuits going back to 2014, including one in which a prisoner had to have his testicle removed after the staff repeatedly ignored his cries of pain for months. Another prisoner said he was refused chemotherapy after he had a tumor removed. Yet another said his swollen hands were ignored by the medical staff. Eventually doctors found two of his fingers were broken — and had to rebreak them to treat the injury properly. …


America’s Biggest Private Prison Company Let Inmates Kill Each Other, Lawsuit Claims
Source: Justin Glawe, Daily Beast, October 24, 2016

Private-prison guards maced Kyle Tiffee as he bled to death after being repeatedly stabbed in a gang battle last year. According to a lawsuit filed by Tiffee’s family, every element of the chaotic fight—right down to the light fixtures made into shanks—can be blamed on Corrections Corporation of America. CCA is a multi-billion-dollar company and the largest operator of privately run prisons in the United States, running nearly 70 facilities including Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma, where Tiffee and three other men died on Sept. 12, 2015. The fight, which lasted all of two minutes, claimed four lives and was the deadliest incident in the history of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. … The lawsuit names Terrance Lockett as the guard who stood idly by, but Lockette disagrees with the description. … Lockett, when he did decide to warn his superiors that the gangs were gathering in a menacing manner, was told to “call back when (the fight) happens.” Eventually Lockett and a nurse entered the fray to attend to a badly wounded inmate. Not long after that, the riot squad arrived and maced Tiffee—stabbed likely by the rival Aryans—while trying to break up the brief and bloody battle. Tiffee and another member of the Irish Mob lay dead or dying; two members of the United Aryan Brotherhood were also suffering from mortal wounds. The murders may have been captured on security footage inside Charlie North, but that footage remains in the hands of CCA. … Cimarron has been a problem for CCA for at least the past two years. Lockett and another guard have been indicted for smuggling phones and drugs into the facility, according to Payne County court records. In the lawsuit, Bryan claims the pair’s actions represent a culture of lawlessness that provides an atmosphere ripe for violent conflict. … Also still open are several federal lawsuits going back to 2014 levied on CCA because of alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Cimarron. They include one in which a prisoner had to have a testicle removed after staff at the prison allegedly ignored his complaints of pain for months. Another inmate said he came to the prison with swollen hands only to be ignored by medical staff. Eventually doctors found two broken fingers that had to be rebroken to heal the inmate. …

State Speaker: Deadly Clash In Cushing Prison Should Be A ‘Wake Up Call’
Source: Jessica Holley, News on 6, September 14, 2015

For years, Speaker Jeff Hickman has been outspoken on the issues and problems within the Oklahoma corrections system. He said this deadly “inmate-on-inmate altercation” needs to be a wake up call to all Oklahomans for the change needed. … But a former CCA correctional officer, who did not want to be identified, claims the prison is understaffed and CCA knew there were safety issues not being addressed. “The Cimarron Correctional Facility is majority understaffed. They have about 100 correctional officers for 1,600 inmates. It’s just not a safe environment,” the former CCA correctional officer said. …

Private Company Owns Oklahoma Prison Where 4 Inmates Killed
Source: Sean Murphy, Associated Press, September 14, 2015

Current and former officials defended Oklahoma’s use of privately run prisons Monday following a weekend melee at one of the facilities that left four inmates dead and several others wounded. … The prison is one of three private facilities housing nearly 6,000 of Oklahoma’s prisoners. That company, Nashville, Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, and another that runs a 2,500-inmate facility in Lawton, oversee dozens of facilities and tens of thousands of prisoners nationwide. A rash of violence at some privately-run Oklahoma lockups is prompting questions about whether there is adequate staffing and oversight. … With Oklahoma’s state prison facilities at or above capacity for years, state legislators have increasingly turned to private facilities to help house state prisoners. The facilities operate under contracts with the DOC, which pays a per-diem cost for each inmate and has state monitors who ensure the facilities maintain proper levels of staffing and programs spelled out in the contracts. At Cushing, the state pays $44 a day for each medium-security inmate and $58 for maximum-security offenders.

4th Inmate Dies After Oklahoma Prison Brawl
Source: Liam Stack, The New York Times, September 13, 2015

An inmate hospitalized after a weekend outburst of violence at a prison in Oklahoma died of his injuries, the company that owns and operates the prison said on Sunday, bringing the number of dead from the episode to four. … The violence took place Saturday night in one of the prison’s housing pods, the company said in a statement on Sunday. The altercation lasted only two minutes, but it took prison staff members 38 minutes to secure the area, prison officials said. No staff members were injured, Mr. Owen said. … It was the second time in four months that those measures were put in effect in response to violence.

3 Dead, 5 Injured In ‘Inmate Disturbance’ At Cimarron Correctional Facility In Cushing
Source: Leighanne Manwarren, News9, September 12, 2015

Three people are dead and five others were injured Saturday evening at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, the Corrections Corporation of America reported. … About 4:40 p.m., prison staff stopped an “inmate disturbance” in a single housing pod. The facility was placed on lockdown. The details of the “disturbance” were not released Saturday. … The Cimarron Correctional Facility is a private prison owned by the Corrections Corporation of America. The prison has 1,720 beds and houses medium and maximum security male inmates for the state Department of Corrections.

Investigation Into Large Brawl At Cimarron Correctional Facility
Source: Alex Cameron, News9, June 11, 2015

An investigation is underway Thursday, into a violent and large prison fight that sent almost a dozen inmates to the hospital. The State Department of Corrections is joining the Corrections Corporation of America in looking into what sparked the brawl at CCA’s Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing. … It was around 4:36 Wednesday afternoon, when CCA officials said staff at the Cimarron Correctional Facility responded to fighting in three separate units. By 5:15 p.m. the incident was over. … Some have been warning for years that riots were inevitable at Oklahoma prisons. … In 2012, a group of corrections officers told News 9 understaffing, due to low pay, was a riot risk factor. In 2015, DOC facilities are not only understaffed, News 9 saw they’re also overcrowded, which adds to the risk. …

Former Marion County Jail II inmate describes drugs, sex, corruption inside the facility

Source: Russ McQuad, CBS4, October 20, 2016

As an inmate worker inside Marion County Jail II, James Hales was trusted and could move virtually anywhere throughout the four-story privately run jail near downtown. What he saw during his on-again, off-again incarceration over the course of six months at the end of 2015 and the start of 2016 sickened, frightened and discouraged the man locked up for driving on a lifetime suspended license. … That someone is Marion County Sheriff John Layton, under whose authority Jail II operates, after he said he became aware a week ago of suspected heroin overdoses in the facility and authorized a raid by 60 sheriff’s deputies that led to the discovery of cash, drugs and cell phones and resulted in the fatal overdose of one offender who panicked and swallowed a balloon containing heroin as searchers moved in. … Hales claimed an officer on temporary assignment from one of Corrections Corporation of America’s other jails, transferred to help CCA fill out the perpetually understaffed Marion County facility, wanted him to traffic contraband inside Jail II. …


Sheriff’s deputies lead shakedown at privately run jail in Marion County
Source: Russ McQuaid, Fox 59, October 16, 2016

Marion County Sheriff John Layton said he became aware last week of an exploding drug problem inside of Jail II under the control of Corrections Corporation of America, a private jail operator. That’s why he assigned 40 sheriff’s deputies to conduct a five-hour long shakedown of the privately run facility at 730 East Washington Street Friday night. Deputies have been back twice more this weekend after drugs and at least one cell phone were discovered, though Layton could not confirm reports that weapons were also found. One offender died of a suspected drug overdose after apparently swallowing a balloon full of heroin during the search. … Layton could not speculate whether offenders, outsiders or CCA employees were responsible for the smuggling of drugs and rumored weapons into the facility. … The sheriff said he would meet with his staff, CCA administrators and IMPD investigators Monday morning to examine security needs at the facility in advance of a press briefing later this week. One military veteran said he felt safer in Iraq than inside Jail II and resigned his job there as a corrections officer after just two months this past summer. … Frost said he quit CCA because he was often outnumbered, alone and intimidated while working in the open dorm environment. … Marion County contracts with CCA at a cost of nearly $10 million a year to operate Jail II in a ten year deal that is set to expire at the end of 2017. Mayor Joe Hogsett is on track to announce by the end of this year his plans for construction of a new jail and sheriff’s office and reforms of the criminal justice system which may not include outsourcing to a private operator such as CCA. …

A disturbing lawsuit claims private prison guards forced an inmate to perform oral sex

Source: Casey Tolan, Fusion, October 18, 2016

A former inmate of a Louisiana private prison is suing the company that runs the prison after two guards forced him to perform oral sex. Aaron Franklin, 27, says that he was abused by Derrick Deshotel and Tyler Strothers, two correctional officers at the Allen Correctional Center, a private prison in rural Kinder, LA, run by the GEO Group. An investigation by the prison substantiated his allegations, the state Department of Corrections said. … After the first incident, Franklin tried to forget it. But the next year, on July 19, 2015, Deshotel ordered Franklin into the prison’s hobby shop and told him he wanted sex again. … Franklin decided he had to report the abuse. After he did, he was briefly kept in solitary confinement before being transferred to a state prison, and was released last month. In all, Franklin served eight years for two armed robbery convictions. The guards were fired by GEO and criminally charged with malfeasance in office. They pled guilty and received only probation, Franklin’s lawyer said. (Local court officials said court records could not be immediately released.) The Allen Parish Prosecutor’s office, which handled the case against the two officers, did not respond to a request for comment. … Franklin’s lawsuit, which asks for $4 million in damages, accuses the officers of violating his rights and GEO of letting it happen. “My judge sentenced me to do time, but he didn’t sentence me to this,” Franklin said. “Being abused and mistreated, that wasn’t part of my sentence.” Lawyers for the two officers did not respond to requests for comment. In their motions in the case, however, they appear to imply—in an argument couched in legalese—that Franklin was asking for, or wanted to, have sex with them. …


Former Allen Correctional Center inmate sues operators for alleged denial of medical care
Source: Hoang Tran, Louisiana Record, February 17, 2016

Ben Thompson filed a suit on Feb. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division against The Geo Group, for alleged breach of duties and violations of his rights. Thompson was formerly at the Allen Correctional Center, which is operated and owned by The Geo Group. … On or about Feb. 12, 2015, Thompson was acting as a peer-facilitator in a substance abuse class when a ceiling tile fell 12 feet and struck him on the middle of his neck on the posterior side, the suit states. Thompson claims to have immediately felt a shocking sensation and instantaneous pain but was allegedly given only ibuprofen. Thompson alleges that the pain did not subside on Feb. 15, 2015, but was again allegedly given only ibuprofen when he sought treatment. On March 11, 2015, Thompson allegedly was given a CT scan and on March 20, a doctor at Allen recommended that plaintiff be observed by a neuro or orthopedic surgeon for appropriate diagnosis. The defendant allegedly denied such recommendations.

Hawaii Finds Itself Stuck As Others Abandon For-Profit Prisons

Source: Rui Kaneya, Honolulu Civil Beat, October 13, 2016

About a quarter of the state’s inmate population is housed in facilities run by a private contractor on the mainland. But although the tide has turned elsewhere, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said he sees no way it will change here anytime soon. “The practical reality is that there is a significant shortage of prison bed spaces in Hawaii,” Ige said in a statement last week to Civil Beat. “We have an obligation to treat our prisoners humanely and in a way that protects their rights. Halawa Correctional Facility is currently operating at maximum capacity and has been able to avoid dangerous levels of overcrowding because the state has the option of sending inmates to the contracted facility in Arizona.” … In fact, a handful of states have been doing just that — including Colorado, which has shut down four for-profit prisons since 2009, and Mississippi, which closed a violence-plagued prison last month, even though the state is still footing the bill for the prison’s construction. But it’s still unclear whether other states will begin shifting in the same direction given that for-profit companies are deeply entrenched in prison systems at the state level. Hawaii’s situation is a case in point: In August, the state awarded a new, three-year contract to Nashville, Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison company in the country, to house up to 1,926 Hawaii prisoners in Arizona. In fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30, CCA housed a daily average of 1,388 Hawaii prisoners at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, about 70 miles southeast of Phoenix. That’s about a quarter of the state’s inmate population — the fourth-highest rate in the country, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. … Four years ago, Hawaii adopted the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, an “evidence-based” measure similar to the reform efforts underway in Colorado and Mississippi. According to the Council of State Governments Justice Center, a nonprofit organization that provided technical assistance in crafting JRI, it held a lot of promise for Hawaii. By shifting resources to efforts that promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism, the state could slash its overall inmate population by more than 1,000 by the end of fiscal year 2018 — enough to bring back a majority of prisoners from the mainland. But, as Civil Beat has reported, the initiative has so far failed to achieve its projected impacts. As of Sept. 26, the state still housed 5,836 inmates, only 224 fewer than when the initiative was adopted in June 2012. …

Groups push for analysis of private prisons in state

Source: Tanner Clinch, Casa Grande Dispatch, October 6, 2016

A number of faith and civil rights groups are calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to conduct an immediate independent study of private prisons and end the contracts if they are not found to be up to the same standards as similar state-run prisons. America’s Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that actively campaigns for the closure of private prisons and to improve the conditions of incarcerated people, is leading the charge. The group has the support of 42 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Arizona Jews for Justice and a number of Arizona churches. Hundreds of private citizens have also signed on to a petition that will be accepting signatures through October, according to the AFSC. … The U.S. Justice Department ended its federal contracts with private prisons in August, citing a U.S. Inspector General’s audit that found that private facilities have more safety and security problems than the government-run prisons. … The federal prison population has been declining due to changes in sentencing policies over the past three years, reducing the need for private prisons. While the DOJ decision did not affect any of the private prisons operating in Arizona, it has led to campaigns in some states to call for an end to private prisons. To that end the AFSC has created an open letter to Ducey with dozens of co-signatories, calling on his office to conduct an independent study of private prisons to measure their cost efficiency. … The Arizona Department of Corrections holds six contracts with three different private prison corporations for managing state prison units: Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation. Roughly 7,500 Arizona prisoners are housed in these facilities, which account for around 18 percent of the total prison population.

Hamilton County officials consider whether to build a new jail

Source: Sherry Bradley, Times Free Press, October 2, 2016

And for more than two decades, county officials have failed to fund any long-term solutions, instead trying a variety of initiatives and minor expansions that created only temporary relief, while refusing to build a new jail. Now, Hamilton County Commissioners are again looking at whether to build a new jail — and this time they’re considering bids from private companies to build and run the facility. … This year, the jail was cited for having many inoperable fixtures, like showers, toilets and lights. In March, Chief of Corrections Joe Fowler said he believed the jail was failing to provide acceptable living conditions to inmates because some inmates didn’t have regular access to showers or toothbrushes. After failing an inspection, jails are given 60 days to correct the problems before a scheduled re-inspection. In all but one year since 2010, the jail was certified upon re-inspection, records show. The jail was decertified during 2014. It’s not uncommon for jails to fail to meet state standards upon first inspection — typically more than half of jails fail initially, said Kevin Walters, a spokesman for the Tennessee Corrections Institute. He refused to make any TCI officials available for interview and instead answered questions in emailed statements. … The county has two options: build the jail itself and run it with county personnel, or contract with a private company to build and operate the jail, just as Silverdale is currently run by Corrections Corporation of America. In August, the county asked private correctional companies to submit plans for a new jail. The combined jail and workhouse would be located at the Silverdale site and should have a total of 1,800 beds, according to the proposal. … Three private companies have expressed interest, including CCA, whose 30-year contract, due to expire, recently was temporarily extended. But Coppinger faces some stiff opposition to privatizing the jail. Some commissioners worry that private operation will be more expensive, would require the county to sign a 50-year contract, and could drive up the number of incarcerated people as the company strives to turn a profit. …


Report On Privatizing County Jail Due Out Sept. 30
Source: The Chattanoogan, September 22, 2016

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said a report by consultants is due Sept. 30 on the feasibility of closing the current downtown jail and replacing it with a smaller holding facility, while moving many more inmates to the workhouse at Silverdale. He said he plans to outline findings in the report to members of the County Commission at a work session. The PFM consulting firm was hired to look into the ins and outs of privatizing the jail. The workhouse has long been operated by the private Corrections Corporation of America. … County Mayor Coppinger said before any plan could move forward it would need to have the concurrence of Sheriff Jim Hammond, who is over the jail. He said he had a good meeting with the sheriff on that topic on Wednesday morning. The county mayor said the private firm “has run the workhouse for over three decades and it has worked out pretty well. It has saved taxpayers millions of dollars.” He noted that the federal prison system had stopped using CCA recently, but he said the federal and county prisoner systems have a number of differences.

County invests over $500,000 in effort to privatize its jail
Source: Paul Leach, Times Free Press, May 5, 2016

In February, three companies said they were interested in constructing and operating a new jail on behalf of the county: Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group and Emerald Companies. CCA has operated the Silverdale facility since 1984. On Wednesday, commissioners voted 8-0 to approve a legal services agreement for up to $250,000 with McguireWoods LLP and Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. Commissioner Randy Fairbanks was absent. … In January, the county agreed to pay PFM $30,000 a month for up to seven months, plus a $250,000 bonus if the county signs an agreement with a private jail operator. In addition to that $460,000 agreement, the county also paid PFM $150,000 to analyze jail alternatives, develop a project schedule and assist with technical and legal advisers when the county commission hired them in August.

Firm will look at privatizing county jail
Source: David Morton,, August 5, 2015

Public Financial Management will begin a comprehensive review of Hamilton County’s two correctional facilities. County officials are exploring the prospect of turning the jail over to a private company. The facility is currently run by the sheriff’s office and is used by other law enforcement agencies in the county. Corrections Corporation of America’s contract to manage the Silverdale Detention Center is set to expire next April. CCA has run Silverdale since 1984.