Category Archives: Corrections

Coalinga council OKs sale of jail

Source: Marc Benjamin, Fresno Bee, September 4, 2014

Coalinga’s City Council gave its city manager the go-ahead Thursday night to try to sell its closed jail. Claremont Custody Center has been closed for three years, but the city continues to pay about $100,000 to maintain the 70,000-square-foot complex. The proposal approved Thursday seeks bidders and requires them to lay out their plans for the property….
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Coalinga considers putting unused, costly jail up for sale
Source: Marc Benjamin, Fresno Bee, September 3, 2014

Three years after the Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga closed, city officials are weary of the growing financial burden and are considering selling the jail. The City Council will take up the issue tonight. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had leased the building from the city for 20 years after it opened in 1991. The jail was closed when the state prison realignment program began shifting inmates to county jails. The state removed inmates from the Coalinga jail and three similar Kern County jails that were under state contracts. Today, the city’s 70,000-square-foot jail is a costly vacancy. So Coalinga wants to see if there may be buyers. … The city had to lay off 90 employees and lost about $1 million in annual revenue when the jail closed. In addition, the city and local businesses lost money from local purchases by employees and the jail, which had a $5 million payroll and an $8 million annual budget. Inmates also had provided a cheap source of labor on city projects. …

Costly contract requirement scrapped for sole bidder of Alabama’s $224 million inmate health care contract

Source: Casey Toner, AL.com, September 7, 2014

A competitor for Alabama’s $224 million inmate health care contract claimed in a letter critical of the process that a costly stipulation helped push the firm out of the bidding race. The Alabama Department of Corrections required that the winning vendor had to buy a $5 million performance bond in order to get the contract. But when the deal was signed two years ago, the Alabama Department of Corrections scrapped the requirement altogether. Private prison health care firm Corizon was then awarded the 34-month contract after it submitted the only bid for the work. AL.com is examining the health contract in light of a lawsuit the Southern Poverty Law Center filed against the state. The suit, which is pending before a federal judge, alleges that inadequate healthcare was provided to the state’s 25,000 inmates. Corizon has hired powerful lobbying firm Maynard Cooper & Gale to fight the lawsuit on behalf of Alabama. Two lobbyists at the firm, a fundraiser for Gov. Robert Bentley and Bentley’s former special counsel, have represented Corizon in 2012, and 2013 and 2014, respectively

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Parent company of Alabama prisons’ health care provider ‘speculative’ investment, investor service says
Source: Casey Toner, AL.com, July 30, 2014

The firm that owns the company the Alabama Department of Corrections hired to supply health care to its 25,000 inmates was labeled “speculative” and given a negative rating outlook last year by Moody’s Investor Service. A Moody’s report from September 2013 says that Valitas Health Services, the owner of ADOC health care supplier Corizon, faces “earnings pressure” following prison contract losses in Maine, Maryland, Tennessee (excluding mental health), and Pennsylvania. It says Valitas’ financial obligations are “subject to high credit risk.” The report calls Valitas the largest provider of prison health care and offers some hope for the firm’s future. “Recent business wins” are expected to inject money into the company in 2014, according to the report. However, Moody’s estimates that Valitas’ “competitive environment will remain challenging,” and the company’s “liquidity profile will remain weak.”…

….Previously, AL.com reported that two firms hiring the husband of the ADOC’s top healthcare official were hired by Corizon to X-ray Alabama’s inmates. State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he planned to meet with ADOC officials amid questions he had about the relationship and a lawsuit the Southern Poverty Law Center filed against the ADOC and others alleging inadequate health care for inmates…. Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company, a Chicago based private equity management firm, owns a majority of Valitas, a private company. Valitas reported revenue of about $1.2 billion for the year ending on June 30, 2013…..

FOI Request: Notices of debarred contractors (Bureau of Prisons)

Source: Requested by Todd Feathers, Muck Rock, January 14, 2014 for the Bureau of Prisons of United States of America and fulfilled on August 7, 2014

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
All notices of suspension or debarment of contractors since January 1, 2013. The search should include all communications from the agency notifying a contractor that they have been debarred/suspended/excluded….

Response documents

State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing

Source: Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, August 30, 2014

A perpetual tug of war between public employee unions and the governments that employ their members is outsourcing or privatization, the use of private businesses and contractors to perform government work. …. Bayer pointed to the state’s contract with Maximus Health Services to review those on the state’s Medicaid rolls and remove those no longer eligible for services. State agencies that administered Medicaid said they didn’t have sufficient manpower to keep up with redetermination of eligibility. As part of the 2012 Medicaid reforms, Medicaid rolls were to be reviewed to ensure only those eligible to receive benefits obtained them. …. Maximus was hired to conduct the review, but AFSCME filed a grievance contending that, under its labor contract, the work should be done by state employees. An arbitrator ruled in AFSCME’s favor. …

… It wasn’t the only time AFSCME has prevailed in a privatization issue. In 1990, when some states were moving to private operations of prisons, the General Assembly passed a law expressly prohibiting private prisons or county jails. A legislative finding attached to the bill said, “The General Assembly hereby finds and declares that the management and operation of a correctional facility or institution involves functions that are inherently governmental. It is further found that issues of liability, accountability and cost warrant a prohibition of the ownership, operation or management of correctional facilities by for-profit facilities by for-profit contractors.”…

Medicaid prisoners ‘devastating’ Carson-Tahoe Health’s bottom line

Source: Geoff Dornan, August 27, 2014

When the state decided to shift prison inmates to Medicaid to save the state on their health-care costs, no one asked what the impact would be on Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center. According to Carson Tahoe Health CEO Ed Epperson, the impact has been “devastating.” Lawmakers and the governor in 2013 decided to drop the Hometown Health plan they had used for years to cover inmate hospitalizations. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, state officials were told inmates could qualify for Medicaid coverage at a much lower rate. But Medicaid pays the hospital far less than the Hometown Health plan. …

Epperson said CTH gets about 85 percent of inmate hospitalizations in the northern half of the state, and more than any of the big hospitals in Southern Nevada. … Schardin said unless something is done, “you may be hearing about us not taking care of the prisoners because it’s devastating to our bottom line.” …

The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism

Source: Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, August 26, 2014

In Orange County, Calif., the probation department’s “supervised electronic confinement program,” which monitors the movements of low-risk offenders, has been outsourced to a private company, Sentinel Offender Services. …. Sentinel makes its money by getting the offenders on probation to pay for the company’s services. Charges can range from $35 to $100 a month. The company boasts of having contracts with more than 200 government agencies, and it takes pride in the “development of offender funded programs where any of our services can be provided at no cost to the agency.” Sentinel is a part of the expanding universe of poverty capitalism. In this unique sector of the economy, costs of essential government services are shifted to the poor. …. The recent drive toward privatization of government functions has turned traditional public services into profit-making enterprises as well. …. In its 2013 annual report, C.C.A. was clear about the problems facing the company: “under a per diem rate structure, a decrease in our occupancy rates could cause a decrease in revenue and profitability. For the past three years, occupancy rates have been steadily declining in C.C.A. facilities, from 90 percent in 2011, to 88 percent in 2012 and 85 percent in 2013.” These numbers reflect the brutal math underlying profit margins in private prisons.

Editorial: Room for improvement in Northampton County Prison’s drug treatment program

Source: Express-Times, August 24, 2014

Northampton County’s investigation into the cost and effectiveness of its outsourced substance abuse treatment program for prison inmates has had to deal with a blur of numbers, particularly recidivism rates that can be difficult to nail down with certainty….. Last December, when county council renewed a $3.8 million, five-year contract with for-profit Community Education Centers to provide this service, Councilman Lamont McClure questioned whether the county was getting a good return for $760,000 a year — he was openly critical — and whether it might get equal or better results from a nonprofit group or other provider for less.

Medical companies vying for Fla. prison contract have pasts to overcome

Source: Keith Morelli, Tampa Tribune, August 14, 2014

Hillsborough County sheriff’s are deciding which company to pick to treat sick and injured jail inmates. … So far this fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, the sheriff’s office has paid Armor nearly $17.6 million for its services, jail records show. That doesn’t include a claim in which the jail was forced to settle in the death of an inmate two years ago. The inmate had suffered a stroke and was misdiagnosed by an Armor nurse. … Some of the other companies bidding for the Hillsborough jail job, which is for a three-year term with options to extend it to five years, have similar pasts to overcome, according to public documents and published reports.

‘Pay for Success’: a Better Way to Deliver Social Services?

Source: Charles Chieppo, Governing blog, August 5, 2014

The idea of shifting the risk of failed initiatives from taxpayers to investors is catching on. … Nobody likes to pay taxes, but I suspect that most people would find it a little easier to take if they knew their tax dollars were funding the achievement of concrete public goals. That’s the idea behind “pay-for-success” programs that have been launched during the last year in Illinois, Massachusetts and New York state and are being developed or considered in several others. … Last December, New York became the first state to launch a pay-for-success program. There the goal was to reduce recidivism among 2,000 recently released prison inmates. … Illinois is using pay for success to improve placement outcomes and reduce re-arrests for young people involved in the child-welfare and juvenile-justice systems. Massachusetts is employing the model to improve employment outcomes and post-secondary degree attainment among participants in adult basic education. The Obama administration has also gotten into the act, funding a model project in Ohio and committing $500 million to fund other state and local pay-for-success programs. California is the latest state seeking to launch a pay-for-success program. A bill that has passed the state Senate and is awaiting action in the Assembly would create a pilot program beginning next year under which the director of the state’s Office of Planning and Research would identify and submit potential “social impact partnerships’ to the legislature for its consideration each year between 2015 and 2020, when the pilot would sunset. …

For Aging Inmates, Care Outside Prison Walls

Source: Christine Vestal, Pew Stateline, August 12, 2014

…. In the last five years, a handful of states have tried to contract with private nursing homes to care for some of their elderly and disabled inmates under so-called “medical parole” programs that allow prisoners to receive care outside of a prison while remaining in state custody. But few private facilities have been willing to accept them. Likewise, courts and communities have tended to resist so-called “compassionate release,” which cuts short the sentences of elderly or dying inmates so they can spend their last days on the outside. ….