Source: By JONI JAMES, St. Petersburg Times (FL), February 14, 2006
TALLAHASSEE – A former Florida prison official has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $225,000 in state money nearly three years after he used the cash to help buy houses for him and his girlfriend. Alan Brown Duffee, the former executive director of a defunct board that oversaw Florida’s private prison contracts, admitted Thursday in Tallahassee to one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Duffee, 40, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is to be sentenced in April. …… A plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee shows Duffee admitted that he moved money in 2003 from a bank account for the Florida Correctional Privatization Commission to another bank account to which only he had access.
Source: By Joe Follick, The Ledger (FL), Wednesday, February 15, 2006
TALLAHASSEE — A controversial pharmaceutical company is losing its job of supplying prescription drugs to Department of Corrections inmates in South Florida. The company, Tallahassee-based TYA Pharmaceuticals, was chosen to dispense prescription drugs to inmates in DOC Region IV, which includes 18 counties. Prison Health Services, a Tennessee-based company that has received a DOC contract to supply health care needs for inmates in that region, selected TYA for the job. ….. The Florida Auditor General has criticized TYA’s contracts with the Department of Corrections for the splitting and repackaging of pills. The audits found myriad problems of lax oversight and accounting. After lawmakers criticized the two no-bid contracts the Department of Corrections gave to TYA, the agency is considering an end to the outsourcing of pill splitting and repackaging.
Source: By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press, 02/02/2006
The post-Sept. 11 push to lock up immigrants is creating a detention bed “gold rush” without the equivalent enforcement to ensure detainees’ legal and human rights are protected, a panel of immigration advocates said Thursday. Private prison corporations and local governments are benefiting from Congress’ rush to crack down on immigrants as some lawmakers look to score political points by getting tough on immigration, the advocates said. ….. The private prison industry has attributed its industry rebound, in part, to the rapid increase in immigration detentions. Many detainees are housed at facilities run by Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, formerly Wackenhut. Some groups consider Texas “ground zero” for what they call the immigration detention boom. The state has at least 7,000 recently built or proposed private prison beds for housing immigrant detainees for ICE or the U.S. Marshals.
Source: By Tina Moore, Philadelphia Inquirer (DE), Fri, Feb. 03, 2006
A Colwyn man who was imprisoned for 44 days last year after Delaware County jail officials refused to check his repeated, and true, claim that they had the wrong person has netted a cash settlement, court records show. James J. Johnson, 28, filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that correctional officers missed opportunities to verify his identity and threatened to charge him with additional crimes if he did not stop claiming that he was not Shawn Carter, the name on the arrest warrant used to jail him. ….. The county jail is run by the GEO Group, formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp., of Boca Raton, Fla., and is the only privately run prison in the state. The company, not the county, is responsible for all settlements and court awards.
Source: By Jonathan Abel, St Petersburg Times (FL), January 27, 2006
An inmate at the Hernando County Jail was found hanging in his cell early Friday. It was the third death at the facility since November. The man was discovered about 6:30 a.m. Police are withholding his identity until they notify the next of kin. “We’re shocked,” said Ken Bouldin, executive vice president of Corrections Corp. of America, which runs the jail. Bouldin was in Hernando to address complaints about two recent suicides at the jail, which currently houses about 550 inmates.
Source: By J.L. MILLER, The News Journal (DE), 01/26/2006
DOVER — Lee McMillan, whose husband nearly died in prison after flesh-eating bacteria attacked his body, wants to know why the state won’t release an audit of Delaware’s prison health care system. So do some legislators, who are backing a bill that would require the state to release the audit and similar reports — as long as confidential information such as personal medical records is withheld. House Bill 320, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Wagner, R-Dover North, would make reports that are paid for with public funds open to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
….. In defending his record, Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor pointed to the audit, prepared by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, but denied a Freedom of Information request for the report by the newspaper. Taylor and former Attorney General M. Jane Brady ruled the accreditation report was not a public document. Taylor, though, said the audit was critical of the work of First Correctional Medical, a Tucson, Ariz., company. In July, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Taylor awarded a $25.9 million no-bid contract to Correctional Medical Services of St. Louis to pick up the provision of medical care in Delaware’s prisons.
Source: Andria Simmons, Gwinnett Daily Post (GA), 01/20/2006
LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett County officials have consistently stood behind the company they purchase Taser stun guns from and the county’s contracted medical provider for the jail in the face of civil lawsuits. That is, until this week. It appears Gwinnett is trying to distance itself from both companies, according to a cross claim filed this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The cross claim was filed against Taser International and Prison Health Services in the wrongful death lawsuit of a former county inmate, Frederick Jerome Williams. The county now says one or both of those companies — not Gwinnett — should have to pay if monetary damages are awarded in the Williams case, especially if the judge finds Williams died because of improper medical care or Tasers.
Related article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution: Medical provider may lose contract / Sheriff mulls firing firm in wake of inmate’s death
Source: J.D. Prose, Beaver County Times, (PA), 01/18/2006
BEAVER – Nearly two years after the Beaver County Commissioners first talked about privatizing the Beaver County Jail, the county prison board on Tuesday authorized them to contract with a Massachusetts company to run the Hopewell Township facility. “It’s a contract that is good for the county,” said Rick Towcimak, prison board member and county controller. “Our duty is to the taxpayers, to give them efficient government,” said Commissioners Chairman Dan Donatella, who is also the prison board chairman. Under the proposed contract with CiviGenics, the county would save a projected $5 million over the next three years. Most of the savings would come from the county no longer employing jail guards and having to pay their salaries and benefits.
Source: JONATHAN ABEL, St. Petersburg Times (FL), January 14, 2006
BROOKSVILLE – Daniel Ray Warren died in the Hernando County Jail on Nov. 2. In 21/2 months, allegations have come out that Warrem was battered and raped. On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office released its final report on Warren’s death, which found that he died of “self-inflicted hanging” and was beaten by other inmates while in jail. ….. The sheriff’s report brought up new names that were not included in earlier reports compiled by Corrections Corp. of America, the private company that operates the jail.
Source: Rob Moritz, Arkansas News Bureau, Jan 13, 2006
LITTLE ROCK – A legislative committee Thursday questioned the state Department of Correction’s use of $8 million in salary savings from open positions for other needs within the prison system. Prison officials went before lawmakers seeking permission to take the money from the agency’s regular salaries account. Prison Director Larry Norris said about $5.5 million of the money would be placed in the system’s medical assistance account. ….. Two prison units in Newport, the Grimes Unit and McPherson Unit, were managed by the Wackenhut Corrections Corp. of Coral Gables for several years, but management problems forced the state to retake control, the prison director said. “We’ve tried it and it did not work,” Norris said. “In my opinion, they can’t do it better for less.”