CCA

Inspection of Kasich’s CCA owned prison shows staff assaults up over 300% – Thanks ALEC!

Inspection of Kasich’s CCA owned prison shows staff assaults up over 300% – Thanks ALEC!

For the second time in six months, Correction Corporation of America’s (CCA) privately owned Lake Erie Correctional Institution (LaECI) has received a dismal report from prison inspectors.  A report, issued in February by the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) presents some very alarming statistics.

“From 2010-2012, inmate-on-inmate assaults at LaECI have increased by over 180 percent while inmate-on-staff assaults increased by over 300 percent. Inmate violations for fighting have increased 40 percent, and the total number of prison disturbances in 2012 doubled in comparison to prior years.”

lake erie CIThis is the second failed inspection report received by CCA for LaECI since CCA bought the institution in 2011.  When negotiating for purchasing and operating the facility, CCA promised to operate the facility to meet the standards set by the ODOC for all prisons in the state.  However, as with nearly every other such contract signed based upon promises and assurances from CCA, once they take possession both assurance and promise are tossed out the window.

The report advises that CCA will be given another six months to clean up the institution and their act.  With two dismal reports already and worsening conditions between the first inspection and the second, it is unlikely CCA will make more than a cursory effort of compliance.  For Ohio to take back the institution and run it properly would involve a lengthy period of litigation and paying CCA for the facility.  Ohio sold the prison to CCA because they needed cash to operate the rest of the prison system and that money is long gone.  Thinking they could scrape together nearly $300 million to repurchase LaECI and pay for litigation costs is unrealistic.  This all began years ago with legislation written by a right wing think tank to allow states to lease state prison facilities to private companies – “Private Correctional Facilities Act“.  This legislation has now been disseminated coast to coast and is the basis for dozens of privately run prisons today housing hundreds of thousands of prisoners at taxpayer expense.

Governor Kasich appointed Gary Mohr to the position of Director of the Ohio Department of Corrections in January 2011.  Mohr came back to Ohio from Corrections Corporation of America where he was a managing director.  Kasich’s former congressional “chief of staff” was hired by CCA the same month Mohr was appointed:

“Mohr is a former consultant and managing director for Corrections Corporation of America, a Nashville-based company that is eligible to bid on the state prison contracts once they are made available next month.

“The company, which bills itself the leading private-sector provider of corrections services to governments, also hired Kasich’s former congressional chief of staff, Donald Thibaut, as a lobbyist in January.”

So there are several close ties and connections between Ohio’s current Governor and CCA similar to an ongoing relationship between CCA and Arizona Governor Brewer,  In Arizona, two of Brewer’s top staffers worked as lobbyists for CCA immediately prior to the introduction and passage of SB 1070 in 2010.  CCA has been identified as helping write the SB 1070 legislation that was crafted at a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Governor Kasich and Governor Brewer are ALEC Alumni – as is CCA who quit the organization in 2010 after their part in SB 1070 was revealed.

CCA has a history of operating prisons in a manner to generate profits.  Profits that are used to pay dividends to investors and to lobby lawmakers for more criminal laws, longer sentences, less regulation and to vote to sell or lease state prisons to CCA.  All of this fills their beds, creates “products” to fill those beds and a shelf life that continues to increase through longer sentences and the absence of parole (which incidentally ALEC helped to abolish nationwide).  This drives up the costs of incarcerating millions of Americans and turns those tax dollars into corporate profits.  In 2011 it was reported CCA and Geo Group, the two top U.S. private prison companies earned $2.9 billion dollars…nearly all of that from tax expenditures by the feds and state issued contracts to incarcerate.

Taxpayers should receive a proper return on their investment.  They are paying CCA in Ohio to operate their privately run prisons in compliance with existing laws and administrative regulations.  This is not being done, and as always, CCA is given leniency and provided more time to come into compliance.  Such leniency would not be given to state run prisons and heads would roll if this was a state operated facility.  Staff and inmates alike are risking their lives every day they serve in LaECI – as workers or prisoners – and the state ultimately bears a responsibility to offer both protection from violence.

Over the next six months CCA will continue to operate as they have and the CIIC will go back, find more of the same and shrug it off…because prisoners have no voice, no lobby and no representative to speak on their behalf.  Most will return to the streets of Ohio cities and towns after serving time in this CCA prison.  Housed three deep in cells designed for one inmate, with no rehabilitation, drug or counseling programs  – and citizens will ask why they are so angry when they return and why released offenders commit further crimes an return to prison?  The answers are simple, because that is how the “system” has been designed, to operate as a revolving door to accept prisoners and keep them as long as possible, return them to their communities with a deep anger and no possibility of securing a job…then welcome them back a second or third time and with longer sentences.

If Governor Kasich and his CCA appointed ODOC Director cannot hold CCA’s feet to the fire to come into compliance and are unwilling to take back this publicly owned prison that they sold to their “friends” or former employers, then they should both go, replaced by others with less propensity for such open corruption.  A Department of Corrections is supposed to incarcerate prisoners and “correct” the behavior that sent each man or woman to prison.  These kind of contracts between state actors and companies such as CCA are barely average on the incarceration requirement and completely failing in providing any form of correction.

Below is the overview summary taken from the CIIC report that shows clearly the severity and potential harm that exists in LaECI:

“The inspection of LAECI raised a number of significant concerns. At CCA staff’s invitation, CIIC will conduct a full re-inspection in six months’ time to reevaluate; this report is therefore to be considered a progress report.

“LAECI’s primary issue is safety and security. Staff interviews, inmate focus groups, the inmate survey, and institutional data all indicate that personal safety is at risk at LAECI. Assaults, fights, disturbances, and uses of force have all increased in comparison to prior years. There is a high presence of gang activity and illegal substance use. Inmates reported frequent extortion and theft.

“Incident reports indicate that staff hesitate to use force even when appropriate and at times fail to deploy chemical agents prior to physical force, risking greater injury to both inmates and staff. Staff also do not appropriately sanction inmates for serious misconduct. At the time of the inspection, the facility had no options for sanctions other than the segregation unit, which was full.

“The above issues are compounded by high staff turnover and low morale. New staff generally do not have the experience or training to be able to make quick judgments regarding the appropriate application of force or how to handle inmate confrontations. Staff also reported that they are often required to work an extra 12 hours per week, which may impact their response.

“Staff have relayed that they have already instituted additional security measures to control contraband and that they are in the process of implementing a stratification plan that will improve the overall facility environment and violence levels. Following the inspection, LAECI staff were very responsive to CIIC’s concerns. Staff promptly developed extensive action plans and engaged in several follow-up discussions with CIIC regarding the identified issues. LAECI staff also relayed that they are actively engaging local stakeholders to build positive relationships with the surrounding community.

“CIIC welcomes the opportunity to return in six months to reevaluate.”

I believe CCA staffers were “very responsive” to the first inspection and developed actions plans and made promises.  As seen from this latest report, this is CCA’s way of doing business and stalling compliance that would cut into their profits.

Here is another report from Idaho on CCA’s falsification of employee shift records.  In this case they not only was the prison understaffed, CCA was charging the state for imaginary staffers working shifts of as long as 48 hours.  In all CCA employees falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records over seven months last year in violation of its contract with the state.  CCA has now admitted to this falsification of staff work records, saying,  “Workers involved will be reprimanded, and the company told the Department of Correction it will reimburse the state.”  I’m thinking if this was committed by state workers or for that matter, you or I, we’d receive much more than a reprimand and would very likely find ourselves sitting in one of CCA’s prisons…

Dr. Niaz Kasvari: Private Prisons are the New Slave Ships of America

Dr. Niaz Kasvari: Private Prisons are the New Slave Ships of America

Dr. Niaz Kasvari, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program recently wrote a very compelling article about the serious CCA patchdangers of private prisons.   Dr. Kasvari mentions specifically the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) as the primary culprit, and the company that is truly happy to see you and your loved ones behind bars.   I know the prison system well:  I’ve had several close relatives to go prison, all of them men.  I also know that none of them were better men because of it, and that it was a life of post-felony marginalization that left the man I considered to be my older brother destitute and homeless until he died last summer.  These institutions are as poisonous to our society as drone strikes are to young children in countries around the world.

Another interesting article at Techyville.com goes into detail about how the private prison industry is structured, and who benefits.   According to Dr. Niaz Kasvari, the CCA sent a letter to 48 governors offering to purchase their prisons in exchange for a guaranteed occupancy rate of 90 percent.  This dangerous statement implies that the CCA is actively seeking to persuade legislators to modify and enforce laws in such a way that more American citizens will end up in prison.  

While law-abiding Americans reading this article may not see the dangers in such a proposal, I encourage you to remember that everyone breaks the law at some point, and it is only the strictness with which the law is enforced that makes the difference between whether we are free or incarcerated.

The CCA earns $1.7 billion per year by putting people in prison, mostly African Americans.  Part of the reason that I am gathering for a public forum with Min. Louis Farrakhan in Chicago on March 30 (5 pm, UIC forum) is because mass incarceration has served to destroy the black family in America.  The rapid increase in single parent homes and the pervasive spread of prison culture in the black community is largely driven by the growth in incarceration rates all across America.  Black people are being fed like cattle into the prison industrial complex, and the lives of our children have little value to this system.

Dr. Niaz Kasvari also notes that the CCA considers modifications to even the most Draconian drug laws to be a threat that could “affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

As a Finance Professor, I am well-aware of the dangers of hardcore capitalism.   If it is not properly regulated, capitalism can be as harmful to our society as crack cocaine is to the mind of an addict.  Similar to crack, the drug of capitalism can cause you to make decisions that are in direct contradiction to the values you claim to embrace as a human being.  It can create a pharmaceutical industry that lets human beings die because they can’t afford medication, and it can create a prison industry that actually wants to see people behind bars, even if our society is being ruined because of it.

When we incarcerate so many millions of Americans, our world becomes less safe and more unstable.  Today, the streets are filled with young, misguided teenagers, many of whom grew up without parents who were given long sentences for non-violent, drug-related offenses.  Black women have fewer men to marry because prison culture has come to play a role in shaping how too many black men think and live.

Even worse, many of our men grew up with a steady dose of brainwashing via commercialized hip-hop on the radio that teaches them that every black man is supposed to be a blunt-blowing, gun totting thug who wastes his money and takes pleasure in killing black men while disrespecting black women.   These systems create a type of mental illness that causes us to become something other than what we were truly meant to be, and that is why our families are falling apart.

This is the society that is being created around us, and this is the battle we are in.  All of us should support those like Dr. Niaz Kasvari who are fighting against the dangers of the prison industrial complex.  The goal is not to get rid of punishment and rehabilitation as a logical response to crime.  Instead, it is to embrace productive rehabilitation that makes communities stronger and not weaker.

We are in the fight of our lives.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article is published at ThyBlackMan.com and can be found at http://thyblackman.com/2013/03/01/dr-niaz-kasvari-private-prisons-are-the-new-slave-ships-of-america/ It was written by Staff Writer;
Dr. Boyce Watkins thy black man

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.

ALEC Experimental Privatization Agenda: Public Policy Failure, Corporate Success

While ALEC legislators still insist on implementing ALEC experimental policies and legislation claiming they are cost effective.  But, at the same time, the public is being inundated with more and more research that privatization of governmental agencies does not benefit anyone – except the ALEC corporate profit sector member who gets the state contract or buys state assets.

Two of the on-going experimental legislative projects that ALEC has pushed for several decades include:

  •     Privatization of governmental goods and services
      “government cannot provide goods or services as cheaply as the private sector can.”

and

  •     Turn Capital Assets into Financial Assets: Sell or Lease Government Assets and Enterprises
    states own over $226 billion in infrastructure assets that could be sold to the private sector.”

A current case in point is the on-going privatization issue: More →

INSOURCING Analysis – Prison Labor Competing For Your Job

In December 2010 I wrote the following article on prison labor and those involved in removing jobs from the private/public sectors and putting them in the hands of inmates.  Now that I look back even I am sitting here shaking my head at the names, companies, legislators and laws involved in this huge profitable enterprise.  I take little satisfaction in saying I tried to bring this subject to the attention of America’s workers, unions and lawmakers years before the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their activities regarding American workers and exploiting taxpayers were exposed in 2012.  However, when you read this keep in mind the corporations and individuals who have by now become infamous for their membership in – or support for ALEC – and compare that list to what I provided in this Daily Kos post on December 6, 2010…and since then I discovered how the Dept. of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance have teamed up to help transition our jobs from neighborhoods to prisons.

INSOURCING – Faith Based Prison proposal and links to Tea Party – Follow-up More →

The Taxes on the Farmer Feeds Us All

I was watching Rock Center on TV when it hit me.  The segment was about the problems that they are having in the farming sector in Alabama.  Now that illegal immigrants have fled, there is nobody to work the fields and do this back-breaking work, a fields are rotting away.  Reporter Kate Snow spent time looking at the human side of this story about immigration policy, and the temporary use of prisoners to harvest these crops.  But because of the reluctance/fear of calling out ALEC or any Koch Brothers actions in the conservative MSM (1), Ms. Snow’s segment fell far short of its informative potential.

Alabama cucumber farmer Jerry Danford grows cucumbers which are sold to pickle companies.  By the time his crop is pickled, processed, and reaches retail stores, it historically generates about $20 million annually in retail pickle sales. Danford accused Alabama politicians of not even bothering to interview farmers like himself who would be affected by the proposed immigration legislation when it was up for consideration.

Danford, a lifelong republican, is angry at republican lawmakers in Montgomery who passed perhaps the most severe immigration law in the United States. He’s angry with the leaders that supported the legislation for what he sees as a political move that hurts not only farmers like himself, but the economy of the entire state of Alabama.

Since the signing of Alabama’s immigration bill this past summer, Danford has watched many of the illegal immigrant workers he depends on to harvest his crop simply pack up and leave. He worries that come spring harvest–when a provision of the immigration law will be in effect requiring that employers check the immigration status of all workers – he will not have any workers to work his fields.  The immigrants’ crew chief says that he will not recruit Mexicans to work in Alabama in the future because they risk being fined, incarcerated, and deported

“I would like for these lawmakers to go out and get me a pool of labor,” says Danford. (2)

After the commercial break, Ms.Snow spoke with Alabama Governor Bentley about Danford’s concerns.  Bentley noted that there would be a short-term “adjustment” to the new labor force, but this strict immigration law will reduce Alabama’s unemployment rate, which, at 10%, is quite high.  Bentley acknowledges that illegal farm workers will leave the state (that is the intent of the law), but he is convinced that unemployed legal residents will replace them on farms like Jerry Danford’s.  And Alabamians will not have to break the unenforced Federal law any longer to run their farms.

Indeed Alabama has set up a web site to try and attract local workers to working on farms.  Reports Ms. Snow “On several visits to Alabama, we did find some native Alabamians willing to work in the fields.”  However, since then, all of the American workers had quit. (3)

Danford says that the governor is wrong.  Based, he says, on his lifetime of experience with local workers, “the people that you could get locally, they wouldn’t — regardless of what you offered them, within reason — they wouldn’t put in the long hours. It’d take probably three (of them) to do what two of the immigrant workers do,” he says.  “They’d want to be on break all the time, going to the bathroom, going to get a drink, or, you know, something. They just don’t have the initiative to work, just plain and simple.”  He goes on to say that local workers will show up for a day and then quit, assuming that they apply at all. (4) 

But what if he paid a higher hourly wage?  The going rate now is $10 an hour. “The [pickle] company wouldn’t buy it from you then,” he says.  “They’d turn to suppliers in other states where labor is cheaper — states that allow undocumented immigrants to continue working under the radar.” (5)

So what does the future hold for farmers like Jerry Danford?  Certainly less labor-intensive crops, but people and companies all the way up the supply chain from his fields to the retail stores that sell $20 million of pickles are all affected by Alabama’s new immigration control act.

And, it is notable that Snow reports that a new forecast from the University of Alabama estimates the law will cost the state economy at least $40 million in lost revenue overall.  (6)

Faced with rotting crops and angry farmers in this bad economy, the State of Alabama has stepped in and is providing prisoners to harvest the fields—as a short term solution.  For now it is a “short term” solution because as Think Progress reports that in Georgia where they had already tried this plan, “the probationers picking cucumbers couldn’t keep up with their Latino counterparts and had all quit by afternoon”. (7)

Personally, I am disgusted that “state Rep. Scott Beason who sponsored the Alabama immigration law refused a challenge to pick tomatoes just like the illegal immigrants who he thought could be replaced. (8)

Tomato farmer Leroy Smith, second from left, talks with State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, in Steele, Ala. Only a few of Smith’s field workers showed up for work after Alabama’s new
immigration law took effect recently. (9)

 

And that’s what Kate Snow and Rock Center reported – the middle of this story. To understand the entire story in context requires that we see how this all came about.  After all, this is a blog about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The starting point of this story is the new immigration bill which Mr. Danford identified as the source of this problem.  Where did this bill come from?  This did not originate in the Alabama legislature.  This began in ALEC as model legislation 7K3 – The Immigration Law Enforcement Act.  This was approved by the full ALEC Board of Directors in June 2008, (10), and supplemented with model legislation 7K5, the infamous No Sanctuary for Illegal Immigrants Act (the almost word-for-word precedent to Arizona’s SB1070 Act). (11)

Alabama is one of 18 states implementing strict immigration laws.  While the U.S. Attorney General is taking the states (starting with So. Carolina) which have implemented their own immigration laws to court on constitutional grounds, these new laws are being enforced.  And who is going to take a shot at a fine, jail, and deportation when they can work elsewhere.

And in this manner the corporate members of ALEC who wanted strict immigration laws paid their money to ALEC and received their model legislation.

But there is the very important second issue in the Rock Center segment–prisoners being used for the harvesting of these crops.  I worry if this a sign of things to come, or is it just temporary as currently claimed?

This, in turn, takes us to the issue of prison privatization, a key goal of ALEC since 1994 due to the presence of CCA, Wackenhut (predecessor to GEO), and the ever-present Jerry Watson of the American Bail Coalition. (12)

But ALEC is far too professional to use only its own members to investigate opportunities and devise strategies.  As key members of the Koch Brothers’ “Cabal, they have access to excellent think tanks and research institutes.  One of those institutes was also founded by Paul Weyrich (founder of ALEC)—the Heritage Foundation.  As far back as 1988 the Heritage Foundation was studying prison privatization after CCA tried to privatize the entire prison system of Tennessee in 1985.  (Interestingly, the Heritage Foundation study concluded that they could not say if privatization would save a State any money.) (13)

Another Cabal member, The Heartland Institute entered the immigration policy conversation in 2008.  “The right to migrate is a key human liberty that ought to be subject to limits only as a last resort. But the failure of institutions in the U.S. to assimilate new immigrants is real, and it makes unlimited immigration a threat to our own freedom. Both sides in the debate have ‘freedom arguments’ on their side.” (14)

While the Heritage Foundation could not say for certain that prison privatization would save the States any money, the NY Times has concluded that it does not. (15)

“The largest private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, have spent millions of dollars trying to convince federal and state legislators that privatization saves taxpayer money without sacrificing tight security and adequate conditions for prisoners. However, the evidence supporting this claim has been mixed at best. A study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded that promised cost savings “have simply not materialized.” When cost savings are reported, they are often mitigated by private prisons’ tendency to refuse high-cost inmates.

“Even if cost savings were substantial, prison privatization is intrinsically incompatible with the supposed goals of the U.S. prison system. Private prisons have few incentives to pursue meaningful rehabilitation or reduce recidivism rates. In fact, they have a vested interest in the continuation of the United States’ incomparably high incarceration rates.

“In order to ensure a steady flow of inmates, and thus a steady flow of profits, private prison corporations lobby for “tough on crime” laws that lock up petty offenders for long periods of time and do little to curb crime rates. They have historically enjoyed close ties with state legislators through conferences hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which advocates harsh sentencing laws. At the conferences, corporations write “model bills” with legislators that have contributed to the escalation of mass incarceration.”  (16)

Envision prisoners in Alabama working outside doing back-breaking work that other Americans do not want to do.  Brings back memories of slave labor in the southern states for good reason.  Witness the article “Arizona Brings Back Slavery for Latinos”.  The embedded video from Cuentame spells the situation out very neatly:  “First, the state passes a harsh immigration law. Then, it detains large numbers of immigrants. Third, private prisons (LCS, CCA, GEO) receive fresh inmates. And finally, the artificially created labor shortage is supplied by the new inmates. Does this sound like modern-day slavery to anyone? (17)

That is also the ACLU’s stand.  “The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one — especially at a time when more and more Americans are struggling to make ends meet and when state governments confront enormous fiscal crises.”  But it does not stand in the way of reality..  “Mass incarceration provides a gigantic windfall for one special interest group — the private prison industry — even as current incarceration levels harm the country as a whole. While the nation’s unprecedented rate of imprisonment deprives individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and taxpayers, the private prison industry reaps lucrative rewards”. (18)

I say “it does not stand in the way of reality” because ALEC and the Heritage Foundation set out to accomplish two goals, and brought them both to fruition – despite any opposition.  They created an industry and then created the infrastructure and manpower to fit.  Do you really think that this is a temporary measure, or is this the way it’s going to be—all around the country?  Do prisoners have human rights or do they forfeit them at the entrance to the prison? And just think, because of the conservative MSM, you are among the few who truly understand the problem.

Which makes you among the few who know what needs to be done to stop it.  Our group, The Voter’s Legislative Transparency Project is trying to set up a bus tour to travel around the country, stopping in as many cities as time permits, to hold full day teach-ins to assemblies wherever we stop.  Let people know about ALEC and the rest of the Koch Cabal, and show how they have been manipulating our country since 1973.  Teaching people to evaluate their candidates to see who is going to honor his/her oath of office, and who is going to be beholden to ALEC or to the Tea Party or even to…Grover Norquist?

[Note:  The title of this article, Taxes on the Farmer Feed Us All is from an 1897 song, reissued by Ry Cooder on his album Into the Purple Valley.  If you are interested, you can hear it performed by clicking here

Endnotes:
(1)http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/728866/rush_limbaugh_admits_the_media_is_conservativ/
(2), (3), (4), (5). (6) http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/14/8760288-immigrant-workers-farmers-fearful-in-wake-of-alabama-immigration-law
(7), (8) http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/10/07/338922/alabama-prisoners-immigrants-farm-labor/
(9) http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/10/ala-weighs-using-inmates-as-farm-workers-to-replace-fleeing-hispanics/1  by Dave Martin, AP
(10) http://alecexposed.org/w/images/6/69/7K3-Immigration_Law_Enforcement_Act_Exposed.pdf
(11) http://alecexposed.org/w/images/2/2d/7K5-No_Sanctuary_Cities_for_Illegal_Immigrants_Act_Exposed.pdf
(12) http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/bitstreams/5904.pdf
(13) http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/1988/05/BG650-A-Guide-to-Prison-Privatization
(14) http://heartland.org/policy-documents/where-do-you-stand-immigration
(15) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/us/19prisons.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
(16) http://www.policymic.com/articles/2404/privatization-of-prisons-is-no-solution-for-overcrowding
(17) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/12/alabama-slavery-latino-immigrants?newsfeed=true
(18) http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/banking-bondage-private-prisons-and-mass-incarceration 

 

Tell Reckitt Benckiser – #DumpALEC

An article that brings up MANY excellent points

1.  …Now WE THE PEOPLE are taking to the free market

The Free market is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents.

and our actions will hopefully lead to a reductions in expectations from ALEC Corporate Profit Sector members on their use of our legislators…

2.  But if the companies didn’t want to publicly support ALEC’s preferred policies, why were they supporting ALEC in the first place?

3.  Most of us have never heard of Reckitt Benckiser, but this may be a time to re-introduce ourselves to this Profit Sector Member of the American Legislative Exchange council (ALEC).  We were introduced to them in this story published by CMD: Kids Eating Rat Poison Is an “Acceptable Risk” for ALEC

To read about these an other insights from MNDem999, please click here

 

More Evidence Private Prisons Don’t Work

A recent report dismantles claims by private prison industry and its backers—including the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—that private prisons are a better deal than publicly run facilities.

Prison Bed Profiteers: How Corporations Are Reshaping Criminal Justice in the U.S.,” from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), demonstrates that many common claims of private prison companies have been repeatedly disproven and the private model often survives off low-paid, poorly trained staff, which can lead to compromised levels of safety for staff and inmates, as well as the general public.

The report also explores the influence private prison companies exert over criminal justice policymaking and the industry’s overall lack of transparency. Two of ALEC’s major sponsors are Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut Security), the largest private prison firms in the country.

Says Chris Harney, a senior researcher at NCCD:

Since we know private prisons aren’t going away in the near future, we sought insight from experts about substantive ways to slow expansion and improve implementation, operation and oversight. A critical part of this effort is encouraging lawmakers and jurisdictions to consider other options that have been shown to be viable, particularly promoting alternatives to incarceration and, when choosing privatization, demanding stronger contracting and monitoring.

ALEC has helped lead the charge to privatize prisons by writing model legislation for its right-wing state legislature members to push in their states.

ALEC has helped lead the charge to privatize prisons by writing model legislation for its right-wing state legislature members to push in their states. Read more from this 2011 investigation by The Nation and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

On Friday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and the legislature’s top Republican leaders announced they reached a deal on a state budget for next year that includes transferring $50 million from funds intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure to the private prison industry. Worse, some Republican legislators want to “save money” by removing auditing and oversight from private prison contractors. 

In February, a scheme to privatize Florida’s prisons was stopped after a huge public outcry led by Florida working families, community and civil rights groups. The plan was backed by extremist Gov. Rick Scott (R), GEO and ALEC.

An InTheseTimes investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became S.B. 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees. ALEC has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the country’s massive prison population.

Also, an AFSCME report last year followed the money from the major private prison corporations to the lawmakers pushing lucrative prison privatization contracts in several states.

According to “Making a Killing: How Prison Corporations Are Profiting from Campaign Contributions and Putting Taxpayers at Risk,” each election cycle the three largest private prison companies—CCA, GEO and the Management & Training Corporation pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaigns of governors, state legislators and judges, in the hopes of advancing their political agenda—establishing more private prisons and reducing the number of public ones.

There are numerous links to various reports in this article.  To read this entire article, please click hereand be sure to open all of the links in the article.

Exposé Tracks ALEC-Private Prison Industry Effort to Replace Unionized Workers with Prison Labor

Based on “The Hidden History of ALEC & Prison Labor.” By Mike Elk and Bob Sloan (The Nation, August 1, 2011) which you can read here.

“Many of the toughest sentencing laws responsible for the explosion of the U.S. prison population were drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which helps corporations write model legislation. Now a new exposé reveals ALEC has paved the way for states and corporations to replace unionized workers with prison labor. We speak with Mike Elk, contributing labor reporter at The Nation magazine. He says ALEC and private prison companies “put a mass amount of people in jail, and then they created a situation where they could exploit that.” Elk notes that in 2005 more than 14 million pounds of beef infected with rat feces processed by inmates were not recalled, in order to avoid drawing attention to how many products are made by prison labor.:

This is the most complete interview I have seen to date.  It runs from about 27:00 to 46:17 of the video.  To watch this really interesting interview–and learn a lot about prison privatization and prison labor, please click here.