COrrections Corporation of America

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…

Lockheed Fires Back at Prison Labor Charge

The defense behemoth claims the government is wrong to say it uses prison labor in the process of making parts for patriot missiles

I previously wrote an article about federal prisoners in the DOJ/BOP Federal Prison Industries/Unicor work program manufacturing components for Patriot missiles (in addition to cable assemblies for the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing (BA) F-15, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, Bell/Textron’s (TXT) Cobra helicopter, as well as electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder).

In a nutshell, Unicor (formerly known as Federal Prison Industries), is a company wholly-owned by the US government and run by the Bureau of Prisons, a division of the Department of Justice. (To be clear, this has nothing at all to do with private prisons run by outfits like the Corrections Corporation of America (CXW) or The Geo Group (GEO). This is a United States government program operating in government-run institutions.)

The story was picked up by Wired magazine’s Danger Room, and the tale of the Patriot missile/Unicor connection began making the rounds.

Then, this morning, an email from the Lockheed Martin (LMT) Missiles and Fire Control division arrived in my inbox:
SUBJECT: A Correction Of Your Patriot Story Is Required

Justin:

We have been in contact with the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command Lower Tier Project Office, who is responsible for the Patriot missile program, and have received confirmation that absolutely no part or component produced by Unicor is being or has ever been used in the PAC-3 Missile, of which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor.

The U.S. Army Lower Tier Project Office has made an official, written request of Unicor to remove all references to the PAC-3 Missile from its Web site as soon as possible.

We respectfully request that a correction to your story be made immediately that clearly states that no component or part from Unicor has been or is being used in the production or repair of the PAC-3 Missiles, and that you expunge all references in the story to Lockheed Martin and the PAC-3 Missile.

Clearly, the story as written is completely inaccurate when it comes to Lockheed Martin and the PAC-3 Missile, and the comments made by those you interviewed in your story that specifically mention PAC-3 and Lockheed Martin are also inaccurate as a result of being predicated upon incorrect assumptions.

I am more than happy to discuss this matter should you wish to speak in person.

Craig Vanbebber
Senior Manager – Media Relations
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
972-XXX-XXXX (office)
214-XXX-XXXX (cell)

Well, color me confused. If Unicor is printing untruths based on “incorrect assumptions,” then someone has some explaining to do:

unicor 3

Please click here to see the Unicor Electronics Video.  Hear the claims for this government work–right from the horse’s mouth. 
Further, Unicor’s own marketing materials exude a considerable amount of pride in the fact that they have been such an integral part of the PAC-3 program:
unicor guided missile

(Click HERE to access this section of Unicor’s website for their video presentation.)

If you can’t quite make out what it says, or if it is taken down from their web site (we have it on file), here are the relevant sections:

“UNICOR/FPI has successfully implemented surged production to supply electronics and electrical components for Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile propulsion, guidance and targeting systems.”

It goes on to explain:

“We assemble and distribute the Intermediate Frequency Processor (IFP) for the PAC-3 seeker. The IFP receives and filters radio-frequency signals that guide the missile toward its target.”

Unicor also proudly points out:

“The Patriot Advanced Control (PAC-3) missile is launched from canisters, many of which have UNICOR/FPI-manufactured cable assemblies linking the ignition and control systems.”

And then, well… there’s this video about Unicor’s Electronics

Oh, and this:

unicor 4

This information is, and has been, publicly available for a number years, hiding in plain sight. Could it possibly be that Lockheed Martin, one of the most advanced and capable defense contractors simply never happened to notice that the DoD, the Army, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Department of Justice had intentionally disseminated completely erroneous information for all to see?

I spoke with Lockheed’s Vanbebber and inquired as to how the multiple US government agencies with a hand in Unicor’s operations could possibly employ such a sloppy vetting process.

“I can’t speculate as to why or how that information got in there,” Vanbebber said. “I just don’t know. You know, when you’re dealing with the government, everything goes through such an extensive approval process, but, well, the information you’ve got is just wrong. I really couldn’t tell you how this happened to slip through the cracks.”

Sounds like the Department of Justice needs to fire its proofreader.

*As of this writing, Unicor has removed any information regarding federal inmates’ role in the PAC-3 missile program

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This article is written by Justin Rohrlich and is published at http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/defense-federal-budget-defense-industrial-base/3/9/2011/id/33261?refresh=1

Minyanville

 

 

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.
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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.

Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and the Great Recession – Section II, ALEC

note:  this is the third in a series of articles published by the University of Toledo Law Review written by Ellen Dannin

PRIVATIZING GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE ERA OF ALEC AND THE GREAT RECESSION

II.   THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL (ALEC)

The American Legislative Exchange Council was, until recently, a little-known but very powerful and influential organization.  ALEC’s most important role is drafting model legislation. 20   According to ALEC, it “has nearly 1,000 pieces of model legislation.” 21   More than 200 of ALEC’s model bills were enacted in 2009. 22   Until April 17, 2012, ALEC’s model legislation was developed and promoted by nine national task forces.  On that date, ALEC announced that it was eliminating its Public Safety and Elections task force in order to focus on economic issues.23   The remaining task forces are Civil Justice; Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development; Communications and Technology; Education; Energy, Environment and Agriculture; Health and Human Services; International Relations; and Tax and Fiscal Policy. 24

According to ALEC, its task forces “also commission research, publish issue papers, convene More →

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.