Monday, October 13, 2008

Vance Laughlin Update

On Friday, October 10, 2008 we had reported that Stewart Detention Center Warden Vance Laughlin had been evidently demoted or transferred. This morning we received an answer to The 270 View's request for more information.

Louise Grant (CCA's Vice President of Marketing & Communications) stated "Vance Laughlin has NOT been terminated. He has been named warden at CCA's Adams County Correctional Center in MS."

From what we understand he has been appointed Warden of an empty and under construction facility. More information can be found here. We would like to thank Louise Grant for replying to The 270 View's request for more information so promptly.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Inside Look At The 270 View's Birth

Prior to being The 270 View we were Some of you might have seen the press release we sent out to the news media and various consulates located in Atlanta, GA and at places like the GALEO website.

The press release detailed how we had uncovered evidence that Stewart Detention Center Assistant Warden Charlie Peterson had apparently purchased a fake college degree from a very well known "Diploma Mill" named Ashwood College. Assistant Warden Peterson allegedly even felt so bulletproof that he tacked his degree up on to the wall of his office. This was embarrassingly enough just a couple of years after Homeland Security fell for the same scam.

We have asked Louise Grant (CCA Vice President of Marketing & Communications) to comment on Mr. Peterson's alleged diploma mill degree and the status of his employment. We will update this blog if CCA decides to respond to these important issues.

It amazes me that a novice blogger group like us can uncover all of these facts but somehow this big corporate machine with millions of dollars can't figure it out for themselves. CCA claims they are better at corrections than the government but they sure seem to fall for a lot of the same tricks.

In response to this press release we received an email from a "Steven Markus" at He said "This is a huge story. Editor needs confirmation to run. I need to contact you. I need a real name and position at the prison (I assume) that I will not print. Thanks." Just for a laugh we wrote him back asking a few questions and he never responded.

It's obvious to us that this was a sad attempt by CCA to get The 270 View's identities. But seriously did you really think that we would not know that newsman have company emails that end in etc. Maybe that type of intensive investigative skills is why bogus college degree's apparently slip by.

I posted the video below of the dog that allegedly graduated from the same school as Stewart Detention Center's Assistant Warden Charlie Peterson. We hear that Warden Peterson left the facility shortly after The 270 View's press release went out. I think I know why.

Are SDC Correctional Officers Under Paid?

This one should really anger every single Detention Officer at the Stewart Detention Center. To be honest it amazes the hell out of me. Most Stewart Detention Center officers are driving rather long distances and the price of gas and the increasing price of groceries is not helping matters. Trust me I know how hard you are working for the pay you receive. But I can't help but wonder how all these Detention Officers will feel once they learn that CCA is not paying them a comparable rate to what they pay Detention Officers at CCA Detention Centers in other states. But don't take my word for it, take CCA's.

"Employees at the CCA Nevada Southern Detention Center will be paid based on federal wage determination. A competitive starting wage of $25 per hour for entry-level detention officers is but one feature of a comprehensive compensation package...."

Think I'm crazy? Well just click here and read it for yourself off of CCA's own website. In case your wondering thats about $52,000 a year by my math.

So what are you worth? Evidently not $52,000 a year starting out. I don't even think a Captain at SDC makes that. I guess CCA values Nevada Detention Officers more than Georgia Detention Officers. It just don't seem fair. I would probably get together and ask for a raise. Maybe tell them you were all born in Nevada.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Power of Demotion

"Here, everyone gets a fair shake" Quote from Vance Laughlin

This week the 270 View learned that Stewart Detention Center Warden Vance Laughlin is no longer the facilities Warden. It appears that Assistant Warden Michael Swinton is now the facilities acting warden. Michael Swinton is a by the book military man. He seemed very honest. Having met him several times I can honestly say that he is 10 times the man that Vance Laughlin was. Hopefully he will now be better able to assist employees in turning the facility around.

It is the 270 View's opinion that many of the facilities problems were directly due to Vance Laughlin's failure to adequately supervise and run the daily activities of the Stewart Detention Center. It is my personal belief that Vance Laughlin always seemed to lack both maturity and professionalism. He never seemed to keep all of his (hunting) ducks in a row. We see him leaving SDC as a sign that progress might finally be coming to SDC. We strongly encourage CCA to do a better job in selecting Vance Laughlin's replacement. Both the employees and detainees at SDC deserve much better treatment than they have received.

Keep in mind though that prior to being terminated or transferred from SDC Vance Laughlin was evidently judged qualified enough by CCA's corporate leadership to be involved in the companies internal Facility Management Selection Process to help pick wardens. In fact we hear Vance Laughlin was even part of the team that selected Michael Swinton as the facilities Assistant Warden. Talk about irony, it's gotta suck when you picked the guy who got your job, at least temporarily.

We have heard that Vance was terminated and that he was transferred to another state. Regardless of whether he was fired or transferred it seems that he left in a hurry. Odds are that if CCA was happy with his performance then they would of had him stick around to train his replacement. My guess is that the black cloud hanging over SDC finally caught up with him.

Less than two months ago Vance Laughlin had stated that before accepting a paycheck from CCA (prior to 2004)"I did not believe the staff or the practices of private prison operators could compare to the government run operation." It's very ironic that a man who consistently dragged a private correctional facility down to new lows would make that statement.

In the interest of fairness, we however would like to hear Vance Laughlin's version of events. The 270 View is willing to print Vance Laughlin's side of his apparent termination or transfer if he should contact us in the near future. We have also asked CCA for comment on Vance Laughlin's current situation. If CCA sends us back an official response we will pass it on to all of the loyal 270 View readers.

Thanks for all your emails and keep them coming. The encouragement from SDC employees and Stewart County residents is appreciated. Lots of new stories are being researched. The lights growing brighter.......

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Excellence in Corrections?

It seems CCA has set a new record. Apparently there is more sexual victimization (Prison Rapes and staff encounters with inmates) at CCA's Torrance County Detention Facility (Estancia, New Mexico) than at any other prison in the United States. The CCA run prison is at the top of the list with a reporting rate of 13.4 percent, more than four times the national average of 3.2 percent. The U.S. Department of Justice report goes on to say that there is a 95% chance that between 5.4% and 21.4% of the prisoners are being sexually victimized (if it was 21.4% then that would make it almost seven times the national average). This government report asked inmates questions such as "During the last six months, did another inmate use physical force to make you give or receive oral sex or a blow job?"

Kind of makes you wonder how well CCA is at doing their jobs if between 5% and 21% of the inmates at the Torrance County facility are getting raped or having sex with CCA staff. Torrance County also houses some ICE detainees much like those detained at SDC.

The report is available here

A Department of Justice Press Release is available here

It is also worth noting that until recently it was not against the law for CCA staff to have sexual relations with inmates being detained by ICE within it's facilities. This law was apparently changed because a CCA officer had sex with a female ICE detainee at a facility named after one of CCA's original founders (T. Don Hutto Residential Center, Taylor Texas). This sex act also took place in front of the inmates child (her son's age was not reported but apparently he was young enough to need a crib inside of the cell). This staff member was observed (and recorded by security cameras) crawling out of the detainees cell where he had just left semen on the concrete floor. Just a few months after this incident a new law was passed to help stop employees from companies like CCA from having sexual relations with detainees.

One can only wonder how a company can keep ICE contracts while congressional action is having to be taken to stop it's companies employee's from having sex with the inmates entrusted to it's care. With CCA's long history of incidents like this it seems entirely appropriate that this facility is named for one of it's original founders.

A newspaper article on the incident is available here

Another Protest?

FYI. Came across this one the other day.....


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Anton Flores, Alterna, 706-302-9661 , Adellina Nicholls, GLAHR, 770-289-4833 , Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia, 404-523-5398 , 919-389-5329 (cell),

HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS PLAN OCTOBER 12 HUMANITARIAN VISIT TO STEWART DETENTION CENTER Put out call to all Georgians of conscience to join in coordinated visitation of immigrant detainees The ACLU of Georgia, Alterna, and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) are organizing coordinated visitations of detainees at the Stewart Detention Center, located in rural southwest Georgia. The Lumpkin-based Stewart is a private, for-profit facility operated by the Correction Corporation of America (CCA), holding approximately 1,700 immigrants for an average of 40 days each. The visitations will take place Sunday, October 12th, in conjunction with events around the country demanding an end to raids and deportations. "The fact that this event is being held on a Sunday is important," stated Anton Flores, co-founder of LaGrange-based Alterna. "Georgians are people of deep faith and we hope to humanize the immigrants who are being held at Stewart. Jewish Scripture calls us to 'do justice and love mercy' and Jesus says that visiting a prisoner is a holy act. That is what we are going to do." "CCA is a private corporation that pulled in $34 million in profits just last quarter," decried Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR. "Within the past year, Cobb County has done all it can to help CCA put profits before people by detaining nearly 5,000 immigrants and sending over 2,200 to Stewart." The October 12th visitations come as a group of concerned Georgians announce their plans to form an Immigration Detention Watch Taskforce. "The goals of the taskforce are to bring conditions at immigration detention facilities in Georgia into compliance with international human rights standards and to halt the rapid expansion of the immigration detention industrial complex in our state," said Azadeh Shahshahani, the ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director. "Our government has tried to hide the dark consequences of its failed immigration policies in a remote section of Georgia; but by inviting Georgians to visit men who simply dared to believe in the American Dream, we hope to illuminate everyone's hearts and minds to this injustice," Flores summarized.