Tuesday, December 29, 2009

PRISON PROPOSAL: CCA criticized by union, praised by Florence officials

Originally found here.

By Ken Hedler, The Daily Courier

Corrections Corporation of America and other operators of private prisons have drawn fire from public employees unions for allegedly paying lower wages and straining public services in communities.

However, CCA also earned kudos from a police detective and town government official in Florence, where the company operates two prisons.

CCA pays correctional officers only $10 to $12 an hour while correctional officers in Arizona state prisons earn $18 to $20 an hour, said Chuck Foy, executive director of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. The Phoenix-based union has about 3,500 members.

CCA officials could not be reached for comment.

Barrett Marson, a public information officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections, said he does not know the pay scales in private prisons. However, he said starting pay for correctional officers at state prisons is in the mid-$30,000 range.

Private prisons "also put a strain on law enforcement (and) local prosecutors because the private prison folks cannot investigate crimes," Foy said.

However, Florence has a "pretty low crime rate" despite being home to 10 prisons or jails, said Jess Knudson, public information officer for the town. He added Florence has more inmates at 17,000 than residents at 10,000.

"We like to acknowledge our police force," Knudson said. He added the Pinal County Sheriff's Office is based in Florence because it is the county seat.

Florence Police Detective Walt Hunter commented, "I can't remember the last time I responded to CCA." He has been on the job six years.

"We definitely have a good working relationship with CCA," Hunter said. "First of all, we work a lot in cooperative efforts. We assist them with investigations."

He continued, "These guys have always been very cooperative, very professional. There is nothing I can say bad about them."

Foy faults private prisons for allegedly hiring correctional officers with less training than their public-sector counterparts. He said the Department of Corrections requires 360 hours of training, compared with 120 hours for CCA.

CCA's website states all new full-time security employees receive a minimum of 120 hours of training during their first year of employment. Courses cover cultural diversity, defensive tactics, emergency procedures, firearms training, hostage situations, radio communications and other subject matters.

Private prisons also are exempt from public records laws, Foy said.

Marson said the exemption applies because they are privately owned.

He said he does not know how many private prisons operate in the state because they do not have to report to the Department of Corrections.

Escapee from CCA prison captured in Georgia

This story can be found here.

A prisoner who escaped from a Clinton, Tenn., prison has been captured in Georgia.

Stephen Allen Hester, 26, was discovered missing on Saturday during a headcount at the Corrections Corporation of America-managed prison. He was serving an eight-year sentence for an aggravated robbery conviction in Memphis.

He was caught in Franklin County, Georgia in the car he stole from a woman he abducted at a market. She was let go unharmed in Tennessee.

Law enforcement agents used spike strips on Highway 328 after a cross-county high-speed chase to catch Hester.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Is CCA Really Recession Resistant?

We came across this little gem of a press release last week. It's interesting that Corrections Corporation of America still claims it is in a recession-resistant field and yet it's losing prison beds and having to renegotiate lower rates with cash starved states who have contracted with CCA.

If I was a small town (like Lumpkin, GA) that has become dependent upon CCA's cash to possibly subsidize there own very small budgets then I would be really worried about the 2 months or so notice that it appears that Appleton, Minnesota (population 2,871) just received that the open sign just got flipped to closed. While the CCA drafted press release below is probably accurate in stating that "The closure of the Prairie facility is not expected to have a material impact on CCA's financial results" I am sure that the closure of this facility will result in lots of financial hardship for the local area. Not to mention all of those soon to be out of work recession-resistant CCA jobs that will no doubt be flooding the local job market. I'd say that Prarie Correctional Facilities "Career Information Line" will not be doing much good in Appleton for quite some time.

Dec 04, 2009 08:30 ET

Corrections Corporation of America to Cease Operations at Prairie Correctional Facility

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - December 4, 2009) - Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) ("CCA"), the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today its intention to cease operations at the CCA-owned and operated Prairie Correctional Facility located in Appleton, Minnesota. The 1,600-bed facility will officially cease operations on or about February 1, 2010.

During 2009, the Prairie facility has housed offenders from the states of Minnesota and Washington. However, due to excess capacity in the states' systems, both states have been reducing the populations held at Prairie. The facility currently houses about 200 offenders from the state of Minnesota. The state of Washington has removed all of its offenders from the Prairie facility, but maintains a population of approximately 125 inmates in two CCA-owned facilities in Arizona. The closure of the Prairie facility is not expected to have a material impact on CCA's financial results.

Damon Hininger, President and CEO of CCA commented, "It is CCA's strong desire to continue every effort to market the facility to another government partner, which we believe provides a viable option for our partners needing significant capacity. We are committed to finding the right opportunity that will allow us to re-open Prairie, so we can continue to offer meaningful careers to our dedicated staff, and promote economic vitality to the Appleton community."

Mr. Hininger continued, "We are disappointed to make the decision to close the Prairie Correctional Facility. Unfortunately, without an inmate population large enough to significantly utilize the facility, maintaining operations at the Prairie facility isn't economically viable. I would like to thank our outstanding and dedicated staff who have done an exceptional job, and we look forward to resuming operations at the facility at some point in the future."

About CCA

CCA is the nation's largest owner and operator of privatized correctional and detention facilities and one of the largest prison operators in the United States, behind only the federal government and three states. We currently operate 65 facilities, including 44 company-owned facilities, with a total design capacity of approximately 87,000 beds in 19 states and the District of Columbia. We specialize in owning, operating and managing prisons and other correctional facilities and providing inmate residential and prisoner transportation services for governmental agencies. In addition to providing the fundamental residential services relating to inmates, our facilities offer a variety of rehabilitation and educational programs, including basic education, religious services, life skills and employment training and substance abuse treatment. These services are intended to reduce recidivism and to prepare inmates for their successful re-entry into society upon their release. We also provide health care (including medical, dental and psychiatric services), food services and work and recreational programs.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements as to our beliefs and expectations of the outcome of future events that are forward-looking statements as defined within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. These include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties associated with: (i) general economic and market conditions, including the impact governmental budgets can have on our per diem rates and occupancy; (ii) fluctuations in our operating results because of, among other things, changes in occupancy levels, competition, increases in cost of operations, fluctuations in interest rates and risks of operations; (iii) our ability to obtain and maintain correctional facility management contracts, including as a result of sufficient governmental appropriations and as a result of inmate disturbances; (iv) changes in the privatization of the corrections and detention industry, the public acceptance of our services, the timing of the opening of and demand for new prison facilities and the commencement of new management contracts; (v) risks associated with judicial challenges regarding the transfer of California inmates to out of state private correctional facilities; and (vi) increases in costs to construct or expand correctional facilities that exceed original estimates, or the inability to complete such projects on schedule as a result of various factors, many of which are beyond our control, such as weather, labor conditions and material shortages, resulting in increased construction costs. Other factors that could cause operating and financial results to differ are described in the filings made from time to time by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CCA takes no responsibility for updating the information contained in this press release following the date hereof to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date hereof or the occurrence of unanticipated events or for any changes or modifications made to this press release.

Karin Demler
Investor Relations

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CCA Reaches A New Low

It is very sad that CCA, a company that profits off of tax payer money, can seek to financially ruin what appears to be a poor woman who evidently is getting by off of her husbands disability check. This seems like a new low even for Corrections Corporation of America. If you live in a community that has a CCA prison or detention center then you should really be asking yourself if they truly are the good neighbor they claim to be. If your community one day decides they are not such a good neighbor then I wonder if you to will be the victim of this type of ridiculous and in my opinion over zealous retaliation for having the nerve to oppose them. Seems like taxpayers (who are footing the bill) should not be the victim of what looks like a scorched earth policy from an extremely rich company that they sought to oppose.

This story can be found here.

CCA and Nye County press for court costs

Pahrump Valley Times

The litany of lawsuits filed by the Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community and Chairman Donna Cox could come with a hefty price tag.

Corrections Corporation of America and Nye County have both filed claims against CCSC for court costs totaling over $7,500 in the wake of the unsuccessful federal suit brought against them in an attempt to block the federal detention center project.

U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson dismissed the case Sept. 30. A suit by CCSC against the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee is still proceeding in U.S. District Court. There is also a newly-filed case in state court against Nye County over alleged Open Meetings Act violations (see related story above).

CCA submitted a bill for $4,446.66 that included $3,996 for printed transcripts by the court reporter.

Nye County submitted a bill of $3,098.65 for court reporters for transcripts.

Much of the transcript costs involved depositions by Donna Cox, chairman of Concerned Citizens. The county bill also includes a 226-page deposition of Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo, for $650.15.

The CCSC attorney, Nancy Lord, filed a motion asking the court to review the request for court costs as inappropriate.

"The objection here is to the taxation of these costs to these plaintiffs, who everyone involves known [sic] are without funds, have paid their attorney by passing the hat at meetings," the motion reads.

The motion adds: "CCA is a multi-million dollar corporation who could afford to pay nearly $7 million for land before its deal was final and Nye County is a county government. The $7,000 in costs will mean little to either of them, but it [sic] the taxing of costs will devastate plaintiff Cox."

The motion claims the recovery of costs is an attempt to frighten CCSC into giving up its case against the federal detention trustee.

"Donna Cox has neither income nor assets and both defendants are well aware of this," the motion said. "She stated that the organization keeps its money in a paper bag at the home of Ms. Stern and that it is never more than $100. Counsel is paid her very discounted fees by passing the hat at some of the meetings," Lord's motion said.

There is no mention of recovering legal fees. The motion claims that while the CCA attorney was paid by the hour and Nye County legal counsel was on a salary, Lord was working nearly pro bono, or for free.

Lord makes mention of a 9th Circuit Court case that district courts should consider the financial resources of the plaintiffs in awarding fees to a prevailing defendant.

"In this case the costs are more than this plaintiff could ever hope to pay and will only result in an uncollectible judgment on her credit report. In contrast, the awards of a few thousand dollars will mean nothing to the wealth of CCA and Nye County except a mean-spirited victory," the CCSC motion said.

In a letter to CCA attorneys, Lord said Cox lives on her husband's disability which can't be the subject of a lien. Lord claims CCSC members Christina Stern and Jeff Wiest weren't listed as plaintiffs during a scheduling conference and shouldn't be subject to paying court costs. She also attempts to resolve Judith Holmgren from paying court costs.

CCSC doesn't object to the fact the defendants spent those costs. But the motion claims, "The costs incurred in this case were the direct result of defendant CCA's deliberate efforts to increase the amount of time spent on collateral matters, lengthy objections during plaintiff's deposition of Sheriff DeMeo and the like."

The motion criticizes CCA attorney Paul Shpirt for running up the clock on the court reporters time during the depositions. Costs for depositions should be split between both parties, Lord's motion said, adding both Nye County and CCA could have shared copies of depositions.

CCSC held a good faith belief there was desert tortoise habitat on the proposed site, the motion said, the basis for the federal case, which alleged violations of the National Environmental Policy Act.

The suit wasn't frivolous, CCSC claims. If Nye County allowed the plaintiffs the chance to redress their grievances against the detention center by public objection, there would be no need for litigation. Lord refers to CCSC as "a rag tag citizens' rights group."

The motion also makes reference to the request for a change of venue in the case against the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee by CCSC, which claims the Nevada federal bench had a great need for the federal detention center in Pahrump, which would no longer require attorneys to travel as far as Safford, Ariz., to meet with their clients.

In their opposition, CCA attorneys said the time for the concerned citizens group to file objections court costs lapsed Oct. 23.

The response by CCA said the concerned citizens group cited the court's inefficiency as the reason costs had to be incurred as well as attacks against the defendant's litigation strategies. But an objection to the costs must be grounded on clerical or calculation error, CCA said.

"Nowhere in plaintiff's motion is there an argument that the costs are inaccurate or miscalculated," CCA said.

Nye County's opposing motion makes the same point.

Accusations the entire Nevada federal bench is biased, based on a declaration by Frank Smith of the Private Corrections Institute, an anti-prison privatization group, are baseless and have no factual support, CCA claims.

"Plaintiffs' argument appears to be that because this court did not rule on plaintiff's numerous frivolous motions to correct a multitude of mistakes made in their pleadings and complaints in an expedited fashion, it contributed to the costs of the litigation," the CCA response said.

At the same time, CCA points out a contradiction by the Concerned Citizens who go on to claim the depositions and discovery will aid them in their subsequent case.

Neither Cox nor CCSC filed for pauper status with the court, CCA said. "In fact, in her deposition, Donna Cox testified she owned a new truck and a large motor home."

The company requests the court disregard the claims by CCSC until a debtor's examination is scheduled by the court, at which time assets owned or controlled by the plaintiffs can be identified to satisfy the judgment. Lord threatened to seek sanctions against the CCA attorney if there is a debtor's exam.

Nye County claims Lord intended to mislead the federal court by being intentionally ambiguous about whose interests she represented. She asserted in a hearing on discovery that CCSC had no members, the county said.

"Nonetheless," the county said, "several persons have put themselves out in the public as members of this association and parties to this litigation on their own weekly television show."


Is this the CCA Way? Integrity, Respect & Trust... etc. Is this what they mean? Should we "Respect" them for things like this or "Trust" them for acting like this? How do the actions written about in the story above make them "The Best" or even a "Leader" like they claim. Seems like they need to "apply themselves a little bit better." The 270 View would like to encourage them to do the right thing here and not try and financially ruin a woman who disagreed with them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the View

This Thanksgiving when I sit down with my family for dinner I will be thinking about the first Thanksgiving in America. How we were the immigrants then and the kindness and welcoming attitude that many of our ancestors had in sitting down to break bread and share a meal. Whether they were my distant pilgrim ancestors or my wife's distant Native American ancestors. I would encourage everyone to think about the current state of immigration in America and ask themselves if the same sense of inclusion and friendship is still present in are homes. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday CCA Protest

This story can be found here

Powerful Immigrant Rights Rally at Stewart Detention Center Calls Attention to Deadly Human Rights Abuses

Report back from Stewart Detention Center Protest: Social Justice Activists Processed from Lumpkin Square to Remote Immigrant Prison to Call Attention to Deadly Human Rights Abuses

Lumpkin, GA -- Social justice and immigrant rights activists processed from Lumpkin Town Square to the Stewart Detention Center this Friday morning to call attention to the abuses perpetrated at this commercial prison which in the last year have killed one prisoner and injured many. Prisoners continue participating in hunger strikes demanding better conditions, and local human rights organization Georgia Detention Watch organizes in solidarity with their calls for justice.

protest in a powerful and emotional vigil, survivors of detention centers, family members of those imprisoned and human rights activists gathered to listen to those families torn apart by raids and forced detention, including the family of one detainee whose three children went in to visit him following the vigil.

Many immigrants to the United States are victims of U.S.-sponsored military training and atrocities in Latin America. “In our fight to close the SOA, we continue to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence” said SOA Watch organizer Jake Dacks, one of the speakers at the prison vigil.

Dacks continued, “We recognize the SOA as a part of the same racist system of violence and domination that operates US immigration policy. We ally ourselves with victims and survivors of state violence and their families in our effort to create a better world.”

The Stewart Detention Center, a temporary detention center for folks who are locked up while awaiting immigration status or deportation. ICE works with the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to operate this remote prison.

One of the participants spoke about her father, who had been deported after living in the United States for more than 20 years, most of her life. "The man that I used to have dinner with, and just shared time with, is now the man I can only speak on the phone with," she said.

Activists brought some puppets down to Friday's rally from the warehouse in Columbus, GA, where they are being built for the annual Vigil to Close the School of the Americas this Saturday and Sunday.

The action at the Stewart prison follows two previous vigils, several humanitarian visitations, and release of a report by Georgia Detention Watch which documented violations of immigration detention standards at the Stewart Detention Center. More than 100 immigrants have died in ICE custody in the last six years alone.

"Roberto Martinez Medina and I would be the same age if he were still alive today," reflected Anton Flores-Maisonet of Alterna and Georgia Detention Watch on the passing of a 39-year-old immigrant from Mexico detained at Stewart, who died of a heart infection on March 11, 2009. To date, many questions about the circumstances surrounding his death remain unanswered. "This death at CCA's Stewart Detention Center and the allegations that the center fails to provide basic medical care to detainees should be of great concern to the County whose name it bears," Flores-Maisonet observed.

Among the speakers at Friday's vigil was Bryan Holcomb, a former high-level manager from CCA. He gave an exposé on the depth of irregularities at CCA-run detention centers and prisons, including high sexual-assault rates.

Those gathered marched in a solemn funeral procession for almost two miles to the Stewart Detention Center. The march included a coffin, carried by shrouded pallbearers, memorializing Roberto Martinez Medina.

The entrance to the Stewart prison was blocked by three large buses, preventing anyone from seeing or entering the facility and largely preventing any of those detained from seeing the protest outside. Protesters challenged this by waving the large puppet and directing some of their songs and speeches to the prisoners in hopes that they could be heard.

At the close of the vigil a few hours later, people walked over to the gates, placing signs solemnly down and left in silence, many continuing on to Columbus, GA, where they will join the mass mobilization to shut down the School of the Americas this weekend.

Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director and Chair of Georgia Detention Watch, sees the vigil and funeral procession as the local reflection of a time in which “significant concerns are being raised nationally about the inhumane treatment of immigrants at detention centers and the unnecessary detention of many immigrants in the first place, often for prolonged periods and without being afforded basic due process.”

Herbert Abdul, a former immigrant detainee, also spoke at the rally. Mr. Abdul was detained for months at the Atlanta City Detention Center and the Etowah County Detention Center.

Other speakers at the rally included: Silky Shah, Organizing and Outreach Coordinator with the Detention Watch Network; Samuel Brooke, Attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project; as well as Flores and Shahshahani.

Located in rural Southwest Georgia, the Stewart Detention Center detains over 1,750 men, primarily from Latin America. Stewart is run by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, the country's largest private prison corporation.

An April 2009 report by Georgia Detention Watch on conditions at Stewart documented violations of ICE’s own detention standards at the facility. The report charged that food and medicine are withheld as punishment and that solitary confinement is routinely imposed without a disciplinary hearing.

The organizations sponsoring Friday's vigil included:

American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty Atlanta
Center for Constitutional Rights
Coalicion de Lideres Latinos-CLILA
Detention Watch Network
Georgia Detention Watch
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
International Action Center
Nipponzan Myohoji Atlanta Dojo
Rights Working Group
School of the Americas Watch
Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project
Texans United for Families

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stewart Detention Center Protest

I will be speaking at a rally in Lumpkin, GA this Friday and also at a workshop on Saturday in Columbus, GA. The workshop is called "Unjust and Unwarranted: The Reality of Immigration Detention in Georgia." The workshop will be in Room 213 of the Columbus Convention Center and is sponsored by and part of the annual SOA Watch events. Details on the Rally can be found in the press release below.

Human Rights Groups Muster Forces in a Vigil, Rally, and Funeral Procession Aimed at Drawing Attention to Violations at the Stewart Detention Center

Press conference and vigil will be Friday, November 20th, at 10:00 a.m., in
Lumpkin town square


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Anton Flores-Maisonet, Alterna, 706-302-9661, Anton@alternacommunity.com

Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia, 404-574-0851, ashahshahani@acluga.org

Atlanta – Georgia Detention Watch today announces a vigil, co-sponsored by
several local and national human rights organizations, aimed at focusing
attention on the treatment afforded to immigrants detained at the CCA-run
Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin. The vigil is expected to draw hundreds
from across the United States, including individuals directly impacted by
inhumane immigration detention policies and practices. The action follows
two previous vigils, several humanitarian visitations, and release of a
report by Georgia Detention Watch which documented violations of immigration
detention standards at the Stewart Detention Center.

"Roberto Martinez Medina and I would be the same age if he were still alive
today," reflected Anton Flores-Maisonet of Alterna and Georgia Detention
Watch on the passing of a 39-year-old immigrant from Mexico detained at
Stewart, who died of a heart infection on March 11, 2009. To date, many
questions about the circumstances surrounding his death remain unanswered.
"This death at CCA's Stewart Detention Center and the allegations that the
center fails to provide basic medical care to detainees should be of great
concern to the County whose name it bears," Flores-Maisonet observed.

A silent funeral march from Lumpkin Town Square to the Stewart Detention
Center will memorialize the death of Roberto Martinez Medina and pay tribute
to the more than 100 other immigrants nationwide who have died in
immigration detention since October 2003

Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants' Rights
Project Director and Chair of Georgia Detention Watch, sees the vigil and
funeral procession as the local reflection of a time in which "significant
concerns are being raised nationally about the inhumane treatment of
immigrants at detention centers and the unnecessary detention of many
immigrants in the first place, often for prolonged periods and without being
afforded basic due process."

Rally on the Square

Bryan Holcomb, a former high-level manager at Corrections Corporation of
America which owns and operates Stewart Detention Center, is the key speaker
for the rally on the Square in Lumpkin. He will provide an exposé on the
depth of irregularities at CCA-run detention centers and prisons, including
high sexual-assault rates. Such abuses led in part to the federal
government's ending the incarceration of children at CCA's T. Don Hutto
prison in Texas.

Herbert Abdul, a former immigrant detainee, will also speak at the rally.
Mr. Abdul was detained for months at the Atlanta City Detention Center and
the Etowah County Detention Center.

Other speakers at the rally will include: Silky Shah, Organizing and
Outreach Coordinator with the Detention Watch Network; Samuel Brooke,
Attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project; as
well as Flores and Shahshahani.

About the Stewart Detention Center

Located in rural Southwest Georgia, the Stewart Detention Center detains
over 1,750 men, primarily from Latin America. Stewart is run by the
Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, the country's largest
private prison corporation.

Conditions at Stewart: Substandard and Inhumane

An April 2009 report by Georgia Detention Watch on conditions at Stewart
documented violations of ICE's own detention standards at the facility. The
report charged that food and medicine are withheld as punishment and that
solitary confinement is routinely imposed without a disciplinary hearing.

The organizations sponsoring Friday's vigil include:

American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia

American Friends Service Committee

Amnesty Atlanta

Center for Constitutional Rights

Coalicion de Lideres Latinos-CLILA

Detention Watch Network

Georgia Detention Watch

Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

International Action Center

Nipponzan Myohoji Atlanta Dojo

Rights Working Group

School of the Americas Watch

Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project

Texans United for Families

Georgia Detention Watch is a coalition of organizations and individuals that
advocates alongside immigrants to end the inhumane and unjust detention and
law enforcement policies and practices directed against immigrant
communities in our state. Our coalition includes activists, community
organizers, persons of faith, lawyers, and many more.

For more on Georgia Detention Watch, visit our website:

Azadeh N. Shahshahani

National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director

American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia

1900 The Exchange SE, Suite 425

Atlanta, GA 30339


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Web Series on CCA and the Media

The video embedded above is not an advertisement. It's inspiration for a new series of postings. Next week the 270 View is starting a short series of articles revealing some of the many tricks that Corrections Corporation of America employs to manipulate the media and public perception of CCA.

Just remember not to ask anything that would paint them in a negative light.....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A True American Hero

Thirteen people were killed when an Army psychiatrist allegedly opened fire on soldiers at the Fort Hood Army base, including Maj. Libardo Caraveo. Here is a short profile:

Maj. Libardo Caraveo, a 52-year-old psychologist, was preparing for his first deployment into a combat zone with a support unit that helped soldiers deal with the stresses of war. He arrived at Fort Hood on Wednesday to finish up paperwork before heading for Afghanistan, his son Eduardo, 31, said by phone from Tucson, Arizona.

“He was somebody to look up to, somebody to admire,” Eduardo Caraveo said. “He was a true self-made man, very driven, very hard-working.”

Maj. Caraveo Va., had arrived in the U.S. from Mexico speaking little English as a teenager, his son said. The major put himself through school and eventually earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

He had worked as a teacher and at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and had a private practice in Woodbridge, Va. He’d been in the National Guard for ten years, and had spent one year at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As a member of the 467th Combat Stress Control Detachment, he would have been responsible for dealing with battlefield trauma in Afghanistan.

His son Eduardo said they hadn’t spoken much about the details of his father’s deployment, adding, “I didn’t even know the actual date.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CCA Settles Sexual Harassment & Correctional Officer Raped by CCA Employee After She Complained

Crowley County prison operator to pay $1.3 million in settling sex-harassment lawsuit

Originally found here

A private prison operator will pay $1.3 million to settle complaints from 21 female employees who claimed they suffered harassment from male supervisors and colleagues ranging from sexually explicit comments to rape.

A female officer complained a male co-worker sexually harassed her and that after she complained, she was reassigned to an isolated location of the medium-security Crowley County Correctional Facility where she was raped by the man she complained about, according to the federal lawsuit.

The suit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also accused a chief of security at the prison of forcing a female correctional officer to have sex with him so she could keep her job.

Female employees also accused their male counterparts of openly viewing pornography and making demeaning sexual jokes about them.

The EEOC sued Corrections Corporation of America and Dominion Correctional Services on behalf of the female employees in 2006.

Although a settlement was reached, the defendants did not admit liability. Dominion is no longer operating prisons and the company could not be reached for comment.

"CCA settled the claim to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainties of continued litigation and trial," said a statement issued by that company.

CCA assumed control of the prison in January 2003 from Dominion and claims that a "substantial number" of the more serious allegations occurred under Dominion's operation.

"Of the 21 individuals alleging discriminatory conduct, eight were never CCA employees, but were employed solely by Dominion," the statement said. "Moreover, although seven of the 21 individuals were employed by both CCA and Dominion, the majority of their claims also related to events that allegedly occurred before CCA began operating the facility."

EEOC attorney Rita Byrnes Kittle said some of the employees accused of sexual harassment over the years have resigned, but some are still working at the prison.

Guadalupe Gonzales, the 39-year-old former employee accused of rape in 2002, was convicted in 2005 of felony sexual assault. He was sentenced to four years of probation and is registered as a sex offender.

As part of the settlement agreement, Dominion cannot operate a prison in Colorado for three years. CCA must have sexual harassment training conducted by an outside expert for the next three years and have a toll-free number available for employees to call to report sexual harassment.

Some of the women who lost their jobs because of the harassment will get them back and will also get letters of apology.

The settlement comes four months after a federal judge imposed a $1.3 million judgment against a former Colorado correctional officer who sexually abused a female inmate at the state women's complex in Denver.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Legal Resident Being Held by CCA & ICE at Stewart Detention Center

Written by The 270 View
August 20, 2009

Carlos Aranda was living the American dream. He is married, with a two year old child and a house in Atlanta, Georgia. His hard work has paid off and he was just recently promoted at work. Family members describe him as a good person and a hard working American who had immigrated here from Mexico for a better life. His parents and all of his other relatives also live in the United States.

On August 6, 2009 Carlos Aranda was asked to come into his probation officers office due to a paperwork problem. What Carlos Aranda did not know is that Immigration agents were waiting to take him into custody. Mr. Aranda had been on probation for a crime that he had committed in 2000 at the age of 17. He currently has no bond due to a paperwork error that allegedly was made by Douglas County law enforcement.

Mr. Aranda is not here illegally. His family states that he has a valid drivers licence, passport and social security card . He was granted residency in 1994. His residency in the United States was renewed by the United States government on January 15, 2009 and was approved until 2019. He was honest about his minor criminal record with immigration. They say that he has done things the right way and that he has paid taxes for fifteen years.

For the last two weeks Mr. Aranda has been locked up and possibly will face deportation in the near future. He is currently held at Correction Corporation of America's for profit Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. During his time at the Stewart Detention Center family members have stated that Mr. Aranda has had to deal with deplorable conditions and a very unsanitary environment. They allege that soap and other hygiene items are not readily available and that their relative has been placed in a housing unit with violent offenders who have threatened him on more than one occasion. They also state that he has become sick since being placed in the facility. Mr. Aranda has allegedly also had to endure several hours of heat outdoors with no available drinking water followed by several days without being allowed outside again. Family members are very worried about the isolation he faces in a facility located so far away from people who desperately wish to be able to at least visit with him on a regular basis. They are also concerned by the bad attitudes that they state CCA employee's have shown them during Carlos Aranda's detention at the Stewart Detention facility. The physical distance from any available legal representation and the remote location of the detention center also poses a significant problem to him being able to regularly access the legal resources and legal professionals that he urgently needs to speak with about his case.

Since his detention things have not been easy on his family. Carlos Aranda's wife, Margaret Williams, states that she is currently seeing a doctor for anxiety and emotional stress that she is under from the whole situation. The family is on the verge of losing everything that they have worked hard for. Carlos Aranda's two year old son just wants to know "Where is my daddy." For Carlos Aranda and his family the American dream has just become a nightmare.

The 270 View Internet blog hopes that by highlighting his current case the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency will quickly release Carlos Aranda so that he can rejoin his family before they suffer even more hardship. Mr. Aranda's job is currently being held by his employer but without a timely release he will be joining the ranks of the recession unemployed and his family will be facing an even worse situation. Carlos Aranda's family states that he has never missed a probation appointment and is not a flight risk. Keeping him behind bars in a possibly unsafe environment and away from his family is just wrong. Carlos Aranda is a legal American resident. At the very least he deserves to be given bond while his citizenship problems are addressed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama: Immigration bill this year

The full article can be found here.

By Carol E. Lee

Under fire from immigration reform supporters who say he’s not moving fast enough, President Barack Obama said Monday he expects to have a draft immigration bill in Congress by year’s end — but that lawmakers wouldn’t begin to seriously debate the issue until next year.

He acknowledged that the fight for comprehensive reform would be difficult, saying, “Am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done? No. . . . There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable.”

Obama also predicted that Congress would pass his health reform bill later this year when more “sensible and reasoned arguments will emerge” — a clear reference to the increasingly heated attacks being leveled against his overhaul plan by opponents.

Obama brushed back a suggestion from a New York Times reporter that the “blows” he’s suffering in the health-care debate would weaken him too much to take on another massive legislative fight on immigration reform heading into the 2010 midterm elections.

“I anticipate we'll do just fine” in the midterms, Obama said. “And I think when all is said on health care reform, the American people are going to be glad that we acted to change an unsustainable system so that more people have coverage.”

On immigration, he added, “Those are fights that I'd have to have if my poll numbers are at 70 or if my poll numbers are at 40. That's just the nature of the U.S. immigration debate. But ultimately I think the American people want fairness.”

Immigration reform supporters have grown increasingly vocal in criticizing what some see as foot-dragging by Obama on the contentious issue — which President George W. Bush tried in his second term, only to see it fail and cause deep divisions within his own party. Obama’s comments Monday amounted to a firmer timetable than he has set down in the past and came at the end of a summit with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts here.

He spoke in similar terms about immigration and health reform, calling both a national imperative required to fix an unsustainable system. “We have a broken immigration system. Nobody denies it,” Obama said.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

CCA Loses Contract With Alaska

CCA's bad week got even worse. This can be found here.

Corrections Corporation of America Announces Loss of Contract with the State of Alaska

Nashville, Tenn., August 7, 2009 - Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) (CCA), the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today that it has been notified by the Alaska Department of Corrections that it was not selected in Alaska's competitive solicitation to house up to 1,000 inmates from the state of Alaska. CCA currently houses approximately 765 Alaskan inmates at its 1,596-bed Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona. CCA currently expects that Alaska will begin transferring their inmate population out of the Red Rock facility beginning in December of 2009. The loss of these inmates does not affect CCA's recently announced 2009 earnings per share guidance.

CCA will begin marketing the available beds at the Red Rock facility to other state and federal customers. CCA also currently houses 650 inmates from the states of California, Washington and Hawaii at the Red Rock facility.

"We are very disappointed to have not been selected by the Alaska Department of Corrections, a long standing customer of ours. We will work closely with the Alaska Department of Corrections to ensure a smooth transition out of the Red Rock facility," said Damon Hininger, President and Chief Operating Officer. "Although at the present moment, we do not have another customer lined up to fill the vacant beds, these beds are located in a market that is very attractive to a variety of state and federal customers. CCA currently owns 12,180 beds in the state of Arizona, which are fully occupied, including the 765 beds currently utilized by the state of Alaska."

Friday, August 7, 2009

CCA Continues to have a bad week

A former CCA prisoner continues to be victorious over CCA. Many of you are familiar with Alex Friedmann, the associate editor of the monthly publication Prison Legal News. Mr. Friedman previously ran a very impressive media campaign that successfully blocked former President Bush's nomination of Gustavus A. Puryear from a lifetime appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Puryear had previously joined CCA as the firms general counsel in January 2001. While at CCA, Purveyor had also been a Commissioner on the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (Sadly I think all of my blogs readers know how good CCA's statistics on Prison Rape are). During his time on the CCA's payroll Mr. Puryear was also a member of an elitist country club that was alleged to be excluding certain minority groups from membership. The full story can be found here.

Today's victory against CCA goes back to when Mr. Friedman had sent a letter to CCA in April 2007 asking for information on settlements, judgments and complaints against the company. CCA had refused to turn over the information, claiming it wasn't subject to the open records law. Today the Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that private prison company Corrections Corporation of America is subject to Tennessee's open records law. The full story can be found here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

CCA Puts A Mirror on Natchez Community (And us all)

As SDC's former Warden Vance Laughlin gets ready to open up yet another detention center for CCA it seems that predjudice and fear are coming out yet again. The comments (on the local story linked below) about the detention center receiving it's first immigrant prisoners say a lot about all of us. I believe that you could find the same fears and predjudice almost anywhere in this country and that these views are not only known in Natchez, Mississippi. Whether you are for or aginst for profit incarceration and the immigration debate in whole, Natchez (like the rest of the country) has many people who can be both respectful and intelligent in making observations but Natchez also has it's share of people that cling to ignorant prejudices that we humans can't seem to entirely break free from. If nothing else then I hope the immigration debate will bring about an end to these human short comings and allow us to all become better people whether we support or oppose for profit prisons and current immigration policies.

Welcome to the Immigration Debate Natchez.

The NatchezDemocrat.com story and comments can be found here.

Bad News For CCA - Detention System Overhaul?

Federal employees to again run detention centers
By The Associated Press

This story can be found here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009 9:40 AM CDT
E-mail Story Printer-friendly
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Homeland Security Department intends to put federal employees in charge of monitoring the treatment of detainees in the country's largest immigration detention facilities, two years after the government turned that job over to a private company.

The Obama administration plans to place 23 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at the largest detention facilities to supervise how the detention centers are managed, according to people briefed on the plan. Private contractors have been used since 2007, when they were hired to ensure impartial inspections. Before that, federal employees did the job.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement planned to announce details of the detention policy changes in a conference call with reporters Thursday.

While ICE is calling the switch to federal monitors and other changes to the detention system "major reforms," this, like the Obama administration's plan to enforce immigration law at the workplace, is not an overhaul. The new detention center plan includes a tweaking of past policies and some new positions.

The government has been criticized for its treatment of immigration detainees, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has made detention policies a top priority for her department.

ICE, which is part of Homeland Security, intends to hire a medical expert to review the health care protocols for the detention centers and give an independent review of medical complaints, according to the people briefed on the plan. They spoke only on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement explained some of the plan to immigration advocates in a conference call Wednesday evening. ICE said it plans to turn a detention center in Texas for parents and their children into a women's facility and no longer place families there, said a person who was on the call. A separate facility in Pennsylvania will continue housing families.

Shortly after Napolitano became secretary, she named Dora Schriro to advise her on detentions and arrests. Schriro headed Arizona's corrections department when Napolitano was governor of the state.

As part of its plan, the department will create another new position to be filled by Schriro: director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning.

Detention has grown in recent years, with the federal government holding more than 32,000 detainees each day. Over the last four years, the budget for keeping immigrants in custody has nearly doubled to $1.7 billion, according to ICE.

Several bills were filed last week by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to revamp the immigration detention system. The bills call for setting minimum detention standards and for the homeland security secretary to enforce laws on treatment of detainees.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Report is critical of immigration detention centers

This article was originally found here.
The full report the story refers to can be found here.

By Stephen Gurr

UPDATED July 31, 2009 11:09 p.m.

Attorney David Kennedy says clients of his who have been held in immigration detention centers in South Georgia and eastern Alabama routinely are denied fundamental rights.

"I have had clients who have had no access to phones for extended periods of time. I have had clients being questioned and induced into signing things they did not understand," said Kennedy, a Gainesville immigration lawyer.

"I have had clients complain they were stuck in their cells for 23 hours a day. There’s definitely a problem with immigration detention in this country."

On the eve of a new immigration detention center opening in
Gainesville, a report issued this week by National Immigration Law Center appears to validate Kennedy’s complaints.

The report, based on confidential Immigration and Customs Enforcement documents obtained in litigation, alleges there are pervasive problems throughout the country’s immigration detention facilities, many of which are operated by private contractors.

Detainees are routinely denied visitation with family members, access to legal materials and regular recreation, according to the report. Many never get an explanation of their rights while being detained, the report claims.

"The conditions are much more harsh than they ought to be," said the report’s co-author, Ranjana Natarajan. "This is a civil detention, and these folks are being treated like hardened criminals."

The Corrections Corporation of America could begin boarding immigration detainees at its new North Georgia Detention Center on Main Street as soon as next week. The site of the old county jail adjoining the Hall County Sheriff’s office underwent $4 million in renovations and is being leased from Hall County for $2 million a year. CCA operates the detention center through an agreement with ICE and the county.

This week, ICE officials did not deny the allegations contained in the report, vowing to continue to improve conditions. But Department of Homeland Security officials recently decided against creating uniform detention center standards that the National Immigration Law Center wants. ICE is supposed to conduct yearly evaluations of every detention center, but has no enforceable, binding legal rules on how inmates are treated, according to the report.

"It creates a lot of gray area," Natarajan said. "Because (detention centers) are not expected to follow the rules, they’re all over the map."

ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said agency officials "feel the NILC put together a very thoughtful report, and we will carefully review and take seriously this report, as we would any report. We are committed to continuously improving our immigration detention system."

Gonzalez noted that within 10 days of taking office, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano ordered all immigration enforcement policies to undergo a review, "including detention." In February, Napolitano appointed former Arizona Department of Corrections director Dora Schriro as a special advisor for detention and removal.

"Her position was created to focus exclusively on the significant growth in detention and detainment in the last few years," Gonzalez said.

On any given day, ICE holds about 33,000 immigration detainees in facilities across the country, and supervises another 17,000 people facing deportation through electronic monitoring and other means. The National Immigration Law Center estimates that in 2008 about 220,000 people were held in detention centers prior to deportation. The typical stay is 30 to 90 days.

The Gainesville facility operated by CCA is expected to hold about 500 low- and medium-security immigration detainees, many of them from North Carolina.

CCA spokeswoman Louise Grant referred questions on this week’s report to ICE officials, but noted that "CCA does adhere in every one of our ICE detention facilities to the detention standards set by our customer."

The company also has ICE officials on site for detainee access, Grant said.

This week’s report prompted two U.S. senators to call for a change to the system.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., on Thursday introduced the "Strong Standards Act," a proposed bill that would set minimum detention standards and require the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that laws concerning the treatment of detainees are enforced.

"These legislative initiatives will help reinforce what our great country has always stood for: liberty, the rule of law and basic human rights," Menendez said in a statement.

To Kennedy, anything would be an improvement.

"If we’re comparing these (detention centers) to their Turkish counterparts, they’re pretty good," Kennedy said. "But by U.S. standards, they’re pretty poor."

CCA is a 3 letter word for RAPE

Please take the time to read the story posted below. It's beyond outrageous that CCA actually has the audacity to state that a female inmate "never filed a formal grievance about the rape and therefore the civil lawsuit she filed July 2 should be dismissed." CCA claims it has zero tolerance for these types of incidents. At this point at least 23 women are now claiming that they were raped while at this pathetic privatly run for profit facility. We previously posted a story on this facility here. This is a situation that should have never happened. The extremely high rate of sexual assaults at CCA prisons is a pretty well known fact. The US Department of Justice has compiled statistics that show just how pathetic CCA prisons can be when it comes to sexual assaults.

CCA claims to save taxpayers money but at what cost. I wonder what the emotional toll will be on these women and how it will affect them as they return to their past lives after completing their sentences. I wonder about the emotional toll on these women's families who may be hearing that there mother, wife, sister or daughter is being sexually assaulted while they are several states away and probably feel defenseless in being able to help them. I also can't help but wonder if the citizens in Hawaii will really be saving anything at all after the $50 million CCA gets a year plus the cost of settling what I am sure will be a huge number of inmate filed lawsuits on all of the alleged sexual assaults taking place in Wheelwright, Ky.

This article can be found here.

Prison company asks judge to dismiss prisoner rape suit

By Beth Musgrave - bmusgrave@herald-leader.com

A private prison company has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit of a Kentucky woman who says she was raped while a prisoner at Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright.

The facility, run by Corrections Corporation of America, is at the center of investigations by Kentucky and Hawaii into allegations of repeated sexual assaults. The inquiries were prompted in part by the reported rape of a Hawaiian woman at the prison in June.

CCA has contracts with both states to house prisoners at Wheelwright.

In documents filed this week in federal court in Pikeville, CCA says the Kentucky woman never filed a formal grievance about the rape and therefore the civil lawsuit she filed July 2 should be dismissed.

The Herald-Leader does not generally identify people who allege sexual abuse.

The woman is suing the company, several of its officials and the Kentucky Department of Corrections for failing to prevent the rape.

Kevin Younce, a former prison guard, was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, for the July 3, 2008 sexual assault of the woman in Floyd County. A bench warrant is outstanding for his arrest, according to court records. He moved to North Carolina before he was convicted.

The case of the woman from Hawaii is scheduled to be presented to the Floyd County grand jury next month, said Kentucky State Police Trooper Mike Goble.

Kentucky prison officials are investigating alleged sexual assaults at Otter Creek going back to 2006, said Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

"These include allegations or incidents that were previously reported," she said. "We are reviewing every allegation regardless of the disposition."

Otter Creek houses 430 Kentucky inmates, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

Lamb said she could not comment on the lawsuit brought by the Kentucky woman because the department has not seen it yet.

CCA said in a statement Thursday that it is cooperating with the investigations.

"CCA has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate contact between staff and inmates and takes any such allegations seriously," said Steve Owen, a spokesman for the company, which is headquartered in Nashville. "We will support full prosecution under the law for any criminal activity detected."

The Kentucky woman, who has been moved to another facility, is suing for unspecified damages. She said that Younce woke her up, pulled her out of her cell and demanded sex. He took her into a staff bathroom where the assault occurred, court documents say.

She was later taken to the Pikeville Medical Center, where she was examined for evidence of rape, and Kentucky State Police were called.

Younce was convicted in absentia on Oct. 7, 2008, fined $500 and sentenced to one year in jail.

The federal lawsuit alleges that CCA knew of repeated sexual assault or harassment by prison staff at Wheelwright but did not do anything about it. Floyd County court records show that other prison guards have been charged with sexual assault of prisoners, including the former chaplain.
In court documents filed this week, CCA argues that the Kentucky woman never reported the sexual assault to the prison. After the July 3 rape, she filed nine grievances, but none of them involved sexual assault or Younce, the company's lawyers say.

The lawsuit should be dismissed, the company says, because, under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, prisoners have to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing a claim in federal court.

The woman was convicted in May 2007 in Jefferson County for receiving stolen property, fraudulent use of a credit card and other charges, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections Web site. It's not clear when she will be released.

Her attorney could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CCA Apparently Shorts Employees Checks for Profit


Prison Legal News – For Immediate Release

July 29, 2009


Nashville, TN – On July 27, 2009, Prison Legal News, a monthly publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues, filed a motion to intervene in a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), a private prison company based in Nashville.

The suit, brought in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas under the Fair Labor Standards Act, affects all CCA employees who worked in specified job positions from December 2005 to February 2009. The suit alleges that CCA failed to compensate its employees for pre-shift and post-shift work, including roll call, obtaining weapons and equipment, attending meetings and job assignment briefings, and completing paperwork. CCA employees were not paid for these work-related activities, which they were required to perform as part of their job duties.

The class action suit was settled on February 12, 2009; however, the settlement was sealed by the court upon motion by the parties. Thus, the exact terms of the settlement are unknown, including the maximum monetary amount that CCA will have to pay.

Prison Legal News (PLN) moved to intervene in the suit for the sole purpose of unsealing the settlement agreement. As a matter of public policy, documents filed in federal court should be open to inspection by the public. This is particularly true for CCA, since almost all of CCA’s income is derived from taxpayer funds through government contracts.

Further, private prison firms, including CCA, often claim they can save money. Since about 80% of prison operating expenses are related to staffing costs, it is noteworthy and newsworthy that CCA apparently “saved” money by failing to pay its employees the wages to which they were entitled, in violation of federal labor laws. The settlement would reveal details regarding how CCA “saved” money by shorting its own staff members.

“By unsealing the settlement in this case, PLN can publicly report the terms under which CCA agreed to settle class action claims accusing the company of violating labor laws and failing to pay its employees their full wages,” stated PLN associate editor Alex Friedmann. “The public has a right to know how its tax dollars are being spent when government agencies contract with for-profit companies like CCA to operate prisons and jails, especially when such companies are accused of violating the law to increase their profit margins.”

The class action suit against CCA is Barnwell, et al. v. Corrections Corp. of America, U.S.D.C. (D. Kan.), Case No. 2:08-CV-02151-JWL-DJW. PLN is represented in its motion to intervene by Stephen Douglas Bonney, Chief Counsel and Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. Other than its motion to intervene, PLN has no part in this lawsuit.

Prison Legal News (PLN), founded in 1990 and based in Seattle, Washington, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights in U.S. detention facilities. PLN publishes a monthly magazine that includes reports, reviews and analysis of court rulings and news related to prisoners' rights and criminal justice issues. PLN has almost 7,000 subscribers nationwide and operates a website (www.prisonlegalnews.org) that includes a comprehensive database of prison and jail-related articles, news reports, court rulings, verdicts, settlements and related documents. PLN is a project of the Human Rights Defense Center.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CCA Staff Allegedly Sexually Assault Inmates In KY

We have previously discussed the record setting number of sexual assaults at CCA facilities.

This article can be found here.

2 Hawaii female inmates allege sex assaults at Kentucky prison
Accusations not first at Otter Creek facility in Kentucky

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two female inmates from Hawaii allege they were sexually assaulted by one or more corrections officers at a Kentucky prison, and police are investigating one of the incidents.

Honolulu attorney Myles Breiner said he is representing the two women, who allege the sexual assaults occurred while they were in isolation in a medical unit at the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky.

One of the assaults was reported June 23 and allegedly involved a male corrections officer, Kentucky police said. The other incident, earlier this year, also allegedly involved a male corrections officer at the same prison, Breiner said.

Kentucky state police spokesman Mike Goble said last week that no arrests have been made in the June 23 case. He added that forensic tests have been conducted and that other evidence has been collected.

An October 2007 report of another sexual assault of a Hawai'i female inmate at Otter Creek by a corrections officer led to his firing.

There are 165 Hawai'i women at Otter Creek, a private prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America. In an e-mailed statement, spokesman Steven Owen said, "CCA has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual misconduct and takes any such allegations very seriously."

He said the company is "in the process of thoroughly reviewing" the allegations, adding that "any public discussion" of the allegations before the completion of an investigation "would be premature and inappropriate."

Tommy Johnson, deputy director of the state Department of Public Safety, said investigations are under way at the prison in two separate incidents. He would not say whether those incidents are sex assaults, but confirmed that one stems from something that was reported June 23.

"At this point, they're just allegations," Johnson said.

Other incidents

The investigations come more than a year after Otter Creek officials said they would change their procedures following a sex assault case involving a Hawai'i inmate and corrections officer. In the October 2007 incident, the inmate alleged the corrections officer came to her room and demanded she perform sex acts.

The officer was fired, and subsequently convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense.

Johnson told that inmate's relatives in a September 2008 letter that after the incident Corrections Corporation of America immediately changed its operating procedures at Otter Creek to require "whenever possible, a female correctional officer is paired with a male correctional officer in the housing dorms/units."

The state renewed its $3.6 million annual contract to house Hawai'i inmates at Otter Creek in November. Johnson said the contract is set to expire in October.

Allegations of sexual misconduct involving corrections workers and Hawai'i inmates have surfaced before in other private prisons, including in Oklahoma in 2000 and Colorado in 2005. Those allegations were followed by the felony conviction of a corrections officer in Colorado and inmate lawsuits in both states.

Otter Creek Correctional Center, a 656-bed prison that houses minimum- and medium-security men and women, was also under scrutiny last year after a secretary got a .22-caliber pistol through the facility's security system, including a metal detector, and then committed suicide in the warden's office.

Here vs. there

Lawmakers and advocates for the inmates say the new sex assault allegations raise questions about the safety of the women at Otter Creek and the procedures in place to prevent assaults. The allegations could also reignite a debate about whether the state should be shipping female inmates to the Mainland at all.

State Sen. Will Espero, D-20th ('Ewa Beach, Waipahu), chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, said, "We've always had issues with the women being so far away." Espero added that he believes the women should return.

"There's no reason why we can't begin to bring some of them back," he said.

The state pays about $50 million annually to CCA to house some 2,000 male and female inmates in Mainland prisons because there isn't enough room for them in Hawai'i. All female inmates are at Otter Creek.

The practice of exporting women has been criticized because many of them have children and advocates say long separations can cause irreparable harm to families. Espero said the Hawai'i women on the Mainland should instead be housed at the Federal Detention Center near Honolulu International Airport.

In December, the state Public Safety Department said in a report to the Legislature that holding 164 female inmates at the Federal Detention Center would cost about $84 a day each. That's $5 million a year — about $1.6 million more than the cost of keeping them at Otter Creek. The report said the detention center has enough space for the female inmates now housed on the Mainland, but they could be held at the facility for no longer than three years because the center isn't set up for longer stays.

Johnson added that the annual costs of holding the women at Otter Creek is about half of the cost of keeping them in state facilities in Hawai'i. The report also pointed out that about 64 percent of women at Otter Creek had, as of October 2008, five or more years to go before they complete their sentences or are eligible for parole.

Reach Mary Vorsino at mvorsino@honoluluadvertiser.com.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Calif. looks to immigrant inmates to save costs

The original story can be found here.

By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer – 42 mins ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With California slipping into a financial sinkhole, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to save more than $180 million by cutting short the sentences of thousands of immigrants in the state's prisons and turning them over to federal authorities for deportation.

The idea faces certain hurdles — for one thing, commuting some sentences will require court approval — and immigration authorities warn that a mass release of inmates from California and other states could swamp the federal system, which is already at capacity.

But Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Lisa Page said: "Every dollar not spent to house an undocumented immigrant inmate is a dollar that can be spent on health care services and education and other important programs to Californians. These inmates are the federal government's responsibility and California taxpayers shouldn't be paying the bill."

In recent years, other states have struck agreements with federal authorities to deport some inmates before their sentences were up, but those releases were done on a much smaller scale than what California is proposing.

The state's plan would involve as many as 19,000 inmates. Those among them who committed sex offenses or violent crimes would not be eligible for early release, Page said Friday.

Nearly 65,000 immigrants — most of them in the U.S. illegally — are serving time in the U.S. for state crimes.

Once immigrants have done their time in state prison, the federal government takes custody of most of them and begins deportation proceedings against them, either because they are illegal immigrants or because they committed crimes while in the U.S. legally.

The government reimburses states for some of the expenses involved in imprisoning immigrants, but states say the money is not nearly enough to cover their costs.

Schwarzenegger is proposing to commute the sentences of thousands of immigrants and transfer them to federal custody over the next 12 months to help close a state budget gap projected at more than $24 billion.

The savings would be a pittance for California — just $182 million if all 19,000 inmates now being held for immigration authorities were released — but Schwarzenegger is looking to save every dime he can. He already has proposed eliminating health care for poor children.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the 33,000 federal detention cells across the country already are full, and immigration judges could be overloaded if the number of deportation cases balloons.

California Corrections spokesman Seth Unger said that to avoid overwhelming the federal system, the state would keep its inmates behind bars until their deportation hearings were over and their appeals exhausted. In that way, they could be deported almost immediately after being turned over to federal authorities.

Since more than 70 percent of California's immigrant inmates are from Mexico, deporting them would typically involve putting them on a bus.

Officials in other states, including Oregon and Washington, are considering similar moves.

"The fiscal realities that Florida and California and other states are facing will probably put great pressure on trying to reduce the prison population," said Michael Ramage, general counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "Why should the state be saddled with the expense of having to provide a place for these people to be incarcerated while they wait to be deported?"

Most of these released inmates are unlikely to serve additional time once they are home. That is one reason governors of some states are not about to follow Schwarzenegger's example.

"That's just not happening here in Texas," said Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Officials with the Mexican consulate in Sacramento expressed concern that thousands of ex-convicts could be deported to Mexico.

"In the event that this happens, we will make sure that it takes place in an orderly and safe manner, and that the rights of all deportees, regardless of their migratory status, are observed and respected unconditionally," Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez said.

Schwarzenegger can single-handedly commute the sentences of 3,200 of them who were convicted of nonviolent, non-sexual offenses. Releasing more serious and repeat offenders early requires approval from the state Supreme Court.

For weeks, the Schwarzenegger administration left open the possibility that violent and sex offenders could be released too. But on Friday, in response to inquiries from The Associated Press, Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman said the governor has ruled that out.

Schwarzenegger's proposal was prompted in part by President Barack Obama's May budget proposal to end the $400 million program that pays states and counties for holding illegal immigrants behind bars — a program that California officials say reimburses only about 12 percent of the state's costs.

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said the Obama administration wants to divert the money to border security and immigration enforcement.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Minuteman Group Has Previously Supported CCA/SDC

Some of you might recall that the minuteman group had formed a counter protest against protesters at the Stewart Detention Center not to long ago. I believe the Minutemen who were protesting at the Stewart Detention Center in support of ICE and CCA were out of Atlanta.

The group linked to the shooting in Prima Arizona has since taken there website off the web. This chapter of the group no longer wishes to acknowledge Forde's role as the group's leader or Bush's as its operations director. The page can be found here. I can not say that I am terribly surprised that an extremist group that has been known to accept support from white supremacist hate groups would be involved in a shooting.

The Minutemen American Defense members apparently went to this families house and killed the woman's husband and child. A 911 call exists in which these extremists can be heard firing shots while stating "shut your fucking mouth" repeatedly. Luckily one of her children was not home at the time of the premeditated murders. During the course of the shooting she was able to return fire and apparently shot one of them in the calf according to Clarence Dupnik, Pima Counties Sheriff. Sheriff Dupnik has stated that three individuals are now in custody. At least two of them are apparently affiliated with the Minuteman group.

Sheriff Dupnik is no stranger to immigration controversy himself. Recently he stated that immigration checks during school enrollment would eliminate some of the area's "social woes" and would also help border security. This suggestion did not go over very well with local school boards and state legislators.

Minuteman Leader Kills A Family Including A Child

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Two of three people arrested in a southern Arizona home invasion that left a little girl and her father dead had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch activities in Arizona.

Jason Eugene Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz.

The trio are alleged to have dressed as law enforcement officers and forced their way into a home about 10 miles north of the Mexican border in rural Arivaca on May 30, wounding a woman and fatally shooting her husband and their 9-year-old daughter. Their motive was financial, Dupnik said.

"The husband who was murdered has a history of being involved in narcotics and there was an anticipation that there would be a considerable amount of cash at this location as well as the possibility of drugs," Dupnik said.

Forde is the leader of Minutemen American Defense, a small border watch group, and Bush goes by the nickname "Gunny" and is its operations director, according to the group's Web site. She is from Everett, Wash., has recently been living in Arizona and was once associated with the better known and larger Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

A statement attributed to officers of Forde's group and posted on its Web site on Saturday extended condolences to the victims' families and said the group doesn't condone such acts and will cooperate with law enforcement.

"This is not what Minutemen do," said member Chuck Stonex, who responded to an e-mail from The Associated Press sent through the Web site. "Minutemen observe, document and report. This is nothing more than a cold-hearted criminal act, and that is all we want to say."

The assailants planned to leave no one alive, Dupnik said at a press conference in Tucson on Friday. He said Forde was the ringleader.

"This was a planned home invasion where the plan was to kill all the people inside this trailer so there would be no witnesses," Dupnik said. "To just kill a 9-year-old girl because she might be a potential witness to me is just one of the most despicable acts that I have heard of."

Dupnik said Forde continued working through Friday to raise a large amount of money to make her anti-illegal immigrant operation more sophisticated.

Forde denied involvement as she was led from sheriff's headquarters.

"No, I did not do it," she said. "I had nothing to do with it."

Gaxiola also denied involvement; Bush was arrested at a Kingman, Ariz., hospital where he was being treated for a leg wound he allegedly received when the woman who survived the attack managed to get a gun and fire back.

Killed were 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her 29-year-old father, Raul Junior Flores. The name of the wounded woman who survived the attack hasn't been released.

Forde is well known in the anti-illegal immigration community, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

"She's someone who even within the anti-immigration movement has been labeled as unstable," Levin said. "She was basically forced out of another anti-immigrant group, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and then founded her own organization."

Stonex, of Alamagordo, N.M., said he met Forde while on an Arizona border watch operation last fall, and liked her despite her reputation in the Minutemen community.

"I know she's always had sort of a checkered past but I take people for what I see and not what I hear," the 57-year-old said.

She recruited him to start a new chapter in New Mexico, but was secretive about her group or its members. Stonex said he didn't know how to recruit for a chapter and never did.

He said Forde called him on the day of the attack while he was visiting Arizona and asked him to bring bandages to an Arivaca home because Bush had been wounded. Stonex said it appeared Bush had a relatively minor gunshot wound, which he treated.

He said Forde and Bush told him Bush been wounded by a smuggler who shot at him while the group were patrolling the desert.

Stonex said he didn't suspect that might not be the case until he was contacted by a deputy on Saturday about their alleged involvement in the crime.