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.