Friday, June 4, 2010

CCA docked $2,600 a day for using unqualified counselors

Originally found here.

Idaho imposes fines for contract violation

By Getahn Ward • THE TENNESSEAN • June 2, 2010

Corrections Corporation of America has been fined more than $47,200 and counting for not having qualified drug and alcohol counselors at a prison that it manages in Idaho.

The $2,600-a-day tab will continue to run until the Nashville-based prison operator addresses the problem by getting staff members accredited or by hiring more qualified people, said Jeffrey Ray, a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Correction.

The department for whom CCA operates the 2,080-bed Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise imposed the damages after CCA had failed by May 13 to meet certain requirements for counselors under its contract.

As many as 10 of 13 addiction treatment counselors didn't meet terms of the contract, according to the department's notice to CCA sent a month and a half ago. "Those folks are supposed to have certain accreditations, meet certain standards, and they don't," Ray said. "As a result, the department is applying a provision in the contract under which you can seek damages."

The penalties come after separate medical audits of the Idaho Correctional Center earlier this year found various other issues. Those included sloppy record-keeping, delays in providing medications and a lack of follow-up when inmates were returned to the prison after hospitalizations, Ray said.

In a statement, CCA said it would continue efforts to recruit qualified and credentialed professionals.

"We are confident that these efforts will result in our company being in
compliance in the near term with a fully credentialed therapeutic community staff, as local qualified professionals seek employment opportunities," CCA said.

The Nashville-based prison operator added that it's working to resolve issues raised in the recent medical audits at the Idaho Correctional Center, adding those issues are separate from the drug counseling complaints and aren't at a critical phase. Idaho corrections officials said they're concerned that shortcomings in the drug and alcohol program could increase costs for the state and result in prisoners having to stay in jail longer.

Getahn Ward can be reached at 615-726-5968 or at This story includes material from The Associated Press.