Friday, December 9, 2011

Part 3: Is CCA America's Leader In Not Holding Wardens Accountable?

It's Ironic that at almost exactly this same time last year we were discussing bigoted homophobic comments that former Stewart Detention Center Warden Vance Laughlin made about a transgender detainee. Even after this blogs extensive coverage of his many scandals he is still employed with Corrections Corporation of America. Although we have been told that his attempts at climbing the corporate ladder in recent times have been unsuccessful. Apparently Vance like the Warden we are about to discuss has not yet done enough in violating the rights of incarcerated detainees to warrant being terminated by "America's Leader in Partnership Corrections."

Lets get back to Arizona and the more recent events that we have been examining at Corrections Corporations of America's Eloy Detention Center. In reading the complaint filed on behalf of the transgendered detainee who was criminally abused by a Corrections Corporation of America detention officer many things jumped out at us.

Just a few of the many allegations:

* According to documents obtained by the ACLU through a Freedom of Information Act request since 2007 eight (8) allegations of sexual abuse were documented at the Eloy Detention Center.

* From the beginning of her confinement at the Eloy Detention Center the victim was subjected to repeated verbal abuse and harassment by male detainees and male (Corrections Corporation of America) detention officers who insulted her by calling her “dog,” “faggot,” and “boy." On one occasion, a (Corrections Corporation of America) detention officer told other detainees that they could “have her” if they gave him three soup packets.

* The victim was often inappropriately patted-down by male (Corrections Corporation of America) officers.

* The victim was sexually assaulted twice by males at Eloy Detention Center. The first of these assaults occurred on December 7, 2009, when the victim was sexually assaulted by a Corrections Corporation of America detention officer, Defendant Manford. This assault followed a history of frequent inappropriate behavior and inquiries by Manford about the victim, including questions about her sexuality, whether she had a boyfriend, and whether other inmates had seen her breasts. Manford harassed and assaulted the victim in the course of his employment with Corrections Corporation of America, and utilized the authority conferred upon him by State law as a detention officer at the Eloy Detention Center.

* Even after learning of the sexual assault committed by Manford, Defendants failed to take appropriate action to protect the victim. On April 23, 2010, she was sexually assaulted a second time, this time by a male detainee, Johnny Pereira Vigil (“Vigil”). Like Manford, Vigil assaulted the victim after harassing her for some time prior, including calling her a “faggot,” making inappropriate sexual gestures, following her in and out of her cell and peeking into her cell when she was using the toilet or dressing.

Since August of 2009 Chuck DeRosa has been Warden at the Eloy Detention Center. This would mean that he was Warden of the facility during both of the sexual assaults on the victim. With all of the allegations outlined in the victims complaint I can't help but wonder how he did not know about the discriminatory and inappropriate environment that the victims report talks about being present. It's also worth noting that according to the allegations outlined in the complaint there was a lead up time period before both sexual assaults during which numerous inappropriate and demeaning comments were made. Perhaps if Warden DeRosa had intervened when these signs were allegedly present at the facility he was responsible for then the victim would never of been sexually assaulted on one of or both of the occasions. I personally believe that the allegations the victim made regarding the facilities environment were true. But to a certain extent in examining the Wardens response it is inconsequential. Even if they were untrue or Warden DeRosa was somehow unaware of them it does not change the fact that he was Warden at a detention center where a detainee whose safety and security he was ultimately responsible for was sexually assaulted not once, but twice. This blog strongly feels that as a Warden he should of at the very least ensured that a victim of a previous sexual assault in his facility was not sexually assaulted a second time. I mean really how could you not accept the fact that she was vulnerable to abuse after she had already been sexually abused by one of your own staff members?

With all this going on if Warden Chuck DeRosa had a venue to say something to the entire company and CCA's President and CEO what do you think he would say? Would he ask about more training for his staff on the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)? Perhaps ask about better ways to supervise detainees so that a sexual assault victim is not re-victimized? Nope. Warden Chuck Derosa would actually ask CCA's President & CEO "What's going on with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and how well equipped are we to embark on new opportunities with ICE?" Apparently a little thing like multiple sexual assaults in the facility you run leads one to ask about new opportunities to make (we are assuming) more tax-payer money off of ICE.

I guess to me it's just unacceptable that a detainee could be sexually assaulted again less than five months after she was sexually assaulted the first time. As we read the allegations and facts in this case it seems to us that at the very least Corrections Corporation of America should of terminated Chuck DeRosa as a response to the lack of control he seems to of had over the environment and staff at his facility. To this blog everyday that passes in which Warden DeRosa continues in his present position reflects on just how serious Corrections Corporation of America takes the sexual assault of detainees placed in it's care.

Chuck's biography reads that he was once an electrical worker foreman. The 270 View feels strongly that maybe he should go back to this line of work. In fact we made this little ditty up....

If Warden Chuck had really bad supervision skills and luck, Would Warden Chuck end up back in an electrical company truck?

This blog has decided not to identify the victim of multiple sexual assaults by name. In order to prevent confusion we are referring to her by the gender she has chosen as representing her.

All opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Part 2: Is Being Transgendered a Crime to Corrections Corporation of America?

During last months fifth annual "Shut Down the Stewart Detention Center" rally I very briefly spoke about a transgendered detainee at Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) Stewart Detention Center (SDC) who was locked down in the facilities segregated housing unit. When I spoke at the rally I had no idea of the human rights abuses that had also been committed at CCA's Eloy Detention Center against a transgendered immigrant being detained there.

It's interesting to me that both detainees were held in a segregated housing unit setting. In the case of the transgendered detainee being held at the Stewart Detention Center I know for a fact that she was locked down in a segregated housing unit cell for a very prolonged period of time for no offense other than her lifestyle. Let there be no doubt that this happened as I was present and a witness to the events that took place. Knowing what I personally observed as having happened at CCA's Stewart Detention Center I can not help but wonder if this was also to a certain extent the same thing that was going on at CCA's Eloy Detention facility. If this is what is actually going on here then that would mean that Corrections Corporation of America is in effect locking transgendered detainees up in segregated housing unit's for no offense other than leading an alternative lifestyle.

Legally even in Detention facilities and prisons hearings must take place if detainees are deprived of rights and placed in disciplinary confinement for extended periods of time. Usually some sort of rule violation or crime is required to of happened. I'm very much aware of the pattern of abuse in disciplinary and confinement hearings that took place at CCA's Stewart Detention Center. It would be very interesting to see just what basis CCA used to lock these individuals up in the most restrictive and confining of available housing units. Is this yet another example of the abusive disciplinary procedures that are or were in effect at the Stewart Detention Center? Is being transgendered a confinable "crime" or disciplinary offence in CCA ran facilities?

As we discussed in yesterdays post proper supervision of detainees would in effect mean that personal lifestyles would probably not matter to the degree that they apparently did at one (or more) CCA for-profit run Detention Centers. Transgendered individuals in the United States are a very small minority group and yet these individuals manage to have a place in many other government controlled or influenced settings. Some local schools have dealt with transgendered students and as far as i'm aware it's not acceptable for these schools to just lock them away from other students in an in-school detention room. I also can't imagine a US city in current times that would task it's police department with rounding up all the transgender individuals to some sort of local transgendered internment camp. With this in mind I have to ask myself what makes it acceptable for Corrections Corporation of America to apparently behave this way? I guess if CCA is unable to adequately supervise and provide for the safety of transgendered individuals then perhaps it needs to stop taking taxpayer money for detaining them.

All opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Part 1: Documented Abuse of A Trangendered Detainee in a CCA Prison

On Monday a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Transgendered detainee who was the victim of intolerable acts while being held at Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) Eloy Detention Center.

In the worst of the incidents detailed in the lawsuit, Justin Manford a CCA Detention Officer at CCA's Eloy Detention Center, is alleged to of "maliciously forced the transgendered detainee to watch him masturbate into a white Styrofoam cup and then demanded that she ingest his ejaculated semen." Keep in mind that at this point there is absolutely no doubt that unacceptable things happened to this immigrant while she was being detained at CCA's Eloy Detention Center. After all on June 8, 2010 Manford was convicted of the crime of "Attempted Unlawful Sexual Contact" for his victimization of the transgendered detainee in question while he was employed by Corrections Corporation of America.

We have previously reported several times on the record levels of sexual assaults in Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) for-profit prisons and detention centers. Sadly this trend is continuing. In fact one could quite effectively argue that this is not a trend but is instead a widespread and systemic pattern of sexual assaults and abuse. It is this former CCA employees belief that this is caused by a for-profit corporation that places profits above adequate supervision levels of both detainees and CCA's employees. How else does one explain the sexual activity that seems so prevalent at CCA's detention centers and prisons? How does someone masturbate into a cup on a job site and there is no co-workers around to notice? Could this happen where you work? Is your job site a controlled environment where supervision is the proven key ingredient to stopping most the major problems that could happen? It is my personal belief that this is because CCA has set staffing levels at minimal levels in order to reap higher profits while providing minimal or non-existent supervision to both detainees and employees. Incidents like this are perhaps a consequence of Corrections Corporation of America's own policies and practices that led to the low levels of supervision in the first place.

I am a very unlikely advocate for gay rights, I don't think I have ever known anyone that identified with this type of belief. But to me that's inconsequential. What we are talking about here is basic human rights. I would also argue that the undeniable patterns of sexual abuse we are seeing within Corrections Corporation of America prisons and detention centers is a natural progression of the government turning a blind eye to CCA's proven track record of being a leader in the sexual abuse of detainees and prisoners.

All opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! The 270 View staff is currently enjoying the holidays and hopes you are doing the same.

Next week we will be returning and posting updates on the recent protest at Stewart. Warm greetings go out to all the great people we met last week at the rally as well as the new readers we picked up from attending and speaking at it. Thanks again to the Georgia Detention Watch for continuing to demand immigration & detention reform!

We are also overdue in writing about the recent homeland security investigation of this blog that was carried out with your tax dollars! We will be highlighting this in the next few weeks and appologize for the delay.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Video Release Inspired By Occupy Wallstreet & Occupy Nashville

Inspired by the Occupy Wallstreet movement and specifically today's protest of Corrections Corporation of America's corporate headquarters by Occupy Nashville we made this little video to show the 270 View's support of the Occupy Movement.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy Nashville to Protest CCA Corporate Headquarters

The Occupy Nashville movement plans to protest outside the corporate headquarters of Corrections Corporation of America in Green Hills at 4 p.m. Monday. The group is protesting “corporate greed and influence.” CCA is the nation’s largest owner and operator of private prisons.

Today (11/13/11) Alex Friedman also spoke to Occupy Nashville protesters about Corrections Corporation of America. Alex Friedmann is the associate editor of Prison Legal News, president of the Private Corrections Institute (PCI), and is considered a national expert on private prisons. Ken Kopczynski, A PCI representative spoke at the "Shut Down the Stewart Detention Center" Rally two years ago in Lumpkin, GA.

Friday, November 11, 2011

State of Mississippi Closes A CCA Prison For Charging To Much!

Did Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) greed just catch up with it and cost it a prison contract? Or is this just even more evidence that CCA is NOT cheaper than the state when it comes to running prisons?

Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps says a privately run prison in Leflore County will close in January. Epps and CCA officials say plans are to cease operations of the 1,172-bed Delta Correctional Facility in Greenwood, Mississippi on Jan. 15, 2012. Epps says the law requires private prisons to operate facilities more cost effectively than the state and CCA couldn't do that.

No surprise that CCA's press release reads something totally different and not that "CCA is not cheaper than a state run prison." I'm guessing this will not show up in any of it's self paid for prison safety or cost analysis studies or in any of it's endless marketing materials and campaigns.

CCA apparently also ran a 125 bed county jail out of the facility for the local county. This is one of the ways that CCA gets local counties to support it. My understanding is that at one time this was an option on the table in Stewart County with the Stewart Detention Center/Stewart County deal. It's worth noting that the community of Greenwood Mississippi appears to now have only about 2 months to figure out what to do with it's county jail inmates! It's sad and pathetic that CCA continues to parrot it's support of local communities, how it saves the tax payers money and all it's other corporate dogma while in truth it leaves a trail of neglected prisons and prisoners in it's wake. Just ask the good folks at the Hernando County Jail about the leaky and trashed facility CCA left it with. The reality is I think at this point we all know how CCA does it cheaper while running off with the taxpayers money!

The 270 View can't help but wonder how a company like Corrections Corporation of America that repeatedly says it's better than state and local governments can keep claiming it cares about the safety of communities where it has prisons in when it repeatedly seems to put those same communities at risk. CCA acts like a spoiled child running away with its ball when someone tells it no or stands up to it for running sub par prisons while over charging the local taxpayers. It's worth noting that this is not the first time CCA has put a local community at risk by saying you have very little time to figure out what to do with your prisoners because the parties over and we are leaving town! Perhaps communities that do business with CCA should be paying closer attention to how it behaves when it looses contracts.

The 270 View Joins The Fight In Alabama!

The 270 View was proud to be a part of this action. We are listed under Regional, State & Local Organizations. The actual letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano can be found here.

Coalition of Civil and Human Rights Groups Urge Department of Homeland Security To Say No to Alabama’s Unconstitutional Immigration Law

Contact: Keith Rushing, Rights Working Group, 202.591.3305, 202.557.4291

November 8, 2011, Washington D.C. – Today, a diverse group of more than 300 civil rights, immigrant rights, faith and human rights organizations, including Rights Working Group came together to demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take immediate action to address the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Alabama because of HB 56, the state immigration law that took effect in September. HB 56 is the harshest anti-immigrant law in the nation and the inherent discriminatory nature of this legislation recalls the days of Jim Crow. As a result of HB 56, Latino children fear attending schools, families are unable to access municipal services such as clean water or library cards, and law enforcement is required to demand papers from anyone they suspect is undocumented.

In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, these groups demanded that DHS take all actions necessary to ensure that no one arrested or profiled under HB 56 is detained or deported by DHS, consistent with the Justice Department's position that key provisions of HB 56 are unconstitutional. Specifically, DHS should immediately suspend ICE ACCESS programs in Alabama, which require DHS to engage in partnerships with Alabama law enforcement agencies who will be engaged in discriminatory police practices while enforcing the “papers please” provisions of the law. The groups also urged DHS to promote and enforce its own guidance which limits state action in immigration matters, as well as exercise favorable discretion in any case that arises from enforcement of Alabama’s HB 56. The Department of Justice is currently challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s law. However, the effectiveness of HB 56 hinges on the cooperation of DHS, as the law envisions DHS detaining and deporting non-citizens caught in its dragnet.

“This law requires law enforcement to make snap judgments about a person’s immigration status based on their appearance, inevitably resulting in widespread racial profiling. Under the design of this law, victims of unconstitutional police practices would be picked up and deported by DHS. DHS should not be playing this role and should act decisively in refusing to collaborate with Alabama in these discriminatory enforcement actions,” said Margaret Huang, the executive director of Rights Working Group.

“DHS, under Secretary Napolitano’s leadership, should stand firm with the Justice Department against Alabama’s HB 56, a law that promotes racial profiling and other human rights abuses of all Alabama residents,” said Huang.

ACLU Legislative Counsel Joanne Lin called on Napolitano to be more explicit about how DHS will respond to HB 56.

"Sec. Napolitano has testified that DHS will not assist in implementing HB 56, but has not explained what this means,” Lin said. “Six weeks after HB 56 went into effect, civil rights groups in Alabama and around the country are still waiting to hear whether DHS is doing anything differently in Alabama today. DHS cannot continue its normal operations in Alabama without aiding in the enforcement of a state law that the Justice Department has challenged as unconstitutional. The Obama administration must take all necessary actions to ensure that DHS does not detain or deport anyone whose civil rights have been violated under HB 56."

Formed in the aftermath of 9/11, Rights Working Group is a coalition of more than 300 community-based, grassroots and national organizations working to restore civil liberties and human rights protections for all people living in the U.S.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Lady Liberty!

Friday marked the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. The graphic above is from the fine folks over at CorpWatch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

5th Annual Shut Down the Stewart Detention Center Vigil

On November 18, 2011 from 10 A.M. until noon the annual "Shut Down the Stewart Detention Center Rally" will be taking place. This is a partnership between several organizations including the SOA Watch that is coordinated and put together by the great folks over at the Georgia Detention Watch.

The 270 View put together a short video to help publicize the event which can be seen above. The vigil is currently looking for former detainees, family members or ex-CCA or ICE employees from the Stewart Detention Center who might be interested in speaking about the abuses they saw taking place there. You can contact Anton Flores directly or(706) 302-9661 if you are interested in possibly speaking or need further information.

The song is "Can We Go Home Now" by the immensely talented Shaji.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The 270 View Waves it's Flag! The Death of a Detainee and a Homeland Security Investigation of this Blog!

Later this week I will be starting a series of articles detailing the death of an immigrant at Correction Corporation of America's (CCA) Stewart Detention Center a few years back and how my blog became involved in attempting to get this issue examined by the Federal Bureau of Investigations for the violation of his civil rights. I will also be discussing the Homeland Security investigation of myself and my blog following the nationwide press that this story received from Cuentame.

This blog believes that there is nothing more patriotic one can do than question government. Is that not one of the very principals the United States were founded on?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ACLU Files Lawsuit for Sexual Assault of Immigrant Women

originally found here.

Williamson County, Corrections Corporation of America and three Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are being sued by the ACLU of Texas on behalf of three immigrant women who were sexually assaulted while in custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

According to a press release, the assaults occurred when Donald Dunn, a guard was transporting the women from the Hutto facility to the airport of bus station in Austin.

All three women were seeking asylum in the United States, fleeing sexual assault and extreme violence in their home countries.

“The fact that these women sought sanctuary in the United States -- only to find abuse at the hands of officials they thought would protect them – is wholly inconsistent with America’s self-proclaimed reputation as a beacon of human rights and protector of human dignity,” said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas.

Dunn is accused of assaulting a total of nine women.

Dunn pled guilty to three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint based on his assaults of five women. He has been charged with four additional federal counts of criminal violation of civil rights and is awaiting sentencing on two of them.

The lawsuit alleges that ICE, Williamson County and CCA were deliberately indifferent and willfully blind to the fact that Dunn and other employees regularly violated the rule that detainees not be transported without another escort officer of the same gender present.

“Unfortunately, we believe these complaints are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mark Whitburn, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Government records reveal that since 2007, 185 complaints have been made to the Department of Homeland Security about sexual abuse in ICE custody, 56 of which were from facilities in Texas. Immigrants in detention are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, and those holding them in custody know it,” Whitburn added.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Inmates still hospitalized a week after Okla. riot

Originally found here.

Four inmates who were injured in a prison riot at the North Fork Correctional Facility last week remain hospitalized.

Corrections Corporation of America spokesman Mike Machak (MAY'-chak) said Tuesday the prisoners were still being treated at area hospitals. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Ralph Jackson says the inmates are in stable condition.

Forty-six prisoners were hurt during last week's riot at the private prison, which houses inmates from California. Prison medical staff treated 30 inmates and 16 initially were hospitalized.

Machak says officials are still investigating what caused the riot and no disciplinary action has been taken. He said none of the inmates have been returned to California.

The inmates are being housed at the western Oklahoma prison operated by CCA to help ease overcrowding in California.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CCA Rewards Loyal SDC Workers Who Worked Years Without Raises By Firing Them

Back in May we started a series on Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and how we feel it unfairly compensates workers while making large amounts of money off the US tax payers. This story is another entry in that continuing series.

Over the last two weeks we have heard from several workers at the Stewart Detention Center who are angry. Apparently after going years without raises and a promise of better days ahead there hard work was rewarded with a "sorry we gotta let you go."

From what we hear the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency required CCA staff members to pass a credit report and this led to a very large number of staff members being terminated. With Stewart county being such an economically disadvantaged area it really comes as no surprise that many stewart county residents might have bad credit scores.

It's very ironic to this blog that a company that always seems to pride itself on putting it's facilities in areas of high unemployment and poverty continues to have policies that make hiring the workers in those areas not employable. Yet at the same time it tries to convince poverty stricken communities that it's going to come to town and make everything better. If CCA is such a great neighbor and money making partner then one can only wonder why it has to court towns with dismal economic outlooks in the first place. I'm sure it has nothing to do with taking additional government handouts for increasing employment in low income areas. It's really amazing though that it gets by with playing a shell game by putting facilities in these areas and then hiring so few of the people that were there before the facilities were built. I mean really how can you count jobs given to people who commute from other locations as a local employment benefit?

This blog feels that the reality of the situation is that CCA pays significantly less than the public corrections sector. We feel that much of Corrections Corporation of America's profit comes from short changing workers in both pay and benefits. If ICE is going to hold these workers to the same standard that government employee's are, then wouldn't those employees (And the taxpayers and the communities there facilities are located in) not be better off if they were just employed by ICE in the first place? Apparently when it comes to ICE mandated CCA job requirements at SDC an apples an apple even if it's really a rotten one.

Keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Teamsters file ethics complaint over prison privatization plans

Teamsters try to block prison privatization, file ethics complaint against Gov. Rick Scott

originally found here.

TALLAHASSEE — Florida policymakers’ push to privatize a huge part of its prison system has drawn the wrath of the Teamsters, which announced Wednesday that it had filed an ethics compliant against Gov. Rick Scott.

The complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics says Scott’s privatization push is “tainted” because he has accepted cash for his inagurual committee from the two largest companies vying for the contracts, the GEO Group and Corrections Corp. of America.

But the complaint is vague as to how that would violate Florida’s ethics law. Florida’s ethics laws generally preclude state employees from leaving government service and lobbying for entities they worked with on state time, or on contracts they had a part in negotiating as state employees.

“The governor clearly has a conflict of interest with both CCA and GEO bidding to secure contracts for prison management,” said Teamsters International Vice President Ken Wood, who filed the complaint.

“Using either GEO or CCA to manage prisons doesn’t make sense either financially or ethically for the state,” Wood said. “We are urging the ethics commission to take action in this matter and find that the governor violated his responsibilities to the people of the state of Florida.”

Responded Scott spokesman Lane Wright: “There’s no ethics violation here. Between two and three hundred companies and individuals donated to the inauguration fund. And that money went to the Republican Party of Florida … not to Gov. Scott directly. Besides, the prison contract is going to go to the lowest bidder, whoever that is. Gov. Scott has nothing to do with the selection process.”

Scott, a Republican who pledged to cut spending on the nation’s third-largest prison system by one-third during his campaign last year, has had to pull back some of the privatization plans in recent weeks after dismissing his corrections secretary, Ed Buss, over “differences in philosophy and management styles … which made the separation in the best interests of the state.” Scott officials were angry that the department failed to run several high-profile decisions through the governor’s staff.

Florida already has seven privately run prisons, and the new push to privatize in 18 south Florida counties was designed to save $22 million annually. The nation’s two largest private prison companies competing for the business — including Boca Raton-based GEO Group — recently told investors the shift of 29 facilities and 16,000 inmates to private management was an “unprecedented” opportunity.

Over the summer, the Department of Corrections said it is already $25 million in the red on the effort. Those costs come from the comp time, vacation and sick leave the agency would have to pay to some 3,800 workers in those facilities if they lose their jobs, according to internal email that suggests lawmakers were warned the privatization push would come at a cost.

DOC Chief Deputy Secretary Daniel Ronay wrote in a May 13 email that “this amount was NOT taken into consideration by the legislature; even though they were made aware.”

He went on to note in the email to another department executive that “with the additional closing of another facility (yet to be determined) … this payout may just cripple the agency for next FY,” or fiscal year.

Lawmakers have since scoffed at those concerns.

But the Police Benevolent Association, which represents prison corrections officers, has filed a lawsuit to block the privatization.

The PBA, which endorsed Scott’s Democratic opponent Alex Sink in the fall election, said that the Legislature broke the law by inserting the massive privatization plan into the budget, rather than passing as separate legislation. Making substantive changes to state law through the appropriations process is unconstitutional, it argued.

The suit also charges that according to state law, the state could enter into a private prison contract only if it offered substantial savings in the per-diem costs for inmates. But, it says, the state has not yet determined the baseline per-diem cost of the state running these facilities.

Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford will hear the first part of the case on whether the privatization order is unconstitutional on Sept. 29. The second part, on whether it saves the state money, will be heard on Oct. 25.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Thanks for all the emails and support! As some of you are aware, my wife and I have both had some health problems in the last few weeks. But please be assured that my humble blog is still going strong as I am now once again able to post away! So many new developments and issues to discuss. There will be several exciting posts coming in the next few weeks.

Thanks again to my friends and some of my loyal blog readers for your kind words and support over the last few months!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Reporters Interested In Speaking With Detention Workers

Over the last few weeks I have received requests from two separate reporters who are both very interested in speaking with staff at the Stewart Detention Center. If you are interested in speaking with them please feel free to contact them directly at:

Meredith Bennett-Smith with PBS FRONTLINE News(916)494-1046 or email at

Iliana Sosa with Cuentame/Brave New Foundation. Can be reached through email at

Monday, June 6, 2011

Federal Prison Director Defects to Private Prison Company

Originally found here.

By James Ridgeway

Fri Jun. 3, 2011 6:12 PM PDT

Less than a month after retiring from his post as Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Harley G. Lappin has been hired to a top positon at the nation's largest private, for-profit prison contractor, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). In a move that has gone virtually unnoticed by the press except on the business pages, Lappin, who had run the BOP since 2003, has been named CCA's Executive VP and Chief Corrections Officer. According to a company press release, his responsibilities will include "the oversight of facility operations, health services, inmate rehabilitation programs, [and] purchasing."

Lappin announced his retirement in March, a few days before making public his arrest, the previous month, on DUI charges in Maryland. In a memo apologizing to BOP employees, Lappin admitted to a "lapse in my rise to potential embarrassment to the agency," but he refused to acknowledge a direct link between his arrest and his retirement. The announcement of his appointment to a leadership position at CCA came just over three weeks after his effective retirement date of May 7.

Taking advantage of two concurrent 30-year trends--toward mass incarceration and toward privatization of government services--CCA has grown to a $1.6 billion company that operates 66 facilities in 20 states, with approximately 90,000 beds. It has become notorious for its poor treatment of prisoners, and for numerous preventable injuries and deaths in its prisons and immigrant detention centers. About 40 percent of CCA's business comes from the federal government, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the Bureau of Prisons. As BOP director, Lappin would have overseen government contracts with CCA worth tens of millions of dollars. CCA spends approximately $1 million annually on lobbying on the federal level alone.

A press release from the invaluable Private Corrections Working Group notes that Lappin's quick trip through the government-to-industry revolving door is hardly unique in the Bureau of Prisons' history: "Lappin joins another former BOP director already employed with CCA, J. Michael Quinlan, who was hired by the company in 1993. He retired as director of the BOP in 1992, several months after settling a lawsuit that accused him of sexually harassing a male BOP employee. While settling the suit, Quinlan denied allegations that he made sexual advances to the employee in a hotel room."

In addition, there's the case of the recently appointed head of the U.S. Marshals Service, Stacia Hylton, who until 2010 was the Federal Detention Trustee. In between serving in these two high-ranking government positions, Hylton worked as a consultant for the GEO Group, the nation's second largest private prison contractor. During Hylton's tenure, the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee gave several contracts to GEO; and the U.S. Marshals Service, like ICE and the BOP, houses federal detainees in privately owned prisons, including some run by GEO.

"Federal ethics rules do not prohibit former high-ranking employees such as Lappin and Hylton from working for private companies, even when those companies contract with the same federal agencies where those former officials were employed," the Private Corrections Working Group points out. "An Executive Order issued by President Obama restricts appointees from taking official actions that directly and substantially affect immediate former clients and employers; however, that ethics rule was not applied to Hylton and it has been waived for over two dozen other federal officials, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

al-Obeidi Immigration Publicity Stunt Highlights Inequalities in the System

I want to start out by saying that what happened to al-Obeidi was a very, very despicable thing. I think that she definitely needs asylum from Libya. I am glad she made it out alive.

That said when I was reading this story I could not help but think of the double standard at play here. How many immigrants get a private plane to our country? Why is she coming "to continue her studies" when other immigrants can not do the same due to the failure of the Dream Act being voted into law? The cynical side of me can not help but wonder about how quickly she managed to get permission to enter our country when it takes south americans usually many, many years more. To me this seems like a Washington publicity stunt in which al-Obeidi is being used as a photo-op by the powers that be while our broken immigration system continues to function badly as it always has in recent times. Just imagine though how wonderful it would be for every immigrant if the system could function this quickly when they tried to get temporary citizenship.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Series On CCA Spending Questions How CCA Can Not Afford To Fairly Compensate Staff

The United States have developed a new weapon that destroys people but it leaves buildings standing. It's called the stock market." —Jay Leno

This blog has been contacted by Corrections Corporation of America staff members who are upset that they have had to go several years without a raise. With this in mind we have decided to start a new blog series on The 270 View website aimed at showing just how uninterested we feel CCA is in compensating its own prison workers for the work they do.

From what we are told CCA has used the poor national economy as an excuse to not give raises to CCA employees for two to three years now. The idea that CCA could not give raises to any employees is really odd since CCA continues to post profits and not losses.

At the facilities Stewart Detention Center many of the workers drive very far distances to get to the facility. I would imagine that this is true at most of its facilities since a great many of them are located in very small rural areas with a tiny labor pool. With gas approaching $4.00 a gallon and other cost of living indicators going up one could probably very effectively argue that these workers are actually now making much less of an hourly wage than when CCA put this pay freeze in place.

Today we will examine CCA's stock repurchasing plan. A copy of CCA's press release on this can be found here. In short what it says is that today CCA has decided to spend $350 million instead of $250 million to buy back CCA stock. So lets do some math here. On CCA's website it claims 17,000 workers here. Now these numbers are rather large (But not even close to the enormous number of tax dollars being funneled at CCA) but we will still try and work with them for are faithful blog reading public. If I figured right $350,000,000 divided by 17,000 workers equals a spending of $20,588 dollars per CCA employee. I'm not sure what the typical worker makes at CCA but I'm sure that some of them make barely that amount themselves. It is also worth noting that if CCA had just left the plan at the original rate of $250 million then CCA could of spent that extra $100 million it had lying around on employees (At a rate of $5,882 per employee).

CCA might argue that by doing this they are actually helping employees stock be more valuable. But honestly do you think they would prefer this over a raise? After all the companies shareholders would just hold a worthless share of stock if it was not for the employees hard work (As well as those really profitable inmates and detainees that it holds within it's prison walls).

The fact that CCA spends mostly tax payer supplied money made through state, local and national detention/prison contracts at a furious pace is also really ironic when the company continues to sputter like a drunken pirates parrot that somehow the taxpayers are getting a good value for there tax dollars here. Now I am aware that CCA does have other revenue streams too like the over charging of inmate phone calls and high priced inmate commissaries, but the reality is that most of it's funding comes from over charging taxpayers. I mean really how else does it have $350 million dollars lying around?

In this blogs opinion Corrections Corporation of America has found a great way to rob the taxpayers piggy bank but apparently feels that the getaway driver (the workers) are not entitled to a cut of the spoils.

Keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Four child-porn images allegedly found on ICE chief's home computer

Originally found here.

Four child-porn images allegedly found on ICE chief's home computer

By Jay Weaver

The Miami Herald

Updated: 11:37 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Posted: 6:14 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for South Florida has been placed on paid administrative leave, as federal agents investigate four images of child pornography he allegedly received on his home computer via an AOL e-mail account, according to sources familiar with the probe.

Broward Sheriff's Office and FBI investigators seized Anthony V. Mangione's computer from his Parkland residence Saturday after obtaining a search warrant based on an alert from AOL, Mangione's Internet service provider. Sources said Mangione, 50, who has headed the ICE regional office since 2007, was not believed to have received the pictures in connection with any ICE investigation.

The Justice Department probe could take a while to complete as investigators determine whether Mangione sent, received or distributed illegal digital images of children. "It's going to take some time forensically to examine the computer," a federal law enforcement official said.

AOL, which monitors the distribution of child pornography by its users, alerted a national nonprofit resource center about the images allegedly sent to Mangione's computer in recent weeks, sources said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children then forwarded the information to a multi-agency task force that investigates child-porn distribution over the Internet.

Investigators issued a subpoena to AOL to find out the identity and computer address of the account user who allegedly received the four images, sources said. The information provided the legal basis for the FBI to obtain the search warrant to enter Mangione's home and seize his computer. Authorities also have seized his computer from ICE's office in west Miami-Dade.

"Internet service providers, including AOL, are required by federal law to report apparent violations of the child pornography laws to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with the Department of Justice," said former Miami federal prosecutor Ryan Stumphauzer. In 2007, he won the conviction of a Biscayne Park man for producing and distributing child-porn over the Internet.

"To comply with this obligation, AOL and other Internet service providers use sophisticated software to detect suspected child pornography images based upon their unique digital fingerprints," Stumphauzer said.

During the past decade, ICE has aggressively targeted child pornography, with Mangione frequently speaking out against "predators'' who illegally share images through their computers. ICE also investigates migrant smuggling, illegal weapons exports, terrorism and drug trafficking.

Mangione could not be reached for comment. There are no court records indicating that he has been charged with any crime.

The ICE office in Washington, D.C., declined to comment and referred questions to the Department of Justice. Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment, as did Miami FBI spokesman Mike Leverock.

As special agent in charge of ICE's South Florida office, Mangione often lauded the agency's efforts to fight child pornography in both the cyber and real worlds.

Mangione was planning to retire this summer. He has served his entire 27-year federal career with ICE and its predecessor, the U.S. Customs Service.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Emily Ruiz, 4-year-old American sent to Guatemala by U.S. immigration, reunited with NY family

Originally found here.

BY Mark Morales AND Erica Pearson

Wednesday, March 30th 2011, 1:40 PM

A 4-year-old girl sent to Guatemala by immigration officials even though she's a U.S. citizen has returned to her parents on Long Island.

Emily Ruiz was reunited with her family almost three weeks after she was sent packing with her grandfather while returning to the U.S. from a vacation.

"We have no words to express the joy it brings us to see, hold and kiss our daughter again," her father, Leonel Ruiz, said Wednesday in a statement.

"We are very happy because we were away from her for so long, without being able to see or hold her."
Wearing her little Dora the Explorer backpack, Emily flew back Tuesday after her family's lawyer flew to Guatemala to retrieve her.

"She's a lovely beautiful child. She never gave us a problem," said the lawyer, David Sperling. "Emily was super happy to see her family.

"It's a happy ending."

Emily, who was born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants, had initially traveled to Guatemala with her grandpa, Luis, to see relatives.

When they came back, officials at Washington's Dulles Airport flagged an illegal entry from the 1990s and detained the grandfather.

By Sperling's account, a border agent gave Emily's dad two choices over the phone: she could be held at juvenile facility in Virginia or go back to Guatemala with her grandfather.

Ruiz maintains he was never told he could come get Emily and was worried she would be given up for adoption, so chose to have her return to Guatemala on March 11.

Customs and Border Protection officials have said that the agency does not deport U.S. citizens and that her parents were told they could pick her up.

Emily's parents ran the risk of being deported themselves if they showed up to get Emily.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tell I.C.E. Not to Deport U.S. Veteran Who Served in War Zone

Originally found here along with a petition that you can also sign.

For nine long years Trinidadian native Ramdeo Chankar Singh served in the U.S. Army as a nurse with the rank of sergeant. Singh not only served in Germany but also in war-torn Kosovo. In March 2001, the military granted Singh—an undocumented immigrant—an honorary discharge for his service. But when he applied for naturalization a few years later, the federal government denied his application for citizenship, a slap in the face to a man who’s risked life and limb for the United States. The government reportedly rejected his petition for citizenship because Singh did not “meet the requirements” of the Immigration and Nationality Act provision he’d filed under.

Singh has spent the years since 2004 racking up legal bills in hopes of proving that he should be naturalized—but to no avail. The fact that he arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15 lacking a green card or permanent residency status continues to be an obstacle. Now the husband and father of two U.S.-born children faces deportation.

This is not the way veterans should be repaid for their service. Singh made a sacrifice for this country that many citizens never make. Let U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement know that Singh should not be deported.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

WWII vet discovers he’s not a U.S. citizen

Originally found here

By Liz Goodwin

Ninety-five-year-old Leeland Davidson discovered recently that he's not considered a U.S. citizen, despite living nearly 100 years in the country and serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII.

Davidson, from Centralia, Washington, told KOMO News that he discovered he wasn't a U.S. citizen when he was turned down for an enhanced driver's license he needed for a trip to Canada to visit relatives.

"We always figured because he was born to U.S. parents he's automatically a U.S. citizen," said Davidson's daughter, Rose Schoolcraft.

Davidson was born in British Columbia in 1916, but his parents didn't register the birth with the U.S. government to ensure they knew he was a citizen. He checked up on his citizenship before joining the Navy and was told by an inspector at the U.S. Department of Labor Immigration and Naturalization Service he had nothing to worry about. Now he worries that he won't be able to prove his citizenship, because his parents were born in Iowa before local governments started keeping records of birth certificates in 1880. "I want it squared away before I pass away," he says.

Schoolcraft says they tried to dissuade him from pursuing the matter. Employees at the local passport office scared them, telling her father "If he pursued it, (he could) possibly be deported or [be] at risk of losing Social Security."

"We keep telling him, leave it alone, leave it alone, and he won't, like a dog with a bone," Schoolcraft told the Centralia Chronicle. But Davidson says: "I want to get it done before I die." He also still wants to visit his friends and family in Canada. Sen Patty Murray's office is helping him with his application.

Note: The link above also includes a video interview.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Proposed Texas immigration law contains convenient loophole for ‘the help’

Originally found here

By Brett Michael Dykes

Texas has long been a hotbed of controversy on immigration issues. And a proposed immigration bill in the Texas state House is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows. The bill would make hiring an "unauthorized alien" a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.

Yes, under the House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle -- who's been saying for some time that she'd like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law -- hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed. Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, "a large segment of the Texas population" would wind up in prison if the bill became law.

"When it comes to household employees or yard workers it is extremely common for Texans to hire people who are likely undocumented workers," Pena told the news giant. "It is so common it is overlooked."

Jon English, Rep. Riddle's chief of staff explained that the exemption was an attempt to avoid "stifling the economic engine" in Texas, which today is, somewhat ironically, celebrating its declaring independence from Mexico in 1836.

"Excepting household workers from a anti-immigration laws renders the law impotent and self-contradictory, just like the current U.S. immigration policy, of which it is almost a perfect microcosm," legal ethics writer Jack Marshall wrote on his blog. "It guarantees a measure without integrity that sends a mixed enforcement message and does nothing to stop the long-standing deplorable 'we don't want you but somebody has to do those menial jobs' attitude that has paralyzed our immigration policy for decades."

Rep. Riddle made headlines last year when she claimed unnamed FBI officials had told her that pregnant women from the Middle East were traveling to America as tourists to give birth, and then raising their children to be terrorists who could later enter the U.S. freely as citizens -- so-called "terror babies," a devious offshoot of "anchor babies." She became somewhat infamous on the web when she stumbled repeatedly in a CNN interview about the claims, complaining later that host Anderson Cooper's line of questioning was more intense than she had prepared for.

"They did not tell me you were going to grill me on specific information that I was not ready to give to you tonight," Riddle said when Cooper pressed her for more details. "They did not tell me that, sir."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Will Idaho have more private prisons in the future?

Originally found here

By Mike Murad

In Part 2 of his exclusive KBOI 2News investigation, Mike Murad tracks C.C.A’s money trail and discovers there’s an Idaho connection at the top of the list.

KUNA, Idaho - Monday night in part one of our special investigation, KBOI 2News showed you why Corrections Corporation of America had been hit with almost $150,000 in medical fines at the Idaho Correctional Center, the private prison it runs south of Boise.

The problems for C.C.A. haven’t been limited to Idaho but tonight we’ll show you which Idaho politician has benefited the most from the private prison company, why C.C.A. might be setting up shop in Idaho for years to come, and who could end up paying the tab in the long run.

On Monday, we told you about serious allegations about substandard medical care at I.C.C. and serious fines because of it for the private company that runs the prison in Kuna.

But the problems for C.C.A. are not limited to Idaho. We found complaints against C.C.A. in all 19 states they operate, all within the past decade, involving much more than just medical care.

Last year the governor of Kentucky ordered 400 female inmates to be removed from a C.C.A. run prison after allegations of sexual misconduct by male guards.

In 2009, C.C.A. settled with 21 former female workers in Colorado who claimed male managers forced them to have sex to keep their jobs. In Florida, a corrections officer pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into a C.C.A. run jail. And in December, C.C.A. settled another lawsuit with the A.C.L.U. in California requiring, in part, the San Diego Correctional Facility hire more nurses.

“It’s not just unique to this facility,” says B.S.U. Criminal Science Professor Dr. Michael Blankenship. Blankenship says part of the problem is that private prison companies like C.C.A. exist to make a profit. “If you’re not delivering profits,” say Blankenship, “who’s going to buy your stock?”

We checked into the financial health of C.C.A. A decade ago on February 1st, 2001, their stock was trading at $2.50 a share. Four weeks ago, on February 1st, 2011, it was ten times that amount at $25.09 a share.

Dr. Blankenship says he is not a fan of privately managed prisons because of the reality that they exist to make a profit. “I think the idea is terrible,” says Blankenship. “I think if there are some things the state is going to do, like incarcerate and take people’s freedom away, then they should not parcel that out and let someone make a profit out of that.”

But not only does C.C.A. make money. It gives money.

KBOI 2News obtained a list of candidates receiving money from C.C.A. between 2003 and 2010. At the head of the pack receiving $19,000 is Idaho Governor Butch Otter.

We called C.C.A. to find out why but the company declined our request for an on camera interview. Instead, Spokesman Steve Owen sent a statement that reads in part: “Because C.C.A.’s political contributions reflect the specific laws and limits of individual states, it is difficult to compare our corporate giving to elected officials from different regions of the country.”

The disparity in campaign contribution is even more noteworthy when you consider of the 75,000 inmates C.C.A. supervises nationwide only 2,000 of them are here in Idaho. That’s less than 3 percent.

“The governor has made no secret that he’s in favor of privatization,” says Blankenship. And apparently Governor Otter has been for awhile.

Four years ago, Otter asked lawmakers to begin working on legislation that would have allowed private companies to build and manage prisons from the ground up. So far, lawmakers have shot it down.

But given C.C.A.’s financial backing of Otter, and the governor’s preference toward private prisons, should we assume Idaho will have more privately run facilities in the future? KBOI 2News wanted to ask Governor Otter that question. But for the past two weeks his office has told us that his schedule is too busy to schedule a 15 minute interview.

If money is the only measuring stick, C.C.A. appears to be doing what they claim to do. Save the state of Idaho money.

About 7,500 inmates are currently behind bars in Idaho prisons. It costs Idaho taxpayers about $52 a day per inmate, which amounts to just under $19,000 a year. 2,000 inmates are at I.C.C. The state is paying C.C.A. about $40 a day for each of them, which is less than $15,000 per prisoner per year. The annual difference is almost $9 million dollars.

But Professor Blankenship says it’s not a fair comparison, partly because of who is housed where. Part of the state’s responsibility is the 400 inmates in maximum security and death row. I.C.C. houses only medium and minimum security inmates who are cheaper to oversee.

"You have to cut somewhere in order to make a profit," says Blankenship.

Steve Hernandez has served time at Idaho's state run prisons as well as I.C.C. and says there is a difference, especially when it comes to medical care.

At I.C.C., Hernandez says “If someone got beat up, they'll get stitches but they won't take X-Rays. Let's say someone gets beat and gets their jaw hurt. They don’t X-Ray it. They refuse to X-Ray it,” says Hernandez.

“They'll just patch you up and send you to the hole. And that’s pretty much it.” KBOI 2News asked Hernandez if that was the case at state run facilities as well. “No,” he says. “If you had a problem at the state run facilities they take care of it. They help you out."

Last year's videotaped inmate assault at I.C.C. has gotten a lot of attention. But maybe the most troubling aspect of what's happening at I.C.C. is what's happening after the prison violence.

After the assault that left him with a broken nose and black circles under his eyes, former I.C.C. inmate Mark Snowball documented months of chronic breathing problems and bloody noses. He even started working on a lawsuit in prison, not for money, but for medical care. Snowball says even that didn't get C.C.A.’s attention.

"They just said you'll just have to wait until you're released because you're going to be released soon," said Snowball.

And when Snowball was released in January, 2010, his lawsuit in Ada County's Fourth District Court was thrown out. The state of Idaho and C.C.A. were no longer responsible, because Snowball was no longer an inmate. His medical problems were now his alone.

So what's to stop C.C.A. from withholding medical care long enough for the other 75,000 inmates they manage so the expense is eventually a burden for someone else?

At this point all we can do is ask the question, because we haven't been given any answers.

But here's why every Idaho taxpayer should care about what happens to Idaho inmates.

If the state of Idaho is dragged into court it takes taxpayer money for a defense, not to mention a judgment.

Originally the A.C.L.U. named Idaho on the lawsuit, right along with C.C.A. in the case. But last June the A.C.L.U. agreed to drop Idaho as a defendant, saving taxpayers the possible expense in this case.

Currently the A.C.L.U. is suing C.C.A. for $155 million dollars, which is equal to the amount of profit the company earned in 2009.

A C.C.A. spokesman told KBOI 2News the company will agree to an on camera interview after the lawsuit has been addressed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

'The public doesn't know what goes on behind these walls'

Originally found here

KUNA, Idaho - Back in July, 2000, the Idaho Correctional Center opened as the state's first privately run prison.

Recently, I.C.C, run by Corrections Corporation of America, has come under fire after a lawsuit filed by the America Civil Liberties Union, alleging misconduct, mismanagement and more.

For the past two months, KBOI 2News has combed through more than 1,000 pages of documents, including the state's contract with C.C.A. We have also spoken with more than a dozen people trying to learn exactly what's happening inside Idaho's private prison which many believe has become a public problem.

The video from last year is hard to forget. A 30-minute inmate assault at the Idaho Correctional Center in Kuna as guards stand by and watch.

According to the A.C.L.U, the Idaho Correctional Center has more violence than Idaho's eight other prisons combined. But our investigation didn't end there. It was just getting started.

“The public doesn't really know what goes on behind these walls," says former I.C.C. inmate Mark Snowball.

Four years ago, Snowball was an 18-year-old dating a 15-year-old girl. He lived under her parent's roof and says they knew about the relationship he had with their daughter.

Snowball says when he split up with his girlfriend, and while he was being investigated for another charge that was eventually dropped, investigators learned of his prior relationship.

Snowball pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with a minor and was sentenced to two years in prison.

He was sent to I.C.C. in Kuna.

In March 2008, Snowball says he was assaulted in his cell, when someone punched him repeatedly in the face.

Snowball says he suffered a broken nose that was gushing blood, and still has chronic problems that exist almost three years later. “I’m still going through those injuries, sinus pain, congestion, bloody noses daily," says Snowball.

After the attack, he filed multiple grievance forms asking to have X-rays on his nose. He was denied. He asked to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Again he was denied. At one point months later, still complaining of the lingering effects, he was even charged $5 for a medical visit when a nurse said his problem wasn't chronic.

Eventually, Snowball started the process of filing a lawsuit against the state of Idaho.

Meanwhile, C.C.A. is facing its own lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. The A.C.L.U. has documented almost two dozen current or former I.C.C. inmates, many with stories similar to Snowballs'.

KBOI 2News requested an interview with the A.C.L.U., but C.C.A. has filed a gag order in the case. As a result, the A.C.L.U declined our interview request.

Nevertheless, we got a copy of the 81-page lawsuit against C.C.A. It tells the story of 23 inmates who all say they sustained serious injuries from assaults at I.C.C., including inmate beatings that split the area above the eye "to the bone, kicks to the face, broken ribs, inmates knocked unconscious, teeth broke, slashed face, eyes swelled shut, blood coming from ear."

In the lawsuit, the A.C.L.U. even cites a former I.C.C. correctional officer who says it took "two hours to clean the pools of blood" in one case.

But the inmate assaults may not be the most troubling part of the story.

The A.C.L.U. maintains the inmates who were beaten never received proper medical care at I.C.C. In case after case, “no X-rays were taken" after the assaults to determine "whether any bones were broken."

But the A.C.L.U. isn't the only one concerned about what may be happening at I.C.C. So is the state of Idaho.

Last year, officials with the Idaho Department of Correction discovered 10 of 13 drug and alcohol counselors at the prison weren't qualified to provide treatment. A separate medical audit revealed I.C.C. had extensive problems administering medical care, including delays in providing medication. In total C.C.A. was fined more than $141,000 by the state.

"I remember standing there with my superior and he went ‘can't help ya, sorry,'" says former I.C.C. correctional officer Tedi Hernandez.

Hernandez worked at I.C.C. in 2008. She says she heard stories of medical care being denied, including X-rays. But she also says daily prescribed medication often didn't make it to inmates on schedule - if at all. That’s what the medical audit of I.C.C. by state officials also concluded.

"I know that blood pressure pills like anti psychotic and some really important ones for my safety - those they ran out every once in a while,” says Hernandez. “Some people went days, other people went weeks. It all depended. They just didn't have their medications."

After just one year on the job, Hernandez quit from what she calls a lack of professionalism.

KBOI 2News wanted to hear what C.C.A. had to say about the allegations about their partnership with Idaho, but they declined to comment.

But the partnership today seems less stable than a decade ago, considering the state’s almost $150,000 in fines for medical related infractions.

Why would C.C.A. cut corners on medical care, even when they were racking up extensive penalties?

On Tuesday, KBOI 2News follows the money where we’ll look into C.C.A’s bottom line, but we’ll also pass along where the company spends its money.

And you might be interested to know which Idaho politician is number one in the country when it comes to financial backing from Corrections Corporation of America, and what that could mean for the future of private prisons in Idaho.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Arizona may require hospitals to check citizenship

Originally found here.

By MICHELLE PRICE, Associated Press Michelle Price, Associated Press –

PHOENIX – Republican lawmakers want to widen Arizona's illegal immigration crackdown with a proposal to require hospitals to check on whether patients are in the country legally, causing outrage among medical professionals who fear becoming de facto immigration agents under the law.

The medical industry ripped the bill Monday as it was scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Doctors envisioned scenarios in which immigrants with contagious diseases such as tuberculosis would stay home from the clinic or hospital and put themselves and the public at a grave health risk.

"This is making us into a police state that will try to catch people when they are sick," said George Pauk, a retired doctor with an organization called Physicians for a National Health Program. "Do we want to stop sick people from coming in for health care?"

Arizona is the first Legislature to take up such a measure amid a national push in conservative states to crack down on illegal immigration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona lawmakers ignited the debate a year ago when they passed a bill that required local police, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally. A judge later put that provision on hold.

The discussion about the bill comes just days after an illegal immigrant in Texas with a banana-size tumor in her spine said she was ousted from her hospital because of her immigration status. She later found another hospital to get treatment.

Supporters say the hospital bill is necessary tool to fight illegal immigration at a time when hospitals lose tens of millions of dollars treating illegal immigrants in emergency rooms.

Senate President Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who was chief sponsor of last year's immigration law, says the hospitals bill is part of a broader effort to crack down on illegal immigration. The hospitals bill wouldn't bar people from getting care, but it would put the onus on hospitals to "do due diligence," Pearce said. "We're going to enforce our laws without apology."

Added Pearce: "It's the law. It's a felony to (aid and) abet. We're going to enforce the law without apology."

Other sponsors of the bill did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Discussion of the bill in the committee was put on hold late Monday until a later date.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 1405, would require hospitals, when admitting nonemergency cases, to confirm that a person seeking care is a U.S. citizen or in the country legally. In emergency cases where the patient isn't here legally, the hospital would be required to call immigration authorities after the treatment is done. Hospitals in non-emergency situations would also be required to contact federal immigration authorities, but they would have more apparent discretion about whether to treat illegal immigrants.

Opponents say the bill could pose serious health risks to those here legally and illegally. They believe the threat of deportation would keep some people from seeking health care for everything from emergency situations to measures such as vaccinations, potentially leading to preventable deaths. They also said it would increase hospitals' already-strained workload.

"You are now turning medical professionals into full-time INS agents," said Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo, speaking at a news conference Monday. "Doctors that should be working to help treat ill patients are now turning into ICE agents."

Nicole Russell is the mother of a 3-year-old daughter named Kira, and she could not envision what it would be like for a parent to decide whether or not to take their child to the hospital for fear of being reported to the authorities.

"I can't imagine putting the health care of my daughter in the hands of politicians," she said.

Friday, February 11, 2011

John Vanek - He is from Chicago and he has Powerful Friends

This blog has never bowed to intimidation. In this particular instance I feel that the best way to deal with it is to publicly document what I am taking as a threat.

Recently we received an email from John Vanek who we have previously blogged about. In the course of his email Mr. Vanek felt the need to make what this writer took as a veiled threat as well as what he called a "warning." The highlight of his email was the ending where he wrote "Remember I am from Chicago and I do have powerful friends."

I am assuming that he is trying to imply that he has criminal connections from Chicago but I suppose that it could also mean that he knows Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, the janitor at the former Wax Trax record label or a slew of other "powerful" people from Chicago (It would be great if it was a former Wax Trax artist like KMFDM! Käpt'n K let's talk!). It has been this writers experience that people who feel the need to mention "powerful friends" are often trying to compensate for there own lack of power or some other perceived shortcoming. I personally feel that having to rub someones nose in your supposed "powerful friends" is the equivalent of grade school kids shouting at each other whose daddy is the toughest.

In the interest of fairness I will extend a one time offer to Mr. Vanek. If Mr. Vanek can do so in a civil way I will allow him to use my humble blog as a venue to debate my prior story and print his own version of why he was terminated or resigned from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency at the Stewart Detention Center.

Keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money

We received another interesting tip over the weekend...

Many of you might remember a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Supervisor at the Stewart Detention Center named John Vanek. John Vanek was in charge of ICE's enforcement and contract obligations of the National Detention Standards. He's the guy that should of been raising concerns about issues like the alleged burnt out light bulbs in detainees cells that went unreplaced for several months. From what we hear John Vanek was forced to retire by ICE. A source alleges that this was because of a very inappropriate and personal relationship he was in with another employee. This female was 30 years younger than Mr. Vanek and had been employed by both CCA and ICE. This female employee had worked for Vance Laughlin (at SDC) with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and then been hired by Mr. Vanek and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (also at SDC). Allegedly this female employee was fired/forced to resign last week. From what we hear Mr. Vanek has now been hired by Warden Vance Laughlin at CCA's Adams County facility in Natchez, MS.

This whole incident seems highly unethical and yet again seems to demonstrate well the inability of the government to effectively manage a private detention center when there own contract manager allegedly engages in activity like this. Not to mention the fact that when you screw up with one organization and get caught the other one quite often seems to then just hire you. Apparently this type of behavior is not a problem when it comes to employment with CCA the self declared "leader" in privatised corrections. But then again we have also reported on similar incidents that Vance Laughlin himself has allegedly engaged in previously. Maybe birds of a feather are just flocking together....

How does that old phrase go, it's not who you know it's who you.....

Keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leave A Light On

From what we hear the maintenance crews at Corrections Corporation of America's Stewart Detention Center are going to be really busy this week. A source from the Detention Centers alleges that the maintenance supervisor would not previously order parts for housing units because he did not want to break his CCA mandated budget. From what we have heard more than 50 cells have been without lights for close to 3 months now. Counting detainees in the dark must be a real challenge. It's a good thing those bulbs finally came in this week. I am sure that ICE is doing such a great job in monitoring this contract that something like this just could not be going on. Just don't pay any attention to all the work orders for burned out light bulbs or all those maintenance crews running around on the facilities surveillance cameras replacing them...

I tell you what, next time your multi-million dollar profit making company decides that light bulbs are not in the budget for three months just drop me an email. I will see if I can put together a bake sale in the Stewart Detention Center parking lot to buy them for you.

Perhaps Warden Swinton just needs to get Tom Bodett to join his maintenance team...

Please keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

"Absolutely CCA does not cut corners to save costs." Surely they would not lie.....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vance Laughlin Update

We have had a few people mention the fact that Vance Laughlin allegedly went to the hospital Christmas week. Rumour has it for a heart attack. We have received one or two comments that this blogs "Twelve days of Vance Laughlin" Christmas coverage may have led to his medical problems.

After some debate we have decided to publicly reply to this situation. To be brutally honest this blog does not track or even care about Vance Laughlin's health status. We will leave any medical problems of his up to others to confirm or deny. This blog only cares about reporting on his rather shoddy leadership history of poor choices and very bad decisions.

That said, this blog does not accept any responsibility for any health problems he allegedly has. For the record I would like to remind everyone that I gave Vance Laughlin the opportunity to resign prior to reporting any allegations regarding his activities. Perhaps that is an option he should of pursued.

Additionally this blog accepts no responsibility for any of his alleged health problems caused by The 270 View reporting any actions that he allegedly chose to make. If Vance Laughlin (or his employer Corrections Corporation of America) had made better choices perhaps he would not have to worry about this humble blog reporting any embarrassing facts about him or his bad leadership decisions.

We do however wish Vance Laughlin a speedy recovery. The 270 View would not wish a heart attack upon anyone, not even Vance Laughlin.....

Please keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.