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Arkansas Legislature
February 22, 2009 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Some Arkansas lawmakers traveled to Guatemala, Turkey and Seattle on somebody else's dime last year. The trips were educational, they said. And sometimes legislation follows, as in the current Arkansas legislative session....DBH Management Consultants, which includes lobbyist and former Rep. Bruce Hawkins of Morrilton, paid for travel and meals for June 24-25 to tour Emerald Companies' prison in Texas for Rep. George Overbey, D-Lamar; Nathan George, D-Dardenelle; and Lance Reynolds, D-Quitman, according to their reports. Overbey, George and Reynolds each reported the expenses at $1,502.31. Emerald Companies, a Scott, La., private corrections company, has pitched privatizing some of Arkansas' prisons to lawmakers. But Beebe has opposed that idea. Reynolds said he's not sure whether he supports privatizing Arkansas prisons.

Bay County Jail, Panama City, Florida
September 17, 2009 News-Herald
After more than three years, a correctional company’s lawsuit against Bay County finally may go to trial. The First District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge’s opinion this week, denying Shreveport, La.-based Emerald Corrections’ motion for summary judgment against Bay County, and clearing the path for trial. “We’d like some finality on this case,” county attorney W.C. Henry said Thursday. The lawsuit, originally filed in February 2006, alleges that the county commission, and thus the county, broke state law in how it awarded the construction and operations contract for the expansion of the county jail. Then-Circuit Court Judge Glenn Hess dismissed all the complaints in May 2006, but the appeals court ruled Hess improperly dismissed two of the complaints. Emerald attorney Obed Dorceus refiled suit against the county in circuit court. He made a motion for summary judgment, which Circuit Judge Hentz McClellan denied in June and the appeals court upheld Tuesday. Emerald’s complaints stem from it submitting the lowest bidder when the request for proposal went out for the county jail expansion and operations project in late 2005. Tennessee-based CCA, which operated the jail at the time, was the only other bidder. But after asking for clarification on parts of their proposals, the commission gave the job to CCA despite a slightly larger price tag ($36.4 million to $35.4 million), because they felt the overall package offered by CCA was superior. Henry drew an analogy comparing the choice to the decision to buy a sports utility vehicle, with Emerald’s offer being a “bottom-line SUV” and CCA’s being a “Cadillac that cost a little more.” Dorceus was looking for an injunction in his appeal, something McClellan ruled cannot happen, since the jail is built, and CCA no longer operates it; the Bay County Sheriff’s Office does. “That’s patently absurd,” Henry said of the appeal. “An injunction is to prevent damage. ... What is the court going to do, say to the county to tear down the jail and start over again?” Dorceus said Thursday he was not surprised by the decision and plans to appeal again if the bench trial, yet to be scheduled, doesn’t go his way. “My client spent a lot of money pursuing this contract. We would be OK if the county followed the law,” Dorceus said. The county has turned down two settlement requests by Emerald, one for $13.2 million offered in June 2007, and a more reserved $514,000 offer in September 2007. At this point the lawsuit boils down to legal fees, with the loser paying the fees of the winner. Henry has billed out more than $80,000 for the case. He is confident the county will not have to pay. “Were going to win. There’s no question about that, and we’ve felt that way from the beginning,” he said.

May 27, 2008 News-Herald
Bay County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously rejected an offer by Emerald Correctional Management to drop its lawsuit against the county in exchange for the keys to its jails. The offer was passed on to the board by County Attorney Terrel Arline. "Can we laugh first?" asked Commissioner Mike Thomas. Emerald Correctional Management filed suit against the county in 2006, claiming the bidding process for the construction of the new jail off U.S. 231 was flawed. Arline said he recommended the offer be rejected, but was obligated to inform the commission about what was being put on the table. "Would ‘Hell no' be appropriate?" Commissioner George Gainer said. "I was gonna use those terms," Arline replied, "but I bit my tongue." Although Emerald Correctional was the original low bidder on the project, after some bid clarifications, the job was awarded to the only other responding party, Corrections Corporation of America. The Tennessee-based CCA currently is constructing the new county jail but recently notified the county it would be pulling out of its contract Oct. 1 because of financial concerns. Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen is researching how much it would cost his office to take over the facility. He has told commissioners it would be more than what CCA is charging: $46.18 per inmate, per day. Upon completion of the new jail expansion, the rate was expected to drop to about $43. Commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday with Tyndall Air Force Base to house Air Force pre-trial detainees at the current Bay County Jail. Thomas stipulated that any per-inmate costs agreement would need to jibe with future decisions regarding management of the jail once CCA departs.

September 27, 2007 News-Herald
Emerald Correctional Management LLC has taken a step back from the $13.2 million it sought from Bay County — a considerable step. The Louisiana company, which argues it was slighted during the bidding process in 2005 for the county’s jail expansion project, now is seeking $514,050 to settle a lawsuit. Obed Dorceus, attorney for Emerald Correctional, said the reduction doesn’t reflect a loss of resolve. “My client wanted to make sure the county knew he was willing to compromise,” Dorceus said. “But we still believe in the case.” The county has not accepted the settlement offer. Instead, it is requesting Emerald Correctional pay $35,000 in legal fees and drop the case. W.C. Henry, who represents the county, called the original $13.2 million “ridiculous, absurd; you’ve got to be kidding me.” The most recent offer is “still blatantly absurd.” Emerald first brought suit against the county in 2006. The company claimed the county’s bidding process was tainted. Only two companies responded to the call for bids on the project; Emerald’s came in a few million dollars below Tennessee-based CCA. CCA, however, was awarded the job after both companies were asked to clarify their bids. The company had a 20-year history working with the county. The contract Bay County awarded CCA was for six years and more than $36 million, and covers the demolition of the downtown jail, the expansion of the jail annex and management of the completed facility. Ground has been broken on the annex, with an expected completion date of May 2008. Emerald sued the county, alleging it didn’t adhere to bidding rules. Bay County Circuit Judge Glenn Hess dismissed the six-pronged complaint. In May, an appellate court overturned two of Hess’ dismissals. Henry said the entire case has stalled to some degree because Emerald has not filed a new complaint after withdrawing the initial suit and focusing on the two remaining issues. “We’ve kind of been working in limbo,” Henry said. “Right now, there is no complaint. It’s kind of weird; this is very strange.” Dorceus said he plans to file a new complaint soon. Depositions are planned for Oct. 10. Several county employees, as well as Commissioner Mike Thomas, will be deposed via video. Henry said the $35,000 legal fees offer is good until Monday. He said it would spare everyone the costs of a courtroom. “We’re gonna win, and we’re gonna win big in the end,” he said. “If they see the light and realize they’re going to lose, we could save the costs.”

May 2, 2006 WJHG
A lawsuit challenging the awarding of a contract to build and operate a new Bay County Jail has been dismissed. Circuit Judge Glen Hess tossed out the suit filed by Emerald Corrections against the Bay County Commission and Corrections Corporation of America. The dismissal Monday clears the way for the county and CCA to continue planning to build a new county jail adjacent to the jail annex in Bayou George. Emerald had challenged the awarding of the contract for the project to CCA saying it wasn't the lowest and best bidder. It’s the second time Judge Hess dismissed the Emerald Corrections lawsuit.

February 22, 2006 News Herald
Corrections Corporation of America will continue its tenure as Bay County jail operator, although a new contract which the County Commission approved Tuesday allows for a quick, cost-free termination. At its regular meeting in Panama City Hall, the board voted 4-1 to enter into a six-year contract with the Tennessee based CCA, plus a two-year contract for constructing an expansion to the jail annex on Nehi Road and other related projects. Bob Majka, assistant county manager, told commissioners that construction costs dropped from $41.5 million to $39.7 million through “value engineering,” such as using a chain-link fence versus concrete to serve as a yard barricade. Majka and the rest of county staff accepted mostly praise for their work, although two commissioners said staff should have produced an estimate for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to run the jail. Commissioners George Gainer and Jerry Girvin said they wanted to see what it would cost the county to run the jail, and Gainer had the harshest words for Majka for not having that information. “I’m a little put out with staff because you didn’t do what you said you would do,” said Gainer, who voted against the motion to bestow CCA with the contract. But Majka said there was no instruction from commissioners to get that figure. According to Thomas, Sheriff Frank McKeithen has told him that his department could run the jail but probably not for less money than any private firm could. One resident, Tom Misskerg, told commissioners they “need to take a harder look at jail operations” before awarding a contract. Later, he addressed the board again to ask about potential consequences if another jail construction firm wins its lawsuit against the county over its RFP process. Emerald Correctional Management LLC — the only other firm to bid for the project — has alleged that the county violated state procurement laws and Sunshine Laws when considering proposals. County attorney Mike Burke would not divulge details about the situation, but assured the board: “We wouldn’t have let you go ahead with this contract if we thought there was a problem.”

February 10, 2006 News Herald
Bay County officials on Thursday rejected all of Emerald Correctional Management’s claims in a lawsuit that the bidding process for a jail expansion project was improper and illegal. Meanwhile, the company’s attorney, Obed Dorceus of Tallahassee, said he will ask Judge Glenn Hess to expedite a hearing for a temporary injunction against the county to halt its negotiations with Corrections Corporation of America. “We’re concerned that if the county proceeds with a flawed (selection) process, we may not be able to get some of the remedies we’re asking for,” Dorceus said. The most important objective for Emerald, Dorceus said, is to receive the contract to design and build a Bay County correctional facility. In the lawsuit, Emerald states that the county permitted CCA to modify its proposal after all proposals were opened, violating state law. The county said in a letter to Dorceus that it never asked for a fixed price in the RFP and that “both firms were asked to clarify their proposals to allow the board to conduct due diligence and select a firm with whom to begin negotiations.”

January 14, 2006 News Herald
Emerald Correctional Management LLC has accused the Bay County Commission of breaking state laws in its decision to pursue negotiations with another firm for jail construction projects. The process the County Commission went through in accepting and evaluating the request for proposals, or RFP, was “arbitrary, capricious and illegal,” states Emerald’s petition, filed last week with the county. The county wants a 150,000-square-foot jail addition to the existing jail annex on Nehi Road, creating 680 new beds in addition to the existing 410. The RFP also called for the downtown Bay County Jail to be demolished and for construction of new holding cells connected to the Bay County Courthouse. Shreveport, La.-based Emerald had said it could build the addition for $31.8 million and Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, priced it at $38.8 million. The county chose to enter negotiations with CCA. In a formal notice of protest filed Jan. 6, Emerald alleged that Bay County violated Florida procurement laws, Sunshine Laws and the RFP terms. The company requests the county “forward the protest to the Division of Administrative Hearings for a fair determination of the issue at hand.” Emerald further labeled CCA, the company currently operating Bay County’s jails, as “non-qualified, non-responsible and non-responsive.” After taking into account project features that were either missing from the RFP or added but not asked for, the county determined Emerald’s design-and-build cost would be $35.4 million rather than $31.8 million, and CCA’s would be $36.4 million instead of $38.8 million. County staff said that with construction and fixed operational cost for six years, it would cost $117.1 million to stick with Emerald and $114 million with CCA.

December 18, 2005 News Herald
To pair as "jail project contenders" Emerald Correctional Management and Corrections Corporation of America, as did a Nov. 22 News Herald headline, is akin to pairing as boxing-ring "contenders" Pee Wee Herman and Muhammad Ali. CCA manages jail and prison complexes totaling almost 70,000 beds. That's 23 times as many as Emerald's 3,000, and even those are more likely found in less rigid detention centers. But, the two are squared off a in the political arena, not a boxing ring. The prize is a $31 million to $38 million construction job, plus a 10-year contract worth at least $170 million to operate the greatly enlarged county jail. A majority of Bay County commissioners in early December charitably advanced Emerald to a second round this week, on Tuesday. If not Tuesday, then sometime, someone on the County Commission needs to ask, "Who ARE these people?" Emerald's brochure - the one for jail management (the Emerald Companies' emblem appears on numerous other closely held enterprises including homebuilding, real estate and drug testing) - directs attention to its six-man management team. Emerald says it has been doing business out of Shreveport, La., since 1989. In a fashion familiar to anyone who ever puffed a resume, Emerald boasts in its management team "More than 80 years of law enforcement experience," "More than 45 years in principal founder of Emerald Companies," worked "in the correctional and construction industries for more than 20 years." He also heads Emerald Correctional Management, LLC; Emerald P.M. Group, LLC; Emerald Properties, Inc., and The Emerald Group, hardly any of which show up online as identifiable entities. Lee also serves as vice president of W. T. Lee Construction Co., presumably headed by W. T. Lee, who brings "more than 35 years" experience as the management team's business-development man. Glenn P. Hebert, the chief operating officer, worked for 13 years in the Sheriff's Office of Vermillion Parish (pre-Katrina pop. 50,000). Before that, he worked in retail. Emerald's chief of security, Raywood LeMaire "brings more than 35 years of law enforcement experience" including a memorable 20 years as Vermillion Parish sheriff. "It was legend that if you crossed the Sheriff, you were fed to the crabs at Raywood's cabin in Freshwater Bayou," a former resident once said. LeMaire was sheriff in 1990 when a crazy man shackled in an isolation cell plucked out his own eyes. To LeMaire a violent prisoner was a violent prisoner, mental case or not, and treated accordingly. The deputy who discovered the self-mutilation took an hour to decide whether to take the man to a hospital.  Eventually, blind but back on his medication, the man sued LeMaire for negligence and won a jury verdict. LeMaire got the verdict thrown out. LeMaire was still sheriff in 2002 when he was busted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents. He pleaded guilty to several charges, including shooting over-limit ducks in Freshwater Bayou ponds baited with 500 pounds of rice. He was fined $2,130. The government kept the ducks. LeMaire announced he wouldn't seek reelection in 2004. Clay Lee, identified as CEO and "a correctional management," "More than 30 years in correctional fiscal management," and, "More than 40 years providing correctional training." Most of this cumulative expertise is contributed by four men, all longtime friends or relatives. General Manager Stephan Afeman worked for 17 years in the drug-screening industry. Comptroller M. Shane Carnahan has nine years of experience in the correctional industry. They round out the management team. Whatever "the correctional industry" means with regard to each, they and many others across America are betting it's a growth industry. Until its Bay County foray, Emerald Correctional Management has been a smalltime player that capitalized on hustling even smaller-time players. Like The Music Man, they'd go into small, isolated and impoverished counties and persuade local officials that an economic boom was just a detention center away. Local officials had only to pay to build the facility and pay them to operate it. Emerald's eastward march for new territory leaves behind in Louisiana and Texas some business success but some bad feelings. The most publicized was La Salle County (2000 pop. less than 5,900). County commissioners were persuaded by a lobbyist and the management team to issue $22 million in bonds to build a 500-bed prison. Although commissioners eagerly embraced the idea, they agreed to keep public involvement at arm's length. The secretiveness enabled commissioners and Emerald to reach convivial agreement without the hindrance of county legal and fiscal staff. When the public learned what transpired - that the bonds paid an outrageous 12-percent interest, underwriter fees were 6 percent, Emerald would get a flat amount for operating the prison no matter how small the inmate population, and the persuasive lobbyist reportedly received a percentage of the deal, not a fee - the public was not amused. Lawsuits ensued. It was too late to stop the bond fiasco. As part of the lawsuit settlement, however, Emerald agreed to be paid based on the actual number of prisoners. Emerald also agreed to pay the town of Encinal $50,000 and La Salle County $100,000. Both payments were part of Emerald's bid but somehow were omitted from the contract. When County Commissioner George Gainer talks about Bay County being victimized by bad contracts in the past, this is the kind of shoddy legal work he means. La Salle County had to issue an additional $4.5 million in bonds to pay contractors so the work could proceed. The absence of public input caused additional oversights. Now open, "The facility itself used up all but a few connections-worth of our existing water supply capacity," says Encinal City Council member Barba de Chiva. "It uses - and stinks - all of our sewer capacity. Any further development is now contingent upon our spending millions of dollars to upgrade local infrastructure."

December 16, 2005 News Herald
Emerald Correctional Management LLC says its method for financing jail expansion will help save the county at least $20 million compared to Corrections Corporation of America's payment option. But after meetings with Emerald's staff, at least two County commissioners believe it is better for the county to finance the project itself because the county has a lower bond rating than either company could obtain. "That's not going to be there," Commissioner Mike Thomas said of Emerald's financing plan. "We can save money doing a bond ourselves," he said, indicating that the county's bond rating is around 4.5 percent and if either company funds the project, their bond rating would be 7- to 8-percent. CCA proposes to fund the expansion itself at a projected cost of $334,476 per month for 25 years, totaling around $100 million. With private bond placement, as Emerald suggests, the total debt over 18 years would be around $80 million, or $350,000 per month, said Glenn Hedert, chief operations officer for the Shreveport, La.-based company. In a letter this week to Commission Chairman Mike Nelson, CCA stated that Emerald did not adhere to project specifications in the county's request for proposals, or RFP, and that is why its plan costs less. "If they were compliant with the RFP, their proposal would've cost as much as what we projected," said Jennifer Taylor, senior director of business development for Tennessee-based CCA. Nelson said Thursday he received the 18-page letter at his office, Mike Nelson & Associates, but that he threw it away without reading all of it. "They've already had their say," Nelson said, referring to Emerald's and CCA's presentations to the commission on Dec. 6. "If Emerald sends me anything, it's going to get tossed, too."

Be'er Sheva, Israel
March 24, 2010 YNET News
Plans to establish the first private prison in Israel, which was thwarted by the Supreme Court, will cost Israel's economy some NIS 220 million ($ 58 million). Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Wednesday announced during the Israel Prison Service (Shabas) annual conference that the jail will be annexed to the Israel Prison Service. According to estimates, the Finance Ministry will deliver the needed funds for the purchase in the upcoming weeks. Aharonovitch said that his ministry and the Finance Ministry were working on transferring the private prison to the hands of the Israel Prison Service. "In light of the Supreme Court's decision, all efforts are being made to hand over the facility's operations to the Israel Prison Service. The facility will serve as a modern and suitable addition to the organization. "I can declare that the Finance Ministry has concluded its work with us and the annexation will be made in the upcoming weeks," the minister said.

November 20, 2009 Haaretz
"I cannot say that it was unexpected, but when it really happens, it seems unexpected," said the owner of Minrav Engineering and Construction, Abraham Kuznitsky, minutes after being informed yesterday of the High Court of Justice's decision against his operating a privately-run prison near Be'er Sheva. Minrav and Africa Israel were the co-winners of the state tender to operate Israel's first private prison. Kuznitsky has spent the last four years on the project and is considered the driving force behind it. After the project's cancellation, the state is expected to open negotiations with the franchisee over compensation. The franchise agreement requires the state to pay such compensation to the tender winners for their expenses so far in building the prison, which cost about NIS 220 million. But the question of compensation for future earnings and payment for other expenses may very well reach arbitration, and even the courts. "At least financially, our situation now is better than if the decision had not been made," said Kuznitsky. But he did not leave any room for doubt as to his intentions: "We will demand the NIS 200 million we have invested, and we will present the state with a demand for at least another NIS 150 million," he said. Kuznitsky said the state will have to compensate them for all the damages in the eight months since they finished building the project, including not only for expenses for training staff, but also all for future income from the operation. He said the companies had trained 120 employees and that is a tragedy since they gave up other work - and now will be unable to find new jobs - and they could even sue him. The court's decision came after construction was completed, but it did not allow the prison to be used until before it made its ruling. The tender for Israel's first privately-run prison was a Build-Operate-Transfer contract. The franchisee builds, runs and maintains the facility for a set period of time in return for regular payments, and at the end of the operating period the facility is handed over to the state. The NIS 1.5 billion tender required building a prison in 32 months to house 800 prisoners. The bidders competed over the price the state would pay for every prisoner, with Minrav and Africa Israel winning with the lowest price of NIS 218.90 per prisoner per day. The tender process started at the beginning of 2003 and the winners were chosen at the end of 2005. Both the treasury and Africa Israel said yesterday they were still studying the decision. Sources at Africa Israel said they did not expect the company to suffer financial damage from the ruling as the state is required to compensate the firm.

November 19, 2009 YNET
The Supreme Court annulled an amendment to the Prison Ordinance which allows for the establishment of a private prison that will be run by a private corporation. In her ruling, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish said the transfer of control over Israel's prisons from the State to private hands would constitute a severe violation of prisoners' basic human rights. The chief justice noted that while the amendment was aimed at improving detainment conditions in Israeli prisons, its main aim is an economic desire to save State funds. Beinish added that while the High Court usually does not interfere in economic policies formulated by the government and Knesset, it takes a different approach in respect to legislation that undermines the most fundamental constitutional rights. Meanwhile, Justice Edmund Levy, who remained in the minority opinion, wrote that he felt it was too early to determine that the proposed amendment is unconstitutional, as it has not been implemented yet.

June 3, 2009 Israel National News
State attorneys have filed a request with the Supreme Court asking to hasten the decision-making process regarding private prisons. The issue of whether or not the government can allow private companies to run prisons was brought to the court four years ago, and the last hearing on the subject was held almost two years ago. Attorneys said that the court's delay in handing down a verdict had caused financial losses to both the state and a private company hoping to run a prison. The company has already built a prison compound, which attorneys said costs millions of shekels a year to maintain in its current, empty state.

May 18, 2009 Israel National News
Not only will a privately-run prison not save the government 15 percent of a jail’s operating expenses, as originally thought, but it will actually cost 20 percent more, according to an Israeli Prison Service internal report. The private prison was supposed to have opened in Be’er Sheva this past month but was stopped in its tracks by a Supreme Court ruling. The Court ruled on a petition submitted four years ago by a prisoner named Yadin Machnes, a lawyer by profession, as well as the heads of the Civil Rights Department in the Law Academic College of Ramat Gan and former Israel Prison Service official Shlomo Tauser. The petitioners claimed that Israeli legal principles and Basic Laws forbid the transfer to a private, commercial body of sovereign powers such as the use of force to incarcerate individuals. Privatization of jails could “lead to the privatization of the police, army and legal system,” the petitioner maintained, “causing a mortal blow to democratic life in Israel.” The already-built facility, just south of Be’er Sheva, is designed to hold 800 low-to-medium security prisoners serving up to seven years in jail. It is owned by ALA Management and Operations, which won the government tender to run Israel’s first private jail. ALA is a subsidiary of three companies: Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel, the Minerb construction company of Israel, and Emerald Corrections, a Louisiana-based company that operates several private detention centers in Texas. MKs Give Report to Police Minister -- The new Prison Service report was revealed by MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) and former Prison Service head Aryeh Bibi (Kadima). They asked Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich to accept the report, and are also working to have it presented to the Supreme Court – even though the petition is not related to the economics of running the prison. Representatives of the private-prison companies say they will demand at least 250 million shekels in compensation for their losses. They have already built the facility, bought equipment, and hired workers. The Supreme Court has already hinted that the operators do not deserve the full sum, as they were aware as early as three years ago, when a first restraining order was served, that the legality of the private jail’s operation was in doubt. Arguments against Privatization -- Arguments against privatization include the fact that restricting individuals’ freedom should be done only by the State and the fact that giving jail-control to private owners leads them to lobby for tougher crime laws that will lead to more prisoners, as has occurred in the United States. On the other hand, a Prison Service representative is to be present at all times, and any violations of the detailed contract - which stipulate in detail how prisoners are to be treated - are liable to lead to fines for the operators.

March 22, 2009 Israel National News
A special nine-judge panel of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, has issued a restraining order preventing Israel’s first private prison from beginning operation. The ruling has profound legal, social and philosophical ramifications. Legal petitions against the privatization of Israel’s prisons were submitted four years ago by a prisoner named Yadin Machnes, a lawyer by profession, as well as the heads of the Civil Rights Department in the Law Academic College of Ramat Gan and former Israel Prison Service official Shlomo Tauser. The already-built facility, just south of Be’er Sheva, was to open its doors as early as next month, holding 800 low-to-medium security prisoners serving up to seven years in jail. It is owned by ALA Management and Operations, which won the government tender to run Israel’s first private jail. ALA is a subsidiary of three companies: Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel, an Israeli construction company, and Emerald Corrections, a Louisiana-based company that operates several private detention centers in Texas. Petitioners: Privatization of Police and Army Next? -- The petitioners claimed that Israeli legal principles and Basic Laws forbid the transfer to a private, commercial body of sovereign powers such as the use of force to incarcerate individuals. Privatization of jails could “lead to the privatization of the police, army and legal system,” the petitioner maintained, “causing a mortal blow to democratic life in Israel.” The State – backed specifically by the Finance and Public Security Ministries – claimed that the new prison would be a “unique, responsible and supervised model,” and that prisoners’ rights would be at the top of its agenda. A major objective of the State is to save money in prison management, though whether it would actually do so, especially in the long run, is now up for debate. The Supreme Court judges noted that the fact that the new jail has already been built is the company’s problem. They noted that they had issued a previous restraining order in June 2006, well before the facility was completed, making it clear to all that the legality of the private jail’s operation was in doubt. Arguments Against Privatization -- Attorney Aviv Wasserman of Ramat Gan, one of the petitioners, has summed up several of the arguments against private prisons. They include the following: Enforcing the denial of an individual’s freedom of mobility should be done not by a private, commercial body, but only by the State. The most common way for a private body to save money in running a prison is to cut back on guards’ salaries. This is not only unfair to the guards, but also leads to heavy turnover in manpower, a drop in quality of training and functioning, and a corresponding rise in incidents of violence and smuggling in comparison with public jails. Other methods of saving money also come at the expense of the prisoner, including reductions in rehabilitation, education, prisoner welfare, and the like. In addition, money for work performed by the prisoners goes mostly to the private company, as opposed to the situation in public jails, where the profits are directed to funds used for the prisoners’ welfare. Transferring control of jails to private owners leads the latter to lobby for more prisoners. This partially explains the dramatic rise in prisoners in the United States - nearly ten-fold - over the past 25 years. Lobbyists push for the Three Strikes You’re Out policy (meaning that one who is convicted of three felonies receives an automatic 25-year sentence), as well as for the abolition of Youth Courts.

March 4, 2008 Haaretz
The cost of incarceration at the private jail nearing completion in Be'er Sheva will be at least 30% more than in a government facility. The figures are in clear contradiction of the Finance Ministry's position, which stated that operating a private jail would save the government 20% in the cost of prisoner maintenance. The report is according to figures calculated recently by a senior Israel Prison Services official. ALA Management and Operations, a subsidiary of Lev Leviev's Africa Israel, won the government tender to run Israel's first private prison, which is due to open in the coming year beside the existing Be'er Sheva prison. The new prison is still awaiting a ruling from the High Court of Justice. The main argument in the petition is that transferring a prison to a private enterprise infringes on the sovereignty of the state. The state is supposed to have a monopoly on the use of force and punishment, and the petition alleges that a private facility contravenes the Basic Law on Government. The petitioners further claim that privatization could lead to a violation of a prisoner's rights, thus contravening the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty. The tender states that the treasury will pay ALA 220 shekels per day per inmate. But the calculation by the IPS official indicates that, among other things, the per diem cost of the salaries of the 18 wardens provided by IPS will increase inmate maintenance costs by NIS 15 a day. This expense was not taken into account when the tender was signed. It also turns out that the cost of keeping prisoners in an IPS facility has declined since the original tender calculation was made, and now stands at NIS 155 per day - NIS 80 less than the daily cost at the private jail. "The treasury's calculation was not based on a budgetary figure," responded a source at the Finance Ministry, "but was rather made from the tender winner's perspective. Without agreeing to the analysis presented here, it should be noted that the goal is not to save money, but rather to improve conditions for the prison inmates." The state refused to disclose the calculation used in the drafting of the tender, citing commercial confidentiality.

January 1, 2008 Globes
Most of the Israeli public supports the privatization of government companies and public services, including Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), the Israel Airports Authority and the seaports, according to a survey by Maagar Mochot. However, the public rejects the privatization of the Prisons Service, water and sewage infrastructures, and the education and health services. The survey was conducted ahead of today's debate sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute on private prisons. The survey found a clear correlation between people's level of income and support for privatization. 70% of high income-earners support privatization of IEC the Airports Authority, and the seaports, compared with 46-47% of persons earning less than the average national salary.

July 7, 2007 Haaretz
The Knesset will ask the High Court of Justice today to postpone by a year its deliberations on a petition that seeks to annul a law allowing private companies to operate prisons in Israel. The Knesset will seek to convince a panel of nine justices that it intends to hold a public discussion on the overall implications - economic, social and administrative - of the general processes of privatization in the country. A petition was filed by the Ramat Gan Law School, which argued that the license given to the billionaire Lev Leviev to build and operate a private prison contravenes the Basic Law on Government. The petitioners say the licensing gives a private firm clear powers of governance, including the use of force and the denial of liberty. Leviev's prison is being constructed near Be'er Sheva and is expected to receive inmates in June 2009. A year ago the Knesset asked to participate as a respondent to the petition, and asked to postpone the deliberations - which were scheduled to take place in late August 2006. The justices accepted the Knesset's argument that two bills against privatizing prisons, by MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) and Dov Hanin (Hadash), were pending and it was necessary to allow the legislators to deliberate and then vote. In late February, the state and the Knesset asked the court for yet another delay, arguing that although the two bills were rejected in votes, another bill was still pending. The situation was complicated by the fact that MK Nadia Hilu and MK Michael Melchior, who had propsed the bill, withdrew after the two previous bills were voted down. In mid-March, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik called on the general public to present the Knesset with position papers on the implications of privatizing prisons, which would be discussed during the summer session. But the explanation filed by the Knesset legal counselor, Nurit Elstein, to the High Court last week said that a discussion of dozens of position papers sent to the Knesset has not been possible due to the legislature's busy agenda in recent months. Elstein said the Knesset plans to hold a series of discussions during its winter session that are expected to be concluded by March 2008. "The Knesset request is not an innocent one," says attorney Gilad Barnea, representing the petitioners. "Its purpose is to bring the court in direct confrontation with the Knesset over the right to legislate laws." Yachimovich added: "Each day that goes by bolsters Lev Leviev's hold on the prison he owns and creates an irreversible situation in which the power to jail, punish, supervise and rehabilitate are in the hands of tycoons."

August 31, 2006 Globes
The High Court of Justice today postponed a hearing on a petition filed by the Academic College of Law, Ramat Gan against the government and Knesset to void a law amending the prison ordinance to allow the establishment of a privately-run prison. A seven-judge panel headed by Supreme Court President Judge Aharon Barak ruled that in six months the government and Knesset will file supplementary statements for the petition. The High Court of Justice said its decision has no bearing on the content of the petition, “which raises serious legal problems.” The decision was given following a discussion on whether there was room, as the state and Knesset argue, for allowing public debate to be completed, and for the Knesset to discuss the issue, before the High Court of Justice hearing and ruling on the case.

July 16, 2006 Globes
A panel of nine High Court of Justice judges has rejected a petition by the Academic College of Law, Ramat Gan and former Israel Prisons Commissioner Shlomo Twiser for an injunction against the minister of finance and public security to continue procedures for the construction of a private prison near Beersheva by ALA Management and Operations Ltd. The High Court of Justice ruled that there were no grounds for an injunction, and that a decision on the petition would be given before the procedures for building the prison were completed, and before sovereign authority was transferred to a private entity. The court therefore ruled that no harm would be caused to the petitioners during the interim.

June 18, 2006 Jerusalem Post
An extended panel of seven High Court justices is due on Sunday to hear a petition by the Ramat Gan Academic College for Law against legislation passed two years ago allowing for the construction and operation of a privately owned prison. Since the law was passed, the Prison Service awarded the franchise for the first such prison to businessman Lev Levayev. Levayev signed a 25-year contract with the state to build and run a prison to house 800 inmates. The petition, filed by attorneys Gilad Barnea and Aviv Wasserman, head of the human rights division of Ramat Gan College, charged that the law violated Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law: Government according to which "the government is the executive authority of the State." According to their argument, while the government may delegate some of its executive responsibilities to private agents, there are certain "core" responsibilities which it must execute itself. Otherwise, it loses its sovereign power. These responsibilities include enforcement of the law, including the incarceration of lawbreakers. "Not only is corrections one of the government's most basic responsibilities, it is probably the most sobering," they wrote, quoting from an article written by Prof. Joseph Field. "The ability to deprive citizens of their freedom, force them to live behind bars and totally regulate their lives is unlike any other power the government has. The responsibility for corrections goes beyond issues of cost efficiency and touches on whether a private company should be able to regulate the affairs of a citizen deprived of his freedom." The petitioners pointed out that the law granted the head of the privately owned prison widespread powers, including handcuffing prisoners in public places, holding prisoners in isolation, search and confiscation, prohibiting a prisoner from seeing his lawyer, control over the prisoner's incoming and outgoing mail, disciplinary hearings, and the right to use firearms when necessary. In its response, the state rejected the petitioners' allegation that the law released the state from its responsibility and maintained that it also gave it far-reaching supervisory powers. These powers included the obligation to appoint a team of Prison Service officials which was to be physically present in the prison 24 hours a day to oversee that the owners fulfilled their duties. The state also rejected the constitutional argument raised by the petitioners to the effect that the law prevented the government from fulfilling its constitutional responsibility as the executive authority of the state. It argued that according to Paragraph 33 (e) of the Basic Law: Government, the government could delegate powers if a law specifically said it could. The intellectual monthly, Eretz Aheret, devoted its latest issue to the controversy over the establishment of a private prison in the hopes of fanning a public discussion which, it alleged, had been almost totally lacking over an issue it described as crucial. "This edition deals with a range of journalistic and philosophical questions regarding the legislation to establish a private prison," wrote the editor, Bambi Sheleg. "Who pushed the project and why; why was such an important law passed in only three months from the day it was brought before the Knesset Interior Committee; why weren't the committee's deliberations covered by the media; why did many MKs vote for a law without understanding its implications; why did the state refuse to publish the terms of the public tender... "On June 18, the High Court... will determine a fateful question. Has the state crossed permissible boundaries in passing a law allowing a private prison? Did the Knesset not exceed its powers and cause irreversible damage to Israeli sovereignty?"

June 18, 2006 Globes
The High Court of Justice today issued a show cause order instructing the state to justify the legality of a private jail within 30 days. The High Court of Justice issued the order following a petition to the court to void a law allowing the construction of Israel’s first private jail near Beersheva. A nine-judge panel will hear the case shortly after the government files its response to the show cause order. The respondents in the petition are the ministers of justice and finance. The High Court of Justice also ordered the parties to file their comments on the petitioners’ request for an injunction to halt further action on the tender for the private jail. The state must submit its response within seven days, and the petitioners will then have seven days to respond. The High Court of Justice will probably rule on whether to allow the tender to go forward within two weeks. The High Court of Justice also ordered a review of whether to bring in the Knesset to the discussion, and whether to add the winner in the prison tender as another respondent to the petition. ALA Management and Operations Ltd., a joint subsidiary of Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY) and Minrav Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MNRV) subsidiary Minrav Engineering & Construction (1983) Ltd. won the tender to build and operate the private jail. Under the tender, the jail will become operational in three years. The company must allocate 5.2 sq.m. per convict, and the state will pay the company $49 per convict per day. Academic College of Law, Ramat Gan and former Israel Prisons Commissioner Shlomo Twiser filed the petition. They claim that privatizing prisons transfers the state’s sovereign authority to a private entity, operating out of the profit motive, which is liable to harm the convicts’ rights. The petitioners’ fundamental claim is that the law permitting the privatization of prisons contravenes the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty; and Basic Law: The Government, which bans the transfer of sovereign authority (law enforcement) to a private entity.

April 30, 2006 Globes
Construction of Israel’s first privately operated prison is expected to overcome its final obstacle is a few days. Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY) and Minrav Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MNRV), which won the tender for the prison in November 2005, will have to wait until the High Court of Justice hears an appeal against the prison filed by Ramat Gan College Human Rights Department. If the High Court of Justice approves the private prison, Africa-Israel chairman Lev Leviev and Minrav chairman Avraham Kuznitzky will become the first individuals in Israel to operate a private prison in the country. Under the terms of the tender, Africa-Israel and Minrav will build the prison and operate it for 25 years, under the PFI (private finance initiative) method. The state will pay the two companies for each prisoner during the franchise period. The contract will be worth at least NIS 1.5 billion, while the cost of building the prison is estimated at NIS 250 million. Africa-Israel and Minrav are expected to make an annual return on investment of 6-10%. Construction of the prison is scheduled to begin early this year, and end within three years. Located south of Beersheva, the prison will house 800-1,000 low and medium-security prisoners. Since this is the first tender of its kind in Israel, implementation will be monitored, and, if successful, the government might privatize another prison in northern Israel. The Ramat Gan College Human Rights Department argues that privatizing prisons grants the franchisee clear governing authority, including the use of force, including lethal force; restricting freedom, including the use of solitary confinement; and restricting the privacy of both prisoners and visitors. These authorities are the nucleus of the modern state’s sovereignty and authority, and conceding them contravenes Israel’s Basic Laws, which ban the transfer of prisoners from the state’s authority to a private entity driven by the profit motive. The petitioners add that privatizing prisons constitutes a fundamental breach in the legal barriers that prevent harm to a democratic state’s sovereignty, a process that will begin with the privatizing of prisons, but end with the privatizing of the police, judiciary, and armed forces, thereby dealing a death blow to Israel’s constitutional structure. The State Prosecutor’s Office argues that the privatization of a prison is a statutory privatization that does not harm fundamental constitutional rights.

March 1, 2006 Haaretz
The concept of transferring the establishment and management of prisons to a private entrepreneur has arrived in Israel too. There is a bill on this issue, and a first corporation, owned by real estate mogul Lev Leviev and others, is already making an offer to the government to build a prison and run it for 25 years - a deal worth NIS 1.5 billion. The Finance Ministry, which is fanatically insistent on privatizing everything that moves, is supportive, and the initiative is making strides in the Internal Security Ministry as well. The employees of the Israel Prison Service that will be harmed by the privatization are the low-level workers - who constitute the majority of the employees - as those who win the concession will prefer cheap and temporary workers. But the ones who will express the prison service's position in talks dealing with the questions of whether, how much, and how to privatize will not be the low-level workers, but the senior leadership. These are the same people who expect to be integrated into the new owners' business in fat administrative and consulting positions, free of government salary ceilings, or else are planning to bid on future tenders with their own companies. The first signs are already in the air: Orit Adato, the former prison service commissioner, has been recruited as a professional consultant to Leviev's incarceration corporation. Within the prison service, quite a few senior officials support privatization, led by the head of the prison service headquarters. However, privatizing imprisonment raises issues that are still more fundamental than the conflict-of-interest problems of senior prison service officials meddling in the privatization or the unstable future of the low-level workers. Some of these fundamental issues appear in two petitions that have been filed with the High Court of Justice recently against the privatization of incarceration. One of the petitions was filed by the human rights department of the Academic College of Law in Ramat Gan, and the second by Physicians for Human Rights. The basic question the petitions raise is what the "core powers" of the state are, which fundamentally cannot be transferred to subcontractors. There is universal agreement about the existence of such powers. The problem is that no nation has precisely defined what those powers include - that is, what the limits of privatization are. And in every country in which the subject of core powers has come up for fundamental judicial debate - of the kind that is to be conducted shortly in the High Court - the judges have preferred not to make a decision on the matter and to wait for the legislators. Privatization is a process in which the state, which holds assets, resources and powers as a trustee of the citizens, sells them into private hands. In cases such as private education or private medicine, those who want to pay money for them do so if they can afford it, and quality control is by means of demand: When the service fails, the client votes with his feet, goes back to using the government service or chooses another provider. Prisons, however, are run differently. The prisoners are literally a captive clientele that might get the service, but doesn't want it and certainly doesn't purchase or fund it. The true client is the public at large, and the service it is requesting is not the provision of shelter, food and clothing for criminals, but the distancing of dangerous elements, punishment, education and rehabilitation. In contrast to other arenas of privatization, the chain reaction of the clients when it comes to incarceration - that is, the public - will be tangled, fragmented and weakened. Who exactly will respond if it becomes clear that the prisons are being run badly, that there is corruption, that the prisoners have a low level of personal safety, or that the ability to keep them behind bars is hampered by a constant attempt to minimize costs (such as by cutting down on the number of wardens) and increase profit? When the entity financing a service and the entity consuming it are different, who will the professionals - such as those in the Internal Security Ministry, which is to supervise the entrepreneurs - represent? These questions become sharper still in light of the tremendous range of new potential ties between money and power that are being offered by the privatization of incarceration. Israeli law-enforcement officials have shown in the last few years that they are increasingly ready to follow in the footsteps of countries, such as Denmark, that have cut down on imprisonment in cases such as financial crimes, replacing it with deterrent fines and other punitive methods that have been shown to be effective. How will a real estate mogul who runs prisons use his connections with lawmakers when the Knesset debates bills geared toward cutting down on the number of prisoners, a la Denmark, or other bills dealing with shortening or lengthening prison terms? It may be that in the absence of explicit legislation, the High Court justices will choose to refrain from defining the state's core powers and the limits of privatization. But even without being required to give such a binding definition, the High Court is likely to contribute by determining that it is appropriate and reasonable always to include corporeal restraints, primarily detention and imprisonment, within the state's core powers. Such a ruling, and the implied order that it is appropriate only for civil servants to be responsible for all powers of corporeal restraint, will take the privatization of prisons off the agenda, thereby granting suitable protection of the public interest, the rights of the Israel Prison Service workers and the human dignity of the prisoners.

November 28, 2005 Haaretz.com
Ostensibly, the idea behind the process of privatization, in which it was recently decided that a group of companies headed by tycoon Lev Leviev will build and operate a private prison, is no different from the idea behind the processes that during the past decade have led to privatization in the Employment Service, the seaports and the national airline. But this is different. The sovereignty of the state, as experts on political science and political philosophy say, is expressed in its monopoly on applying means of force on everyone who is within its boundaries. The army, the police, the State Prosecutor's Office, the courts and the prisons are tools by means of which the state exercises its authority and implements its sovereignty. Thus the state of Israel has decided to delegate some of its authority to Leviev in building a prison near Be'er Sheva. This happened in a process that went on for about five years and provoked public debate. The idea was imported from abroad by Finance Ministry officials during Ehud Barak's tenure as prime minister and was frozen because of the opposition of then-public security minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, revived when (now Likud MK) Uzi Landau replaced him and gained momentum in 2003 when (now Likud MK) Benjamin Netanyahu, who was appointed finance minister at that time, started to promote it very energetically. About two weeks ago an inter-ministerial tenders committee consisting of representatives of the Finance Ministry, the Public Security Ministry and the Prison Service chose the bidder who will build and operate, for 22 years, a prison for 800 inmates. In the winning company, which will receive a state grant of NIS 47 million to build a prison with an investment of NIS 250 million, the controlling share is in the hands of Lev Leviev, and the partners in it will be the Israeli Minrav Engineering Company and the American Emerald Company, which operates small private prisons in the United States. When the prison begins to operate, the State of Israel will pay the company for every prisoner incarcerated. The overall extent of the contract is estimated at about NIS 1.4 billion. When the idea was first brought up, at the Prisons Service they argued that it was incumbent upon the state to solve the prison space shortage by building additional public prisons. Only during the past three years, after Lieutenant General Prison Commissioner Yaakov Ganot replaced Orit Adato - and realized how determined the Finance Ministry was to advance the project - did the service decide to support the privatization and even made itself a leading force in its implementation. Prisons Service Commander Haim Glick, headquarters chief of the Prison Service and the person who is considered one of the leading candidates to replace Ganot in about a year, is more identified than anyone else now with the idea of establishing the private prison. Glick, who is both an economist and a lawyer, played a key role in preparing the tender, in establishing the professional requirements that are included in it and also in the selection of the winning bidder. Prisons Service Commissioner (ret.) Adato, upon her retirement from the service, founded Adato Consulting, Ltd., which is providing professional advice to the prison managements, both public and private, internationally. Adato is also the professional consultant to the group that won the franchise to operate the prison in Israel. More prisoners than China During the 12 years that have elapsed since the establishment of the world's first private prison in the United States, a great deal of experience has accumulated, which mostly is not encouraging. About 30 countries have thus far established approximately 200 private prisons, in which more than 150,000 inmates are incarcerated. Most of the private prisons have been established in the United States, France, Britain and Australia, and a few of them in South American states and in Eastern Europe; and there is also one country - New Zealand - that has reversed its decision to privatize prisons. In the U.S., however, private prisons have become a huge industry: About 14 percent of all federal prisoners and about 6 percent of the state prisoners are held in private prisons. The prison industry is already in second place, right after the high-tech industry, in the ranking of growth: The four leading companies, whose profits came to no less than $2.3 billion dollars in 2004, are growing at the rate of 5.9 percent annually. As they grow stronger, so too does their public influence and thus their lobbying efforts with the aim of making criminal legislation and punishment policy more stringent. No wonder then that the number of prisoners in the United States, which a few years before the establishment of the first private prison stood at 280,000, has burgeoned since then to 2.13 million today. This monstrous number is higher than the number of prisoners in China, where the population is four times greater than that of the United States. "Private prisons are not the only reason for this increase, but there is no doubt that their lobbying activity is one of the reasons for the increasing stringency of punishment and the increase in the number of prisoners," says attorney Aviv Wasserman, the head of the human rights division at the Academic College of Law in Ramat Gan, whose petition to the High Court of Justice against the decision to establish a private prison here is still pending. Wasserman believes that here, too, we will see such lobbying campaigns in the future. "Even now there is talk about the need for toughness, but today they are discussing this with the participation of the Justice Ministry, the Israel Bar Association, academia and the human rights organizations," he says. "From now on there will also be participation in these discussions, for example in the Knesset House Committee, of Lev Leviev's representatives, who will want to increase the number of prisoners. This is a new player who has interests that are worth billions of shekels and will come with the best lawyers and public relations people. His weight could prove crucial." A request to interview Leviev has been unanswered but Ronny Rahav, the public relations person for Leviev's Africa-Israel Investments, has sent the following response in writing: "Africa-Israel's vision is to reach a situation in which the work of rehabilitating prisoners will rehabilitate them for the long term, so that they will not return to prison again. We do not see any need to intervene in legislative processes. We trust the state and its laws." There are three models for prison privatization. In the partial privatization model, the entrepreneur builds the prison and provides most of the services there (from equipment and food to medicine, rehabilitation and employment) but leaves its professional management in the hands of the state; the prison guards and officers are subordinate to the state and are employed by it rather than by the entrepreneur. In the full privatization model,in effect mostly in the United States, the entrepreneur is also responsible for the prison's operational management and is even authorized to try and punish the prisoners for disciplinary infractions. All of the members of the staff, including those who are authorized to try the prisoner and extend his term of imprisonment, are employed by the entrepreneur. Israel has decided to adopt a third model, which is implemented mainly in Britain: The entrepreneur manages the prison, as in the American model, but the authority to try and punish prisoners remains in the hands of the Prisons Service. Reducing expenditures "This model should not have been adopted," says Dr. Uri Timor, a lecturer in the criminology department of Bar-Ilan University, who inspects conditions in the Prisons Service facilities on behalf of the Israeli Council for Criminology, an organization of academics. Timor believes that the franchisee must not be allowed to employ the prison guards because studies done in the private prisons elsewhere have shown that the entrepreneurs tend to increase their profits by means of hiring untrained personnel, at low wages and without social benefits. Another way of decreasing expenditures entails cutting to the minimum the period of training for the prison guards. The terrible employment conditions, explains Timor, leads to a high turnover of prison employees and the lack of training results in unprofessional work. The combination of the two phenomena turns the private prisons into facilities with a high rate of violent incidents, in which the prisoners' rights are violated daily. Timor believes that this will happen in Be'er Sheva as well. "The cost of the wages of a prison guard in the Prisons Service, including benefits and pension, comes to NIS 20,000 a month," he explains. "For a private company whose main interest is profit this is a very large sum of money. What will they do? They will take students, train them for a day or two and pay them the minimum wage without social benefits. This has to have a bad effect on their work. And this is a pity, because in the Prisons Service there is very professional and skilled manpower. In the Prisons Service prisons perhaps the walls are crumbling but the management is quiet and serious, with very little violence." "A prison guard is not a shopping mall security guard, and we have no intention of hiring prison guards the way security guards are employed at a mall," responds Orit Adato. The contract that has been signed between the state and the franchisee that she is advising does not stipulate the wages or the method of employment at the prison, but Adato promises that the pay "will be above the minimum wage," and that "an incentive method" will be used that will reduce the turnover of prison guards. "The method of employment will provide incentive for the prison guard to continue to work at the prison," she says. "The longer he works, the better the social benefits he will be given. In the Prisons Service, too, they are no longer granting tenure until pension age and are giving five-year contracts instead." "We are well aware of the negative phenomena of the high rate of prison guard turnover," says Commander Glick, who is slated to supervise the work of the franchisee on behalf of the Prison Service. "As the state cannot dictate the prison guards' pay to the franchisee, we decided to stipulate for the franchisee the maximum rate of prison guard turnover that will be allowed. Every time the turnover is more than what is permitted, we will impose a monetary fine on him." Glick also says that the Prisons Service will determine for the franchisee the length of the training that prison guards will receive ("no less than 250 hours"), and that it will be forbidden to employ prison guards who have not been approved by the Prisons Service. "It could be that the franchisee will want to hire pensioners in order to save expenditures," he says. "It will not be able to do this, because we will not approve pensioners." "For every deviation the franchisee will be fined by us," promises Glick. "If a prisoner is murdered, it will be fined. The same applies if a prison guard is attacked, if there is an escape, if equipment is broken or if there are many complaints about insufficient food." He is convinced that supervision through fines, which has not proven itself against the commercial television franchises, will succeed against the private prison franchisees. And unlike the practice in the broadcast industry the rates for the fines here will be kept secret. "We have to maintain secrecy," he explains, "because if the prisoners know, for example, how much the fine is for breaking a window or many complaints about the food, they will be able to blackmail the management and take control of the whole prison." Dr. Yoav Sapir, the deputy chief public defender at the Justice Ministry, is opposed in principle to private prisons ("I find a strong moral discord in the fact that wealthy tycoons will make more money from people's suffering") and has difficulty believing that the Prisons Service will indeed manage to prevent the negative phenomena that characterize the system in the U.S. "The only way that the franchisee can increase his profits is on the backs of the prisoners and the prison guards," he says on the basis of the American experience. "The franchisee always tries to give the minimum and argues about the interpretation of the requirements of the supervisory body. If the contract requires him to give three meals a day, he will argue about the interpretation of the word `meals.' And if he is required to give each prisoner a soup spoon, he will argue about the size of the spoon. In the U.S. there have been prison guards who were fired because they gave a prisoner an extra spoonful of soup. At nearly every private prison there is a shortage of clothing, the medical service is flawed, mental health services hardly exist, and the rehabilitation programs are minimal." Sapir thinks that much of this will happen here. Adato promises it won't because the franchisee will take care to act according to the contract, which "requires us, for example, to give medical and educational services at a higher level than in the Prisons Service," and Glick says the Prisons Service will thwart every attempt by the franchisee to act in this way. Waiting for the High Court Construction of the private prison, which is scheduled to operate in 2008, will begin in a few months, unless the High Court decides otherwise. A bench headed by Justice Dorit Beinisch, which deliberated on attorney Wasserman's petition about two months ago, issued a show-cause order for the state to explain "the boundary of appropriate privatization." Wasserman argues that prison privatization does away with the state's monopoly on the use of force against citizens. The justices so far refrained from disqualifying his contention. The state's reply is to be given in the middle of December, with the justices expected to rule by the end of the month. If the High Court does not reject privatization outright, the success or failure of the prison will depend on the quality of the Prisons Service supervision. Glick promises that this will be "extremely close" and will be "carried out in real time." However, neither the size of the supervisory team nor its ways of working is yet clear. "What is already clear at this time," says Glick, "is that the supervisors will be working on the prison premises and the franchisee will be obligated to connect all of its computers to the Prisons Service computers. In that way we will know about everything that happens inside the prison." Timor is skeptical. "The Israeli experience in the area of supervising franchisees is not really encouraging," he says. "It suffices to read the state comptroller's reports about the TV franchisees, the gas companies that maintain containers in hazardous conditions, the old age homes and the psychiatric hospitals. I do not have many reasons for believing that the Prison Service will know how to supervise any better than all the other supervisory bodies in the country."

November 16, 2005 IDEX
Israel's best known diamantaire, Lev Leviev, will soon own a private jail. His Africa-Israel real estate firm won a bid to build and operate Israel's first private jail. Leviev and Minrav, another Israeli real estate firm, will build the 200 million NIS ($42.25 million) and operate it for 25 years before turning it over to the state. The state will pay the jail according to the number of prisoners being held at any one time. In a release, the companies said they "consider themselves financial organizations with a social mission." The successful bidders will operate rehabilitation projects, though they might not include diamond polishing. Leviev privately owns the LLD Group, which incorporates all his diamond related enterprises - mining, polishing plants, and various wholesaling and retailing joint ventures. Africa-Israel, a publicly traded company which Leviev controls, owns real estate in Israel and Eastern Europe, a large 7-Eleven franchise, an Israeli toll road, energy projects, fashion companies and several media operations.

November 16, 2005 Globes
Minrav Holdings Ltd. (TASE:MNRV) and Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY) will set up Israel's first private prison, announced an inter-ministerial committee responsible for the matter today. Minrav and Africa-Israel beat a consortium comprising Solel Boneh Building and Infrastructure, Dankner Investments, and GEPSA of France. Lev Leviev controls Africa Israel, and Abraham Kuznitsky is chairman and CEO of Minrav. Minrav and Africa-Israel will build the prison and operate it for 25 years, during which period the state will pay an annual sum for each prisoner, under the private finance initiative (PFI) method. The contract is worth NIS 1.4 billion, including NIS 250 million in construction costs. Minrav and Africa-Israel will be paid NIS 64 million a year, amounting to NIS 1.6 billion over the period of the contract. They will also receive a NIS 47 million set-up grant, to be paid when construction of the prison is completed and the state authorizes its operation. Minrav and Africa-Israel are expected to get an annual return of 6-10% on the investment. Construction of the prison is scheduled to begin in early 2006, and to be completed within three years. Located south of Beersheva, the prison will house 800-1,000 low to medium-risk inmates.

Cleveland City  Council
Cleveland, Texas
Oct 24, 2015 yourhoustonnews.com

Cleveland City Council rejects immigration detention center proposal

An immigration detention facility proposed for the Cleveland area by Louisiana-based Emerald Correctional Management LLC was rejected by Cleveland City Council Tuesday night, Oct. 20. The vote was 2-2 with council members Otis Cohn and Carolyn McWaters voting against it and Mike Penry and Delores Terry in favor of it. Mayor Niki Coats cast a swing vote against the measure, which ultimately decided its failure. The project has been met with some controversy, which Coats addressed, saying there were as many speakers present for public comments in this meeting as there were in the last meeting. More than 10 speakers showed up for public comments, all of them wishing to discuss the project. The first speaker was Cleveland attorney Donny Haltom. “We don’t want this place,” he said. “This is not the image we want.” Haltom further commented that Emerald can move down the road away from Cleveland. “This is going to be decided tonight,” he said. “Shut the door on them tonight and let them know we don’t want [them].” Cleveland attorney Mollie Lambert followed Haltom, speaking on the concerns from citizens of Tarkington. “This is our city as much as it is to those who live in the city limits,” she said. Lambert spoke on Emerald’s alleged track record, noting that currently the company says it no longer needs financial backing from the city and believing that it will eventually disappear. “I believe it’s going to either cost us now or cost us later,” she said. Lambert concluded that the promise of 300 or more jobs will not be fulfilled in her opinion and therefore will lead to 300 home foreclosures in the future should the city approve the project. “Everybody knows that vampires don’t get to come into your house unless you invite them,” she said. Lane Gulledge spoke after Lambert, speaking in part on Emerald’s presence in the meeting as the company has already said they have found financial backing from elsewhere, which Gulledge disagreed with because he felt they wouldn’t be at the city council meeting if that were true. “What’s at risk here? It’s our city,” he said. Other speakers followed, including Sandra Burnett who feels the detention center has no place in Cleveland and Jim Bloss who initially supported the project but is now against it. However, Brad Browder, a member of the Cleveland Economic Development Corporation, spoke in favor of the project. “Jobs are in short supply in Cleveland,” he said. “This is a project that could provide that.” Browder asked city council to consider the jobs when they make their decision. Emerald’s General Council Hull Youngblood spoke before the council, assuring them that they are not asking for any participation on the city’s part. “Those issues are gone,” he said. Youngblood explained that the detention center will have a 75 percent occupancy guarantee with no families housed inside the building. He also told city council that the project will be built even if that means it is not in the Cleveland area. “We’d like to propose a facility here in Cleveland,” said Youngblood. Emerald CEO Steve Afeman assured Cleveland City Council of the benefits of a detention center and its function. “It comes with a guarantee of 10 years of occupancy,” he said. “It is a humane processing center.” Afeman noted that the detention center has the potential to create 300 or more jobs and if it wasn’t built in Cleveland then it will be built in another area such as Conroe or Houston. “We think it’s a good project,” said Afeman. “We hope you consider it.” Councilman Mike Penry, who has expressed his support for the project in other recent meetings, reaffirmed his belief that the facility is good for Cleveland. “I think that this facility would bring jobs to our city,” said Penry. “Somebody’s going to get it. Why shouldn’t Cleveland?” Penry admits the city needed a hospital, restaurants and recreation for children living in the city, but feels that won’t happen until the median income for the city rises. Penry believes the detention center will help in that regard. Commotion broke out from those gathered at the meeting with Coats quieting down the crowd. Coats then gave his opinion on the matter, admitting that this particular industry is reportedly prone to failure. Councilmen Otis Cohn and Carolyn McWaters expressed similar concerns. “I just can’t find anything good about it,” said Coats. “It’s very hard to wrap your arm around something that fails so often.”

LaSalle County Jail, La Salle, Texas
September 27, 2003
A lawsuit set for trial today over the La Salle County Commissioners' handling of public access to information about a controversial jail project has been settled after a marathon negotiating session. "The lawsuit was filed because they weren't giving us information about the project," said Donna Lednicky, of Encinal, one of the plaintiffs who attended the 13-hour mediation session that ended late Wednesday. "We sued because they violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, and they have admitted this," she said of one element of the settlement. The suit was filed last year by several residents of Encinal, a small community in southern LaSalle County where the county commissioners unanimously voted to build a 500-bed jail to hold U.S. Marshals Service prisoners. Critics of the $24 million jail project accused the commissioners of holding meetings without giving proper notice, withholding public documents about the project and refusing to answer questions in public forums about it. Originally filed in hope of blocking construction of the jail, the suit was settled short of that goal. The agreement calls for former LaSalle County Judge Jimmy Patterson to be replaced on the Public Facilities Corporation by current County Judge Joel Rodriguez and for all public documents relating to the jail project to be filed with the LaSalle County Clerk. The county also has agreed to post notices of its meetings in Encinal. Before this, Encinal residents had to drive 30 miles to Cotulla to read postings at the county courthouse. In addition, the county agreed to pay the plaintiffs' legal fees and court costs. "It's still a terrible deal, but since the bonds were approved by the attorney general, it's uncontestable. We think we got more in the settlement than going to court," Lednicky said.  (Express-News)

September 20, 2003
The U.S. Marshals Service soon will narrow the list of proposals from South Texas counties wanting to partner with the agency to build a 2,800-bed federal detention facility near Laredo — the largest private prison project in the nation.  Details are sketchy but at least two counties — LaSalle and Webb — are interested in landing the deal for what competitors for the contract have called a "superjail."  Florida-based Wackenhut Corp. has submitted two sites in Webb County, where it says it could build the facility with the county's help.  Another private prison corporation, Emerald Correctional Management of Shreveport, La., wants to expand an already controversial project in Encinal to give the federal agency the number of beds it seeks.  Emerald has an agreement with the LaSalle County Public Facilities Corp. to manage a 500-bed federal detention center in Encinal, population 629. Construction of the center is under way, Sheriff Jerry P. Patterson said.  LaSalle County Judge Joel Rodriguez Jr., who recently was elected and isn't a member of the public facilities corporation, opposes any plans to expand the detention center.  Rodriguez is a vocal critic of the center itself, saying the prior administration issued high-interest bonds to pay for it without public input.  He said the county is in no position to handle more prisoners, considering it's still waiting to hear from the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection on a possible contract to build a separate 1,000-bed facility. Frio County also is being considered for the BCBP project.  "That would increase five times the population of Encinal," Rodriguez said. "The city doesn't have the infrastructure to support a 2,800-bed facility."  Officials with Emerald Correctional Management couldn't be reached for comment Friday.  Encinal resident Sean Chadwell said he doubts the U.S. Marshals Service will seriously consider any proposal from LaSalle County to build the "superjail," because of the turmoil it generated by approving the 500-bed facility.  Chadwell is among a group of Encinal residents who have filed a lawsuit against LaSalle County for improperly approving that $27 million deal. County officials have denied the suit's allegations and a mediation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in San Antionio.  At one point, the federal agency suspended funding for the project because of complaints that residents weren't being included in the decision-making process.  The money was later reinstated.  "I don't think they really stand a chance," said Webb County Judge Louis Bruni of LaSalle County's effort to net the 2,800-bed facility. "The lack of infrastructure up there would (increase) the cost."  But Bruni said there are other competitors within Webb County that he would need to fend off in order for the county's joint venture with Wackenhut to win.  The U.S. Marshals Service won't identify the entities vying for the contract, or even say how many are competing or where they propose to locate the center.  "Everybody wants a piece of the pie," Bruni said. "It would be a tremendous gain."  The judge estimates 500 new jobs would be created in the county if the facility were to be built there.  But even in Laredo, opposition already has sprouted.  On Thursday, representatives from the Austin-based Texas Criminal Justice Reform Coalition spurred about a dozen students at Texas A&M International University to fight the project.  "Do we want Laredo to seem like a giant holding cell for prisoners?" asked the coalition's Carlos Villareal.  (San Antonio Express-News)

July 21, 2003
Backers of a controversial jail financed with $21.8 million of taxable, high-yield revenue bonds have sued the top official in LaSalle County, Tex., claiming he interfered with a $25 million contract to build the 500-bed facility under construction near the Mexican border and endangered millions of dollars worth of similar projects. The plaintiffs include Dallas-based bond underwriter Municipal Capital Markets Group Inc., Shreveport, La.-based private prison operator Emerald Correctional Management, and the architectural firm Corplan Inc. of Dallas. The lawsuit, filed in LaSalle County District Court on July 14 by San Antonio attorney Troy S. Martin 3d, alleges that county Judge Joel Rodriguez has disrupted plans to build a series of jails near the Mexican border.  The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez, who is the top county commissioner, made false statements about the deal to reporters. "If Rodriguez is not prevented and restrained from engaging in threatening activities and communications with third persons, there is a substantial likelihood that these entire multimillion dollar projects will fail," the lawsuit states.  In a separate lawsuit, former county Judge Jimmy P. Patterson, who remains head of the LaSalle County Public Facilities Detention Corp. that issued the bonds on Nov. 7, is suing Rodriguez for defamation.  A third lawsuit, filed by a LaSalle County citizens group, accuses the county commissioners of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act by withholding information about the deal.  Under the contracts, Rodriguez said the county stands to lose $373,808 in the first year, $1.2 million in the second, and more than $1.9 million afterward from the new 500-bed Encinal detention facility.  The district attorney for LaSalle County is also leading a search for records on the bond deal, Rodriguez said.  Although a preliminary official statement for the revenue bonds stated that county attorney Elizabeth Martinez had reviewed and approved the contracts, she denied that, saying she was not hired by the authority and did not sign the
deal.  (The Bond Buyer)

May 12, 2003
The honeymoon between new LaSalle County Judge Joel Rodriguez and the four incumbent county commissioners — if ever there was one — has ended with a nasty thud.  Saying he is weary of begging the commissioners for financial information about past county projects and also fearful the county is just weeks from going broke, Rodriguez this week took an extreme step.  "I'm asking the county attorney to file misdemeanor (criminal) complaints on public information violations and bid violations against the commissioners," said Rodriguez, who served two terms as county treasurer before being elected judge.  Rodriguez says he's most worried about contracts the county signed last year with a Louisiana company, Emerald Correctional Management Corp., to operate two facilities.  One is a 48-bed county jail that houses federal prisoners, and the other is a 576-bed detention center that also will house federal detainees. The larger facility will open next spring near Encinal.  Rodriguez claims the contracts, negotiated without the oversight of a lawyer, are bad for the county.  He said the county already is losing thousands each month on the jail because it must house its own prisoners elsewhere. He predicts the situation will get worse when the larger facility opens.  He said the commissioners have ignored his pleas to hire an outside lawyer to review the contracts with an eye toward renegotiating them.  The project, rushed through late last year with a minimum of public input or disclosure, has triggered two lawsuits from residents complaining about the process.  It was financed with high-interest debt issued through the county's nonprofit Public Facilities Corp. The four commissioners, along with former County Judge Jimmy Patterson, are the board members of both the PFC and another nonprofit entity that backed a large county project.  (San Antonio Express-News)

December 12, 2002
A lawsuit filed by a group of citizens in La Salle County, Tex., seeks to halt a controversial private jail near the Mexican border financed with nearly $22 million in high-yield bonds, and accuses county officials of violating the state's open-meetings law in approving the project.  The project, designed to create jobs in the poor, sparsely populated county, has come under siege since the bonds were sold on Nov. 7. The official statement for the taxable bonds cited approval on some legal questions by county attorney Elizabeth Martinez, but Martinez has said she never signed any documents concerning the jail.   County Treasurer Joel Rodriguez, who defeated outgoing county Judge Jimmy P. Patterson and will take office Jan. 1, has vowed to stop the jail. In Texas, the county judge is the top administrative official and leads the commissioners' court.  The suit filed on Monday asks the state district court in Cotulla to halt any commissions and use of bond proceeds, and to also declare the nonprofit issuer of the bonds -- the La Salle County Public Facility Detention Corp. -- "null and void." The corporation was created and is managed by the county commissioners and county judge.  The U.S. Marshals Service, which was expected to be the major customer for the 500-bed jail, last week suspended a $3 million grant for the project pending an investigation and hinted that it could back out of the project.  Although Patterson and others on the commissioners' court claim they have made all documents available in meetings, Rodriguez and others dispute that. Rodriguez said he had to file a freedom of information request to get the documents, even though he serves as the chief investment official of the county.  Attorney H.C. Hall 3d, representing Greg Springer of Encinal, last month wrote a letter to Judge Martinez seeking an investigation of the commissioners and claiming business involving the jail was conducted in private.  "My client, as well as other landowners in La Salle County, believe that all required public notices and requirements incident to the project have been ignored and/or purposefully avoided," Hall wrote. "It is apparent that the entire transaction has been purposefully conducted behind closed doors."   (The Bond Buyer)

December 5, 2002
The U.S. Marshals have thrown a wrench into construction plans for the proposed $25 million Encinal detention facility. On Nov. 22, the Marshals issued La Salle County Judge Jimmy Patterson a letter stating that the $3 million federal Cooperative Agreement Program grant, which was awarded July 29, would be suspended until certain demands are met. At 6:45 p.m., the judge and four commissioners will convene as the La Salle County Public Facility Detention Corporation. They formed this private nonprofit corporation for financing purposes of the $25 million, 500-bed facility, which they want to use as an economic development tool. However, due to a public outcry by Encinal ranchers and businessmen, the incoming La Salle County Judge (Joel Rodriguez, who is the county treasurer) and incoming treasurer (Marisa Mancha, an Encinal council member), the Marshals put the CAP grant on hold. "The U.S. Marshals Service has received numerous telephone calls and written correspondence concerning the feasibility of La Salle County undertaking such a project," the Nov. 22 letter reads. "Also, we have learned that now there is a corporation involved with this project that has an action filed against them by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development," it states. In 1999, La Salle County officials formed a similar nonprofit corporation (La Salle County Housing Finance Corporation), but defaulted on nearly $1 million in U.S. Housing and Urban Development-backed home loans. HUD has since issued sanctions against the housing corporation, County Judge Patterson and Commissioners Albert Aguero and Raymond Landrum. The Encinal facility would be managed and run by a private company called Emerald Correctional Management, L.L.C. of Shreveport, La. In early November, the Texas Attorney General's office approved the sale of $22 million in high interest revenue bonds for the project. (Laredo Morning Times)

November 27, 2002
For Jimmy P. Patterson, the recent sale of nearly $22 million in lease revenue bonds to build a privately managed jail is about bringing jobs to a poor Texas county near the Mexico border. The outgoing county judge says the jail will provide badly needed jobs while attracting other businesses to La Salle County. In addition, the county has a deal with the U.S. government to provide funding and prisoners for the lockup. But County Judge-elect Joel Rodriquez Jr. fears the deal could ruin the sparsely populated county. He claims Patterson pushed it through without enough community input and before other LaSalle officials - including the county attorney - could sign off on the bonds, in possible violation of securities regulations. In addition, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal's Service says it is still evaluating whether the county is actually the proprietor for the jail as would be required for a valid Intergovernmental Agreement like that cited in bond documents for the deal. Emerald Correctional Management of Shreveport, La., would operate the jail, which is tentatively scheduled to open in April. Construction has yet to begin, following an official groundbreaking on Sept. 25. In Texas, county judge is the title for the top administrative official, who is not a judge in the legal sense. Patterson, who has served in county government for 24 years and whose brother, Jerry Patterson, is sheriff, says he stands by the jail plan despite the controversy over the project that he admits may have contributed to his defeat by Rodriguez, the county treasurer. But Rodriquez says the county is in no position to engage in high finance, even through a conduit such as the Public Facility Detention Corp. In some years, debt service on the bonds will surpass $2 million, which equals the current operating budget of the county, he says. The official statement says the county will be required to make rental payments sufficient to pay principal, premium and interest on the bonds when due solely from revenues of the jail. But if the U.S. Marshal's office backs out of its deal, where will that leave the county? Rodriguez asks. He says he will try to stop the project as soon as he takes office Jan. 1 and assumes leadership of the PFDC as well. "This is a doomed deal," said Rodriquez. "It's like real estate speculation, basically. Speculators come in and sucker counties like ours and make them think they've struck gold, then the whole thing collapses." Rodriguez, who claims he had to file Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain basic information about the deal despite his role as the county's chief investment officer, says the official statement contains misleading statements. He says the OS contains an opinion by the county attorney on the legality of the bond issue, but the county attorney never provided such an opinion. Attorney Elizabeth Martinez said she knew nothing about the jail project until Nov. 4, three days before the bonds were sold at rates ranging from 10% to 12%. Then, she said, she was given 24 hours to sign an opinion that she considered beyond her expertise. She said she never signed the opinion. "I didn't appreciate the fact of being brought in at the last minute and my name being used without my being informed about it," Martinez said. "I am counsel to the county, but I have never been appointed counsel to the corporation." Some officials say a misstatement involving a county attorney opinion could constitute a violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Act of 1934, Rule 10b-5."A 10b-5 violation involves a misstatement or omission of a material fact," said Martha Haines, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Municipal Securities. Patterson said he and Rick Reyes, a former commissioner from neighboring Webb County who recently became an adviser on bond issues, were the first to discuss the idea of building a jail. Reyes is a consultant to the county and stands to make $700,000 for his work based on a percentage of the bond proceeds. (The Bond Buyer)

Lincoln County Detention Center, Carrizozo, New Mexico
July 28, 2010 Albuquerque Journal
Managers of the Lincoln County Detention Center in Carrizozo have fired an employee who was injured in a July 12 attack by a prisoner, the Ruidoso News reported. Walter Beall, the jail's chief security officer, was given his notice of termination last Friday, the News said. "I didn't get a copy of the termination," Beall told the News on Monday. "I was so stunned when they called me in and I saw the word 'termination' across the top of the paper, that I don't remember much about the details of it." Beall told the News that he remembered reading on his termination notice that his firing had to do with having a violent and dangerous inmate unsecured, endangering staff and violating policy, but jail Warden Marcello Villegas would not comment. Emerald Companies, which runs the private jail, had not commented as of the News' press time, but have already listed Beall's position of chief of security on its website as being open. Beall's attacker, J. Tyrone Riordan, had just returned to the jail after his removal from a competency hearing at the district courthouse, which was to determine whether Riordan was competent to defend himself in his trial for the 2006 murder of Johnathan Lopez, the News said. Riordan became angry and began yelling at the judge, using foul language and after ignoring the judge's warnings about his behavior, was removed from the courtroom and returned to the jail, the paper reported. After Riordan scuffled with several jail personnel, Beall was taken to the Lincoln County Medical Center for treatment of a broken nose and multiple bruises and contusions and was released the same day, according to the News. Beall said that he had been assisting Riordan since last September with his case research, documenting as much as 20 hours in a given week, allowing him access to his computer to view CDs of discovery material, the News said. Beall also said that during those sessions he would remove Riordan's cuffs so he could use the phone and work on his files, but would sit next to him to prohibit any unauthorized access to the Internet, the paper reported. "I wrote the policy for the Echo Unit (for high-risk inmates) where Riordan was being housed at the time and I never violated that policy," Beall said. Beall said that had Riordan been in handcuffs, it would not have kept the inmate from assaulting him, the News said. "It would have given him leverage to choke me with the cuffs," said Beall. "What I did with Riordan was what we had been doing with him for the past year in assisting him with his pro se cases, prior to and after the new warden's arrival."

December 23, 2008 Ruidoso Sun
A Lincoln County man has been convicted for his part in a jail riot that occurred at the Lincoln County Detention Center on Jan. 13, 2008. Jose Prieto, 25 was convicted Friday of assault on a jail, conspiracy and criminal damage to property exceeding $1,000. Eighteen prisoners in the Carrizozo facility's "Delta Pod" were charged with offenses after the riot. The pod had housed 28 prisoners ranging from accused murderers to petty misdemeanor probation violations. Since the riots, Emerald Correctional Management Company has assumed jail management from Cornell Corrections Company, and this type of prisoner housing has been under study.

June 19, 2008 Ruidoso News
Before Lincoln County commissioners filed over to the county detention center in Carrizozo for a semi-annual tour and lunch, an official with Emerald Correctional Management Inc. briefed them on changes since the company took over May 4. Al Patino, vice president for governmental affairs for Emerald, said security was "first and foremost" among plenty of changes. Emerald took over from Cornell Companies, the firm that absorbed Correctional System Inc., which managed the jail since it opened in April 2001. But complaints about staffing shortages, the filing of several lawsuits and an in-mate disturbance in January created dissatisfaction. Cornell officials in February announced they intended to execute a 90-day notice to terminate the contract with the county that was to run until August 2009. Emerald was the only company to respond to a request for proposals. Patino said they found equipment in disrepair and other items needing maintenance. They also painted. But major changes were tied to security, he said. "We found a lot of procedural issues, such as classification of inmates," Patino said. "We determined why each inmate was there and his previous history to decide on the proper housing." A warden from one of their Texas prisons helped identify problems, he said. For the one juvenile in the jail, they worked with the district attorney, then requested and received in writing a court order from the judge for him to stay until sentenced. Commission Chairman Tom Battin asked if the company expected to detain juveniles on a regular basis and Patino said no, this 16-year-old is being sentenced as an adult and is a special case. Patino thanked County Manager Tom Stewart, who was instrumental in allowing the company to address issues immediately, he said.

April 17, 2008 Ruidoso News
A one year contract with four renewal options was approved Tuesday by Lincoln County commissioners with a new firm to manage the county detention center in Carrizozo. Emerald Correctional Management LLC, founded in 1996 with headquarters in Louisiana, was represented by Al Patiño, director of special projects, and Clay Lee, chief executive officer. They were in the county seat of Carrizozo Monday beginning the transition of detention center employees from Cornell Industries to Emerald. In February, Cornell officials notified the county they intended to terminate the company's contract with the county "for convenience," with an effective date of May 4. The contract was to run through August 2009. The county took aggressive action for the procurement of a new operator and consideration of careful planning for an orderly transition, said County Manager Tom Stewart. Emerald was the only responsive submission to a request for proposals advertised by the county with a March 28 deadline for submission. After a closed executive session during a special commission meeting Friday to consider the proposal from Emerald officials, commissioners awarded the RFP to the company, subject to negotiation of a successful contract. Following the recommendation of Stewart, and with a few minor changes proposed by County Attorney Alan Morel from the initial submission, the contract was approved Tuesday in a unanimous vote by commissioners. "The firm has begun steps to transition current employees to the new company to meet the May 4 deadline for assuming operations," Stewart told commissioners. Hitting the deadline without a management company could have resulted in the jail being closed temporarily while Stewart attempted to organize a county-run operation. The changes specified in the approval included: County prisoners are given first priority to be housed in the center. A flat fee is charged to the county by Emerald, whether the prisoner is county or federal. The fee is $51.75 per day per prisoner. More definition of who will provide transport personnel and under what circumstances. The county provides the vehicles in all cases. Pre-adjudication, Emerald will furnish the driver/guard. After adjudication, the County Sheriff's Department will handle the job. Sheriff Rick Virden detailed some other situations where his department would be responsible, which included someone who commits an offense inside the county and is arrested outside New Mexico. No psychological evaluation is required for employees. Patiño said in Texas, no correctional officers are required to be evaluated. Insurance coverage was increased from $1 million to $3 million for occurrences and limits of liability. A provision for a performance bond was eliminated. In subsequent option years, the rates will not be increased by Emerald more than a 2.5 cap on the Consumer Price Index. Stewart said he was extremely encouraged by the contract and the attitude of company executives. "The company is forward-looking and they are discussing options for the future," he said. The center holds 144 prisoners. He based his operating calculations on 130 inmates, Stewart said, adding, the more beds that can be leased to federal law enforcement agencies, the better the financial break for the county. He anticipates a $388,000 increase and an annual operating budget of $2,760,538, "but that covers more officers and a facility up-to-par with standards by the American Corrections Association," Stewart said. Revenues generated by bed rentals and other sources will offset about $1,360,000, leaving the cost to the county at $1.4 million. Stewart said the company's reputation is good and Lee just returned from an operation they run in Israel. Morel said a quality assurance plan will be brought back to the commission later that will cover employee training requirements.

Lytton Springs, Texas
January 5, 2008 Austin American-Statesman
A company has canceled plans to build a detention center in Caldwell County for immigrants awaiting deportation in the face of strong opposition from residents concerned about their safety, county officials said. About 150 people attended a public meeting about the project Dec. 27 in Lytton Springs, and at least 90 percent of them opposed the project, Caldwell County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Roland said. "They were pretty forceful," he said of the residents. On Dec. 10, Louisiana-based Emerald Correctional Management LLC, which manages three correctional facilities in Texas, pitched the idea of a $30 million, 1,000-bed facility to be built in northeastern Caldwell County to county commissioners. Residents of the sparsely populated area were concerned about the dangers of living near a detention center. Some questioned whether there would be enough water to serve the center and whether Emerald would be able to fill all the jobs there, Roland said. Mike Moore, Emerald's director of business development, told the Statesman in December that money to construct the center would come from private sources. The facility would be a staging area for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Adult men and women would be housed separately, he said, and no children or families would be held there. Moore said federal immigration officials in San Antonio had told him that the agency needed a 1,000-bed facility within a 30-minute drive of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and of Interstate 35. The proposed facility would have a $4 million to $5 million annual payroll and generate 200 to 225 jobs in Caldwell County and an additional 200 jobs in the region, Moore said in December. Moore did not return calls Friday. Commissioners will vote on formally ending discussion of the project at their Jan. 14 meeting, Roland said.

Mineral Wells, Texas
October 8, 2009 Mineral Wells Index
A two and-a-half year effort to bring an illegal immigrant detention center to Mineral Wells ended Tuesday night with several long seconds of silence from city council members. A resolution to continue negotiations with Emerald Correctional Management to build a detention facility funded by non-recourse revenue bonds issued by the Mineral Wells Local Government Corporation failed when council members failed to second a motion in support. “That’s a pretty clear message that the city council has no interest in doing this project,” Steve Afeman, chief operating officer of Emerald, said Wednesday morning. “We’re not about to go back.” The failure to move ahead with negotiations seemed to come as a surprise to several. Afeman said Emerald met with mayor Mike Allen, Industrial Foundation representative Steve Butcher and city manager Lance Howerton and was told they believed council would support the public finance proposal. Allen told those attending the meeting there would be no public comments. “This is for the council to understand,” he said before a presentation from Hull Youngblood, Emerald’s attorney and representative. “[While switching sites earlier this year], we lost that window to get private financing that you could use,” Youngblood said. Initially the city offered Emerald land near Mineral Wells Municipal Airport, but 11th-hour public opposition to the site forced its move to Wolters Industrial Park, with the Industrial Foundation buying land to accommodate the switch. Youngblood told the council the city would not be obligated if they authorized the local government corporation to issue non-recourse revenue bonds. “The LGC will not have to pay anything on the debt except what is generated by project revenue,” Youngblood said. “[If the bonds were defaulted on] think of it like lenders and they’ve got a lien on the building. They could sell it or refinance it.” Because the local government corporation would own the title to the building, the facility would also be exempt from ad valorem taxes. “We would now take that pool of money [that would go to the city and Parker County] and give it to the city [as the per diem fee per inmate],” Youngblood said. Councilman Bill Terry wanted to know if the facility went defunct how much control the city would have. “[Once the facility is foreclosed on] they could do whatever they want,” Youngblood said, but added they would have to abide by applicable law. “What kind of black eye is it to the city or the LGC [if they are unable to pay off the bonds]?” council member Tommy Blissitte asked. Howerton said they talked with the city’s financial advisor and were told a default on the bonds would not technically affect the credit rating and would not likely impair the city. However, the city might have to explain the situation and that could raise a red flag with other possible underwriters, Howerton said. “What risk, if any, does Emerald have?” council member Deartis Nickerson asked. “[There is] not additional equity being paid to the lender beyond the significant development costs [already incurred],” Youngblood said. “I’ve been dealing with this for about a month and I’ve come to a conclusion our liability (would be) no different than private financing,” Allen said. Allen noted unemployment is over 8 percent in the county and said the project would generate jobs and bring in at least $6 million for the city over a 20-year period. Afeman said they’ve received about 30 job applications for the proposed Mineral Wells facility, which was supposed to have created 140 jobs, though many of the applications were from people in other parts of the state looking to return to Mineral Wells. Council member John Ritchie moved to approve the resolution authorizing the local government corporation to continue negotiations for the publicly financed proposal but did not receive a second. After several seconds of silence from the council, Allen requested a second to the motion but did not receive it from the other four council members present. Chris Crawford was absent. “It’s been a long, hard journey,” Allen said after the meeting. “I’ve put a lot of time into it.” Richard Ball, president of the Industrial Foundation, said afterward it was time to replace some city council members. “I don’t think it’s the right thing at the right time,” Terry said. “I want to see the Baker Hotel situation [succeed] and I don’t want anything to get in the way … I just think there are better deals out there and eventually they’ll come. I feel that Emerald is not being up front with us.” Terry was the lone dissenting vote when the council agreed to accept a lower impact fee than Emerald announced they would pay the city before the site was moved, asking whether it would be a sign of things to come. “I don’t like the idea of the city having to issue bonds,” councilman Tommy Blissitte told the Index Wednesday. “It would look bad on the city if they defaulted.”

Presidio County Jail, Marfa, Texas
June 11, 2009 CBS 7 News/KOSA
The Presidio County Jail in Marfa is in the process of shutting down because the county can't afford to run it. This will put fourteen jailers out of a job and transfer close to a hundred inmates to another jail. Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez said: “The county is flat out broke they barely have enough to make payroll, they barely have money coming in from tax revenue." Private prison company Emerald Correctional unexpectedly ended their contract managing the Presidio County jail. This Monday, county commissioners decided to shutdown the facility for 60 days because there's no money in the budget to fund it.

Riverbend Detention Center, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana
Nov. 21, 2013 thenewsstar.com

BATON ROUGE — East Carroll Parish Sheriff Wydette Williams is bucking a growing trend of privatizing the housing of inmates by purchasing a private prison for public use. The State Bond Commission Thursday approved the East Carroll Parish Law Enforcement District’s request to issue up to $16 million in bonds to pay off the nearly $12 million debt on the Riverbend Correctional Center, purchase the facility from Western Correctional for $250,000 and make some repairs. In the past few years, Gov. Bobby Jindal has been trying to sell state prisons to private operators but the Legislature rejected that move. His administration has closed penal institutions. Donnie Cunningham, an attorney with the Jones Walker firm who negotiated the purchase, said he got a low price because “it’s not really worth anything to him,” referring to Western Correctional owner Doug White. He said the sheriff won’t issue full $16 million in bonds but he had to get Bond Commission approval for that much to make sure everything is funded. “This is in the best interest of our parish,” Williams told the commission. “It’s also a savings to our parish.” Williams said when he was elected one of his goals was to remove Emerald Prison Enterprises from Riverbend and he did so in September. Cunningham said it’s a good deal because the parish can control its costs for housing inmates. Another bonus is if it owns it, the parish doesn’t have to pay property tax on the facility. Also, corrections facilities make money by housing inmates from other areas of the state and other states. “It will work as long as the Department of Corrections sends you inmates,” said Treasurer John Kennedy, chairman of the Bond Commission. Williams said the prison has a contract with the state Department of Corrections for 40 percent of its beds — 160 — and besides inmates from Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas it has some pretrial detainees from East Baton Rouge and Lafourche parishes. The prison was built in phases in the 1990s utilizing bonds issued through the Bond Commission. The new issue will be at a much lower interest rate than what’s on the original bonds. The first phase needs some repairs, Cunningham said, but the rest is in good shape. Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, said there were problems at the prison and he commended the sheriff for “trying to straighten it out.” Fannin cautioned Williams not to rely on the prison as an employment agency because “the first priority is managing inmates and not job creation.” He said Williams should “hire the best financial person you can find to manage the facility. Put your financial business plan in order.” Inmates now being housed in the East Carroll Correctional Center will be moved to Riverbend, Cunningham said. The attorney said ECDC needs repairs but could be used if Riverbend becomes too crowded. “But he (Williams) would have to spend some money to fix it up.” ECDC was closed by former Sheriff Mark Shumate but Williams reopened it in January. It held 180 inmates and employed 47 people at that time.

August 17, 2012 The News Star
More than 350 state inmates have been removed from the Riverbend Detention Center in Lake Providence after drugs, cellphones, homemade knives and other contraband were found during a massive shakedown. About 100 officers and 17 drug-sniffing dogs from various state correctional facilities conducted the shakedown. The team randomly drug tested 172 state inmates with 40 testing positive. Those 40 inmates and nine others were removed immediately Thursday, and 310 more were removed from Riverbend on Friday. "Obviously, when this much contraband is discovered we need to assess security protocols," said Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections. "What we're trying to accomplish is reducing the inmate population to a level we believe the staff can handle." Laborde said more than 500 state inmates remain at Riverbend. Emerald Prison Enterprises, with corporate headquarters in Shreveport and Lafayette, manages Riverbend, a private prison leased by the East Carroll Law Enforcement District. Steve Afeman, Emerald's chief operating officer, said he was concerned but not alarmed by what state officials found at the prison. "It always concerns me, but you're always going to find contraband at a prison," he said. Afeman said he suspects East Carroll Sheriff Wydette Williams asked for the shakedown as a tactic to gain control of the detention center's management. Williams, chief executive of the East Carroll Law Enforcement District, has filed a lawsuit in 6th District Court hoping to have Emerald's contract nullified. Former Sheriff Mark Shumate, whom Williams unseated, made the deal with Emerald as a lame duck in March against Williams' wishes. Under the 15-year deal, Emerald is obligated to pay the district $150,000 annually. A hearing on the lawsuit is schedule for Sept. 5. "The sheriff wants to run this facility," Afeman said. "When it gets to the point where a sheriff is nonresponsive, these things start happening." Williams denied that the shakedown was an event he orchestrated as a ploy to pressure Emerald to reconsider its contract to manage the facility. "When you have a facility that is full of drugs and other contraband, it's a legitimate threat not only to the inmates housed there but to the parish itself with this many breaches in security," Williams said. Laborde said state corrections staff remain on site assessing the situation. She wouldn't speculate on whether more state inmates could be removed. In addition to marijuana, cellphones and shanks, members of the shakedown team confiscated cash, MP3 players, thumb drives and tattoo guns.

February 10, 2012 News Star
Sixth District Judge John Crigler issued a temporary restraining order Friday preventing lame-duck East Carroll Parish Sheriff Mark Shumate from turning over the management of the Riverbend Detention Center to Emerald Companies, a private prison management firm. Crigler’s order calls for a hearing on the matter on Feb. 16 at the East Carroll courthouse. The East Carroll Parish Clerk of Court confirmed the order was issued. Sheriff-elect Wydette Williams asked the court to issue the temporary retraining order because he fears the contract would financially gut the East Carroll Parish Law Enforcement District. The sheriff’s office currently manages Riverbend. “It makes absolutely no sense,” Williams said. “It would eliminate more local jobs and place our ability to provide quality law enforcement in the parish in grave jeopardy.” Late last year Shumate closed the East Carroll Detention Center and moved all of those prisoners to the private Riverbend facility in another controversial move. Williams said he doesn’t know the exact impact of turning over the management of Riverbend to a private firm because Shumate hasn’t been forthcoming with the information. Shumate hosted a public meeting about the Riverbend issue Wednesday at the East Carroll courthouse, but after reading a brief statement he left the meeting and declined to answer questions or reveal details about the proposed deal. Williams hopes a judge will demand answers from Shumate. “He’ll have to bring forth information and explain how this would be beneficial to the parish, and I don’t believe he can,” Williams said. “I’ve tried to reach out to him myself, and he won’t respond.” Williams, a former deputy at the East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Office and investigator for the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, beat Shumate in the Oct. 22 election, but Williams won’t take office until July 1. The sheriff-elect said once he takes office he will explore the possibility of reopening the East Carroll Parish Detention Center.

Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Center, Haskell, Texas
Mar 2, 2017 bigcountryhomepage.com
ICE Moving Detainees from Haskell, Detention Center Closing
HASKELL COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Immigration and Customs Enforcement is moving detainees from a local detention center, causing the facility to close. Rolling Plains Jail and Detention Center is closing on March 15, 2017, because ICE officials are "not happy with the current management company [Emerald]", according to a press release from Haskell County Judge David Davis. Over the next two weeks, the press release says ICE officials will be moving detainees from Haskell to a new facility in Alvarado.  Judge Davis wants to assure residents that ICE has not pulled their contract with the Rolling Plains Detention Center. In the press release, he claims ICE, "said they need beds today and if we had a new management company, they would continue to use Haskell". Judge Davis told KTAB and KRBC Haskell County is "working diligently" to hire a new management company - a project he says is not feasible to get done in two weeks. He has contacted Workforce Solutions of West Central Text to help establish unemployment for those affected by layoffs resulting from the closure, according to the press release, which contains the following statement about the future of the facility: We are under the impression that the Trump administration expects to utilize many prison facilities across Texas. They will need a place to go with additional ICE detainees. They tell us they currently have plenty of detainees to fill Haskell and Alvarado. The DOJ is in the process of making all their new appointments. As soon as that is complete, we foresee this process will move much quicker than it has in the past.  The press release ends by stating County officials are working with other counties to house inmates currently serving time in the Haskell County Jail, which is inside the detention facility. County commissioners are meeting Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. to discuss their options they have to house these inmates.

February 5, 2010 Houston Chronicle
Luis Dubegel-Paez, a 60-year-old Cuban immigrant, lay on the floor of Rolling Plains Detention Center with no pulse, his face flushed, his pupils dilated. For months before he collapsed at the detention center near Abilene, he had been complaining to nurses about chest pain and heart problems, asking to see a doctor. “Can't stand the pain,” Dubegel-Paez wrote on a sick call slip on Jan. 1, 2008. In response, he was treated by a nurse at the center's medical clinic and given cold medicine. As the weeks passed, he filed more urgent requests to see a doctor — only to be given more cough medicine and Tylenol by nurses, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement records. While Dubegel-Paez waited to see a doctor, inspectors working for ICE toured the facility Feb. 26, 2008, to check that it complied with ICE's own detention standards. The inspectors rated the center “acceptable,” noting no deficiencies in its medical care. It was only after Dubegel-Paez collapsed and died in March 2008 that ICE's inspectors noted in a report that medical care for about 500 detainees at the facility was being provided only by eight vocational nurses with minimal nursing or physician supervision. The case highlights what critics have called pervasive problems with ICE's enforcement of detention standards. A review of more than 800 pages of inspection reports obtained by the Houston Chronicle through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that inspectors have, in some instances, given positive reviews to facilities with serious problems — ranging from inadequate medical care to poor grievance procedures. In many cases, ICE has required facilities with deficiencies to make improvements, though inspectors often failed to note in subsequent reports whether changes were made. After Dubegel-Paez's death, inspectors noted that the Rolling Plains facility failed to meet a number of ICE's detention standards, including care for chronic illness and responding to sick call requests. But ICE officials still did not downgrade the center's rating because of staffing problems in the medical unit, records show, and continue to place a growing number of detainees there. ICE officials said they are in the process of overhauling the nation's immigration detention system, including its monitoring procedures, and plan to improve oversight of medical care. “The problems that occurred in 2007 and 2008 are terrible problems, and as an institution and an agency we have to address them and take them extraordinarily seriously,” said Brian Hale, ICE's public affairs director in Washington, D.C. “But I also do have to point out that was something that occurred in the past, and this new administration ... is committed to ensuring that doesn't happen again. We take it very seriously.” Are changes enough? ICE officials said they plan to announce changes this spring to strengthen their detention standards, which are designed to ensure that detainees have basic protections while in custody. The agency has relied on 300-plus detention centers, private prisons and local jails to house about 400,000 immigrants annually — with roughly one in four detained in Texas. Hale said ICE is reducing the number of facilities to improve oversight. The agency also plans to station government monitors at the centers and jails that house the largest numbers of ICE detainees, he added. Linton Joaquin, who has investigated detention centers' compliance with ICE's standards as general counsel with the National Immigration Law Center, said ICE's planned measures are positive, but “they are so inadequate in comparison to the scope of the problem.” ICE officials have reported that the majority of inspected facilities complied with the agency's detention standards, though a 2008 Inspector General audit found reviewers had not been effective in identifying certain serious problems at facilities. Locally, the Houston Contract Detention Facility has received high marks in reviews. Inspection reports obtained by the Chronicle, which date from early 2007 through February 2009, show ICE has placed detainees in facilities that have failed to meet some minimum requirements outlined under its own standards for detainee care, with violations ranging from failure to accommodate religious diets to lack of formal disciplinary procedures. Access to adequate medical care continues to be one of the most difficult and controversial issues for ICE, which has recorded 107 detainee deaths since 2003, including more than a dozen in Texas. ICE's records documented a wide range of medical care problems at facilities rated as acceptable, including a complete lack of on-site medical care at one Dallas-area jail approved for housing short-term detainees, and chronic staffing problems at larger facilities. An inspection report for the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall documented a severe staffing shortage in 2007 in the medical unit, with 19 vacancies out of 46 positions. The reviewer wrote that the facility, which at the time held about 1,250 detainees, was meeting ICE's standard for medical access at an “acceptable” level, though he noted that employees were staying after hours to complete basic duties. When inspectors returned a year later, in April 2008, ICE had increased the number of detainees held at the facility to 1,547 — despite continuing problems with the medical unit. Hiring a key issue -- The inspector noted the facility, which is owned and operated by the GEO Group, was having trouble meeting a standard ICE requirement that all detainees have a medical exam within 14 days of admission. The medical unit had 10 vacancies at the time of inspection. “These positions are critical to the delivery of health care and compliance with all ICE standards,” the inspector wrote, giving the facility a “good” rating. The center continues to suffer from staffing shortages, with 24 vacancies out of 69 authorized positions in its medical unit, though ICE officials noted that the government is actively recruiting and hiring for those spots. GEO Group spokesman Pablo Paez declined comment. On March 14, the day that Dubegel-Paez died, he filled out a final sick call slip and complained to his cell mate about chest pains before being seen by a nurse. He was being held while ICE officials tried to arrange his deportation to Cuba. “I have an emergency to see the doctor about my heart problems that I been having for the last couple days, and I have been getting dizzy a lot,” he wrote on the sick call slip. According to ICE's report, the nurse gave him two Tylenol pills and scheduled him for a sick call appointment the following Monday. An autopsy ruled his cause of death was heart disease. Still, weeks after Dubegel-Paez's death, the acting chief of ICE's Detention Standards Compliance unit affirmed the center's “acceptable” rating without any requirement to improve medical treatment. Arthur Anderson, the warden of Rolling Plains center, operated by Emerald Companies, did not return phone calls seeking comment. The facility now has an on-site physician only six to 10 hours a week and eight full-time nurses, ICE reported. ICE has continued to increase the number of detainees housed there, averaging 537 a day last year.

May 11, 2008 Washington Post
Neil Sampson, who ran the DIHS as interim director most of last year, left that job with serious questions about the government's commitment. Sampson said in an interview that ICE treated detainee health care "as an afterthought," reflecting what he called a failure of leadership and management at the Homeland Security Department. "They do not have a clear idea or philosophy of their approach to health care [for detainees]," he said. "It's a system failure, not a failure of individuals." A new director for health services arrived six months ago, following a stretch when the agency was run first by Sampson and then by a second interim director. The new boss is LaMont W. Flanagan, who brought with him the credential of having been fired in 2003 by the state of Maryland for bad management and spending practices supervising detention and pretrial services. An audit found that Flanagan had signed off on payments of $145,000 for employee entertainment and other ill-advised expenditures. His reputation was such that the District of Columbia would not hire him for a juvenile-justice position. "Another death that needs to be added to the roster," Diane Aker, the DIHS chief health administrator, tapped out in an e-mail to a records clerk at headquarters on Aug. 14, 2007. Juan Guevara-Lorano, 21, was dead. Guevara, an unemployed legal U.S. resident with a young son, was arrested in El Paso for driving illegal border-crossers farther into the city. He was paid $50. An entry-level emergency medical technician, with barely any training, had done Guevara's intake screening and physical assessment at the Otero County immigration compound in New Mexico. Under DIHS rules, those tasks are supposed to be done by a nurse. After two difficult months in detention, Guevara had decided not to appeal his case. He would go back to Mexico with his family. But on Aug. 4, he came down with a splitting headache, what he called a nine on a pain scale of 10, his medical records show. The rookie medical technician prescribed Tylenol and referred Guevara to the compound's physician "due to severity of headache ... and dizziness," according to medical records. But Guevara never saw a doctor. Eight days after the first incident, he vomited in his cell. The same junior technician came to help but was unable to insert a nasal airway tube. Guevara was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined an aneurism in his brain had burst. His wife, pregnant at the time with their second child, recalled that she rushed to the hospital but ICE guards would not let her inside, until the Mexican Consulate interceded. Guevara's mother waited five hours before they let her in. By then he was brain-dead. "My son is not coming back," sobbed Ana Celia Lozano months later, sitting in Guevara's small mobile home as her grandson played on the floor. "I want to know how he lived and died, nothing more." What appears to be the most incriminating document in Guevara's case has been partially blacked out. Still, what is left shows that he did not receive adequate care. "The detainee was not seen or evaluated by an RN, midlevel or physician. . . . At the time of the incident on 8/12/2007, the detainee was seen and examined by EMTs." Each immigration facility is allotted a different number of positions, and a shortage of doctors and nurses is not unusual at centers across the country. Records from February show that about 30 percent of all DIHS positions in the field were unfilled. ICE officials said last week that the current vacancy rate is 21 percent. Concern about the vacancies is voiced repeatedly at clinical directors' meetings. "How do we state our concerns so that we can be heard? . . . this is a CRITICAL condition. . . . We have bitten off more than we can chew," a physician wrote in the minutes of one meeting last summer. In some prisons, the staffing shortages are acute. The Willacy County detention center in South Texas -- the largest compound, with 2,018 detainees -- has no clinical director, no pharmacist and only a part-time psychiatrist. Nearly 50 percent of the nursing positions were unfilled at the 1,500-detainee Eloy, Ariz., prison in February. At the newly opened 744-bed Jena., La., compound, nurses run the place. It has no clinical director, no staff physician, no psychiatrist and no professional dental staff. Last August, Sampson, who was then DIHS interim director, warned his superiors at ICE that critical personnel shortages were making it impossible to staff the Jena facility adequately. In a vociferous e-mail to Gary Mead, the ICE deputy director in charge of detention centers, he wrote: "With the Jena request we have been re-examining our capabilities to meet health care needs at a new site when we are facing critical staffing shortages at most every other DIHS site. While we developed, executed and achieved major successes in our recruitment efforts we have been unable to meet the demand." The slow ICE security-clearance process forced many job applicants to go elsewhere, Sampson wrote. Of the 312 people who applied for new positions over the past year, 200 withdrew, he wrote, because they found other jobs during the 250 days it took ICE, on average, to conduct the required background investigations. Last week, ICE officials said the average wait had decreased recently to 37 days. These shortages have burdened the remaining staff. In July 2007, a year after Osman's death in Otay Mesa, medical director Hui strongly complained to headquarters about workload stress. "The level of burnout . . . is high and rising," she wrote in an e-mail. "I know that I have been averaging approximately 2-6 hrs of overtime daily for the past 2 months. I will no longer be able to sustain this pace and will be decreasing the number of hours that I work overtime. This being said, more will be left undone because we simply do NOT have the staff." The overcrowding has created a petri dish for the spread of diseases. One mission of the Public Health Service is to detect infectious diseases and contain them before they spread, but last summer, the gigantic Willacy center was hit by a chicken pox outbreak. The illness spread because the facility did not have enough available isolation rooms and its large pods share recycled air, but also because security officers "lack education about the disease and keep moving around detainees from different units without taking into consideration if the unit has been isolated due to heavy exposure," noted the DIHS's top specialist on infectious diseases, Carlos Duchesne. The staff was forced to vaccinate the entire population in mid-July. In one 2007 death, memos and confidential notes show how medical staff missed an infectious disease, meningitis, in their midst. Victor Alfonso Arellano, 23, a transgender Mexican detainee with AIDS, died in custody at the San Pedro center. The first three pages of Duchesne's internal review of the death leave the impression that Arellano's care was proper. But the last page, under the heading "Off the record observations and recommendations," takes a decidedly critical tone: "The clinical staff at all levels fails to recognize early signs and symptoms of meningitis. . . . Pt was evaluated multiple times and an effort to rule out those infections was not even mentioned." Arellano was given a "completely useless" antibiotic, Duchesne wrote. Lab work that should have been performed immediately took 22 days because San Pedro's clinical director had ordered staff members to withhold lab work for new detainees until they had been in detention there "for more than 30 days," a violation of agency rules. "I am sure that there must be a reason why this was mandated but that practice is particularly dangerous with chronic care cases and specially is particularly dangerous with . . . HIV/AIDS patients," Duchesne wrote. "Labs for AIDS patients . . . must be performed ASAP to know their immune status and where you are standing in reference to disease control and meds." Given the frequency with which ICE moves people within the detention network, keeping track of detainees is critical to stopping the spread of infectious illnesses. The purchase of an electronic records system named CaseTrakker in 2004 was supposed to help. But according to internal documents and interviews, CaseTrakker is so riddled with problems that facilities often revert to handwritten records. A study at one site found that it took one-third more time to use CaseTrakker than to use paper. Thousands of patient files are missing. Recorded data often cannot be retrieved. Day-long outages are common. When detainees are transferred from one facility to another, their records, if they follow them, are often misleading. Some show medications with no medical diagnoses, or "lots of diagnoses but no meds," according to Elizabeth Fleming, a former clinical director at one compound in Arizona. After Yusif Osman's death and the discovery of the problem with his computerized records, the DIHS ordered a review of all charts at the Otay Mesa center. During the review, auditors also found that 260 physical exams were never completed as required. The nurse responsible for the error in Osman's case was reprimanded, but the computer problem was not fixed. The CaseTrakker system "has failed and must be replaced," Sampson, the DIHS interim director, wrote to his ICE supervisors in August. In January 2008, medical director Shack told colleagues that CaseTrakker "is more of a liability than the use of paper medical record system," according to the minutes of a meeting. It "puts patients at risk." ICE officials said last week that they are not satisfied with CaseTrakker and are working to replace it. Along with being at the mercy of computer glitches, detainees suffer from human errors that deny or delay their care. And with few advocates on the outside, they are left alone to plead their cases in the most desperate ways, in hand-scribbled notes to doctors they rarely see. "I need medicine for pain. All my bones hurt. Thank you," wrote Mexico native Roberto Ledesma Guerrero, 72, three weeks before he died inside the Otay Mesa compound. Delays persist throughout the system. In January, the detention center in Pearsall, Tex., an hour from San Antonio, had a backlog of 2,097 appointments. Luis Dubegel-Paez, a 60-year-old Cuban, had filled out many sick call requests before he died on March 14. Detained at the Rolling Plains Detention Facility in the West Texas town of Haskell, he wrote on New Year's Day: "need to see doctor for Heart medication; and having chest pains for the past three days. Can't stand pain." Ten days later he went to the clinic and became upset when he wasn't seen. He slugged the window, yelled, pointed at his wristwatch. He was escorted back to his cell. Another of his sick call requests said: "Need to see a doctor. I have a lot of symptoms of sickness ... as soon as possible!" The next was more urgent: "I have a emergency to see the doctor about my heart problems ... for the last couple days and I been getting dizzy a lot." The next day, Dubegel-Paez collapsed and died. His medical records do not show that he ever saw a doctor for his chest pains.

April 18, 2006 AP
Two Wyoming inmates have been recaptured after escaping from a Texas jail over the weekend, according to the Wyoming Department of Corrections. Joe Wilkinson, 41, gave himself up about two hours after the escape Saturday and didn't get very far from the Rolling Plains Regional Jail and Detention Center in Haskell, Texas, corrections spokeswoman Melinda Brazzale said Monday. Robert Dix, 25, was arrested Sunday night, about 34 hours after the escape. He, too, didn't get far from the prison. Haskell is about 50 miles north of Abilene, Texas. Wyoming keeps many of its inmates there because it doesn't have enough room for them at prisons in Wyoming.

San Luis Federal Detention Facility, San Luis, Arizona
August 14, 2009 Yuma Sun
San Luis has found a new company to run its federal prison amid concerns that the prior contractor was not following through with the planned expansion of the facility. Emerald Companies, a Louisiana-based firm, has taken the reins from Civigenics in administering the city-owned prison that houses inmates under contract with federal law enforcement agencies. "We are very happy to come here," said Emerald CEO Clay Lee during a recent visit to San Luis. "We were very well received. This is going to be a very good change. I don't want to say that things were bad before, but change is inevitable." The possibility that city would not renew Civigenics' contract surfaced months ago out of concern that the prison's planned expansion had lagged. "There was a year of negotiations so that they would present us plans for expansion, but nothing concrete ever materialized," said Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla. "The building was designed from the beginning for 1,000 beds," he added. "It's not going to be bigger than that. We don't want to be known as a city of prisons. We want to control (that perception) and that's the way it will be." Civigenics was contracted two years ago to build the prison, at a cost of $25 million funded by municipal bonds, then take over operation. Civigenics declined to comment. The process of transfer began last week and will conclude Saturday, Emerald's first official day as subcontractor. Emerald is not a public company directed by a large board of directors, Lee said. "There are three of us who make the decisions. Therefore we're able to do it immediately." Lee said the building's good condition and design will make it easy to add beds and expand as desired by the city. "We only need to plan exactly how that addition will be made," he said. "Time will tell, but the worst-case scenario is that we'll have 300 new beds, even though I believe we'll be able to double that." The goal is to reach the 1,000-prison bed mark contemplated in the original design. The additional beds will bring more money into the city in the form of prisoner detention payments from the federal government, Escamilla said. A portion of the revenue from the prisoner payments goes to retire the bonds.

Shepherd Texas
Nov 3, 2015 chron.com

Senate leader advises against Shepherd lockup

AUSTIN -- Officials in the small community of Shepherd were warned Tuesday against committing public funds to build a 1,000-bed detention center to house immigrants awaiting deportation. Citing the failed history in Texas of communities and counties funding private lockups, Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, said in a letter to Mayor Pro Tem Sherry Roberts that the project is ill-advised. The Shepherd City Council a week ago voted to support the construction of the lockup with Emerald Correctional Management LLC. "I hope you are aware that many cities and counties in Texas have gone down the failed path of partnering with private correctional entities to build both prisons and immigration detention facilities," Whitmire said in the two-page letter. "Many of these thousands of beds now sit empty, leaving the public partner (city or county) responsible for paying off the debt issued to build the facility." Whitmire cited the failed lockup-partnership experiences in Littlefield, a small community in remote West Texas, and in rural Jones County, near Abilene. Officials in both places funded private lockups that went empty, and were left paying off bonds at a high cost to local taxpayers. The Littlefield center was recently selected to house a sex-offender program, after sitting empty for years. The Jones County facility is still barren. Both had tried to attract immigration detainee contracts, but were unsuccessful as the numbers of those confinees dropped. During the 1990s, other small Texas communities and counties helped fund private prisons that eventually went belly up, after state officials refused to house state convicts there to help them pay off the debt. "Texas has closed three, privately run state jails or prison facilities, while our state inmate population continues to decline," Whitmire said. "If the expected immigration population dwindles or disappears altogether, the state will have no part in filling the empty beds with state inmates. Again, thousands of beds built through speculation projects now sit empty, with public entities on the hook. "I understand and appreciate the desire to provide economic development within your community, but gone are the times of using prisons and correctional facilities for that purpose," the senator stated. "I am hopeful that you will take under consideration the failed speculative projects elsewhere in Texas and the potentially significant financial liabilities your community would assume if a similar scenario were to play out in Shepherd." No immediate response from officials in Shepherd, a community of about 2,300 east of Houston.

Texas Legislature
Nov 24, 2015 houstonchronicle.com 
Powerful Senator says no TX inmates for proposed Emerald prison

A private prison operator hoping to build an immigrant detention center near Houston received a sharp rebuke last week from a top state lawmaker, who warned the company that state officials would have "no part" filling beds at the proposed facility with state inmates. "Gone are the times of using prisons and correctional facilities for [economic development]," Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, said in a letter to Emerald Correctional Management, citing the troubled history of communities around the state funding private lockups. The company, which operates six detention facilities in Texas, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona and is constructing a seventh facility, has made headlines in years past for its business practices, persuading small towns across the country to build the jails on speculation - like one in Hardin, Mont., that stood empty for years, leading officials there to offer to house suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At another, in the small south Texas town of Encinal, in LaSalle County, Emerald's operations came under additional scrutiny after it abruptly pulled out of the center there after the inmate population dropped, saddling county officials with a facility with a leaky roof, about $20 million in debt, and scrambling to find a new operator to save the jobs of the 100 guards and staff. The letter comes a month after the city of Shepherd voted to support construction of 1,000-bed federal detention center to house immigrants awaiting deportation. Louisiana-based Emerald Corrections is one of several companies expected to submit bids to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to build a detention center in the Houston area. Private detention facilities proliferated across the state over the last two decades, in response in part to a wave of illegal immigration. The facilities were originally seen by many municipalities as a low-risk way to bring jobs and federal funds to small Texas communities. In recent years, as capacity increased and apprehensions dropped sharply, many facilities have struggled and had to seek inmates from other avenues to stay afloat. "If the expected immigration population dwindles or disappears altogether, the State will have no part in filling the empty beds with state inmates," Whitmire warned in the Nov. 18 letter, citing coverage by the Houston Chronicle last month of how Shepherd voted to support the project less than a week after officials in the nearby city of Cleveland rebuffed the private correction company's advances. Officials in nearby Chambers County likewise voted recently not to support construction of an immigrant detention center there. In a similar letter to Shepherd city officials, Whitmire cited the failed lockup-partnership experiences in Littlefield, a small community in remote West Texas, and in rural Jones County, near Abilene. Officials in both places funded private lockups that went empty, and were left paying off bonds at a high cost to local taxpayers. Both tried to attract immigration detainee contracts, but were unsuccessful as the numbers of those held have dropped. Emerald CEO Steve Afeman disputed Whitmire's characterizations, saying the facilities had been financed through public facility corporations and that local municipalities had not been required to make any payments on the bonds required to finance the construction and operation. Afeman said state officials abandoned operations at the Jones County facility - originally slated as a drug education center - after it had already been built. The facility in Littlefield has since found inmates to house, he said, adding that the proposed project differed from both of Whitmire's examples. "Remember, this is a federal project through the Department of Homeland Security," Afeman said Tuesday. "It has a 10-year-guarantee, with a guaranteed population of 75 percent." Shepherd Mayor Pro-Tem Sherry Roberts did not answer a phone call Tuesday morning. Debra Hagler, the city secretary, said officials there "just disregarded" Whitmire's letter. "The resolution had already been signed and sent," she said.

Two Rivers Detention Facility
Hardin, Montana
01/21/2016 bighorncountynews.com
Emerald awaits BIA contract for Two Rivers Detention Facility
While a contract between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Emerald Correctional Management has yet to be signed – leaving the Emerald-managed Two Rivers Detention Facility with zero prisoners as of January – both parties agree that it will be finalized. In an interview last Wednesday, Emerald Corrections Senior Warden Michael Porter said company officials are in contact with the BIA on a daily basis. The 464-bed, $27 million facility, which has the capacity to employ 150 people, is currently down to six corrections officers. To break even from an economic standpoint, the facility requires 250 detainees – a number they acquired from 10 tribes and seven states during the building’s peak in July 2015. “There are people waiting to be brought to this facility,” Porter said. “We want to be here for the community.” In November, Jason Thompson, assistant director for the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, said the contract between his organization and Two Rivers should be renewed quickly, though he admitted to not having control over the timeline. He said the BIA “ran up against the end of the year” in approving a new contract and he expressed a desire not to repeat the delay in the future. “The new contract is at the contracting office now,” he said. “I don’t really know how long it will take, but it shouldn’t be too much longer.” Like Porter, Thompson said tribal officials nationwide were “pretty eager” to use the Two Rivers facility. Emerald’s individually-paced Turning Point Program – targeted towards their Native demographic – is designed to help detainees recover from problems including substance abuse over the course of 6-9 months, while giving them opportunities to learn life skills and express their culture. “The programs are designed to evaluate the needs for the individual detainee,” Porter said, “and then they are placed in a program that fits their needs.” One problem plaguing the facility is the allegation that it doesn’t meet state or federal standards. In a June 2015 interview with Assistant Warden Ted Lewis, he said, “The facility meets American Correctional Association (ACA) standards and is operated following the standards they set. The facility also meets or exceeds all Montana Association of Counties (MACo) standards for the state.” The ACA not only certifies the facility, but also sets standards on how inmates and employees are treated to ensure their safety. James Parkey of Corplan Corrections, who has been involved with Two Rivers Detention Facility since its inception in 2004, said, “ACA inspectors have recently looked at the facility and have no problem with it.” The inspection, Porter added, was “very thorough.” While a long process, he said, “The facility will be certified by the ACA this year.” According to Two Rivers Warden Ken Keller, once the ACA accreditation goes through, the facility will be the only such accredited facility in Montana. “It will be pretty hard to argue that we don’t meet any standards,” Keller said. An April-May 2014 report by 26-year veteran Contractor Mark Goldman of the National Institute of Corrections entitled “Consideration of Options for Incarcerating Big Horn County’s Inmates” identified various “building-related problems” with the facility.  The report was drafted with the intention of helping the county decide whether to keep their current jail – built in 1979, construct a new jail at an estimated cost of $10 million or transport inmates to the Two Rivers facility at a cost of $68 per inmate per day (the charge includes transportation and medical services). Using the report figures, if the county were to house its daily average of 42 inmates at Two Rivers, it would cost an estimated $1,042,440 per year. If an inmate were to be injured in the facility, Two Rivers would be liable, not the county. Concerns cited by Goldman – among others – include the absence of natural light in housing units or program rooms, the belief that the facility’s 24-bed dormitories were “too large and inappropriate” for local inmates, and an alleged lack of regular supervision (according to facility officials, detainees are observed every 30 minutes). The document also states that, “reportedly”, the American Civil Liberties Union was advocating against incarcerating inmates in the facility. In reality, ACLU has not studied the Two Rivers facility, but the findings of their study of the Big Horn County jail were released in a February 2015 report.  At the time, the jail was ranked by its inmates last among the 24-30 county jails surveyed in access to natural light, satisfaction with food variety, plumbing and mold management. Following the study report, former Undersheriff Bart Elliott said the county was working with the organization to improve the jail’s living conditions. County Commissioner George Real Bird III said the prevailing opinion among county officials was that they should build a new jail. Within a decade, he said, the cost of renting from Two Rivers would exceed the cost of constructing a new building. The estimated cost for the facility’s construction does not account for day-to- day operations. Thsi cost was unavailable  at press time. This year, he said, the question of whether to build a new jail might be placed on the primary or general election ballot. “I know that if something came down hard on us, like the ACLU, I think we’d have to get the ball rolling,” he said, “but, as a whole, I think we’re trying to hold it off as far as we can.” A second report, entitled “Inspection and Familiarization” filed in December 2013 by Correctional Consultant Patrick W. Keohane, showed a more positive picture of the facility. In the report, following his inspection, Keohane stated the building had been well-maintained despite being vacant since its 2007 construction (it opened in August 2014). As someone who served as chairperson of “about 80 prison and jail audits through the United States and Mexico”, he believed the area to be well-secure with effective medical facilities (including an X-ray equipment room, dental treatment room and pharmacy). The lack of natural light addressed in the other report, he stated, would be provided by overhead lighting and probably wouldn’t “lessen the quality of life” for detainees. “Since I have seen many jails and prisons throughout the United States, my thoughts are that some other states, counties and cities would jump to have a facility like this one,” he stated. “It appears to me that this is such a waste to let such a fine facility stay empty.” At press time, the Two Rivers facility has been operating without a BIA contract since Nov. 1, 2015.

Apr 30, 2016 helenair.com
Lacking prisoners, Hardin jail closes again
BILLINGS -- The Two Rivers Regional Detention Center, Hardin's troubled private prison, has suspended operations due to the lack of inmates. Warden Ken Keller said that on April 13, they officially stopped holding prisoners. Employees were sent home, and only Keller and his program manager, Hope Keller, remain in the building. "There's two of us here," Ken Keller said. "We're keeping the lights on and chugging away." It's the latest setback in the facility's grim history. For years, the 464-bed facility sat empty. Last fall, the Bureau of Indian Affairs cut its contract with the prison, leaving Two Rivers without its main source of inmates. By January, the prison had furloughed many of its employees but continued to limp along with a couple dozen inmates. They came from small contracts with individual American Indian tribes and with Williams County, N.D. The prison gets paid on a per inmate, per day basis through contracts. In the absence of full beds, debt has piled up on the facility, reaching as much as $40 million in December. The outstanding debt threatens to double the $27 million in bonds originally spent to build the facility. Emerald Correction Management of Louisiana operates the jail, which is called the Two Rivers Regional Detention Facility. The Two Rivers Authority, the economic development arm of the city of Hardin, owns the building as a separate entity. Without its main economic engine, the Two Rivers Authority has operated at a substantial loss. In 2014, the authority had $97 in revenue against $388,000 in expenses, according to city documents. “I really have nothing of any value to add to this conversation,” said Jeff McDowell, executive director of the Two Rivers Authority, before hanging up on a reporter. While McDowell declined to comment, the Two Rivers Authority website has a statement announcing the shutdown, which it deems temporary. The statement also said that Emerald advised Two Rivers that it has responded to negotiation moves by the BIA. It could take up to 90 days for a contract to be awarded, according to the Two Rivers Authority's statement. McDowell gives periodic updates to the Hardin Common Council regarding the prison. The city has kept Two Rivers Authority afloat and paid out $582,595 from 2004 to December 2015. About 45 percent of that money was paid before the jail opened in mid-2007. Hardin finance officer Michelle Dyckman said that because the building is owned by Two Rivers, it is tax exempt. Officials from the prison have made appeals to county officials in Montana, hoping that they will use the Two Rivers Detention Facility to ease county jail overcrowding. So far, there has been no movement toward the private facility. Additionally, Keller said that he's been working on other small contracts. They recently finalized a deal with the Lummi Nation, which brought small numbers of inmates to Hardin before the facility ceased operation. As for the BIA contract, Keller said that it's still a waiting game. "Nobody seems to be clear," he said. "We're working on things." Officials from Emerald did not immediately respond to calls. Since Nov. 30, the BIA has not responded to periodic questions from The Gazette about contract negotiations.

Feb 4, 2016 billingsgazette.com
Officials from Two Rivers jail in Hardin make pitch to Yellowstone County
A guard employed by Emerald Correctional Management enters the Two Rivers Regional Detention Center in Hardin in October 2014. Emerald recently took over operations of the 464-bed jail that had sat empty since its 2007 construction. With about 500 inmates packed in Yellowstone County’s jail — a space designed to house 286 — officials from the Two Rivers Regional Detention Facility in Hardin came calling on Wednesday. For $68 a day per inmate, Yellowstone County could send its prisoners to the Hardin jail, said Mike Porter, a senior warden with Emerald Correctional Management, a Louisiana-based company that contracted in 2014 with Two Rivers Authority in Hardin to operate the jail.  The Hardin jail, Porter said, would transport inmates for court appearances, provide direct supervision of prisoners, offer video conferencing and indemnify the county against liability. The 464-bed facility also meets jail standards, he said. Porter, along with officials from Two Rivers Authority, the economic development arm of Hardin, met with county officials for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning to encourage Yellowstone County to use the Two Rivers Regional Detention Facility. Yellowstone County Commission Chairman Bill Kennedy, along with Kevan Bryan, finance director, and Dan Schwarz, chief deputy attorney of the civil division, peppered Porter and Authority officials with questions but made no commitments. Commissioners John Ostlund and Jim Reno were in Great Falls attending a Montana Association of Counties meeting. Sheriff Mike Linder, who has opposed sending inmates to Hardin, was attending a coroner’s inquest on Wednesday. Linder, who has toured the Hardin jail, has expressed concerns about the building’s lack of natural lighting and its indirect supervision of inmates. In addition, the sheriff has said that to house 100 inmates in Hardin, it would cost the county at least $2.2 million a year, at $60 per day per inmate, or $11 million over five years. Linder has said he believes it is better to invest the money into building locally instead of spending it on rent in a private jail in another county. Kennedy urged Hardin officials to prepare a fact sheet and provide documents that address all of the issues surrounding their jail, including incarceration standards and insurance. Big Horn County Commissioner Sidney Fitzpatrick also attended the meeting. He said his county has concerns similar to Yellowstone County’s about contracting for inmate space. Yellowstone County, Kennedy said, keeps hearing that the Hardin jail doesn’t meet standards and that MACo will not insure the county if it sends its inmates to Hardin. Porter responded that the jail complies with American Correctional Association standards and also meets MACo standards, which he said refer to Montana’s administrative rules. Requests from Emerald and the Authority to meet with MACo officials, Porter said, have received no response. Porter also said the company has insurance and would indemnify the county against any liability. Bryan asked Porter to provide a copy of the company’s insurance policy. Another knock against the jail, Kennedy said, has been that it doesn’t provide enough natural light. Porter said the standards regarding daylight apply to new construction, not existing construction. If daylight was what it took to get a contract, the jail would put in skylights, he said. Another issue involves inmates Yellowstone County holds for the state Department of Corrections. The state inmates include those who have been sentenced and are awaiting transportation to prison and those on probation and parole violations. The jail recently had about 100 state inmates. The county’s rate with the state was $76.94 per inmate, but the 2015 Legislature cut the rate it pays to $69 per inmate. Revenue the jail receives from the state and other jurisdictions to hold inmates helps pay for operational costs. Yellowstone County officials questioned why the Hardin jail didn’t contract directly with the state to hold DOC inmates and whether it made sense for Yellowstone County to be the middleman if it sent its state prisoners to Hardin. The Hardin jail, which opened in 2007 and was built for $27 million by the Authority, the economic development arm of Hardin, has sat mostly empty for various reasons including insurance coverage, jail standards and jurisdictional issues over whether it could house out-of-state inmates. The jail also has accrued a debt of about $40 million. Under Emerald’s management, the Hardin jail had almost 250 inmates at one point, mostly through a contract with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to house tribal inmates, and a contract with Williams County, N.D., to house some of its prisoners. But the BIA contract ended last fall when federal funding ceased and and the inmates were removed. As of Sunday, the Hardin jail had 21 inmates, mostly from North Dakota, said Jeff McDowell, the Authority’s executive director. Meanwhile, Yellowstone County commissioners are considering a proposal from the sheriff and finance director to build a new, 148-bed women’s unit using borrowed funds and county reserves for an estimated $9.95 million. Last year, voters rejected a six-mill levy request that would have raised $1.8 million a year in taxes to help pay for a $7 million expansion to add a 100-bed women’s unit and make other improvements.Montana: Please send your inmates to us

October 9, 2014   Associated Press

HARDIN — A Montana town that once offered to take in suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay out of desperation to fill an empty $27 million jail has finally started to fill its cells with American Indian inmates from across the Northern Plains. The Two Rivers Regional Detention Facility in Hardin was built in 2007 on hopes it would boost an economically depressed area of southeast Montana bordering the Crow Indian Reservation. But it suffered a series of failures after Montana prison officials said the jail wouldn't suit their needs. Hardin officials in 2009 sought unsuccessfully to take in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainees. They later partnered with a California man, Michael Hilton, who promised to turn the jail into a paramilitary training site until his criminal background was revealed by The Associated Press and other news organizations. Now local officials said they at last have found a legitimate and reliable operator for the 464-bed jail in Emerald Correctional Management, a Louisiana-based private corrections company. Warden Ken Keller says Two Rivers has taken in almost 60 inmates in recent weeks from American Indian reservations in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Most are serving time for alcohol or drug crimes and must go through an intensive rehabilitation program in Hardin, Keller said. As Keller showed an Associated Press reporter around the jail this week, guards wearing patches with Emerald's green logo patrolled the halls. Inmates clothed in orange were locked into 8- and 24-bed dorm rooms watching television, playing board games and sleeping as they waited for their next therapy session to begin. Others were seen working in the kitchen and being processed in the jail's intake area. "Everybody always said it wasn't going to happen," Keller said. "It's happening." Yet the latest turn for Two Rivers has raised a new concern for at least one tribal leader: Huge distances separate Hardin from the reservations and will make it difficult for relatives of inmates to visit. After the jail's prior setbacks, Emerald representatives cast a wide net in the search for inmates. They delivered what Hardin had long sought: A contract with a government agency, in this case the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, which should provide a steady flow of inmates potentially for years to come. For now, all the revenue the jail brings in will go to Emerald and to pay off the $27 million in bonds that paid for its construction. Eventually, Hardin stands to receive 50 cents per inmate, per day, said Jon Matovich, who chairs Hardin's economic development authority, which owns the jail. Matovich and other officials said that doesn't account for the 50 jobs created so far with the jail's belated opening. That could reach 150 workers if the jail ever reaches full capacity, according to Emerald. "All the Gitmo and Michael Hilton stuff was kind of a black eye in the way those things turned out, but it's all good now," Matovich said. The BIA is paying Emerald about $70 per inmate per day, said agency spokeswoman Nedra Darling. The drug and alcohol treatment provided by the company is unavailable in BIA-managed jails, Darling said, and inmates are sent to Hardin only with the agreement of tribal leadership. However, Blackfeet Nation Chairman Harry Barnes said the BIA gave tribal officials only three days' notice before relocating inmates from an outdated jail on his northwestern Montana reservation to Hardin, 380 miles away. "They should have consulted us beforehand," Barnes said. "They showed up on a Friday and said they were going to tear the jail down Monday. ... We were only in a position to listen, but we had some concerns with people going all the way to Hardin." Barnes said that could present a hardship for family members who want to visit inmates but can't afford to make the journey. Another source of inmates, the Spirit Lake Tribe of central North Dakota, is located more than 550 miles from Hardin in central North Dakota, an eight-hour trip by car. Darling did not immediately respond to questions about the BIA's discussions with the Blackfeet about the jail. Beyond its agreement with the BIA, Emerald has a separate deal with North Dakota's Three Affiliated Tribes. Drug and alcohol addiction has spiked in recent years on the reservation near Newtown, N.D., fueled by the easy money being generated by an oil boom in the surrounding Bakken region. "We are in the middle of a heroin and meth epidemic. It's killing everybody, including our kids," said Bruce Gillette, who directs a drug treatment program for the Three Affiliated Tribes. "We've sent people to other treatment facilities, but there are no locked doors, so they can literally walk out. ... From where I'm at, only God could have sent those guys from Hardin to me."


Aug 31, 2014 kpax.com

HARDIN - A $27-million, 92,273 square foot building on 40 acres has been empty for seven years, but now the Two Rivers Detention Facility is operating with its first inmate. A woman arrived as the first inmate at Two Rivers on Aug. 21. "That's a big step for this facility," said Kenneth Keller, warden at the facility who worked with the Wyoming Department of Corrections for 26 years. He says prisoners in Hardin will be medium to minimum security inmates. "You won't be seeing a lot violent offenders or long term," Keller said. "The longest term that we would house would be two years." Two Rivers will do more than house prisoners. The staff will rehabilitate inmates, so they can eventually be productive citizens. "It doesn't do an individual any good to be thrown in jail and just be housed," Keller said. "They get nothing out of it. They're bored. There's nothing there for them. They really just kind of harden up and keep to themselves." The prison staff will run a modified intensive treatment program. It's the same one Emerald Correctional Management uses its other jails for people with drug and alcohol addictions. "Ninety-five percent of these individuals are going to get out from where they're incarcerated," Keller said. "They are going to be your neighbor, my neighbor - somebody's neighbor. So it's important that we use every tool we can, provide them with everything we can to fill their toolbox up. So when they get out, they will be good neighbors." Keller expects more prisoners to come to Hardin. "Our intent is to run at as full capacity as we can," Keller said. The first inmate comes from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara affiliated tribes in Newtown, North Dakota. Keller says the Bureau of Indian Affairs has also agreed to house inmates at Two Rivers.


May 19, 2014 billingsgazette Montana

A private corrections company from Louisiana is starting to train guards - but still doesn't have any inmates - for a jail in Hardin that has sat vacant since it was built in 2007, company and town officials said Monday. Steve Afeman with Emerald Correctional Management said a warden and other personnel have been hired and about 30 guards will be training through the week at the 464-bed Two Rivers Detention Facility. The company intends to solicit inmates from American Indian tribes, counties and the U.S. Marshals Service, Afeman said. No agreements have been reached, and Chief Deputy Rod Ostermiller with the Marshals Service in Billings said he is not aware of any discussions between his agency and the Lafayette, Louisiana-based company. The $27 million jail rose to notoriety in recent years after its backers failed to get any contracts for inmates, prompting desperate Hardin officials at one to point to offer to take in suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A California man later duped officials with a grandiose plan to turn the jail into a military training camp. The jail is owned by Hardin's economic development agency, Two Rivers Authority. Emerald signed an operating contract with the authority on May 6 to run the jail, Two Rivers Chairman Jon Matovich said. Two Rivers would receive 50 cents per day for every inmate under the terms of the deal, Matovich said. "Everything is signed, the ball's in (Emerald's) court and they're doing a great job," Matovich said. "Anything that goes on at the facility from now on is Emerald's stuff. As soon as they get their staff trained and get things rolling, I'm sure they will have some inmates." Afeman said representatives of Emerald planned to meet with leaders of tribes from Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas beginning Wednesday to gauge their interest. Afeman said in April that the company had reached a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in which the agency endorsed the company's plans. But on Monday, Afeman said there was no agreement with the federal agency and that Emerald was working directly with the tribes. A former employee of the Wyoming Department of Corrections was hired as warden, Afeman said. Kenneth Keller spent three decades with the state agency and in 2008 was appointed warden of the Wyoming Honor Farm, a minimum security facility in Riverton for inmates preparing to re-enter society.

West Carroll Detention Center, Epps, Louisiana
August 29, 2007 The Huntsville Times
The Alabama Department of Corrections said Tuesday that it will transfer 134 male inmates from a private Louisiana prison to the Limestone Correctional Facility as part of a cost-cutting measure. Prisons Commissioner Richard Allen said the transfer is the first of several required to return more than 1,100 Alabama convicts who are housed out of state. "In an attempt to save taxpayer dollars and eliminate our budget shortfall, we plan to return all out-of-state inmates to Alabama by year's end," Allen said in a prepared statement. "This move will allow us to save an estimated $10 million annually on rented bed space." Prior to Tuesday's transfer, 294 male inmates were housed at the West Carroll Detention Center in Epps, La., at a cost of $26.75 per inmate, per day. Alabama inmates are also kept at the J.B. Evans Correctional Facility, South Louisiana Correctional Center and Perry County Detention Center, all owned and operated by Lafayette, La.-based LCS Corrections Services.

July 22, 2007 Houston Chronicle
The weathered guard tower that looms over the east side of the West Carroll Detention Center here is positioned just a home run away from the village's modest baseball diamond and small public school complex. Requisite cyclone fencing and razor wire surround the perimeter of the compound that can house more then 700 prisoners. And within the walls of the the dingy yellow sheet metal building is a fish house where tilapia are grown. During the past 12 years that the private jail has been operated by Emerald Correctional Management, the approximately 600 residents of this economically challenged northeastern Louisiana town have coexisted peacefully with the medium-security jail. The jail has provided much-needed jobs, while Epps and the surrounding area have provided a source of cheap labor. But with the arrival this month of the first 100 of what is expected to be at least 400 prisoners from the chronically overcrowded and understaffed Harris County Jail, residents and leaders of Epps are taking a closer look at their relationship with the private lockup. Chief among their concerns is the possibility that some of the jail's new inmates might decide to bolt. "It's a half-mile from the high school, so the type of prisoner they're bringing in there concerns me," Mayor Jeff Guice said last week. "I live near the jail, too." Millions to be spent - Harris County began shipping prisoners to the jail as part of efforts to meet Texas' state-mandated prisoner-to-guard ratio of 48-to-1. The county also has spent close to $24 million in guard overtime during the past 16 months. This month, Harris County Commissioner's Court approved spending up to $4 million during the next six months to relocate up to 400 prisoners — and perhaps more — to Epps. Officials with the sheriff's office, which operates the county jail system of more than 9,000 inmates, say that all the prisoners transferred to Louisiana will have been convicted of state jail felonies — nonviolent crimes often involving drug use and with sentences of two years or less. But that information has been slow in making its way to Louisiana. Last week, Epps officials met with about a dozen local residents in a town meeting called in response to the transfer of the big city criminals to this one-traffic-light community. So far, the mayor says, neither he nor the police chief has been able to get information — such as the number of inmates and the crimes for which they were convicted — from the private jail officials or Emerald. "We're trying to get on top of the situation," Guice said. According to the contract between Epps and Emerald, the city "shall have access to all reports and data maintained by Emerald with respect to the operation of the (jail) including, but not limited to, a listing of all inmates and the charges upon which they were convicted." Like the mayor, Police Chief Roosevelt Porter was elected to office in January. He says he is concerned about the qualifications of the guards at the private jail. "I assume they have some training, but I don't know," Porter said. 'Adequate' - Porter's words are of no comfort to Kathelene Donohue, 64, who lives with her three grandchildren, ages 6, 4 and 2, seven miles north of Epps. "He should have known how many prisoners were coming, when they were coming and why they were coming," Donohue said. "It's a private facility and they tell you right up front that they don't have to tell you anything." Both the mayor and chief say they are still reviewing the contract between the city and Emerald. A 2004 Louisiana Department of Corrections audit of the Epps facility described its staffing as "adequate" and stated that inspectors were "totally impressed" with the facility's cleanliness and organization. The audit made no mention of the fish house. Silent on issue - Emerald CEO Clay Lee did not respond to questions about his jail's fish operation. The contract states that all food grown at the jail shall be consumed by inmates and staff or donated to nonprofit charitable organizations. Lee also refused the Chronicle's request for a tour of the jail, saying he was acting on orders of the Harris County Sheriff's Office. HCSO Chief Deputy Mike Smith says Lee was given no such directive. Lee would not discuss the Shreveport-based company's contract with the city of Epps or what the company pays its guards, how many guards the site employs or what qualifications they have. "I'll look so bad in the paper telling you what these guys make, compared to what a correctional officer makes in Texas," Lee said in an earlier interview. A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections did not return calls about private guard qualifications. Starting pay for Louisiana DOC guards is $1,530 a month — $18,360 a year or about $9.56 an hour — with an increase to $1,700 a month at the end of a six-month training and probationary period, according to the agency's Web site. Few employment options - Though Lee refuses to discuss how much his private guards make, the owners of the only grocery store in Epps say it isn't as much as the Louisiana DOC guards. "We cash (the guard's) paychecks, and I can tell you they make about $6 an hour — or about what we pay our clerks," said Crystal Hale, 33, who runs the Best Way market with her husband, Timmy, 45. The couple describe the area around Epps as "economically depressed" farmland where residents have few employment options beside agriculture. Surrounded by miles and miles of corn fields, Epps is in the lower Mississippi River valley, 400 miles northeast of Houston. Only three of the state jail facilities in Texas are farther from Houston than Epps. But the distance is just one of the hurdles facing anyone making the trip from Houston. In addition to the minimum seven-hour trip by car, visitors must also be preapproved by jail officials. Prisoners must provide background information on any potential visitor. A check is then run on each of those persons, according to jail visitation rules. Visiting hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday — but only on one of the days, not both.

West Texas Detention Facility, Sierra Blanca, Texas
The Rainmakers Banking on private prisons in the fleecing of small-town America. By Beau Hodai (Click here)
November 25, 2008 Midland Reporter-Telegram
A 238th District Court jury on Tuesday issued first-degree felony indictments in two of the five slayings recorded in Midland this year. Alex Ricardo Saldaña, 22, was true billed in the Nov. 16 shooting death of 44-year-old Stephen Adams, who was hit in the head by a .40-caliber pistol bullet allegedly fired by Saldaña in the Whataburger restaurant parking lot at 3206 N. Midkiff Rd. Benjamin Franklin, a 30-year-old former correctional officer at West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, was indicted in the Sept. 4 death of Monica Beasley, who was shot in the throat with a heavy caliber pistol in the living room of a house in the 1400 block of West Michigan Avenue.

September 10, 2008 Midland Reporter-Telegram
A 26-year-old Midland woman did not suffer much, if any, when shot in the lower throat with a heavy caliber pistol in her mother's home last week, a Midland County justice of the peace said Tuesday. While 30-year-old suspect Benjamin Franklin remains incarcerated in lieu of a $500,000 bond, funeral services are being held at 1 p.m. today for Monica Sandra Beasley at True Lite Christian Fellowship, which she and her three small children attended. "Franklin didn't like it when I put that bond on him Friday, but that's too bad," said Precinct 1 JP Joe Matlock. "He never said a word and wouldn't sign the warning forms." District Judge Robin Malone Darr will now assign a lawyer to represent the Southwest Texas prison guard on a first degree murder charge if he does not hire one of his own choosing, a court official said. Beasley's mother Rosie called 9-1-1 at 6:50 p.m. last Thursday to say she had "heard a noise" and found her daughter bleeding and unconscious on the living room floor. Witnesses outside in the 1400 block of West Michigan Avenue then told police they saw Franklin come out of the house and drive away in a gray 2006 Nissan Altima. Matlock declared the 5-feet-2-inch, 118 pound woman dead at the scene. "She didn't go to the hospital," he said, shaking his head. "The doc said it tore her up pretty bad. I'd say that woman was dead when she hit the floor. She probably suffered more from arguing than anything else. Once she was popped, it was over." District Attorney Teresa Clingman plans to take the case to a grand jury in November. "We expect the report from the police department at any time," said Clingman. "We're interested in all severe crimes that impact the citizens of Midland. This is a horrific crime that will be highly scrutinized by our office." Dr. Marc Krouse of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said in a preliminary report on the autopsy he performed last Friday in Fort Worth that a .40 caliber, or 10 millimeter, bullet traveling slightly downward cut the victim's right subclavian artery, punctured her right lung and fractured her first and third right ribs. City spokeswoman Tina Jauz said Franklin, a correctional officer at the private West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, had been staying "for some time" with Beasley and her children and mother before the shooting was reported at 6:50 p.m. that day. She said Beasley and the 5-feet-9 inch, 180 pound suspect "had an on again, off again boyfriend-girlfriend relationship." When asked how Franklin got into the home, Jauz said, "He was already there. He was visiting and had been there for some time." She said he is charged with killing Beasley with one shot from the Smith & Wesson Sigma semi-automatic pistol that MPD SWAT officers and U.S. Marshals found in his car when he was arrested at 1:30 a.m. last Friday in a Motel 6 parking lot at Grant Avenue and Interstate 20 in Odessa, where he was sleeping. Franklin told officials he was a prison guard in Hudspeth County near the Texas-Mexico border, according to jail records. West Texas Detention Facility Warden Barbara Walrath of Sierra Blanca told the Reporter-Telegram Tuesday she was aware of Franklin's incarceration in Midland County Detention Center. Walrath said her private prison houses 1,000 men and referred additional questions to Emerald Correctional Management Chief Operating Officer Steve Aspman in Scott, La., a Lafayette suburb. Efforts to contact Aspman Tuesday were unsuccessful.