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Campbell University
Harnett County, North Carolina
Aramark
January 17, 2008 Dunn Daily Record
The Harnett County Sheriff's Office has busted a burglary ring which struck Campbell University student housing during the Christmas holidays. Two suspects have been arrested and Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said he plans to arrest three more but offered no details. In custody are Terrance Jerel Moore, 21, and 22-year-old Leslie Herman Gaitor, both of Main Street in Buies Creek. Both men have been charged with 12 felony counts each of breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods. Mr. Moore was employed as a cook at the Chick-fil-A on the Campbell University campus, which is run by the Aramark food management company. An Aramark official declined comment. Sheriff Rollins said all of the suspects in the case except Mr. Moore are former Campbell students. Most of the burglaries took place in Bob Barker Hall, he said. Stolen items included laptop computers, PlayStation games and textbooks.

Cree Incorporated
Durham, North Carolina
Group 4

October 19, 2005 News Observer
An early-morning immigration sweep at Cree Inc. resulted in the arrest of 36 undocumented workers Tuesday. Most of the people arrested were employed by a contractor to Cree, which makes semiconductors. The bust was the first at a high-tech company since U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began focusing on facilities that the government considers strategic or sensitive. All but 10 of those arrested were employed by a maintenance and cafeteria services subcontractor, GCA Services Group of West Conshohocken, Pa. Also, in early February, ICE arrested a Kenyan man working at Cree as a security guard. He was employed by Wackenhut, another Cree contractor.

Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
Oct 30, 2012 By Jay Price The News and Observer
BUTNER -- A Florida-based company that lent its CEO more than $5 million for an Angus cattle ranch and a biography and screenplay about himself has gone into receivership, leaving Duke University Health System and area doctors’ offices owed more than $8 million for treating patients from Butner federal prison, according to court records and officials of the state medical society. MDI Holdings Inc., of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., had a contract to administer some of the health care for the 5,000 inmates at the prison, subcontracting the work to Duke and local physicians. The federal government let the Butner contract expire earlier this year after problems surfaced with MDI’s finances. Last month, Wells Fargo won a $30 million lawsuit that forced the company into receivership. This means that apparently Wells Fargo, which had lent MDI $37.5 million over several years, will get any money left at MDI, said Conor Brockett, associate general counsel with the N.C. Medical Society. The society isn’t sure how many of its members are owed money, Brockett said. It has fielded calls from about 10 so far and has begun spreading the word that none are likely to recover a cent from MDI. It has begun investigating, though, whether the Federal Bureau of Prisons has any obligation to pay the outstanding bills for treating its prisoners. “At this point, our take is that they have no chance of getting anything out of MDI because Wells Fargo, as a secured creditor, was first in line, and they are squeezing as much as possible out of the remaining assets to satisfy that debt,” Brockett said. Duke is unsecured creditor Duke and the various doctors’ offices who are owed money are unsecured creditors, which puts them further down the list of creditors to be paid from the remains of a collapsing company. A new company is administering the Butner health care contract. Among the doctors who weren’t paid is Douglas Holmes, who owns ENT & Audiology Associates in Raleigh. His small office is owed $27,000 to $30,000 for work it did with prisoners. The problems started last winter, Holmes said, when MDI began sending payments for just a fraction of some bills. It took awhile for the company that handles his billing to notice, because there were payments in each case, just the wrong amount. Then the money stopped coming in altogether. Holmes said he probably should have caught on more quickly, but a contract being paid by the federal government, albeit through a contractor, didn’t seem like something that required close monitoring. “Who provides services to the U.S. government and worries that they’re not going to get paid?” he said.

January 19, 2006 The Chronicle
Duke Student Government kicked off its first meeting of the spring semester with an eye toward the future Wednesday night. During the meeting, DSG discussed the upcoming confidence-no confidence vote on ARAMARK, Corp.—the Philadelphia-based company that operates a number of eateries on campus. Every year, DSG votes on whether or not it has confidence in the current dining service. The decision is ultimately brought before the Board of Trustees, which has the final say in whether or not to renew the company’s contract. For the past two years ARAMARK, which operates the Great Hall, the Marketplace, Trinity Café, Subway and Chick-Fil-A, has received a “no confidence” vote from Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee and DSG. The vendor has nonetheless remained on campus. Senior Paige Sparkman, vice president of student affairs, said the upcoming vote is “extremely important” because ARAMARK’s five-year contract is up at the end of this year. “There can be a more drastic result of the confidence-no confidence vote this year,” said DSG President Jesse Longoria, a senior.

Durham County
Durham, North Carolina
Aramark
September 13, 2005 The Herald-Sun
A report from the county finance office shows that more than half the contractors required to comply with Durham's "living wage" policy have failed to submit payroll records that would show whether they're doing so. The report, forwarded recently to County Manager Mike Ruffin, also alleges that three contractors violated the policy by paying workers less than the required minimum salary, which now stands at $10 an hour. The others on the list are: -- The Aramark Corp., which had two contracts worth $33,429 from the county General Services Department and the Sheriff's Office. -- Carter Goble Associates Inc., which had a $17,000 contract to provide staff to the county jail.

East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Aramark

March 10, 2005 The East Carolinian
An ARAMARK cashier working on campus was arrested when found with two financial cards belonging to members of the ECU community. Police said Lawanda Patrice Draughn, 22, worked at Java City in Wright Place when she allegedly kept credit cards from two of her customers. "The two individuals went to Java City and purchased coffee ... and then they walked away without their cards," said Major Frank Knight with the ECU Police Department. Once the victims realized they did not have their cards, they called the credit card company. The company representatives told them purchases had been made since the cards were lost. More than $200 was spent on one card and more than $1,000 on the other. ECU Police went to the stores where the cards were used, spoke with cashiers and viewed store videotapes. "It was good leg work by the police officers," Knight said.

Gaston County Jail
Gastonia North Carolina
Prison Health Services
August 23, 2007 Charlotte Observer
Prison Health Services, Gaston County and Sheriff Alan Cloninger are being sued in the 2004 death of a jail inmate who suffered a seizure in his cell. The lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges that Prison Health Services, a company contracted by the jail, failed to provide Hugh Locklear Jr., 21, his epileptic-seizure medication and didn't monitor his condition. The suit, which seeks in excess of $75,000, alleges that the defendants violated Locklear's civil rights by showing a "deliberate indifference" to his "serious medical needs." It was filed in U.S. District Court by Pamela Dunbar. The suit does not specify her relationship to Locklear. Cloninger and the county's attorney could not be reached Wednesday. Citing patient confidentiality, Prison Health Services would not comment, spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern said. On Aug. 28, 2004, Locklear collapsed in his cell, police said, and was pronounced dead at Gaston Memorial Hospital. His father, Hugh Locklear, 41, was also an inmate at the time. He has said his son never got epilepsy medication at the jail despite repeated requests. Locklear Jr. had been taking phenytoin and carbamazepine for seizures, but refused to take the medications after he was arrested in June 2004, according to an N.C. State Bureau of Investigation report.

January 6, 2005 Charlotte Observer
No criminal charges will be filed in the death last year of a 21-year-old Gaston County Jail inmate who collapsed in his cell and died of a seizure disorder.  The inmate, Hugh Locklear Jr., repeatedly asked for medication to control his epilepsy and never received any, said his father. Jail officials dispute that. So does Gaston County District Attorney Mike Lands. "There is no indication in here that Locklear (Jr.) asked for medication," said Lands, referring to a report from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, which looked into the Aug. 28 death. Jail officials knew Locklear Jr. had epilepsy because he noted it on a form, but they said he refused to take any medication, the report said. Hugh Locklear said he filed several requests asking that his son be given medication, but the jail doesn't have any records showing that, the report stated.

October 23, 2004 AP
A seizure disorder caused the death of a Gaston County jail inmate two months ago, according to the state Medical Examiner's Office. Hugh Locklear Jr., 21, collapsed in his cell Aug. 28, turned blue and made gurgling sounds, police have said. Locklear died later that day at Gaston Memorial Hospital. He was the second Gaston inmate to die at the jail in August -- raising some questions about the Tennessee-based company that oversees the jail's medical care.
The medical examiner's report found that "the history of an untreated seizure disorder provides a sufficient cause of death" but that "there is nothing in the history to suggest foul play." The other inmate who died, Yolanda Patterson, 28, of Gastonia, died of a cocaine overdose, an autopsy determined. She went into cardiac arrest at the jail. The State Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the two deaths. The jail's medical care is provided by Prison Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn., which has come under fire in other states. The company has been criticized in two reports by New York state in recent years, and last week, Florida's Palm Beach County terminated a contract with PHS. Gaston officials renewed the county jail's contract in late August. They said they weren't aware of PHS's troubles in other states but have been satisfied with the level of care it has provided.

September 4, 2004
Gaston County officials say contracting with a private company for inmate health care saves money, but a watchdog group spokesman says such outsourcing is a growing practice that can lead to inadequate medical treatment.  Two recent deaths of people held at the Gaston County Jail have raised questions about the quality of medical care there. Gaston renewed its contract with Prison Health Services three days after the first death. The county expects to pay PHS $750,000 during fiscal year 2004-05.  Large companies that specialize in prison health care are interested in making a profit, so they cut costs where they can, said Ken Kopczynski, executive director of Florida-based Private Corrections Institute, a group that monitors privatization of prison health care. He's a lobbyist for the Police Benevolent Association and believes officers' safety depends on how inmates are treated.  "You get what you pay for," he said. "But the problem is, a lot of the people that are going into prisons and jails don't take care of themselves anyway. They probably already have medical problems."  (The Charlotte Observer)

September 1, 2004
Hugh Locklear Jr. did not have a trial. Yolanda Evett Patterson had not been charged with a crime. Yet each received a death sentence while incarcerated in Gaston County.  Officials at the Gaston County Jail need to find out why, and how to keep it from happening again.  Mr. Locklear, 21, died Sunday in the Gaston jail awaiting trial on drug and larceny charges. Ms. Patterson died at Gaston Memorial Hospital Aug. 20 after she stopped breathing in the jail. She was awaiting charges in connection with shoplifting.  Autopsies are not complete. Local and State Bureau of Investigation probes are under way. But contradictory facts raise specific questions about the care taken in Gaston County when medical emergencies arise behind bars. The circumstances of these deaths also warrant a pointed examination of the record of a private company paid to provide health care to prisoners.  Mr. Locklear's father, also a prisoner in the jail, said his son was epileptic and did not receive his medication. A jail nurse and the Gaston sheriff said the son did not cooperate and refused medical treatment.  Ms. Patterson's cousin, who faces charges of misdemeanor larceny, said she complained of breathing problems after being taken into custody. Yet jail officials did not respond for about 20 minutes, the cousin said, and called Ms. Patterson "a good actor."  Any police officer will tell you: Suspects in custody are quick to cry medical emergency if they think it will buy them preferential treatment in the harsh confines of a jail. It is often difficult to judge the difference between distress and a disruptive ploy.  Yet allegations that two prisoners' needs were either bypassed or ignored -- a response that may have contributed to their deaths -- must be resolved.  The record of Prison Health Systems merits scrutiny as well. Palm Beach County, Fla., officials said the company's performance in nine inmate deaths persuaded jail officials to drop it as a health care provider. In New York, the state Commission of Corrections has issued two reports critical of PHS's performance since 2001 in connection with two prisoner deaths.  Privatizing services is a proven way to reduce the cost of local government for citizens. Yet accountability is often the rub. Medical care in particular is difficult to monitor with quantitative measures because it requires subjective decisions.  Most ordinary citizens have never seen the inside of a jail cell. They do not give much thought to details like medical care for prisoners. Yet they bear the financial and moral responsibility for how suspects are treated when in public custody.  All citizens, then, have a direct interest in finding out what happened when two suspects held in Gaston's jail died. A medical emergency behind bars should not equate to a death sentence.  (The Charlotte Observer)

September 1, 2004
Gaston County Jail officials renewed their contract with Prison Health Services last week, just days after the first of two people held at the jail died after complaining of illness.  Gaston officials said they didn't know about PHS's troubles in other parts of the country where lawsuits have been filed alleging improper medical care. Last week, the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office dropped PHS as its medical provider before its contract expired, said Commander Diane Carhart Tuesday, citing concerns about PHS's quality of care. Nine inmates at that jail have died in the last two years, and a staph outbreak that lasted about a year prompted county health officials to threaten legal action.  Nationwide, PHS serves about 235,000 inmates at more than 400 correctional facilities in 35 states. Fewer than 500 inmates die each year at those jails and prisons, said Dr. Carl Keldie, PHS's national medical director.  The nation's jails had 919 inmate deaths in 1999, according to a Census of Jails study from the Bureau of Justice that year. Those deaths included 324 suicides, 385 due to illness/natural causes, and 104 "others," including overdoses and accidental injuries.  The Gaston County Jail has had three deaths since it opened in November 1999. Two of those deaths happened within eight days of one another.  (The Charlotte Observer)

August 31, 2004
Jail officials said Tuesday that Hugh Locklear Jr., who was found not breathing in his cell Saturday, refused medical treatment during the first two weeks he was incarcerated.  As is customary, a jail nurse tried to fill out a medical questionnaire when Locklear was arrested June 7, said Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger. "He refused to answer any questions," Cloninger said. "He stood mute."  After 14 days, officers took Locklear, 21, to the jail's medical department, which is done when inmates refuse initial treatment, Cloninger said. But he refused a physical exam, he said.  Cloninger said Locklear's requests to see a nurse on June 23 and Aug. 22 were granted. But he declined to say why Locklear made the request and whether any medication was administered.  (The Charlotte Observer)

August 30, 2004
The company that provides medical care at Gaston County Jail, which has dealt with two recent deaths, was recently dropped as the healthcare provider by Palm Beach County, Fla., jail officials.  Palm Beach County officials blamed the performance of Tennessee-based Prison Health Services in nine inmate deaths in the last two years.  "I would think that at the very least, Prison Health Services with regards to their services to Gaston County, should warrant an audit," said Gaston County commissioner Tom Keigher on Sunday.  The most recent death occurred Saturday.  Hugh Locklear Jr., 21, was found not breathing in his cell that afternoon. His father, Hugh Locklear, 41, blames PHS.  Locklear said from jail Sunday that his son was epileptic. Father and son had asked repeatedly for medication since they were jailed about three months ago, but received none, Locklear said.  Autopsy results are pending for Locklear Jr., who was facing drug and larceny charges. A PHS registered nurse at Gaston County Jail said that before he died Locklear Jr. was "being taken care of."  (The Charlotte Observer)

Guilford County Jail
Greensboro, North Carolina
Prison Health Services
Sep 6, 2014 courthousenews.com               

The nation's largest provider of correctional medical care ignored a North Carolina inmate's agonized pleas for help as he suffered excruciating pain and vomited blood for 10 days, causing a heart attack that left him in a permanent vegetative state, his family says in a federal lawsuit. Glenda and Calvin Simmons, the parents of Bryan O'Neil Simmons charge in a lawsuit filed in the Federal Court in Greensboro, N.C., that Corizon Health Inc., a firm based in Brentwood, Tenn., and no stranger to lawsuits accusing it of providing inadequate care to prisoners, violated both national and state standards of care established for inmates. And they assert these lapses were aided and abetted by co-defendants, Guilford County, N.C., its Sheriff, B.J. Barnes, and the Guilford County Sheriff's Department. Bryan Simmons, 36, a newlywed with no history of health problems, was serving 90 days at the Guilford County Jail for a parole violation when he became ill shortly before Thanksgiving Day 2012. In a phone call to home that day, Simmons told his parent that he was unable to go to the bathroom for several days and that he had been throwing up blood. Two days later, Simmons was found on the floor of his cell, apparently unconscious, the Simmons say. Despite the presence of blood on his clothing and floor, Simmons "was not examined by a physician and his request to be seen at a hospital was denied by the Corizon staff," his parents say. Nurses on duty at the jail did draw Simmons' blood, but the lab work was not reviewed until after he suffered his heart attack. Simmons' parents say that on Dec. 1, 2012, they received a call from a cellmate that told them their son had collapsed on the floor, was unable to move and had urinated on himself. The Simmons say they immediately drove to the jail but their request to see their son was denied. Despite assurances that their son was fine, the Simmons say they pleaded for him to be taken to the hospital, explaining that he must be seriously ill because he was going to be released in two days. In the meantime, unbeknownst to his parents, Simmons was moved from a general cell to a medical cell where he was placed on video surveillance because it was believed he was "Suicidal." According to the lawsuit, this action was taken "[a]round 4:55 P.M. on December 1, the jailers and nurse reported that Bryan had a bloody rag in his mouth and wanted to kill himself due to the pain he was experiencing."The videotape from the jail purportedly shows Simmons unable to walk, begging for help and writing "HELP" in the air with his finger. The complaint says nurses told Simmons he couldn't go to the hospital until he saw a doctor. However, no physician was scheduled to visit until after Simmons was released from the jail. Fred DeVore, attorney for Simmons' family, said Corizon was contracted to provide emergency care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. "It's just a practical matter that if there is an emergency, you go to the hospital," DeVore said. "Just because a doctor isn't on call doesn't mean you don't fulfill your obligations." Corizon's attorney did not return calls to comment on the case. Despite his worsening condition, Simmons jailers allegedly continued to prepare for his release. At 1 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2012, the complaint says, Simmons was removed from his cell and escorted to an elevator. According to Simmons' parents, a video camera in the elevator showed their son collapsing in the elevator and being pull to his feet by his handcuffs by a guard accompanying him. On the way to a cell on the medical ward, Bryan collapsed again from the elevator, and again was pulled to his feet by the jailer ... approximately eight minutes later, Simmons went into cardiac arrest caused by excessive internal bleeding from a perforated ulcer," his parents say. At that point, an emergency 911 call was made, but, Simmons' parents say, "According to EMS notes, the responding medics asked for any complaints from Simmons before he collapsed. Recorded in their notes they were told, 'According to staff, patient was reported to have vomited once last night however has not had any complaint today.' There is no mention of the previous days or the preceding night wherein Simmons had complained of pain, distention, his concern about internal bleeding or his constant vomiting of blood for at lest four days ..."The Simmons say that after their son's heart attack jail and Corizon staff were slow to provide emergency care and failed to give him oxygen for 34 minutes. "Due to the lack of oxygen after his collapse, Simmons is profoundly disabled and is in a permanent vegetative state," his parents say.

William Hill, who is representing the Guilford County Sheriff's Department, said the detention officers could do nothing to help Simmons because they had to follow the directives of the Corizon staff.

 "We relied completely on their judgment," Hill said. "They were contracted to provide medical care. This allowed the detention staff to do their job of running the jail." Under Corizon's $6.9 million contract with Guilford County, which ended on June 30, if a prisoner was transferred to a hospital from the jail for medical treatment, Corizon had to pay the expense. DeVore said believes this requirement was a critical role in the staff's decision-making: If their son had been sent to the hospital from the jail, Corizon was contractually responsible for paying for it. A Florida jury came to that same conclusion in March 2011 when it found that Corizon, then doing business as Prison Health Services, was deliberately indifferent to a Lee County inmate's medical needs and awarded him $1.2 million in damages. In his complaint, Brett Fields, said he had an infection on his arm that refused to heal, despite treatment with antibiotics. He complained to jail personnel over several weeks, insisting that the medications weren't helping the open wound. He was sent to a medical block that dealt with MRSA infections, but, the "lax" treatment didn't work. Despite Fields' worsening symptoms, including his legs twitching uncontrollably, back pain, and partial paralysis in his lower body, PHS did not send him to the hospital. An MRI later showed that an abscess was pressing on his spine and had damaged his spinal cord. Fields is now partially paralyzed. In 2012, the 11th Circuit affirmed the jury's verdict and held that it was reasonable for the jury to conclude that the company had delayed medical care to save money. More recently the 9th Circuit ruled that a class of inmates may advance claims Arizona's prison health care system is dangerously understaffed and negligently managed. According to a report from Al Jazeera America, a former Corizon employee turned whistleblower claims that staff shortages resulted in mentally ill prisoners going unfed or sitting for hours at a time in their own excrement; and that in some cases prisoners died from lack of proper treatment. Corizon responded to these allegations with a lengthy statement from Susan Morgenstern, a company spokesperson, that said in part, "As for lawsuits, we treat hundreds of thousands of patients in millions of healthcare encounters each year. Unfortunately, some of those patients are prone to filing lawsuits, which are simply allegations and not proven. The majority of lawsuits are brought by inmates without an attorney representing them and are dismissed or resolved prior to trial." The company has also run into trouble for not protecting employees from workplace violence and assault. The company was fined $71,000 last month by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its plain indifference to worker safety and health at Rikers Island prison in New York. "Corizon failed to address the serious problem of assaults against its employees until OSHA began its inspection," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Corizon needs to develop and implement an effective, targeted workplace violence prevention program that includes administrative and engineering control, as well as personal protective equipment and training, to reduce the risk of violence against its employees."

November 30, 2007 News & Record
The family of a 41-year-old woman who died in the Guilford County jail has reached a settlement with the national company that provides health care to inmates. Neither the attorney representing the family of Judy McDaniel Woodle nor a spokeswoman with Prison Health Services would discuss details of the settlement. Susan Morgenstern, spokeswoman for Prison Health Services, said the settlement carries a confidentiality clause. "The issue has been resolved pending approval by the court, and there is no fault involved," Morgenstern said Thursday. Woodle died April 30 inside her cell from what was determined to be a strangulated left femoral hernia. She had spent six days in jail awaiting trial on petty theft charges and was taking anti-diarrheal and pain medication for what was thought to be an ovarian cyst. Steve Bowden, an attorney for Woodle's family, said the matter was resolved this week. "I'm not allowed to reveal the terms. I'm just happy the family was able to get this resolved," Bowden said. No lawsuit was filed in Woodle's death, he said. Prison Health Services, based in Brentwood, Tenn., provides care to inmates in 180 jails and prisons across the country, according to its Web site. It has a contract to provide medical care to the Guilford inmates through June. The sheriff's office pays the company more than $200,000 each month for its services. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said in May that Woodle began complaining of symptoms a few days after her arrest and that Prison Health Services medical personnel did not take her for a hospital evaluation. Barnes said Thursday that he does not fault Prison Health Services for Woodle's death, calling the care the company provides for the inmates "more than sufficient."

July 10, 2007 News & Record
Attorneys for the family of a woman who died in jail said the hernia that killed her should have been detected by a simple physical exam. An autopsy report for Judy McDaniel Woodle , who died in April, showed she had a visible nodule on her groin. That lump was caused by the strangulated femoral hernia that killed her, according to the report. Eddie Darton , an attorney with the firm representing Woodle's family, said a physical exam should have easily revealed the nodule, which the report stated was 3-1/2 inches by 1-3/4 inches by 2 inches. That discovery, in conjunction with the fact that Woodle had been suffering from vomiting and stomach pain, should have led to the realization that she had a serious medical problem, Darton said. Instead, the hernia went undiagnosed, and Woodle died on April 30 in her cell. Attorney Steve Bowden , who is representing Woodle's family, said the outcome would have been different if the problem had been detected. "She'd be alive today," he said. Guilford Sheriff BJ Barnes said that a doctor had looked at Woodle while she was in the jail. Woodle had told correctional officers when she arrived at the jail that she suffered from an ovarian cyst, and she was receiving medication at the jail for that problem. Barnes said the nodule might have looked like a cyst, but Darton, who has a medical degree, said a cyst would not have had that appearance. Bowden said the family is looking for a financial settlement, and a lawsuit is possible. "It depends on what kind of cooperation we get," he said. "She's got five children." If an agreement isn't reached by the end of August, he said, the matter will move to court. Barnes said he has not spoken with Bowden but did not rule out the possibility of a settlement. "You never close any doors on anything," he said. Woodle, who was 41 , had been jailed six days before her death. She had been charged with stealing $5.09 worth of fish from a Food Lion. She also faced charges of resisting a police officer and failing to appear in court on a previous theft charge. According to the autopsy, the hernia led to gangrene, or the death of tissue, in the small intestine, and complications eventually caused Woodle's death. Medical care at the jail is provided by a private company, the Tennessee-based Prison Health Services. Guilford County pays the company more than $200,000 monthly to provide care at the Greensboro and High Point jails and the county prison farm. No changes have been made to the jail's medical procedures, Barnes said, but the sheriff's office is always looking for ways to improve, he said. "This did not end the way anyone wanted it to end," he said.

June 5, 2007 News & Record
The company that provides health care in the Guilford County jails told the sheriff last month it will not share records that explain how its staff makes medical decisions. Sheriff BJ Barnes requested documents from the company after an inmate died in April on her cell floor. The News & Record asked Barnes for some of the records mentioned in a policy manual he has made available to the newspaper. Barnes contracts with Prison Health Services Inc. for medical, dental and psychological care of inmates in three county jails. The Tennessee-based company turned over some information, including the names of jail medical staff. But in a letter dated May 25, a lawyer representing Prison Health told the sheriff's office that no documents would be shared, saying the records are "private, confidential, or otherwise protected material." Barnes on Monday declined to answer whether he believes the county has a right to records and manuals maintained by companies that work for him. "At the present time, I don't have a need for this information," he said. "There may come a time when I feel there is a need. If it does, I'll come to Matt (Mason, the sheriff's attorney) and say 'all right, let's force the issue.'" Because Prison Health is a private company, its records are not something the News & Record can directly receive under public records laws. Prison Health's attorney, Steven Weaver, could not be reached for comment late Monday. His voice mail message indicates he is out of the office until mid-June. Barnes and his top officers have maintained that medical staff acted properly in the days leading to the woman's death. They said they based their conclusion on talks with Prison Health staff without reviewing records themselves. "The medical field is not my area," Barnes said. "That's why we hire them. A doctor or a nurse oftentimes knows things that I don't know." The county is paying $2.7 million this year to Prison Health. Among the records it denied to the sheriff: l A copy of the Utilization Management Resource Manual, a document that, according to Prison Health's policies manual, is something medical staff can reference when making clinical judgments. l A copy of the most recent annual review of Prison Health's "Continuous Quality Improvement Program." l A copy of the clinical incident report stemming from the death of Judy McDaniel Woodle. Woodle, 41, died April 30 on the floor of her jail cell. The state medical examiner's office found she suffered from a strangulated hernia, where her intestines got pinched outside her abdomen and the lack of blood killed off part of the organ. While the autopsy report has not been completed, medical experts say that with most untreated strangulated hernias, the bowel ruptures once it dies, spilling bacteria into the bloodstream. Barnes said last month that Woodle had told staff on her arrival in jail that she suffered from an ovarian cyst. She had been taking antidiarrheal and pain medication at the time of her death. Woodle's family has hired an attorney to review her death. Attorney Steve Bowden was out of the office Monday and not available for comment.

May 12, 2007 News & Record
The attorney for Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes has asked a Tennessee-based health care contractor for internal procedural guidelines following an inmate death in the Greensboro jail. The News & Record had asked the sheriff's office for those documents and others after Judy McDaniel Woodle died on April 30. The county pays Prison Health Services more than $200,000 per month to handle inmate health care in its jails. The letter from attorney Matt Mason said the sheriff's office would assess the documents under public records laws and respond to the newspaper. Among the records requested were company documents outlining how its physicians should make clinical judgments. Sheriff's officials have said all proper policies and procedures were followed, even though they had not reviewed all of Prison Health's written policies. Woodle died of a strangulated hernia, health officials have said. The letter was addressed to Steven P. Weaver, a Greensboro lawyer who represents Prison Health.

May 10, 2007 News & Record
Guilford County sheriff's officials have maintained for the past week that jail medical staff followed proper procedures treating an inmate who died last month of a strangulated hernia. They stood by their findings on Wednesday, while acknowledging in an interview with the News & Record that they had not reviewed all the written policies of the company contracted to provide inmate health care. Nor had they examined the medical files of the inmate, Judy McDaniel Woodle. Sheriff's Maj. Deb Montgomery , accompanied by sheriff's attorney Matt Mason , said that officials discussed the death with medical staff from Prison Health Services, a Tennessee-based company. The sheriff's office determined no mistakes were made based on the discussions, they said. But Prison Health has not yet provided the sheriff's office with company documents outlining how its physicians should make clinical judgments. Sheriff's officials would not reveal details of the talks with Prison Health staff, citing federal health privacy laws. It is unclear why Prison Health has not given the sheriff's office the policy documents. The county pays it more than $200,000 a month to provide medical services to inmates at all three county facilities. Mason met with an attorney for Prison Health on Wednesday. He said he will brief Sheriff BJ Barnes today and it will be the sheriff's decision how to proceed on obtaining the records. The meeting of lawyers was called after the News & Record requested documents that show how medical staff determine the need for hospital care. According to Montgomery and records provided by the sheriff's office, Prison Health is responsible for the first $25,000 of any hospital care required for a condition that develops in the jail. If costs exceed that, the county covers the difference. A spokeswoman for Prison Health was unable to find answers to questions posed by the News & Record late Wednesday afternoon, including how jail staff are trained and who had been made aware of the inmate's complaints. As for the medical documents, sheriff's officials said those files were sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office, which conducted the autopsy. Woodle, 41, of Greensboro, died April 30 in her jail cell. Staff had given her pain and antidiarrheal medication for what they believed to be an ovarian cyst. Woodle had not been taken for an ultrasound or other body imaging tests. The mother of five told jailers upon her admission she suffered from a cyst, and they observed that the medication appeared to be relieving pain. Woodle's family hired a lawyer this week and is now examining legal options. The family's attorney, Steve Bowden, could not be reached Wednesday afternoon for comment.

May 5, 2007 News Record
The Tennessee-based company that handles medical treatment in the Guilford County jail declined to comment Friday on why a local inmate died under its care. A spokeswoman for Prison Health Services Inc. said she was unaware that a Greensboro woman died until contacted by the News & Record four days later. Prison Health handles medical care in nearly 300 jails and prisons nationwide. "We will do a thorough review of our own files," spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern said. "We will make sure all our policies were filed. Any time there’s a death, it’s what we do." Judy McDaniel Woodle, 41, died Monday night from complications of a strangulated hernia. Her intestine had been choked by a muscle or tissue in her left upper thigh, cutting off the blood flow. Still, officials have said all policies and procedures were followed. But the sheriff’s office could not provide a copy Friday of the written policies and procedures that govern medical care in the Greensboro and High Point jails, despite the fact that it had launched an investigation into the death early this week. Maj. Deborah Montgomery said a lawyer for the sheriff’s office has requested that documentation from Prison Health after the News & Record asked for it. Sheriff BJ Barnes previously said Woodle, facing charges of petty theft, told jailers when she was arrested that she suffered from an ovarian cyst. The diarrhea and abdominal pains she had matched those symptoms. "A lot of times, certain things have similar symptoms," Montgomery said. "That’s common sense." Prison Health Services last month paid a Florida woman $1.25 million in a settlement over claims of negligence. The former inmate sued when she gave birth over a toilet in her jail cell in 2004. The infant died. The woman claimed medical staff ignored her complaints of labor pains for several hours. Barnes hired Prison Health in 2005 when the county ended its contract with another provider because of performance dissatisfaction.

Hertford County Prison
Hertford, NC
GEO Group (formerly known as Wackenhut Correction)

July 15, 2003
Guards at a privately run federal prison in Hertford County would have police powers under a bill approved unanimously by the state Senate on Monday night.  Already approved by the House, the bill now goes to Gov. Mike Easley to be signed into law.  The General Assembly first gave special police powers to security officers at the Wackenhut Corrections Corp. prison near Vinton two years ago, but on a temporary two-year basis. The authority is set to expire in August.  The company said it needed to give its guards police powers beyond the prison gates in order to catch or shoot escaping prisoners.  The $63 million prison opened in March 2001, housing more than 700 low-risk federal prisoners, most of them from Washington, D.C.  The law passed in 2001 giving the guards police powers requires that they notify state officials and the Hertford County sheriff in the event of an escape.  (AP)

April 16, 2003
Guards at a privately run federal prison in Hertford County would have their police powers extended another two years under a bill approved unanimously by the state Senate on Tuesday.  The bill now goes to the state House for consideration.  The General Assembly first gave special police powers to security officers at the Wackenhut Corrections Corp. prison near Vinton two years ago. The authority is set to expire in August.  (AP)

August 2, 2001
Guards at a private federal prison in Hertford County can use deadly force in catching escapees under a bill approved Thursday by the General Assembly.  The security officers at the Wackenhut Corrections Corp. prison near Vinton will be able to shoot at prisoners who attempt escape.  "I don't want a Kmart security guard carrying a 9-mm (pistol) chasing after escapes and coming into my county," said Rep. Sam Ellis, R-Wake.  The Hertford County sheriff deputized several Wackenhut guards to stop escapes after the prison was completed in March and before the legislation was crafted.  Hertford County officials used tax breaks heavily courted the prison project, which will generate more than 300 jobs.  (AP)

Evergreens Nursing Home
High Point, North Carolina
GEO Care

March 21, 2012 Jamestown News
GEO Care, which planned to put a forensic mental hospital in the site of the former Evergreens Nursing Home at Five Points in High Point, has been denied a license by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The company proposed to accept patients from the Dorothea Dix State Hospital in Raleigh and Central Regional and Psychiatric Hospital in Butner, both state-run facilities, which are being closed. City of High Point officials were informed of the ruling on March 14. In a statement, Pablo E. Paez, GEO group vice president, said that the company will not be opening a hospital in High Point after all. “We can confirm that our proposed project in High Point will not be moving forward,” Paez's statement read. “We are disappointed Š and are very appreciative of the support we received from a number of community organizations and leaders.” Sources report that DHHS needed more information from GEO Care before awarding the license. Since it was a county-run facility, the former Evergreens did not pay taxes. The hospital would have brought the city an estimated $200,000 in annual property taxes for the 22-acre, $3.1 million property. The company planned to bring 185 jobs to the hospital after a renovation of approximately $20 million, which would include local labor for the work. The hospital could have been the impetus for economic redevelopment for the area. The total annual economic impact would have been $40 million, according to a company spokesman. Although “For Sale” signs for the site, still owned by Guilford County, remained up during the state application period, the sale was contingent on the DHHS decision. The High Point Planning and Zoning Commission originally approved a rezoning attempt that would have blocked the hospital from coming to the area. Those sentiments were echoed by both Mayor Becky Smothers and the High Point City Council. But after Planning and Zoning overturned their original decision on Dec. 13, 2011 and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners filed a protest petition on Dec. 14 opposing the rezoning, City Council had to re-think their options. Reversing their earlier inclination and following the lead of the P&Z, the council denied the zoning change at a Dec. 16 public hearing, opening the door for the Florida-based GEO Care to locate in High Point. Although the vote was split 4-4, with Smothers breaking the tie favoring rezoning, two-thirds of the council members, or seven votes, were needed to approve the rezoning request for it to pass. Recent reports in the media indicated several lawsuits had been filed against the company relating to conditions in its hospitals/prisons in other states.

March 19, 2012 The Business Journal
Florida-based GEO Care confirmed Monday that it is not moving forward with a proposal to develop a behavioral health facility in High Point. "We appreciate the support we received from several community leaders and organizations in High Point and are disappointed that the project will not be moving forward," Pablo Paez, vice president of corporate relations for GEO Group said in a statement. Last week, officials from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said they were still in conversations with GEO Care about converting the former Evergreens site at Greensboro Road near U.S. 311/Interstate 74 into a 90-bed mental health hospital, despite canceling its "request for proposals" evaluation process. GEO Care was the only company to submit a proposal to the state and the facility would have housed patients currently kept at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, which is scheduled to close. GEO Care's proposal had faced opposition from some members of the High Point City Council, who were concerned that a mental health facility was not the best use for the property. A move in December to rezone the property to prevent its use as a mental health facility was unsuccessful.

Lee County Jail
Sanford, North Carolina
Aramark

November 3, 2005 Sanford Herald
District Attorney Tom Lock will not pursue charges against a former Lee County Jail kitchen employee, who was under investigation for allegedly buying food with jail funds and using them in his private catering business. Lock asked the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe into the issue after it was brought to him in March by Herb Hincks, the chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, who told Lock that he'd heard that the chief cook at the jail was diverting jail food to his own business. "After reviewing the SBI's report, I have concluded that there is no credible evidence upon which to lodge any criminal charges against the suspect," Lock said in a press release on Tuesday. Lock said the SBI reviewed a number of "suspicious" receipts and invoices for food purchases from various food vendors, interviewed Hincks, as well as county commissioners Amy Stevens and Ed Paschal, Lee County Finance Director Lisa Minter and finally the suspect. There was at least some evidence that Hincks' concerns were shared by others: n Both Stevens and Paschal told the SBI they'd heard similar allegations against the suspect on a second-hand basis. n Minter told the SBI that she had concerns about what the county was paying for meals in the jail compared to other counties. But Lock said that there was "no substance" to the allegations. Lock said some of the most compelling evidence came from the suspect himself, whom neither Lock nor sheriff's department officials would identify other than by his title, "chief cook." Lock's press release indicates the cook "denied stealing any food from the Lee County Jail or diverting any food products for the jail to his personal catering business." Lock also said the suspect submitted to an SBI polygraph test in August and passed it. The suspect still works in the jail's kitchen, but not as a county employee. In the summer, the board of commissioners voted to contract all kitchen duties to Aramark, a private company. Bryant said he's not sure if it saves the county money, but he likes the arrangement.

October 2, 2005 Sanford Herald
District Attorney Tom Lock says his review of the investigation into whether an employee with the Lee County Jail illegally diverted food to his own catering business is nearly finished. The allegation is that the jail kitchen employee, who runs a private catering business, was ordering food through the jail and taking it to use at his own business. The employee, who has not been named publicly by either the sheriff's department or by Lock, still works at the jail but not as a county employee, according to Kevin Bryant, chief deputy of the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Rather, he now works for Aramark, a company the county began contracting with for food services in the spring.

September 5, 2005 Sanford Herald
State Bureau of Investigation officials are promising to deliver a report about the possible misuse of food supplies at the Lee County Jail to the district attorney in the near future. SBI agents have been investigating a former jail employee for several months on suspicion that he diverted food from the jail to his private catering service. At the onset of the investigation in March, SBI agents said it would take them a matter of days to resolve the matter and hand a report to District Attorney Tom Lock. Six months later, SBI Agent Jerry Weaver says a report will be handed to Lock "soon."

August 9, 2005 Sanford Herald
A State Bureau of Investigation probe into a former Lee County Jail employee is still ongoing. The investigation began in March and, at the time, SBI officials said it would take three to four days to complete. District Attorney Tom Lock asked the SBI in March to investigate allegations that a jail cook was ordering food through the jail and then diverting some of it toward his own private catering service. The employee - who still works in the jail's kitchen but no longer as a county employee after Lee County commissioners voted to contract with Aramark for food service in the jail - has not been publicly identified.

Mecklenburg County Jail
Charlotte, North Carolina
Prison Health Services

November 28, 2007 Charlotte Observer
A Brazilian woman, jailed for four days on shoplifting and immigration charges, has been reunited with her 8-week-old son, and now Mecklenburg jail officials are asking their health care provider to review its policy on inmates who are lactating. Danielle Ferreira, 29, was not allowed to nurse her son or provide breast milk for him while she was in jail. She was released Tuesday, after the Observer reported her son was spitting up baby formula, and Ferreira was complaining of pain and fever. Immigration officials, who were holding Ferreira for deportation, agreed to let her go until her hearing date. Then, District Court Judge Phil Howerton unsecured her $500 bond on the shoplifting charge, so she could leave the jail. Ferreira was reunited with son Samuel on Tuesday and is staying with a Brazilian couple that had come to her aid. She was glad to have a shower and a change of clothes, but said the baby was having some trouble nursing. "He has some difficulty to get the breast," she said. Jail officials would have arranged for the woman to be released shortly after she was arrested Friday, said spokeswoman Julia Rush, if they'd known about recently approved federal guidelines allowing the release of pregnant or nursing mothers in the country illegally. Ferreira said that in jail she repeatedly asked for a breast pump because she was worried her milk would dry up. She said the guards gave her hot towels and told her: If you were worried about that, you shouldn't have gotten in trouble. "All the time I was in pain because my breasts were full," she said. The Mecklenburg jail does not allow women to express milk without a court order, Rush said. It's a policy of Prison Health Services, the company that provides health care to inmates and is partly due to liability issues if the milk got contaminated and made the baby sick, she said. Sheriff Jim Pendergraph, who retires after this week to take a federal immigration job, has asked the health care company to review its policy. A check of area jails found that many have no policy on expressing breast milk and consider the request on a case-by-case basis. Ferreira and her brother were arrested Friday afternoon at Eastland Mall and charged with shoplifting. When she got to the jail, officials learned that she is from Brazil and entered the country on a visa that expired in April 2005. Since last year, the Mecklenburg jail has participated in a federal program that identifies illegal immigrants after they are arrested and turns them over to immigration officials. Ferreira signed a waiver saying she wanted to return to Brazil voluntarily, so she was being held in the jail for deportation. Earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement formally adopted guidelines that allow pregnant or nursing women to be released under supervised conditions. But Rush said jail officials had not been made aware of it. "Both Sheriff Pendergraph and I have spoken with ICE officials and are working to ensure this does not happen again," she said.

December 12, 2006 Charlotte Observer
A 29-year-old man died while in custody at the Mecklenburg County jail over the weekend, and his family is concerned that he wasn't given prescription medication for the seizure disorder that apparently killed him. Calvin Bernard Edge died Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after he was brought to the county's central jail in uptown Charlotte on a misdemeanor warrant charging him with failing to pay child support. A preliminary autopsy showed he died of a seizure disorder. His mother, Elizabeth Edge, 60, said her son had suffered from seizures since he had brain surgery for a head injury about five years ago. He was supposed to take medicine twice a day, she said, and the jail knew he had the medical problem. It's not clear, though, whether officials at the jail checked his medical record when he was brought in late Friday night. A nurse checked out Edge when he was brought to the jail, as is done with all inmates, Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Julia Rush said. But Rush said Edge falsely told the nurse he had diabetes and did not mention the seizures. However, Edge had told jail officials about the seizure disorder on at least one past stay at the jail, Rush said. He had been there at least two other times in the past two years, records show. That means his disorder should have been listed in his medical records. Rush said inmates' medical records are sealed to all jail staff except for the medical professionals hired by its private health care provider, Prison Health Services. Susan Morgenstern, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee-based company, declined to discuss the case itself, citing patient confidentiality. She also said she could not comment on whether staff routinely check past medical records during inmate screenings. Rush told the Observer that Edge did not bring his medicine to the jail when he was arrested. However, Morgenstern said people aren't required to bring their pills to the jail. Medical staff ask each inmate about any medications they take, she said. The staff must verify that the prescription remains valid. Then they can give the inmate the required dosage during the jail stay. Elizabeth Edge told the Observer that her son still had four refills left of Depakote, a drug commonly used to treat epilepsy. She said she was looking at his bottle of pills at their Charlotte home as she spoke to a reporter on the phone. The Edge family wants answers. Mary Edge, 36, said her brother's medical records should have been reviewed. She also wants to know why officers didn't check on him earlier.

May 6, 2006 Charlotte Observer
The estranged husband of a Mecklenburg County jail inmate who died Tuesday of an apparent infection is calling for the private health service that treated her to be shut down. And George Henderson said he plans to talk to a lawyer. "They should have known what was going on," Henderson told the Observer on Friday. "They ought to be sued. Put them out of practice." Carol Henderson, 51, died inside a medical unit at the Mecklenburg County jail early Tuesday morning after spending nearly a month in custody awaiting trial on a misdemeanor charge of violating a domestic violence restraining order. A preliminary autopsy shows she died from sepsis, an overreaction to infection that has high mortality rates. It also found she had severe heart disease. A full autopsy won't be available for months. A Mecklenburg sheriff's report, released Friday at the Observer's request, shows that 28 minutes elapsed from the time a detention officer found Henderson unresponsive to when medical staff arrived. A quicker response at that point might not have saved her, said Dr. A.J. Patefield, Presbyterian Hospital's medical director of intensive care. He did not treat the woman. However, he said, treatment for sepsis in even the four hours leading to her death could have made a difference. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office and the jail's private health-care provider, Prison Health Services Inc., are each conducting investigations. That is standard procedure after the death of an inmate.

May 3, 2006 Charlotte Observer
A 51-year-old woman awaiting trial on a misdemeanor charge died Tuesday morning while in custody at a Mecklenburg County Jail, prompting routine investigations into whether officials did all they could to help her. A detention officer found the woman unresponsive in a medical unit at the county's central jail around 3 a.m., said Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Julia Rush. Medic, the county's ambulance service, was called at 3:17 a.m., with reports that CPR was in progress. The ambulance crew arrived at 3:24 a.m., but they did not take the woman to a hospital because she had died. The preliminary cause of death was sepsis, a blood infection caused by bacteria, according to the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office. The woman also had severe heart disease. A full autopsy report won't be available for months. Jail officials had not located the woman's family by Tuesday evening so they would not release her name. She was arrested April 7 and charged with violating a domestic violence restraining order, jail records show. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are investigating the death, Rush said. She added that the guard checked on the inmates in the health-care unit as required that morning. But she said the Sheriff's Office will conduct a full investigation once the police department completes its inquiry. Prison Health Services, the jail's Tennessee-based private health care provider, is conducting its own investigation into how its employees responded, said company spokesman John Van Mol.

Mountain View Correctional Facility
Spruce Pine, North Carolina
CCA

November 26, 2002
'Spoiled food.  Used utensils.  Charges for sugar, cream and other condiments.  That's what inmates at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Mitchell County put up with when they visited the canteen, according to an internal audit from the state Department of Correction.  To make matters worse, the company that owned and operated the prison until October 2000, the CCA couldn't account for nearly $30,000 in revenue the canteen should have generated for inmate rehabilitation programs.  Prison officials called in the State Bureau of Investigation to investigate.  But the SBI found the company's books in such disarray that no case could be made.  Nor did the state demand the company reimburse the canteen fund.  (The News Observer)

October 2, 2000 AP
The Corrections Department officially resumed responsibility for running this Spruce Pine facility. 

June 26, 2000 AP
The state announced Friday it wants to terminate its contracts with a company that runs two medium-security prisons, ending North Carolina's two-year experiment with privately run prisons for violent offenders. The state Correction Department notified Corrections Corp. of America on Thursday that it wishes to halt operating agreements at the Mountain View Correctional Facility  in Spruce Pine and Pamlico Correctional Facility in Bayboro. The operating agreements were supposed to end in late 2003, but the state wants to take them over now. The state has been unhappy with staffing levels and the number of convicts employed by the prisons' industries. It has withheld $1 million in payments from the company since the prisons opened in 1998.

North Carolina Department of Corrections
November 29, 2001
When a private contractor won the right to build three prisons that it will lease to the state at a total cost of $370 million, the company chose to celebrate in a big way. Centex-Rooney of Florida invited state officials to a contract-signing party last month at the Second Empire Restaurant, where dinner for two can easily cost $150. But the celebration only drew one taker, Lynn Phillips, an assistant secretary with the Department of Correction, who then put his $76 dinner on his American Express card. "Looking at my responsibilities, I thought that it would be in the best interest of the public that I pay my own way," said Phillips, who is now seeking reimbursement from the state. "That way there is no perception of a conflict." It's a misdemeanor in North Carolina for officials to accept gifts from companies or individuals with whom they do the public's business. Correction Secretary Theodis Beck was invited but couldn't make the event, Phillips said. Other staffers who worked on the project declined when Phillips told them they would have to pay for their dinners. (News Observer)

North Carolina General Assembly
January 14, 2011 News Observer
Three out-of-state companies are jockeying for a potentially lucrative state contract to house and care for people with mental illness accused of crimes that include murder. Facing massive budget cuts, the state Department of Health and Human Services last month issued a "request for information" seeking private firms interested in operating a facility for about 90 forensic patients. Some of those patients are housed at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, which is set to close. The patients include those facing charges or found not guilty by reason of insanity for offenses ranging from first-degree murder to misdemeanor trespassing. Staff members at Dix also provide the psychiatric evaluations that help determine whether an accused person exhibiting signs of mental illness is competent to stand trial, a responsibility that could now be entrusted to a private contractor. District attorneys and disability advocates have expressed serious reservations about the plan, citing the sensitivity of the job and the state's checkered history of privatizations with mental health care and prisons. A DHHS spokeswoman this week disclosed the names of three firms that have filed proposals: The GEO Group of Boca Raton, Fla.; MHM Services of Vienna, Va., and Liberty Healthcare of Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Records show that all three companies have hired well-known Raleigh-based lobbyists to help them get the contract, which is potentially worth millions of dollars: ♦Since 2009, GEO has been represented by Franklin Freeman at McGuireWoods. Freeman previously served as a secretary of correction, an associate justice on the N.C. Supreme Court and senior staffer to Govs. Jim Hunt and Mike Easley. ♦MHM Services hired lobbyist Mark Beason in 2008. Beason, along with his father Don Beason, were fined for lobbying violations last year. Once considered among the state's most powerful lobbyists, Don Beason left the profession because of his entanglements with disgraced House Speaker Jim Black, who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. ♦Liberty Healthcare hired George M. Teague, a law partner at Nelson Mullins and longtime lobbyist for insurance companies and bankers. The News & Observer reported in May that Lanier Cansler, the DHHS secretary who was a lobbyist, had been meeting with lobbyists for at least three companies interested in taking over chunks of the state's mental health system, including the care of those in the forensic unit.

May 20, 2010 The News & Observer
As North Carolina's leaders struggle to balance its budget, they are considering proposals to outsource parts of the state's troubled mental health and probation systems. Lanier Cansler, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said this week that he is considering privatizing the care of about 80 mental patients at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh in a unit for patients accused of crimes, including rape and murder. The patients are awaiting trial or have been found not guilty by reason of insanity. "We're not saying this is a road we particularly want to go down," said Cansler, who was previously a lobbyist for private contractors working for the agency he now heads. "But when we're dealing with budgets and all the issues we're dealing with, we continue to look at ideas for how we might do something different or better or save money." Cansler said he had met with representatives of at least three companies wanting to privatize part or all of the state mental health care system. He said he does not favor outsourcing the management of all care. Among the lobbyists Cansler said he had met with is Franklin Freeman, a senior aide to former Gov. Mike Easley and now a partner with Easley at the McGuireWoods firm, which does law, lobbying and public relations. Easley, a Democrat in office from 2001 through early 2009, oversaw the state's effort to reform the mental health system, drastically downsizing hospitals in favor of a plan to outsource treatment to private care providers. The result was long waiting lists for admission to state-run mental facilities, and community hospital emergency rooms jammed with mentally ill people who could not find treatment. Among other clients, McGuireWoods represents The GEO Group Inc., a Florida-based company that provides prison and mental health management services to governments in the United States and foreign countries. Perdue's spokeswoman, Chrissy Pearson, said Wednesday that the governor has discussed privatizing the care of the Dix patients with Cansler and that she is open to the idea. Pearson said she didn't know whether the governor has met with lobbyists about privatizing parts of the mental health system. "She meets with a lot of people about a lot of things," Pearson said.

September 13, 2002
It looks questionable- but at least it was legal.  So say defenders of a $370 million deal to finance three new state prisons through a nonprofit-keeping construction costs off the state's debt ledger and skirting the constitutional requirement that voters approve borrowing.  The state made misguided cuts in prevention programs, house arrest and probation this year.  Yet the General Assembly and state Treasurer Richard Moore went out of their way to devise a creative accounting scheme for building three new prisons.  What does that say about our priorities"  We must not have enough North Carolinians in jail.  Granted, the unorthodox arrangement establishing a nonprofit to mask state debt did eventually come to light, and it did not break any laws.  But the deal sure seems fishy, especially when that nonprofit's appointed board is stacked woth donors to the state treasurer's campaign.  It's not really borrowing:  This is the height of semantic hair-splitting.  Even though it's a lease-purchase agreement set up through a shell company, the state will foot the entire bill and own the buildings at the end.  And it's questionable whether the nonprofit could have landed such a large loan without state backing.  So, state taxpayers have gotten some overpriced prisons through a fiscally questionable deal with a shell corporation headed by the state treasurers pals.  Then we were denied the constitutional prerogative to approve or reject them.  Please tell us why this was a good idea again.  (Greensboro News and Record)

September 9, 2002
In reference to your Aug.26 editorial, "They only look guilty," there are a few points I would like to clarify.  First, the decision to finance the construction of three private prisons in North Carolina without a vote of the people was made by the General Assembly.  We chose to use a nonprofit corporation to execute a lease-purchase agreement, and then there is nothing "questionable" about it.  Your implication that the nonprofit corporation is headed by my "pals" is extremely unfair.  Most of the people I have worked with in my professional career have made "political contributions" to me.  My responsibility is to make certain that the financing of any debt issued by the state is done prudently and cost-effectively.  I fell confident, as did the administration of the previous treasurer, that the financing of these private prisons meets those standards.  (Greensboro News and Record)

Pamlico CF
Bayboro, North Carolina
CCA

October 2, 2000 AP
The Corrections Department officially resumed responsibility for running this Bayboro facility.

June 26, 2000 AP
The state announced Friday it wants to terminate its contracts with a company that runs two medium-security prisons, ending North Carolina's two-year experiment with privately run prisons for violent offenders. The state Correction Department notified Corrections Corp. of America on Thursday that it wishes to halt operating agreements at the Mountain View Correctional Facility  in Spruce Pine and Pamlico Correctional Facility in Bayboro. The operating agreements were supposed to end in late 2003, but the state wants to take them over now. The state has been unhappy with staffing levels and the number of convicts employed by the prisons' industries. It has withheld $1 million in payments from the company since the prisons opened in 1998.

November 17, 1999
A convicted murderer escaped from the custody of Corrections Corporation of America staff while undergoing medical tests. The inmate has a history of escape. CCA officials say that the state of North Carolina will pay for the cost associated with the search. (New Bern Sun Journal (NC) 11/18/99)

Pitt County
November 30, 2003
Pitt County commissioners will debate Monday how much support they should give to employees being laid off because of mental health reform.  The Board of Commissioners is being asked to consider keeping long-term mental health employees on the county payroll so they can receive full retirement benefits. It also is proposed that laid-off employees who don't find work with a comparable company be offered a severance package.  The recommendations are part of a resolution and a subsequent presentation to be heard during the board's 9 a.m. meeting.  The suggestions were first presented to the board this summer in a resolution developed by the county's mental health advisory board.  Under a state mandate, the county is currently reforming its mental health program. The goal is to have mental health services delivered by private providers with oversight by a county management entity.  The reform will result in more than 80 layoffs among mental health staff.  (Reflector.com)

Rivers Correctional Institution
Hertford, North Carolina
GEO Group (formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections)
Oct 11, 2012 The Associated Press 
(Raleigh, NC) -- Two guards at a private prison in North Carolina have been charged with accepting bribes to smuggle in cellphones and cigarettes. Rhonda Boyd and Raye Lynn Holley worked as correctional officers at Rivers Correctional Institution, a 1,450-bed prison in Winton, N.C. According to a federal criminal indictment made public Wednesday, Boyd is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and acceptance of a bribe, while Holley is charged with accepting a bribe. The indictment alleges that the two had been smuggling contraband into the prison since early 2011. Rivers is a private prison owned by The GEO Group, Inc., a Florida-based company that contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house federal inmates and detainees. Many of the prisoners housed at the facility are from the District of Columbia.

March 14, 2011 Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald
A prison guard found himself on the other side of the bars here last week. Eric Lashawn Askew, 28 of Ahoskie, a Sergeant with Rivers Correctional Institute of Winton, was arrested by the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office on sexual assault charges. Sheriff Juan Vaughan said Askew, who turned himself in on March 9, was charged with attempted second degree rape, a felony, sexual battery and assault on a female, both misdemeanors. Vaughan said the alleged crimes took place against a female correctional officer at the private prison.

October 17, 2007 Washington Post
The private North Carolina prison where about 1,000 D.C. inmates are held, the most in any single place nationwide, has substandard drug treatment and vocational training programs compared with most federal facilities, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said yesterday. Harley G. Lappin, the bureau's director, said he is revising the federal government's contract with the Rivers Correctional Institution to make the facility "mirror as close as we can the programs offered in other prisons." The acknowledgment came after years of complaints from inmates, their families and prisoner advocates about Rivers, which is about 200 miles from the District in Winton, N.C. Lappin promised the changes during a hearing convened by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who has been pressing the Bureau of Prisons to make reforms. Norton has contended in recent months that the 7,000 D.C. inmates in 75 institutions nationwide get "second-class" treatment compared with the rest of the 200,000 inmates under federal control. She recently visited Rivers and a federally run prison in Cumberland, Md., to compare the way inmates are treated. Activities at the two places were as different as night and day, she said. At Rivers, Norton said, inmates had too much unproductive free time. At Cumberland, programming was more organized, with inmates shuttling from one event to the next. D.C. inmates at Rivers are held alongside immigrants who have committed crimes and are serving their time before being deported to their home countries. Those inmates often are not offered the same programs in prison as U.S. citizens. "If you're a District resident, you get tired of not having rights, even when you go to jail," said Norton, who at times grew testy with prison officials. Nonviolent federal offenders get a year off their sentences if they complete a 500-hour drug treatment program. But prisoners serving time for D.C. offenses get no such consideration, even though the D.C. government passed a law two years ago that said they deserved the time off. Lappin said he expected the disparity to be changed soon. The congressional hearing was the first in the decade since the District asked the federal government to assume control of its prisoners. Norton said the scrutiny was long overdue because inmates were hundreds or thousands of miles away, out of sight and out of mind of most residents. But their families never forgot that their loved ones, once sequestered at the Lorton prison complex in Northern Virginia, needed more attention. Hundreds, in fact, showed up at a recent meeting to voice their concerns. Yesterday, two former inmates appeared on Capitol Hill. Douglas Robinson, 52, has been incarcerated for 16 years, 11 at Lorton and the rest in Bureau of Prisons facilities. At two of the institutions, he said, he often could not enter programs he wanted because they were full or canceled. But he credited a 500-hour drug treatment program at Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina with helping to save his life. "For so long, I had ducked and dodged that I had a problem," he said. "I learned that my behavior was causing my problem. When I arrived home, I made a choice to move on with my life." Out for six months, he now works at Goodwill Industries, stocking trucks. Kevin Barnes, 30, served three years at Rivers. The library was cramped and contained few books, he said. The focus instead was athletics, and the majority of inmates spent their time playing basketball, football and other sports. "That's not going to help an inmate when they come home," said Barnes, who said he now works as an electrician. The GEO Group, a company that runs 68 correctional and residential treatment facilities worldwide, owns and operates Rivers. The prison's warden, George Snyder, defended the institution in testimony yesterday, saying that there are plenty of classes, in such areas as anger management and computer skills, available for inmates. As a career prison official, Snyder said, he is committed to providing even better programs.

June 28, 2007 Washington Post
A D.C. prisoners' rights group claimed in a lawsuit yesterday that a private penitentiary contracted by the federal Bureau of Prisons has provided "grossly inadequate and inhumane" medical treatment to hundreds of District inmates in a quest to improve profits. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that prisoners at the Rivers Correctional Institution in Winton, N.C., are routinely denied care or provided with inadequate treatment. A majority of the inmates at Rivers, 70 miles southwest of Virginia Beach, are from the District. Keith Mathis, 32, a plaintiff in the class-action suit, said he asked to have an infected tooth pulled but received a filling instead. Over the next few months, the problem worsened, growing into an open sore and eventually requiring emergency surgery when his face "burst open," the suit alleges. Mathis's case is one example of poor treatment alleged in the suit filed in the name of 10 current or former inmates against the Bureau of Prisons; its director, Harley G. Lappin; and the GEO Group Inc., which owns Rivers. "There's one doctor for 1,300 patients," said Philip Fornaci, executive director of the D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project, which filed the suit. "We have been getting complaints from prisoners at Rivers for five or six years. In the last several months, we have been on-site verifying those complaints. They were so widespread that we decided to file suit to improve the situation." District prisoners, as part of a deal with Congress cut a decade ago, are spread throughout the federal prison system. Some facilities are run by the federal prisons bureau. Others are operated by private firms that provide services, including health care, to inmates. Fornaci said the Bureau of Prisons failed to provide oversight. "The contract itself actually encourages a skimpy use of medical resources to maximize profits," he said. The Bureau of Prisons did not respond yesterday to the allegations. John Bulfin, general counsel for the GEO Group, said the company had not seen the suit and could not comment until the allegations have been investigated. Of the 199,000 inmates in the federal system, 20,900 are in private prisons. As of last week, 1,379 were at Rivers, nearly 1,000 of them District residents -- about 15 percent of D.C. prisoners in the federal system. Many of the inmates at Rivers are older than 40, with chronic health conditions. Here are two examples from the suit: · Inmate Charles Lewis, 57, the suit alleges, had suffered three heart attacks and two strokes. He had Bell's palsy diagnosed when he arrived at Rivers in May 2006. At the D.C. jail, Lewis received physical and speech therapy, treatment from specialists and proper medication. Once at Rivers, however, he had his back and knee braces confiscated. Therapy was discontinued. He was moved to a top-floor cell and top bunk, the suit alleges, increasing his chance of injury. · An inmate identified as John Roe had depression and schizophrenia diagnosed, and he attempted suicide three times. He had chronic infections on his legs, a herniated disk and an ear infection. He has been denied medical care since arriving, the suit alleges. "This is not the jail. You're not the community," the man was told, according to the suit. "This is a business." Mark Corbett, 48, was incarcerated at Rivers from 2004 to 2006. In the criminal justice system since he was 12, Corbett served time at Lorton before it closed and in federal prisons in Connecticut, Michigan, New York and West Virginia. He suffers from depression and has foot and dental problems. At Rivers, he said, it was difficult to get an appointment with the doctor. Rivers was the worst one I have seen in my life," said Corbett, who is in the District looking for a job. "The nurses have a nasty attitude. They wouldn't give me an eye appointment. I had to virtually curse this man out to pull my wisdom tooth. . . . Some people do abuse the system and try to see the doctor every day, but [at Rivers] they take it out on everybody -- even those with serious illnesses."

August 4, 2003
WINTON - Local, state and federal officials are praising the quick action by authorities here at Rivers Correctional Institution (RCI) who uncovered and defused a murder plot that targeted four RCI employees.  On Monday, RCI employee Sylvia P. Wilkins, 44 of 103 Mt. Olive Road, Windsor, was arrested and charged with four counts of solicitation to commit a felony - first-degree murder. After being transported from the Bertie County Sheriff's Office, Wilkins was placed in the Hertford County Jail under a $600,000 bond ($150,000 for each count).  Wilkins, a former teacher at Southwestern Bertie Middle School, made her first appearance on Tuesday in Hertford County District Court. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 12.  According to Lt. Steven Stephenson, Special Investigations Supervisor at RCI, Wilkins was employed as a vocational/computer teacher at the prison. She had been employed there for two years. The RCI inmate whose assistance was allegedly solicited by Wilkins was disciplined by prison officials for the role he played in the murder plot. His name cannot be publicly released.  Other than confirmation that the four intended murder targets were either co-workers or supervisors of Wilkins, those names were not released.  Lt. Stephenson could not comment on how long the murder plot was ongoing, saying that once he became aware of it on June 24, "I immediately contacted Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan and Jerry Gaughran (Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General)."  "We were contacted because prisons, including those owned privately such as RCI, are under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General," stated Gaughran.  (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald)

Xe (formerly Blackwater)
August 29, 2010 Huffington Report
The most important word in the phrase private security contractors is "private." If and when someone working for a PSC does something wrong the company, depending on the offense, may very well fine him, ship him home, and fire him. But they will do nothing more. They can't, as they rightfully point out, because they are, after all, a private company and processes like arrests, prosecutions, convictions and incarceration are something the state reserves to itself. Well, okay, not necessarily incarcerations, as anyone familiar with the Corrections Corporation of America will know, and I'll skip over the obvious old joke about the best legal defense money can buy, but that is another story. A classic example of this happened back in December 2006 when an off-duty Blackwater employee, Andrew J. Moonen, who had been drinking heavily, tried to make his way into the "Little Venice" section of the Green Zone, which houses many senior members of the Iraqi government. He was stopped by Iraqi bodyguards for Adil Abdul-Mahdi,the country's Shi'ite vice president, and shot one of the Iraqis. Officials say the bodyguard died at the scene. Although Mahdi wanted the man turned over to the Iraqi government, that did not happen. Blackwater fired the contractor and fined him $14,697--the total of his back pay, a scheduled bonus, and the cost of his plane ticket home. However, less than two months later he was hired by another private contractor, Combat Support Associates (CSA),to work in Kuwait, where he worked from February to August of 2007. Because the State Department and Blackwater kept the incident quiet and out of Moonen's personnel records, CSA was unaware of the December incident when it hired Moonen. Blackwater subsequently acknowledged that the guard had done wrong but said there was little Blackwater could do about it. As Erik Prince of Blackwater said in a congressional hearing: PRINCE:(From tape) Look, I'm not going to make any apologies for what he did. He clearly violated our policies . . . we fired him, we fined him, but we as a private organization can't do any more. We can't flog him, we can't incarcerate him. That's up to the Justice Department. We are not empowered to enforce U.S. law. Nine months later a congressional report revealed that the guard was so drunk after fleeing the shooting that another group of guards took away the loaded pistol he was fumbling with. Furthermore, the acting ambassador at the United States Embassy in Baghdad suggested that Blackwater apologize for the shooting and pay the dead Iraqi man's family $250,000, lest the Iraqi government bar Blackwater from working there. According to the report, Blackwater eventually paid the family $15,000 after an embassy diplomatic security official complained that the "crazy sums" proposed by the ambassador could encourage Iraqis to try to "get killed by our guys to financially guarantee their family's future. Now it is true that PSC and private military contractors have to act, at least theoretically, in accordance with all sorts of laws both nationally and internationally, as well as regulations and directives from government departments (State and Defense in the case of the United States) as well as lots of contract language spelled out in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR). Still, without the political will of the United States to act there can be no individual criminal accountability.

August 20, 2010 New York Times
The private security company formerly called Blackwater Worldwide, long plagued by accusations of impropriety, has reached an agreement with the State Department for the company to pay $42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of United States export control regulations. The violations included illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan and providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers, according to company and government officials familiar with the deal. The settlement, which has not yet been publicly announced, follows lengthy talks between Blackwater, now called Xe Services, and the State Department that dealt with the violations as an administrative matter, allowing the firm to avoid criminal charges. A company spokeswoman confirmed Friday that a settlement had been reached. The State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said he could not immediately comment. The settlement with the State Department does not resolve other legal troubles still facing Blackwater and its former executives and other personnel. Those include the indictments of five former executives, including Blackwater’s former president, on weapons and obstruction charges; a federal investigation into evidence that Blackwater officials sought to bribe Iraqi government officials; and the arrest of two former Blackwater guards on federal murder charges stemming from the killing of two Afghans last year. But by paying fines rather than facing criminal charges on the export violations, Blackwater will be able to continue to obtain government contracts. While the company lost its largest federal contract last year to provide diplomatic security for United States Embassy personnel in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government was incensed by killings of Iraqis in one highly publicized case, it still has contracts to provide security for both the State Department and the C.I.A. in Afghanistan. Blackwater, its reputation tainted in part because of the excessive use of force by some of its personnel in Baghdad, sought for years to extend its reach far beyond the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. For a time, the company’s founder, Erik Prince, had ambitions to turn Blackwater into an informal arm of the American foreign policy and national security apparatus, and proposed to the C.I.A. to create a “quick reaction force” that could handle paramilitary operations for the spy agency around the world. He had hopes that Blackwater’s military prowess could be an influential force in regional conflicts around the world. Mr. Prince, a former Navy Seals member and the heir to an auto parts fortune, took an interest in Africa, particularly the Sudan, and he is said to have wanted Blackwater to step in to help the rebels in southern Sudan, which is predominantly Christian and animist, fight the Sudanese government and the Muslim north, despite United States economic sanctions. Blackwater’s ambitions in Sudan where described in detail by McClatchy newspapers in June. The settlement with the State Department, involving practices from the days before Blackwater was rebranded as Xe Services, comes as Mr. Prince is trying to shed his ties to Blackwater and its past activities. He overhauled the company’s management in 2009, changed its name, and has now put the privately held company up for sale. He has just moved with his family to Abu Dhabi from the United States, a move that colleagues say was a result of his deep anger and frustration over the intense scrutiny he and his firm have received in recent years. The State Department export controls require government approval for the transfer of certain types of military technology or knowledge from the United States to other countries. But Blackwater began to seek training contracts from foreign governments and other foreign organizations without adhering closely to American regulations. The company also shipped automatic weapons and other military equipment for use by its personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan in violation of export controls, and in some cases sought to hide its actions, according to the government. In one incident, Blackwater shipped weapons to Iraq hidden inside containers of dog food. A federal investigation into the company’s weapons shipments to Iraq led to guilty pleas on criminal charges by two former Blackwater employees who are believed to have cooperated with a broader federal inquiry. Investigators reportedly looked into whether some of the weapons that were shipped to Iraq were sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Turkish officials reportedly complained to the United States about American weapons seized from the group. In 2008, after a federal investigation of Blackwater’s actions was begun, the company admitted “numerous mistakes” in its adherence to export laws, and created an outside board of experts to supervise the firm’s compliance. Current and former government officials say that the government’s inquiry into some of Blackwater’s export control violations began as part of a federal grand jury investigation in North Carolina, where Blackwater is based. But the matter was apparently shifted to the State Department when the criminal investigation in North Carolina narrowed its focus. That grand jury handed down the indictments of the five former Blackwater executives earlier this year. That indictment includes charges that Blackwater executives sought to hide evidence that they had given weapons as gifts to King Abdullah of Jordan. Despite the fines and investigations that have plagued Blackwater, the firm has continued to win contracts from the State Department and the C.I.A. In June, the State Department awarded Blackwater a $120 million contract to provide security at its regional offices in Afghanistan, while the C.I.A. renewed the firm’s $100 million security contract for its station in Kabul. At the time, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, defended the decision, saying that the company had offered the lowest bid and had “cleaned up its act.”

August 18, 2010 Government Executive
It will be "very challenging" to comply with an edict Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued this week to remove all private security contractors from Afghanistan within the next four months, according to Pentagon and State Department officials. "Obviously that is a very aggressive timeline and one which I think our forces and commanders as well as the State Department and ambassador will be working with the government of Afghanistan to achieve," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters on Tuesday. About 20,000 armed security contractors work for Defense, State and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, guarding supply convoys, key personnel, checkpoints and installations. Thousands more work for media outlets, private corporations or nongovernmental organizations. But Karzai said the companies still operate with impunity and with little oversight and regulation. He also argued the presence of private security contractors undermines the efforts of Afghanistan's security forces. Karzai expects Afghanistan to assume control of all security functions nationwide by 2014. Whitman noted that while the United States shares a common goal with Karzai to eliminate the need for private security contractors, "we also recognize that Afghanistan presents a daunting security challenge." According to Defense Department figures, there were 16,733 private security contractors in Afghanistan as of the end of March -- a 415 percent increase from the 3,000 who were in the county 15 months earlier. Many of the contractors are Afghan nationals, who would have options for staying on. The State Department, which has more than 1,000 private security contractors on its payroll in Afghanistan, also suggested that Karzai's time frame might be overly ambitious. "We continue to support the Afghan government's intent to properly regulate the activities of private security companies in Afghanistan," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "There are questions of implementation, however."

August 17, 2010 Reuters
Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree on Tuesday setting a deadline of four months to disband private security firms to avoid the misuse of weapons which had caused "horrific and tragic incidents." The decree said the order to disband the companies, which employ up to 40,000 people working mainly for Western enterprises in Afghanistan, was being issued "to prevent irregularities" and the misuse of weapons and other military equipment. "I am signing the dissolution of all local and foreign security companies within four months," said the decree, issued by the presidential palace. The decree includes an exemption for firms whose guards work inside compounds used by foreign embassies, even though Karzai's office said last week there would be no exceptions. Karzai has long called for the disbanding of such companies, which compete for contracts worth billions of dollars, and said last week that time was running out for them. The push to scrap the firms is linked to Karzai's ambitious 2014 timetable for Afghan forces to take over all security responsibility from foreign forces, who presently number almost 150,000 troops. Private security companies, which are not accountable to the Afghan government, have long been an irritant for Afghans and for U.S. and NATO forces in the country after a series of scandals. The U.S. military also employs some of them and the Pentagon said last week it was in talks with Karzai's government to address its concerns.

January 7, 2010 AP
Two ex-Blackwater guards have been arrested and charged with the murder of two Afghans. Twenty-seven year-old Justin Cannon and 29-year-old Chris Drotleff have been indicted on charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons charges, the AP reports. The two were charged because of an incident last year at an intersection in Kabul, when the two allegedly opened fire on a vehicle and killed two Afghans. Blackwater, now known as Xe, fired them soon after over the incident. This is the latest setback in what was been a rough year for Xe, but that hasn't stopped the military contractor from pushing for even more Defense Department contracts.