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American Service Group
Brentwood, Tennessee

June 3, 2011 Biz Journal
Valitás Health Services Inc. on Friday completed its previously announced acquisition of America Service Group Inc. for $250 million, and the merged, privately held company has changed its name to Corizon. Valitás, the St. Louis-based parent company of Correctional Medical Services Inc., announced in March that it planned to buy Brentwood, Tenn.-based America Service Group, parent of PHS Correctional Healthcare Inc. America Service Group shareholders, who are being paid $26 per share, approved the deal Wednesday. Valitás previously was one of the largest privately held companies based in St. Louis, with $750 million in 2010 revenue. However the newly named Corizon’s operational headquarters will remain in St. Louis, but its corporate headquarters will be in Brentwood, Tenn. America Service Group President and CEO Rich Hallworth is now CEO of Corizon, and Valitás Chairman and CEO Richard Miles is Corizon’s non-executive chairman. Stuart Campbell, formerly president and chief operating officer of Valitás and Correctional Medical, is Corizon’s president and chief operating officer. The combined prison health-care service provider has about 11,000 employees and independent contractors, and serves more than 400 correctional facilities. Corizon's annual revenue is expected to total $1.4 billion for 2011.

March 3, 2011 The Street
America Service Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASGR), the parent company of PHS Correctional Healthcare, Inc., and Valitás Health Services, Inc., the parent company of Correctional Medical Services, Inc., announced today the signing of an agreement and plan of merger (the “Merger Agreement”) under which the two companies would be combined, bringing together two leading companies in the correctional healthcare field – America Service Group's PHS Correctional Healthcare and Valitás’ Correctional Medical Services. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately 11,000 employees and independent contractors and will serve more than 400 correctional facilities. The combined company’s annual revenues are expected to total approximately $1.4 billion for 2011.

March 2, 2010 Tennessean
America Service Group reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $236,000 compared with net income of $1.2 million a year earlier The recent quarter’s net income would have been $4.3 million excluding after-tax costs related to a shareholder litigation settlement during the quarter. Healthcare revenues from continuing contracts rose 36.7 percent to $160.8 million. For all of 2010, the Brentwood-based prison health care company expects net income of $10.1 million, or $1.08 a share, on revenues of $635 to $645 million.

October 29, 2009 AP
Shares of Psychiatric Solutions Inc. plunged nearly 23 percent on Wednesday, a day after the behavioral hospital operator reported disappointing results for the third quarter and cut its expectations for the rest of 2009. The Franklin-based firm's stock dropped $5.47 to close at $18.67 per share in Nasdaq trading. Psychiatric Solutions said profits haven't lived up to the company's own goals and revenue per patient per day hasn't grown as much as expected. Profits at its management-contract segment did not meet its forecasts either. In a note to clients, Raymond James analyst John Ransom downgraded the stock to "market perform" from "strong buy." He said tight state budgets and uncertainty about future profits probably will pressure Psychiatric Solutions' stock over the next few months. Psychiatric Solution reported third-quarter net income attributable to its stockholders of $28.2 million, or 50 cents per share, on revenue of $455.3 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected profits of 56 cents per share on revenue of $462.2 million. The company this year expects to earn $2.11 to $2.14 per share, down from a previous forecast of $2.16 to $2.24 per share. In other health-care related earnings Wednesday: • Community Health Systems Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $59.7 million, up 18.5 percent from $50.4 million a year earlier. Per share results of 65 cents for the recent quarter beat the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters by 3 cents. Revenues rose 12 percent to $3.09 billion, better than the $3.02 billion that analysts had forecast. For all of next year, the Franklin-based hospital chain expects profits of $2.80 to $3 per share. • America Service Group in Brentwood lowered its full-year earnings forecast to 65 cents a share from 88 cents, citing the effects of large inmate medical claims in Michigan in the third quarter and unrelated litigation costs. But the prison health-care provider still more than doubled its net income in the third quarter. Net income rose to $716,000 from $348,000 a year ago.

July 15, 2009 PR Inside
A lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of America Service Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR) stock between September 24, 2003 to March 16, 2006, alleging America Service violated Federal Securities Laws is pending at the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. On March 31, 2009, Federal Judge William J. Haynes, Jr. granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss. If you purchased America Service Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR) before March 2006 and currently still hold your ASGR shares, you have certain options and you should contact the Shareholders Foundation, Inc at email: mail(at)shareholdersfoundation.com or call us at: +1 (858) 779 - 1554. According to the complaint the plaintiff alleges that that America Service Group and its top executive officers engaged in accounting fraud and violated the federal securities laws by misleading investors and failing to disclose between September 24, 2003 to March 16, 2006 that “ (1) America Service was not charging its customers in accordance with their contracts; (2) America Service failed to properly credit customers with discounts, rebates, and price concessions; (3) America Service failed to provide customers with appropriate credits for returned pharmaceutical products; and (4) America Service inappropriately established and utilized reserves to help it more closely meet budgeted results”. The complaint further alleges that after the markets closed, on March 15, 2006, America Service Group announced that as a result of the findings of an internal investigation, it would restate earnings for the years ended December 31, 2001 through December 31, 2004 and for the first six months of 2005 and issue refunds of $3.6 million, plus interest, to customers for instances in which it failed to credit them with discounts, rebates or price savings to which they were entitled. On this news, so the lawsuit, the price of America Service Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR) fell $5.65, or almost 29%, to close at $13.95 per share. America Service Group Inc., a Delaware corporation headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee with a $141 market cap, through its subsidiaries Prison Health Services, Inc. , EMSA Limited Partnership, and Correctional Health Services, LLC, contracts to provide and/or administer managed healthcare services to over 120 correctional facilities throughout the United States. America Service Group reported in 2007 Total Revenue of $464million with a Net Income of $2.81million and in 2008 Total Revenue of $497.74million with a Net Income of $3.83million. Shares of America Service Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR) traded recently at $15.84 per share, down from a 52weekhigh of $17.22 per share and almost $30 per share in 2005.

August 17, 2007 Tennessean
America Service Group Inc. said Thursday that its Prison Health Services subsidiary would lose its contract with the Alabama Department of Corrections. The contract expires on Oct. 31. PHS provides medical services to inmates. Brentwood-based America Service Group said it would update its fourth-quarter earnings estimate later. It had projected revenues from a renewed contract of $12.3 million in the three months ending Dec. 31.

April 12, 2007 Business Wire
America Service Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR) announced today that it has executed an asset purchase agreement for the sale of certain assets of its indirect subsidiary, Secure Pharmacy Plus, LLC (SPP), to Maxor National Pharmacy Services Corporation (Maxor). Additionally, as a part of the transaction, Maxor and Prison Health Services, Inc. (PHS), the Company's primary operating subsidiary, have entered into a long-term pharmacy services agreement pursuant to which Maxor will become the provider of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to PHS. The asset purchase agreement is to be effective April 30, 2007, subject to standard closing conditions. The pharmacy services agreement will commence May 1, 2007, subject to the closing of the asset purchase agreement. America Service Group Inc., based in Brentwood, Tennessee, is a leading provider of correctional healthcare services in the United States. America Service Group Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides a wide range of healthcare and pharmacy programs to government agencies for the medical care of inmates. More information about America Service Group Inc. can be found on the Company's website at www.asgr.com or www.prisonhealthmedia.com.

December 11, 2006 AP
Prison health care and pharmacy service provider America Service Group Inc. lowered its 2006 guidance again on Monday, but said it expects "stronger, more consistent performance from its contract portfolio in 2007." The company now sees adjusted 2006 earnings of $5.3 million, or 50 cents per share, on sales between $640 million and 650 million. In October, the company forecast adjusted earnings in a range of 58 cents to 61 cents per share, on sales between $650 million to $655 million. In August, America Service said it saw profit of 72 cents to 75 cents per share on revenue between $650 million and $660 million for the year. The company said its lower 2006 outlook is due mainly to the Florida Department of Corrections' decision to "reject all bids to provide comprehensive health care services in its Region IV," and to expected cost increases, including professional liability expenses. Looking toward 2007, the company sees adjusted earnings of $8.2 million, or 86 cents per share, on sales in the range of $570 million to $580 million. Shares fell 91 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $14.69 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed unchanged at $15.60 on the Nasdaq.

November 14, 2006 Burlington Free Press
Vermont prisons are looking for a new medical services provider for the second time in three years following a decision by Prison Health Services Inc. to opt out of its contract with the state. Robert Hofmann, state Corrections Department commissioner, said Monday the Tennessee-based Prison Health Services notified him Oct. 30 that it would stop providing care to the state's 1,700 in-state inmates at the end of January. "Obviously, we're disappointed and a little bit surprised," Hofmann said of the company's decision. "There were some bumps in the road at the start of their contract but, really, over the past 12 months, they had been doing a very good job." The company's top three officials in Vermont resigned their posts just 10 months after it began operations in Vermont and the firm, along with the state, was sued last month by the family of an inmate who died from heroin withdrawal symptoms in 2005. Prison Health Services won the three-year, $26 million contract to provide health care to inmates at the state's nine prisons in early 2005. The previous contractor, Correctional Medical Services Inc., had come under fire for $700,000 in billing mistakes, including $144,547 for services that company employees never provided. Susan Morgenstern, a spokeswoman for Prison Health Services, said Monday that the company decided to opt out of the contract at the end of the second year because it was losing too much money. "The cost of providing health care to inmates has risen beyond the contract's ability to cover that cost," Morgenstern said in a statement released by the company. "Prison Health Services will never compromise the quality of our patient care because of financial reasons." According to a company Web site, Prison Health Services lost $1 million on its Vermont contract in the third quarter of 2006 alone, a figure that Hofmann disputed. Morgenstern said the staffing costs were an issue for the company in Vermont.

August 9, 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager's campaign took her opponent, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, to task for taking donations from those pursuing Dane County business. Lautenschlager's aides said that was inconsistent with Falk's statements that as attorney general she would not take money from people subject to enforcement actions by the state Department of Justice. Lautenschlager's campaign blasted Falk for accepting a $10,000 donation June 27 from the political action committee of Unite Here, a laundry workers union. The donation came six days after Dane County started an audit of non-union laundry contractor Superior Health Linens - a company that Unite Here has long criticized for its labor practices. Lautenschlager's campaign also criticized Falk for: • Accepting $1,500 from America Service Group Inc.'s political action committee in 2004 because its subsidiary Prison Health Services has a contract with the county. • Taking $2,500 from Government Payment Service CEO Dale Conrad last year because his firm has a county contract allowing people to pay bail with credit cards. • Receiving money from developers and others who sat on a committee that Falk convened to advise her on a land-use plan.

August 2, 2006 Nashville Business Journal
America Service Group Inc. saw its earnings for the second quarter plummet 81 percent compared to results for the same period last year. The provider of prison health care and pharmacy services showed a profit of $514,000, or 5 cents per diluted share, in the quarter ended June 30 compared to $2.8 million, or 26 cents per diluted share last year. Though earnings were down, the second quarter saw the company return to an operating profit - something that hasn't occurred since the second quarter last year. Nevertheless, the company's stock dropped nearly 19 percent, trading at $11.66 at 10:20 a.m. The 52-week range of the stock is $11.32 to $23.20. Brentwood-based America Service (NASDAQ: ASGR) lowered its guidance and now expects revenues to fall between $650 million and $660 million and earnings to range between $7.7 million to 8 million. The company cited an underperforming Florida Department of Corrections contract as the cause of the reduction. The company's previous guidance called for revenues between $660 million and $680 million and earnings between $9.4 million and $10 million. Second-quarter revenues were on the upswing, coming in at $160 million compared to $139 million in the second quarter a year ago. Expenses increased to $150 million in the quarter compared to $128 million in the second quarter last year. The company also recorded $1.0 million in charges associated with an audit committee investigation of its Secure Pharmacy Plus subsidiary. On March 15, the company said an investigation into financial improprieties at its Secure Pharmacy Plus unit found that the company failed to properly credit customers with discounts, rebates and savings and failed to give customers proper credit for returned pharmaceuticals. Expenses related to the audit amounted to $4.6 million through the first half of this year and the company expects it will spend another $400,000 to $900,000. The company continued its stock repurchase program approved in July of last year to repurchase and retire 217,000 shares at a value of $3.0 million. The repurchase was suspended during part of the second quarter when the company received a third-party proposal to acquire pharmacy services subsidiary Secure Pharmacy Plus. Ultimately, a deal wasn't reached.

June 22, 2006 Tennessean
America Service Group Inc. says it has received notice that its stock won't be dropped from the Nasdaq National Market. Last month, after two directors quit, the Brentwood-based prison health company said it had received notice that it was no longer in compliance with Nasdaq rules requiring a majority of independent directors. On June 14, ASG added four independent directors. On Wednesday, it said Nasdaq had determined the company is now in compliance with rules governing board membership and corporate oversight.

June 14, 2006 Tennessean
Brentwood’s America Service Group Inc., the prison health company whose stock was in danger of being dropped by the Nasdaq National Market, named four new independent members to its board today. The move should bring the company back into compliance with Nasdaq’s rules requiring a certain number of outside directors and allow the stock to continue to be listed, company officials said this afternoon. Two outside directors bolted from America Service Group’s board earlier this year after they unsuccessfully tried to oust CEO Michael Catalano. New board members are: • John C. McCauley, assistant vice chancellor of risk and insurance management at Vanderbilt University. • William E. Hale, formerly president and chief executive of Beech Street Corp., a preferred provider organization. • John W. Gildea, managing director of Gildea Management Co., and a former board member of America Service Group from 1986-1999. • William M. Fenimore, managing partner of BridgeLink LLC, Swiss-based capital advisors.

May 30, 2006 Tennessean
America Service Group Inc., the beleaguered prison health-care company, expects to beat a June 14 deadline to fill at least one vacancy on its board of directors so its stock won't be dropped from the Nasdaq National Market. Under Nasdaq rules, the departure this month of two board members who quit after trying to oust CEO Michael Catalano meant the company no longer complied with a requirement that a majority of its directors be independent. A third independent director left in December. Only two of its four remaining directors have no other ties to the company. ASG has until its next annual meeting, scheduled for June 14, to address the vacancies on its board. Catalano said the company would fill at least two of the three vacant seats by that deadline. "We're confident we'll come back into compliance," he said. But this month's departure of two board members and Nasdaq's threat to drop or delist the Brentwood-based company's stock as a result aren't its only problems. It has come under fire in several states over the quality of medical care it provides to inmates. The Washington Post in an editorial recently called on officials to keep a closer eye on the company's Prison Health Services subsidiary after the Associated Press reported that some inmates in Virginia had said medical care there was so shoddy that they feared for their lives. Last spring, a report by the Metro Health Department blamed the death of a diabetic inmate at Metro Jail on myriad failures by the jail's nurses, who were employed by PHS. Catalano wouldn't comment on the specific allegations against the company but said competitors get similar complaints about the quality of care they provide.

May 19, 2006 Nashville Business Journal
America Service Group Inc. announced today it received an expected notice on May 17 from NASDAQ Listing Qualifications indicating it no longer complies stock exchange's independent director and audit committee requirements. The company received the notification due to the resignation of Michael E. Gallagher and Carol R. Goldberg on May 6 and May 8 from the company's board of directors. NASDAQ rules requires that a majority of board members be comprised of independent directors and that the company's audit committee be comprised of at least three members, each of whom are independent. Gallagher and Goldberg were members of the company's audit committee. The addition of one qualified independent director to serve on the audit committee will allow the company to regain compliance. The company is actively conducting a search for at least two independent directors to serve on its board of directors and audit committee, according to a release announcing the NASDAQ notice. Gallagher is the director of Edgar Group LLC, a health care consulting firm and was a partner in Shamrock Investments LLC, a health care advisory firm. Goldberg is president of AVCAR Group Ltd., a management consulting firm. Brentwood-based America Service (NASDAQ: ASGR - News) provides prison health services through its subsidiaries Prison Health Services and Secure Pharmacy Plus.

May 11, 2006 Tennessean
America Service Group Inc. says two members of its board quit after saying they'd lost confidence in the company's chief executive officer. Michael Gallagher, who led the board's audit committee, which recently looked into mismanagement at the company's prison pharmacy unit, submitted his resignation on Friday. Carol Goldberg, who led the board's compensation com- mittee, resigned on Monday. Brentwood-based ASG, which is being sued by shareholders in federal court over the problems at its Secure Pharmacy Plus subsidiary, disclosed the resignations in a regulatory filing after the markets closed Tuesday. According to the filing, the company's remaining board members met Tuesday and "confirmed their view that the company's chief executive officer should continue to serve in that capacity." CEO Michael Catalano, who chairs the board, "abstained from consideration of this matter," the company said in its filing. On Wednesday, Catalano said in a statement that the company wouldn't allow itself to become distracted by the developments. "While the public filings from America Service Group Inc. speak to the issues of two directors' resignations, I think it is important to know that our focus remains unchanged," Catalano said. "The dedicated health-care professionals representing our company are committed to the mission of providing quality medical care to the patients we serve in jails and prisons nationwide." Gallagher and Goldberg, who couldn't be reached yesterday, told a meeting of the board's governance committee they believed "the company would be better served by replacing its chief executive." Gallagher apparently resigned soon after the meeting. Goldberg e-mailed her resignation letter to the company on Monday. She said simply, "I hereby tender my resignation as a director of America Service Group Inc., effective today. I wish the company the best in its future endeavors." In his letter, Gallagher wrote that because "my fellow independent board members are unwilling to make a change … I have no other alternative but to hold true to the courage of my convictions and resign. "It is my business judgment that while there are many good people in the executive ranks of the company there nonetheless needs to be a change at the top," Gallagher said. "Such change is urgently needed in order to maximize the probability of successfully meeting the company's challenges and to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations resulting from the recent investigation (into Secure Pharmacy Plus)," he said. In March, the company said the audit committee recommended strengthening the company's internal controls and compliance functions after finding that problems at Secure Pharmacy Plus caused the company as a whole to post inflated earnings over a four-and-a-half-year period. ASG, which provides health services at jails and prisons nationwide, said that problems with the subsidiary had caused the company as a whole to overstate profits by $2.1 million for 2001 through the second quarter of 2005. It also agreed to refund $3.6 million to clients who were overcharged for prescription drugs. It found that some clients weren't properly credited with discounts or rebates on drug purchases and others weren't properly credited for prescription drugs that were returned. The resignation of two board members was "just one of those unfortunate things following a hard year," said Anton Hie, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in Nashville. In a research note to clients, he maintained his "hold" rating on the stock. ASG said in its quarterly earnings filing on Wednesday that it had 104 health-care and pharmacy contracts as of April 1, five fewer than it had a year earlier. It posted a net loss of about $1.1 million in the first quarter, compared with a profit of $3.9 million in the first quarter of 2005. Still, shares of the company were up Wednesday, climbing 44 cents, or 3.4 percent, in moderate trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market to close at $13.42 a share, well below its 52-week high of $23.81.

May 3, 2006 Nashville Business Journal
Prison health services provider America Service Group Inc.'s troubles with its Secure Pharmacy Plus business helped push the company into a first-quarter loss. The company posted a loss of $1.4 million in the quarter ended March 31 compared to a profit of $3.9 million in the first quarter a year ago. Revenue from health care services were up nearly 26 percent to $167 million, but expenses to provide those services rose nearly 30 percent. Further denting the first-quarter numbers was a $3.6 million charge associated with an audit committee investigation into financial improprieties at Secure Pharmacy Plus. Brentwood-based America Service (NASDAQ: ASGR) expects to record another $200,000 to $700,000 in expenses related to the audit this year. That audit found that the company failed to properly credit customers with discounts, rebates and savings and failed to give customers proper credit for returned pharmaceuticals. The investigation also found that SPP inappropriately created reserves over the past five years to ensure the company's reported earnings matched budgeted results. The company restated its earnings going back to 2001. Excluding that charge, income from operations prior to income tax, interest and discontinued operations, would have been $2.4 million. Income from operations in the first quarter a year ago amounted to $6.2 million. The company also saw a $1.6 million increase in selling, general and administrative expenses, with $1 million of that coming from share-based compensation expense. The company has affirmed its guidance for 2006 and expects total revenue to be in the range of $660 million to $680 million. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be in the range of 90 cents to 96 cents. The revised 2005 number was 39 cents.

April 11, 2006 Nashville City Paper
A Brentwood prison health company’s announcement that it will restate earnings because of internal problems in its pharmacy subsidiary has spawned a shareholders’ lawsuit by a union pension fund. The Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51 Pension Fund filed the suit last week in U.S. District Court in Nashville against America Service Group, which provides health care services to prisons. The complaint stems from the company’s March 15 disclosure of an internal investigation that uncovered several problems with its Secure Pharmacy Plus (SPP) subsidiary, which contracts with governments to distribute medications to inmates. The announcement “shocked the market,” the suit states. The company’s stock price fell nearly 29 percent, or $5.65 per share, to close at $13.95. The pension fund claims that America Service Group, through its public statements and filings, knowingly misled shareholders about the company’s financial health, which artificially inflated ASG’s common stock. The pension fund’s law firms — Barrett, Johnston & Parsley of Nashville and Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins of New York — are seeking class-action status on behalf of shareholders of common stock between Sept. 24, 2003, and March 16, 2006. The suit asks for unspecified damages.

April 7, 2006 Tennessean
The law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP said yesterday that a potential class-action lawsuit has been filed in federal court here on behalf of investors who bought stock in America Service Group Inc. between Sept. 24, 2003, and March 16, 2006. Attorneys said the suit stems from the Brentwood-based prison health services company's internal investigation into the business practices of its Secure Pharmacy Plus subsidiary. Last month, ASG said an investigation into the unit had caused the company as a whole to overstate profits by $2.1 million for 2001 through the second quarter of 2005. ASG also said it would refund $3.6 million to clients who were overcharged for prescription drugs. It found that some clients weren't properly credited with discounts or rebates on drug purchases and others weren't properly credited for prescription drugs that were returned.

March 29, 2006 Tennessean
Brentwood-based America Service Group Inc. has named Richard Hallworth as chief operating officer. He will also serve as president and chief executive officer of the company's wholly owned subsidiary, Prison Health Services Inc. Hallworth previously held several executive positions with Tufts Health Plan, a managed care company. He began his career as a certified public accountant, first with Coopers & Lybrand and then as a partner with Ernst & Young LLP. He will replace former executive vice president Trey Hartman as president of Prison Health Services, which provides medical care to jail and prison inmates. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, America Service Group said Hartman was fired for cause in December in connection with an internal probe into whether the company’s Secure Pharmacy Plus subsidiary had overcharged for drugs and failed to follow proper accounting procedures. Hartman was a former head of the pharmacy unit.

March 16, 2006 Nashville Business Journal
Prison health care services company America Service Group Inc. has released the findings of an internal investigation into financial improprieties at its Secure Pharmacy Plus subsidiary. The results: restated earnings going back to 2001, a stock price plunge and a $3.7 million bill for the investigation. Last October, the company announced that the audit committee of its board of directors would conduct an investigation of SPP over pharmaceutical pricing and accounting practices. Independent forensic accountants conducted the investigation and found that SPP failed to properly credit customers with discounts, rebates and savings and failed to give customers proper credit for returned pharmaceuticals. Brentwood-based America Service (NASDAQ: ASGRE) plans to refund $3.6 million, plus interest, to customers as a result. Management of SPP also inappropriately created reserves over the past five years to ensure the company's reported earnings matched budgeted results. Auditors determined the company's pre-tax income was $355,000 higher than previously reported. Auditors also found that SPP charged some of its customers less than it should have to the tune of $5.9 million. The company will try to collect that money, but is uncertain of how much success it will have doing so. The news slammed America Service shares. At 12:40 p.m., they were trading at $13.90, down more than 29 percent their closing price Wednesday. The 52-week range of the stock is $12 to $26.10. On Dec. 7, the company fired Grant Bryson, president and CEO of SPP, in connection with the investigation. Two days later, it sent packing Trey Hartman, president and chief operating officer of Prison Health Services Inc., a move also connected with the investigation. Hartman was with SPP when America Service bought the company in 2000. Kendall Lynch is now CEO of SPP. In a statement announcing the results of the investigation, America Service said both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee are conducting informal inquiries. The company says it will continue to cooperate with both. As it wrapped up its own investigation, the company had delayed reporting its third-quarter results. Those financials were released after the market closed March 15 along with fourth-quarter and full-year numbers and restated earnings going back to 2001. Fourth-quarter results show America Service with a loss of $1.2 million compared to restated earnings of $4.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2004. Revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 came to $149 million compared to $130 million the year before. The fourth-quarter loss includes $3.3 million in expenses related to the investigation. During the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the company also posted a loss of $1.2 million compared to restated earnings of $81,000 last year. Revenue for the quarter came to $140 million compared to $135 million last year. Third-quarter results include $370,000 in expenses related to the investigation. Other restated earnings: The company's earnings for the first two quarters of 2005 were $6.7 million instead of the $7.1 million that was reported. Revenues for the two-quarter period were $273 million instead of $315 million. In 2004, the company had a profit of $9.9 million instead of the $9 million that was reported. Revenues for the year were $517 million instead of $665 million. Earnings in 2003 were $11.3 million instead of the previously reported $11.9 million. Revenues for the year were $380 million instead of $517 million. In 2002, the company's profit was $11.3 million instead of $11.9 million. Revenue for the year was $293 million instead of $410 million. The company's loss in 2001 was $46.5 million rather than the reported $45 million. Revenue for the year was $299 million instead of $397 million.

January 16, 2006 Tennessean
Prison health care services provider America Service Group Inc. will continue to be listed on NASDAQ. The company had received notice from the stock exchange in November that it was subject to delisting because it had failed to make timely financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company delayed its third quarter financial reports pending the conclusion of an internal investigation by its audit committee of a subsidiary, Secure Pharmacy Plus. On Jan. 10, the company received a letter from NASDAQ that it would continue to be listed on the exchange provided it files its quarterly report for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 by March 15, according to a statement released by the company. The company also must provide the final report of the internal investigation by Feb. 28. The investigation was to "determine whether SPP provided pricing of pharmaceuticals in accordance with" client contracts and whether accruals and reserves maintained by the company were in line with accounting principles, according to a Oct. 24 statement by the company. America Service Group fired Grant Bryson, president and CEO of Secure Pharmacy, on Dec. 7 in connection with the internal investigation. On Dec. 9, the company also fired Trey Hartman, president and chief operating officer of Prison Health Services Inc. His termination also was based on the ongoing internal investigation. Hartman formerly served as the head of Secure Pharmacy. The trading symbol for the company currently is "ASGRE." The "E" will be removed from the trading symbol when the company has fully complied with NASDAQ filing requirements.

December 13, 2005 Tennessean
Brentwood-based America Service Group Inc. said today that it has fired two people in connection with an ongoing investigation into the billing practices of its prison pharmacy subsidiary. The company fired Trey Hartman, its executive vice president, on Dec. 9 and Grant Bryson, head of Secure Pharmacy Plus, on Dec. 7. Hartman also was president and chief operating officer of Prison Health Services, which provides medical services to jail and prison inmates. He previously ran America Service Group's pharmacy unit. The company said Hartman and Bryson were terminated for cause. Bryson had been on paid leave. He wasn't an executive officer of the company. America Service Group also said that Richard M. Mastaler would resign from the company's board of directors on Dec. 30 to pursue other interests. The company said his resignation is unrelated to its internal investigation of the pharmacy unit. The company announced in October that it was looking into whether its pharmacy operation overcharged for drugs and failed to follow proper accounting procedures. It said its audit committee had hired outside counsel who, in turn, had brought in a team of independent auditors to review the books of Secure Pharmacy Plus. Secure Pharmacy's former controller, who recently resigned, had identified the issues that are under investigation, the company said.

November 17, 2005 Tennessean
NASDAQ notified the company on Nov. 11 that its stock may be delisted because of a delay in filing its third-quarter report. ASG announced late Monday that it had received the notice. It informed the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. The Brentwood-based jail and prison health-care company said on Nov. 9 that it would be late in filing its quarterly financial report because of a previously announced internal investigation into a pharmacy subsidiary. On Tuesday, the company's stock symbol changed from "ASGR" to "ASGRE." Shares in the company were at $16.27, down 83 cents, or 4.85%, in early trading today. If the company is dropped from the stock exchange, its shares would be traded over the counter. Some institutional investors have policies against owning shares in companies that aren't traded on one of the major exchanges, analyst Anton Hie said. If these investors are forced to sell a large amount of stock, the price would probably fall sharply, said Hie, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in Nashville.

October 25, 2005 Tennessean
Shares in America Service Group Inc. plunged 28% yesterday on news that the company is looking into whether its pharmacy unit overcharged for drugs and failed to follow proper accounting procedures. The Brentwood-based prison health-care company said its audit committee had hired outside counsel who, in turn, had brought in a team of independent auditors to review the books of Secure Pharmacy Plus. Secure Pharmacy's former controller, who recently resigned, had identified the issues that are under investigation, the company said. The unit's president, Grant Bryson, has been placed on paid leave. America Service Group didn't name the former controller, and there was no controller listed on the unit's Web site yesterday, but an earlier version of the site, saved on www.google.com, identified him as Randy Beaman. Beaman would not comment on issues under investigation. Because of the probe, America Service Group has withdrawn its earlier financial guidance and warned that it will delay filing its quarterly earnings report.

October 24, 2005 Tennessean
America Service Group Inc.'s stock tumbled in early trading today on the disclosure that its audit committee is investigating the company's pharmacy subsidiary. The Brentwood-based prison health company said in a news release this morning that the inquiry is being conducted to determine whether Secure Pharmacy Plus is providing pricing of prescription drugs in accordance with the terms of its contracts. America Service Group also is looking into whether some of the unit's financial accounts were established and utilized in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. By mid-morning, the company's stock was trading at $13.31 a share, down $4.85, or nearly 27%, from Friday's closing price of $18.16 on the NASDAQ Stock Market. Jeffries & Company analysts Anton Hie downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy" and lowered his target price to $20 from $22.50. The internal investigation is only the latest setback for America Service Group. Since its stock closed at $30 a share in February, the price has dropped on a string of bad news beginning with a series in The New York Times that month that claimed the company's care was "flawed and sometimes lethal." It also has lost several large contracts since the first of the year, including one to treat inmates at Nashville's Metro Jail. The company's nurses were blamed in the death of a diabetic inmate there last winter.

October 24, 2005 Yahoo
America Service Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR - News) announced today that the Audit Committee of its Board of Directors is conducting an internal investigation into certain matters related to its subsidiary, Secure Pharmacy Plus ("SPP"). The Company said the investigation primarily is being conducted to determine whether SPP provided pricing of pharmaceuticals in accordance with applicable client contract terms and whether some of the accruals and reserves maintained by SPP were established and utilized in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. "We take allegations of impropriety very seriously, and we are conducting a thorough investigative process to determine if the issues described in this press release, as well as any other issues which may be identified as a result of the investigation, will impact the Company's previously reported financial results," said Michael Gallagher, a member of the Company's Board of Directors and Chairman of its Audit Committee. "We will report on our findings as soon as the investigation is complete." Secure Pharmacy Plus provides pharmacy services to the Company, in facilities where the Company provides correctional medical services, as well as to third party clients who provide their own correctional medical services. The Audit Committee's inquiry into whether SPP charged its clients in accordance with applicable contract terms includes reviewing whether discounts received from wholesalers, rebates received from manufacturers or wholesalers, certain temporary price reductions from alternate vendors and distributions received from a group purchasing organization of which SPP is a member should have been credited, under the terms of the contracts, to such clients. The Audit Committee also is examining whether returns of unused pharmaceuticals were appropriately credited to clients.

September 25, 2005 Tennessean
America Service Group Inc., whose business is built around providing care for sick or injured inmates, is having a rough year. Or, it's doing OK. It depends on your point of view. Since its stock closed at $30 a share in February, the price has fallen about 45% on a run of bad news — beginning with a series in The New York Times that month that claimed the company's care was "flawed and sometimes lethal." Based in Brentwood, the company has lost at least six contracts since the first of the year, including one to treat inmates at Nashville's Metro Jail. The company's nurses were blamed in the death of a diabetic inmate there last winter. Recently, it warned Wall Street of lower profits. Originally, the company expected to earn $1.45 to $1.52 a share on the year, but last month, on a Friday night, it disclosed the loss of yet another contract and lowered its earnings estimate by 2 cents. Its stock fell an additional 8% the following Monday. Only about a third of the country's correctional health services are provided by for-profit companies, said Michael Catalano, America Service Group's chairman, president and chief executive. But every year, more agencies privatize their medical services in hopes of reducing costs and improving the quality of care. It's not clear whether privatization improves the quality of correctional care; but since the 1970s, a growing number of public officials have decided that "it's much easier to turn it over to a health consortium, and they can handle the whole nine yards," said Ken Kerle, managing editor of American Jail, the magazine of the American Jail Association. America Service Group has 21% of the outsourced correctional health market, behind Correctional Medical Services, which has an estimated 22%, Catalano said. CMS, a privately held company based in St. Louis, underbid America Service Group by about 10% in Maryland, about 14% in Idaho and about 21% in Indiana. Catalano said he doesn't understand why CMS believes it can provide adequate care for less money. "We're there providing services," he said. "We know what it costs." Catalano said, "The most significant rebids we haven't won this year have been based upon price." But this month in South Carolina, the Richland County Council voted unanimously to fire Prison Health Services after the deaths of three mentally ill inmates. One council member told The State newspaper of Columbia the treatment of the prisoners was "unacceptable and inhumane." Richland County officials didn't return calls to The Tennessean. And locally, the company's contract with Metro Jail will be allowed to expire Sept. 30. In March, a city government report blamed the Jan. 19 death of a diabetic inmate on a "failure to adhere to established practices on the part of individual employees of Prison Health Services." Claims of poor medical care are common throughout the correctional health industry. Correct Care Solutions, the Nashville company replacing Prison Health Servicesat Metro Jail, was criticized by the family of a Virginia woman who died in July in a Norfolk jail. Relatives said she complained that her pneumonia wasn't being treated. Officials said the company wasn't to blame. A month earlier, the American Civil Liberties Union sued CMS, alleging that inmates of a Mississippi prison were misdiagnosed and received poor care.

July 3, 2005 The Tennessean
America Service Group couldn't seem to catch a break in the second quarter. Its stock fell 28.4% in the three months ended June 30, shoved lower by troubles that unnerved many investors and left the health-services company lying near the bottom of the Bloomberg Tennessee Index.  Of 73 businesses on the list, onlyonefell harder in the period.  "ASGR has had a tough 2005 so far," analyst Anton Hie said, referring to the Brentwood-based company by its stock symbol.  Its stock took a hit in the first quarter after The New York Times ran several stories questioningthe quality of care provided by its Prison Health Services subsidiary, which cares for inmates.  But investors really started to worry in the most recent three months, as the company announced the loss of lucrative contracts with the Maryland, Idaho and Indiana prison systems.  He said ASGR's greatest challenge, at least in the short term, could be aggressive bidding by one of its competitors, Correctional Medical Services.  CMS, based in St. Louis, is privately held, meaning it doesn't have the legal and auditing costs associated with filing quarterly earnings reports, Hie said.  Patrick Swindle, an analyst with Avondale Partners in Nashville, said CMS also doesn't have to please investors by posting ever-increasing quarterly earnings.  "What a private company can do," Swindle said, "is take lower margins in the short term, hoping to improve those margins in time."  CMS underbid ASGR in Maryland and Idaho and is likely to replace the company in Indiana, as well, Swindle said.  One issue that has affected the company's stock but shouldn't affect its ability to win business in the future is negative news about the company.   In a front-page story in February, The Times reported that a yearlong investigation into the company's operations had found numerous examples "of medical care that has been flawed and sometimes lethal."  "The company's performance around the nation has provoked criticism from judges and sheriffs, lawsuits from inmates' families and whistle-blowers and condemnations by federal, state and local authorities," the newspaper said.  Locally, the Metro Health Department concluded recently that the death of a diabetic inmate at the Metro Jail in January could have been prevented if nurses working for Prison Health Services had followed procedures. The report said nurses failed to properly document the patient's medical problems when he was booked, lost track of his medical history and ignored repeated requests for help.

Antioch detention center
Jul 20, 2018 tennessean.com
Nashville jail officer arrested for allegedly pepper-spraying inmate without justification
A former correctional officer at Nashville's largest jail was arrested this week for allegedly pulling an inmate out of bed about one year ago and pepper-spraying him in the face without justification. Former inmate James Nelson says the officer, Oluwatobi Oja, attacked him in part because Nelson wanted to join a federal lawsuit accusing jail operator CoreCivic of refusing to treat a scabies outbreak and retaliating against inmates who sought treatment. That lawsuit — recently granted class-action status by a federal judge — states CoreCivic did little to prevent or treat hundreds of inmates suffering from the skin-burrowing mite while they were incarcerated at the 1,300-bed Metro Davidson County Detention Facility. The lawsuit was filed about a month before Nelson was pepper-sprayed. Nelson had scabies at the time and was considering joining the case as a plaintiff. Nelson says Oja roused him from bed at 1 a.m. on July 20, 2017 before rifling through his court documents. Oja was already upset with Nelson and his anger intensified when he found the scabies lawsuit. “He became very irate once he saw that lawsuit,” said Nelson’s attorney, John Maher. “He decided he was going to punish my client right then.” Oja, 24, was arrested Monday on charges of misdemeanor assault for allegedly spraying Nelson. The incident, captured on video, also led to Oja's firing for an “unnecessary” use of force, according to county court records. But that firing did not stop Nelson from filing a lawsuit. He sued Oja and CoreCivic on Wednesday in Davidson County Circuit Court, alleging that the private prison company allowed the assault to happen. It mirrors a lawsuit Nelson filed earlier this year, without an attorney, in federal court. In response to that suit, Oja and CoreCivic deny wrongdoing. Oja filed a statement accusing Nelson of instigating the spraying. The former officer says his use of force was justified because he was in fear for his life. A CoreCivic spokeswoman said Thursday the company does not comment on pending litigation or personnel matters. Nelson is no longer in jail. He was in the detention facility serving a three-year sentence on an aggravated assault charge. Scabies lawsuit could have thousands of plaintiffs The Nashville-based private prison operator could be on the hook to pay damages to Nelson and an untold number of former inmates following a federal judge's decision to formally allow the creation of a class-action lawsuit. In June 2017, Metro Nashville health officials confirmed they started treating hundreds of inmates for rashes. But additional information obtained by The Tennessean shows jail officials knew of a potential outbreak among male and female inmates months earlier. Lawsuits filed against CoreCivic provide enough evidence to support establishing a class, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled in late June. Trauger issued specific details as to whom would be part of the class. Anyone jailed and released at the Metro Nashville facility since October 2016 who had a rash and did not receive treatment is now a party to this lawsuit. Even if an inmate did not seek medical attention "in light of the apparent futility of doing so or a fear of retaliation," Trauger said they are still included in this lawsuit. "Given the nature of this disease, theoretically it could be thousands of people who got it," said Brian Kroll, an attorney representing former inmates who brought the initial lawsuit. "We can readily identify hundreds." The Metro Nashville Public Heath Department eventually offered treatment to all inmates and staff at the jail, as a preventative measure. The department considered the outbreak officially contained in September 2017. In the first half of 2017, inmates reportedly tried to send letters about the infestation to city officials. They accuse CoreCivic of preventing delivery of the letters. Two pregnant inmates did not received treatment until the health department intervened in May, the lawsuit says. City officials also contracted scabies, prompting a public outcry and calls for CoreCivic to pay for all relevant health costs for city employees. The company agreed to pay appropriate medical costs. Pointing to the allegations of retaliation in other lawsuits, Nelson's attorney suggested Oja may have pepper-sprayed Nelson in a broader attempt to prevent inmates from suing the company. “The officer very well could have thought that this is what CoreCivic wants me to do – to crack down on these people – because they are coming after CoreCivic and its employees,” Maher told The Tennessean. “Maybe, in this guy’s head, this was next logical step.” In 2015, CoreCivic received a 5-year, $100 million contract to operate the jail. Gary Blackburn, another attorney representing inmates in the federal lawsuit, says discovery in his case will add to a growing amount of evidence that the private prison operator is unfit to operate the Nashville jail.

Jun 4, 2017 patch.com
Nashville Jailhouse Scabies Outbreak Spreads To Courthouse: Report
NASHVILLE, TN — At least four courthouse employees have been diagnosed with scabies connected to an outbreak at a privately-run Nashville jail, The Tennessean reports. Court officials confirmed four cases of scabies with another six employees being tested for possible exposure to the human itch mite that causes the rash. More than 200 female inmates at the detention center run by CoreCivic — formerly Corrections Corporation of America — are already undergoing treatment, with 39 confirmed cases. (For more updates on this story and free news alerts for your neighborhood, sign up for your local Middle Tennessee Patch morning newsletter.) A murder trial has been postponed because one of the defense attorneys contracted the disease. The Health Department believes it could take "a couple of weeks" to get the outbreak under control, according to the newspaper.

Jun 3, 2017 tennessean.com
More than 300 inmates treated as scabies-like rash spreads through Nashville jail
Hundreds of local inmates are receiving treatment for what appears to be a scabies outbreak at a Nashville jail, officials said. A spokeswoman for the privately run jail said staff first noticed a rash three weeks ago. A Metro health official confirmed learning of the rashes in mid-May, but did not start administering treatments until Thursday. The outbreak is now keeping the female inmates of the Davidson County Detention Center away from court hearings, and one Nashville judge said a murder trial in his courtroom was delayed after a lawyer was infected, too. Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier, who delayed the case, said he was concerned jail staff did not notify the courts soon enough. "To the extent that there’s any communicable disease issue within a jail facility, courts ought to be notified" out of concern for the inmates and court staff, he said. The parasite was found in inmates at the jail facility on Harding Place in Antioch, court administrators and health department officials confirmed. The 1,300-bed facility is operated by the private prison company CoreCivic, a company previously known as Corrections Corporation of America or CCA. As of now, roughly 320 inmates are receiving treatment, with 20 to 25 confirmed to have rashes, said Brian Todd, public information officer for the Metro Public Health Department. Those numbers could change though, he said. Scabies is a skin infestation by the human itch mite, which often leads to an itchy rash, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Scabies is a parasite that burrows under the skin," Todd elaborated. CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist said the first inmate sought medical treatment for a rash about three weeks ago. Todd said "it took time to investigate" the rashes and causes, which led to a delay in treatment. Gilchrist said inmates with rashes and those without symptoms will receive treatment if they are within the three housing units mainly affected. No employees have sought treatment yet, she said. On Wednesday, representatives of the health department, public defender's office and CoreCivic met, according to an email from John Ford, chief deputy in the sheriff's office. He wrote that CoreCivic has some medication on hand, and the rest would arrive in 24 hours. While experts haven't confirmed the rash is caused by scabies, Todd said the typical scabies treatment of a pill or cream is apparently working. On Thursday morning, courthouse staff were cautioned about the outbreak. No one who works there is "at-risk unless they came in direct contact with someone that has a confirmed case of scabies," an email sent to all General Sessions staffers reads. "However, if you do develop symptoms, contact my office or your supervisor for the appropriate ... paperwork. "This has been an evolving issue and Presiding Judge (Gale) Robinson and Judge (Melissa) Blackburn have been making continuing efforts in consultation with DCSO, Health Dept, and Core Civic to get this issue resolved as soon as possible." Trial Court Administrator Tim Townsend said as a precautionary measure, no female inmates from the facility would be brought to Nashville's courthouses for court hearings scheduled Thursday or Friday. Those court dates will be rescheduled, he said. Scabies can spread quickly in crowded places where there is close skin-to-skin contact, such as nursing homes and prisons, according to the CDC. An email obtained by The Tennessean, which was sent more than a week ago from the health department to court staff and copied to sheriff's officials, indicates there was a problematic rash at the facility. Cathy Seigenthaler, director of Metro Public Health Department's Correctional Health Services, recommended in the May 24 email that the "top five worst rash cases" submit to blood tests. She wrote that no confirmed scabies cases had been diagnosed and said the jail was following proper laundry and cleaning procedures. Gilchrist said the sheriff's office and Metro public health were notified of the issue "from the start" but didn't elaborate when signs of the rash spreading were first noticed.  "We’re following all protocols and guidelines to mitigate the issue. For example, all female inmates within the three impacted housing units are receiving treatment as a precaution, and the impacted housing units and inmate clothing and laundry are being disinfected," Gilchrist said. In addition to barring the inmates from going to court until Monday, all activities, including visitation at the jail, also have been canceled until Monday "in order to protect visitors and volunteers," she said.

Belmont University
Jul 8, 2018 belmontvision.com
Belmont students call for Damon Hininger’s removal from Board of Trustees
An online petition with more than 1,100 signatures is calling for the removal of CoreCivic President and CEO Damon Hininger from Belmont University’s Board of Trustees because of CoreCivic’s work with detained immigrant families. CoreCivic is a Nashville-based company and the largest owner of “partnership correctional, detention and residential reentry facilities” in the U.S., according to the company’s website. Some Belmont students and other individuals throughout Nashville say CoreCivic is an unethical company because it profits off of incarceration and immigrant detention, according to a Facebook post from Women’s March – Power Together Tennessee. These individuals want Hininger removed from Belmont’s Board of Trustees. “It has recently come to my attention that Damon Hininger, a member of the Belmont Board of Trustees and a former Massey Award recipient, is not someone I believe we want associated with Belmont University,” said Sarah Evans, a Belmont student who created the petition for Hininger’s removal. CoreCivic’s Director of Public Affairs Amanda Gilchrist offered a statement to the Vision on behalf of Hinninger and the company. Hininger declined to comment further. “CoreCivic recognizes that immigration is one of the most complex and personal issues that our country deals with. In this instance, our valued but limited role has helped address a humanitarian crisis,” Gilchrist said. “Our responsibility is to care for each person respectfully and humanely while they receive the legal due process that they are entitled to.” In comments from supporters of Evans’ petition, a common concern was the way CoreCivic directly profits from the increase in immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new zero-tolerance policy toward illegal immigration. Then on June 20, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the separation of detained immigrant children from their parents, creating an extra need for detention centers for whole families. CoreCivic operates one of those family detention centers in Dilley, Texas. The facility was built in partnership with ICE in 2014, specifically for the purpose of housing detained mothers and children. It includes classrooms, playrooms and offices where parents can meet with attorneys, Gilchrist said. “ICE has seen meaningful increases in not only the numbers, but also the dollars appropriated for increased utilization within their system,” Hininger said at the REITweek Investor conference in June. “So what we’ve described here recently to investors is probably the most robust kind of sales environment we’ve seen in probably 10 years, not only on the federal side with the dynamics with ICE and U.S. Marshals, but also with these activities on the state side.” Hininger, who received his MBA from the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business in 2000, has remained connected with Belmont ever since. He serves on the university’s Board of Trustees and on the Massey Advisory Board for the School of Business. Hininger’s involvement at Belmont has been a source of concern for some students in the past because of his work at CoreCivic. One of those students was Jones Kolbinsky, who met with Belmont President Dr. Robert Fisher in the spring and talked to him about his reservations. “I’m graduating in less than a year, and I want to be able to say to people in 20 or 30 years that I love Belmont and I’m proud to have graduated there, but this throws all sorts of conflicts of interest into the equation,” Kolbinsky said in an interview. Kolbinsky felt his concerns were heard and respected, but he didn’t see any changes as a result, he said. A few months later, Evans learned about CoreCivic’s work while reading about the End Family Detention March in Nashville — which focused on protesting Hininger’s involvement at Belmont and in Nashville as a whole. She decided she wanted to do something more than just meet with Belmont’s administration on her own. “More often than not, I am proud to be a student of Belmont University. However, after learning that we are and plan to continue our involvement with CoreCivic, I find it harder to call myself a ‘proud student,’” Evans said. On June 29, Evans started the petition to remove Hininger from Belmont’s Board of Trust. As of publication, it had received 1,198 virtual signatures on the Change.org website. “As individuals associated with Belmont University and the Nashville community, we deserve a say in who represents our school, and Mr. Hininger clearly does not represent the values that our school claims to embody,” Evans wrote in the petition. The university commented on the petition in a brief statement to the Vision. “We respect all individuals’ rights to express themselves and to share their concerns. Damon Hininger is a Belmont alumnus and a valued and appreciated member of the University’s Board of Trustees,” according to the statement from Belmont. As of publication, Evans had not yet spoken to the Board of Trustees or any members of the Belmont administration. Evans doesn’t think CoreCivic’s work aligns with Belmont’s values, so she hopes the university will cut ties with the company completely, she said. “I believe that the family separation and retention policies in place are inhumane and unjust,” she said. “By standing behind Mr. Hininger, Belmont University is passively supporting an organization that is profiteering off a humanitarian crisis.” Though CoreCivic does house detained families, the company does not enforce immigration law, Gilchrist said in her statement. “We have a long-standing, zero-tolerance policy not to advocate for or against any legislation that serves as the basis for – or determines the duration of – an individual’s detention. We do not enforce immigration laws, arrest anyone who may be in violation of immigration laws or have any say whatsoever in an individual’s deportation or release,” she said. CoreCivic facilities do not hold unaccompanied minors, either.
Going forward, Evans plans to take the petition and meet with Fisher and take whatever steps she can to get Hininger removed from Belmont’s Board of Trustees. “In addition to this, I hope that this petition shows other people in power that they are not invincible, and that we are paying attention to their actions,” Evans said.

Board of Probation and Parole

February 1, 2005 Tennessean
A state contract for satellite tracking of 600 sex and violent offenders will go up for bid a second time after a protest by a company chaired by the former chief executive officer of Corrections Corporation of America. Satellite Tracking of People LLC's challenge of plans for an award to rival Sentinel Offender Services has delayed start of the pilot project.
''We were anticipating it being up and running,'' said John W. Carney Jr., district attorney general for Montgomery and Robertson counties. Nashville-based STOP was among four bidders under the first request for proposals. STOP's chairman is Doctor Crants, co-founder of prison operator CCA. After the state's Board of Probation and Parole decided Sentinel had the best program, STOP protested. STOP, meanwhile, also sued another bidder, Pro Tech Monitoring of Odessa, Fla., last week. STOP's suit seeks to block Pro Tech from offering a rival product that STOP claims violates its patent. The patent in question was inherited through STOP's purchase earlier this year of a business called VeriTracks from defense contractor General Dynamics.

Brentwood Patrol
Forest Hills, Tennessee

September 3, 2003
The president of a private security firm at the center of a federal civil-rights lawsuit contends that he has ''nothing to hide'' as lawyers and state regulators begin combing through the firm's hiring practices and patrol activities.  A security guard for Brentwood Patrol was arrested last year after he was charged with rape and kidnapping. Metro police say that in August 2002, Loren Janosky flashed his green lights at a motorist, pulled her over, and after purportedly arresting her on DUI charges, took her to a Forest Hills swim club where he raped her. His jury trial is scheduled for November.  One past employee listed in the suit, Joseph Lee Bernell Bryant, had worked for Brentwood Patrol in 1993-94. After that, he worked for another security company. While employed at Integrity Security, he was charged with raping a colleague and was later convicted. Before his employment at Brentwood Patrol, court records show, he had amassed a lengthy criminal record in the 1980s.  (Tennessean.com)

Chad Youth Enhancement Center
Clarksville, Tennessee
Universal Health Services (formerly run by Keystone Education and Youth Services)

October 12, 2007 The Tennessean
A troubled Philadelphia, Pa., teen who was sent to a Tennessee youth center for treatment died of strangulation after a confrontation with staff members, a coroner found. The death of Omega Leach, 17, was ruled a homicide, according to the autopsy report by state medical examiner Bruce Levy. He found that Leach had multiple hemorrhages of his neck muscles after a struggle with two staff members at the Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Clarksville, Tenn. A grand jury in Montgomery County will have to decide if charges are warranted, said Ted Denny, a spokesman for the county sheriff's office. The Philadelphia Department of Human Services has sent scores of emotionally troubled youngsters to Chad since 2001, saying no Pennsylvania facility would take them. Leach's death on June 3 prompted city officials to begin removing children from Chad, but eight still remain there, a city official told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday. The autopsy found other scrapes and bruises on Leach's body, but also noted that the teen's enlarged heart contributed to his death. Tennessee child-welfare officials have already cited Chad in the Leach case, saying staff members needlessly provoked him.

August 6, 2007 AP
A Pennsylvania family court judge has begun removing troubled Philadelphia children from a controversial treatment center in Montgomery County, Tenn., where a 17-year-old resident died after a confrontation with staff. The children were sent to the Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Montgomery County by Philadelphia's Department of Human Services, even though an agency official who visited the facility in 2005 concluded that "residents were being harshly and improperly restrained." Chad leaders rebuked -- The family court's top judge, Kevin Dougherty, ordered six Philadelphia children discharged from Chad on Friday, and more hearings are planned. Dougherty said he harshly rebuked Chad leaders in court. "I told them I was not sending another kid down there," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer for Sunday's editions. "They were too aggressive." Philadelphia has sent scores of emotionally troubled youngsters to the center since 2001, saying it has been forced to do so because no Pennsylvania facility would take them. It has paid Chad $6 million in the past three years. A 14-year-old Long Island, N.Y., girl died of heart failure at Chad in 2005 after a confrontation with staff. Then in June, Omega Leach of Philadelphia died after Chad staff physically restrained him, pushing him face-down to the floor and apparently cutting off his air, investigators said. On the day Leach died, Philadelphia had 44 children and teens in Chad, all under city oversight. The Philadelphians — some from abusive homes, others with arrest records — made up the biggest share of 85 residents who slept, attended school and got therapy at Chad. Arthur C. Evans Jr., the acting human services commissioner, said his agency's oversight of Chad was unacceptable. The department has come under harsh criticism and has seen an administrative shake-up after Inquirer reports detailing the number of children who have died under its watch. Center defends its staff -- Chad spokesman Nick Ragone said in a statement Friday that staff put youngsters in physical holds only as a last resort to protect them or others. Moreover, he said, Chad worked zealously to train its staff and responded quickly to issues raised by Tennessee regulators.

August 5, 2007 Philadelphia Inquirer
In March 2005, a man called the Philadelphia child-abuse hotline with a warning: His coworkers were using "improper and illegal" force against city youngsters sent to the Chad Youth Enhancement Center. In June 2005, a Philadelphia child-care investigator learned that a staffer at the Tennessee center had been fired after he allegedly slammed a boy to the floor so hard the child fouled himself. In September 2005, the city was told that a 14-year-old girl from Long Island, N.Y., had dropped dead of a heart attack after a confrontation with staff. While an investigation cleared Chad of blame in the death, New York and Tennessee stopped sending children to the residential treatment center. But Philadelphia, despite a drumbeat of warnings that children were being violently subdued and injured, continued to send emotionally troubled children to Chad. The city's Department of Human Services stuck with Chad even after a top DHS official concluded that "residents were being harshly and improperly restrained." Not until the June death of 17-year-old Philadelphian Omega Leach did the city finally lose faith. In a physical restraint gone wrong, Leach died after Chad staff pushed him face-down to the floor, apparently cutting off his air, investigators say. When done safely, restraints can calm youths who are out of control and prevent children from hurting themselves or others. But when they go wrong, these "holds" can be brutal. They can dislocate a shoulder, split a chin or snap an arm. In extreme cases, they can kill. On the day Leach died, Philadelphia had 44 children and teens in Chad, all under DHS oversight. The Philadelphians - some from abusive homes, others with arrest records - made up the biggest share of 85 residents who slept, attended school and got therapy at Chad. Since 2001, the city has sent scores of youngsters to the center, saying it has been forced to do so because no Pennsylvania facility would take them. It has paid Chad $6 million in the last three years. Arthur C. Evans Jr., the acting DHS commissioner, took command late last year after Mayor Street ousted its top official following an Inquirer investigation into a string of child deaths in Philadelphia. "A good facility should not rely on restraints," Evans said. "This is really unacceptable." Further, he said, his agency's oversight of Chad was also unacceptable. Nick Ragone, a Chad spokesman, said in a statement Friday that the facility put youngsters in physical holds only as a last resort to protect them or others. Moreover, he said, Chad worked zealously to train its staff and responded quickly to issues raised by regulators. Last week, as a result of Leach's death, Philadelphia began Family Court hearings in a first step to pull children out of Chad. The court's top judge, Kevin Dougherty, said Friday that he had harshly rebuked Chad leaders in court. "I told them I was not sending another kid down there," he said. "They were too aggressive." On Friday, Dougherty ordered six children discharged from Chad, with more hearings to come. The Inquirer has obtained hundreds of regulatory documents about Chad, drawn from government files in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Based on these records and interviews with former Chad staff, regulatory officials in both states, and former Chad residents and their families, the newspaper found: Chad's workers resorted to physical force at high rates - rates experts term excessive. By Chad's own count, filed with Tennessee officials, its workers used 104 holds in one month alone in 2006. Chad staff would on occasion hold residents down for long periods - even though experts warn that deaths can occur within six minutes of a hold. In May, Chad reported one floor-hold that lasted 23 minutes, and others that lasted 20 and 15 minutes. Tennessee repeatedly cited Chad for failing to tell its regulators about children who had been injured there. In one case, the state learned that three residents had tried to strangle another only when the victim's mother called police, records show. Philadelphia acknowledges it never reviewed Tennessee licensing documents about Chad, which would have revealed the center's heavy reliance on physical holds. No tour permitted -- Set in rolling hills about 40 miles west of Nashville, Chad was refashioned out of a former county nursing home. The 20-acre site is surrounded by horse farms and not far from Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Division across the Kentucky state line. When a reporter drove up its 800-yard entranceway recently, John McDuffie, a top administrator at Chad, emerged from its offices before his visitor could reach the front door. He said no one at the facility would answer questions or provide a tour. Chad was founded in 1996 by a psychologist, Robert D. Glasner, who named it after a son who had died young in a car crash. It is owned by a King of Prussia for-profit corporation, Universal Health Services Inc. UHS, which owns 110 mental-health facilities in 33 states, bought Chad in the fall of 2005, paying $210 million for Chad and 29 other centers. Chad has a gym, a classroom building and three dorms, where residents live two to a room. Boys range in age from 7 to 17, girls from 13 to 17. When the youths arrive, they sign a form acknowledging that, if they misbehave, they may be put in a "protective hold." Leach signed his May 2, his first day there. During holds, staff members restrain children by locking the residents' hands behind their backs. Sometimes, the children are held upright, or against a wall. In more serious cases, they are put to the floor, face-down. Such holds are controversial. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Rendell's administration has been on a crusade to all but eliminate physical holds in psychiatric hospitals, mental-health centers, reform schools and the like. Instead, public welfare secretary Estelle Richman is pushing facilities to get control of unruly residents with conversation or by isolating them in a quiet space. In interviews, experts and advocates said the sheer number of holds Chad used on children appeared troubling. "I worry about the culture of the facility. Why is it so restraint-happy?" asked Michael Carter, a lawyer with the federally funded Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee. His staff has been investigating Leach's death. When presented with the "restraint logs" from Chad, DHS Commissioner Evans agreed. He said the data reflected a workplace culture with few alternatives for calming residents or gaining control. "That, to me, is just not acceptable," Evans said last week. "One thing I can't and will never tolerate is the mistreatment of children." Evans said DHS had failed to recognize Chad's problems soon enough. In response to recent reports about Chad's performance, he said, he reassigned the man who oversaw contracts for DHS, Steven C. Oakman. Oakman did not respond to requests for comment in telephone calls and a letter left at his house. In his statement, Chad spokesman Ragone disputed the data showing a high number of holds at Chad. He said the figures reflected a wide variety of "hands-on" contact by staff with residents, not just the most serious interventions. Kim J. Masters, a child psychiatrist who wrote the guidelines on restraints for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said he was struck by Chad's data showing as many as 100 holds in a month. "That's a lot," he said. When he took charge some years ago at one center - larger than Chad - Masters considered its tally of 100 restraints a year to be "out of control." Its staff now do about two per month. A high number of restraints, Masters said, reflects "a coercive environment that says, 'You have to do this or else.' " Such techniques rarely work and may backfire, he said. "Kids act out when they don't feel safe," Masters said. "And they don't feel safe when they're being restrained all the time." A litany of problems -- Regulatory files on Chad are publicly available in the state capital in Nashville and show a history of problems. In 2004, for example, Tennessee officials wrote: "Serious incident reports revealed that the agency uses what appears to be an excessive number of physical restraints." That year, Chad admitted that a worker had to be pulled off a resident after the staffer threw 16-year-old John T. Boy against a wall. The worker said he had "overacted" and apologized, records show. Chad acknowledged that the aide had had "problems like this two or three times in the past" and said he would be fired "once they found someone to take his place." In an interview in Tennessee, Boy's mother said she had been astounded that Chad kept the worker on. "They did not care about kids at this facility," Sharon Pruett said. "It needs to be shut down." The employee was finally dismissed, records show. Boy was shot to death last year, in a killing unrelated to his Chad experience. In 2005, when Tennessee staged a surprise inspection of Chad, a girl told the inspectors that a Chad supervisor "will try to hurt students during restraints and 'wants us to scream.' " Another youngster said she had seen "Big Mike slam kids down real hard on the floor. I don't want that happening to me, so I try hard to do everything they ask me to do." In March 2005, the anonymous caller, identifying himself as a Chad employee, called the DHS hotline to warn about force at the facility. In response, DHS dispatched an investigator to Chad - three months later. According to the investigator's report, just 14 Philadelphia youths were at Chad at that time. All had been restrained - some as many as five times, the investigator found. In one case, DHS staffer Haiying Xi reported, a youngster had been cut on the chin in a restraint, requiring stitches. Chad had not reported this to regulators, DHS learned. Finally, DHS official Stephen Rosenberg wrote to Chad. "The investigation could not determine any pattern for the use of illegal physical restraints," Rosenberg wrote. "However, the investigation did validate the allegations that some residents were being harshly and improperly restrained." In a reply, Chad administrator McDuffie assured DHS that Chad was a "nurturing and positive environment." He said the facility had hired more staff and made children's safety a priority. The former owners of Chad also said it was a safe and therapeutic place for children when they handed over the keys to Universal Health in October 2005. "Our goal was to effect treatment in as nonphysical a way as possible," former chief executive officer Michael G. Lindley said. Al Smith, another former top executive with Chad's former owner, said: "Did untoward events happen? Absolutely. But was it a culture? I don't believe so." After Universal Health purchased Chad, regulators continued to flag problems. In 2006, the state complained again that Chad wasn't reporting serious incidents to regulators. Another boy went to an emergency room for cuts sustained in a restraint. And a mental-health associate quit after she got into an argument with a youth and shoved her, records show. According to a Tennessee investigation, other youths were injured this year. On Jan. 2, Tennessee officials disclosed, staff broke the left arm of a 16-year-old boy during a restraint. Later in the year, Chad told regulators, another teenage resident was "taken to the floor" in a restraint that required four stitches for cuts on the lips. In May, Edith Ruland pulled her son, Dennis, 10, out of Chad after she found numerous bruises on him, she said. Ruland, who lives near Chad, took photographs of the bruises, which the boy said staff had inflicted in a restraint hold. Though Tennessee had stopped sending children in state custody, it still permitted families to use it. "They treat people wrong," Dennis said in an interview. "And they shouldn't be having a facility that would bruise people and stuff." In response, a spokesman for Chad said Tennessee had investigated and had been "unable to substantiate these complaints." Rob Johnson, a spokesman for regulators in Tennessee, agreed that investigators couldn't unravel the episode. "They know that the child got injured somehow," Johnson said. "They just don't know how." Out of sight, out of mind -- Experts and members of the commission appointed by Street to overhaul DHS say the city's heavy use of Chad exemplifies another key failing of the agency: its reliance on out-of-state treatment centers. At last count, 233 of Philadelphia's 1,554 children in residential facilities were outside Pennsylvania. Critics note that a main goal for social-service agencies is to eventually reunite troubled children with their families. Yet faraway locations make parental or guardian visits far more difficult. And as a DHS administrator noted in a 2005 report on Chad, such far-off facilities have an obvious weakness. It's hard for officials in Pennsylvania to regulate what happens in Tennessee. Philadelphia officials said they recognized the problem and were moving to solve it. They said they often had little choice but to lean on out-of-state facilities to care for the city's most troubled youths because many in-state treatment centers wouldn't take them. Smith, the former Chad executive, said kids who lashed out violently at authority figures were hard to place. "If a child has hit a teacher, you can be certain they'll have no problem going after staff," he said. So, each year, Philadelphia shops its most hardened cases to area centers, but ends up sending hundreds to Tennessee, Utah and Virginia for mental-health treatment. Child-welfare officials in other states, such as Illinois, and the second-largest child-welfare system in Pennsylvania, that of Allegheny County, say they have found ways to keep children closer to home. Marc Cherna, who heads the Allegheny child-welfare agency, studied DHS as a member of Street's reform panel. He said none of the children under his care were placed out of state. An agency task force makes sure that even the toughest cases are placed close to home. And money is no object, Cherna said. "We will pay extraordinary rates for people who are extraordinarily difficult," he said. "Our goal is to return these children back to the community." In 1995, Illinois was shipping 784 children out of state for care. Eventually, the state realized that counselors in far-flung treatment centers were abusing children. "We flew to facilities we used in a dozen states, and in every one it got worse and worse," said Ron Davidson, a psychologist who helped the state evaluate the programs. Today just a dozen children from Illinois are placed outside the state. "Children just perform better closer to home," said Kendall Marlowe, an Illinois child-service official. Philadelphia's acting DHS commissioner, Evans, agrees. He wants to reduce the number of children placed out of state. "It's a very high priority for me," Evans said. "We send too many kids away from Philadelphia." One of those kids was Omega Leach. A month before he died, a therapist placed a note in his file. "Omega is frustrated with being placed so far from home," the therapist wrote. "But he has expressed the desire to complete the program successfully so that he can return home and start working on getting his life together." A Key City Report, Uncensored -- In 2005, an investigator for the city wrote a detailed report focusing on the Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Tennessee. The city made the report public at The Inquirer's request. Before releasing it, however, city lawyers removed the most explosive section - pages with allegations that Philadelphia children were being abused at Chad. In redacting the document, the city cited an exemption in Pennsylvania's right-to-know law that allows governments to withhold investigations, even finished ones, from the public. The Inquirer later obtained a complete version of the report. In this version, the only information removed is the names of children.

August 5, 2007 Philadelphia Inquirer
Tennessee regulators have concluded that a center for troubled children needlessly provoked the confrontation that led to the death in June of a 17-year-old Philadelphia teen. The Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Ashland City "violated its own policy and procedures" in subduing Omega Leach, social-service regulators said. The state said a Chad staffer should have given Leach space to calm down June 2 when Leach had retreated to a dorm after a fight with another resident. Instead, the staffer, Randall D. Rae, 22, ordered Leach to leave the dorm, and Leach attacked him. The worker then forced Leach prone on the floor, face-down, and the teenager lost consciousness. Leach was pronounced dead the next day. Police say they think the hold cut off his air supply. In a response to the state, Chad officials did not directly address Leach's death, but said repeatedly that they would improve training of staff members and work to better teach them "verbal de-escalation." The confrontation began at 3:50 p.m. when Rae told Leach that residents weren't permitted in the dorm at that time of day. "His training should have told him this is not the time to approach this child," said Tracey Robinson-Coffee, head of licensing for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. Leach leaped on Rae, trying to choke him. Rae grabbed Leach - a slender 5-foot-9 and 152 pounds - and pulled Leach's hands behind his back and put him on the floor. Rae did that even though Chad's policies allow such holds only when at least two staffers are present, regulators say. At some point, Rae turned his grip on Leach over to another aide, Milton G. Francis, 31. A Chad nurse arrived and placed a block under Leach's head to help him breathe. While police and the state medical examiner are investigating, no criminal charges have been filed, and the cause of death is pending. But state regulators have already faulted Chad and frozen all admissions there until at least October. Rae hung up on a reporter Friday. Francis did not respond to a letter requesting comment. In its July ruling, the state also faulted Chad over its training of Rae and other staffers. So far, according to documents obtained by The Inquirer, investigators have been provided with at least three estimates for how long the hold on Leach lasted. Nursing staff said it had lasted 13 minutes. Other Chad officials said 11 minutes. In a third document, the duration was put down as seven or eight minutes. The timing is significant. In a 2006 policy statement, Pennsylvania social-service officials said that "most deaths occur within the first six minutes of a restraint," and "that in most situations a restrictive procedure should not last longer than 10 minutes."

July 22, 2007 Tennessean
As officials await results of a state toxicology report on the death of a troubled teen at Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Ashland City, a community group is calling for the center to be closed. Montgomery County Sheriff's officials said they had received reports of abuse and other problems at the facility and that state health officials had ordered a corrective plan for the facility after two other residents were injured while being restrained by staff. "Chad definitely needs to be shut down," said Terry McMoore, director of the Urban Resource Center. "Chad is a big corporation and has a corporate mentality when it comes to business, and you can't have that with kids." County and state agencies have been looking into Chad since the death of Omega Leach, 17, who had been placed at the center by the Philadelphia (Pa.) Department of Human Services. Leach died June 3 after being restrained a day earlier by Chad staff at the center. According to a report to the state from Mike Wallace, risk manager at Chad, Leach attacked staff member Randell Dale Rae Jr. after an argument over leaving his room. "The staff member and the resident struggled until the staff member was able to place the resident into a neutral protective hold," Wallace reported. State officials have said Leach was pinned to the floor, held down by staff members. Rae and staff member Milton Gerald Francis, 31, kept Leach in the hold for seven to eight minutes until he became calm — and unresponsive. Staff members tried to resuscitate Leach, Wallace wrote. Leach was pronounced dead the next day at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, where doctors reported he had suffered "significant" internal bleeding, a report says. Rae and Francis have been put on administrative leave, according to state officials. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is investigating Leach's death, and that investigation is awaiting the release of a state toxicology report.

June 25, 2007 AP
A teenager sent to a Tennessee facility for troubled youth died after a confrontation with the center's staff, prompting Philadelphia officials to consider relocating dozens of teens sent there. Omega Leach, described by Philadelphia officials as a 17-year-old whose many troubles included racing a stolen car, was sent last month to the Chad Youth Enhancement Center, a private 50-bed residential treatment center near Clarksville for children with a history of emotional and behavioral problems. Leach is the second student to die at the Chad Youth Enhancement Center in less than two years, and authorities and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services are investigating. Leach got into a physical confrontation with the staff June 3 and died the next day at a Nashville hospital. He tried to choke one counselor, and another staffer pushed Leach face down to the floor and pulled his arms behind his back, police said. Investigators are trying to find out whether he was restrained improperly, keeping him from breathing. Agency may move others: "There's no doubt that the kid had an attitude and probably needed to be locked up somewhere," Sgt. Brian Prentice, of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, told The Philadelphia Inquirer for a story Sunday. "It doesn't mean he has to be dead." Leach's care was the responsibility of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services. The agency was paying Chad $285 a day for Leach's treatment, even though questions had been raised about the center. In September 2005, Linda Regina Harris, 14, of Long Island, died there of heart failure as she was being escorted by a counselor. The Philadelphia agency has frozen admissions to Chad and said it is putting into place "a contingency plan" for relocating 45 city children, pending further investigation. Chad and its corporate owner, Universal Health Services Inc. of King of Prussia, Pa., declined to respond to detailed questions, instead issuing a statement to the Inquirer defending their record. "We have a reputation and history of being a high-quality provider of behavioral health and substance-abuse services to troubled youth and their families," said Duwayne Glaser, chief executive officer.

September 20, 2005 Tennessean
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office yesterday was investigating the death of a 14-year-old girl who died while in the custody of a Montgomery County juvenile detention facility. According to officials, the girl, whose name had not been released, was being escorted by a staff member to another room of the privately owned Chad Youth Enhancement Center on Oak Plains Road near the Montgomery-Cheatham county line when she collapsed Sunday night. A press release from the Keystone Education and Youth Services in Nashville, which owns the Chad Youth Enhancement Center and 50 other facilities, said the girl was having trouble breathing and was immediately given CPR by the staff physician.

Con-Link Transportation
Memphis, Tennessee
November 25, 2003
After five days on the lam, a Tennessee prisoner was captured Sunday afternoon in a residential area a half-mile from where he escaped from custody, police said.  On Nov. 18, a private transport service was taking Robert L. South, 21, from Indiana to Blountville, Tenn., to stand trial on a bomb threat charge. The transport officers got off Interstate 64 at the Lewisburg exit about 11 p.m. and drove to a nearby Subway restaurant for a rest room break. Despite being handcuffed, South took off running across a parking lot and disappeared behind a construction site. Police later found his orange jump suit in the woods behind the Brier Inn and Conference Center.  Officers from the Lewisburg Police Department, the Greenbrier County Sheriff's Department, State Police and other law enforcement agencies scoured the area that night and warned residents to lock their doors. Despite the use of a tracking dog, they were unable to find South. Sunday at approximately 2:30 p.m., after receiving a 911 call from a resident, Lewisburg police officers J.C. Dove and D.W. Hedrick found South in the crawl space under a house on Village Road. They apprehended him without incident.  South apparently had been hiding under houses in the subdivision for several days. Earlier, he had stolen clothing from an unlocked vehicle.  South was charged with escape in Greenbrier County Magistrate Court and was taken to the Southern Regional Jail. Other charges are pending.  Lt. L.E. Reed of the Lewisburg Police Department said he is relieved South was captured without anyone being harmed. "That's the main thing, that we were able to do it without any problem," he commented.  As for South's escape, Reed said there will be an investigation of how he was able to run away from custody and later get free of his handcuffs and "belly chain."  "That never should have happened," he said. "Somebody's got some explaining to do."  The transport officers worked for Con-Link Transportation, based in Memphis, Tenn.  (The Register-Herald)

Corrections Corporation of America, Nashville, Tennessee
CCA Political Activity and Lobbying Report 2012:
CCA Death List: December 09, 2013 Reports_Files\Deaths in CCA Custody
This is not a parade. It’s a pattern: Squalor, rape, murder and riots persist in private prisons nationwide.
Dec 4, 2013 telegram.com


Mitt Romney's Undisclosed Relationship With Private Prisons: August 24, 2012 By karoli, Crooks & Liars. CCA's REIT and Romney.
Immigrants prove big business for prison companies: August 2, 2012 By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ and GARANCE BURKE Associated Press. Must read on immigration $$$.
Correctional Corporation of America Accreditation Report Misses Stark Reality: August 1, 2012, Truth Out. Headline says it all.
Private Prison, Public Problem: June 6, 2012, Jackson Free Press. Excellent piece on how the Adams County CF (MS) prison was built and its and CCA's operations.
An activist fights to make CCA more transparent — by joining the ranks of its stockholders: May 17, 2012, Nashville Scene, by Jonathan Meador. Piece on Alex Friedmann's efforts to get rape resolution passed by CCA.
How the private detention industry courted Crete: May 16, 2012, by Siddhartha Mahanta, American Independent. Exposé on how CCA works small communities
Ex-Con Shareholder Goes After World's Biggest Prison Corporation: May 10, 2012, Mother Jones piece on Alex Friedmann's shareholder's resolution on rape.
Attack of the Prison People: March 27, 2012, NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman won't be intimidated.
Luna v. CCA: March 16, 2012. Former CCA warden sues over firing. While he lost his case, the case provides an inside look at how poorly run Red Rock is.
State gets tougher on private prisons - Operators face fine as leniency disappears under Martinez administration: March 1, 2012, Trip Jennings, The New Mexican: Damning expose on how former DOC Secretary and former Wackenhut warden cost state millions of dollars in un-collected fines against for-profits.
Incident Rates at CCA-run Prisons Higher than at Public Prisons in Tennessee: October 18, 2011, Private Corrections Institute. According to an analysis of incidents involving assaults and disturbances at publicly-operated and privately-managed prisons in Tennessee from January 2009 to June 2011, incident rates were consistently higher at the state’s three private prisons.
Private prison company’s growth went hand-in-hand with political influence: Jon Collins September 26, 2011 Minnesota Independent
Arizona prison businesses are big political contributors: Bob Ortega - September 4, 2011, The Arizona Republic. Ortega connects the dots between the for-profits, the money, and legislators.
Flush With Prison Industry Dollars, Rick Perry Pushed Privatized Prisoner Care: September 1, 2011, Tim Murphy, Mother Jones. Gov Perry's cozy relationship with the for-profits.
Hernando County's takeover of jail brings year of sweeping changes, by John Woodrow Cox and Barbara Behrendt, St Petersburg Times, August 28, 2011. This is a MUST read on CCA.
Top Ten Industry Lies: Cell Out Arizona, August 22, 2011
Prison firm optimistic about Arizona bid despite incidents: August 8, 2011, Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic. Exposé on CCA
Business Week A Boom Behind Bars, March 17, 2011 Another great expose.
CCA's Idaho Correctional Center beating video: November 30, 2010, 3:36 min: Damning video piece.
Wall Street and the Criminalization of Immigration: October 6, 2010, 5 pages. Details profit making off immigration by the private prison vendors.
Part 2: NPR expose on for-profits and immigration law Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny
Part 1: NPR expose on for-profits and immigration law Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law
More from Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow stay on it http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#38700092
Rachel Maddow kicks butt http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/38685023#38685023
AZ Gov Brewer avoids questions about CCA and her administration: July 23, 2010, 5:01 min: Very funny watching Governor Brewer running away from hard questions regarding her staff's relationships with CCA.
CCA Pays Over $22,000 to American Correctional Association to Claim “Stamp of Approval” at Five Private Prisons
Behind the Bars | Kentucky had gaps in monitoring troubled Otter Creek prison July 5, 2010
Behind the Bars | Experts question benefits of private prisons July 5, 2010
Behind the Bars | Prison faced regular complaints about medical care July 5, 2010
Behind the Bars | Secretary Carla Meade's suicide raised questions July 5, 2010
How The Recession Hurts Private Prisons Nancy Cook, Newsweek June 30, 2010
Freedom Forum CEO Tied to For-Profit Prisons An advocate for--and against--freedom of information

Sep 22, 2022 patch.com
CoreCivic Hit With Two New Lawsuits Over Inmate Deaths

The Nashville-based for-profit prison operator runs four facilities in Tennessee.

The parents of three inmates who died behind bars in a span of just four months in 2021 are accusing private prison operator CoreCivic of Tennessee of repeatedly placing profits over safety and failing to police its own guards. “CoreCivic needs to be held accountable, and the (parents) intend to do just that,” attorney Janet Goode wrote in one of two wrongful death lawsuits filed recently in U.S. District Court against the Nashville-based company. The two lawsuits — the latest in a stack of litigation filed against the for-profit prison operator in recent years — accuse the company of intentionally understaffing the four prisons it runs in Tennessee to boost profits for shareholders, holding costs at bay by refusing to seek outside medical care for ailing inmates, ignoring drug smuggling by its own guards and failing to keep inmates safe. The lawsuits detail the deaths of three men — Chriteris Allen, Laeddie Coleman and Joshua Williams — at three CoreCivic facilities from August to November 2021. Allen, 22, was an inmate at the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Whiteville, Tenn., when he was found dead in his cell on Aug. 26, 2001, from a fentanyl overdose. The lawsuit alleges guards failed to conduct mandatory “head counts” because of chronic understaffing and did not discover Allen’s body for at least five hours after his death. Jamie Satterfield wrote about the killing of Laeddie Coleman in the Hardeman County Correctional Facility on May 31: “After eight months, investigation finds Hardeman County inmate was murdered by other inmates.” Coleman, 34, was fatally stabbed inside a pod at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility in Whiteville, Tenn., on Sept. 7, 2021. Records reviewed by the Tennessee Lookout show the pod was not being monitored by prison guards at the time — even though another inmate had been stabbed in the same pod just minutes before the attack on Coleman. Williams, 37, died inside the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tenn., on Nov. 14, 2021, from a fentanyl overdose. An autopsy showed he was suffering from “systemic infections throughout his body, including pneumonia,” at the time of his death. A Tennessee Department of Corrections investigation showed two guards falsely claimed they repeatedly checked on Williams in the hours before his death, according to an exhibit filed in connection with the litigation. “To maintain its profit margin — and as a result of its chronic and profit-motivated deliberate indifference to inmate health and safety — CoreCivic serially underinvests in prison staff, security and inmate healthcare at its prisons, leading to predictable and horrific results,” attorney Daniel Horwitz wrote in the litigation. Horwitz represents Coleman’s father, Eddie Tardy. Goode represents Allen’s parents, Christa Cook and Christopher Derrick Montgomery, and Williams’ mother, Brenda Williams. CoreCivic spokesman Matthew Davio said the firm does not “comment on active or pending litigation.” “But I can tell you that we take our responsibility to care for the individuals in our facilities very seriously, and we work hard to ensure that we meet the stringent standards set by our government partners and ourselves,” Davio added. “The safety of our staff and the inmates entrusted to our care is our top priority. CoreCivic is committed to the health and safety of our employees, the individuals in our care and our communities.” Allen’s parents allege in their lawsuit that the fentanyl that killed their son was “smuggled into the prison by guard staff.” They allege CoreCivic leaders fail to properly screen guard applicants and ignore evidence of drug-smuggling by its staff. They also allege that on the day of Allen’s death CoreCivic guards violated TDOC policy “to conduct a head count at breakfast and lunch (and) check inmates’ cells every 30 minutes to determine whether anyone inside was moving.” “After (Allen) died, (his mother) learned that CoreCivic’s guards did not conduct the cell checks because they were understaffed,” the lawsuit stated. “Whereas two to three guards are normally assigned to a pod, only one guard was assigned to the pod on the day of (Allen’s) death. “In a handwritten statement submitted to TDOC, (a CoreCivic guard) reported that she conducted a check of (Allen’s) cell … and that he was still breathing at that time,” the lawsuit continued. “(Her) statement is false, however, because rigor mortis indicated that (Allen) was dead well before that time. (Another CoreCivic guard) also submitted a handwritten statement falsely claiming that she had checked (Allen’s) cell … on the date of his death. In reality, neither of them checked his cell until after they were informed that he was dead.” Williams’ mother says in the litigation that her son “used a smuggled cell phone to take photographs of his infected legs” less than two weeks before his death. Those photographs are included as exhibits and show a red rash covering both his legs. Williams’ mother alerted CoreCivic via email to her son’s infection. CoreCivic Managing Director Vance Laughlin responded the following day and assured her that Williams “has been treated appropriately.” “(Williams) has made some poor choices through addiction that has had very negative effects on his legs, and we are working with him to treat it as best we can,” Laughlin wrote. Williams died two days later. To maintain its profit margin — and as a result of its chronic and profit-motivated deliberate indifference to inmate health and safety — CoreCivic serially underinvests in prison staff, security and inmate healthcare at its prisons, leading to predictable and horrific results. – Daniel Horwitz, attorney for the family of Laeddie Coleman, in a legal filing. “Any layperson, much less any competent medical professional, would have known that Joshua needed urgent medical care beyond the capabilities of the prison,” the Williams’ litigation stated. “Nonetheless, and despite the urgent pleas of his parents, (Williams) was not sent to a hospital. Instead, he was left to rot.” Williams’ mother contends in the lawsuit her son’s cellmate “tried to notify guards for several hours that (Williams) was in dire need of medical help (but) his pleas for help were ignored.” A TDOC investigation into Williams’ death revealed CoreCivic guards claimed in log books that they repeatedly checked on Williams prior to his death but prison video did not back up the claims. Like Allen’s parents, Williams’ mother alleges the fentanyl found in her son’s system after his death “was smuggled into (the facility) by guard staff.” Coleman’s father contends in his lawsuit that CoreCivic intentionally left his son’s pod unsupervised on the day of his death because Hardeman County is “severely understaffed.” While the pod was left unsupervised, inmates attacked fellow prisoner Devin Jamison, stabbing him repeatedly, the lawsuit stated. Even after that attack, the pod remained unsupervised, the litigation stated, and Coleman was similarly attacked just minutes after the assault on Jamison. “On notice both generally that CoreCivic’s understaffing policies result in extreme and preventable violence and specifically that its understaffing had resulted in near-fatal violence in Mr. Coleman’s pod just minutes before his death, (CoreCivic guards) still took no action to secure the pod, to ensure that all weapons had been removed from the area or to ensure that it was adequately staffed to prevent retaliatory violence,” the Coleman litigation stated. CoreCivic is the nation’s largest for-profit prison operator. The firm runs four prisons in Tennessee. I can tell you that we take our responsibility to care for the individuals in our facilities very seriously, and we work hard to ensure that we meet the stringent standards set by our government partners and ourselves. – Matthew Davio, spokesman for CoreCivic. A 2019 analysis by the No Exceptions Prison Collective and the Human Rights Defense Center showed the murder rate at its Tennessee prisons is four times that of penal facilities operated by the Tennessee Department of Corrections. The number of lawsuits filed against CoreCivic and its four Tennessee prisons over inmate deaths and unsafe conditions in the past six years far outpace those lodged against TDOC, which manages 10 penal facilities, court records show. A performance audit by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office in 2020 of CoreCivic facilities in the state found myriad problems, including the failure to properly document inmate deaths and violence and identify the causes and adequately staff its prisons. A chart compiled as part of the audit revealed CoreCivic facilities in Tennessee logged more than double the number of “life-threatening matters and breaches of security,” including deaths, assaults, rapes, escapes and lockdowns, reported at TDOC facilities from 2017 to 2019. An audit by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General in 2016 detailed widespread staffing deficiencies, inadequate medical care and unchecked violence at CoreCivic facilities across the country. The company’s own shareholders sued the firm that same year for misrepresenting staffing levels and quality of medical care provided to inmates.

Apr 17, 2021 investorsobserver.com

CoreCivic (CXW) Reaches $56 Million Class Action Settlement, Shares Climb

CoreCivic (CXW) stock was up 3.5% after the company agreed to settle a securities class action lawsuit for $56 million. CXW shares were trading at $8.43 on Friday afternoon. What does it mean for CoreCivic? The settlement brings to a close litigation that dates back four years, when CoreCivic (CXW) and its current and former officers were sued in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee over the company’s stock price decline on the heels of a Aug. 18, 2016 memorandum from the Department of Justice instructing the Federal Bureau of Prisons to phase out private prisons. The reached settlement preempts a jury trial that had been set to begin May 10. "We are pleased to resolve this matter and put it behind us in order to focus on the company’s business," said Damon Hininger, CoreCivic's President and CEO. "While we continue to believe the allegations in this case were without merit, we also believe that eliminating the risk, cost and distraction related to the litigation is in the best interest of CoreCivic and its shareholders.” CoreCivic Inc is a diversified government solutions company with the scale and experience needed to solve tough government challenges in flexible, cost-effective ways. It provides solutions to government partners that serve the public good through corrections and detention management, a network of residential reentry centers to help address America's recidivism crisis, and government real estate solutions. The company is an owner of partnership correctional, detention, and residential reentry facilities, and also the private owner of real estate used by U.S. government agencies. The company has been a flexible and dependable partner for the government for more than thirty-five years.

Aug 24, 2019 news.bloomberglaw.com

CoreCivic Denied Sixth Circuit Review of Securities Fraud Class

Prison operator misled investors before stock drop, suit says. Lower court ruled individual reliance questions don’t overwhelm case  CoreCivic Inc. is stuck with a certified class of investors alleging it caused them to lose money by misleading them about the quality of its prisons, the Sixth Circuit ruled Aug. 23. The class includes at least 783 major institutions that owned over 110 million shares of CoreCivic stock traded during the class period. The trial court properly applied the framework that provides investors with a presumption of reliance on the alleged misstatements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said in an order denying immediate reivew.

Jul 11, 2019 newschannel9.com
Report: More Tennessee private prison homicides than public
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A majority of Tennessee's prisoners are held in state-run facilities, yet the state's privately run prisons have more inmate homicides, according to a new report by prisoner advocacy groups. There have been 10 homicides in the privately run state prisons from March 2014 through this June, versus five in state-run lockups, according to the report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Defense Center and No Exceptions Prison Collective. Tennessee-based private prison operator CoreCivic's state facilities had a homicide rate more than four times higher than public state facilities, the report says. The company, in response, called the report misleading. CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, runs four Tennessee state prisons, while the state operates 10. The state spent about $160 million on the four private facilities in 2017-18, according to budget documents. The company says it moved its headquarters from Nashville to nearby Brentwood this week. On average, public prisons held 70% of Tennessee's prisoners during the period studied. At a news conference Wednesday featuring family members of prisoners, the advocacy groups pointed to the report to renew their call for the state to nix its use of private prisons. "When CoreCivic fails to ensure the safety and security of their prisons and (prisoners are) murdered as a result, they should be held accountable for those lapses in security to the same extent that people are held accountable for their crimes by being sentenced to prison," said Alex Friedmann of the Human Rights Defense Center. CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist described the report as a "politically biased interpretation of cherry-picked statistics." She claimed CoreCivic's facilities hold a higher concentration of dangerous inmates, among other factors. "The bottom line is that even one death in our facilities is too many, and we're always working to improve," Gilchrist said in an emailed statement. Tennessee's maximum security prisons are exclusively state-run. However, Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor said that medium security inmates who reside in general population often have higher rates of violence than maximum security offenders. She said that's due in part to the extra precautions around maximum security inmates. She also said gangs are on the rise in Tennessee prisons. Taylor said the state has taken steps to reduce violence in prisons, including tier management, a tip line and increased training. "However, similar to the free world, no amount of training can prevent the random acts of violence that spontaneously erupt without any notice or preventable indicators," Taylor said via email. But at Wednesday's news conference, family members of two inmates who died at CoreCivic's private prisons said their relatives faced dangerous conditions. Kayla Cherry stood in front of a blanket bearing pictures of her nephew, Dameion Nolan, who died in May while he was an inmate at CoreCivic-run Whiteville Correctional Facility. Cherry said she had to hear it first from an inmate that Nolan had died, despite numerous attempts to contact prison officials. She said Nolan, who had been at Whiteville for 13 years of a 25-year sentence, was tortured and stabbed to death. CoreCivic and Department of Correction officials said Nolan's death remains under investigation, and declined to comment further on it. "To this day, I still don't know how this was allowed, what exactly happened," Cherry said. "I just get hearsay from inmates and other correctional officers that work at CoreCivic."

Jul 11, 2019 prisonlegalnews.org

Tennessee: Report on deaths and press conference
PR is attached; also posted here:
Some of the media coverage:





Aug 26, 2016 correctionsone.com
Prison company fights to seal documents about strip searches
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America is trying to seal from public view documents in a lawsuit that claim female visitors to a Tennessee prison were forced to undergo strip searches to prove they were menstruating. Three women have accused the company of violating their rights by forcing them to expose their genitals to guards after they tried to bring sanitary pads or tampons into South Central Correctional Facility, about 85 miles southwest of Nashville. One woman said her three children had to witness the search. Protective orders in the case allow documents that could pose a security risk to the prison to be filed under seal. Each side is accusing the other of violating those orders. Attorneys for the women accuse the private prison company of sealing documents where no genuine security concern exists in order to protect itself from embarrassment, violating the public's right to access court proceedings. The Nashville-based company said the plaintiffs, who have been allowed to proceed anonymously, are trying to "inflame the public" and expose confidential prison information. The controversy began last month after the plaintiffs publicly filed a motion for partial summary judgment, asking a judge to rule on some issues where the facts are not in dispute. Two supporting documents were also filed publicly but the exhibits were filed under seal, with plaintiffs asking the judge to let them file a redacted public copy in 10 days. The company objected and asked that all of the documents be placed under seal. The plaintiffs shot back, asking the judge to reject the company's request and instead order it to publicly refile its motion for summary judgment and supporting documents, which it had previously filed under seal. "Under defendants' broad reading of the protective order, any filing even mentioning prison conditions at a CCA-run state prison would be locked away, effectively immunizing CCA prisons from public scrutiny on an issue of obvious public import," the plaintiffs said. The company counters that the plaintiffs "believe the procedures and practices of visitation staff of a prison should be open for the world to see, but fail to realize that such information can have devastating effects to a prison's ability to keep its inmates, staff and visitors safe." Ed Yarbrough, a former U.S. attorney now in private practice, said the blanket sealing of court filings would be unusual, and the law generally doesn't favor it. "The reason for it is probably to keep it out of the public press," he said. "That can sometimes be legitimate and can sometimes be because the company doesn't want their dirty laundry aired." Alex Friedmann is the managing editor of Prison Legal News and was once a prisoner at South Central Correctional Facility himself. He took the company to court in 2008 after the company claimed it was not subject to Tennessee's open records law. The company eventually lost but did not give up easily. Friedmann said it took him five years to get the answer to his public records request. Even after the ruling, CCA has continued to fight subsequent information requests, he said. "They disclose as little information as they can get away with," he said. CCA spokesman Steve Owen defended the way the company discloses prison information. "Safety and security — for the staff and inmates in our facilities and for the public — is our top priority," he said in an emailed statement. "To that end, we have a responsibility to ensure that any release of information does not undermine safety and security." U.S. District Magistrate Judge E. Clifton Knowles has temporarily placed the plaintiff's documents under seal but has not made a final ruling. He also has not yet ruled on whether the company must unseal its filings.

May 28, 2016 wbbjtv.co
Officer charged in the death of K9 found in hot car
WHITEVILLE, Tenn. — An officer from the Whiteville Police Department responded Tuesday to the Hardeman County Correctional Facility on reference to a service dog found dead in a hot vehicle. An affidavit says a service dog for the Corrections Corporation of America, named Kilo, was found dead in K9-Officer Robert Strickland’s vehicle kennel. The responding officer noticed the engine was turned off, windows were rolled up and there was no water left for Kilo, according to officials. Strickland stated he arrived to a training site at about 8:30 a.m. and did not check on Kilo until about 1 p.m., according to the affidavit. Officials say when Strickland noticed Kilo was unresponsive and not breathing, he performed CPR on the dog but his efforts were unsuccessful. Strickland admits this was accidental, according to the affidavit. Officials say according to the National Weather Service, the temperatures reached around 86 to 88 degrees on Tuesday. Due to K9-Officer Robert Strickland’s failure to provide a safe environment for K9 Kilo that resulted in his death, he has been charged with animal cruelty. Warden of the Hardeman County CCA Correctional Facility, Grady Perry, says the estimated cost of K9 Kilo was $5,000 and restitution would be to the Correctional Corporation of America Hardeman Facility. Steve Owen, Private Investigating Officer of CCA, says, “CCA is heartbroken over the loss of Kilo, as is his handler. He was a treasured member of our team, and we are all saddened by this tragic accident.” “To honor Kilo’s memory, we are donating $5,000 to the Hardeman County Humane Society,” says Owen. “We are also conducting a company-wide refresher with all of our K9 officers to review protocols for dog care and safety, especially as we enter into the summer months.” Owen says Robert Strickland is at this time on paid administrative leave. He says they are working to gather more information on this incident.

May 26, 2016 wkrn.com
Inmate’s wife speaks on issues within Tennessee prison
HARTSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The wife of an inmate at a Tennessee state prison is speaking out about the facility’s troubling issues.
The woman, who doesn’t wish to share her identity, told News 2 her husband is an inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Hartsville, Tennessee, which recently stopped accepting new inmates. Her husband was transferred there in April, and she noticed the issues shortly after. “Since day one of him moving to the facility, they have pretty much been on a continuous lockdown status,” the woman said. “I contacted the facility to find out what schedule he was on for visits and I was told that the unit he was in and by his last name, he should have been able to visit on a Sunday.” She continued, “But we were refused visit because, upon getting to the facility, it was stated that he was in a unit that was not available for visitation.” When the woman asked three different people where her husband was, some told her he was in general population. But if that were the case, he would have been eligible for a visit. When they eventually located her husband, prison officials reportedly said he was in segregation, but they could not say why. “I am worried about my husband because during a contact phone call he did place with me, he did state he has been attacked four times inside the facility after being moved there five weeks ago,” the woman said. “There have been a lot of sleepless nights out here for the family wondering what’s going on with him.” She told News 2 she has heard from her husband very little since his transfer. The wife’s words come just months after a Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) official visited the prison for two days in March. After his visit, the official sent a memo to the Assistant TDOC Commissioner saying it should stop sending inmates to the only three-month-old prison immediately, sounding an alarm on all the issues within. The problems the woman noticed mirror part of that memo. The official, Tony Howerton, wrote, “We still have inmates being placed in segregation with no segregation screen being placed on TOMIS and no explanation as to why they were ever placed in segregation.” TOMIS is the system used to track inmates under the state’s custody. While the memo was sent in March, the prison announced two weeks ago it will no longer take new inmates while Corrections Cooperation of America (CCA), which operates the facility, addresses internal issues with staffing and management. News 2 has also uncovered other issues within the prison this week, including an investigation into an inmate’s Facebook page after it was known he was updating it from behind bars. TDOC began investigating after a tip from News 2 in conjunction with CCA. Also this week, an inmate attacked an employee inside the prison. The employee was injured and treated at a nearby hospital. CCA told News 2 via email that there are a total of 281 people working at the Trousdale right now, which includes CCA employees and employees for the contracted medical and service providers. “We continue to work closely with our government partner on the timing and pace of further ramp-up of Trousdale, to include ensuring appropriate staffing levels for when transfers to the facility resume,” CCA Managing Director of Communications Steve Owen said. “Our recruiting efforts include advertising and hiring events such as job fairs in the local and surrounding areas.” Owen wrote that all employees must meet the same level of training as do guards in TDOC-run facilities. “For newly-hired staff, this includes undergoing 160 hours of pre-service training and 40 hours of on-the-job training,” Owen wrote. “In addition, all employees are required to complete at least 40 hours of annual training, which can include refresher training as needed to reinforce policies and processes. The Trousdale Turner Correctional Center has a total of 2,672 beds, according to TDOT. There are about 1,704 inmates in the prison, according to TDOC’s bed space and operating capacities report from April 30, which is about 65 percent of the facilities operating capacity.

May 26, 2016 tennessean.com
Officer assaulted at new CCA Tennessee prison
An officer was assaulted Wednesday morning at the newest private prison in Tennessee, the same facility that recently stopped accepting inmates because of problems ranging from inadequate staffing to putting inmates in solitary confinement for no reason. Steve Owen, a spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, confirmed that one officer was assaulted by one inmate Wednesday morning at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. He didn't provide details of what happened during the attack at the facility, slated to become the largest prison in Tennessee. "Other staff immediately subdued the inmate, and the employee was transported offsite for treatment of minor injuries. She has already been released. CCA immediately notified state officials of the incident, and the Tennessee Office of Investigations and Compliance (OIC) is onsite conducting an investigation," Owen said in an emailed statement. Owen referred all other comment about the assault and investigation to the department. Department spokeswomen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The attack comes one day after CCA and the Tennessee Department of Correction confirmed they had agreed to stop sending inmates to the prison, about 50 miles northwest of Nashville in Hartsville. That move came after a department official sent his supervisor a memo, first obtained by The Associated Press, that outlines some of the issues at the facility that started accepting its first inmates in early January. "There are some serious issues with the top level supervisors. (Unit managers, captains and lieutenants). It is of my opinion that the TDOC stop all incoming inmates to TTCC until these issues are resolved," Tony Howerton, a department correctional administrator, wrote in a March 17 memo to department Assistant Commissioner Tony Parker. The same memo, also obtained by The Tennessean, outlines other findings: officers not in control of their units, unsanitary conditions, inmates placed in solitary without justification and at least one instance of possible excessive force by officers. "The inmate in my opinion was already compliant with the officers but he was sprayed with (pepper spray) and then struck three times with the pepper ball gun," Howerton writes in the memo. For weeks family members with loved ones at Trousdale have sent messages to The Tennessean arguing the facility is not safe. In addition to arguing there was inadequate staffing in general, some family members have told The Tennessean that many meals are served to inmates in their cells because there isn't enough staff to safely secure the dining area. Owen and department spokeswoman Alison Randgaard said Tuesday the department and CCA are working together to fix issues at the facility. That includes trying to increase staffing. In a statement to The Tennessean, Owen said as of Tuesday there are 319 employees at Trousdale Turner. That includes officers and all other CCA employees in addition to contracted medical and food services workers. When the facility started accepting inmates in January, there were 157 employees, Owen said Tuesday. In January the prison initially housed 507 inmates, according to the department. As of April 30, the most recent count, the prison housed 1,706 inmates. Owen said the number of inmates has gone down, because of inmates being released, since CCA stopped accepting new prisoners. Earlier this year, the department changed its definition of what constituted an assault, after reports from The Tennessean and others showed concerns from staff and inmates that violence was on the rise in Tennessee prisons. Under the new definitions, assaults increased significantly. Department officials said in March it was inappropriate to compare assault statistics compiled under an old definition and assaults committed under the new definition.

May 25, 2016 abcnews.go.com
AP Newsbreak: Tennessee's New Prison Stops Taking Inmates
Tennessee's newest prison has stopped taking inmates after just four months of full operation. Records obtained by The Associated Press suggest why. State corrections officials and the private prisons operator Corrections Corporation of America confirmed to the AP that the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center halted new admissions two weeks ago, leaving the 2500-inmate prison about two-thirds full. A company spokesman on Tuesday blamed "growing pains." Both said the decision was made jointly. "We're holding off on sending more prisoners until CCA has an opportunity to increase its recruiting efforts and staffing," Tennessee Department of Correction Assistant Commissioner Tony Parker told the AP. The prison in Hartsville began receiving inmates in January, between 50 and 100 each week. By early March, its warden was replaced. CCA provided few details about the change of command. But a March 17 report to Parker from his Correctional Administrator Tony Howerton, who observed the prison over two days, outlines a series of problems. The memo — obtained by the AP through an open records request for public documents about the taxpayer-funded facility — says the guards were not in control of the housing units, were not counting inmates correctly and were putting inmates in solitary confinement for no documented reason. "The Lieutenants, Captains and Unit Managers we observed on video and in the units this morning are not adequate. They do not have control of the housing units and it appears inmates are free to mingle around the unit at will," the memorandum states. It also details problems with inmate counts not being conducted, taking too long, or in one case, miscounting a prisoner who had been moved to a different unit. Regarding solitary confinement, Howerton writes, "We still have inmates being place in segregation with ... no explanation as to why they were ever placed in segregation." Prison officials say segregated housing is not really solitary confinement because segregated prisoners can be housed with a roommate and have contact with staff, but critics say the conditions are similar, with inmates confined in isolated cells, often for 23 hours a day, with limited human interaction. Another report, sent by a state corrections monitor to Howerton, details a Feb. 26 stabbing. The officer responsible for the housing unit where it happened "decides to walk downstairs and exit his unit leaving it unattended and leaving the unit door propped open." He returns four minutes later and "immediately sees blood on the floor throughout the entire unit." "Whenever you are opening a new facility, there are issues," Parker said. "There are new staff and processes. It takes a while to get everything solidified." Nashville-based CCA is the nation's largest private prison provider, operating 84 facilities nationwide housing about 70,000 inmates. Supporters say prison privatization is cheap and efficient. Critics say private corporations are not as accountable to the public as traditional state-run prisons. Parker and CCA spokesman Jonathan Burns both said Trousdale is fully staffed, despite the need to increase recruiting and staffing. Parker referred specific questions about staffing to CCA, but the private company refused to provide any records about staffing levels at the prison, despite being subject to Tennessee's public records law, just like a state agency. CCA said doing so would compromise security. In Idaho, the state took over a CCA-run prison after the company was found to be falsifying reports to hide understaffing. Prisoners sued in 2011, complaining the understaffing led to rampant violence. CCA lost an appeal earlier this week when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a contempt of court ruling against the company for violating an agreement to increase staffing levels.

May 24, 2016 washingtontimes.com
newest prison halts admissions after problems
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee’s newest prison has had to halt new admissions after just four months of full operation. A memorandum from a state prison official about the privately run Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility says guards there do not have control of the housing units, aren’t counting inmates correctly, and are sending them to solitary confinement for no documented reason. Tennessee Department of Correction Assistant Commissioner Tony Parker says the decision to temporarily suspend admissions was made in concert with prison contractor Corrections Corporation of America and began two weeks ago. He says the state is holding off on sending more prisoners until CCA can increase recruiting efforts and staffing. CCA refused to provide any documentation of staffing levels at the facility. However, a spokesman says Trousdale is fully staffed.

Apr 27, 2016 tennessean.com
Overdose death in Nashville CCA jail prompts lawsuit
An inmate dying from an overdose while behind bars at Nashville's privately operated jail makes the jail operator and Metro government liable for $5 million in damages, the family of the inmate argues in a recently filed lawsuit. The family of Nonnie Kasben is suing Corrections Corporation of America and Metro Davidson government over Kasben's death, according to federal court documents published Tuesday. CCA, a massive private prison company headquartered in Nashville, operates the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility Kasben's family says an autopsy shows Kasben died from "an acute overdose of a controlled substance," according to the court documents. They also argue CCA officers and medical personnel didn't respond quickly enough to help save Kasben. "Ms. Kaben was present at breakfast on the date of her death. When the corrections personnel next conducted a count of inmates, Ms. Kaben was foaming at the mouth and suffering from violent seizures," reads the family's court complaint. "Ms. Kaben did not receive immediate medical treatment, despite the existence of an in-house medical facility." The family, represented by Clarksville-based attorneys Olson & Olson, say paramedics didn't receive access to Kasben until 30 minutes after jail staff learned she was experiencing health issues. The complaint says paramedics were near Kasben during the time but were "not permitted" to access Kasben immediately. The exact date of Kasben's death isn't referenced in the complaint. Mark Olson, one of the attorneys representing Kasben's family, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Metro law director Jon Cooper said early Wednesday he was unfamiliar with the case, but Metro doesn't generally comment on pending litigation. CCA spokesman Jonathan Burns said the company is familiar with the lawsuit. “While we cannot speak to the specifics of ongoing litigation, I can tell you that CCA and the dedicated corrections professionals at Metro-Davidson Detention Center work each day to protect the health and safety of the individuals entrusted to our care,” Burns said in an emailed statement late Wednesday. Kasben's family argues CCA and Metro should pay $5 million in damages because they acted negligently in both allowing Kasben to obtain a controlled substance and not immediately providing medical treatment. A case management conference is scheduled for June.

March 22, 2014 news.vice.com

Alex Friedmann may be better acquainted with the daily operations of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) than any other investor in the company. The bearded and bespectacled 44-year-old owns only a modest amount of stock in the multibillion-dollar corporation. But he spent six years locked up in one of its Tennessee prisons. Although he is enjoying healthy returns on his small investment, Friedmann is not looking to turn a profit. Instead, the ex-con is one of America's leading activists for criminal justice reform, and he’s attempting to leverage the byzantine SEC rules that govern Wall Street in an attempt to reform the world’s two largest private prison companies, CCA and The GEO Group. Friedmann has been a thorn in the side of CCA ever since his six-year stretch in the company’s South Central Correctional Facility in Wayne County, Tennessee. He was imprisoned for a total of 10 years for armed robbery and assault with attempt to commit murder in 1987, and attempted aggravated robbery in 1991. He used his time behind bars to study law and hone his writing skills, penning several articles critical of prison profiteering and the poor conditions at CCA facilities. Paroled in 1999, he eventually became managing editor of Prison Legal News and associate director of Human Rights Defense Center, a non-profit that advocates for prisoner rights. Friedmann bought his first share of CCA in 2004 for about $20. Owning it allowed him to attend shareholder meetings — the same tactic Michael Moore used to attend a GM shareholder meeting in his 1989 film Roger & Me — where he was often the only outsider in the room. He estimates that 96 percent of CCA stock is controlled by mutual funds, pension funds, and indexes, and says shareholder meetings are not surprisingly attended by executives and attorneys; not the sort of crowd that takes kindly to a public grilling from a former inmate. “I would ask questions like, ‘Why do your employees keep raping prisoners?’” Friedmann told VICE News. “Of course they don’t have a good response, other than ‘We’re doing the best job we can.’” 'The downside of working inside the system is that the system is grossly stacked against you. It’s designed by people in power to work for corporations and governments.' Confronting CCA executives at shareholder meetings never offered much in the way of substantive change, so Friedmann upped the ante. In 2010, he purchased another $2,000 worth of CCA stock, a stake just big enough for him to qualify to submit shareholder resolutions to the SEC. If resolutions meet certain guidelines, they are subject to a vote at a company’s annual meeting. Friedmann’s first resolution asked CCA to produce biannual reports on rape at their prisons. “They really went haywire when I did that,” Friedmann said gleefully. “They didn’t like it." CCA fought hard to keep the SEC from letting the resolution proceed, and Friedmann spent $5,000 of his own money lobbying shareholders for additional support. The measure was easily defeated, but Friedmann considers it a moral victory. “The downside of working inside the system is that the system is grossly stacked against you,” he said. “It’s designed by people in power to work for corporations and governments.” Last year, Friedmann expanded his portfolio to include 130 shares of GEO, which oversees 73,000 beds at 96 prisons around the country. His latest resolution — aimed at both CCA and GEO — was an attempt to lower the cost of phone calls for inmates, which Friedmann described as being “more expensive than using your cell phone from outer Mongolia.” Activists have long asserted the exorbitant rates increase inmate isolation and unfairly punish families; calls out from prisons were known to sometimes cost inmates more than $1 per minute. Last month, the FCC finally moved to cap the cost of outgoing calls at 25 cents per minute, but Friedmann wants to go even further and require CCA and GEO to sign phone contracts with bidders that offer the lowest per-minute rate, rather than the company that offers them the biggest kickback on commission. GEO filed documents with the SEC in December accusing Friedmann of harboring “a personal grievance” against the company, and claiming they “lack the power or authority” to implement his proposal. Friedmann hired an attorney to argue on his behalf, but the SEC rejected his resolution on February 21, precluding a vote by GEO’s shareholders. Friedmann claims he never really expected to win, and was instead just trying to raise awareness and convince a few shareholders to reconsider their investments. “Personally, I would like to see at some point private prison stock be lumped in the same category as tobacco companies, arms manufacturers, and people that make land mines," he explained. "Toxic stocks that people do not want to be involved in for ethical and moral reasons.” Friedmann is acting independently, but his efforts coincide with another campaign to make investors wary of private prison stock. On January 22, the civil rights group Color of Change released a series of emails between their CEO Rashad Robinson and Larry Zimpleman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, which controls about $1.4 billion worth of stock in CCA and GEO. Robinson took exception to the fact that Principal touts itself as “one of the world’s most ethical companies” while owning a stake in private prisons. He asked Zimpleman to divest all stock in CCA and GEO or risk a public shaming. “If Principal wants to keep their money inside the GEO Group and make money off the incarceration of Americans with a disproportionate impact on blacks folks, that is their right,” Robinson said. “All we’re saying is we’ll no longer let people do that in private. People will publicly know they’re involved.” 'No banks or private equity firms are losing sleep at night because prisoners might be getting raped.' Principal responded with a public statement that drew particular attention to Color of Change’s stated mission to “strengthen Black America's political voice,” and claimed the vast majority of their private prison investments are “maintained on behalf of clients.” Principal further stated that their CCA and GEO investments are “designed to replicate an index,” a type of fund that mirrors broader trends in the stock market. Thus far, Principal has refused to budge. A similar divestment campaign by the prisoner-advocacy group Nation Inside targeting “the million shares club” of private-prison investors has enjoyed marginally better success, convincing Wells Fargo and two other firms to sell off their stakes in GEO and CCA. Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News and co-editor of the book Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration, says divestment campaigns are great for publicity but accomplish little in the way of actual reform. Wright lauds Friedmann for his shareholder actions, but says activists ought to focus on convincing politicians to cut private prison contracts and pass immigration and drug policy reforms that would reduce the number of inmates. “The only customer private prisons have is the government,” Wright said. “These are elected officials, and [the government] is a more accountable body than a bunch of hedge funds.” Friedmann has no illusions about the futility of his shareholder resolutions, but says he’s simply trying to raise awareness and force a few Wall Street executives to think twice about the implications of their investment. For most, the potential for profit is too tempting to resist. “Really, you don’t file resolution with the notion that you’re going to win,” Friedmann said. “The metric you use to gauge success is not that people divest or their stock price is hurt. You do it for publicity and to have something to organize around. Nobody in corporate America gives a crap about the cost of phone calls for inmates. No banks or private equity firms are losing sleep at night because prisoners might be getting raped.” Since Friedmann purchased his first share of CCA stock, it has split several times, more than doubled in value, and currently pays a healthy dividend.

Feb 20, 2014 empowerednews.net

The Shareholders Foundation announces that an investigation on behalf of investors of Corrections Corp Of America (NYSE:CXW) shares was launched over potential securities laws violations by Corrections Corp Of America and certain of its directors and officers in connection certain financial statements. Nashville, TN based Corrections Corporation of America is the owner and operator of privatized correctional and detention facilities and prison operators in the United States. Investors who purchased shares of Corrections Corp Of America (NYSE:CXW) have certain options and should contact the Shareholders Foundation at mail(at)shareholdersfoundation.com or call +1(858) 779 – 1554. The investigation by a law firm focuses on possible claims on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Corrections Corp Of America (NYSE:CXW) concerning whether a series of statements by Corrections Corp Of America regarding its business, its prospects and its operations were materially false and misleading at the time they were made. On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, a report said that a settlement between Corrections Corporation and the State of Idaho was reached concerning allegations of fraud and understaffing of the prison system by the Company. On Wednesday, the Idaho State Police said in a statement that “CCA’s actions were a civil breach of contract and not criminal activity.” On February 8, 2014, another media report that the Idaho attorney general’s office is calling for a criminal investigation into Correction Corporation of America’s understaffing of the Idaho Correctional Center after learning that a police investigation announced last year was never done. Shares of Corrections Corp Of America declined from $33.85 per share on January 31, 2014 to $30.55 per share on February 10, 2014. On February 18, 2014, NYSE:CWX shares closed at $32.67 per share. Those who purchased shares of Corrections Corp Of America have certain options and should contact the Shareholders Foundation.


Shareholders Foundation, Inc.

Trevor Allen

3111 Camino Del Rio North – Suite 423

92108 San Diego

Phone: +1-(858)-779-1554

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Dec 3, 2013inthesetimes.com

Nashville, TN – Just before Thanksgiving, a shareholder resolution was filed with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) – the nation’s largest for-profit prison company – that seeks to reduce the high cost of phone calls made by prisoners at CCA facilities. Prison phone rates are typically much higher than non-prison rates, and a 15-minute call from a prisoner to his or her family can cost up to $17.30. Such exorbitant costs make it difficult for prisoners to maintain contact with their families and children on a regular basis; an estimated 2.7 million children in the United States have an incarcerated parent. The costs of prison phone calls are usually borne by prisoners’ families, not the prisoners themselves. In September, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order capping the cost of long distance prison phone calls. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn remarked that “Studies have shown that having meaningful contact beyond prison walls can make a real difference in maintaining community ties, promoting rehabilitation, and reducing recidivism. Making these calls more affordable can facilitate all of these objectives and more.” However, the FCC’s order has not yet gone into effect and does not apply to in-state prison phone calls. Thus, Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), a non-profit organization dedicating to protecting the human rights of prisoners and detainees, submitted a shareholder resolution that asks CCA to reduce the cost of phone calls made by prisoners held at the company’s correctional and immigration detention facilities. HRDC is a co-founder and coordinator of the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, in conjunction with the Center for Media Justice/Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) and Working Narratives. The Campaign was instrumental in the FCC’s decision to take action against high prison phone rates and other abuses by the prison phone industry. The shareholder resolution requests that CCA not accept “commissions” – kickbacks paid by prison phone companies, usually based on a percentage of revenue generated by prisoners’ phone calls. Commission kickbacks correlate with higher prison phone rates, and eight states (including California and New York) have banned prison phone commissions. Further, the resolution asks that CCA “give the greatest consideration to the overall lowest” costs when evaluating or entering into prison phone contracts at its facilities. The resolution notes that at one CCA-operated facility in Tennessee, the company receives a 48% kickback and that a 15-minute call from the facility “can cost as much as $9.75.” CCA received $205,136.78 in prison phone commissions at that one facility in fiscal year 2012 alone. “As the largest private prison and detention corporation in the country, CCA has a responsibility to ensure that the families of incarcerated individuals are able to maintain the vital relationships needed in the rehabilitation process,” stated Steven Renderos, national organizer for the Center for Media Justice. “For immigrants in detention, a phone call can be the difference between securing adequate legal representation or not being able to see their families again.” If the resolution receives a majority vote of CCA’s shareholders, it will require the company to ensure its prison phone contracts comply with the terms of the resolution within 180 days, and to report to shareholders the phone rates and commissions at its facilities on an annual basis. Recently, CCA vice president Kim White wrote that rehabilitation and reentry programs are a “top priority” for the company. “It is important to us to see inmates grow during their incar- ceration, offering them the chance at a better life for themselves and their families after their release,” she said. “This is part of our responsibility to society as a corrections company, and it’s also essential to serving our government partners and taxpayers well.” “This resolution gives CCA an opportunity to prove they are truly interested in rehabilitating prisoners and reducing recidivism,” Friedmann stated. “By decreasing the high costs of prison phone calls, the company can promote greater communication between prisoners and their families and children, which research has shown results in improved post-release outcomes and lower rates of recidivism. Or, if CCA is primarily concerned about its profit margin, it will object to the resolution and try to prevent it from going to a shareholder vote.” About that vote, Friedmann -- who runs the excellent Prison Legal News website and newsletter -- says: "Assuming CCA does not object to it by filing a no-action letter with the SEC, and that if they do the SEC rules in my favor, it will go to a formal vote in May 2014 at CCA's next annual shareholder meeting." Read the full proposals here for CCA and here for GEO Group.

Nov 6, 2013 lex18.com

Allianz Asset Management, widely known as a sponsor of NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion”, has divested over one million shares in the for-profit prison industry. The investment firm, which has over $75 billion in assets, joins the ranks of other US institutions that have divested from the private prison industry including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, General Electric, and Pershing Square Capital Management among others. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group (GEO), which own the majority of the private prison market in the U.S., depend on the massive incarceration of immigrants and people of color to maintain financial viability. Both companies are heavily involved in lobbying Congress and federal agencies for policies and contracts that result in the inhumane incarceration of hundreds of thousands of harmless immigrants and people of color. Allianz divested 684,966 shares of CCA stock and 460,000 shares of GEO stock during the second quarter of this year. We urge the other major investors in private prisons to divest their holdings as well.

Nov 2, 2013stein919.newsvine.com

Note: This is in response to this post by Kim White. First, keep in mind that the author of that self-interested piece is a vice president of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest for-profit prison firm. As a well-compensated member of CCA’s executive staff, it’s not surprising that she has good things to say about her “perspective” on the company that pays her salary. Not to mention her CCA stock options!  :) Let’s take a closer look at some of her comments. First, at least four studies have been conducted on recidivism rates of prisoners released from public vs. private prisons. If CCA is doing such a great job, then prisoners released from the company’s for-profit prisons should have lower recidivism rates than those released from public prisons. But that isn’t the case. Of the four studies, none found that private prisons had statistically significant lower recidivism rates; three found the rates for private prisons were about the same or higher (e.g., worse) in some categories. For example, see this article. At best, existing research indicates that private prisons are no better at reducing recidivism than public prisons, despite the programs offered by CCA that Ms. White lauds. Also keep in mind that many of the rehabilitative programs that CCA provides are required by its contracts with public agencies. Notably, CCA has not produced any research of its own indicating that its rehabilitative programs are effective in reducing recidivism. I pointed this out to Ms. White previously and specifically suggested that CCA partner with public agencies to conduct such research. She did not respond to my suggestion, nor to follow-up inquiries. While Ms. White claims that “this area [rehabilitation and reentry programs] is a top priority for CCA,” she is incorrect. Generating profit is CCA’s top priority, because it’s a for-profit company and that’s the reason CCA exists: To make money. If CCA were a non-profit, the story spun by Ms. White may be more convincing. Here’s just one example of CCA’s priorities. Ms. White cited CCA’s “recent acquisition of Correctional Alternatives, Inc., a corrections company that helps inmates at the end of their sentences prepare for life outside prison through programs like work furloughs. This allows us to take a very important step in our goal of leading the industry in rehabilitation programming by bridging the gap between release and reentry.” That indeed sounds like CCA is committed to providing rehabilitation and reentry services for prisoners. But here’s what CCA had to say about the deal in a press release: “The acquisition is expected to increase CCA’s total annual revenues by approximately $14 million and EBITDA by approximately $5 million on a fully annualized basis.... After considering recurring depreciation and amortization expenses, CCA expects the acquisition will be approximately $0.03 accretive to fully annualized 2014 pro forma earnings per share, with a neutral impact on 2013 earnings per share.” Read CCA's press release here. Not quite as warm and fuzzy sounding, is it? The bottom line is that CCA’s focus is on the bottom line and how much money the acquisition of Correctional Alternatives, Inc. will generate for the company. Ms White also states that CCA maintains “the highest industry standards at our facilities” -- e.g., accreditation by the American Correctional Association (ACA), which she says is the “gold standard.” She doesn’t mention that CCA and the ACA share enormous conflicts of interest -- CCA pays the ACA for accreditations; CCA gives money to the ACA to sponsor that organization’s biannual conferences; and CCA employees occupy high-level positions in the ACA (e.g., CCA vice president Harley Lappin serves as the chair of the ACA’s Standards Committee). Thus, the ACA’s pay-for-play accreditation of CCA facilities isn’t an indication of the “quality” of the company’s prisons; rather, it’s an indication that CCA gets what it pays for. And note that several ACA-accredited CCA facilities have experienced severe problems, such as murders, high levels of violence and sexual abuse. For example, read this. Moving on, Ms. White further mentions the cost savings that CCA provides to its government partners. “Most recently,” she writes, “economists from Temple University, with support from the private corrections industry, ... found that companies like ours generate between 12 and 58 percent in long run taxpayer savings – without sacrificing the quality of service.” Very impressive! Unless you consider the following facts: 1) The study did not just have “support from the private corrections industry,” but was in fact funded by private prison companies, including CCA. Thus, Ms. White is citing a study funded by CCA, the company she works for, in support of her claims that CCA is cost-effective. 2) The study based “quality of service” in large part on ACA accreditation of privately-operated prisons. See above for the conflicts of interest and pay-for-play model of the ACA’s accreditation process. And 3) An ethics complaint is currently pending against  the two Temple University professors who authored the report cited by Ms. White, for failing to adequately disclose the funding source of their study. The rest of Ms. White’s comments are similarly conflicted, half-truths and corporate propaganda. E.g., she mentions the “safe, secure housing” that CCA provides. It wasn’t so safe and secure for Estelle Richardson, nor for CCA employee Catlin Carithers, who was murdered during a riot at a CCA facility, nor for the 100+ other prisoners who have died while in CCA’s custody, many from homicides, suicides and medical neglect. CCA’s involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is well documented – CCA chaired ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force (later renamed the Public Safety and Elections Task Force), and has been implicated in developing model bills that increase incarceration – such as Arizona’s SB1070. I do agree with Ms. White’s statement that “The bottom line is that we believe there will continue to be a need for secure facilities that help prepare inmates for reentry into society and provide taxpayer value....” However, there is no need for those facilities to be operated by for-profit companies such as CCA, which are primarily interested in making money for their shareholders and corporate executives -- including Ms. White. For full disclosure purposes, I’m a former offender who served 6 years in a CCA-operated prison prior to my release in 1999. I currently serve as managing editor of Prison Legal News, a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, and as president of the Private Corrections Institute, which opposes prison privatization. I’m a national expert on private prisons as well as a CCA shareholder. Feel free to contract me for additional information that you are unlikely to get from Ms. White or CCA’s other corporate shills. Such as this recent report by Grassroots Leadership.

Jul 10, 2013 aclu.org

The oldest and largest for-prison company is not what it would have you believe, at least according to Anonymous. A faction of the hacktivist group released a report this morning concluding that the publicly traded prison operator Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is not an efficient, profitable free-market solution -- but a bad investment for shareholders. Companies like CCA currently profit from America's addiction to incarceration – converting a bloody trail of prison riots, deaths, and general human misery into black balance sheets. The conventional financial wisdom is that CCA will be reliably profitable in the future because of its strong history of growth over the past thirty years. But this growth has been fueled by an historical anomaly. Between 1970 and 2005, the U.S. prison population grew by 700 percent, far outpacing both population growth and crime. As a result, our country now has 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's prisoners. CCA did not exist before this massive expansion of incarceration – and the company depends on it to survive. But Anonymous' report shows us that as America weans itself from that addiction, CCA's ledgers will quickly turn red. This is not Anonymous' first foray into corporate issues. Since 2011, it has published four reports digging into the financials and governance of publicly traded Chinese companies. Each report has seriously rattled the target company; in one case, the Financial Times reported that the company responded by suspending trading of its shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Today's report on CCA marks the first time, however, that Anonymous has trained its sights on a U.S. company. They have certainly found a deserving target. Anonymous points outs that state governments are increasingly enacting policy reforms designed to reduce their reliance on incarceration – including top CCA "customers" like California and Colorado. Based on a state-by-state examination of these reforms, combined with a close look at CCA's falling occupancy rates and decreased spending on new construction, Anonymous identifies ongoing criminal justice reforms as posing a far more serious risk to CCA's business model than CCA's management is willing to admit. It concludes that CCA's management "has been caught up in its own hype" and that "winter is coming" for the company. Recent events lend support to Anonymous' conclusions. In just the last few months, four state governments have announced the cancellation of five prison contracts with CCA: Idaho, Kentucky, Texas, and Mississippi. While the Idaho and Mississippi cancellations seem to have arisen from dissatisfaction with CCA's performance (the Mississippi prison was rocked by two riots in just twelve months, and CCA employees at the Idaho prison recently falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records), the Texas and Kentucky cancellations were driven by falling state prison populations that rendered the CCA contracts unnecessary. Of course, continuing this momentum requires the political will to further reduce the flow of people into prisons. The ACLU is working on a number of fronts to make this happen, and an increasing number of state legislators are realizing that current incarceration rates are unsustainable. And we will continue to emphasize that handing control of prisons over to for-profit prisons are a bad public investment: one that fails to offer a real solution to state or local fiscal problems, lets those companies engage in sharp tactics to garner more government contracts and avoid public accountability, and has resulted in a truly horrifying track record of abuse, neglect, and misconduct. Learn more about prisoner rights and other civil liberty issues: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

June 21, 2013 forbes.com

Interesting new report from advocates against private prisons. Grassroots Leadership has the full PDF here, which takes aim at Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a publicly traded company celebrating its 30th year in existence this year. The report is not celebratory. It highlights 30 separate incidents and issues that call the company’s practices into question. One might argue that most of the highlighted problems, while grotesque (they include babies being born in prison toilets, sexual assault, murder, riots, prisoner abuse, a vast expansion of the prison industry, etc., etc.) are happening in prisons everywhere, private or not. But as the report points out, CCA’s “drastic efforts to maximize profits only serve to demonstrate the fundamental reasons why the for-profit prison industry is at odds with the goals of reducing incarceration rates and raising correctional standards.” (The first section quotes a CCA co-founder saying ”the company was founded on the principle that you could sell prisons ‘just like you were selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers.’”) A summary of the report follows: CCA has made profits from, and at times contributed to, the expansion of tough-on-crime and anti-immigrant policies that have driven prison expansion. Now a multi-billion dollar corporation, CCA manages more than 65 correctional and detention facilities with a capacity of more than 90,000 beds in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The company’s revenue in 2012 exceeded more than $1.7 billion. While the company has become a multi-billion dollar corporation, it has also become exceedingly controversial, with a record of prisoner abuse, poor pay and benefits to employees, scandals, escapes, riots, and lawsuits marking its history. Faith denominations, civil rights groups, criminal justice reform organizations, and immigrant rights advocates have repeatedly argued that adding the profit motive to the prison and immigrant detention systems provides perverse incentives to keep incarceration rates high. To mark the company’s milestone anniversary, Grassroots Leadership and the Public Safety and Justice Campaign have sought to highlight why there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of for-profit incarceration. This report highlights just some of the shameful incidents that litter CCA’s history. As well as unearthing notable scandals and violations that have taken place over the company’s last three decades, this report charts several other key areas in which CCA has left a dubious legacy. From controversial economic and political ties to operational cost-cutting and depressing labor practices, CCA’s drastic efforts to maximize profits only serve to demonstrate the fundamental reasons why the for-profit prison industry is at odds with the goals of reducing incarceration rates and raising correctional standards. This report highlights only 30 incidents in the company’s history, but could have been much more expansive. We hope it lends a critical eye to the role of for-profit prison firms in criminal justice and immigration policies, and serves as a starting point for community members and organizations seeking to learn about the for-profit private prison industry. Worth a read — and some thought.

May 27, 2013  joliet.patch.com

The governor has penned a letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urging her to reject a for-profit immigration detention center in Joliet or anywhere else in Illinois. In his May 23 letter to Janet Napolitano, Gov. Pat Quinn refers to the Corrections Corporation of America facility as an "immigration prison" and says it's time to "time to embrace our nation's immigrants, not build prisons to incarcerate them." The letter comes in the wake of an anti-detention center movement mounted by a group of Joliet residents opposed to the building of such a facility in the city. The organized effort has mounted rallies, forums and press conferences to put pressure on the Joliet City Council to reject any proposal that is submitted for approval. The group is particularly critical of the Corrections Corporation of America, better known as CCA, because of what it deems to be the inhumane treatment of people who are held in their facilities. Joliet City Manager Tom Thanas has spoken to CCA officials about the possibility of building an immigration detention center here, but there have been no formal plans presented. Last week, the city council -- acting on the request of newly election At-Large Councilman Jim McFarland -- directed Thanas to invite CCA officials to make a presentation to the council about what they are hoping to build in the Chicago market, either in Joliet or elsewhere. The project was to be built in suburban Crete, but village officials there rejected the proposal in the wake of public opposition. It's not known who asked and what instigated Quinn to write his letter to Napolitano (a copy of the actual letter accompanies this article), which reads as follows:


Janet Napolitano

Department of Homeland Security

Washington DC 20528


Dear Secretary Napolitano:

I am writing to express my concern regarding the proposal by the Corrections Corporation of America to build a private, for-profit immigration prison in the city of Joliet, Illinois. We are at a critical time for our nation. Under President Obama's leadership, we are on the verge of comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants across the United States. It is a time to embrace our nation's immigrants, not build prisons to incarcerate them. I am proud that Illinois is leading the nation when it comes to welcoming all people. I recently signed a bill to improve traffic safety and ensure that undocumented immigrants in Illinois will be able to be properly licensed to drive. I also fought for the Illinois Dream Act, a historic law that is opening up education opportunities that will help Illinois children pursue their dreams. In Illinois, and the United States, we must always ensure that everybody is in and nobody is left out. Based on these concerns, I respectfully request that you reject the proposal to allow a for profit detention company to construct an immigration detention center in Illinois.




Pat Quinn

April 11, 2013 fortmilltimes.com

The private company that operates Idaho's largest prison has acknowledged it falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records during a seven-month period last year. Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America said Thursday some employees who work at the Idaho Correctional Center forged their hours between May and November 2012. CCA has contracted with the state to operate the prison for more than a decade. Company officials say staff will be disciplined. The Idaho Department of Correction began investigating CCA's records earlier this year after finding some staffing discrepancies through an audit. State prison officials say they intend to do a separate review of CCA's findings. In February, a public records request obtained by the Associated Press showed guards listed as working 24, 36 and 48 hours consecutively without time off.

02 Mar 2013 tnreport.com

Nashville, TN – On February 28, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its second ruling in a long-running lawsuit filed under the state’s Public Records Act against Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), the nation’s largest for-profit private prison company. The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the lower court, holding that CCA must produce documents that it had refused to disclose, as well as pay attorney fees and costs in the case. The suit was filed by Alex Friedmann, managing editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), a nonprofit monthly publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues. In 2007, CCA denied Friedmann’s request for records related to litigation filed against CCA and for reports or audits that found contract violations by the company, among other documents. The Chancery Court ruled in Friedmann’s favor, finding that CCA was the functional equivalent of a government agency, and ordered CCA to produce the requested records. CCA appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed in September 2009, noting, “With all due respect to CCA, this Court is at a loss as to how operating a prison could be considered anything less than a governmental function.” Following remand, CCA produced a number of the requested records, including hundreds of pages from reports and audits in which CCA had been found in violation of or non-compliance with its contractual obligations to operate prisons and jails in Tennessee. However, CCA refused to produce copies of settlement agreements, verdicts or releases in cases where the company had paid damages or other monetary amounts to resolve lawsuits or claims. CCA also refused to release database printouts listing such settlements. On December 1, 2011, Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled against CCA, holding that as the functional equivalent of a government agency it could not keep secret its settlement documents, nor its database printouts listing settlements involving the company. The court ordered CCA to pay $28,367.50 in Friedmann’s attorney fees, and the company again appealed. “CCA has fought tooth-and-nail against disclosing these records for more than four years,” Friedmann said at the time. “This would not have occurred with a government agency, and evidences a significant problem with prison privatization: private prison companies like CCA prefer to operate in secret, with little transparency, and are not accountable to the public.” On February 28, 2013, the Court of Appeals again ruled against CCA in the company’s second appeal. The appellate court wrote that it “respectfully disagree[d] with CCA’s conclusion” that the company did not have to produce its settlement-related records because such records were not part of its official business related to running prisons and jails. According to the appellate court, “settlement agreements are considered public records under the Public Records Act. Thus, as the functional equivalent of a government agency, CCA was required to turn over settlement agreements related to the operation of the correctional facilities unless otherwise provided by state law.” The Court noted that “the vast majority of case law clearly flies in the face of [CCA’s] interpretation.” Further, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s award of $28,367.50 in attorney fees against CCA, finding that Chancellor Bonnyman had properly found that “CCA acted in bad faith in its refusal to disclose the settlement agreements.” The appellate court also ordered CCA to pay Friedmann’s attorney fees incurred in the appeal, and assessed costs against the company. The case was remanded for determination of the total amount of fees that CCA must pay. CCA was represented by Joseph F. Welborn III and Jason W. Callen. “Perhaps now, after almost five years of litigation, CCA will finally produce the records it should have produced all along pursuant to the state’s public records law,” Friedmann stated. “CCA officials apparently think they are above the law even though their company performs the governmental function of running prisons and jails, and is paid with public taxpayer funds. CCA is one of the least transparent companies when it comes to public accountability, which is very disturbing given that it incarcerates people for the purpose of generating profit.” The case is Friedmann v. CCA, Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville, No. M2012-00212- COA-R3-CV. Friedmann was represented on appeal by Memphis attorney Andrew Clarke.

November 27, 2012 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state Court of Appeals is again taking up a public records case involving a private prison company and a magazine that advocates for inmate rights. Attorneys for Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America and the magazine Prison Legal News are to make arguments to the court Tuesday. The case began after editor Alex Friedmann in 2007 sought records from the prison operator regarding legal settlements, judgments and complaints against the company. After the appeals court upheld a ruling that found CCA is subject to the state open records law because as an operator of prisons it is equivalent to a government agency, the company turned over some documents. CCA has continued to resist turning over other records sought by the magazine, saying the legal settlements were confidential.

September 12, 2012 AP
The mother of a man who died in a private prison claims that officials failed to provide adequate medical care. Twenty-six-year-old Terrell Griswold died in October 2010 after being found not breathing in his cell. He was incarcerated at the Bent County Correctional Facility near Las Animas, Colo., which is operated by Corrections Corporation of America. A lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court by Lagalia Afola of Kansas City, Mo., alleges that officials failed to treat her son for an obstructed urinary tract. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages. Griswold was serving five years for a felony burglary conviction. In a statement, CCA says the company is committed to providing inmates appropriate access to medical care and couldn't comment on individual inmates because of medical privacy laws.

August 31, 2012 Arizona Republic
The state Department of Corrections on Friday evening awarded a multimillion-dollar private-prison contract to Corrections Corporation of America, which has employed lobbyists close to Gov Jan. Brewer in its effort to win the bid. CCA, of Nashville, will operate a 1,000-bed medium-security private prison in Eloy, with the option to run another 1,000 beds if the inmate population for serious offenders increases. CCA, a publicly held company that reported $162.5million in profits last year, was one of five bidders for the contract. The firm is politically connected to Brewer, who has pushed for the prison expansion. Until mid-July, CCA employed Chuck Coughlin, an influential lobbyist who is a close friend and an adviser to Brewer. And, state lobbying records show CCA also employs Policy Development Group, a lobbying firm that includes Paul Senseman, Brewer's former spokesman. "If you place two of your lobbyists at the right and left hand of the governor of the state and she has the final say and oversight of the Department of Corrections, I would say that's a pretty smart business strategy," said Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group and opponent of Arizona's private-prison expansion. Steve Owen, a CCA spokesman, said the company won the bid through a rigorous procurement process, and he credited the support of Eloy and others in Pinal County for helping CCA win.

August 21, 2012 PR Web
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), America’s leader in partnership corrections, is proud to announce that Kim White has joined the team as the new managing director of Inmate Programs. With more than 30 years of industry experience, White will bring fresh and innovative ideas to both the company and the field of inmate rehabilitation and reentry programming. “Ms. White has a strong passion for helping inmates build better lives and creating programs that will contribute to their development,” said Harley G. Lappin, CCA’s Chief Corrections Officer. “This passion will be reflected in her work at CCA and we are excited to see her impact on the department.” White will be overseeing CCA’s Inmate Programming department, which offers recidivism-reducing programs and helps prepare inmates for a successful life upon release. The department develops and offers a variety of rehabilitation programs and resources across CCA's system of more than 60 correctional and detention facilities nationwide. Programs address the unique needs of the inmate population, including addictions treatment, education courses, vocational trades and faith-based programs. White most recently served as assistant director of the Human Resources Management Division for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). She began her career as a correctional officer and over the years has ascended the ranks including nearly seven years as a Regional Director. Her interests in the corrections industry stems from a course she completed in college on correctional institutions, which led to an internship with the BOP. White also holds a degree from Kent State University and completed Harvard University’s Executive Education Program for senior managers in government.

August 19, 2012 Union Leader
Three out-of-state companies vying to build a new men’s prison in New Hampshire have paid more than $130,000 in lobbyist fees to three Concord firms to win support for their proposal, according to state records. Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn., outpaced its rivals, providing more than $101,000 to the Rath, Young and Pignatelli law firm since 2011, according to a New Hampshire Sunday News review of lobbyist income and expense reports. “Generally speaking, because governments are our partners, we obviously educate through government relations,” CCA spokesman Mike Machak said in an email. “It’s how we transparently share information about the services and solutions we provide and make sure we’re up to date on any specific needs they may have.” The law firm, which includes a section devoted to government relations, reported it spent all $101,729.85 it collected in lobbying fees from CCA since 2011. State law requires lobbyists to submit certain financial information regarding its clients. According to paperwork lobbyists must submit to the Secretary of State’s Office, lobbyists are required to report all fees “that are related, directly or indirectly, to lobbying, including fees for services such as public advocacy, government relations, or public relations services including research, monitoring legislation, and related legal work.” David Collins, director of government relations at the Concord law firm, deferred questions to CCA, which declined to talk specifically about its lobbying efforts in New Hampshire. William McGonagle, the state’s assistant corrections commissioner, said he’s aware of the lobbyists, but said the process for reviewing proposals is private at this point. “They’re out there,” McGonagle said. “I know they’re out there talking with legislators and the like.” The Legislature would need to approve funding any new prison received, he said. Fran Wendelboe, a former legislator and current registered lobbyist not involved in the prison proposals, said lobbyists can prove to be powerful forces. “On many occasions, they write the ... legislation,” Wendelboe said. “The lobbyists are considered the expert or who they represent are considered the experts.” Four companies submitted proposals — some topping $100 million — to build the prison. Some call for a privately run prison while others allow for the state to run it. Three state evaluation teams are privately reviewing the proposals. A recommendation is expected to reach the governor’s office and the state departments of corrections and administrative services in October, McGonagle said. Bruce Berke, a lobbyist with the Sheehan Phinney Capitol Group that represents Management & Training Corp., confirmed the receipt of $24,000 in fees, but referred further questions to his client. Issa Arnita, director of communications for the Centerville, Utah-based company, said in an email: “At times we hire lobbyists to educate various groups on the benefits of public/private partnerships in corrections. “We are participating in the competitive bid process, and we look forward to a decision by the state of New Hampshire,” Issa wrote. Berke’s firm on its website says its lobbyists “utilize their knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process and their long-term, trusted relationships with decision makers to achieve their clients’ goals.” Management & Training Corp.’s proposal included building a prison on Hackett Hill in Manchester. A third firm, The GEO Group of Boca Raton, Fla., paid at least $10,000 to Dennehy & Bouley. Lobbyist Jim Bouley couldn’t be reached for comment, but GEO Group spokesman Pablo Paez said in an email: “Since the procurement in New Hampshire is ongoing, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on our proposal or the process. “Our company participates in the political process in states across the country, including New Hampshire, . . . as do a variety of organizations, including private corporations and organized labor organizations, through lobbyist representation and contributions to political candidates and parties who support different public policy viewpoints.” One company, NH Hunt Justice Group, has not hired any lobbyists. “We don’t see a need to lobby,” said Buddy Johns, president of CGL, an affiliate of the Hunt Companies, a Texas construction firm. Hunt Companies and LaSalle Corrections, a prison operator also based in Texas, have formed the NH Hunt Justice Group, which lists its home office in El Paso, Texas. He said the procurement process appeared straight forward. “Some people use outside services to make their point,” Johns said in a phone interview from Mexico. “I think we believe we’re the experts in what we do, and we’re best to make that point.” Johns has said his company proposed building a new prison next to the existing men’s prison in Concord. LaSalle Corrections, based in Texas, would manage the prison if the state didn’t. CCA, which declined to discuss its specific lobbying efforts in New Hampshire, met earlier this year with Lancaster community leaders to let them know they were one of at least three communities being considered to host a possible prison costing $100 million to $120 million. Northumberland and Hinsdale were the others, according to Lancaster’s town manager. McGonagle said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Legislature forms a committee to study the state prisons. If the governor and Executive Council approved a contract, the Legislature would need to weigh in on the financial implication on the state budget, he said. Wendelboe said lobbying money in general could be spent on research, campaign donations or hosting events for legislators. McGonagle said he has talked with lobbyists about general issues.

July 31, 2012 Sun-Sentinel
Southwest Ranches officials blame Pembroke Pines for losing out on the chance to be home to one of the biggest federal immigration centers in the country. And now they're gearing up to sue their much bigger neighbor to the tune of $2 million a year. "It's David vs. Goliath," Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff said Tuesday during a mediation session led by H. Mark Purdy, a retired circuit judge. "They are coming in with guns loaded and we have our slingshot." The mediation, held Tuesday at a charter school in Pembroke Pines, failed to budge either side. Southwest Ranches officials accuse Pembroke Pines of breach of contract for reneging on an agreement not to "interfere" with efforts to bring a detention center to the site; and for going back on a promise to provide water and sewer service to Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison builder that owns the land previously slated for the detention center. Pembroke Pines officials deny any breach of contract and say they had nothing to do with federal officials' change of heart. On June 15, ICE officials announced they were scrapping plans to build the project in Southwest Ranches. They declined to say why. "They [ICE] don't want controversy," Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson said. "They don't want to read about this in the newspaper." Had the detention center come to town, Southwest Ranches was to have been paid $1.6 million a year plus $350,000 in annual property taxes, Poliakoff said. In March, Pembroke Pines commissioners agreed to sue CCA to find out whether the city was legally obligated to provide water to the site. The next day, CCA sued Pembroke Pines in federal court. In May, Pembroke Pines commissioners said they had questions about whether the city had enough water to accommodate the project, City Attorney Sam Goren said.

July 25, 2012 KRQE
An audit of prison records begun last week has found a inmate at the women's prison in Grants who was supposed to be released last November. State Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel said the statewide audit of the approximately 6,600 inmate records began at the New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility. "Our standards, evaluation, and findings must remain transparent if we are to remain aware what is expected of our service," Marcantel said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "This finding represents our commitment (of) vigorously looking at yourself." The nearly nine-month delay in releasing of Shera Winings was blamed on an employee of Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the prison. Winings, who had been held on a probation violation since October 2009, was released on Saturday.

July 12, 2012 Sacramento Bee
With severe overcrowding easing in state lockups, California is winding down a controversial deal with the nation's biggest private prison operator and will bring thousands of inmates housed in facilities as far away as Mississippi back to California within the next few years. Currently, some 9,500 state inmates are serving sentences in prisons in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma operated by the Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America. As part of a strategic plan announced in April, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will transfer those inmates back to California facilities by 2016. The return of the first group, 600 inmates housed in Arizona, will begin "immediately," said Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate. Another 4,000 prisoners will return to California in 2014. Steve Owen, spokesman for the Corrections Corporation, confirmed the company agreed to modify its contract to lower the total number of California inmates housed in out-of-state facilities from 9,588 to 9,038 for this year. The contract guarantees 90 percent occupancy. The revised contract will reduce California's fee to the private prison group by $67 million for the current fiscal year, according to corrections spokeswoman Dana Simas. The state will save another $14 million in 2012 by cutting staff positions for the program, which is administered in Sacramento. California is paying the Corrections Corporation $61 to $72 per prison bed per day, making the original contract worth more than $280 million for 2012-13, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office and corrections department figures.

July 11, 2012 AP
Leflore County's Board of Supervisors has been told it could cost more than $3.1 million to fully repair the Leflore County Jail. The estimate presented to the board this week is considerably more than the $1 million the county has earmarked for the work out of proceeds from a $4 million bond issue. Two plans that leave out some fixes at the jail would cost $1.4 million and $1.9 million, according to The Greenwood Commonwealth. Sheriff Ricky Banks, jail consultant Ed Hargett and architect G.G. Ferguson explained the projections to the board Monday. Hargett recommended the least expensive option. He said it would provide the "bare minimum" of what is needed for accreditation by the American Correctional Association. Hargett called the three plans a Cadillac, a Chevrolet and a Pinto. Banks, who preferred the term "Model T" for the final plan, declined to say Monday which plan he recommended when asked by Supervisor Anjuan Brown. "We can live with whatever y'all vote for," the sheriff said. Leflore County took over operation of its jail from Corrections Corporation of America in February. One of the reasons cited for leaving by the private prison operator — which also ran the adjacent and now-closed state prison — was the anticipated high cost of repairs. Initial estimates by Hargett had been about $1 million, far less than even the lowest cost plan presented Monday.

July 5, 2012 Nashville Scene
As the state of California continues to move forward with its plan to "recall" nearly 9,500 prisoners from out-of-state private correctional facilities, it appears the process doesn't bode well for Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America's bottom line. According to an analysis conducted by the Private Corrections Institute, the move represents a significant loss of revenue for the nation's largest private prison company. Here's an excerpt from the release, authored by Alex Friedmann, longtime CCA critic and president of the PCI (emphasis Pith's): CCA failed to mention that the reduction in contract beds coincided with the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s realignment plan which intends to phase out all 9,588 out- of-state beds within 4 years. According to a CDCR report released last April, the realignment plan will “eliminate the use of all out-of-state contract facilities by 2015-16.” The CDCR report noted that returning all California prisoners from out-of-state CCA facilities would “result in a reduction of $318 million” from the state’s general fund. The report specified that California’s out-of-state prisoner population will be reduced to 9,038 by 2012-13 – which has already occurred according to CCA’s recent press release – then to 4,969 by 2013-14; to 1,864 by 2014-15; and to 531 by 2015-16, with a complete phase out by the end of 2016. According to CCA’s 2011 annual report, California accounted for 13% of the company’s total revenue last year; thus, the loss of 9,588 contract beds to house California state prisoners will represent a significant decrease in revenue for the company. As noted in CCA’s annual report, “The return of the California inmates to the state of California would have a significant adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.” This piggy-backs on a report by Daily Finance that questions the conventional wisdom of purchasing stock in private prisons, which have historically acted as dividend-generating machines for those shareholders who can stomach the nature of CCA's "product." Citing increased media scrutiny and declining prison populations, the Daily Finance report offers an insight into the company's potential transformation into a real estate investment trust, aka REIT. Since REITs are required by law to funnel 90 percent of their taxable income to investors, it could be now is a good time to take the money and run far away from an industry facing decline for the first time in its history. Corrections Corporation of America (NYS: CXW) and GEO Group (NYS: GEO) hold half of all prison contracts and collectively pulled in $3.3 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2011. In an industry that lives by economies of scale, CCA enjoys a net profit margin of 9% — nearly double that of GEO Group. However, both companies have seen decreases in net profit margins over the last four years, even as revenue has consistently risen. This is due in large part to decreases in prison occupancy rates. Like for Superman, less crime means less business for these companies. As public outcry continues to grow, contracts have already begun to flutter away. More than a third of CCA's contracts and approximately half of GEO's contracts expire in 2012, creating even more opportunities for governments to make their great escape. With no growth and no competitive advantage, it's only a matter of time until financial markets follow suit. Private prisons make neither sense nor cents, so make your break today.

June 29, 2012 Marketwatch
CCA (Corrections Corporation of America), the nation's largest partnership corrections provider to government agencies, announced today that it has agreed to modify its existing contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to reduce the total number of inmates CCA houses for California from up to 9,588 to an average daily population of 9,038 for the upcoming fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. CCA currently houses approximately 9,200 inmates from the state of California. As a result, CCA expects to begin ramping down the California out-of-state population to align with the CDCR's new budgeted level beginning in July 2012. The reduction is expected to be completed by October 1, 2012. The contractual 90% occupancy guarantee will be adjusted to reflect the lower contract capacity. All other terms of the contract remain unchanged. The full-year impact of the contract modification on earnings per share is estimated to be approximately $0.04. However, at the present time, we are not revising our 2012 guidance, but will consider this and other factors when we provide updated guidance as part of our second quarter earnings release in August.

May 10, 2012 Tennessean
The debate over private prisons spilled into Corrections Corporation of America’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, with critics urging greater transparency by the Nashville-based prison owner and operator. The company rebuffed the parallel efforts, one led by the American Civil Liberties Union and the other by an activist shareholder. Stockholders rejected a proposal that would have required CCA to file twice-annual reports on the number of rapes and sexual assaults occurring within its facilities, and show steps the company was taking to combat the problem. The proposal was filed by Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner who now leads the Private Corrections Institute, an advocacy group that opposes prison privatization. He served part of a 10-year sentence in the 1990s for attempted murder and armed robbery in a CCA prison in Clifton, Tenn. The company fought the proposal, asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to kill it. The company argued it already planned to make such information available annually and that Friedmann’s proposal was part of a personal vendetta. The SEC declined to strike the resolution, so the company included a lengthy rebuttal in proxy materials urging shareholders to vote against it. CCA prefers to wait until industry-wide reporting standards are set, spokesman Steve Owen said. “Our company is deeply committed to the prevention of inmate sexual abuse, and we take a forward-looking, best-practice approach to ensuring prisoner safety in this critical area,” Owen said. Also, the ACLU delivered a letter to CCA asking Damon Hininger, the company’s chief executive officer, to a public debate on the merits of privatizing prisons. “We believe that the taxpayers who finance private prisons; the families whose mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters are incarcerated in these facilities; and the communities where for-profit prisons are situated deserve more than sound bites,” the ACLU’s letter to Hininger reads. “They deserve a full, fair and public examination of for-profit incarceration.” The letter was the latest salvo in the group’s broader push against for-profit prisons. It released a report last year that said CCA and other private prison companies used extensive lobbying, large campaign contributions and information-control methods to win more prison contracts without any real benefits to the public.

April 27, 2012 Nashville Post
The two most prominent firms advising investors on how to vote their shares have issued different recommendations on a call for Corrections Corp. of America to step up its reporting of sexual abuse at its facilities. Activist Alex Friedman wants Nashville-based CCA to report twice annually on its efforts to prevent sexual abuse. The company says it is doing what it needs to now and is waiting on final reporting standards from the Department of Justice. In a letter to shareholders, CCA General Counsel Steve Groom outlines the company's reasoning and says advisory firm Glass Lewis agrees with its opposition to Friedman's proposal. ISS, on the other hand, has told shareholders to side with Friedman.

April 24, 2012 Seven Days
An editor at the Brattleboro-based Prison Legal News (PLN) is using his position as a Corrections Corporation of America shareholder to shine a light on a pervasive problem: sexual assault in America's private, for-profit prisons. Alex Friedmann has brought a shareholder resolution to the board of CCA with the goal of forcing the nation's largest owner and operator of for-profit prisons to release statistics on how often sexual assaults occur within its walls and what efforts it's making to reduce their incidence. CCA owns and operates more than 60 facilities in 19 states, with capacity of more than 85,000 beds, according to its website. The Vermont Department of Corrections currently houses 470 inmates in two out-of-state CCA prisons: the Lee Adjustment Center, in Beattyville, Kentucky; and the Florence Correctional Center, in Florence, Arizona. Prior to joining PLN, Friedmann served 10 years of a 20-year sentence — including six years in a CCA prison in Clifton, Tennessee — for armed robbery, assault, attempt to commit murder and attempted aggravated robbery, all crimes he committed in the late 1980s and early '90s. He is also president of the Private Corrections Institute, a Tallahassee, Florida-based nonprofit watchdog group that opposes private prisons. "So, I have an obvious bias in this regard," admits Friedmann, who is 42. In the years since his release, Friedmann has worked to reform the private prison industry. Several years ago, Friedmann bought a single share of CCA stock so he could attend CCA shareholder meetings. Today, he owns 191 shares, enough to permit him to introduce his first shareholder initiative. The proxy measure, which comes up for a vote on May 10 at CCA's shareholder meeting in Nashville, would require the company to issue twice-a-year reports on its efforts to reduce prisoner rape and sexual abuse within its facilities, and include statistical data on those incidents. Reached by phone from Nashville, Tenn., this week, Friedmann emphasizes that he never personally experienced or witnessed rape while in prison, though he heard plenty of rumors and talk over the years. "It's one of those taboo topics in prison," he says. "You don’t sit around discussing how many people got raped the other night." How common is rape and sexual abuse in public prisons versus private ones? According to Friedmann, the only study that compared the two found that private prisons actually have a lower incidence of sexual abuse than state prisons, but a higher incidence than federal prisons. That said, other research indicates that sex crimes are a bigger problem in the private prison industry than is normally reported. As Friedmann explains, there are two types of data on the pervasiveness of sexual assault behind bars: surveys of inmates that ask whether they've been sexually assaulted and if so by whom, how often, etc. The second set of data is reported by state and federal correctional authorities themselves. As Friedmann points out, official stats on reported rapes that occur behind bars are similar to crime reports in free world. Obviously, not all crimes are reported to authorities, especially in prison. Friedmann goes on to explain that one 2008 U.S. Bureau of Justice report found that the highest incidence of sexual abuse nationally occurred in a private CCA prison: the Torrance County Correctional Facility, in Estancia, N.M., where the rate of sexual victimization was four times the average of the 282 jails the government surveyed. Friedmann's policy brief in support of his shareholder measure highlights several lawsuits brought against CCA for failure to address rape and sexual misconduct in its facilities. "My resolution with CCA is simply to recognize that this is a problem in the industry, particularly the private prison industry, and to address it," Friedmann says. For obvious reasons, Friedmann puts the likelihood of his resolution passing at "exceedingly slim." Although he'll introduce the motion at next month's shareholder meeting, the move will be largely pro forma, as most shareholders will have already voted beforehand. Based on his research, the vast majority of shareholders (78 percent) are large investment firms, institutional investors and public employee retirement funds. Friedmann says he's been contacting any CCA stockholders that own more than 200,000 shares in an effort to get them to vote yes on his measure. How's he done so far? Generally, institutional investors don't reveal their stance on shareholder initiatives, Friedmann points out. In fact, companies with such large holdings typically don't even vote their own proxies but farm those decisions out to proxy-voting services. Friedmann says that only one company has agreed to a conference call with him to discuss his anti-rape measure with its analyst. "Unfortunately, that company is not based in the United States," he laments, "which gives you an idea of the U.S corporate mindset when it comes to public policy issues like this. It's simply not on their radar. They just don’t care." Indeed, the CCA board of directors attempted to block Friedmann's efforts by filing an objection with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. But with the help of pro bono lawyers, Friedman fought the board and in February, got the SEC to rule in his favor. Still, the CCA board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders vote against this resolution. In its opposition statement, the board argues that it is already undertaking efforts to reduce the incidence of rape and sexual abuse, making the measure unnecessary. "CCA takes a 'zero tolerance' approach to prisoner sexual abuse," the company writes in a four-page response to Friedmann's shareholder initiative. "Since the creation of proposed national standards to eliminate prison sexual assaults, CCA has taken a leadership position on this important public policy issue. Even though the proposed standards have not yet been mandated and remain under consideration by the Department of Justice, CCA has proactively adopted – and in some cases exceeded - many of the national PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) standards and best practices." That said, Friedmann's measure has garnered support from more than a dozen national organizations, including the National Center for Domestic and Sexual Violence, the National Organization for Women, the National Lawyers Guild and the Human Rights Defense Center. Interestingly, Friedmann notes that CCA's stock has "gone through the roof recently," putting the value of his CCA holdings at more than $4000. He says he plans to donate any proceeds from the eventual sale of his stock to organizations that address human rights abuses behind bars.

March 1, 2012 Nashville Scene
The Presbyterian Church is taking a hard line against the nation's largest for-profit private prison company. Under the banner of the Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network, a coalition of the faithful will hand deliver letters of reproach to more than a dozen state governors to protest their states' contracts with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. In a statement, the Presbyterian Health, Education & Welfare Association Executive Director Rev. Trina Zelle admonished the privitization of the country's prisons as being "immoral." "We believe that privatizing prisons,and thereby incarcerating people for the purpose of generating corporate profit, is immoral and contrary to the faith teachings of the Presbyterian Church," Zelle wrote. "Through this letter we urge the governors to reject the notion that justice is for sale to the lowest corporate bidder." The move is part of a broader effort, in conjunction with more than 60 other groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, to turn a critical moral eye on the company's raison d'etre. In a letter sent to governors in every state, the ACLU and 26 other organizations said a recent offer by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to buy prisons currently run by state officials is a backdoor invitation to take on additional debt while increasing CCA’s profits and impeding the serious criminal justice reforms needed to combat the nation’s mass incarceration crisis. Two similar letters are also being sent today by religious coalitions to governors. One of the letters, sent by 32 faith groups including the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, the United Church of Christ/Justice and Witness Ministries, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, says there is a moral imperative in reducing incarceration through evidence-based alternatives to imprisonment and re-entry policies that ease the transition of prisoners back into society. A third letter, from the Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network, argues that the principles of mercy, forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation are largely absent from the private prison industry. “Selling off prisons to CCA would be a tragic mistake for your state,” the ACLU’s letter reads. “[CCA’s] proposal is an invitation to fiscal irresponsibility, prisoner abuse and decreased public safety. It should be promptly declined.” Today’s letters come in response to a letter sent last month by CCA to officials in 48 states announcing what it is calling a “corrections investment initiative,” in which CCA is offering to purchase prisons from states so long as they contain at least 1,000 beds and the states agree to pay CCA to operate the prisons for at least 20 years and keep the prisons at least 90 percent full. CCA has come under recent scrutiny for its plan to "bail out" cash-strapped states by buying up public prisons. Alex Friedmann, a longtime CCA critic and associate editor for Prison Legal News, served as a consultant to the Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network. He tells Pith that he expects to hand deliver a copy of the letter to Gov. Bill Haslam some time today. As of publication time, the Scene had not received a response from CCA. UPDATE: CCA public affairs manager Mike Machak responds: "This is a stale rehash of recycled attacks against public-private partnerships that save taxpayers money while providing safe, high-quality corrections services. The fact is, governments and taxpayers don't need attacks. They need partners who will provide solutions to the very serious and complex challenges facing our country's corrections systems. That's what CCA provides. ...[Nowhere] in these letters is a single, concrete solution to issues such as increasing corrections costs and prison overcrowding. ... "We believe that other states should have the opportunity to choose whether to partner with CCA and have the benefit of this initiative. We also believe that our efforts to offer solutions that work should be analyzed fairly and objectively without inflammatory political rhetoric."

March 1, 2012 The Guardian
Alex Friedmann, the associate editor of the monthly magazine Prison Legal News, once served six years at a private prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country's largest for-profit prison company. Friedmann now owns 191 shares of CCA stock, just enough to allow him to introduce a stockholder resolution. His recent proposal that the CCA's board of directors provide biannual reports to their stockholders about the company's efforts to reduce incidents of rape and sexual abuse in their facilities was greeted with outright horror by the CCA, which immediately wrote to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking to be allowed to omit the proposal from their proxy materials. The CCA's objections to the proposal were threefold: first, because "it related to ordinary business operations of the company; second, because "the proposal relates to the redress of a personal claim or grievance against the company; and third, because the proposal has "already been substantially implemented by the company". In a major victory for Friedmann, the SEC did not concur with any of the CCA's arguments. And so, the CCA has no choice but to include the proposal in their proxy materials. They made it clear in a letter to Friedmann, however, that they intend to include a lengthy rebuttal and will recommend voting against it. In the same letter, they claim to "take a zero tolerance approach to prisoner sexual abuse". They also claim to have taken "a leadership position on eliminating prisoner sexual abuse". So it seems somewhat bizarre that a company that is so adamant about its excellent record on rape prevention would not wholeheartedly support a proposal to let their shareholders know all the great things they have been doing about it. About that record. In 2007, a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that the CCA facility in Torrance, New Mexico had one of the highest levels of sexual victimization of any prison in the country. In 2009, the state of Hawaii withdrew all 168 of its female inmates from the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Kentucky, another CCA-run facility, because of charges of sexual abuse by guards. Not long after, the state of Kentucky withdrew all its female prisoners from the facility also. Losing inmates on the scale that occurred at Otter Creek is no different than a private company losing a major account. I imagine the amount of money the CCA has paid out in settlements to many of the women who have since sued the company should also be of concern to shareholders. Even if you make the bold assumption that majority of people who buy stock in a company that runs prisons for profit do not do so for humanitarian reasons, you'd imagine they'd still want to know how these cumulative incidents of sexual assault affect their bottom line. Shareholders should also want to be kept in the loop about the lawsuit filed last October by the ACLU of Texas seeking class action damages on behalf of three immigrant women who (along with numerous others) have made allegations of sexual assault at the T Don Hutto Family Residential Center, another CCA facility. According to Mark Whitburn, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU, one of the reasons they brought the case as a class action was because the CCA was contractually bound to adhere to the policy of transporting women to the facility with same-sex guards, yet this policy was violated by numerous individuals employed by the company. One would think that a company that prides itself on having taken a "leadership position on eliminating prisoner sexual abuse" would insist on its staff adhering to such a simple assault prevention policy. The shareholders may not be too finicky about the CCA's actual record on protecting inmates from being raped or sexually violated: Friedmann told me if he sold his 191 shares today, they would be worth around $4,750. That's over $24 per share. He intends to hold on to his shares for the time being, so that he can continue to introduce resolutions he believes will make the CCA a better company. However much of a thorn he may be in the CCA's side, his fellow shareholders may ultimately be indebted to him.

February 17, 2012 Westword
A former prisoner, now a shareholder in the country's largest for-profit prison operator, has won a battle with company management over his campaign to hold the Corrections Corporation of America accountable for reducing sexual abuse at its facilities. The Securities and Exchange Commission has ruled that the shareholder resolution, calling attention to the issue of prison rape, can be included in proxy materials sent to CCA investors in advance of the company's annual meeting. Alex Freidmann, who served time at a CCA-operated facility in the 1990s and has since actively investigated prisoner rights abuses as an associate editor of Prison Legal News, introduced the resolution, which calls for biannual reports on the company's efforts to reduce the number of incidents of sexual misconduct at more than sixty prisons it operates across the country, housing 75,000 offenders. Despite the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003, sexual assaults in public and private corrections facilities remain greatly under-reported, including in Colorado's state system -- see last year's feature "The Devil's Playground," which recounts the ordeal of inmate Scott Howard and drew international attention to the issue. A Bureau of Justice Statistics report estimates that more than 200,000 adult prisoners endured some form of sexual abuse in 2008, roughly one out of twelve. A supporting statement to Friedmann's resolution notes that some CCA facilities have been singled out in federal surveys as having exceptionally high rates of sexual victimization. Kentucky and Hawaii have removed female prisoners from one CCA lockup after a sex scandal involving six employees, and an ACLU lawsuit alleges sexual assaults against immigration detainees by a CCA employee in Texas. CCA objected to the resolution, characterizing it as a "personal claim or grievance" by an activist shareholder who was formerly incarcerated in one of its hoosegows. "I have no 'personal claim' or 'grievance' in wanting to reduce rape and sexual abuse at CCA facilities," Friedmann replied, "other than the concern that all people should share in wanting to reduce such incidents -- a concern that apparently is not shared by CCA." Several national organizations have expressed support for the resolution, including the National Organization for Women, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants and the Justice Policy Institute. The most crucial support, though, has come from the SEC, which rejected CCA's objections and determined that shareholders should be allowed to consider the measure.

February 17, 2012 The Tennessean
Corrections Corporation of America has expressed interest in buying a state-owned prison southwest of Nashville as part of a strategy it’s pitching to most state governments as a partial cure to their budget shortfalls. The private prison operator has set aside $250 million to embark on the national effort. In informal conversations with state corrections officials in Tennessee in recent weeks, Nashville-based CCA cited South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tenn., as a possible target. “(State) officials have been intrigued and want to learn more, but that has been the extent of the conversation so far,” said Tony Grande, chief development officer with CCA. Last month, the company sent letters to 48 states informing them of the initiative. In the letter, CCA said it’s trying to replicate what it considers a successful deal last year involving the 1,798-bed Lake Erie Correctional Facility in Conneaut, Ohio, which CCA acquired in exchange for a 20-year contract to manage that prison plus other guarantees.

February 14, 2012 Huffington Post
As state governments wrestle with massive budget shortfalls, a Wall Street giant is offering a solution: cash in exchange for state property. Prisons, to be exact. Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for "challenging corrections budgets." In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post. The move reflects a significant shift in strategy for the private prison industry, which until now has expanded by building prisons of its own or managing state-controlled prisons. It also represents an unprecedented bid for more control of state prison systems. Corrections Corporation has been a swiftly growing business, with revenues expanding more than fivefold since the mid-1990s. The company capitalized on the expansion of state prison systems in the '80s and '90s at the height of the so-called 'war on drugs,' contracting with state governments to build or manage new prisons to house an influx of drug offenders. During the past 10 years, it has found new opportunity in the business of locking up undocumented immigrants, as the federal government has contracted with private companies in an aggressive immigrant-detention campaign. And Corrections Corporation's offer of $250 million toward purchasing existing state prisons is yet another avenue for potential growth. The company has billed the "corrections investment initiative" as a convenient option for states in need of fresh revenue streams: The state benefits from a one-time infusion of cash, while the prison corporation wins a new long-term contract. In addition, supporters of prison privatization have argued that states can achieve cost savings through outsourcing, as prison corporations give fewer benefits to employees. "We believe this comes at a timely and helpful juncture and hope you will share our belief in the benefits of the purchase-and-manage model," reads the letter from Harley Lappin, CCA's chief corrections officer, who was a former director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

January 26, 2012 Nashville Scene
Yesterday, Corrections Corporation of America filed its latest appeal to block an open records request filed years ago by a nonprofit media organization. On Jan. 25, CCA filed a notice of appeal in Davidson County Chancery Court in what amounts to its third appeal in a four-year-old battle with Prison Legal News, whose associate editor, Alex Friedmann, has been trying to get the private corrections company to release documents concerning its operations and potential legal snafus since 2008. "Thus, after four years, CCA is still fighting hard to avoid producing the records I requested, which would have to be produced if I requested them from any public agency," Friedmann tells Pith via email. "This is a perfect example of the lack of transparency and lack of public accountability in the private prison industry." Of course, it's no surprise why CCA is stalling. Considering CCA's reputation for poor treatment of immigrant detainees, allegations of fraudulent reporting practices, and practically writing Arizona's SB 1070 bill for the legislature, Friedmann's original records request could very well puncture even more holes in CCA's veil of secrecy. A request for comment from CCA has not been returned. At the heart of the battle is whether CCA, a private company, can be compelled to release information even though it contracts with governments and performs what has been traditionally a public service. So far, Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals side with Friedmann, but the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case. In December, Chancery Court again ruled in Friedmann's favor on remand, which led to CCA's recent notice of appeal. If Friedmann succeeds, CCA will be ordered to release documents detailing legal complaints in which CCA has paid out in excess of $500 to complainants; "state, county and municipal government reports, audits and investigations" of CCA; "court rulings issuing injunctive or declaratory judgments against CCA, including sanctions and contempt orders"; and "spreadsheets, summaries or similar databases showing all litigation concluded against CCA in Tennessee which resulted in the payment of money damages, settlements, sanctions, claims and/or attorney fees."

December 1, 2011 AP
A Nashville judge ruled Thursday that private prison company Corrections Corporation of America must turn over more documents to a magazine that advocates for the rights of prisoners. CCA had argued that the settlement documents sought by the plaintiff were confidential and handled by the prison's general counsel, which operates independently and isn't connected in any way to the state. But Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled once again that CCA is subject to Tennessee's open records law because it is the equivalent of a government agency, and that no government entity can enter into a confidential settlement. Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner who is now an editor at Prison Legal News, sent a letter to CCA in April 2007 asking for information on settlements, judgments and complaints against the company. He sued CCA when the company refused to turn over the information, claiming it wasn't subject to the state's open records law. Bonnyman also heard the case in 2008, siding with Friedmann and ordering the company to turn over most of the records. CCA appealed, arguing once again that it wasn't subject to the law. The Tennessee Court of Appeals later upheld Bonnyman's ruling that CCA is the equivalent of a government agency by running state prisons, and is subject to the open records law. The prison turned over some documents, such as contracts. But Friedmann is still seeking verdicts against the company and settlement agreements with prisoners. In her ruling Thursday, Bonnyman said the magazine won't be able to get the documents until an appeal is resolved, and CCA's attorneys have indicated they will likely appeal. However, Friedmann said he doesn't mind waiting because he views the judge's latest ruling as a victory that sends a message once again that "CCA is considered a public agency when operating prisons and jails, and must comply with the Public Records Act." "This ruling provides some much needed transparency to CCA's operations in Tennessee," he said. "CCA has fought hard to avoid releasing records that would be public if sought from any government agency that runs prisons or jails." The ruling only applies to Tennessee prisons, not federal prisons or other facilities in other states that CCA runs.

November 29, 2011 Christian Post Reporter
A controversial private prison corporation that has been accused of creating poor conditions for inmates while raking in $1.5 billion in profits annually is donating prison labor to a Christian organization that provides prosthetic limbs to amputees in developing countries as part of a voluntary, faith-based program. Although the program itself is praised for what it does, critics of the prison corporation worry that the program is being used as a PR gimmick to help the prison corporation, while doing very little for the prisoners doing all of the work. Standing with Hope (SWH) is an evangelical Christian outreach that provides artificial limbs to amputees in developing countries "as a means of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ," according to its website. With a compelling story, starting with Gracie Rosenberger, who had to have her legs amputated after a brutal car accident in 1983, she co-founded SWH with husband Peter and has become an author, speaker and an inspiration for other amputees. Rosenberger also became the first disabled woman to perform at a major political party convention, when she sang the national anthem at the 2004 Republican National Convention. On Nov. 16, SWH announced a partnership with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest builder and operator of for-profit prisons, with over 75,000 inmates in 60 federal, state and local prisons, in order to create a work program for inmates to disassemble used prosthetic limbs for amputees in other countries, including Ghana. The program is expected to make SWH's work more effective in its goal of providing limbs for amputees. "We regularly purchase a great deal of new supplies in order to make the custom fit, carbon-fiber sockets for each patients, but recycling specific components from used limbs is critical to our program, and that's why CCA's help is so important to this work," said SWH president, Peter Rosenberger, in a press release. The work program is also expected to be beneficial for inmates, according to Dennis Bradby, Vice-President of Inmate Programs for CCA. "Positive work programs such as this one are key to rehabilitation efforts for inmates. Not only do we share enthusiasm in this new initiative, but the CCA family is deeply moved knowing that amputees in developing countries will be equipped to walk as a direct result of this program," Bradby said in the same statement. Like us on Facebook The announcement of the partnership came three days after "Occupy Nashville" protesters held a mock "human auction" outside of CCA's Nashville headquarters and chanted "people, not profits," according to Nashville's News Channel 5. Over the past three years alone, CCA has taken in $5 billion in profit off of taxpayer-funded, government contracts, according to financial statements, while also being severely criticized for neglecting and abusing prisoners, as well as exploiting costs for even bigger profits. In 2010, The Associated Press released a video taken from inside the Idaho Corrections Center (ICC), a CCA-run facility, of an inmate being beaten mercilessly by another inmate for 30 minutes as guards stood by and watched. The beating victim suffered brain damage as a result of the attack. Between 2006 and 2008, several inmate deaths occurred at a CCA-run immigrantion detention center in Arizona, including an inmate with testicular cancer that went untreated for at least two months, according to The New York Times. More recently, CCA has come under fire from prisoner rights advocates for its decision to charge inmates at its Lumpkin, Ga., facility $5 a minute for phone calls, creating a host of problems for inmates needing to contact their families, as well as their lawyers. When asked if he had any misgivings about entering into a partnership with a company accused of such actions, Rosenberger told The Christian Post he stands behind CCA without hesitation. "I love the concept of the CCA and our relationship is extraordinarily positive," he said, adding that he personally knows several CCA employees and goes to church with many of them. As for the possibility of an ethical conflict for a Christian organization to partner with a company that has allegedly abused and neglected inmates, Rosenberger said he was unaware of any specific allegations, but reiterated that the important thing for him is the goal of SWH. "I'm just here to put legs on people," he said, adding that he was also hoping to spread the gospel. "If I were to look for a partner where I agree with 100% of what they do, I wouldn't be able to work with anybody." Rosenberger added that despite what people may think of the CCA, the important thing is the actual work SWH does, both in a physical sense for the recipients of the prosthetic limbs, as well as the spiritual sense for the inmates doing the work. "I looked at the lives of those inmates yesterday and I saw the emotion in their faces, I saw the tears in their eyes," Rosenberger said. "And I don't know what's gonna happen when those guys get out, but I'm gonna try to make the best impact as I can right now so that when they do get out, they never have to come back to a prison. So, my outreach is for people with missing limbs and my other outreach is with these guys, and if this can get them to share my faith and my passion and my heart, and not repeat what they did to get there in the first place." Mike Tartaglia, a CCA critic who runs a blog aptly titled Why I Hate the CCA, said it was a good thing for inmates to be able to participate in a voluntary work program, but that he was uncomfortable with the possibility that inmate labor was being used to generate free PR for the private prison corporation. "This is a nice bit of PR for them. This is something they will probably promote on their PR page and in their press releases and say what a great corporate citizen CCA is being," Tartaglia told CP, adding that even when prisoners do get paid for work, CCA pays them an average of $1 a day, while charging them $5 a minute for phone calls. "I don't know if CCA is justified in offering its prisoners' labor when they do that," he said. Steve Owen, CCA's Director of Public Affairs, told CP confirmed that inmates will not be paid for the work, although participation in the newly-implemented program is strictly voluntary. Owen also said that the "logistics" of the program, including the amount of work inmates will do, when they will do it, and how many limbs will be created, are still being worked out. Alex Friedmann is an associate editor of prisoner rights newspaper and website Prison Legal News. Friedmann, a former inmate who served 10 years in Tennessee prisons who now advocates for prisoners' rights, pointed out that work programs such as SWH's are important for inmates to have, but he also worries about the possibility of the program usurping more beneficial vocational programs for prisoners at the cost of an alleged PR gimmick for CCA that is ultimately paid for by taxpayers. "It's always good to see prisoners who are contributing back to society while they're still incarcerated. Society barely appreciates those efforts, but in fact the prisoners do that," Friedmann told CP. However, he added, "All these prisoners will be released one day and it's important they have the skills needed to be successful and stay out. If CCA is providing these types of non-profit programs in lieu of job training, vocational training that prisoners need when they get out, I think that's a bad thing, because they need those skills." According to Friedmann, it is important that the SWH program does not get mistaken for a work program that teaches real-world job skills. "I don't think any prisoner in this program is gonna get out of jail and go to work for a company that will pay them for making prosthetic limbs...so it's very important to make that distinction," he said. Rosenberger told CP that he would offer to employ inmates who worked in the SWH program while in prison, if he has the budget when that time comes. But even without the possibility of job skills being learned from the program, Rosenberger asked a simple question: "Would you rather see CCA not operate anything like this and not make it available to inmates if they want to do it?" he said. "You should have seen the look in their eyes. Some of them came in there and said 'this is important work and I'm so grateful to have it,'" he added. Neither Friedmann nor Tartaglia dismissed the many benefits of inmates being able to participate in a voluntary, faith-based program where amputees in developing countries are able to get new limbs. However, because CCA is a for-profit company that makes billions of dollars from the incarceration of people in a country that has the highest incarceration rate in the world, critics say it is understandable why there would be speculation about CCA possibly using the SWH program to boost its public image, especially since the publicly traded prison corporation has been accused by many people around the country of not providing adequate services for prisoners. To Friedmann, however, the main problem is not so much about PR gimmicks, but how inmate labor programs like this can make the more important issues get buried when they are used. "People are in prison for a reason," Friedmann said. "And the vast majority is substance abuse or alcohol abuse or things of that nature. Prisoners need to have those needs addressed, so they when they get out, they don't come back, in addition to whatever good, non-profit things that they do while incarcerated." In addition, Friedmann said, it is important that "the credit goes to the prisoners participating in the program – not the corporate executives. The prisoners are the ones doing the work. They deserve to get the credit," he said.

November 14, 2011 News Channel 5
Occupy Nashville protesters left their camp on Legislative Plaza Monday and traveled to the Green Hills headquarters of CCA, Corrections Corporation of America. The group says the company highlights the reason they are protesting. "This is another example of what we're talking about, corporate greed and politicians being bought by the corporations," said Occupy protester Ron White. More than 30 people gathered on the sidewalk outside CCA's Burton Hills Drive headquarters. They shouted to the workers inside, who watched from their windows. "People, not profits," the group chanted. CCA is the nation's largest operator of for-profit prisons. "CCA's contracts are all with public money. That's my money, your money, all of your audiences money," explained protester Alex Friedmann. The Occupiers claim CCA is essentially bidding on prisoners for profit. They wanted CCA employees to get the message they feel that practice is not ethical. "And hopefully that will not be lost on the people inside that building, who work for CCA, who are profiting off of other people's imprisonment," Friedmann said. Late Monday afternoon CCA released a statement in response to the protest. "We're mystified why these protesters would want to occupy a company that has created over 17,000 jobs and counting, saves taxpayers millions, helps keep communities safe and rehabilitates thousands of inmates every year," said public affairs manager Mike Machack. At the end of its protest the Occupy group held a mock "human auction" to signify how they feel CCA buys prisoners for profit. Protesters took on the personas of CCA managers and bid on other protesters to dramatize their point. CCA had one security guard watching the group as it protested. Metro Nashville officers did ride by as the protest started. Occupy Nashville has been protesting since October 7th with a camp on Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville.

October 7, 2011 Forbes
Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Harley Lappin (55) enjoyed a 25 year career of distinguished service when he announced that May 7, 2011 would mark the beginning of his retirement. He had been director for about 8 years. That announcement also came at around the same time as a revelation that Lappin had been arrested for driving under the influence near his home in Annapolis, MD. According to numerous news sources, the BOP has stated that Lappin’s resignation had nothing to do with the DUI event. Okay, we’ll give him that. We all make mistakes, some worse than others, but for a man who made a career of holding inmates accountable for their actions it must have been a serious blow to Lappin and those that knew him. However, we live in a forgiving society and, lucky for Lappin, some are more forgiving than others. In his case, Corrections Corporation of America had an offer to not only forgive Lappin for his lapse in judgement for driving drunk, but also to bring him out of retirement. Less than a month after leaving the BOP, Corrections Corp offered Lappin the role of Chief Correctional Officer (don’t see many of those positions in corporate America….but maybe we should). Upon accepting the job, Lappin said, “I look forward to continuing my career in corrections with a reputable organization like CCA.” Nice touch. On May 25, 2005, while Lappin was Director, the BOP awarded a $129 million contract to Corrections Corp. for management of a low-security federal factility in Youngstown, OH. In April 2009, again while Lappin was Director, the BOP awarded Corrections Corp a contract to house criminal alien offenders at its facility in Adams County, Mississippi. In fact, these are just a few of the awarded contracts to Corrections Corp. from federal agencies, including the BOP. According to 10-K (SEC Annual Filing for 2010), the federal government accounts for 43% of the total revenue of the company. Business is booming in the prison sector these days. According to Market Watch, activist investor Bill Ackman made a good call on the prison industry back in October 2009 (before the big insider cases) by saying about an investment in Corrections Corp that, “It’s also a hedge against your hedge fund business, because as the SEC ramps up….”, prompting laughter at the Value Investing Congress in New York where he was speaking. He got that call right. Ackman’s real interest in Corrections Corp was for a play on the real estate it owns….hey, he’s an investor but it seems a little cold. However, many investors think it’s a good call. I’m sure Ackman and many other investors in the publicly traded Corrections Corp. (NYSE: CXW) are looking for a good return on their investment. There are a lot of pressures to perform and earn a profit. My hope is that Lappin will be the best Chief Corrections Officer that he can be without having to call in any favors from his old friends he made at the BOP. Like I said, I’m HOPING.

September 30, 2011 Nashville Post
A Florida judge has ruled that lawmakers' plan to privatize prisons via the state budget is unconstitutional. The move would have given Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America and its main rival The GEO Group the chance to bid on 29 prisons in 18 counties in the southern part of the Sunshine State. She said the DOC could have initiated privatization and presented a business case to the Legislature. But neither Gov. Rick Scott nor the DOC requested the massive privatization, which popped into the budget late in the session. The DOC scheduled a bid opening on Tuesday for offers from companies interested in operating the prisons. Fulford enjoined the state from proceeding, but that edict will probably be stayed if the state appeals. Shares of CCA (Ticker: CXW) are off about 2.4 percent this afternoon and have fallen about 9 percent this year.

September 13, 2011 Tennessean
Former Metro Police Sgt. Mark Chesnut has settled a lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America that blamed the private prison company of negligence after an escapee shot and nearly killed him. Chesnut was shot five times by Joseph Jackson Jr. on June 25, 2009, after pulling over Jackson and his cousin on Interstate 40 near Bellevue. Unbeknownst to Chesnut, Jackson had just been sprung from a Mississippi prison owned by CCA. Jackson is serving 45 years in prison and his cousin Courtney Logan is serving 31 years. Chesnut sued CCA, accusing the company of not properly supervising Jackson. The lawsuit asked for $16.5 million, but court records do not indicate how much the case settled for. Court records show the settlement was reached in late August with a mediator.

August 20, 2011 Knoxville News Sentinel
Leslie Hafner is the newest member of Gov. Bill Haslam's inner circle of advisers, but she is not new to state government. She started in 1995 with Gov. Don Sundquist's press office. "We had one fax (machine) for the whole state Capitol. We'd get news clips in the mail that were three days old. And in 1995, they redid the phone system to have voice mail for the first time," she recalls. "And then we got this new-fangled thing called computers with email capacity." ".. Now I have two cell phones I try to keep up with. Every legislator has my cell number I get about 100 emails a day not counting twitter and text messages." She adds a quip: "Thank you, technology, you're ruined my life." Hafner, 41, was named last month as the director of legislation, succeeding Dale Kelley in a position that amounts to being the governor's lead lobbyist, overseeing a team of legislative liaisons from various government departments in trying to see that 33 senators and 99 representative go along with the administration's wishes in lawmaking. "I'd never met her, but people kept talking about her, how good she was with legislators and her energy level," says Haslam. Hafner was working with a contract lobbying firm, McMahan Winstead Hafner Alexander, when Haslam first interviewed her early in the legislative session and hired her to assist Kelley, who continues to work for Haslam on special projects in West Tennessee. During the Sundquist administration, Hafner moved from the press office to the Department of Finance and Administration, where duties included working with the Legislature. She subsequently worked on government relations in several states for Corrections Corporation of America, then later as a lobbyist with the Nashville-based law firm of Bass Berry & Sims.

August 15, 2011 Street Insider
The 13F from Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital shows raised stakes in Citi (NYSE: C), JCPenney (NYSE: JCP), Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO), General Growth (NYSE: GGP) and Fortune (NYSE: FO) and a reduced stake in Kraft (NYSE: KFT). The fund sold out of its position in Corrections Corp. (NYSE: CXW).

July 23, 2011 AP
A campaign watchdog group and Democrats are criticizing Republicans for accepting thousands of dollars from special interests and lobbying firms at a fundraiser this spring despite a ban on in-session fundraising. The event was held March 31 at the mansion of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the fundraiser was legal. "You can do that all day long," Rawlins said. While lawmakers can't accept contributions during the legislative session, he said political parties can raise funds to pay for party operations and certain political activity, such as rent and salaries as well as get-out-the-vote activities and even television ads, so long as they do not expressly support or oppose a particular candidate. Haslam spokesman David Smith said "the event was not out of the ordinary." State parties, elected state officials and political action committees were required last week to file their disclosures for the first half of the year ending June 30. The state GOP's Legislative Campaign Committee's filing showed a number of individuals, businesses and groups — including political action committees — gave money during the session. Among them were the Tennessee Medical Association, liquor retailers and Corrections Corp. of America, all of which had business before the Legislature. The Medical Association, which represents physicians, was supporting Haslam's ultimately successful plan to cap non-economic damages like pain and suffering in medical malpractice and other personal injury lawsuits. Liquor store owners successfully battled grocery stores over allowing wine sales. And Corrections Corp. of America, which runs prisons nationwide, supported Haslam's budgetary reversal of a Bredesen decision to quit using a CCA-run prison. Dick Williams of the advocacy group Common Cause said he hoped "some of these are folks just interested in supporting good government, but it's not a coincidence that most of the larger ones are identified with major legislation." Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester called the Haslam-hosted fundraiser a "shakedown."

July 5, 2011 Nashville Post
Gov. Bill Haslam has picked Leslie Hafner to be his new director for legislation. Hafner had since February been deputy director for legislation to Dale Kelley, who is returning to West Tennessee to handle special projects for the governor’s office. The move is the fourth big change in 20 months for Hafner, a former director of government advocacy for Bass Berry & Sims who in late 2009 teamed to launch a lobbying firm. In January, she merged that venture with the firm run by veterans David McMahan and Beth Winstead before jumping to work with Kelley. Prior to her time at Bass, she also worked at Corrections Corp. of America and served in Gov. Don Sundquist’s administration.

June 3, 2011 Mother Jones
Less than a month after retiring from his post as Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Harley G. Lappin has been hired to a top position at the nation's largest private, for-profit prison contractor, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). In a move that has gone virtually unnoticed by the press except on the business pages, Lappin, who had run the BOP since 2003, has been named CCA's Executive VP and Chief Corrections Officer. According to a company press release, his responsibilities will include "the oversight of facility operations, health services, inmate rehabilitation programs, [and] purchasing." Lappin announced his retirement in March, a few days before making public his arrest, the previous month, on DUI charges in Maryland. In a memo apologizing to BOP employees, Lappin admitted to a "lapse in my judgment...giving rise to potential embarrassment to the agency," but he refused to acknowledge a direct link between his arrest and his retirement. The announcement of his appointment to a leadership position at CCA came just over three weeks after his effective retirement date of May 7. Taking advantage of two concurrent 30-year trends--toward mass incarceration and toward privatization of government services--CCA has grown to a $1.6 billion company that operates 66 facilities in 20 states, with approximately 90,000 beds. It has become notorious for its poor treatment of prisoners, and for numerous preventable injuries and deaths in its prisons and immigrant detention centers. About 40 percent of CCA's business comes from the federal government, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the Bureau of Prisons. As BOP director, Lappin would have overseen government contracts with CCA worth tens of millions of dollars. CCA spends approximately $1 million annually on lobbying on the federal level alone. A press release from the invaluable Private Corrections Working Group notes that Lappin's quick trip through the government-to-industry revolving door is hardly unique in the Bureau of Prisons' history: "Lappin joins another former BOP director already employed with CCA, J. Michael Quinlan, who was hired by the company in 1993. He retired as director of the BOP in 1992, several months after settling a lawsuit that accused him of sexually harassing a male BOP employee. While settling the suit, Quinlan denied allegations that he made sexual advances to the employee in a hotel room." Advertise on MotherJones.com In addition, there's the case of the recently appointed head of the U.S. Marshals Service, Stacia Hylton, who until 2010 was the Federal Detention Trustee. In between serving in these two high-ranking government positions, Hylton worked as a consultant for the GEO Group, the nation's second largest private prison contractor. During Hylton's tenure, the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee gave several contracts to GEO; and the U.S. Marshals Service, like ICE and the BOP, houses federal detainees in privately owned prisons, including some run by GEO. "Federal ethics rules do not prohibit former high-ranking employees such as Lappin and Hylton from working for private companies, even when those companies contract with the same federal agencies where those former officials were employed," the Private Corrections Working Group points out. "An Executive Order issued by President Obama restricts appointees from taking official actions that directly and substantially affect immediate former clients and employers; however, that ethics rule was not applied to Hylton and it has been waived for over two dozen other federal officials, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics."

June 1, 2011 Market Wire
CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) (NYSE:CXW - News), America's leader in partnership corrections, announced that effective June 1, 2011, Harley G. Lappin, 55, shall serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Corrections Officer (CCO). In this role, Mr. Lappin will be responsible for the oversight of facility operations, health services, inmate rehabilitation programs, purchasing and TransCor, the Company's wholly-owned transportation subsidiary. He succeeds Richard P. Seiter, who announced his decision to step down as CCO earlier this year, effective May 31, 2011. Mr. Lappin, as a career correctional administrator, previously served as the Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) -- the nation's largest correctional system, a position he held since 2003, prior to retirement in May 2011. He served in a variety of roles with the Bureau of Prisons for more than 25 years, beginning in 1985, including Regional Director, Warden of the United States Penitentiary in Indiana, and Warden of the Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina, among other positions. As Director of the BOP, Lappin had oversight and management responsibility for 116 federal prisons, 14 large, private contract facilities and more than 250 contracts for community correction facilities, in total comprising more than 215,000 inmates managed by 38,000 employees, with a $6.4 billion budget.

May 19, 2011 Nashville Post
Longtime Corrections Corp. of America board member William Andrews last Friday exercised 75,000 options that would have expired next February and then sold the resulting shares, pocketing a profit of more than $1.5 million. The timing was exquisite: Had Andrews waited until Monday afternoon, when CCA plunged on news that the Supreme Court will hear a constitutional-rights case involving CCA's top competitor, his take from the option transactions would have been smaller by more than $150,000. CCA shares (Ticker: CXW) are down about 4 percent year to date.

May 18, 2011 Nashville Post
Pershing Square Capital Management, the hedge fun run by Bill Ackman, has sold all of the almost 8 million Corrections Corp. of America shares it held early this year. Ackman, who dove into CCA late in the summer of 2009 and held almost 10 percent of the company, looks to have made some money on his prison management bet: CCA shares (Ticker: CXW) rose quickly as he was building his stake, but have lagged the S&P 500 by 20 points since.

May 17, 2011 Hernando Today
An embattled police detective remains tangled in the thicket of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former co-worker who claims he threatened to shoot her fiancé out of jealousy. Bryan Drinkard, a former lieutenant with Corrections Corporation of America who is now a Brooksville police detective, was scheduled to be questioned Friday during a deposition, but that has been postponed indefinitely, said an attorney who works on the case. Other accusations made by the plaintiff against Drinkard include offering her gifts in exchange for sex at his house, refusing to leave her workstation after repeated requests, asking her to kiss him, touching her inappropriately, telling her he loved her, going through the personal numbers on her cell phone and making suggestive comments to her in front of inmates. He also was accused of waiting for her along her route home from work and pulling her over while he was employed by the Brooksville Police Department. In spite of the list of allegations, Drinkard is not a defendant in the case. The plaintiff, Stephanie Maggard, is suing CCA and another former supervisor, Adam Nigro. Nigro was fired by CCA in July 2007 for violating the company's sexual harassment policy, according to court documents. Maggard accused him of groping her at work. A trial date will be set June 8 by a general magistrate. The trial is expected to take place in the summer or fall. Maggard filed a lawsuit against the defendants after quitting her job in July 2007. At the time, CCA managed the Hernando County Jail. "During her employment, she was subjected to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature from her supervisors," wrote her attorney, Ryan D. Barack. "The conduct included, but was not limited to, continuous sexual comments, requests to engage in sexual activities, unwanted physical contact and various other activities of a sexual nature." She is seeking emotional and back pay damages "on the grounds that her inability to work for the past four years is due to alleged conduct by her supervisors at CCA," Barack stated. Maggard's attorney stated she was told during her orientation in June 2006 by other male co-workers "that she had already been marked by Drinkard." Barack also stated Drinkard had told other correctional officers to "stay away from" Maggard because he "would be pursuing (her) himself." Among Maggard's responsibilities was to conduct rounds every 45 minutes and check on the inmates. She would tell Drinkard to leave because she had work to do, but he would instead sit at her desk and wait for her to return — sometimes for as long as 30 minutes, according to court records. "He would ask (the) Plaintiff personal questions, he would ask her to go out with him, offering gifts, asking her to go home with him to his home in the morning to have sex while his wife was at work," Maggard's attorney wrote. "He would constantly ask (the) Plaintiff to kiss him, putting his body very close to hers." Maggard constantly refused Drinkard's offers and rejected his advances, her attorney said. "He became more forward towards (the) Plaintiff by bringing her flowers, rousing the inmates, causing a big scene, and causing the inmates to cat call at (the) Plaintiff," Barack stated. "This was very humiliating to (the) Plaintiff." Whenever Drinkard saw her talking to a male co-worker, he would press his body against hers and put his head on her shoulder, according to court records. Barack stated Drinkard's behavior toward Maggard was witnessed by several CCA employees, including supervisors. "(Drinkard) would follow (Maggard) everywhere, constantly hounding her to have sex with him," wrote Barack. "At times, he would follow (her) down the hallway to the women's bathroom. On one occasion he pushed his way into the bathroom before (Maggard) could shut the door, causing her to push past him to hurriedly get out. He did this in front of (her) whole shift while they were all waiting to clock in for work." Maggard claimed she complained about the harassment to Nigro, who was a captain and Drinkard's supervisor. "(Nigro) stated that Lt. Drinkard did this to all females and to not make a big deal of it," Barack wrote. Maggard said the harassment caused stress at home, especially after her fiancé learned about Drinkard's behavior. Both men had more than one argument about it over the phone, according to court documents. Even after she moved to the day shift, Drinkard continued asking Maggard for sex, her attorney stated. "(The) Plaintiff received a phone call from Lt. Drinkard and he told her what had happened and then asked her how big her fiancé was," Barak wrote. "He said that he was going to beat him up and that he also had a gun and would shoot him." At this point, Maggard begged Drinkard to stop calling her and to stay away from her, according to court records. "Lt. Drinkard continued this behavior until he left for his new job," Barack wrote. "At his new position as a BPD officer, he would wait in his cruiser on (Maggard's) route to work and pull her over to talk. Eventually, she never heard from him or saw him again." A message left with a CCA spokesman was not returned Tuesday. Drinkard was forced to resign in February 2003 from his job as a Manatee County Sheriff's deputy after a former girlfriend filed stalking charges against him, according to public records. He's currently under an internal affairs investigation at the Brooksville Police Department. The reason for the probe has not been disclosed.

May 17, 2011 Nashville Post
Shares of Corrections Corp. of America plunged 10 percent Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear arguments in a case that will determine if employees of private prison operators can be sued for violating inmates civil rights. The case involving CCA competitor GEO Group stems from a prisoner’s 10-year-old accusations of mistreatment at the hands of guards at California facility. The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that prison management companies can’t be sued for constitutional right violations and other courts have extended that restriction to employees, but a California appeals has ruled that the GEO suit can target individual workers. Shares of CCA (Ticker: CXW) slid almost $3 after the Supreme Court decision was announced in the middle of the day Monday and recovered slightly to close at $23.37. Volume was very heavy, with more than 6.2 million shares changing hands, seven times the stock’s daily average. GEO shares slipped about 4 percent.

May 11, 2011 Detention Watch Network
As the largest for-profit prison company in the country, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), prepares for its annual shareholders meeting, new data released today by the Detention Watch Network (DWN) sheds light on the growing influence of the private prison industry on the immigration detention system. Drawn from a variety of sources, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reading Room, and the Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, the data reveals the companies most heavily invested in the business of immigration detention – CCA, The GEO Group Inc., and the Management and Training Corporation – and suggests increased lobbying activity over the last decade, both in terms of dollars spent and government entities targeted. “For years, private prison firms have played a critical role in shaping public policy around immigration detention, pursuing the bottom line at the expense of basic civil rights and tax payer dollars,” said Emily Tucker, Director of Policy and Advocacy at DWN. “This data highlights deep corporate investment in the detention business, raising concerns about how the corporate profit-motive is fueling the expansion of the detention system as a whole.” According to research by DWN, corporations have increasingly devoted resources over the last decade to lobbying for policies and programs that will increase their opportunities to do business with the government. Of the five corporations with ICE contracts for which official federal lobbying records are currently available, the total expenditure on lobbying for 1999-2009 was $20,432,000, with CCA ($18,002,000) and GEO ($2,065,000) as the top two spenders. Lobbying efforts targeted a wide range of government entities, indicating a comprehensive strategy for influencing policy and legislation. Both CCA and GEO have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as a lack of transparency and accountability has led to multiple cases of abuse and mismanagement in their facilities, resulting in the termination of contracts in a few recent cases. “ICE has called for sweeping changes in the immigration detention system,” said Tucker. “Yet they continue to partner with private prison firms that are part of the problem. We hope this research inspires further exploration into the relationship between prison corporations and the government at all levels. We need to reduce our dependence on detention and begin putting human rights over profits.” For the full collection of data, visit: http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/privateprisons

April 19, 2011 Tennessean
A Nashville woman can sue private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America for allegedly leaving her mentally ill grandson in solitary confinement for months without showering him or cleaning his cell, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday. United States District Court Senior Judge John T. Nixon dismissed the lawsuit in 2009 after ruling that Mary Braswell failed to show that her grandson, Frank Horton, had suffered a physical injury at the hands of Nashville-based CCA. The federal appeals court disagreed. In a split decision, the three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based court also ruled that Horton’s mental condition prevented him from filing an administrative grievance at the Metro Davidson County Detention Facility. Horton was being held in the prison — which houses felons with one- to six-year sentences and is operated by CCA under a contract with Metro government — for parole violations and assault. Horton had a history of psychiatric problems and was segregated from most other prisoners while in custody. Beginning after April 2006, Horton began remaining in his cell for days at a time and refused to take part in daily opportunities to exercise and bathe, according to court records. Prison officers had used force against Horton on several occasions, including an instance in January 2007 when he was forcibly removed from his cell to be bathed and to have his cell cleaned. That was never repeated after a new assistant warden, Michael Corlew, arrived in May 2007 and instructed officers to use force only in emergencies, according to testimony. In January 2008, prison officer Patrick Perry blew the whistle. He testified that Horton could speak only gibberish, that his cell was filthy with food trays on the floor and bacteria in the toilet, and that neither Horton nor his cell had been cleaned in nine months. Perry notified the Metro Public Health Department and lost his job the same day. Horton was transferred to a special needs facility in April 2008. Braswell’s attorney, John R. Clemmons, said Horton has since gone home, continues to recover and is living with his grandmother. 1 judge dissents -- CCA spokesman Steve Owen said it would be premature to comment because the company’s legal representatives were still reviewing the 6th Circuit’s decision and weighing how to proceed. In their opinion, the majority wrote that there was enough evidence to suggest CCA had a policy or custom that violated Horton’s civil rights. Corlew’s instructions to use force only in emergencies were cited, as was testimony that use-of-force reports were tracked by CCA and could be used to make decisions about employees’ annual bonuses and pay raises. “It’s our contention that they had every incentive not to remove Mr. Horton from his cell regardless of his need for medical attention,” Clemmons said. In a dissenting opinion, 6th Circuit Chief Judge Alice M. Batchelder strongly disagreed with her peers. She wrote that Braswell wrongly sued CCA, rather than individuals, without showing that corporate policymakers either had knowledge or acquiesced to the informal policy allegedly instituted by Corlew. “Our sympathy for Mr. Horton’s situation cannot permit us to ignore the law,” Batchelder wrote.

December 31, 2010 AP
The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that practices at an Idaho prison that include guards opening the wrong cell doors and allowing inmate-on-inmate attacks have caused violence at the facility and should be immediately banned. The ACLU also said in a motion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court that victims of the assaults at the Idaho Correctional Center are routinely written up for defending themselves during the attacks, a consequence that can jeopardize their eligibility for parole and access to treatment and education programs. Attorneys for the ACLU are seeking a preliminary injunction on behalf of inmates to immediately ban both practices at the prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America. “We want to try to eliminate as much suffering as quickly as we can; these two issues lent themselves to that,” said Steven Pevar, an attorney for the ACLU. The ACLU is representing inmates who sued CCA in March, saying the Idaho lockup is so violent it’s known as “gladiator school” and prison workers used inmate-on-inmate violence as a management tool, then refused to provide X-rays to injured prisoners as part of a cover-up scheme. CCA has denied the claims. Company spokesman Steve Owen declined to comment on the latest legal filing, saying lawyers would respond to the claims in court documents. The motion seeks to block the prison from issuing disciplinary reports to inmates who are acting in self-defense and calls for an investigation into claims that the guards are opening the wrong cell doors. “The first thing you have to do is find out what the problem is,” Pevar said. “Is it a mechanical problem, or are people just being careless?” Since July 2009, 13 assaults have resulted from prison guards opening, or “popping,” the wrong cell doors in areas where violent prisoners are kept, allowing inmates to attack other prisoners, attorneys for the ACLU say in a brief. Guards either mistakenly or deliberately opened the wrong doors and allowed the assaults, the ACLU says. Four of the 13 of the assaults allowed because of “popping” cell doors occurred under warden Timothy Wengler, who has been with the private prison company since 1996 and was appointed interim warden at the Idaho facility after the ACLU sued over claims of brutal inmate-on-inmate violence, ACLU attorneys say. Former Idaho warden Phillip Valdez was reassigned after the lawsuit was filed. Attorneys for the ACLU claim in court documents that Valdez created the two policies they are seeking to ban, and that Wengler continues to implement them as interim warden. “One of two things must be true: Valdez and Wengler either failed in their duty to investigate the causes of these incidents, or they failed in their duty to fashion an appropriate solution,” the ACLU says. The most violent of the “popped” cell door assaults occurred on Aug. 10, when a guard opened some 20 doors and released at least 20 prisoners who then assaulted four rival gang members, sending two to the hospital, according to the brief filed by ACLU attorneys. Guards issued disciplinary reports for the four victims of the assault, according to the ACLU.

December 29, 2010 AP
State Auditor Marion Higa on Wednesday blasted the Hawaii Department of Public Safety's management of a contract to house prisoners in privately owned Arizona prisons. In a 77-page report, Higa also criticized the financial data about the arrangement the department has provided legislators and the public for using a flawed methodology and containing inaccurate or insufficient figures. "Without clarified guidance by policymakers, the department has no incentive to perform better and will continue to evade accountability by providing unreliable and inaccurate reporting of incarceration costs," Higa wrote in the audit's conclusion. "In addition, the department has misused its procurement authority to circumvent the process designed with safeguards to protect the state's interests," she added. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from department officials or Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office. Much of the audit's findings are critical of actions taken by the administration of Abercrombie's predecessor, Linda Lingle. Abercrombie has said he wants to stop exporting inmates to other states but hasn't spelled out whether that would mean building more prisons in Hawaii or releasing less-dangerous inmates to free up existing beds. According to the audit, about 2,000 male Hawaii prisoners currently are housed in the Florence, Red Rock and Saguaro correctional centers owned by the Corrections Corporation of America. The state in 2006 signed an "intergovernmental agreement" with Eloy, Ariz., where the facilities are located, but deals almost exclusively with CCA, the report contended. The arrangement allowed agency officials to circumvent and manipulate the state's competitive procurement process to steer business to CCA, the audit found. The department also treated CCA as a government agent instead of a private vendor operating for a profit, it contended. The CCA contract is set to expire on June 30. But the report concluded the state as of early October had no plan to address that looming deadline. Without such a plan, "the department is shirking its responsibility to provide for the safety of the public through correctional management, and leaves the operational staff ill-prepared to contract for private prison beds and services," the audit stated. The report also aimed fire at the department's reporting to the Legislature. It asserted that agency officials reported "artificial cost figures" that were derived from a calculation that itself was "based on a flawed methodology." "Because funding is virtually guaranteed, management is indifferent to the needs of policymakers and the public for accurate and reliable cost information," the audit said. "As a result, true costs are unknown." In addition to improving its financial and program data, and its monitoring of operations at the CCA prisons, the auditor called on the state's chief procurement officer to suspend the public safety department's contracting authority for private prisons until its practices and policies are changed and staff have been better trained.

December 15, 2010 Portland Phoenix
In the gubernatorial campaign the controversial Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest for-profit prison operator, spent $25,000 on behalf of Republican candidate Paul LePage, now the governor-elect. The money was given to the Republican Governors Association's Maine political action committee, which spent heavily on LePage. No other Maine gubernatorial candidate benefited from CCA money, campaign-finance reports reveal. Although his transition office denies a link with the contribution, LePage has already met in Augusta with CCA representatives — weeks before becoming governor. The meeting breathed new life into the town of Milo's effort to lure CCA into building a giant prison in that remote, impoverished Piscataquis County community. Milo officials also met with LePage. The town manager, Jeff Gahagan, says CCA officials have talked about a prison housing 2000 to 2400 inmates with 200 to 300 employees. If true, that would be an extraordinarily small number of staff for such a large number of prisoners. The Maine State Prison has just over 400 workers — most of them guards — to deal with just over 900 prisoners. (CCA didn't respond by deadline to the Phoenix's inquiries.) LePage also is looking into boarding Maine inmates in CCA prisons out of state.

December 15, 2010 Tennessean
One of Gov. Phil Bredesen's top Cabinet members, Matt Kisber, crossed an ethical line when he met with a key state contractor about his new private solar business — a business that would financially benefit if hired. Everybody is dancing around the obvious. Kisber was not trading on his relationships and status, defenders say, by asking for a meeting with state contractor Corrections Corporation of America. A Republican lawmaker took the way high road and described this as a "gray area." Who are they kidding here? There is nothing gray about this. When a sitting state commissioner — one of the closest friends and most trusted confidants of the governor himself — starts meeting with state contractors about his private venture before he steps down from his state position, there is nothing gray about it. It is black, white and red-flagged all over. If you just tuned in, Kisber and former state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr began forming a company back in July called Silicon Ranch Corp. Bredesen invested what he has called "a low six figures" of his personal fortune in the venture. The company is positioned to take advantage of the enormous outpouring of private and public investments in future solar energy ventures — millions of dollars of which Bredesen and his administration have been positioning the state to take advantage. Bredesen warned Farr Look, outgoing administrations always have folks jumping ship. These are smart men and women who have given up to eight years of their life, often making less than they would in the private sector. The problem comes when they dabble before they jump. The governor recognizes that. He told Farr in no uncertain terms to not approach any company about Silicon Ranch over which the state or Farr had influence. Farr stepped down as revenue commissioner Sept. 1. Did he tell Kisber the same thing? Why would he need to? The man is a seasoned public servant who knows the rules. Either way, Kisber violated, at the least, the spirit of those marching orders. In late October, Kisber — who remains state economic development commissioner — and Farr met with CCA, a company with $89.3 million in state contracts, to discuss the solar startup project. "CCA did let them know that we are not pursuing solar energy at this time for our facilities," CCA spokeswoman Louise Grant told Tennessean reporter Chas Sisk. The issue is not whether CCA, or less powerful vendors, feel free to say no. The inference that state vendors should give strong consideration to helping a sitting Cabinet member's new private business venture is the problem. Related Kisber-Farr solar startup met with CCA Bredesen has built a sterling reputation as a civic leader as mayor and as governor. Kisber's actions in the last minutes of this administration don't cancel all that out. But the governor cannot be happy that, just as he's leaving, one of his most trusted friends has tarnished that shine.

December 15, 2010 Courthouse News
Guards at a privately run prison in Arizona stripped, beat and kicked inmates and threatened to kill them, banged their heads on tables while they were handcuffed, and "the warden himself" joined in threatening their families, 18 inmates say in state court. Then the Corrections Corporation of America and its employees, who run the prison, "deliberately destroyed and failed to preserve evidence of their wrongdoing, including videotapes," and "deliberately falsified reports," according to the complaint. The beatings and death threats came at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., to which Hawaii sent its prisoners to be held by CCA, the nation's largest private prison company. The inmates say CCA guards beat them to retaliate for a July 26 fight or "disturbance" in which "a lieutenant or other employee of CCA was injured." The guards beat the plaintiffs to coerce "statements" from them, and "when plaintiffs wrote brief statements, defendants demanded that plaintiffs disclose more, and then engaged in the acts alleged herein [in] an effort to coerce further statements," the complaint states. "Plaintiffs were beaten and assaulted, including by having their heads banged on tables while they were stripped to their underwear and while their hands were handcuffed behind their backs. "Plaintiffs were stripped of nearly all of their clothing while being beaten, questioned, and humiliated. "Plaintiffs were threatened with harm to themselves and their families, including through such statements as: "a. 'We have your emergency contact information;' "b. 'We know who your family is and where they live and we are going to harm them;' "c. 'We are going to kill you;' "d. 'We will continue to beat you and the only way to stop that is to commit suicide;' "e. 'We will send you to hell;' "f. 'We will stick something up your ass.' "Inmates were required to get on their knees with their hands handcuffed behind their back, whereupon they were beaten by multiple officers employed by defendants. "Inmates were kicked while on the ground. ... "Inmates were denied prompt medical treatment for their injuries in an effort to conceal what had happened. "Inmates were told that if they did not provide written statements, their beatings would continue. "Beatings in fact continued for those who refused to provide statements. "In an effort to conceal what was happening, defendants violated their own policy that a handheld camera would be used to film inmates whenever they were being handled by the SORT team. "As a result [of] duress, force, and threats of force, some of the plaintiffs provide statements in the hope of ending their beatings. "Inmates were told that if they told anyone what had happened, they would be killed or beaten further. "CCA personnel, including the warden himself, threatened parents of some inmates, including with longer incarceration." The inmates also sued Hawaii, which sent them to the prison. They say: "During many of the occurrences alleged above, defendant State of Hawaii had on site its contract monitor, John Ioane, who had actual knowledge and personally was aware of some of the above occurrences, and yet acquiesced in and permitted them to continue." The inmates demand a protective injunction and punitive damages from CCA, Hawaii and Ioane, for assault and battery, cruel and unusual punishment, coercion and retaliation. They are represented by Michael Jay Green and John Rapp of Honolulu.

December 12, 2010 Tennessean
The state's top economic development official, Matthew Kisber, and Tennessee's former revenue commissioner met in late October with a company that relies on the state for $89.3 million in business to discuss their solar startup venture, which is financially backed by Gov. Phil Bredesen. Kisber and former Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr held the meeting with officials from Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, said CCA spokeswoman Louise Grant. They discussed solar usage and Kisber and Farr's new solar power company, Silicon Ranch Corp., she said. "The two of our employees who routinely meet with various prospective vendors nationally related to energy efficiency and green technologies were in the meeting with Mr. Farr and Mr. Kisber about Silicon Ranch in late October," Grant said. "CCA did let them know that we are not pursuing solar energy at this time for our facilities." The discussions took place as Farr, who stepped down Sept. 1, has been attempting to get Silicon Ranch off the ground and as Kisber, a partner in Silicon Ranch, has continued to serve as the state's economic and community development commissioner, a Cabinet-level position. Mike Kopp, a public relations agent working with Kisber and Farr on the project, said they were invited to the meeting by "friends of theirs who are associated with CCA" and did not trade on their government relationships to arrange it. "The purpose of the meeting was to get input from trusted business friends on a prospective business model," Kopp said in an e-mail response to questions about the meeting. "His (Kisber's) friendship with associates of CCA predates his years as commissioner." Bredesen has said he asked Farr not to approach companies that Farr or the state had influence over. The request was meant to prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest. CCA has contracts with the state Department of Correction to operate the Hardeman County, South Central and Whiteville correctional facilities. Combined, the contracts pay CCA about $89.3 million a year. Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, vice chairman of the legislature's Select Oversight Committee on Corrections, said meeting with CCA to discuss solar energy while pursuing a solar business was "definitely a gray area."

December 2, 2010 Fox 12
Surveillance video of the beating of an Idaho Correctional Center inmate, while guards look on has gotten national attention. Now one man says this isn't the first time something like this has happened. The President of the Private Corrections Institute, a non profit that opposes private prisons, Alex Friedmann, says the prison's operator, Corrections Corporation of America, is not only the largest private prison company, they're the most sued. In fact back in the early 1990's he was a prisoner at a Corrections Corporation prison, not located here Idaho. He says he too was mistreated and endangered while held by them. "I was retaliated against by CCA officials and took them to court and obtained a federal jury award against a former CCA Unit Manager for threatening to have other prisoners assault me for filing complaints against CCA," explained Friedmann. Friedmann has since turned his life around and has even testified before congress on the issue of private prisons. When CCA issued a statement calling the surveillance video an unnecessary security risk to staff and inmates, he felt he had to speak out. "I've watched the video myself and the only unnecessary risk it poses is to CCA's liability in prisoner assault cases and the notion CCA's employees are corrections professionals." The beating has prompted a federal class-action lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and now the Department of Justice is looking into the conduct of CCA prison staff.

November 30, 2010 AP
The surveillance video from the overhead cameras shows Hanni Elabed being beaten by a fellow inmate in an Idaho prison, managing to bang on a prison guard station window, pleading for help. Behind the glass, correctional officers look on, but no one intervenes when Elabed was knocked unconscious. No one steps into the cellblock when the attacker sits down to rest, and no one stops him when he resumes the beating. Videos of the attack obtained by The Associated Press show officers watching the beating for several minutes. The footage is a key piece of evidence for critics who claim the privately run Idaho Correctional Center uses inmate-on-inmate violence to force prisoners to snitch on their cellmates or risk being moved to extremely violent units. Lawsuits from inmates contend the company that runs the prison, the Corrections Corporation of America, denies prisoners medical treatment as a way of covering up the assaults. They have dubbed the Idaho lockup "gladiator school" because it is so violent. The AP initially sought a copy of the videos from state court, but Idaho 4th District Judge Patrick Owen denied that request. The AP decided to publish the videos after a person familiar with the case verified their authenticity. The videos show at least three guards watching as Elabed was stomped on a dozen times. At no time during the recorded sequence did anyone try to pull away James Haver, a short, slight man. About two minutes after Haver stopped the beating of his own accord, the metal cellblock door was unlocked. Haver was handcuffed and Elabed was examined for signs of life. He bled inside his skull and would spend three days in a coma. CCA, the nation's largest private prison company, said it was "highly disappointed and deeply concerned" over AP's decision to release the videos. "Public release of the video poses an unnecessary security risk to our staff, the inmates entrusted to our care, and ultimately to the public," the prison company said in a statement. CCA, which oversees some 75,000 inmates in more than 60 facilities under contracts with the federal government, 19 states and the District of Columbia, has faced allegations of abuse by guards elsewhere. A year ago, CCA and another company, Dominion Correctional Services LLC, agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit in which the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission claimed male officers at a prison in Colorado forced female workers to perform sex acts to keep their jobs. In January, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered some 400 female inmates transferred to a state-run prison after more than a dozen reports of sexual misconduct by male guards employed by CCA. Similar accusations were made in March at a CCA-run prison in Hawaii, and in May, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed CCA on probation and launched an investigation of whether a guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted women on their way to being deported. Before the Idaho attack, Elabed tried to get help from prison staffers, telling them that he had been threatened and giving them details about drug trafficking between inmates and staffers that he had witnessed, according to his lawsuit. He was put in solitary confinement for his protection but was later returned to the same unit with the inmates he snitched on, his lawsuit said. He was on the cellblock only six minutes before he was attacked. Steven Pevar, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in 34 years of suing more than 100 prisons and jails, the Idaho lockup is the most violent he has seen. "This isn't even what we know of as a prison - this is a gulag," Pevar said. Pevar blames the violence on CCA and the former warden, Phillip Valdez, who was head of the prison when Elabed was attacked. Valdez was later transferred to another CCA prison in Kansas. The company refused to disclose its reason for moving him. CCA officials maintain the prison is safe and run according to state and federal standards. But at least some of those standards appear to be violated in the video - including a requirement that emergency care arrive within four minutes of a disturbance. It took medical workers nearly six minutes to get to Elabed - a delay that can be life-threatening in serious injuries, according to state prisons officials. "Nurses and medical professionals believe you need to get a heart beating and breathing started within four minutes or the person's going to die," Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said. CCA spokesman Steven Owen said employees receive training and supervision designed to protect both themselves and the inmates. "As Mr. Haver's wanton attack illustrates, correctional and medical personnel must often respond to render aid in dangerous situations, not knowing the extent of the risk they may face when they do," Owen said. Owen also condemned the attack and said the surveillance videos were key to Haver's guilty plea in the beating. CCA was unable to answer additional questions surrounding the circumstances of the attack due to pending litigation, he said. Elabed's family learned through medical records that CCA officials pulled him out of the hospital before he could get significant treatment and against his doctor's advice, in order to treat him at the cheaper in-prison facility, the family said. Elabed, who was originally sentenced to two to 12 years for robbery, was ultimately released on a medical parole because he was too badly injured to be cared for in prison. A slew of federal lawsuits detail beatings behind prison walls and long waits for medical care at CCA-run prisons in Idaho. Inmate Todd Butters said in his lawsuit he was denied X-rays after he was severely beaten by gang members on his cellblock for refusing to pay $5 a week in "rent." The Idaho Supreme Court threw out the case after finding Butters didn't take the necessary steps to try to solve the problem with prison officials before suing. In another attack, inmate Daniel Dixon said he was denied X-rays and a doctor's visit after he claimed other inmates beat him until he had broken ribs and facial bones and other injuries. State officials have long been aware of allegations of mistreatment and poor management at the Idaho Correctional Center, the state's largest prison. A review of hundreds of public records by AP found in 2008 that ICC had a violence rate three times as high as other Idaho prisons. The AP found in a follow-up investigation that ICC had only marginally improved its violence rate and that inspectors were still finding rampant gang violence and extortion. State auditors have also found widespread problems keeping medical charts updated, excessive wait times for medical care and other problems with treatment. Even though Idaho Department of Correction officials have increased oversight and top department leaders have spoken out about their concern over the medical issues, state lawmakers have renewed the company's multimillion-dollar contract with Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA and added 600 beds to the prison. Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said in a statement that he couldn't talk about the video because of pending litigation, but said the eight state-run prisons his agency operates are among the safest and most efficient in the country. Reinke also said his department began beefing up oversight at the private prison three years ago. "The Board of Correction acknowledges that when you put a group of people who have a history of criminal behavior together in one place, it is likely you will have problems. But that doesn't mean we should tolerate them," Reinke wrote. Today, the 24-year-old Elabed isn't able to talk much about the assault. He has brain damage and persistent short-term memory loss. "It's almost like Hanni's autistic after this. I feel like I'm talking to someone who's 12 or 13 years old," said his brother, Zahe Elabed. Elabed's attorney, Ben Schwartzman, said the footage is tough to forget. "Guard intervention was appropriate and could have happened in a way that would not have put the guards in danger of their personal safety," Schwartzman said. "They were spectators ... and that seems to indicate a level of callousness that I find shocking. It's an embarrassment to the institution and to the individuals."

October 26, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent handed over a check to the County Commission for $29,714 on Tuesday, representing the fees his agency has collected from inmates for the first 35 days that it has operated the county jail. That compares to the $29,000 that Corrections Corporation of America collected in the 330 days it operated the jail in the last fiscal year, ending with CCA turned over the jail at the end of August. Nugent told commissioners he was on track to return $277,000 to the commission this year. "It certainly does help cut the cost of the operation of your detention facility,'' Nugent said. The fees are comprised of the $20 booking fee, the $5 co-payment on medical services and the $3 subsistence fee to pay for food. Nugent said the jail is serving inmates meals at 87 cents per meal. While bare bones, he said that "it is all about running a constitutionally correct jail.''

October 15, 2010 Bloomberg
Computer Sciences Corp., an information-technology company that relies on government business for almost 40 percent of its revenue, won $4 billion in U.S. contracts in fiscal 2009 after failing to pay more than 250 employees the wages and benefits they were owed. Computer Sciences, based in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia, topped a list of 15 companies that received more than $6 billion in federal contracts despite records of wage, health or safety violations, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. chicken processor; Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s biggest private operator of prisons; and Wackenhut Services Inc., owned by U.K.- based security contractor G4S Plc, are also among the contractors identified. The names of the companies, not revealed in the public report released Oct. 1, were provided by Representative Robert Andrews, a New Jersey Democrat who criticized the awarding of contracts to companies that didn’t meet required standards. “If a company has a pattern of violations, at the very least, it should raise greater scrutiny before they get government contracts,” Andrews, chairman of the panel that requested the investigation, said in a telephone interview. “There doesn’t seem to be much incentive to follow the laws because you can still get a contract anyway.” The report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, covered a sample of contracts in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2009. ‘Work to Do’ -- Computer Sciences, which was awarded the $4 billion from the Defense Department and NASA, was assessed $1.6 million in back pay by the Labor Department covering a five-year period. Tyson, with more than $500 million in Defense, Agriculture and Justice department contracts, was cited for more than 100 health and safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the GAO said. Wackenhut, which received $200 million in security contracts with the Defense, Agriculture and Homeland Security departments and NASA, violated fair-labor laws, according to Labor Department data cited by the GAO. “Some companies that continue to receive lucrative government contracts not only pay rock-bottom wages, but have long histories of labor and workplace safety violations,” Representative Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat who joined in requesting the GAO report, said in an e-mailed statement. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure that the federal contracting process encourages safe and good-paying jobs.” Workers Misclassified -- In addition to the pay violations, Computer Sciences didn’t provide protections against cave-ins for employees working in a trench more than 10 feet (3 meters) deep, according to a 2006 inspection by the occupational safety agency cited by the GAO. Chris Grandis, a company spokesman, said Computer Sciences paid the back wages to employees assigned to a U.S. immigration office in Vermont in 2009, after the Labor Department found they had been misclassified as contract workers entitled to less compensation. The company also received a minor citation from the occupational safety agency and agreed to pay a small fine, he said. Computer Sciences, a government contractor since 1961, received 37 percent of its $16.1 billion in revenue from federal contracts in the fiscal year ended April 2, according to a regulatory filing. Army, Immigration -- It ranked 12th in U.S. government contracts in fiscal 2009, the year studied by the GAO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its biggest federal contract that year was with the U.S. Army to provide engineering and logistics support for the Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command. Computer Sciences also has a contract with the Homeland Security Department for a processing system used in applications for immigration benefits and services. The company said on Oct. 4 that it was one of four firms that will share in a $2.8 billion contract by the Social Security Administration for consulting and information technology services. Tyson has received more than 100 U.S. health and safety citations, including for an incident in which a worker died after being asphyxiated in a pit of wastewater debris, according to the GAO report. Last year, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson won $500 million in federal contracts, the GAO’s report showed. Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman, said the company seeks to comply with federal regulations and the report doesn’t give “the full context of the issues involved, nor does it report the measures our company takes to operate responsibly.” Corrections Corp. -- Corrections Corp., based in Nashville, Tennessee, was cited for five safety violations since 2005 and for failing to follow labor laws when firing an employee for union participation, according to the GAO. Last year, it was awarded $800 million in contracts, the agency said. Steve Owen, a Corrections Corp. spokesman, said the U.S. contracts are subject to oversight and accountability. He declined to comment on safety and labor violations cited in the GAO report. Wackenhut, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, received $200 million in contracts, the GAO said. From 2005 through 2009, the Labor Department said the company owed $4.4 million in back wages to more than 2,100 employees, and OSHA cited the company for seven cases of health and safety violations, resulting in $9,000 in fines. The company agreed this year to pay $290,000 in back pay and interest to 446 rejected black job applicants. Susan Pitcher, a Wackenhut spokeswoman, said the company had no response to the report. Violations by other federal contractors included hiring undocumented workers, failing to meet environmental standards and fraudulently billing Medicare or Medicaid, according to the report.

October 12, 2010 Spokesman-Review
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Tuesday reported raising $752,000 in campaign funds in the past four months, while his Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, raised $372,500. With both candidates spending heavily on advertising as the campaign season hits its peak, Otter reported $211,634 in cash on hand at the close of the period on Sept. 30, while Allred reported $102,072. Otter’s campaign said he has another $67,200 in contributions already committed, but not yet paid. “This has been an incredible quarter for my campaign,” Otter said in a statement. “We not only raised a significant amount of money, but the momentum going forward is extremely high.” Allred had actually outraised Otter, the incumbent Republican who’s seeking a second term, in the previous two reporting periods, but Otter turned that around in the most recent period, which ran from June 5 through Sept. 30. Year to date, Otter’s raised $1.04 million and spent $1.34 million, but he also carried over $316,718 from the previous year. Allred, year to date, has raised $732,640 and spent $757,532; he carried over $126,963 from the previous year. Neither candidate reported any debt. Otter reported a slew of contributions from big business interests in Idaho, with $10,000 year-to-date from Coeur d’Alene Racing LP of Post Falls, through its “Winning for Idaho” PAC, and $10,000 from Clear Springs Foods in Buhl topping the list. He also received $4,500 from Corrections Corp. of America, which operates Idaho’s privately run state prison south of Boise; $7,500 from M3 Eagle, a developer based in Phoenix, Ariz; and $6,500 each from Hecla Mining, Idaho Truck PAC and Altria Corporate Services of Sacramento, Calif., the parent company of the Philip Morris USA tobacco firm.

September 30, 2010 St Petersburg Times
The former operator of the Hernando County Jail filed suit against the county in federal court on Thursday over money held back from the firm and equipment the county claims to own. Corrections Corporation of America, which operated the county jail for 22 years, ended its contract in August. But the transition was a bumpy one with the county and CCA tussling over who owned what inside the facility and how much CCA owed for the jail's run-down condition. Last month, the Hernando County Commission voted to hold back the amount invoiced for July and August, a total of $1.8 million. County officials wanted to wait until they received word from an engineering firm they had hired to determine how much it would cost to bring the jail up to standard and how much of that should be paid by CCA for a failure to do maintenance. CCA urged the commission to not hold back the funding and indicated that they felt their liability for deferred maintenance was far less than the $1.8 million. They demanded immediate payment. But this week, the County Commission was given the preliminary engineering report and learned that the overall cost to make repairs and renovations to the jail was $14.9 million and CCA's responsibility was just under $1 million. The commission decided to defer a decision on paying CCA until the final report from the engineering firm, which should be in hand before the Oct. 12 meeting. CCA's suit also accuses the county of violating its contract because the county claimed to own some of the equipment that CCA provided for the operation of the jail. The county commission was told several weeks ago that agreement had been reached on all of the inventory issues.

September 20, 2010 News Channel 5
The prosecution called Metro Sergeant Mark Chesnut to the stand Monday afternoon in the trial of Courtney Logan. He is one of two men charged with shooting Chesnut in 2009. The jury was seated in the trial around 2 p.m. The other man charged, Joseph Jackson Jr., pleaded guilty Monday morning to attempted first degree murder and two lesser charges. Jackson shot Sergeant Mark Chesnut during an I-40 traffic stop in June of 2009. Investigators said Chesnut had no idea when he pulled over the two men that Courtney Logan had just helped Jackson, his cousin, escape from a prison in Mississippi. While checking their licenses, Jackson walked up to Chesnut's police car and shot him. Police caught both Jackson and Logan just a short time later. Jury selection for Logan's trial began Monday morning. Jackson will be sentenced by Judge Seth Norman on November 10. Chesnut has still not fully recovered from his injuries. Sergeant Chesnut has also filed a civil lawsuit against the Corrections Corporation America. The CCA allegedly did not follow their rules allowing Logan to help Jackson escape.

September 10, 2010 Hernando Today
The county is proceeding with the engineering assessment of the Hernando County Jail and hopes to have a preliminary report of repair costs finished by the end of this month. While that is going on, the county continues to withhold $1.85 million to the former operator of the jail, said Lisa Hammond, consultant to the Hernando County Clerk of the Circuit Court. That represents the last two months of pay to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Once the repair assessment is completed, the county will evaluate it and determine if any money is due from CCA for the necessary repairs, Hammond said Wednesday. County commissioners voted unanimously last week to withhold payment. Since then, Hammond said she has not heard from CCA, which she finds surprising. CCA spokesman Steve Owen said in an e-mail Wednesday the company is assessing the county's decision to withhold payment and, if necessary, will respond directly to county officials once that process is complete. The county has already spent $34,000 for facility and kitchen repairs due to the "lack of routine, preventative maintenance," according to a county memo. County Commissioner Jim Adkins said Wednesday he was hoping the engineering report would be done sooner than September to avoid litigation from CCA. Adkins said he plans to bring the matter up Thursday during his weekly meeting with County Administrator David Hamilton. "I know CCA wants its money and we want to know what has or hasn't been done right and what CCA is liable for," Adkins said. "That needs to be put on a fast track." The contract between CCA and the county includes a 35-day window for negotiations. Neither side can initiate litigation until that "cooling-off" period expires.

September 1, 2010 Phoenix New Times
Last night's report from KPHO's Morgan Loew on the ties between private prison behemoth Corrections Corporation of America and Governor Jan Brewer has drawn some serious plasma from Brewer's camp. Specifically, the hemorrhage is from Brewer's top political advisor Chuck Coughlin, president of HighGround Public Affairs, which also represents CCA. Seems Coughlin's squealing like a skewered javelina over Loew's latest. In response, HighGround today published a nasty, unsigned screed about Loew and KPHO on HighGround's Web site. Most of this whiny jeremiad is just blather. But the most interesting part has to do with an ad buy with KPHO that HighGround dropped. At the end of last night's segment, Loew mentioned that Coughlin's company canceled the governor's campaign advertising with the station. This, after KPHO began following the Brewer-CCA connection, which has scored national coverage with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show. HighGround's online reply states that, "The fact is that the Governor Brewer 2010 campaign never made a buy on CBS 5 for its current commercial. There was nothing to cancel." Um, okay. Then why does CBS 5 have on file documents signed by the Carlton Media Group's Fran Parker, who is listed on HighGround's Web site as working with the company? The docs, which are public record, show that Parker was the contact for an ad purchase in the gross amount of $13,775 that was to run in the weeks before the primary. (You can see the docs, here.) According to KPHO general manager Ed Munson, Brewer's camp canceled the buy before the ads began running. Confronted with this info, Coughlin e-mailed me that, "The ad buy he is referring to was in August and was never placed. We were considering buys all over the State. We choose [sic] not to air on Channel 5 at that time." Coughlin didn't get back to me on a question asking if this decision was because of Loew's reporting. I asked Munson the same question. He answered that it was "hard to say," but maintained that the lost dollars would not affect KPHO's coverage of the CCA-Brewer connection. HighGround's online temper-tantrum is telling. First, it attacks Loew ad hominem, calling him "maniacal," saying he has to "make things up," and that Loew is interested in advancement to a bigger gig, maybe in New York or someplace. On the first and the third charges, if so, so what? On the second, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, HighGround doesn't really offer anything that Loew made up. That's because Loew didn't make anything up. The kvetches in the post are pretty petty, and reflect Coughlin's biased, self-centered worldview. One of them involves Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee, a CCA critic whom Loew interviews for his piece. HighGround quotes verbatim from Loew's report, which plainly states who Isaacs is, then the post goes on to claim that Loew never did this. "Moreover, Loew never establishes who Caroline Isaacs is," the screed reads. "Apparently she is in Philadelphia and according to AFSC's own website, 'AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.' Sounds like a group with a definite political ax to grind." Like HighGround doesn't have a political ax to grind? Give me a freakin' break! Also, Isaacs is out of the AFSC's Tucson office. If whoever wrote this garbage bothered to look more than six seconds at AFSC's Web site, they could see under "Where we work" a list of AFSC's offices, including the Tucson one. And talk about a smear on Quakers. If AFSC happened to be a Mormon organization devoted to service, love and peace programs, would Coughlin's organization be so quick to slam it? As for Coughlin's Mount McKinley-sized conflict of interest, I've written about this at length in a previous Bird column. Coughlin denies that there's a conflict of interest, when there clearly is. Even by his own admission, he spoke with the governor about whether or not to sign SB 1070, Arizona's "breathing while brown law," while he already had CCA as a client. CCA stands to benefit from SB 1070 because CCA has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain people for immigration-related crimes. And as ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard confirms in Loew's piece, individuals picked up by local law enforcement do end up in ICE-CCA custody. Indeed, Picard recently related to me that for just one CCA prison, the Central Arizona Detention Facility in Florence, ICE paid CCA a staggering $49.5 million for the period between 7/1/09 and 6/30/2010. Not all of that is inmate-related. I'm working on getting a breakdown. But it does give you an idea how much money is involved. Loew's piece from Tuesday followed up on a series of reports he's done for KPHO, pointing out what was first published by the magazine In These Times: That Coughlin lobbies for CCA, that Brewer's communications director Paul Senseman used to lobby for CCA, and that Senseman's wife Kathy still lobbies for CCA. In the past, Coughlin has insisted to me that HighGround has "no position on 1070" and did not lobby Brewer on 1070. Of course, CCA lobbyists and execs did contribute to Brewer's seed money, and donated substantially to the Prop 100 campaign, which was Brewer's baby. What is this, some Benny Hill segment where Coughlin talks to CCA out of one side of his mouth, then changes hats and talks to Brewer with the other? Just how dumb does Coughlin think the Arizona public is? On second thought, I guess he's got them pretty dead to rights.

September 1, 2010 AP
Prison operator Corrections Corp. of America spent $240,000 lobbying federal officials in the second quarter. That's down slightly from the $250,000 it spent on lobbying in the first quarter of 2010 and the $260,000 it spent lobbying in the second quarter of last year. The company said it lobbied on issues related to the private prison industry and on all provisions of the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009 and the Private Prison Information Act of 2009, among other topics. Aside from Congress, Corrections Corp. also lobbied the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement in the April-to-June quarter, according to a report filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives on July 20.

September 1, 2010 St Petersburg Times
With the cost and responsibility for repairs at the Hernando County Jail still up in the air, the County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to hold on to $1.86 million billed by Corrections Corporation of America. Lisa Hammond, the purchasing consultant for the clerk of the circuit court, recommended the action, citing a provision in the jail contract that spells out a process for disputed payments. Last week, the county notified CCA that the commission would consider withholding payment of the company's July and August invoices and placing them in a third-party escrow account on Tuesday. But CCA officials balked. In a letter dated Monday, Natasha Metcalf of CCA, the private company that operated the jail for the past two decades, stated that the contract "does not provide for the withholding of payment in the manner you are proposing.'' She added that she hoped that County Administrator David Hamilton would not recommend withholding payments and asked Hamilton to send to CCA detailed invoices for $34,000 worth of jail repairs for which the county believes CCA is responsible so far. "Under a complete reservation of the rights and remedies available under the contract, at law and in equity, CCA remains willing to work through any outstanding maintenance issues cooperatively with the county,'' Metcalf wrote. "We can be available to meet with you to discuss these issues at your convenience." But the commission wanted a much better picture of what was wrong with the facility before releasing the money. The county is in the process of assessing the quantity and seriousness of problems with the jail facility. CCA vacated operation of the jail last Thursday, and Sheriff Richard Nugent assumed responsibility for running it. It was Nugent who brought the deteriorating condition of the facility to the commissioners' attention in April, and since that time various investigations have been conducted inside the building. Problems with water infiltration, rusty doors, frozen hinges, an improperly sloped roof and floor surfaces, and a variety of other issues have been identified. Last month, the county agreed to hire HDR Engineering Inc. to provide a proposal for the jail upgrade at a cost of $239,000. The firm is expected to produce a report in about 40 days, Hammond told commissioners. With payment to CCA tied into the conclusion of that report, Commissioner Jim Adkins urged Hammond to have the firm work as quickly as possible. Hammond said she would talk to officials from HDR when she meets with them Thursday, and she agreed that the county doesn't want to hold on to CCA's money any longer than it has to. County Attorney Garth Coller urged commissioners to limit their discussion about the issue because the county could land in litigation.

August 31, 2010 AP
An out-of-state company that contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Capitol politicians – has secured an exclusive contract with the State – worth nearly $700 million. Critics say this deal is a prime example of pay-to-play politics at the Capitol – and it involves California prisoners – who have become a very valuable commodity for Corrections Corporation of America – a private prison operator based in Tennessee. California's prisons are costing taxpayers roughly $8 billion a year. (Proposed 2010-11 Corrections Budget | Proposed 2010-11 California Budget) Overcrowding is so extreme, the Courts have threatened to order the release of up 40 thousand prisoners. Governor Schwarzenegger declared an emergency four years ago, paving the way for ten thousand inmates to be shipped to Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma. But a $23 million contract to send prisoners out of state – has now mushroomed into a nearly $700 million deal for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). "When you look at a contribution pattern like you see here, it's really a classic case of pay-to-play politics," said Derek Cressman, Regional Director of State Operations for Common Cause, a government watchdog group. Campaign finance records show the Tennessee firm gave $100,000 to Governor Schwarzenegger's ballot measure last year for budget reform. And this year, the same company donated $10,000 to the Meg Whitman for Governor campaign, and $25,000 more to the California Republican Party. Corrections Corporation of America also contributed $5,000 to the Jerry Brown for Governor campaign and more than $17,000 to the California Democratic Party. CCA also gave thousands of dollars to State lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – most of them incumbents – a total of more than a quarter of a million dollars to elected officials. CCA also spent nearly $300,000 to lobby the Governor's Office, the Legislature and prison officials about the out-of-state prisoner programs. CCA netted a multi-million dollar contract that critics say was no coincidence. "The fact that they're putting money in really looks like they're greasing the skids to get a lot more money out," Derek Cressman of Common Cause told CBS 13. CCA declined our interview request – but sent a statement saying in part, "…we are no different than – and in fact, play a much smaller role in this arena – than many individual Californians, special interest groups and businesses." But the CCA contract has now been amended several times, resulting in today's nearly $700 million price tag. "And so we had a hearing along these lines and found that there was no competitive bidding," said Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, chair of the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review. The South Gate Democrat told CBS 13 that other firms – and other states – were very interested in housing California's prisoners. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said two vendors did bid for the initial contract – but one dropped out. "CCA was the only one that had the cell capacity with the perimeter security and the programming necessary to take care of the offenders in the way that California takes care of them," said Scott Kernan, Undersecretary of Operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The CCA contract expires next year – and there's a call at the Capitol for more transparency. Assemblyman De La Torre told CBS 13, "It has to look like all other competitive bidding processes so that the taxpayer will know that they're getting the best deal when we're sending prisoners out of state." Are taxpayers in fact getting the best bang for the buck? "We have no idea," De La Torre said.

August 31, 2010 KPHO
A July prison break in Kingman, Ariz., brought a local and national attention to the state's private prisons. But a CBS 5 News investigation discovered records of inmates in the for-profit facilities of which state Department of Corrections are unaware. In the early morning of Sept. 17, 2007, two inmates overpowered a guard and used ladders to climb out of a prison in Florence. Both were convicted murderers, including one who killed a man with a machete, according to prison records. "I just think they took the opportunity because it was there," said former guard Robert McDonald. McDonald, who worked at the Florence prison, attributed part of the problem to the fact the facility is a private, for-profit prison. "Night shift was always the weakest scheduled shift because of staffing," McDonald said. The surprising fact isn't that the prison break involved the machete murderer, but that neither the Department of Corrections nor any other law enforcement agency in Arizona was aware he was there. The escapees committed their crimes in Washington state but were sent to a privately-run prison in Arizona that houses out-of-state inmates. There are at least three of these prisons operating in Arizona, and not even the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections knows who is locked up in them. The CBS 5 investigation found inmates such as Byran Uyesugi, who was convicted of murdering seven people in Hawaii in 1999, the worst mass murder in the state's history. He is an inmate at a private prison in Eloy. There is no Arizona law that requires private prisons to report who they hold. Bill Brotherton was an Arizona state senator in 2006 and sponsored two bills that would have reined in some of the freedom private prisons enjoy. "One of the pieces of legislation was just to say nobody can import murderers or sexual offenders to the state of Arizona," he said. "You keep your people. We've got enough of our own. We don't want any more." Neither bill passed, Brotherton said. "I had a hearing on one in committee. Couldn't get a hearing on the other one. They died," he said. Brotherton found himself against a brick wall the private prison industry has created at the state Capitol. Records show that from 2001 to 2004 the companies that run private prisons and their lobbyists contributed $77,000 to powerful state lawmakers, and have contributed even more since then. "These companies have been buying influence in the Legislature for decades, really," said social justice advocate Caroline Isaacs, whose job includes monitoring the industry for the American Friends Service Committee. She said big state contracts and loose regulations combine to make Arizona the "promised land" of private prisons. Prison companies are exploring new locations in Globe, Benson, Prescott Valley, Florence, Tucson and the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. "They've been very busy running around the state talking to these various town councils and county zoning commissions getting land rezoned for correctional usage," Isaacs said. A prison break in Kingman in July that drew national attention and a nationwide manhunt for three escaped convicts and an accomplice put a temporary stop to those prison expansion plans. Even some of the Legislature's top supporters of private prisons now say it's time to enact "some" regulation of prisons that house out-of-state inmates. State Rep. John Kavanagh said, "I think the major requirement is that we get to ensure that the custody level of the prison matches the custody level of the prisoner." Kavanagh stopped short of saying there should be limits on who these prisons house in Arizona, which means convicts like the machete murderer from Washington and the mass murderer from Hawaii will continue to call Arizona home. Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the private prisons that hold inmates from other states, issued a statement that reads, in part: "We cannot support regulations that would result in the closing of facilities and the loss of hundreds of jobs in Arizona."

August 27, 2010 Hernando Today
If the inmates at the Hernando County Jail had any intentions of sleeping in Friday morning, they soon found out differently. Several were roused from their beds early to start painting walls inside the jail. Others were kept busy outside erecting new signs indicating the county sheriff's office is now in charge. It's a whole new atmosphere at the jail, Sheriff Richard Nugent said Friday morning, on his way back from the facility. No more late morning sleep-ins. No more pizza parties (even for charity) or warm breakfasts. No more sloppy, untucked shirts. From now on, every inmate will wear the same black and white uniform and they will look presentable for hearings. There will be assigned duties for all — many will be required to clean up the grounds around the jail or in the community. "It's just a whole different way of doing business," said Nugent, whose staff of 130 sworn and nonsworn deputies took over operations from Corrections Corporation of America at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Nugent said conditions under CCA during the 22 years that private company ran things had been too lax — from the way inmates dressed to the way they talked to people. Too much of a country club atmosphere, he said. The new staff intends to run the jail more like a corrections institution so that the proper ethic will be instilled in the inmates as they work to reenter society. In the outside world, people get up early and prepare for work. An inmate's day should be no different, he said. "Our goal is, we don't want them to come back," Nugent said. "The way CCA was running it, why wouldn't you want to come back?" CCA, he said, was a profit-oriented business and did not object to repeat business. Now, that profit motive is gone, he said. The turnover of the operations went off without a hitch. "It was a smooth, smooth transition," Nugent said. "It was uneventful, and that's how we like it." Capt. Billy Beetz, who was part of the transition team in the operations turnover, said the transfer was seamless for all involved. CCA, the county and the sheriff's office worked as a team to make sure there were no glitches, Beetz said. No more hot breakfast -- All sworn deputies at the jail will receive the same base salary of $39,401. For those CCA employees who qualified for the new deputy position and are already state-certified corrections officers, their salaries were bumped up more than $7,000, from their current $32,169. But Nugent said the county will ultimately save money because he is running the jail more efficiently and with a leaner staff than CCA —130 compared to 170. In the coming weeks, the jail staffers will institute other cost-saving measures, including an automated medical record system. One change that has already started is the elimination of hot breakfasts for inmates. That saves money by not having staffers come to work as early, Nugent said. Nugent said he will allow inmates to receive only postcards, which cuts down on staffers' time by having to take time to open and inspect letters. Nugent said he still hopes to return $500,000 back to the county after the first year of operation. A quick transition -- Nugent said last week, during the swearing in of his new jail force, that never in the history of his department did he have to hire so many so quickly. From the outset, the entire transition was fast-tracked. It all began in March when Nugent told county commissioners he wanted to take over operations at the Hernando County Jail and believed he could save the county money. On April 1, CCA opened many of its records to county staffers and purported to show the company could continue to operate the facility more cheaply and efficiently than Nugent. Then on April 13, Nugent — citing deteriorating conditions of the jail and potentially big money repair costs — withdrew his proposal. In a slide presentation, Nugent showed roof leaks, rusted doors, safety problems, cracks and separations on the concrete floor, walls and ceiling. In short, there were too many problems for him to take on operations, he said. On April 28, CCA dropped a bombshell and said it would opt out of its contract with Hernando County in 120 days but would be willing to renegotiate. That prompted Nugent to say he would again be willing to take over jail operations. "We're not going to let the county be held hostage to CCA's tactics," he said at the time.

August 25, 2010 Washington Independent
Days after the ACLU called for additional protections against sexual abuse of immigrant detainees, Human Rights Watch issued a report today demanding Congressional action to improve detention center conditions. The calls come after the Aug. 19 arrest of a former guard at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Texas, who was accused in May of groping three women on their way to deportation. Sexual abuse allegations at Hutto were particularly disturbing because the facility was lauded as a symbol of ICE’s year-long detention reform effort, as The Texas Independent pointed out last week. But Human Rights Watch argued they were not an isolated incident, claiming the problem is more widespread than officials realize because detainees are often deported or otherwise unable to report abuse. ICE already made some steps toward preventing sexual abuse in detention centers after Hutto abuse allegations surfaced in May. Officials plan to publish revised standards for dealing with sexual assault. ICE will also prohibit guards from searching or transporting detainees of the opposite gender. Official policy already bans male staffers from being alone with female immigration detainees — a rule contract guards at Hutto, a Corrections Corporation of America facility, were allegedly breaking. In May, ICE ordered the prison contractor to stop allowing male guards to be alone with female immigrant detainees.

August 22, 2010 Arizona Republic
Arizona puts more of its inmates into privately run prisons every year, even though the prisons may not be as secure as state-run facilities and may not save taxpayers money. Lawmakers began using private prisons to ease overcrowding and have supported their use so aggressively that today, one in five Arizona inmates is housed in a private facility. Many inmates from other states also are housed in private prisons in Arizona, but the state has little information about who they are and limited oversight of how they are secured. The state has 11 privately operated prisons. A high-profile escape of three Arizona inmates last month from a Kingman-area private prison, which spurred a nationwide manhunt and is believed to have resulted in two murders, raises questions about the industry's growth and the degree of state oversight. The last fugitives in that escape were caught Thursday, and the state's prison director has promised changes to the private sites that house Arizona inmates. State leaders in recent years have pushed for more privatization and have blocked efforts to regulate the industry, which has invested heavily in local lobbying and contributed to political campaigns. Last year, officials approved a plan to hand over the operation of nearly every state prison to private companies. The plan was repealed only after no credible bidder came forward. This year, lawmakers approved 5,000 new private-prison beds for Arizona prisoners. Data suggest that the facilities are less cost-effective than they claim to be. A cost study by the Arizona Department of Corrections this year found that it can often be more expensive to house inmates in private prisons than in their state-run counterparts. A growing industry -- Arizona's use of private prisons dates back to the early 1990s, when lawmakers, grappling with overcrowding in state facilities, authorized the construction of a 450-bed minimum-security prison in Marana to house drug and alcohol abusers. The prison is owned and operated by Management & Training Corp., the Utah-based company that also operates the Kingman facility where the three inmates escaped. Since then, Arizona has increasingly relied on for-profit operators to manage its own inmates. It also has allowed private companies to import prisoners from other states. Rapid growth began in 2003 and the years immediately following, when Arizona was again wrestling with prison overcrowding. To ease the shortage, Republican lawmakers agreed to build 2,000 new prison beds, compromising with a reluctant Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, to make half of them private. Around the same time, nearly a dozen other states grappling with the same issues began shipping their inmates to private facilities elsewhere in the country. Arizona, with cheap land and a receptive political climate, became a go-to destination for private-prison operators, who began accepting inmates from as far as Washington and Hawaii. Today, Arizona houses 20.1 percent of its prisoners in private facilities, according to state data from July. Exactly how many inmates are here from other states is unclear. Last year, lawmakers took the unprecedented step of exploring the privatization of almost the entire Arizona correctional system, passing a bill that would have turned over the state's prisons to private operators for an up-front payment of $100 million. The payment would have helped the state close a billion-dollar budget gap. The bill, which also included a host of changes related to the state's budget, was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, but the language relating to prison privatization was repealed in a later special session. The state now has an open contract for the construction and operation of 5,000 new private-prison beds. Arizona's reliance on private facilities coincides with operators' increasing national political activity in hiring lobbyists and donating to political campaigns. The ties between the companies and Arizona elected officials - which go back nearly a decade - have become a campaign issue in this year's gubernatorial race. Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of private prisons, runs six in Arizona, three of which house inmates for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Brewer's critics have suggested that she signed Senate Bill 1070, and has advocated for privatization of some prisons, in part to benefit CCA's bottom line. Democrats have called on Brewer, a Republican, to fire "aides" associated with the prison company. That includes HighGround, a Phoenix consulting and lobbying firm managing Brewer's gubernatorial campaign. The firm counts CCA among its clients. Brewer's official spokesman, Paul Senseman, also used to lobby for CCA. Campaign finance reports filed earlier this year show that eight executives with CCA contributed $1,080 of the $51,193 in seed money Brewer received for her gubernatorial campaign. CCA also gave $10,000 to the "Yes on 100" campaign, which backed a temporary, 1-cent-on-the-dollar increase in the state's sales tax. Brewer was the chief advocate for the tax, which was approved by voters in May. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Brewer said those connections have not influenced her policy decisions. She said she never felt pressured by any of her advisers. "It's absolutely political posturing and rhetoric," Brewer said. "I find it very disappointing. We have a bed shortage here in Arizona, and we have to come up with some way to incarcerate (criminals). The best way, the least expensive way, is to do it with private prisons." The industry's political connections have extended to other Arizona politicians. According to a 2006 report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the private-prison industry gave to the campaigns of 29 of 42 Arizona lawmakers who heard a 2003 proposal to increase state private-prison beds. Between 2001 and 2004, the industry contributed $77,267 to Arizona's legislative and gubernatorial candidates, the vast majority through lobbyists paid to represent their interests at the Legislature. In most cases, donations ranged from a couple of hundred dollars to as much as $2,500. Lax oversight -- The state Department of Corrections has varying levels of oversight of Arizona's private-prison network. Some prisons house criminals convicted in Arizona. The Corrections Department regulates those facilities, though private-prison critics question whether those facilities maintain the same safety standards as their state-run counterparts. Other private prisons house inmates from other states or on behalf of the federal government. Arizona does not dictate what kinds of inmates they may accept, nor the manner in which they are secured. In those situations, private-prison operators work with their outside-government partners on training specifications and other operational details. They report to Arizona only the names, security classifications and number of inmates housed at their facilities. State stat- utes do not require private operators to provide Arizona officials details about the crimes the prisoners committed or escape data. In 2007, two convicted killers sent from another state stole ladders from a maintenance building and climbed onto a roof at a private prison outside Florence. Brandishing a fake gun, they climbed over the prison walls and escaped to freedom. One was caught within hours, but it was almost a month before the other was caught hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. As with the Kingman breakout, the 2007 escape drew attention to the largely unregulated growth of private prisons in the state, particularly prisons that house other states' inmates. To address security concerns, a bipartisan bill drafted by Napolitano's office in 2008 and introduced by Republican state Sen. Robert Blendu would have required private prisons to be built to the state's construction standards. The proposal also would have ended the practice of private prisons importing murderers, rapists and other dangerous felons to Arizona. And it would have required the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. After an initial flurry of activity, the bill died. "The private-prison industry lobbied heavily against that bill, and they were successful," said Michael Haener, Napolitano's lobbyist at the time. Blendu later left the Legislature, and the bill was not reintroduced. What little regulation private prisons have in Arizona stems from a series of escapes in the late 1990s. In response, the Legislature passed a law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs from private-prison operators in the event of an escape. Arizona laws also require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, to notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and to return out-of-state prisoners to their home states to be released. But there are no penalties if the companies don't comply. Costs questioned -- Notwithstanding lawmakers' concerns about security, private prisons gained favor in part because of the promised savings they could deliver to a cash-strapped and overcrowded prison system. Yet studies have questioned whether those savings are real. In making their pitches, private-prison companies played on the desire of many lawmakers to shift more state services to the private sector. Direct cost comparisons between for-profit and public prisons can be difficult, however. According to the National Institute of Justice, private prisons tend to make much lower estimates of their overhead costs to the state for oversight, inmate health care and staff background checks. Officials at public prisons often argue that the state winds up paying a higher cost for those services than is advertised, mitigating savings that private prisons are built to deliver. A study this year by the Arizona Department of Corrections found that when various costs are factored in, it can be more expensive to house an inmate in a private prison than it is to house one in a state-run prison. The cost of housing a medium-security inmate is $3 to $8 more per day in a private prison, depending on what assumptions are made about overhead costs to the state, the study found. Travis Pratt, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University, said there is no evidence that private prisons save government agencies money, even though they typically promise up-front savings. To maintain profit margins, Pratt said, companies often cut back on staff training, wages and inmate services. "Cost savings like that don't come without consequences," Pratt said. "And that can present a security risk that's elevated." Odie Washington, a senior vice president at Management & Training Corp., acknowledged Thursday that the Kingman prison employed an inexperienced staff. "We have a lot of very young staff that have not integrated into very strong security practices," Washington said. Private-prison operators disagree with Pratt's assessment, contending that they can deliver services efficiently and safely. "That's one of the more frustrating misconceptions out there for us that we have to repeatedly respond to," said Steve Owen, director of public affairs for Corrections Corporation of America. Owen said it is CCA's "general experience" that private prisons can save states and the federal government 5 to 15 percent on operational costs. The company also can build facilities more cheaply, he said. CCA is contractually required to meet or exceed training requirements that states they work for set for themselves, Owen said. In addition, the company has made sure its prisons in Arizona comply with accreditation standards put in place by the American Correctional Association, a Virginia-based trade group. Many communities, meanwhile, eagerly welcome private prisons because the facilities generate jobs and economic activity. CCA prisons in Florence and Eloy, for example, employ 2,700 people. Last year, the company paid $26 million in property taxes, Owen said. What's next -- Lawmakers from both parties have called for hearings into what went wrong in Kingman. Presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry Goddard has said he would push to bring back the 2008 private-prison bill. Goddard also is calling for an immediate re-evaluation of the system used to classify and place inmates in facilities. The five-tiered system, which allows some violent criminals to migrate to lower-security facilities for good behavior, met with bipartisan criticism in the wake of the escapes. Two of the three inmates who escaped from the medium-security Kingman prison had been convicted of murder. Goddard said the three recent escapees never should have been in a medium-security prison. Charles Ryan, director of the Department of Corrections, announced Thursday that the state would slow its bidding process for the 5,000 new private-prison beds pending additional review. Brewer has said little publicly about the escape but told The Republic last week that she is committed to holding prison operators responsible for mistakes they made. She said she has ordered Ryan to conduct a "complete review to make sure that inmates are appropriately secured and in the right kinds of facilities." While Brewer remains confident that private prisons are well suited to house less-violent offenders, she said: "What has happened is unacceptable, and I am absolutely pushing for more accountability."

August 22, 2010 St Petersburg Times
As the sun rises over the Hernando County Jail this morning, newly sworn sheriff's correctional deputies will stand side by side with the private jailers whose company has run the facility for 22 years. While Sheriff Richard Nugent doesn't officially take over the jail from Corrections Corporation of America until 12:01 a.m. Friday, inmates today will begin to see what the future will look like under the sheriff's watch. The captive audience is in for a few changes. Gone will be the regular pizza nights. No more movie or popcorn nights either. And no more sleeping in. Inmates will be expected to work at the facility or, when a program is crafted, out in the community, where sheriff's officials say there are plenty of public lands to be cleaned up and grass to be mowed. Hot breakfasts will be a thing of the past. Inmates will be expected to be presentable at broadcast court hearings, and their movements through the facility will be regimented, militarylike and orderly. That's a far cry from the conditions there now, said Maj. Michael Page, the jail's new administrator. "They're pretty much doing what they want there while they stay within the walls," he said. Suffice it to say, the next time Playboy magazine publishes "An Insider's Guide to America's Top Ten Jails," as it did in 1992, the Hernando jail probably won't make the list. Nugent promised that the punishment aspect of incarceration will return under his leadership. "There's a new sheriff in town," Nugent said. "It's not going to be a relaxed Club Med atmosphere."

August 16, 2010 Hernando Today
Erin St. Pierre could not contain her joy at being sworn in as one of the newest deputies at the Hernando County Jail. She gave her seven-month-old daughter Madeline a big squeeze as she talked with her mom and dad in the foyer of the National Guard Armory Monday morning following a 45-minute dedication ceremony. "It feels nice to be part of something like this and to get in on the ground floor," St. Pierre said as other families and officers mingled and hugged. "This is a big opportunity for her," her dad, Mark McGrail, said. And it was a big day for 129 other deputies and officers officially sworn in Monday just 11 days before they assume their duties at the 756-bed jail and replace the current staff. Sheriff Richard Nugent and his team spent the last 80 days interviewing potential candidates as they raced to meet a deadline of Aug. 27, when the sheriff's department takes over the reins of the facility from Corrections Corporation of America. CCA had operated the jail for 22 years. But in May, it opted to get out of the contract, giving the county about three months to recruit a new detention division force. Many of the new recruits were hired from other detention facilities in the state, including Pasco and Sumter counties. "What a historic occasion for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office," Nugent told the sea of green-suited deputies sitting in folding chairs inside the armory. "Never in the history of the sheriff's office have we taken on (a hiring) endeavor like that," he said. After being called to the stage individually and being handed their deputy's stripes, Major Mike Page, the new administrator of the jail, wished the new crop of jail officers the best in their new challenge. "I expect a lot from each of you," Page said. "We will make this the best jail in the United States." Each new detention staffer had to attend 40 hours of training to comply with American Correctional Standards (ACA) requirements. Nugent will begin operations with a force of 130 people, compared with 170 CCA employees. All sworn deputies will receive the same base salary of $39,401. Billy Beetz, who was promoted from lieutenant to captain during Monday's event, said recently that about 35 CCA employees had been considered for continued employment and met the stringent requirements of the sheriff's office.

August 11, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Having seen earlier snapshots on just what is physically wrong with a portion of the Hernando County Jail, the County Commission approved a plan Tuesday to get the whole picture. The commission approved a $239,306 contract to hire HDR Engineering Inc. to examine the structure from the electrical systems to the air conditioning, from the oldest section to the newest addition. The goal is to determine just what repairs are needed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people living inside and the residents living outside the facility. Just as important, the report will tell Hernando officials just how much of the repair bill should be paid by Corrections Corporation of America for failing to properly maintain the facility. During the commission meeting, Chairman John Druzbick announced that Sheriff Richard Nugent had just called to tell him that he was willing to return $500,000 to the county out of the planned jail budget. Commissioners, who had a number of budget items on their agenda Tuesday, were pleased. Finding ways to plug a revenue shortfall that originally topped $10.3 million has been an ongoing project for county officials. Nugent is set to take over the Hernando County Jail from CCA at the end of the month and his staff is in the final weeks of preparation for that transition. Hiring the engineer was an important step, according to County Administrator David Hamilton. The firm, chosen on a rotating basis from the list of engineers the county uses for such projects, is supposed to examine the structure and systems, determine who is responsible for the problems, assess the cost and then manage the construction to make repairs, according to Lisa Hammond, the purchasing and contracts consultant hired by the clerk of the circuit court. The funding for the engineering work comes out of the $3 million that the commission set aside for the project. Commissioners also agreed to several other jail expenditures on Tuesday, including paying $156,200 to rekey the jail and $68,848 for ongoing jail repairs overseen by the county's facilities department. After questions were raised by Commissioner Rose Rocco about the much-talked-about jail dishwasher, Jail Administrator Maj. Michael Page explained that bids for a dishwasher had been obtained and were under review by the county.

August 9, 2010 Tennessean
By now, Trousdale County had hoped to be generating $1.5 million a year in new property tax revenues and having 350 people at work in a prison that Corrections Corporation of America planned to build here. Instead, concrete cells built in advance of the construction sit dormant not far from the building site. They're a reminder that the project remains on hold as CCA and other private prison companies deal with an oversupply of beds nationally amid weaker demand from states faced with budget difficulties. Trousdale County may have to wait even longer because CCA has 12,500 unoccupied prison beds to fill around the country. Except for a 1,072-bed detention center in Nevada, and expansions at a pair of Georgia prisons, CCA has halted new construction — especially of facilities for which it doesn't have signed contracts that would put prisoners in those beds. Here, the uncertainty of what lies ahead weighs on the minds of county officials who must deal with their own budget problems. A proposed county budget to be discussed Tuesday seeks roughly an 8 percent increase in property taxes in Tennessee's smallest county by land size — with a population of about 9,000 — to raise $250,000. Without the funds, there could be cuts in key services. "A lot of people felt like (CCA) let us down," said Jerry Clift, the former county executive who now heads the five-county Four Lake Authority, which sold land to Nashville-based CCA for its planned prison. The regional industrial development authority spent $1.5 million to bring water, sewerage and fiber optic lines to the site, officials said. CCA itself has spent roughly $27.5 million, mostly to pay for the prefabricated concrete cells, but those potentially could be transferred to other projects. Also, if CCA honors a promise to advance the county $250,000 toward building permit fees, it could help ease the current budget pressures. "But then again, having this will just be a one-year Band-Aid," said County Executive Tim Roberson, who added that he understands how CCA's business considerations stalled the prison. "If new or additional tax revenue doesn't come in next year, we'll be in the same shape as we are right now." 'Looking for anything' -- Trousdale's difficulty recruiting industry or creating jobs is illustrated by the county's double-digit unemployment rate and vacant warehouses along the way to CCA's site at the PowerCom Industrial Center off state Highway 25. Unemployment stood at 10.5 percent in June, slightly above the statewide average. County government and a plant that makes compressor valves for the refrigeration market are Trousdale's biggest employers with 200 workers each, along with the 108-employee Trousdale Medical Center and banks. Seven years ago, Trousdale passed up a chance to land a $1.1 billion uranium enrichment plant, which could have brought 400 construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs, because of residents' concerns about how byproducts would be stored. Subsequently, talks of a prison picked up steam, culminating in CCA's February 2008 announcement of its plans to build a 2,040-bed prison that was expected to be finished earlier this year. "Economically, we were looking for anything to bring industry, jobs into the community and taxes," Clift said. Filling vacancies is focus For its part, CCA was making a bet that clients such as the state of Tennessee, federal agencies or other state governments would use the prison space to house additional prisoners. But while demand from federal clients has remained steady, the U.S. recession created budget issues for state governments, the source of half of CCA's annual revenues. In a CCA conference call last week, CEO Damon Hininger said the company was focused on filling excess vacant capacity and would continue its emphasis on controlling operating costs. Hininger said that, coming out of the recession, CCA's inventory of vacant beds should give the company a competitive edge to win new business. "We could see several states use the private sector after this recession," if they need more space to handle prison overcrowding or growth, he added. But not everyone expects demand for more prison space to materialize right away, especially in states with budget shortfalls. Kevin Campbell, a stock analyst with Avondale Partners LLC in Nashville, said CCA probably would have to reduce its inventory to 5,000 beds from 12,000 before building again. "The industry has a total of 17,000-plus beds in spare capacity," Campbell said. "That really gets to the heart of the fact that you no longer have a supply-demand imbalance."

July 29, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Officials with Hernando County and Corrections Corporation of America agreed late Wednesday on who owns most of the equipment and furnishings at the county jail, which CCA is vacating next month. The agreement avoids legal action the county had threatened against the company, which has run the jail for 22 years. The County Commission on Tuesday had set a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline for an agreement or the county was going to sue. Hour by hour negotiations over the terms of the agreement continued throughout the day, according to Jean Rags, acting county administrator while David Hamilton is out on furlough. "We've got an agreement,'' Rags said about an hour before the deadline arrived. Sheriff Richard Nugent is taking over the jail at the end of August, but time was running out to make the transition smooth with the inventory questions unsettled. On Tuesday, commissioners discussed whether to end negotiations over the remaining disputed items and go to court to stop CCA from removing property. Chairman John Druzbick expressed concern that CCA had threatened to begin moving items out of the facility next week, and he worried that needed security devices might disappear putting the jail staff, inmates and the community at risk. A divided commission voted to give the sides one more day to try to reach an amicable conclusion with Druzbick and Commissioner Dave Russell voting no. After Tuesday's meeting, CCA official Natasha Metcalf e-mailed the county to say that there had been a misunderstanding and CCA had no intention of taking out anything critical to the day-to-day operation of the facility until the contract ends at the end of August. Negotiations began in earnest. On Wednesday, all parties agreed to a list of items that CCA owns and can take out of the facility at any time. But everything else falls under another portion of the agreement. CCA will not remove any other items from the jail until the county's takeover late next month. At that point, the items that belong to CCA that the company plans to leave and the county plans to use will be appraised so that the county can reimburse CCA. Items that belong to CCA that the county doesn't want must leave with CCA, Rags said. Ownership of some items, such as the much-talked-about $30,000 dishwasher, are still in dispute. The agreement does not speak to the still ongoing debate over how much of the jail repairs and upgrading is the financial responsibility of CCA and how much is the county's responsibility. In an earlier volley of proposed inventory solutions, CCA tried to tie the topics, but the county attorneys were unwilling to do that and commissioners were not interested. Druzbick said he was thrilled that negotiations had been successful. "Did I want to have an injunction and have it get to that point? No,'' he said. But he noted that he wanted to be sure that the county's interests were looked after and no one would be put at risk if needed equipment were hauled away.

July 29, 2010 Phoenix New Times
In May, I reported in my Feathered Bastard blog that executives and lobbyists for the giant, Tennessee-based prison company Corrections Corporation of America had donated $1,780 in "seed money" for Governor Jan Brewer's Clean Elections campaign. Such early contributions are limited to $140 per person. But if that seems like chump change, consider that CCA also contributed a whopping $10,000 to the campaign for Prop 100, the state sales-tax initiative, the success of which was considered key to Brewer's bid to be more than an "accidental" governor. The proposition was approved overwhelmingly by voters in May. What's the big deal with the CCA contributions? CCA operates six prisons in Arizona, three of which house detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As this column goes to press, SB 1070, Arizona's "breathing-while-brown" law, awaits the decision of U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton on whether she will grant an injunction of all or part of the statute. The various enforcement provisions of 1070 practically ensure that more undocumented folks will be turned over to ICE. CCA probably will end up holding some of these individuals as they wait for removal proceedings or if they are convicted of federal immigration-related crimes. So CCA stands to profit from SB 1070, and as recent reports from the investigative magazine In These Times and Phoenix's CBS 5 (KPHO) indicate, Brewer's relationship to CCA runs far deeper than just the political contributions mentioned above. In These Times' July issue featured a story by Beau Hodai that revealed that Brewer's top flack, Paul Senseman, worked for Arizona's Policy Development Group, which lists CCA as a client. Senseman's wife, Kathy, is listed with the firm as a lobbyist for CCA. Hodai also reported that the CCA employs Highground Public Affairs Consultants to represent its interests in Arizona. Highground's president is Chuck Coughlin, Brewer's top political adviser and the man running her gubernatorial campaign. Though In These Times was the first to publish this information, CBS 5's investigative unit was the first to run with it locally. During a recent newscast, reporter Morgan Loew revealed that CCA gets $11 million a month for inmates in the company's Arizona facilities. Loew got that figure from the U.S. Marshal's Office. Marshal David Gonzales confirmed the figure to me. But he said that's just what he pays CCA for holding his prisoners, many of whom have been convicted on immigration-related offenses. So that $11 million doesn't include whatever ICE pays CCA for the same services. I've asked ICE for that number, but it hasn't gotten back to me. Loew sandbagged Brewer at an event, but Brewer refused to answer questions about her advisers' ties to CCA. Brewer's boy was willing to chat it up with me about his big-dollar, private prison client, however. Clearly miffed by the CBS 5 report, Coughlin referred to it as "drive-by" journalism, and claimed that CCA "doesn't house any Arizona prisoners." "They don't house those types of inmates," insisted Coughlin regarding CCA and immigration-related collars. "[The CBS 5 report] is . . . a total piece of made-up journalism." When I told him that I'd been to the federal courthouse in Tucson myself, and witnessed CCA buses carting people convicted of immigration crimes, he backpedaled — but not by much. "That may be a federal contract," he said. "It has nothing to do with the state." But it will have something to do with the state if 1070 takes effect, as 1070 is all about local police enforcing federal immigration law to the fullest extent possible. Indeed, law enforcement agencies that do not enforce 1070 can be sued by Arizona citizens under one of the law's provisions. The law makes "attrition through enforcement" the policy of Arizona, and one provision requires that all those arrested have their immigration status checked before they are released. If CCA ends up holding some of these individuals, then 1070 will benefit CCA directly. "If that happens, if it were the case, if ICE does," scoffed Coughlin. "You have a lot of ifs down the road that's not a matter of fact right now. We're not working on speculative ventures here. We had no position on 1070. We did not lobby on 1070." Didn't lobby on 1070? That's one hard-to-swallow lump of coal. I asked Coughlin if he was telling me he'd never talked to Brewer about 1070 or advised her to sign the bill, as many presume he did. "I talk with her about a lot of stuff," he admitted. "Of course, we talked about 1070. We run her campaign. Absolutely." Coughlin also admitted that his firm began representing CCA "over a year ago." So he was representing CCA at the same time he was advising Brewer on whether to sign the law. If that's not a conflict of interest big enough to drive a semi through, I don't know what is. Neither Brewer's flack Senseman nor CCA responded to requests for comment for this column. But when I wrote about CCA and Brewer in May, CCA spokeswoman Louise Grant was not shy about gabbing. Grant maintained that CCA has no position on 1070. She denied that the law would be good for her employer or that CCA had any influence over the drafting of the law. "CCA has had no involvement whatsoever with this legislation," she told me at the time. "And we will not have any involvement with it." Well, not until local cops start handing over people to ICE. After that, despite Grant's disavowals, CCA will be involved. Don't get me wrong. I'm not positing a conspiracy theory. In my view, the odious ideology of nativism was the driving force behind the passage of SB 1070. But Coughlin clearly is making bank off CCA. And the company knows where its croissant is buttered. Everybody can smell the links between Brewer and CCA. They stink like one of Brewer's headless bodies in the desert. Or they would, if those bodies were real.

July 28, 2010 Daily Kos
Bigotry may not be the only motive behind Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's rabidly xenophobic new immigration law. Another factor may be that timeless Republican standard: greed. Zaid Jilani of Think Progress explains: Yet a new investigation by local Arizona TV news station CBS 5 finds that the Brewer administration may have ulterior motives for its strong support of the new law. The station has found that "two of Brewer’s top advisers have connections" to private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Paul Senseman, Brewer’s deputy chief of staff, is a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife continues to lobby for the company. Meanwhile Chuck Coughlin, who leads her re-election campaign, chaired her transition into the governorship, and is one of the governor’s policy advisors, is president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which lobbies for CCA. The best of all possible Republican worlds: codify racism, and make money while doing so? From the CBS 5 website: The private prison industry houses illegal immigrant detainees for the federal government. Those companies could gain contracts with state and local agencies to house illegal immigrants arrested for state violations. Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, holds the federal contract to house detainees in Arizona. The company bills $11 million per month. CCA insists it had nothing to do with the creation of the new law, has no state or local contracts to house detainees, and doesn't propose to house those detained because of the new Arizona law. In other words, it will be purely coincidental if those swept up by the new law end up being held by the same private contractor the federal government pays to hold detainees in Arizona. It will be purely coincidental if those swept up by the new law end up being held by the same private contractor that once employed Brewer's deputy chief of staff as a lobbyist, still employs his wife as a lobbyist, and pays a company run by Brewer's re-election chief, transition chair, and policy advisor to lobby. In the spirit of innocent-until-proven-guilty--something the new law's supporters might not understand--someone should ask the Brewer team how, exactly, they do propose to house those swept up by their new law, and who, exactly, will be paid to house them. There can't be many options, but who can imagine that it might somehow coincidentally end up being CCA?

July 28, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Corrections Corporation of America has until 5 p.m. today to reach an agreement with the county over its jail furnishings inventory dispute or face immediate legal action. County commissioners on Tuesday voiced concerns that CCA has said it will begin removing from the jail items that it believes are owned by the firm in the coming days. Commission Chairman John Druzbick asked about security at the jail if CCA begins removing beds, mattresses, cameras and other safety equipment before their contract ends and the sheriff takes over the facility late next month. CCA officials watching the broadcast of the meeting immediately e-mailed the county saying they had "no intention of removing any items necessary for the continued day-to-day operation of the facility until the facility transitions to the county.'' Negotiations over the dispute have been ongoing for weeks. Late Monday, CCA proposed allowing the county to keep the remaining items in the jail if CCA would be held harmless on any other remaining issues. But that would mean CCA could not be responsible for paying for any of the many jail upgrades and repairs that Hernando officials have said are needed to get the facility to an acceptable level. Assistant County Attorney Jon Jouben said the county couldn't agree to that and commissioners agreed. Druzbick said he wanted to see the county file an injunction to stop CCA from taking anything out of the facility, but Jouben noted that the county would have to sue CCA to stop them. He said there was still room for negotiations. Jouben also was concerned about talking about possible litigation publicly and said there might be some complications in getting an injunction. "I'd prefer to negotiate this than litigate it,'' said Commissioner Rose Rocco. Filing the injunction would just stop the action on the inventory and allow more time for working out the details, Druzbick argued. He also noted that as the deadlines CCA has tried to set have approached, CCA's willingness to negotiate seems to diminish. Jouben and assistant county attorney Jeff Kirk offered a new proposal for the commission to consider. It would basically transfer all the items in the jail to the county when CCA leaves with CCA sending the county an invoice for the value. If a dispute arose about that amount, the two sides would agree to have an independent appraiser paid for by both sides set the value. Maj. Michael Page, Sheriff Richard Nugent's new jail administrator, urged commissioners to settle the disputes. "In 29 days it's going to be our responsibility to run the jail for the county,'' he said. In that short time, the county and CCA need to determine whether the facility will have beds or security cameras or kitchen equipment. Even though funds have been set aside to pay for startup costs, Page told commissioners he doesn't know what to buy until they determine what belongs to the county. Double spending taxpayers' money made no sense, he said. "I cannot operate it without the proper equipment and I cannot operate it without a sound structure,'' he said. In a late afternoon e-mail, CCA official Natasha Metcalf expressed interest in seeing the county's latest proposed settlement and agreed the firm "will be in contact with you as soon as we have the opportunity to review it.''

July 24, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Sheriff Richard Nugent is requesting $10.9 million from the county to run the Hernando County Jail next year, an amount that tops the current budget by more than a quarter-million dollars. Not only is it more than the County Commission had previously approved, it also is at odds with Nugent's earlier assertions that he could operate the facility for less than the amount the private company running the jail has charged. County Administrator David Hamilton, however, will recommend to the board on Tuesday that it pay the sheriff the larger sum. In a memo to the commissioners, he explained the factors leading to the different amounts. When officials developed last year's jail budget, they assumed that the county this year would adopt an electronic ankle-monitoring system, which would mean fewer inmates actually housed in the facility. Details of that program were never worked out with the judges, thus the projected savings from a lower jail population never materialized. Also, under the contract with Corrections Corporation of America, costs were figured on a per-day charge for the inmates. Nugent, by contrast, will operate under a fixed-cost budget, getting the same amount no matter how many prisoners are in the jail. Hamilton said that even if Nugent implements the ankle-monitoring program after he takes over the jail next month, there will not be a significant cut in his costs other than possibly savings from food or medical expenses. In his memo to the commissioners, Hamilton recommends adding the proposed cost of the ankle-monitoring program to the budget. That accounts for the additional $280,000 in the budget, bringing the total to $10.9 million. Hamilton adds, "Further reductions may occur based on continuing negotiations in the spirit of good faith and integrity'' as the county works on cutting general fund expenses. County Commissioner Jeff Stabins, who pointed out the differing budget amounts earlier this month, said he's not sure that Nugent should get the $280,000. He said that if the sheriff really needs the money, it should not come from the county's general fund. Rather, since the sheriff and the judiciary promised to implement the cost-cutting ankle-monitoring program last year, they should find the money themselves. "That's why we put (the projected savings) into the budget,'' Stabins said. The fact that it didn't happen, "it's no fault of the County Commission.'' He suggested that the county take the money from the fund set aside for a proposed judicial center. "It's the responsibility of the judiciary,'' Stabins said. Several other jail-related items are also on Tuesday's agenda, including correspondence between the county and CCA regarding the dispute over who owns equipment at the jail. CCA has said it will start removing equipment the company believes it owns if an agreement with the county can't be reached by Wednesday. The attorney for the Clerk of the Circuit Court has recommended that the county file an injunction to stop CCA from seizing any property. On Friday, Lisa Hammond was scrambling to assemble a list of the big-ticket items that are still under dispute. She is the consultant hired to work with the clerk and county on purchasing and contract issues. In addition to a $30,000 dishwasher, correspondence also indicates that other items under discussion range from computer terminals, cameras and razor wire to beds, mattresses and linens. In a letter to CCA on Friday, Hamilton rejected CCA's Wednesday deadline and asked CCA officials to coordinate a meeting with Hammond later next week to settle the remaining issues. "We want to put these issues to bed,'' Hammond said. Nugent has written to the commission urging a quick settlement of the disputes before the takeover happens and asks county officials to be sure not to make taxpayers pay twice for the same equipment.

July 23, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Corrections Corporation of America has told Hernando County that it may start removing items from the Hernando County Jail as soon as next week, a full month before the company is set to turn over the facility to the sheriff. In a flurry of correspondence in recent days, CCA has notified the county that it has a right to remove the items and will start doing so, even taking equipment that the county says the company may not own, if some agreement on ownership is not settled by Wednesday. Meanwhile, the attorney for the Clerk of the Circuit Court has recommended that the county seek an immediate court injunction to stop that from happening. Sheriff Richard Nugent is set to take over the jail at the end of August but the county and CCA have been arguing about which items in the jail, including a huge kitchen dishwasher, are going and which are staying. On Wednesday, Tom Hogan Jr. of the Hogan Law Firm wrote to County Attorney Garth Coller recommending the injunction. "If CCA is allowed to remove said assets from the jail, recovery of the same becomes problematic,'' wrote Hogan. "Of greater importance, however, is the fact that the operation of the jail by its very nature is a dangerous business,'' Hogan wrote. "The removal of jail assets by CCA could place the Sheriff's Office personnel in danger and thereby, the county at risk, when the Sheriff assumes the responsibility for the operation of the jail on Aug. 27, 2010.'' In a Thursday letter to County Administrator David Hamilton, CCA official Natasha Metcalf states that "CCA has the right to remove all CCA-owned property from the Hernando County Jail at any time. Accordingly, CCA will continue to remove CCA-owned property from the facility as permitted under the contract.'' She goes on to state that the county has until Wednesday to discuss any issues about those items still in dispute and, after that point, CCA will remove those items as well. If the county wants to buy any of the CCA property, Metcalf asks that the county provide an itemized list and a proposed purchase price. Throughout the inventory dispute, Nugent has been a bit of a bystander. In a letter this week to Commission Chairman John Druzbick, Nugent expressed concern that the upheaval over the inventory was making it difficult for him and his transition team to plan for a smooth takeover. Using the $30,000 dishwasher as his example, Nugent urges the county to "immediately exercise all appropriate legal measures to ensure that the county-owned property remains in the jail'' because "the taxpayers should not have to purchase the same equipment a second time.'' He concludes by encouraging the county to "resolve the equipment ownership issues now rather than later, as waiting on a post-transition legal process will likely cost the county and the taxpayers unnecessary dollars.''

July 18, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Taking over a jail in 120 days is not a task for the faint of heart. Just ask Sheriff Richard Nugent, who will begin operating the Hernando County Jail on Aug. 27, after Corrections Corporation of America notified the county in April that it was pulling out after 22 years. The transition has been all the more difficult because Nugent's command staff has had to weed through hundreds of applications to fill 100 sworn and more than 30 non-sworn positions. A third of the initial 60 applicants from CCA were rejected for lack of qualifications, or bigger problems. One current CCA employee admitted being an intermediary in drug deals. Another said he had used a variety of substances in the past, ranging from marijuana and cocaine to mushrooms and a veterinary anesthetic. The issues with some of the current staff mirror problems with the state of the facility that Nugent is inheriting, he noted. And while the county is still negotiating to bring in an engineer to examine maintenance problems at the jail, Nugent wants to see the obvious issues — such as rusting doors and a leaking roof — simply get fixed. The county doesn't need to pay an engineer to say that those repairs are needed. That just runs up the cost, he said. Nugent and his command staff also have expressed frustration over ongoing questions about who owns what equipment. Trying to order equipment and supplies when the landlord, Hernando County, and the tenant, CCA, are each claiming ownership of the same inventory — including a $30,000 dishwasher — is frustrating, officials said. Nugent plans to write to County Commission Chairman John Druzbick soon to make it clear that inventory disputes need to be settled. "We've got to know where we are and soon,'' Nugent said. After all, he said on Friday, just 41 days remain. • • • Nugent's human resources staff, a team of sworn officers doing background checks, the jail command staff and his bureau chiefs have been conducting the search for the staff that will run the jail. They are still about 12 shy in sworn positions and have about 20 more non-sworn jobs to fill. The process includes an extensive application, a detailed background check, an interview, truth verification testing, psychological screening and drug testing. Anywhere along the way, the applicant can be red flagged for a problem, according to Maj. Michael Page, the new jail administrator. Nugent has the final say on all of the choices. The sheriff's yardstick includes consideration of an applicant's drug use, criminal history, financial situation and the number of jobs an individual has held. Drug use early in life doesn't necessarily mean that an applicant is out. Drug use after the age of 25 does because Nugent says those 25 and older should be making more responsible choices. Other applicants have been rejected for a variety of errors that Nugent simply couldn't live with. One current CCA corrections officer, for example, had glowing evaluations but had, on one occasion, accidentally let the wrong inmate go. "You just have to look at it all,'' Nugent said. By a week from Wednesday, the sheriff said, he must notify those selected so they can give notice at their current jobs and get training. While CCA ran the jail with 170 employees, Nugent plans to have fewer than 135, with 100 of those sworn officers with a starting salary of $39,401 — thousands more than beginning salary for CCA employees. His workers will be certified corrections deputies with a higher professional standard, for which Nugent does not apologize. "If they're going to wear my badge and work for me,'' he said, the corrections staff will handle inmates and the public professionally. While the jail appeared to run smoothly for two decades under CCA's oversight, Nugent said it is unknown just how smooth that operation was under the private company. Problems including escapes and suicides occurred under the CCA watch. And several years ago, the sheriff voiced concerns with the jail failing to catalog hundreds of inmates' fingerprints in a timely manner. "A lot of these problems would get me un-elected,'' Nugent said. The jail's condition alone showed that CCA's stewardship was not up to a high standard, and no one was ever held accountable for maintenance and repairs. Professionals wouldn't have let that happen, he said. "If you expect more out of people," Nugent said, "you have to have a higher quality of people to start with." • • • Since Nugent was given the job of chief jailer for the county, his staff has been slowly moving in and shadowing the CCA corrections staff, and what they have learned is that they can do more with less. For example, Page noted that CCA has lots of supervisors and they rose to their positions simply by outlasting their co-workers, even if they were fairly new to the job. That might mean a corrections officer with just a few years of experience could be in charge of the hundreds of inmates and staffers at any given time, a huge responsibility, Page noted. "You need time to season, and you need time to experience the things you're going to experience'' before a promotion, Nugent said. Promoting too quickly, "it's bad for the organization and it's bad for the employee.'' Shadowing CCA also has allowed the sheriff's leadership team to see where more employees are needed and where fewer are needed. "The number of people watching inmates is going to be essentially the same,'' Page said. "By no means is anybody going to be at risk'' because of staffing changes. Nugent noted that CCA didn't keep up with technology and said many of their operations are labor intensive. For example, the sheriff will switch from a paper to a computerized system for medical record keeping. The process of checking in inmates, collecting their valuables and belongings, and returning them will be among other tasks to be automated. While Nugent's staff members are confident with the technology changes and personnel screening process, they are more frustrated with the parts of the transition that are out of their control. The tug-of-war over the dishwasher is one obvious example of the inventory problems. As CCA prepares to depart and take whatever its officials believe they own, Nugent must replace equipment, furnishings and technology that will be gone. "Nothing happens overnight,'' Page said, noting that the county can't just walk into Sears and buy a new industrial dishwasher. It might have to be custom built. Since it is county government's fight with CCA, "we're kind of caught in the middle,'' said Bureau Chief Bill Kicklighter. There is a back-up plan, pointed out Bureau Chief Royce Decker. "Styrofoam,'' he said. The sheriff's team already has a contingency in place for disposable plates, cups and utensils. Lisa Hammond, the county's purchasing consultant, acknowledged ongoing inventory issues between the county and CCA. "We're going strictly with what is a fixed asset according to accounting practices, but CCA doesn't necessarily agree,'' Hammond said. "We're hoping to have some resolution late (this) week.'' • • • Nugent pulls no punches when it comes to his assessment of the jail facility. In his opinion, it's "a piece of junk.'' And while Page assures that the jail will be operated efficiently under the sheriff's leadership, he also thinks the county could be making repairs that are necessary before the transition takes place. "We could be further along,'' he said. The sheriff and county workers were busy in their joint meeting Friday working through such issues. County Administrator David Hamilton said that written protocols will be established for who is responsible for which maintenance tasks. Rusting doors, deteriorating windows and leaks in the ceiling are all well documented problems at the facility. Nugent's team wants some issues addressed immediately, such as the doors in the holding cell area of booking that can be popped open with a shove. "We have communicated our concerns to the county,'' Page said. While there is still plenty to get done over the next six weeks, Nugent, Page and their team all say there are no worries. The sheriff will be running the jail in late August. "We're getting real close on all of it,'' Page said. "We'll be ready on the drop-dead date.''

July 12, 2010 The News-Herald
Sheriff Frank McKeithen testified Monday in a racial discrimination trial filed on behalf of a black corrections officer. The officer, Patrick Lane, has accused McKeithen of failing to hire him even though he was qualified for the job. In court documents, McKeithen argued that his reasons for not hiring Lane were simple: In 2001, Lane was charged with conspiracy to commit attempted murder for his alleged involvement in a non-fatal shooting in Franklin County. Lane countered in subsequent documents that the charge ultimately was dropped and that some white officers have been hired even though they pleaded guilty to other criminal charges, including battery, receiving stolen property and passing worthless checks. One applicant who was hired had been accused of lewd and lascivious battery on a child and pleaded guilty to battery, the documents stated. McKeithen also hired a former guard at the Bay County Boot Camp to work at CCA, which ran the Bay County Jail until the sheriff’s office took control in fall 2008. The guard, Charles Enfinger, had been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson. That case went to a jury, which found Enfinger, six other guards and a nurse not guilty. During his testimony Monday, McKeithen said that in October 2008, as the sheriff’s office was preparing to take over the jail, he personally waded through about 300 applications. Most of those applications came from current CCA employees. McKeithen said that when he hired for the sheriff’s office he rejected anyone with a criminal history and was shocked to find out CCA employed many people with “felony backgrounds.” “I had never seen that before,” McKeithen said.

July 8, 2010 AP
A major private prison company has acknowledged that its guards watched as an Idaho inmate was beaten, but company attorneys say Corrections Corporation of America isn't to blame for any injuries the man suffered. The statements came in a response to a lawsuit filed by former inmate Hanni Elabed, who contends he was severely beaten by another inmate while guards at the CCA-run Idaho Correctional Center watched and failed to intervene. Elabed's attorneys say the assault left him with brain damage. Although CCA attorneys say several guards did watch the assault on video monitors, the company denies that the guards watched "passively." Rather, CCA says the guards ordered inmates in the housing unit where Elabed was being assaulted to return to their bunks, and most complied, according to CCA's answer to the lawsuit. The main door to the unit was opened once the Emergency Response Team arrived — a group of guards specially trained to handle assaults and other prison emergencies. CCA's answer to the lawsuit doesn't say just how long it took for the Emergency Response Team to arrive at the housing unit. Attorneys for the Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA and Elabed didn't immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press. In the lawsuit filed in April, Elabed's attorneys describe a harrowing assault in which an inmate who was a member of a white supremacist gang beat Elabed, who is Muslim and of Palestinian descent. The lawsuit says Elabed told guards and family members that he was being harassed and threatened by the gang before the attack, prompting prison staffers to move him to administrative segregation for several days. It was when the guards decided to move Elabed back to his cellblock on Jan. 18 when the assault occurred, according to the lawsuit. Within minutes and within the view of several guards standing by a window, Elabed's attorneys say, he was attacked by another inmate. Elabed was knocked to the floor, kicked and stomped in the head for so long that his attacker paused to get a drink of water and catch his breath, according to the lawsuit, before resuming the attack. Elabed's attorneys say that during that break Elabed pleaded with the guards to intervene to no avail. They contend the attack didn't end until he was unconscious and convulsing in a pool of blood. In their answer to the lawsuit, CCA attorneys acknowledge that Elabed was knocked to the floor, stomped and that his attacker took a drink at a drinking fountain before renewing the assault. They also say Elabed was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for a closed head injury, and that he was readmitted at the hospital a few days later for follow-up care. CCA denies Elabed's claims that he was left largely without medical care after he was returned to the Idaho Correctional Center. The company also denies that its employees were negligent in any way. CCA also offered several affirmative defenses — a legal move that essentially says if the facts as alleged by Elabed are found to be true, CCA still isn't to blame. Among the defenses offered by CCA attorneys are contentions that Elabed put himself at risk through no fault of the private prison company, that Elabed is wholly or at least partially to blame for his injuries, and that CCA was neither reckless or callously indifferent to Elabed's rights and that it wasn't motivated by any evil intent.

June 30, 2010 The New West
The Western Governor’s Association meeting in Whitefish, Mont., ended Tuesday, with the near half-million dollar cost of the conference mostly paid for by sponsors that include corporations –British Petroleum among them --- as well as trade associations and other special interests. The event included a “Sunset Train Ride” paid for by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway but which was “not an official WGA sponsored event,” the agenda notes in small type. WGA chair Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the event’s communications director, Karen Dieke, spun the concept that taxpayers didn’t have to pay for the three-day meeting because of the generosity of sponsors. But high levels of mistrust of politicians – and corporations like BP - shows we are not fooled by that sort of thing anymore. It’s a simple idea. Little League parents know that if Murphy’s Hardware sponsors a team, the kids’ caps and shirts are going to display the Murphy’s Hardware logo. In the big leagues, corporate sponsors might pay for a star athlete to wear their clothes or use their products during TV interviews. The idea, of course, is to create a good impression for the brand by linking it to the famous athlete in the public’s mind. (Until the famous athlete’s wife tries to beat him senseless with a golf club, that is.) Those kinds of sponsorships are meant to make money, of course; hardly worth a second thought. Campaign financing, not paying for confabs, is the main issue when the discussion is about money’s influence in politics. $3.5 billion was spent by lobbyists in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and that’s a near-insurmountable arsenal. But there are smaller, more incremental ways that corporate money finds its way into political situations where where access to politicians and influential leaders makes currying favor possible. The WGA conference is one example. Reporter Charles Johnson of the Missoulian was first to uncover the list of the WGA’s meeting sponsors. The 94 sponsors include some active in business in Montana, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe, ConocoPhillips, Corrections Corp. of America, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, MDU Resources Inc., NorthWestern Energy, Qwest Communications and Arch Coal, which plans to mine Otter Creek coal tract coal in southeastern Montana. Many are national corporations such as BP America, Hewlett-Packard Co., Kraft Foods, Microsoft, Merck & Co., PepsiCo., Shell and US Airways. Other sponsors include the American Wind Energy Association, Energy Foundation and Northwest Public Power Association. In exchange for their sponsorships, representatives of corporations and other groups are invited to attend a private reception with the governors Sunday night. The WGA’s Dieke told Johnson that she wasn’t “at liberty” to disclose which sponsors paid how much or for what, saying their contributions are defined as “different levels” of sponsorship. In the language of public relations, “not at liberty” means “I’ve been told not to tell.” It’s common for both the givers and takers of money to downplay, or even deny, that it buys influence. But with the huge financial stakes at play for corporations that depend on the outcome of legislation, denial falls flat. There’s no indication, yet, that anything untoward happened in Whitefish among sponsors, speakers and governors. But there are obvious interested parties among the sponsors. Two examples: 1. Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, spoke about the future of energy generation in the west. WGA sponsors included Northwest Public Power Association, a business trade group for energy providers; the American Wind Energy Association, the same; and the Energy Foundation, a nonprofit group which says its mission is “to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy — new technologies that are essential components of a clean energy future.” 2. A panel on conservation included the president of REI, national park superintendents and a professor of geology. The discussion was about “integrated efforts to improve the conservation of water, wildlife and forest resources” among western states. Sponsors of the meeting included Monsanto, a chemical company long accused of anti-environment products and practices. The point here is that unprincipled use of money in politics isn’t just about mammoth donors like ExxonMobile or PepsiCo, and it isn’t just about campaigns, elections and scandals involving lobbyists. The insidious practices that both donors and recipients have used to get voters to accept pretense and hypocrisy until it seems normal – like the WGA’s horsemanure about taxpayers not having to pay for the three-day meeting because of the generosity of sponsors – are also dangerous. Millions of dollars of corporate money spent to influence public perception fly under the radar when used in the subtle ways of “government relations” departments. Look into how most political money is spent at FollowTheMoney, OpenSecrets, and the Sunlight Foundation.

June 28, 2010 Hawaii Reporter
I am the associate editor of Prison Legal News, a non-profit publication that reports on criminal justice issues, and I am contacting Hawaii lawmakers in reference to HB 415, which was recently vetoed by Governor Lingle. HB 415 would, among other provisions, require that the State Auditor conduct an audit of Hawaii’s contract to house over 2,000 prisoners in mainland facilities operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). I ask that you vote to override the governor’s veto, to ensure that an audit is conducted into the state’s $60 million annual contract with CCA to house Hawaii inmates on the mainland. As you are likely aware, last year the State of Hawaii withdrew its female inmates from CCA’s Otter Creek Correctional Facility in Kentucky following a sex scandal in which at least six CCA employees were charged with sexual abuse or rape, including the prison’s chaplain. I was quoted in the New York Times concerning that egregious situation; a copy of the article is enclosed. You are also likely aware that two Hawaii inmates recently were murdered at the CCA-operated Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona – Clifford Medina was strangled to death on June 8, while Bronson Nunuha was stabbed to death on February 18, 2010. Two homicides within a four-month period is unusual in any prison system and is indicative of major problems. Most importantly, an audit of the State’s contract with CCA is necessary because CCA can not be relied upon to assess itself. Although CCA conducts its own internal audits, according to a March 13, 2008 TIME magazine article based on the reports of a corporate CCA whistleblower, the company produces two types of internal audit reports: A general audit report is provided to contracting government agencies, while an audit with specific comments and notations by the CCA auditors is retained for in-house use only. A copy of the TIME article is enclosed. In fact, the company’s then-General Counsel Gus Puryear admitted, in response to questions by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, that CCA “did not make customers aware of these documents,” and specifically said CCA does not share “the separate commentary made by auditors.” An excerpt from Mr. Puryear’s written responses is attached; the full document is too large to fax but can be accessed at the following web link or I can email you a copy upon request: www.privateci.org/private_pics/Puryear%20Sen%20Feinstein%202.pdf Based on the sex abuse scandal at CCA’s Otter Creek facility, in which a number of Hawaii inmates were sexually abused, as well as the recent murders of two Hawaii prisoners at CCA’s Saguaro facility, and CCA’s admission that it does not share all of its internal audit documents with its customers, I ask that you vote to override Governor Lingle’s veto of HB 415. An audit of the State’s $60 million contract with CCA is necessary to ensure that Hawaii taxpayers are getting the value they are paying for when housing inmates in mainland private prisons. For full disclosure purposes, I also serve as president of the Private Corrections Institute, which opposes prison privatization, and am a former prisoner who served six years at a CCA-operated facility in the 1990s. Since my release in 1999 I have extensively researched private prisons, and have testified before legislative committees in two states and the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in regard to that topic. Thank you for your time and attention. Alex Friedmann is the Associate Editor of PLN

June 25, 2010 Tennessean
Eight Corrections Corporation of America detention centers that house asylum seekers and immigrants awaiting deportation may be line for makeovers to create a less prison-like feel. The move by Nashville-based CCA to spruce up eight facilities – half of them in California and Texas – drew sharp reactions from both sides of the debate over U.S. immigration policies. “We’re coddling lawbreakers,” said Theresa Harmon, co-founder of the advocacy group Tennesseans for Responsible Immigration Policies. “We have no teeth in our enforcement and that’s the reason this whole problem continues.” Plants, flower baskets, fresh colors of paint on prison walls, and more framed pictures were proposed by private prison operator CCA to soften the look of several detention centers as part of reform initiatives within the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE is evaluating the changes, said agency spokeswoman Gillian Brigham. Changes suggested by CCA wouldn’t apply to any detainees with criminal backgrounds or those considered a threat. Low-risk detainees would be allowed extended visiting hours up to 12 hours a day, movie and bingo nights, exercise classes, self-serve continental breakfast on holidays and weekends, better access to legal resources, free Internet-based phone service and the right to wear their own clothes. Advocates of better treatment think the proposed changes are cosmetic and superficial, avoiding the real problems within federal immigration centers. Judy Greene, criminal justice policy analyst for the New York-based policy research group Justice Strategies, remains skeptical. “Bingo nights is one thing, but still having personnel that can’t figure out how to comport themselves around women detainees or women in state custody shows that (CCA) doesn’t learn from its mistakes,” Greene said. The federal immigration agency is CCA’s fourth-largest customer after the federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service and the state of California prison system. On a typical day, there are 30,000 people in immigration confinement at 256 detention centers run by the federal government, private firms such as CCA and local jailers. Today, CCA houses roughly 6,400 detainees for ICE. Nearly a year ago, ICE announced plans to implement revised policies and standards to make the immigration detention system less penal and more humane.

June 21, 2010 In These Times
Over the past several years private-prison companies Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo Group, through their work as members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and through their ties to the Arizona Legislature and the office of Gov. Jan Brewer, have had ample opportunity--and obvious intent--to ensure the passage of S.B. 1070. According to Sen. Russell Pearce and Brewer's spokesman Paul Senseman, the S.B. 1070 went through a lengthy edit and review process that took place predominantly within the Arizona Legislature and the offices of the Maricopa County Attorney and Gov. Brewer. A little over a week after Pearce introduced S.B. 1070 on the floor of the Arizona Senate, CCA enlisted Highground Consulting, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Phoenix, to represent its interests in the state. Lobby disclosure forms filed with the Arizona Secretary of State indicate that Maricopa County also employed Highground during the time of the bill's formation. Highground's owner and principal, Charles "Chuck" Coughlin, is a top advisor and the current campaign manager of Gov. Brewer. State lobby reports show that Brewer's current spokesman, Senseman, previously worked as CCA's chief lobbyist in Arizona as an employee of Policy Development Group, another influential Phoenix consulting firm. His wife, Kathryn Senseman, is still employed by Policy Development Group and still lobbies the legislature on behalf of CCA. In other words, in 2005 and 2006, as Arizona legislators--many of them ALEC members--were drafting provisions of what would eventually become the "Breathing While Brown" law, Brewer's director of communications, Senseman, was lobbying them on behalf of CCA. Brewer's "chief policy advisor," Richard Bark--a man Senseman and Pearce both say was directly involved in the drafting of S.B. 1070--remains listed with the Office of the Secretary of State as an active lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). CCA is a "board level" member of the ACCI and is the top employer in Pinal County, located just south of Maricopa County, where it operates five detention facilities for both state prisoners and immigrant detainees. Geo Group employs consulting firm Public Policy Partners, which, like Highground, also provides consultation and lobbying services to Maricopa County. While Public Policy Partners (PPP), an Arizona-based firm, has more than 30 Arizona clients, it only has two clients at the federal level: Geo Group (based in Florida) and Ron Sachs Communications, a Florida-based public-relations firm that, promotes prison privatization. PPP, as a firm, also appears to be an advocate for expanded use of private prisons. Federal lobbying records show PPP owner, John Kaites, lobbying on behalf of the firm on issues of "private correctional detention management." CCA has also shown special interest in Arizona through recent hiring decisions. In 2007, CCA hired on Brad Regens as "Vice President of State Partnership Relations" for the purpose of cultivating new contracts in Arizona and California. In the two years immediately prior to his employment at CCA, Regens had worked in the Arizona House as director of fiscal policy. Before his appointment as director of fiscal policy, Regens had spent nine years working in the state legislature in various roles, including assistant director of the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Following its hiring of Regens, CCA elected former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) to its board of directors.

June 19, 2010 Center for Investigative Reporting
The nation’s largest private jail operator is facing a new public relations fight following multiple high-profile incidents this year in three states – Idaho, Texas and Arizona. The Corrections Corporation of America based in Nashville, Tenn. experienced a meteoric rise during the 1990s when Washington opened its doors to privatization during the Clinton administration and helped set the stage for public-sector outsourcing that is now commonplace in the United States, notably at the still-young Department of Homeland Security. Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed in late May that a guard at the company’s T. Don Hutto Residential Center located 35 miles east of Austin, Texas, sexually assaulted women detainees held there. The federal government has since reportedly directed CCA to institute changes, such as prohibiting male guards from being alone with women in custody, and ICE said it would enhance oversight of the government’s larger detention facilities. A letter to the company from ICE obtained by the Associated Press said the guard’s alleged actions occurred because CCA failed to follow federal guidelines regulating the transport of detainees. During a past life when CCA helped lead the movement toward privatization, it so anticipated limitless fortunes that the company nearly went bankrupt building more beds than federal, state and local governments wanted to fill. But Washington pumped new life into CCA partly after the Bush administration moved to dramatically scale back the federal government’s “catch-and-release” policy in which suspected immigration violators were freed before being required to appear at a deportation hearing unless they had a criminal record. Detention facilities ballooned after the change creating significant new demand for CCA’s services and a path for the company back to big earnings. Today CCA is a top five contractor for ICE and earned more than $200 million in revenues from the agency last year alone, according to the jailer’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Executives at CCA also believe that the economic downturn and a perception by public officials that outsourcing is a solution for money woes will make it more competitive on Wall Street. The company’s latest successes, however, are occurring alongside allegations of misconduct among guards and other episodes that have attracted the attention of critics. The Hutto facility in Texas is named after one of CCA’s founders and houses not just individuals accused of entering the country illegally but also asylum seekers, the investigative journalism outfit Texas Tribune noted earlier this month. According to the most recent accusations against Hutto, women were allegedly molested while being patted down by a guard and one was propositioned for sex. The ACLU of Texas called the revelations part of a pattern at immigrant detention facilities in the Lone Star State. A guard in Los Fresnos, Texas, was sentenced to prison time in April for the repeated sexual abuse of detainees. The man admitted that he “snuck into medical isolation rooms at the detention center infirmary to grope female patients. He frequently volunteered for infirmary duty so that he would be alone with the victims, and his victims were usually asleep when he entered the room,” the Justice Department says. Also at the Hutto facility in 2007, a CCA guard was reportedly fired amid an investigation into whether he had sex with a woman inmate in her cell. According to Lisa Graybill, legal director for the Texas ACLU: Sadly, the most unusual aspect of this incident [at Hutto last month] may be that the abused women actually complained. Immigrant detainees, particularly women, are especially vulnerable to abuse because they may not speak English, and may be afraid of retaliation if they speak up. Victims may be promised help with citizenship proceedings if they comply, and threatened with rapid deportation if they resist. Further west in Idaho, meanwhile, CCA found itself in another controversy when the Associated Press reported that state officials would be fining the company over $40,000 and demanding that it improve health care services and overhaul weak alcohol treatment programs. The Idaho Correctional Center near a town called Kuna (not an immigrant detention facility, to be clear) was described by one local paper in a recent editorial as “easily the most trouble-prone prison in the state’s history.” The Magic Valley Times-News recounted how three years ago state leaders imagined savings for taxpayers by contracting out the costly responsibility of incarceration to a company like CCA, which has long lured government officials into contracts by promising fewer headaches and expenses. But documents later obtained by reporters showed that most of the facility’s alcohol and drug counselors lacked necessary qualifications. A probe also cast CCA’s procedures for carrying out medical care as flawed, while the ACLU sued the company earlier this year over how it was generally managing the Idaho prison – inmates allegedly described the facility as a “gladiator school” due to its reputation for widespread violence. The suit in addition charged that CCA guards enforced control by allowing inmates near others likely to commit brutality and withheld medical treatment to save on costs. An ACLU attorney claimed he’d brought cases against at least 100 prisons and jails nationally but none were as violent as CCA’s facility in Idaho. An AP investigation last year revealed that carnage at the prison was three times greater than elsewhere in the state, and authorities believed occurrences were underreported by inmates and CCA employees. According to the Times-News: The ACLU contends that [Idaho Correctional Center] is understaffed, with sometimes only two guards on duty to control prison wings with as many as 350 inmates. Which may be one of the reasons that the publicly traded company was able to report a four percent revenue increase for the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, and a 12.5 percent increase in earnings per share. Not many legislators have much appetite anymore for another [such] facility in the state. There’s much more enthusiasm for alternative sentencing and drug, alcohol and mental-health courts to keep Idaho’s inmate numbers as low as possible. But stay tuned. Thanks to CCA’s actions, a federal judge – and not the state – may soon be dictating how Idaho handles its prison population. Finally, at a CCA-managed facility in Arizona where nearly 2,000 inmates from Hawaii are held as part of a contract with that state’s Department of Public Safety (also not a center that holds immigrants, for the record), two convicts have died already this year. One was killed during a dispute with another prisoner, and police concluded only in recent days that the second was strangled to death by his cellmate. The latter victim was discovered unresponsive June 8, according to news accounts, and authorities from Hawaii traveled to Arizona following both incidents to investigate what happened.

June 14, 2010 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
As lawmakers returned from the coast last week, we picked up word of some serious, hand-to-hand competition between two lobbyists down at St. Simons Island. The occasion was the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual summer retreat. We’re told by very reliable state Capitol sources that, last Tuesday night, a pair of lobbyists treated several lawmakers and clients in the drinking section of the Village Inn and Pub, famous for its wild orchid martinis. One lobbyist was stuck at a table with the clients. The other lobbyist landed the table with the legislators. When bill-paying time came, the lobbyist stuck at the children’s table refused to pay. Insults were exchanged, and the two lobbyists ended up rolling on the restaurant floor. The fight was broken up before law enforcement became formally involved. The two lobbyists: Graham Thompson, whose clients in the last session included the Georgia Association of Health Plans, Sprint, and Satellite Tracking of People, a Texas organization; and John Clayton, whose clients in the last session included several physician and emergency response groups, Imperial Sugar, and the Corrections Corporation of America. We’ve attempted to contact both gentlemen, and haven’t heard back. But we await their June disclosures, which should tell us who ultimately paid the bill. And who was there. Clayton, many in the state Capitol will recall, was identified by police as the victim in a fracas with a fellow lobbyist at a 2007 sine die party, also attended by many lawmakers. Clayton took a beer bottle to the right side of his head.

June 7, 2010 AP
Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America says it has settled a censorship lawsuit with a publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues. Prison Legal News, a non-profit monthly, filed the lawsuit in 2009. It claimed that CCA's Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., only allowed prisoners to order books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble under the facility's mail policy in effect at the time. The company argued its inability to send books to prisoners violated its constitutional rights. CCA, the nation's largest private prison company, changed its mail policy soon after the lawsuit and settled last month. Under the settlement, the publication will not be placed on a prohibited vendor list, nor will it be subject to a blanket ban by CCA staff.

June 3, 2010 AP
The American Civil Liberties Union has reached a settlement with the Idaho Department of Correction in a lawsuit over violence at a privately run prison near Boise. The ACLU filed the lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America and the state earlier this year, saying the Idaho Correctional Center is so violent that inmates refer to it as "gladiator school" and that guards deliberately expose prisoners to brutal beatings from other inmates. The ACLU's lawsuit against CCA still stands. CCA has said the prison meets the highest professional standards. Under the agreement, the Idaho Department of Correction agrees to oversee compliance with any orders a federal judge makes against CCA in connection with the lawsuit.

June 1, 2010 Times Free-Press
A Senate Republican budget plan that calls for the state to spend $18 million to keep state prisoners at a West Tennessee prison owned by Corrections Corp. of America is drawing questions from House Speaker Kent Williams and Senate Democrats. The state would maintain a prison population of about 1,500 inmates at the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Hardeman County through the first half of next year in their proposed plan. “I think that’s Sen. Delores Gresham’s district,” said Rep. Williams in an interview over the Memorial Day weekend. “It’s pork for her. That’s basically what it is. If they’re going to call the fish hatchery pork, that’s definitely pork.” Rep. Williams, an Elizabethton independent, has taken a pounding in recent days over his effort to keep $16.1 million in one-time federal stimulus funds, which may or may not materialize, for a fish hatchery in his district. The Bredesen administration’s budget plans call for withdrawing prisoners from Whiteville by Dec. 31. Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, said he found it “interesting” Senate Republicans were providing $18 million “to keep a prison open that the commissioner testified she didn’t need opened. The other side is saying we’re being austere. We’re not ‘porking or wasting your money.’”

May 26, 2010 Honolulu Weekly
Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) on the Big Island, which was closed last year for financial reasons, specialized in just the sort of rehabilitative services that Bronson Nunuha and others weren’t receiving at Arizona’s Saguaro Prison. Saguaro, a private prison run by Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) in Elroy, Ariz., was contracted to house Hawaii inmates, and it was there that Nunuha was stabbed to death on Feb 18. He only had about eight months left to serve on his full sentence for three counts of burglary. Among other services, Kulani operated the state’s largest program for sexual offenders, whose graduates had a recidivism rate of only 5 percent: the best in the nation. “The hasty closure of KCF has had serious impacts to our clients, and huge subsidiary financial impact to the State,” said James Tabe, supervisor for the State Office of the Public Defender Appeals Division, at a recent hearing on HB145, an audit of the state’s Public Safety Department (PSD). “Any inmate classified as a sex offender is required to complete the rigorous 18-month SOTP [Sexual Offender Treatment program] prior to parole. The vast majority of such inmates completed their SOTP at KCF.” After SOTP is completed, the inmate must complete any other rehabilitative programs, such as work furlough and substance abuse programming–which can take another one to three years to complete.” Kulani inmates, he said, “now face the prospect of having to complete the entire program again, delaying their entry into their post-SOTP programming for substance abuse or work furlough, thus delaying their parole eligibility for another two years.” The delay, he wrote, was not only “emotionally painful for our clients, but they are extremely expensive for taxpayers, with skyrocketing incarceration costs at over $50,000 per inmate, per year.” Public Safety Director Clayton Frank told Honolulu Weekly that after some delays, sexual offender treatment programs had been started up at Halawa Correctional Facility and at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, where many former Kulani inmates are now housed. Parents of Saguaro inmates have reported that the drug rehab program there has such a long waiting list that many inmates gave up on getting into it. One mother of a Saguaro inmate had hoped to get her son, a non-violent offender convicted on drug charges, into Kulani; she said he had been transferred to other prisons six times in three years, including two stints at Saguaro, making it virtually impossible to get the drug rehab programs and educational courses he’d requested. “He’d just gotten a job at Halawa,” she recalled. “He was finally doing something to make the days go faster, and then they sent him back.” A culture of intimidation? The inmate’s mother requested that her name be withheld for fear that officials in Arizona might retaliate against her son. She wasn’t the only one. At least seven other people–relatives of inmates, state employees, lawyers, social workers–either declined to talk with us or asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retaliation by PSD officials or CCA employees. Some said they’d already suffered consequences for speaking up in the past. CCA is required to offer inmates an impartial grievance procedure and access to a law library, but critics say inmates who dare to exercise those options suffer consequences. Public defender Karen Tooko Nakasone testified that one Saguaro inmate had suffered “massive retaliation” after complaining. After “a herculean effort to obtain records from Saguaro,” she said, she finally won a parole case. But she added, “I learned during my representation of this client [that] a number of other inmates apparently are experiencing similar treatment, namely with the prison not following its own regulations, or selectively/arbitrarily applying these regulations.” Daphne Barbee, an attorney representing prisoners transferred to Arizona, adds flatly,“When inmates complain, they’re retaliated against. They’re ridiculed by the guards, their legal mail is opened….” In Saguaro, she says, there’s a rule that if one inmate helps another to file a grievance, “They will be written up and put in the hole. They detest inmates who are articulate, who know the law. They retaliate against people who write grievances….” Barbee, Nakasone and others also complained that inmates in Arizona were denied the right to complain to the state ombudsman, as they would be able to if housed in a PSD-run prison. Frank says CCA-housed prisoners still have a number of avenues to lodge complaints: “If there’s an issue that they feel is not being addressed, they can write to any elected official, they can write to myself…” Liability Nunuha was the first Hawaii inmate to die violently at Saguaro, but he was not the first to die. Ken Akinaka of Hepatitus Support Network testified, “We have lost several inmates since we started moving them to the mainland to serve time,” and in all of those cases, “questionable practices” were involved. Serious problems were also reported with the health system at CCA’s Otter Creek facility when Hawaiian women were housed there. Such problems, as well as other allegations of misconduct and abuse, have created another financial problem for the state: liability. “Shouldn’t we be including the cost of lawsuits for the sexual assaults and other civil rights violations at private prisons into the audit considerations?” Kat Brady, of the Community Alliance on Prisons, asked legislators. Frank told HW that CCA already had an indemnity clause in its contract and was paying some of the damages in inmate lawsuits. An audit, however, might uncover another client with a damage claim against the company: the state itself. “Last year, the State of Oklahoma withheld nearly $600,000 from CCA because CCA was not complying with its contractual obligations,” noted ACLU attorney Daniel Gluck. “These payments were only withheld after the Oklahoma Legislature•requested a performance audit of the prisons.”

May 25, 2010 St Petersburg Times
The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday formally designated the sheriff as the county's chief correctional officer, paving the way for Sheriff Richard Nugent to take over operations of the county jail in late August. While the decision to shift the operations to the sheriff was unanimous, the details were not. Commissioner Jeff Stabins questioned how much control the county would have over dollars the commission was asked to set aside for the sheriff's use at the jail. He also asked why the commission was being asked to approve an interlocal agreement with the sheriff without sufficient controls for the county. The commission has been stung by events surrounding the jail for the last several months. Nugent had been researching taking over the jail, but then backed away when he discovered a series of structural and maintenance flaws at the facility. Just weeks later, Corrections Corporation of America, the private company that has operated the facility for the past 22 years, announced it would end its partnership with the county at the end of August. Nugent was invited back into the discussion and agreed to take over the facility for the same $11.2 million that was budgeted to run it this year. The county has also talked about additional funding for the jail, including $850,000 for start-up costs and earmarking $3 million in reserves to make needed repairs and upgrades to the jail building. Stabins was the sole no vote against those budget transfers. He said he wanted a professional to tell the commission just how extensive the needed repairs are before setting aside $3 million. He also voiced concern about not having any control over how Nugent spends the $850,000. He said he specifically didn't expect the money to be spent on Nugent's employee recruiting efforts. But Commissioner Dave Russell said he expected the money to be used for some personnel costs, including the salary of new jail administrator Michael Page. As for the $3 million, Russell's motion for approval made it clear that the money was to be moved from one county reserve to another, but that the actual expenditures would come to the commission as line items. And no money was to be spent until the county has brought construction professionals on board to detail just what is needed at the jail, County Administrator David Hamilton assured the board. Stabins questioned why the interlocal agreement proposal was even on the commission's agenda Tuesday since it had not been talked about two weeks ago when the board agreed in spirit to the sheriff's takeover. Stabins questioned why a three-year term for the agreement was needed when the commission had the statutory authority to decide when to appoint the sheriff to be chief correctional officer and when to change that designation. An interlocal agreement wouldn't change that, the board was assured by assistant county attorney Jon Jouben. Stabins also protested giving Nugent the remainder of the CCA budget for the final five weeks that the sheriff would operate the jail during the current fiscal year. The current CCA contract has saved the county hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that should be the county's savings, Stabins argued. Chairman John Druzbick said that whatever Nugent gets in budget money that he doesn't spend by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30 would get returned to the county anyway. Stabins also questioned why provisions in an earlier version of the interlocal agreement that required strict financial accounting by the sheriff were dropped in the final version. Jouben said those items were lost during negotiations with the sheriff's attorney. After the majority of the board approved the agreement, with Stabins opposed, Druzbick said, "Sheriff, good luck, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart, sir.'' Nugent assured commissioners that money not spent would be returned to them and said that his past record shows that just because he has money doesn't mean he will spend it. He also promised to account for the funds that he does spend and to provide good stewardship of the jail. "We're a partner in this, not a for-profit company running it to milk it. We're a service organization,'' Nugent said.

May 19, 2010 Honolulu Advertiser
When Hawaii inmate Bronson Nunuha was stabbed to death in his cell at Corrections Corporation of America’s Saguaro Correctional Facility in Elroy, Arizona, on February 18, he had only about eight months left to serve on his full sentence for three counts of burglary. Normally, at that stage of a prisoner’s sentence, he or she would expect to be out on parole or serving in a minimum security facility and enrolled in programs to help him or her transition to life in the outside world. But Nunuha was in a high-security program that placed him under lockdown for all but two hours of each day. Nunuha was among about 1900 Hawaii inmates kept at CCA facilities–most at Saguaro, but about 50 at nearby Red Rock Correctional Center and one woman still at CCA’s Otter Creek facility in Kentucky (most Hawaii women inmates were transferred back to the islands after allegations surfaced of rape and other misconduct at Otter Creek). Nunuha’s death, along with the sudden closure of the Big Island’s Kulani Correctional Center last year, have helped to fuel calls for an independent audit of the state’s Public Safety Department and its dealings with CCA. A bill requiring such an audit passed the Hawaii Legislature in its 2010 session and HB415 is now awaiting Gov. Linda Lignle’s signature.. It received support from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Community Alliance on Prisons, the Drug Policy Forum, the United Public Workers, the Hawaii Government Employee’s Association, and various attorneys and social workers. Among the very few to testify against: Public Safety Director Clayton Frank. De-paroling for profit? “Private prisons are for-profit corporations, accountable as most of those businesses are to their shareholders and investors; with profits as their primary motive. They have a self-serving interest in keeping their census up to capacity, and their costs low, much like hotels and other lodging businesses,” testified Jean Ohta of the Drug Policy Forum. “It is because of this self-interest on the part of private prisons that an audit should be conducted.” “We have received numerous reports suggesting that CCA is not meeting its most basic of constitutional obligations in housing inmates. We have also received several reports suggesting that CCA may be keeping inmates longer than necessary; because Hawaii pays CCA per inmate per day of incarceration, the longer inmates are held, the more money CCA receives,” testified ACLU attorney Daniel Gluck. Gluck wrote that his organization had received “numerous reports” of inmates who’d been granted parole being “held for four months or more by CCA (based on vague and unsubstantiated reasons for ignoring the Paroling Authority’s orders)” and of Saguaro inmates, including those with no previous records of infractions, being “written up for spurious rule infractions shortly before their parole eligibility dates,” disqualifying them for parole. “One month of additional incarceration at CCA can easily cost the State and the taxpayers nearly $2,000–money that is sorely needed for other programs like drug rehabilitation, mental health care, and education–and the Legislature need not (and should not) allow these reports to be ignored,” he added. Asked about infractions at CCA, Franks told Honolulu Weekly, “I don’t believe that they receive anymore disciplinary writeups than what we have here.” At the legislature, Frank maintained that an independent audit was unnecessary. “These contracts and agreements referenced in this measure are already audited on a regular basis by an independent auditor,” he testified. But when the Weekly checked the department’s records for an audit of the Saguaro facility, all that turned up was a checklist. Shari Kimoto, who filled out that checklist, is the Public Safety Department’s Mainland Branch Manager, the state employee in charge of managing the department’s relations with CCA. She is also the wife of Republican Party Chair Jonah Kaauwai, who is himself a former Public Safety official. CCA has been a heavy contributor to Republican Party candidates and causes, including Republican Governor Linda Lingle, who received the maximum legal donation of $6,000 for each of her gubernatorial campaigns. Kimoto checked the “compliant” box for every one of the audit checklist’s 115 categories, covering everything from the temperatures of the freezers to the presence of “inmate property forms.” But the audit did not appear to monitor whether inmates were being kept overtime. HW asked Frank about the “independent audits” he referred to in his testimony. He said he would check. Later in the interview, he said that CCA facilities were audited and accredited by the American Correctional Association. Frank told the legislature that prisoners in CCA facilities cost the state about half as much to maintain as those at the state’s own correctional facilities. He told HW that those figures were based on the state’s contracts and included transportation costs to the mainland. But neither his figures, nor the ACA audits, nor Kimoto’s, include an examination of such factors as the length of time inmates served before parole in different facilities, the costs of lawsuits by inmates or their families, or the recidivism rates of inmates–factors that the department’s critics want examined. Services and sentences Frank said prisoners were selected to go to the mainland based on a series of criteria: They must have sentences of “a minimum of 24 months,” they must have “no major medical or health care problems, and “They don’t have any pending criminal cases here.” Apparently, though, that system doesn’t always work. “I’ve had clients who’ve been transferred to AZ who still have cases pending,” attorney Daphne Barbee said. “I’ve had to have them brought back.” One client, she said, didn’t get back in time for his own hearing; he only got his day in court because the judge granted an extension. Bronson Nunuha was in the 22-hour lockdown, Frank said, because of “disciplinary conduct.” How fast an inmate such as Nunuha goes through the system, he maintained, “depends on the inmate what the level of participation he wants.” Sometimes, he said, “Rather than participate in the program they just choose to max out on their sentence.” But the department’s critics say that often services just aren’t available, that the programs at CCA were sparse, and that the closure of Kulani Prison had aggravated the problem.

May 18, 2010 Phoenix New Times
Governor Brewer's CCA connection: Conflict of interest over SB 1070? Several months before signing SB 1070, Governor Jan Brewer accepted hundreds of dollars in "seed money" for her clean elections campaign from corporate executives and others with a possible stake in Arizona's "papers please" legislation becoming law. In all, seven executives with the Tennessee-based private prisons giant Corrections Corporation of America contributed $980 for the governor's start-up fund with Arizona's clean elections system. A warden for one of CCA's Arizona prisons gave $100. A CCA shareholder gave $140. Lobbyists listed with the state of Arizona as having CCA as a client gave another $560, for a total of $1,780. In addition, CCA has contributed a whopping $10,000 to the campaign for Prop 100, the one cent sales tax heavily promoted by Brewer, which is up for approval by voters today. The success of Prop 100 is considered by many to be the linchpin for a Brewer victory in November. How does CCA stand to gain from SB 1070? CCA, which houses 75,000 offenders and detainees in more than 60 facilities nationwide, operates six prisons in Arizona, three of which list U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a client: Florence, Eloy, and the Central Arizona Detention Center. If SB 1070 is not stopped by a federal court injunction before it goes into effect late July, as a recently filed ACLU lawsuit aims to accomplish, all Arizona law enforcement will be required to check the immigration status of those they have "reasonable suspicion" of being in the country illegally. This, during any lawful stop, detention, or arrest. So the law could potentially mean a boon in warm bodies for CCA prisons, as those aliens turned over to ICE might find themselves in CCA facilities, even if for a short stay. "The more folks that get pulled over and detained, the more money CCA makes," said Monica Sandschafer, executive director of the Phoenix immigrant rights group LUCHA, which stands for Living United for Change in Arizona. "It's a pretty disturbing connection between Brewer and this company." But Brewer campaign flack Doug Cole scoffed at the suggestion that there was anything nefarious about the connection between Brewer and CCA, referring to CCA as a "good corporate citizen" and denying that CCA's contributions to Brewer in any way affected her decision to sign the controversial law. "People contribute to political campaigns, in my experience, because they want to be part of the process," said Cole, speaking in general. "Oh, so we're talking a thousand dollars here now," he harrumphed at one point. Asked if the money might have influenced Brewer to sign SB 1070, he stated emphatically, "Absolutely not." Todd Lang, executive director of Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Commission contended that Brewer had violated no rules in taking the money from CCA, even if CCA stood to benefit from Brewer's actions as governor. "Anyone can give to anyone," said Lang of the so-called "seed money," which is limited to a $51,250 cap. "The restriction Clean Elections puts in place is how little money those guys can give. The theory is that this restricts their influence." Clean Elections holds contributors to the initial seed money fund to a $140 per person limit. Participating gubernatorial candidates must also raise thousands of $5 individual contributions. If they obey these dictates, they are rewarded with public funds: $707,447 for the primary campaign, and $1,061,171 for the general election. However, Sandschafer pointed out that each of the CCA executives and lobbyists in question gave the maximum amount allowed, save for the warden of the Eloy Detention Center Charles DeRosa, who gave $100. "These are the people who stand to profit from this horrible racist legislation," Sandschafer asserted. CCA execs contributing to Brewer include the company's top brass: Damon Hininger, CCA President and CEO; "senior administrator" Anthony Grande; Gustavus Puryear, at one time CCA's general counsel; Todd Mullenger, executive VP and chief financial officer; and so on. Louise Grant, a CCA spokeswoman based in Tennessee, claimed that the contributions to Brewer, which were made in November of 2009, were not intended to influence public policy, and that the $10K contribution to the Yes on 100 fund, dated April 5, 2010, was made because CCA wanted what was best for its employees in Arizona. Grant also stated that under Brewer, CCA had lost two contracts with a total of 3,000 prisoners involved. She said that the main facility they use for ICE detainees is Eloy, the warden for which gave $100 to Brewer's start up fund. She denied SB 1070 would be a good thing for CCA, or that CCA had any influence over the law itself. "CCA has had no involvement whatsoever with this legislation, SB 1070," she said. "And we will not have any involvement with it."

May 17, 2010 Common Dreams
Today SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and SEIU's Immigration Campaign Director, Javier Morillo joined SEIU members and National People's Action (NPA) members at a rally outside of the DC Headquarters of Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in America. Janitors, home care workers, public employees and community allies called on CCA to stop profiting off our broken immigration system. "All around this country, there are people - some of whom were born here and others who were not - who work hard to make sure they can feed, clothe and educate their children. All they want is to make a better life for their families, and their values are the values that built this country," said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. "But today we have bottom-feeding employers like Corrections Corporation of America who have forgotten those values and instead have decided to reap huge profits at the expense of hardworking people." "We're calling on CCA to stop profiting off of the broken system and join us in our fight to see that Congress passes smart immigration solutions that will eliminate the underground economy, lift wages for all workers, and help us build an economy that works for working families." With 40 percent of their business coming from federal government immigrant detention contracts, CCA has lobbied hard to keep taxpayer dollars flowing into their coffers. "CCA is one of the biggest winners of our broken immigration system, taking in billions of dollars in government contracts to detain immigrants and perpetuate today's failed status quo." said SEIU Immigration Campaign Director Javier Morillo. "The company recognizes that an enforcement-heavy immigration policy is good for their bottom line and has spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to anti-immigrant politicians who push for enforcement at the expense of real comprehensive immigration reform." Now, with immigrants comprising the fastest growing segment of the federal prison population, CCA stands to lose their biggest cash cow if Congress enacts real comprehensive immigration reform. "All across the country people are standing up to challenge anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona, and today we are standing up to anti-immigrant policies at the federal level," said Teresa Molina, a teacher and spokesperson for National People's Action. "Whether it's corporations benefiting from a broken immigration system or elected officials courting the immigrant vote but not delivering for immigrant voters, we are here to say enough is enough to greed and hate." According to campaign finance documents, CCA and its employees have contributed $3.6 million in political contributions over the last 10 years to anti-immigrant and pro-enforcement politicians. "Like Wall Street banks and so many other corporations who use their paid-for power and influence to maintain the failed status quo at the expense of working people, CCA must be held accountable," Henry concluded.

May 14, 2010 AP
An appeal court says three nurses held hostage by inmates cannot sue a privately run jail because they are covered by workers compensation. The ruling Friday by the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America, Bay County and the Bay County Sheriff's Office. One nurse and two inmates were shot by police to end a 12-hour standoff in 2004 at the Bay County Jail in Panama City. All three survived. Workers compensation pays for job-related injuries and prohibits suits against employers. The appeal court ruled that exceptions for negligence by co-workers or an employer with knowledge of a hazard based on a prior accident or explicit warning did not apply.

May 13, 2010 Business Week
Prison operator Corrections Corp. of America spent $250,000 to lobby federal officials in the first quarter, unchanged from a year earlier, according to a recent filing with Congress. The company reported lobbying officials on provisions in a Homeland Security funding bill dealing with immigration detentions. It also lobbied on Justice Department funding related to private prisons. Corrections Corp. also lobbied on a bill by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, to require private prison operators to comply with open-records laws. And it lobbied on a bill by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, to let states request the jamming of wireless signals in prisons. Federal law lets federal agencies jam phone signals, but doesn't extend that power to state or local agencies. Hutchison's bill passed the Senate last year but is stalled in the House. Supporters say the bill would make it harder for prisoners to orchestrate violence and run gangs using cell phones that are smuggled into prisons. But the wireless industry argues officials should instead focus on keeping contraband phones out of prisons. Corrections Corp. lobbied Congress, the Homeland Security Department and the Bureau of Prisons.

May 7, 2010 AP
One side has big donations paying for television commercials and glossy mailers sent to voters' homes. The other is a shoestring effort based on e-mail chains and homemade signs. It's a picture of stark contrasts when it comes to campaigning for or against Proposition 100, the temporary sales tax increase on Arizona's May 18 special election ballot. If voters approve the measure, the state sales tax would rise to 6.6 cents on the dollar from the current 5.6 cents to raise a projected $1 billion annually. The increase would begin June 1 and would last three years. The Legislature narrowly sent the issue to the ballot in February. That was 11 months after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer first proposed a sales take hike to help close the state's big budget deficits, along with spending cuts, federal stimulus dollars and borrowing. But it didn't take long for Proposition 100 supporters to begin writing checks in the tens of thousands of dollars -- or amounts even larger -- to committees backing the measure. Those included over $81,000 from the Arizona and Phoenix chambers of commerce, $250,000 from the University of Arizona Foundation and $80,000 from the Arizona Education Association and its parent union. Other major contributors include hospital companies, a firefighters' union, manufacturers, arts backers, a private prison company, economic development groups and the Arizona School Boards Association. Their backing has paid for television ads endorsing the ballot measure, and full-mailers plastered with testimonials from teachers, public safety officials and Brewer. "Our state's future is tied to the success of this measure," one mailer has Brewer saying.

May 2, 2010 Jackson County Floridan
Sometimes it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. Corrections Corporation of America has been awarded the bid to run the Graceville Correctional Facility, and will be taking over from Geo Group, the company that currently administers the facility. As with every corporate takeover, there is a transition period. Not surprisingly, CCA is asking all current employees to reapply for their jobs. The question is, why is CCA holding this job fair for current employees across the state line? To be fair, Dothan, Ala. could be the most central location for all current employees to gather. But we rather doubt that. Instead, it appears to be a case of somewhat poor planning and rather inept public relations. The decision to ask all current employees to trek up to Dothan to reapply for their jobs doesn’t bode well for good corporate relations with the community. A better move would have been to use Graceville’s civic center. The company says the civic center was too large for its needs. Is the smaller space in Dothan worth the knock CCA’s image has now taken? While it is a minor mistake, we hope the company will recognize that it was, in fact, a mistake. One of the reasons why there are so many prison facilities in the Panhandle, and in Jackson County, is because folks down in South Florida said “not in my backyard.” We agreed to accept the prisons, and the prisoners, into our community when no one else in the state would. The flip side was that, in return, residents would get first crack at the jobs created. In future, when CCA begins to recruit, they should look here first.

May 2010 Workforce Management
Some human resources executives oversee skilled professionals in tidy high-margin industries, but most manage armies of unskilled workers in messy low-margin businesses riddled with cost pressures, compliance pitfalls and safety concerns. These challenges may be magnified the greatest in the brutal world of the private prison industry. Prisons are a big business in the U.S., which has the largest prison population and the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. More than 2.4 million adults are locked up in U.S. jails and prisons and supervised by 518,200 guards. The U.S. employs more prison guards than computer programmers. Prison privatization is a growing trend, and Corrections Corporation of America decisively dominates the industry. The company, which advertises “just-in-time bed space,” measures its revenues and operating costs in “compensated man-days.” In 2009, revenues hit $1.67 billion, up 5.4 percent from 2008, and earnings jumped 6.1 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2009, revenue per compensated man-day reached $58.16; operating margins stood at 31.3 percent. Profitability hinges on continued mass incarceration; shareholders have not been disappointed. CCA’s top human resources executive is Brian Collins. From his office at headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, Collins leads the 17,250 CCA employees who control 76,400 inmates in 65 prisons spread across 19 states. Eighty-two percent of CCA’s employees are nonexempt, and 56 percent of those are guards who spend every shift locked up with prisoners. Collins tries to spend one week each month touring the prisons, but he admits that he will never witness a true workplace crisis. “If I’m at any facility and an incident erupts, I’ll be the first one shoved out the front door,” he says. Riots at CCA prisons are not uncommon. “It’s a stressful and negative environment,” Collins says. “The correctional officer position is the most difficult job, and we have to focus on safety and security. It’s not an easy business.” Prisoners assault guards; guards sometimes assault prisoners. Staffing requirements shift quickly as contracts come and go. Lawsuits abound. In February 2009, CCA settled a $7 million lawsuit alleging that it did not pay employees for off-the-clock work. In October 2009, CCA settled a $1.3 million sexual harassment lawsuit after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged that female employees at a CCA prison were subjected to sexual harassment that included male managers forcing them to perform sex acts to keep their jobs. Like Collins at CCA, most HR executives are not managing bankers and software engineers, but high-turnover, low-paid nonexempt employees. Production and nonsupervisory workers make up 82 percent of the total U.S. private-industry workforce of 107 million. Staffing is a constant challenge, complex compliance issues demand excruciating attention, and safety is a serious concern. Add the additional pressures found in the private prison industry, and the job becomes extremely difficult. And messy. Structuring HR Collins joined CCA in 2006 from another low-margin company staffed by low-paid employees, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. After 25 years with Wal-Mart, Collins got a cold call from a headhunter who wanted him to interview for vice president of facility operations at CCA. “I wasn’t at all interested in the job, but I had always wanted to see the inside of a prison, so I took the interview and got a tour,” Collins recalls. “After a lot of discussion, I decided the job was a perfect fit.” After three years in operations, Collins became executive vice president and chief human resources officer in September 2009. CCA’s prisons are concentrated across the Southern right-to-work states, where incarceration rates are high and land and labor are cheap. The prisons include minimum-, medium- and maximum-security facilities. Most hold 1,000 to 2,000 inmates and are supervised by a staff of 200 to 300. At CCA headquarters, a human resources staff of 50 sets policy and supports 190 HR employees based in the prisons. Collins’ direct reports include four HR directors with responsibility for specific divisions, plus specialists for benefits, compensation, training and development, employee relations and compliance—or a total of nine direct reports. The four HR directors bear significant responsibility for consistency in policy and compliance. Decision making is centralized in Nashville, but HR managers based in the prisons review every policy before it is finalized. At most prisons, CCA employs an HR manager, an HR generalist, a payroll clerk and a personnel investigator. CCA handles all HR functions in-house with the exception of benefits administration, which is outsourced, and recruiting at three prisons that are located in particularly remote areas. The HR function at headquarters sets wages for each location. Pay rates vary dramatically based on the client. At prisons under federal contracts, which account for 40 percent of the company’s revenue, CCA must pay federal wage determination rates set by regulations for federal contractors of at least $25 per hour for guards and $30 per hour for nurses. CCA’s remaining customers are state and local governments, led by the state of California, which contributes 10.4 percent of the company’s revenue. Collins’ team uses local market rates to set wages for prisons under state and local contracts. Starting pay for guards at these prisons ranges from $7.80 to $18 per hour, with most locations set at the lower end of the range. “Human resources staff in Nashville monitor turnover rates for each facility and unemployment rates for each local market,” Collins says. “If a facility has a problem with recruitment or retention, the local human resources manager consults with the human resources director for the division. The compensation staff at headquarters reviews market surveys, and if they don’t have one for most recent three months, they get a new survey, and then work with the human resources director to determine a solution.” Within the human resources function at headquarters, the compliance department employs three specialists, who are supported by an additional employee from the legal department. CCA runs an annual human resources audit at each prison to monitor operational HR functions in the field. “The annual HR audit looks at 300 to 400 HR pressure points,” Collins reports. “Current issues concern personnel file privacy, I-9 forms and OFCCP [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs] requirements.” Just-in-time staffing Staffing is complicated in an industry where contracts may evaporate, often without much warning. Kentucky is in the process of moving 400 female prisoners from a CCA prison after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by male guards. In January, Arizona announced that it will move 700 prisoners out of a CCA prison in Colorado, ending its practice of housing prisoners out of state and prompting CCA to shut down a facility with a staff of 188. Because CCA locates most of its prisons in low-cost remote areas, labor supply is tricky. In Eloy, Arizona, a town of only 10,000 residents, CCA must staff three prisons with a total of 6,660 inmates, including the massive 3,060-bed La Palma Correctional Center, which houses inmates from California, and the 1,600-bed Red Rock Correctional Center, which houses prisoners from Hawaii and Washington. Recruiting is centralized in Nashville with online applications, but CCA also posts jobs on job boards, advertises through local sources and conducts job fairs. Regional recruiters support prison staff. Most hiring centers on filling guard jobs, but recruiters must also supply candidates for warden posts, nurses, dental assistants, maintenance workers and clerks. High unemployment rates across CCA’s locations have aided recruitment. In Pahrump, Nevada, where CCA is opening a new 1,072-bed prison, unemployment topped 15 percent at the end of 2009. Hundreds of applicants turned out for CCA’s January 2010 information session on the 231 positions at the new prison. CCA planned a two-day job fair in April to fill the jobs. The online job application for prison guard positions warns those who apply that the application takes one hour to complete. Most of the time required is consumed by an integrity test. The job requirements for guards include a high school degree or general equivalency diploma. All employees receive 40 hours of orientation; guards receive an additional 120 hours of training during the first year of employment. Overall turnover is now 28 percent, down from 39 percent in 2007. “The economy has helped reduce turnover,” Collins notes. “We are also very focused on engagement.” In 2009, CCA launched new initiatives to improve engagement, including regular roundtable discussions for employees with wardens. “The human resources directors are responsible for convening focus groups in each facility and creating action plans with wardens based on the outcome,” Collins says. “In addition, we conduct culture assessments that look at all the shifts to understand the DNA of each facility. We sit down with exempt and nonexempt employees. Issues are revealed and we try to change the culture if it’s headed in the wrong direction. If we find positive elements, we try to strengthen and improve them.” Although most of his experience is in operations, Collins held several HR positions at Wal-Mart, and his training there has served him well at CCA. Still, the move was not easy. “For the first six months, I struggled,” Collins says. “I wondered if I had made the right decision or if I should go back to Wal-Mart. I am used to feeling that I belong, but I realized that I would never be a part of the corrections fraternity. But then I realized I could take the skills I had developed at Wal-Mart and match them up line by line with the skills I need at CCA.” Collins still draws from his Wal-Mart experience. “To be successful, you have to understand people and foster open communications,” he says. “Sam Walton once told me, ‘You learn from your people. Ask questions and listen, listen, listen.’ ”

April 29, 2010 AP
A prison violence lawsuit brought by 24 inmates at Idaho’s only private prison against Corrections Corporation of America can move forward in court, despite objections from the company, a federal judge said. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said in a ruling handed down Wednesday that he could find no reason to prevent former Idaho Correctional Center inmate Marlin Riggs and his attorneys from modifying their lawsuit to seek class-action status and add additional plaintiffs. Inmates have said the prison is so violent that it’s known as “gladiator school” and that guards deliberately expose prisoners to brutal beatings from other inmates, then deny them adequate medical care in an attempt to cover up the extent of inmates’ injuries. Riggs sued the Nashville, Tenn., company last year. After the case was filed, the ACLU agreed to represent Riggs and filed an amended complaint in March, adding nearly two dozen other inmates and asking for class action status. But Corrections Corporation of America asked the federal court to reject the amended lawsuit, saying Riggs had overstepped the limits set by the court when it agreed to appoint him attorneys to help him on the case. The company also contended that the changes to the lawsuit made it unduly prejudicial, putting CCA at an unfair disadvantage in court. Winmill said that wasn’t the case. In fact, Winmill wrote, amending the case to include other inmates was a more efficient way to deal with the claims rather than bringing 24 or more individual lawsuits. The lawsuit asks that Riggs be awarded $155 million in damages — the entire net profit of the Corrections Corporation of America for 2009. Riggs and the rest of the inmates are also seeking injunctive damages, asking the court to declare that the private prison company, and state prison officials have violated and ignored their duties to protect the inmates from unnecessary and preventable assaults. The inmates also want the judge to order the company to take reasonable steps to ensure that prisoners at ICC will be protected from assaults by other inmates, to increase training, oversight and investigations into assaults, and to take other measures to improve management practices at the prison.

April 28, 2010 Hernando Today County commissioners were left scrambling for explanations after learning Wednesday the private operator of the Hernando County Jail will opt out of its contract with Hernando County in 120 days. However, Sheriff Richard Nugent said he would be willing to take over operations of the jail after Corrections Corporation of America's contract expires and would do it at the same cost to the county, plus any start-up expenses. "This is a gun to the county commission's head to renegotiate the contract because they knew the sheriff wasn't going to run the jail," Nugent said. "We're not going to let the county be held hostage to CCA's tactics." Nugent said he doesn't think the county has a choice. It's either turn operations of the jail over to the Sheriff's Office or renegotiate with CCA. But Nugent said the county would have to make assurances there is money set aside for repairs of that facility. CCA spokesman Steve Owen made it clear the company is willing to sit down with the county and renegotiate a contract and continue its 22-year partnership. But until that happens, the termination notice stands. "We have given them official notice," said Owen. Owen said the continued "climate of uncertainty" swirling about the operations at the jail, along with a loss of revenue, led to the decision. And even though Nugent had withdrawn a proposal to take over jail operations, Owen believes Nugent will reopen his bid once repairs "estimated to be about $2 million or more” are made at the facility. In a memo, CCA spokeswoman Natasha Metcalf said continuing to operate the jail without an additional inmate population "is not a viable option." "While CCA has engaged in discussions with several potential new partners, the county's continued overtures regarding transitioning operations makes marketing of the beds extremely difficult," she wrote. The surprise announcement prompted swift reaction. "I will not be threatened," Commissioner Jim Adkins said. Adkins said he would be willing to negotiate a new contract with CCA "but I'm not paying them any more than I'm paying now, I know that for a fact." If CCA wants to bid for the contract it is welcome, Adkins said. If not, "it will be operated either by the sheriff or we'll bid it out to someone else who wants to do it," he said. County Commissioner David Russell said it is vital the county not resort to knee-jerk reactions. CCA has left the door open to renegotiation of its contract and all indications are that the warden and CCA are willing to move forward as a partner with the county, Russell said. But that could also likely mean an increase to that contract, which may have a bearing on the county's current jail budget of $11 million. The county's contract with CCA allows either party to terminate it with 120 days notice. If CCA leaves, Owen said the company would do all it could to help transition the county to its new operator. He said the continued safety and security of the inmates and 170 employees at the facility remain top priorities. On Tuesday, the county's budget director announced the county's shortfall for 2011 is due in part to allocating $1 million next year in estimated repairs to the Hernando County Jail and $445,683 in immediate repairs. County Commission Chairman John Druzbick said he is encouraged CCA has apparently left the door open for continued negotiations. But he is puzzled why the company did not approach the county beforehand to try to work out any concerns. Druzbick said he met with a CCA representative Wednesday morning and was handed the company's notice of contract termination about 10:30. Druzbick said he did not see it coming, especially since at one time CCA told him the company was considering putting up all the money to repair the jail on condition it would raise the per diem rate of $53 per inmate and negotiate a longer term contract. Druzbick said County Administrator David Hamilton has said he would like to get a request for proposals on the jail contract and that CCA would have the opportunity to bid. But commissioners did not agree or disagree to that, Druzbick said. County Commissioner Jeff Stabins laid the blame for CCA's decision to end its contract on Hamilton. "I blame David Hamilton because none of this would have been happening if he had kept his eye on the ball," Stabins said. "The ball was the dredge, which is hopelessly stalled, and the budget crisis. Now we have a third crisis to deal with, primarily because of David."

April 28, 2010 St Petersburg Times
Corrections Corporation of America, which has run the Hernando County jail for 22 years, gave notice to Hernando officials Wednesday morning that it will walk away from the facility in 120 days. In a letter delivered to commission Chairman John Druzbick, CCA notes that the jail needs inmates from outside the county to be financially viable and that the county's interest in seeking competitive bids for jail operations is hampering their efforts. "While CCA has engaged in discussions with several potential new partners, the county's continued overtures regarding transitioning operations makes marketing of the beds extremely difficult,'' wrote CCA official Natasha Metcalf. "Under these circumstances, CCA has no realistic option for improving the facility's fiscal outlook.'' The company leaves the door open for discussions if new contract terms can be found that are "beneficial to both parties,'' but that would likely mean increasing the county's annual jail budget of more than $11 million at a time when county's revenues are declining. "There shouldn't be any knee-jerk reactions,'' Commissioner Dave Russell said after learning of the notice. "There may yet be some opportunity for re-negotiating the contract. That door was left open.'' Commissioner Jim Adkins said he was surprised by the news and "the county always has options.'' The question of what's next is even tougher to answer because, after an extensive study, Sheriff Richard Nugent told the County Commission earlier this month that he was no longer interested in running the jail. After several tours of the facility, Nugent described numerous maintenance and structural issues at the facility and predicted that the jail was in need of $2 million or more in repairs. He showed photographs of rusting doors and hinges, cracks in walls and floors, and water damage from roof leaks. County Administrator David Hamilton has already identified more than $400,000 in the county budget for repairs needed immediately and has recommended another $1 million be set aside in next year's budget. CCA's letter notes that while Nugent pulled his proposal off the table, CCA believes he will still be interested in the facility after repairs are made. Nugent declined to comment Wednesday.

April 22, 2010 LA Times
A company that operates private prisons – and which is hoping to pluck inmates out of California’s overcrowded lockups and into its for-profit prisons – has donated $1,000 each to 10 state lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, in recent days. Private prisons could be a hot-button issue during this summer’s budget talks. In January, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a constitutional amendment to require the state to spend more on universities than keeping inmates behind bars. Privatizing prisons is one way to do that, the governor has said. Schwarzenegger, whose ballot measure efforts last year received $100,000 from the Corrections Corp. of America, has been supportive of sending inmates to private prisons. More than 8,000 state inmates are already housed in the company’s out-of-state lockups, with the governor’s proposed budget funding more than 10,000 private prison beds, according to the Department of Finance. The Tennessee-based company spent more than $175,000 on campaign contributions in 2009. It gave $15,000 to the California Republican Party and $7,500 to the California Democratic Party. Every state legislator – and there are four of them – running to be California’s next attorney general has received at least $1,000 from the prisons operator. Among the recent recipients of $1,000 in Corrections Corp. of America largess: • Assembly: Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) and Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego). • State Senate: Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles), Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D-Chino) and Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark). Two of the attorney general hopefuls, Assemblymen Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara), also received $1,000 donations.

April 13, 2010 Dow Jones Newswire
The state of Florida said Tuesday it plans to award three prison contracts to Corrections Corp. of America (CXW), two of which previously were held by rival Geo Group Inc. (GEO). According to a memo reviewed by Dow Jones from Florida's Department of Management Services, it intends to award three out of four available prison contracts to Corrections Corp. Two of the contracts--Graceville Correction Facility and Moore Haven Correctional Facility--were previously held by Geo. In addition, Corrections Corp. lost one of its previously held contracts--Gadsden Correctional Facility--to Management & Training Corp., but it kept its contract for Bay Correctional Facility. Some analysts and industry insiders had expected Corrections Corp. to win all four contracts. The three contracts Corrections Corp. received were unanimous decisions by the panel. The committee was split on the fourth contract, which received bids only from Corrections Corp. and Management & Training. The contracts are for a period of three years and include four years of potential renewals. The department memo revealed the state will save almost $750,000 by offering Management & Training a piece of the pie, as opposed to offering all four contracts to Corrections Corp. The total value of the four three-year contracts is more than $250 million. A representative from Geo Group wasn't immediately available to comment, while Corrections Corp. declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Florida's management services department wasn't immediately available to comment on the contents of the memo.

April 11, 2010 Arizona Republic
Businesses and business groups are lining up on both sides of the proposed statewide 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax increase. Some say it will hurt them by reducing consumer spending and hiking costs. Others say the tax is needed to support the overall state economy. Businesses generally oppose tax increases on themselves or their customers, but a number of high-profile groups are supporting Proposition 100 in the May 18 election because they consider it necessary to improve the state's fiscal picture and prospects for economic development. "You generally don't see business organizations supporting tax increases," said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "But I think in this case, the near-term budget situation is deemed serious enough that some sort of temporary revenue enhancement was needed to prevent further (budget) cuts." As the election approaches, both factions can point to reports that support their points of view on the proposed tax increase. A study commissioned by the Goldwater Institute and conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute in Boston says passage of Proposition 100 would cost the state about 14,400 private-sector jobs because it would reduce the consumer spending that supports retail jobs. A conflicting study by the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona says passage would save more than 13,000 jobs and preserve more than $442 million in federal matching funds because much of the estimated $918 million in increased revenues the state would receive would be spent on products and services provided by private companies. Hamer said the Arizona chamber supports the tax as part of a comprehensive package that includes the state Jobs Recovery Act, which would give tax breaks to businesses in hopes of encouraging them to increase hiring. The chamber and Greater Phoenix Leadership, a business coalition, have each contributed $50,000 to the Yes on 100 Committee, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Arizona Public Service Co., Magellan Health Services, Scottsdale Healthcare and Tucson Medical Center have each given $25,000. Other companies making large contributions include Honeywell International PAC, which gave $15,000, and Sundt Companies Inc., Resolution Copper Mining and Corrections Corp. of America, each $10,000.

March 31, 2010 Marketwire
CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) (NYSE: CXW), America's leader in partnership corrections, announced today that Steve Groom, who currently serves as CCA's Deputy General Counsel, has been selected to succeed Gus Puryear as CCA's General Counsel. Puryear, who joined CCA in January 2001, has provided notice of his intent to resign to accept a position with another company following a brief transition period. Commenting on the transition, Damon Hininger, the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer said, "On behalf of the Board of Directors and management, we thank Gus for his contributions and service to our company over the last ten years, even as we look forward to Steve's leadership of the general counsel's office. Gus joined CCA when the Company was undergoing a tremendous amount of change and we are fortunate he has developed an exceptional in-house legal team, which will allow Steve to continue to operate our legal department effectively." Hininger continued, "Steve Groom, one of Gus' first hires, has been a valued member of our in-house legal team since he joined CCA in March 2001. His knowledge of our business combined with his experience and outstanding qualifications make him a clear choice to succeed Gus." Groom, 58, has more than 30 years of business and legal experience. Before joining CCA, Steve was a partner in the law firm of Stites & Harbison and served in managing attorney and general counsel roles with SunTrust Bank, Inc., both in Nashville. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis, where he was a member of the Law Review, and a bachelor's degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville. He has served on the adjunct faculty of Lipscomb University's MBA program, teaching Corporate Governance and The Legal & Regulatory Environment of Business. He also serves on the Board of Visitors of Lipscomb University's College of Business and the Board of Advisors of the Institute for Conflict Management.

March 30, 2010 Boise Weekly
Just days after the American Civil Liberties Union sued the operators of Idaho's largest prison, the Idaho Correctional Center, an Idaho Falls man who was savagely beaten and suffered what could be permanent brain damage there notified the state that he would sue for at least $25 million. According to a tort claim filed March 16 with the Idaho Secretary of State, guards at the privately run ICC allowed Hanni Elabed to be severely beaten, "as a form of retribution connected with his refusal to participate in drug distribution at the ICC ..." Elabed's attorney, Ben Schwartzman, said that Elabed was asked to distribute drugs in the prison, refused and reported the incident. "It was at this point that he was essentially offered to the gangs as a snitch and allowed to be beaten," Schwartzman said. ICC officials did not return calls seeking comment. Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said he could not address the pending lawsuit. "We're always concerned about the conditions of confinement in any of our facilities be they state facilities or contract facilities," Reinke said. Elabed's beating is detailed in the ACLU suit, though he is not named. The ACLU filed a federal claim on March 11 on behalf of six named inmates, claiming that conditions at ICC are so violent as to violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The suit seeks class-action status for all ICC inmates and punitive damages of $155 million--the 2009 net income of Corrections Corporation of America, which operates ICC--on behalf of one inmate. According to the ACLU lawsuit, four guards and a counselor watched as another prisoner smashed Elabed's head into a wall more than 10 times, stomped on his head more than 20 times, walked away to get a drink of water and returned to beat him until he was convulsing on the floor. The incident was filmed and the Ada County Sheriff's Office has reviewed the tape. Elabed, who was arrested in 2008 for holding up a pharmacy with a BB gun to obtain Oxycontin, to which he was addicted, pled guilty to burglary charges and was sentenced to two years in prison. He is now on medical parole in the care of his family in Idaho Falls. "He can talk, he can perform some daily activities of life, with help, in some instances on his own," Schwartzman said. Ada County detectives are also investigating a series of assaults at ICC that occurred on March 10 and resulted in at least one inmate being transported to the hospital.

March 24, 2010 AP
Corrections Corp. of America, the nation's largest prison operator, spent $250,000 lobbying the federal government in the fourth-quarter, according to a recent disclosure report. That's up 8.7 percent from $230,000 in the same period a year earlier, but down 3.8 percent from $260,000 in the third quarter of 2009. The company lobbied the Senate, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Office of Management & Budget and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the final three months of the year. Corrections Corp. lobbied on issues related to the private prison industry including budget appropriations, immigration detention facilities and communication systems. Corrections Corp. of America is based in Nashville, Tenn.

March 12, 2010 AP
A federal lawsuit claims that Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America is running an Idaho prison that is so violent it is known as "gladiator school" by inmates. The American Civil Liberties Union says CCA should have to pay all of its 2009 net profits — $155 million — in punitive damages. Idaho prison officials also were named in the suit filed by the ACLU on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boise. The suit adds to the considerable controversies CCA has faced since its founding in 1983. Last year, it was sued by a Metro officer who was shot by an escapee from a CCA facility; berated for leaving a mentally ill inmate in his Metro jail cell without a bath for 9 months; and sued by 23 female inmates who claim they were raped at a Kentucky prison. In 2006 CCA settled a suit over the death of a Nashville woman who was left in solitary confinement with massive head injuries. Charges against four guards accused of beating the woman were dropped. Opponents argue that CCA, the nation's largest private prison operator, uses its political influence to stifle those who say prisons should not be in private hands. It recently lost an attempt to keep all its prison records private when the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that CCA acts as a public entity in operating public prisons. The latest lawsuit claims that Idaho's only private prison is extraordinarily violent, with guards deliberately exposing inmates to brutal beatings from other prisoners as a management tool. The group contends the prison then denies injured inmates medical care to save money and hide the extent of injuries. Steve Owen, Corrections Corporation of America's director of public affairs, said the company would respond to the lawsuit through court filings. He said state officials have unfettered access to the prison and provide strong oversight at the facility, including daily on-site monitoring. "For the past decade, CCA has safely and securely managed the Idaho Corrections Center on behalf of our government partner, the Idaho Department of Corrections," Owen said in a prepared statement. "Our hardworking, professional staff and management team are held accountable to high standards by our government partner, to include those of the American Correctional Association — the highest professional standards in the country for correctional management." Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. Stephen Pevar, senior attorney for the ACLU, said he has sued at least 100 jails and prisons, but none came close to the level of violence at Idaho Correctional Center. "Our country should be ashamed to send human beings to that facility," he said. Suit asks for $155M The ACLU is asking for class-action status and $155 million in punitive damages — the entire net profit reported by the company in 2009. The ACLU said the money should go to lead plaintiff Marlin Riggs, who sustained permanent facial deformities and other medical problems after he was savagely beaten in his cell. Guards use violence to control prisoner behavior, forcing inmates to "snitch" on other inmates under the threat of moving them to the most violent sections of the prison, ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins said. Hopkins said inmates will be beaten by fellow inmates if they become known as snitches. If they refuse to give up names, the guards will have them beaten anyway, she said. "It doesn't do us any good as a society to put people in there where they have to turn to other gangs and become gang members to protect themselves," Hopkins said. "The thing is, there's a constitutional duty to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners." The lawsuit also refers to an investigation by The Associated Press based on public records requests that found the level of violence at the prison was three times higher than at other Idaho prisons, and that Idaho Department of Correction officials believed violence was also dramatically underreported by Corrections Corporation of America and inmates. At the time of that report, Steven Conry, CCA's vice president of facility operations, maintained the prison was safe and well-run.

March 11, 2010 WJHG
Hernando County commissioners are considering dropping Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and turning their jail over to the county sheriff. They've been consulting Bay County officials about a similar transition that took place here in the fall of 2008. According to published reports, CCA criticized Bay County for terminating their contract, telling Hernando County officials they could have saved Bay County $3 million this year if they had still been running the facility. But, Bay County commissioners are now reminding everyone that it was CCA that terminated the contract, claiming they couldn't abide by the financial terms of that agreement. They also say sheriff Frank McKeithen has done a better job of running the jail, and has done it cheaper than CCA. Bay County commissioner Mike Thomas said, "In 2009, the sheriff's budget, entire budget, with insurance, building payments, power, everything, was $1.3 million cheaper than it was in 2008 under CCA's operation." Thomas says the county commission hasn't received nearly as many jail complaints since McKeithen took over from CCA.

March 4, 2010 AP
A magazine that advocates for the rights of prisoners has won another round in the legal battle with private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America. The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to hear CCA's appeal of a lower court's ruling that it must turn over some documents on lawsuits and complaints against the company. Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner who is now an editor at Prison Legal News, asked for the information in 2007 and sued Nashville-based CCA after the company refused to turn it over. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled last year that CCA must comply with the state's open records law because it performs the equivalent function of a government agency by running state prisons. The ruling only applies to Tennessee prisons, not federal prisons or facilities in other states that the company runs.

March 4, 2010 Prison Legal News
On March 1, the Tennessee Supreme Court, in a two-sentence order, declined to hear an appeal in a public records case involving Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), the nation’s largest for-profit private prison firm. The case was originally filed in May 2008 by Alex Friedmann, Associate Editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), a non-profit monthly publication that reports on criminal justice issues. CCA had denied Friedmann’s request for documents related to lawsuits filed against the company and for reports or audits that found contract violations by CCA, among other records. The Chancery Court of Davidson County ruled in Friedmann’s favor on July 29, 2008 and CCA was ordered to produce the requested documents. On appeal, CCA strenuously claimed that it was not subject to the Public Records Act because it was not the “functional equivalent of a state agency.” However, the Court of Appeals rejected that argument. “With all due respect to CCA, this Court is at a loss as to how operating a prison could be considered anything less than a governmental function,” the appellate court observed in a September 16, 2009 ruling. The Court of Appeals held that CCA was subject to the Public Records Act, and was required to disclose the documents requested by Friedmann for all but one of the company’s facilities in Tennessee. CCA appealed the appellate decision to the state Supreme Court and Friedmann cross-appealed on the issue of attorney fees. In declining to hear the appeals on March 1, the Supreme Court left intact the appellate court’s previous ruling. The case will now be remanded to the Chancery Court for further proceedings, to determine which records CCA will be required to make public. “This decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court brings us one step closer to ensuring that CCA is held accountable to the public to the same extent as the government agencies it contracts with, which will bring much-needed transparency to CCA’s private prison operations in Tennessee,” Friedmann said. He noted that CCA’s contracts are funded with taxpayer dollars, and members of the public thus have a right to know how their money is being spent – particularly in regard to the operation of prisons, which is a fundamental government function. Friedmann, who was formerly incarcerated at a CCA facility in the mid-1990s, opposes prison privatization. “Allowing a private company to incarcerate people, and generate profit from their incarceration, is morally wrong and a social injustice,” he stated. A number of organizations had filed amicus briefs in support of Friedmann’s appeal when the case was before the Court of Appeals. Those organizations included the Tennessee ACLU, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Society for Newspaper Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government (TCOG) had asked to file an amicus brief in support of Friedmann’s appeal to the state Supreme Court. The case is Friedmann v. CCA, Tenn. Supreme Court, Case No. M2008-01998-SC-R11-CV. Friedmann and PLN are ably represented by attorney Andrew Clarke of the Memphis law firm of Borod and Kramer, PLC.

February 21, 2010 Tennessean
The national economy may be weak, but the business of lobbying the federal government continues to boom. And Tennessee businesses, universities, cities and other groups did their part in 2009, spending $44.4 million on lobbying, according to an analysis of disclosure reports filed with Congress. Nationally, the number of registered lobbyists declined last year for the first time in at least a decade, but the amount spent continued to grow, nearing $3.5 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's up 37 percent from five years ago. Among Tennessee-based institutions, Memphis-based FedEx spent the most, $18.8 million, placing it among the top 15 spenders nationally. Among those 15, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked first, reporting $144.5 million in lobbying expenses. Much of the spending by FedEx, as with other large companies, was for the company's in-house lobbying operation. FedEx also paid 15 outside firms. The company lobbied on transportation, the stimulus legislation and labor issues, among others. Nissan North America, based in Smyrna, was next, spending $6.6 million on lobbying last year. The automaker listed fuel economy, energy issues and the Cash for Clunkers program as targets. The next-highest spender was International Paper, also based in Memphis, which reported about $3.4 million in lobbying expenses. Other big spenders were Nashville's Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private prison company, which spent about $2 million, and Eastman Chemical, headquartered in Kingsport, which reported $1.7 million in lobbying expenses.

February 15, 2010 Greenwood Commonwealth
Joseph Leon Jackson Jr., a former inmate at Delta Correctional Facility who escaped from custody in June during a visit to a Greenwood optician’s office, and his alleged accomplice will face trial on Sept. 20 in Nashville, Tenn. Jackson and his cousin, Courtney Logan, were accused of shooting a Nashville police officer during a traffic stop. The two are facing charges of attempted murder and evading arrest for the June 25 shooting of Sgt. Mark Chesnut. Both pleaded not guilty in November and declared they were indigent. A judge appointed defense attorneys to represent them. Chesnut, 44, has returned to light duty with the police department since the shooting. Police say Chesnut stopped the men on Interstate 40 near Bellevue, Tenn., hours after Logan helped Jackon escape. Chestnut was shot five times while checking the suspects’ driver’s licenses. Jackson, 30, and Logan, 25, were caught a short time later after Chestnut backed his car away from the shooters and radioed descriptions of the men and the car they were driving. Chesnut has also filed a civil suit against Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the Delta Correctional Facility, alleging the company failed to follow its own security policies and was responsible for the shooting. CCA has denied liability in the shooting. Chestnut is seeking $14 million and his wife, Michelle Chestnut is seeking $2.5 million.

January 26, 2010 The Vindicator
Corrections Corp. of America, which operates the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Hubbard Road, has sued the city, saying the city’s recently enacted $1 per-prisoner per-day tax on private prisons violates the U.S. and Ohio constitutions and the city charter. A deputy city law director, however, said the prisoner accommodation tax ordinance city council passed last year is valid. The Nashville-based CCA filed the lawsuit Friday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where the case is assigned to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum. No court hearing has been scheduled. The new tax, which took effect Dec. 1, “discriminates against interstate commerce” in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit said. Because all inmates at NOCC are prisoners or detainees of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons or the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and CCA is acting as “an instrumentality of the federal government,” the fee also violates the intergovernmental tax immunity doctrine in the supremacy clause of the Constitution, the suit says. The tax violates the equal-protection clauses of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions because “the fee serves no legitimate public purpose, and there is no rational basis for the discrimination between CCA and any other entity housing prisoners within the city,” the suit says. The tax also violates the city charter because council improperly enacted it as an emergency measure and “because it is an occupational tax, which has not been submitted to the electorate,” the corporation’s complaint says. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the corporation by Atty. Timothy J. Bojanowski of Phoenix, asks the court to declare the tax unconstitutional and void it, prohibit the city from collecting it, and bar the city from punishing the corporation for not paying it. Last month, CCA sent the city a letter saying the corporation objected to the tax and wasn’t going to pay it, the lawsuit says. “This is entirely within our rights as a city to do this. It does not violate the interstate commerce clause. ... There is no intent to penalize interstate commerce,” said Anthony Farris, deputy city law director. The ordinance was projected to generate slightly more than $500,000 annually for the city’s general fund, which pays the city’s general expenses, including those of police and fire protection, Farris said. “We believe we are entitled to these proceeds,” Farris said, adding that the city hasn’t yet received any revenue under this ordinance. In June 2009, council passed an emergency ordinance imposing the tax for prisoners convicted of crimes occurring outside Mahoning County, after the city unsuccessfully tried to negotiate such a payment from CCA, Farris said. In response to the corporation’s objections, council amended the ordinance in November to encompass all convicted prisoners housed within the city by a private institution regardless of where their crimes occurred, Farris said. “We analyzed it again, and we wanted to make sure we were absolutely correct so that we would prevail in this litigation should it occur. ... We wanted to make sure that we were absolutely 100 percent right, which we are,” Farris explained. “Their business brings prisoners — criminals — into the area. That’s something that has to be addressed by all aspects of government. There are law-enforcement issues with that. One has to maintain a state of readiness when you have a large amount of criminals in your area, and we feel that that justifies this fee,” Farris concluded.

January 22, 2010 Tennessean
A jury will decide the fate of two men accused of shooting a Metro police officer during a traffic stop last summer. The trial of Joseph Jackson Jr. and Courtney Logan has been scheduled for Sept. 20, Judge Seth Norman said. The pair did not appear in court on Thursday for the short hearing. "Typically when all the attorneys are going to do is set a date, both sides have already decided they're going to trial," Davidson County District Attorney spokeswoman Susan Niland said. "The hearing only takes about 30 seconds at the most." Jackson and Logan are accused of attempted murder and evading arrest in connection with the June 25 shooting of Metro police Sgt. Mark Chesnut. The men entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in November. Both declared that they were indigent, and a judge appointed defense attorneys to represent them. Chesnut, 44, is still recovering and has returned to light duty with the Metro police department. On the day of the shooting police say Chesnut stopped the men on Interstate 40 near Bellevue just hours after Logan helped Jackson, his cousin, escape from a prison in Mississippi run by the Corrections Corporation of America. While Chesnut was checking their licenses, according to police, Jackson walked up to the car and shot Chesnut, who suffered life-threatening injuries. Chesnut was shot five times. Jackson, 30, and Logan, 25, were caught a short time later after Chesnut backed his car away from the shooters and radioed in descriptions of the men and the car they were driving. Chesnut, a 22-year police veteran, has since filed a civil suit against CCA, alleging the company failed to follow its own security policies and was responsible for the shooting. Chesnut is seeking $14 million and his wife, Michelle Chesnut, is seeking $2.5 million.

December 18, 2009 Nashville Business Journal
When Damon Hininger took over as president and CEO of Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America in October, it capped a 17-year journey from his first job with the company as a correctional officer in his hometown of Leavenworth, Kan. Hininger now presides over a corporation that many believe could make a similarly meteoric rise out the recession — and one that continually confronts skepticism and critics’ philosophical opposition to what the company does. CCA (NYSE: CXW) is the nation’s largest private prison company and the fifth-largest prison manager in the country behind the federal government and three states. The company has nearly 87,000 prison beds in the United States. Its closest competitor, The GEO Group (NYSE: GEO), has 53,000 beds in the United States and 60,000 worldwide. CCA’s revenue was $1.6 billion in 2008, up $500 million since 2004. Corrections Corp. manages 65 facilities in 19 states and the District of Columbia, 44 of which the company also owns. Managed facilities in Tennessee include the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville and five other prisons. In a recent interview with the Nashville Business Journal, Hininger said the company offers its customers the best of both worlds: the oversight and accountability of government, and the innovation and cost effectiveness of business. Critics, however, worry about the dangers of introducing a profit motive into the penal system, fearing it may lead to cost-saving measures that put inmates and the public at risk. Most people see prisons when they think about CCA. Bill Ackman saw a high-quality real estate business with credit-worthy tenants (governments), low maintenance costs and competitive advantages. His investment firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, has recently purchased 10.9 million shares of the company, a 9.5 percent ownership stake, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In a recent presentation at the Value Investing Congress, Ackman noted several things he likes about the company including its national footprint, balance sheet and ability to both capture incremental growth in prisoner populations and also relieve existing overcrowding in federal and state prisons. T.C. Robillard, an analyst with Signal Hill Capital Group in Baltimore, is similarly impressed with the company. “They’ve got a real solid balance sheet and a strong management team,” he said, noting that only 8 percent of the nation’s prisons are privately managed. “There’s clearly a lot of runway in terms of growth …” But while Ackman sees CCA as a bargain investment, Robillard believes the company’s value is appropriately built into its share price of about $25. He has a hold rating on the company and believes competitors GEO and Cornell Cos. are better investments. Anticipating growth CCA has adopted a strategy of increasing its bed capacity faster than it adds inmates, so that it can quickly meet customers’ needs. “We have learned … that when a state agency or federal government wants to make a purchase, they make a decision at the very last minute with overpopulation and budget constraints,” he said. “They want the beds as soon as possible.” CCA more than doubled its capacity of beds through the third quarter of this year. While its average population grew 4.5 percent, its average available beds jumped 9.2 percent. CCA has weathered the recession well — revenue is at $1.2 billion through the third quarter of this year, up about $70 million — but Hininger said the prison business is impacted by states’ budget deficits. To confront budget woes, some states, including Tennessee, have looked at releasing prisoners early. This month, CCA announced it will close a Minnesota facility because the two states that house prisoners there have been reducing their populations. Still, Hininger believes the company’s mid- to long-term prospects are favorable. “You will have some states where, even with tough budgets, they will have to expand due to overcrowding,” Hininger said. “And states have little money to build new facilities themselves.” Hininger said CCA can build a prison in a fraction of the time and for half the cost of government by taking advantage of market conditions. For example, he said the company recently built a prison for its largest state customer, California, in Arizona to take advantage of lower construction, labor and real estate prices in that state. Profit concerns Hearing incarceration discussed in such cut-and-dry business terms grates on the ears of those who fear the profit motive could lead to negative consequences in the penal system. “Freedom is a core right of the American people and only government should have the right to take it away,” said Amy Fettig, staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project in Washington. Fettig said private prison companies achieve lower costs through cutbacks in training, rehabilitation services, medical care and compensation. CCA denies such allegations. Louise Grant, CCA’s vice president of marketing and communication, and Hininger argued that it is precisely because they are under such a microscope that their facilities are safe. “We have more incentive to operate even more safely and securely because there is such a demand for accountability by the government partners,” said Grant, who said a government “contract monitor” works in each CCA facility. Overall research on the quality and cost of private versus public prisons is inconclusive and often biased. Studies in support of private prisons include those funded by Corrections Corp. or authored by pro-privatization think tanks. Critical reports often come from sources such as Nashvillian Alex Friedmann, a convicted felon and former prisoner in a CCA prison, associate editor of Prison Legal News and vice president of the Private Corrections Institute. Some critics contend there is a fundamental problem with prisons being run by for-profit entities that have no financial interest in seeing prisoners rehabilitated. Hininger acknowledges that the company is paid on a per-inmate basis, but forcefully denies allegations that it lobbies for stricter sentencing, against early release or tries to influence prisoner populations. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, CCA has spent $770,000 lobbying at the federal level this year and has spent as much as $3.4 million in one year, 2005. Grant said “anybody who provides services to government uses lobbyists” and that CCA is no exception. She said the company may use lobbyists to fight bans on While most of the negative publicity about private prisons has been focused on immigration prisons in the Southwest, CCA also has been dragged into the spotlight locally, most notably when inmate Estelle Richardson died in CCA’s Nashville facility in 2004. The death was ruled a homicide, but charges against four CCA officers were ultimately dropped.

December 11, 2009 TPM Muckraker
A party planning side business run by three current and former congressional staffers raked in over $20,000 last year from lobbyists holding events to honor Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) -- whose own communications director is co-founder of the firm. The apparent arrangement between Thompson and the business, Chic Productions, at once allows private interests to get closer to the congressman's office and gives the staffers a way to dip a straw into the river of outside money flowing through Capitol Hill. Chic Productions offers "high style events with simple elegance" and advertises its previous work executing "congressional events and fundraising parties." One of Chic's principals was quoted in 2007 saying congressional events make up roughly 90 percent of the firm's business. The three women who run Chic are: Dena Graziano, Thompson's communications director since 2006; Michone Johnson, chief counsel for the House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee; and Michelle Persaud, formerly of the House Judiciary Committee, now corporate counsel at T-Mobile. Graziano's bio on Chic's Web site says she has "straddled the fine line between politics and entertainment as an event and communications strategist to some of the nation's most well known personalities." Johnson's boasts that, "As a lawyer, Michone has honed her planning skills by executing everything from intense negotiations and member briefings to happy hours birthday parties, and staff retirement parties." A Chic floral display with the congressional seal at '07 Thompson eventThe extent of the business Chic has done for Thompson remains unclear because lobbyist disclosure statements that reveal the arrangement have only recently been required, and comprehensive data is available only for 2008. But besides the lobbyist receptions, Chic has put on at least six other Thompson-linked events. Lobbyists spend millions of dollars each year wining and dining lawmakers at receptions held in their honor. The events serve many purposes, among them gaining valuable access to members of Congress and staffers, and building good will in a relaxed social format. But actually paying staffers to organize events to honor their bosses is a new twist on the old practice. As chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, Thompson is among the most powerful Democrats in the House. He has been under an ethical cloud since last week when the Washington Post reported on allegations by Homeland Security Committee staffers that he held a hearing on credit cards to squeeze donations out of industry lobbyists. One committee staffer said she was fired for raising objections to "inappropriate lobbyist requests." Thompson denies the allegations, which are under investigation by the House ethics panel. Thompson at Chic "Chairman Reception" in 2007In a six-week period in late 2008, four companies paid Chic $22,500 to plan events to honor Thompson, according to lobbying disclosures reviewed by TPMmuckraker. The companies were private prison contractor Corrections Corporation of America ($10,000), lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs ($5,000), Pepsico ($5,000), and software giant Oracle ($2,500).

December 9, 2009 Tennessean
The Corrections Corporation of America has responded to allegations that Sgt. Mark Chesnut's shooting was because of its negligence, saying that it wasn't reasonable to foresee that their escaped prisoner would shoot him. What happened to Chesnut, the private prison giant said in its response to the lawsuit, is part of the risk inherent to being a police officer. Chesnut filed suit in October, alleging that Nashville-based CCA's negligence contributed to him being shot multiple times. Joseph Jackson Jr., who was serving a life sentence at a CCA-operated prison in Greenwood, Miss., and his cousin Courtney Logan have been charged with attempted murder in the shooting. David Raybin, Nashville attorney representing Chesnut, declined to comment on the response. CCA spokesman Steve Owen also declined to comment. Jackson had escaped from prison hours earlier — with the help of Logan — after Logan showed up armed to Jackson's off-site doctor's appointment, police say. Chesnut alleged in the suit, filed by Raybin, that Jackson was told in advance about the appointment and had access to cell phones to arrange the escape. CCA denied in the court filings that Jackson was told in advance about his doctor's appointment by a prison nurse or that he had access to a cell phone. They also denied that the armed guard went for her cell phone instead of her gun, though they admitted that the gun and phone were taken from her by Jackson and Logan. The company overall denied that its actions caused Chesnut's shooting and said the liability rests more with the two men charged. Chesnut, who is still recovering, has returned to work on light duty.

December 4, 2009 Marketwire
Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) ("CCA"), the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today its intention to cease operations at the CCA-owned and operated Prairie Correctional Facility located in Appleton, Minnesota. The 1,600-bed facility will officially cease operations on or about February 1, 2010. During 2009, the Prairie facility has housed offenders from the states of Minnesota and Washington. However, due to excess capacity in the states' systems, both states have been reducing the populations held at Prairie. The facility currently houses about 200 offenders from the state of Minnesota. The state of Washington has removed all of its offenders from the Prairie facility, but maintains a population of approximately 125 inmates in two CCA-owned facilities in Arizona. The closure of the Prairie facility is not expected to have a material impact on CCA's financial results.

November 24, 2009 Los Angeles Daily Journal
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inked a deal in October to ship 2,336 additional inmates to out-of-state facilities run by a private prison company, bringing the total number of California prisoners held by the firm since 2006 to roughly 10,500. The contract extension, worth $54.4 million a year, came six months after the company, Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America, donated $100,000 to Budget Reform Now, a group spearheaded by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that sought to pass six budget-related propositions, none having anything to do with private prisons. Because of an emergency proclamation regarding prison overcrowding issued by Schwarzenegger in 2006, the contract extension does not require legislative approval, though lawmakers can still kill it if they don't approve the spending when they re-convene in January. Rachel Arrezola, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, said the contract extension was not related to the donation. "The Governor had nothing to do with it," she wrote in an e-mail. She said the corrections department alone made the decision. Corrections officials have said they increased the number of inmates exported to private prisons because of crowding in California's 33 prisons. A three-judge panel in August ordered officials to reduce the prison population by about 40,000. The agency was closed Friday under a cost-saving furlough and spokesmen did not return messages and e-mails for comment regarding the donation but had said earlier in the week that it was a necessary step to reduce crowding. Corrections Corp. also denied the donation was tied to the contract extension, which brings the total value of its California contract to more than $224 million a year. "We are politically active and make contributions to Democrats and Republicans alike all over the country, as do all companies of our size and reach," said Louise Grant, vice president of communications at Corrections Corp. Corrections Corp. donated $234,500 in 2007-08, and $38,900 so far this year, to several members of the California Legislature and the state Democratic and Republican parties, according to its filings with the Secretary of State. The firm has also reported spending about $45,000 for each of the last three quarters on lobbyists in California. "It's certainly no accident that this company made this contribution and then got awarded the contract extension," said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. "But I'm convinced there was no quid pro quo here." Rather, Stern said handing out donations merely gives corporations more and easier access to politicians. California pays Corrections Corp. $63 a day to house 7,911 inmates in its facilities in Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi. At about the time of the donation, the company reported that it had instituted a hiring freeze and was considering freezing executive salaries and other cost-cutting measures. It had postponed a plan to build a prison in Tennessee. A number of expected contracts were on hold; others never came through. In August, Alaska announced that it would go with a competitor. Minnesota is also pulling back inmates, the company has reported. According to its SEC filings, many of Correction Corp.'s facilities had 100 or more empty beds on Nov. 1, bringing the number of vacancies above 8,800. In December, 765 Alaskan inmates will be removed from the company's Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona, according to the filings. With the contract expansion, California inmates will be filling those beds, plus others in other facilities. In addition to the daily rate, the contract calls for the state to reimburse medical expenses in excess of $2,500. Neither the original contract with Corrections Corp., nor a subsequent extension that increased the number of inmates to a maximum of about 8,000, have been vetted by the Legislature. Schwarzenegger's 2006 emergency order allows the corrections department to circumvent legislative approval. That first contract was one of two awarded by the state to house up to 2,260 inmates in private facilities. The other contractor was GEO Group Inc., of Florida, which had managed some low-level California prisons on a contract since 1995. Geo Group - formerly Wackenhut - had made $68,000 in campaign contributions to various Schwarzenegger political committees in fiscal year 2005-06, before the contract was awarded. After a major riot and fire occurred at the private prison where the California inmates were slated to go, California rescinded its contract with GEO Group. The company still manages a low-security prison in Adalanto and three in McFarland. One of the McFarland facilities will close in two months, according to corrections officials.

November 10, 2009 WSMV
The two men accused of trying to kill a Metro police officer during a traffic stop received public defenders at a Tuesday arraignment. Courtney Logan and Joseph Jackson were in court, where attorneys entered not guilty pleas in their defense. Investigators said Logan helped Jackson escape police custody in Mississippi in June. When Sgt. Mark Chesnut pulled the pair over for a traffic violation in west Nashville, Logan is accused of grabbed a gun and shooting Chesnut several times. Logan and Jackson both face charges of attempted first-degree murder. Chesnut filed a lawsuit Oct. 30 against Corrections Corporation of America for $14 million. CCA operates the prison that held Jackson before his escape in June. According to the lawsuit, Jackson was given two weeks advance notice of the appointment and was able to access a cell phone to plan the escape with Logan. The weapon used to shoot Chesnut was taken from one of the CCA guards who accompanied Jackson to the appointment. Chesnut's attorney said the entire incident wouldn't have occurred if CCA hadn't been negligent with its policies.

November 10, 2009 NewsChannel 5
The two men accused of critically injuring a Metro police officer during a traffic stop have been scheduled to answer to the charges in court Tuesday. Joseph Jackson and Courtney Logan will be arraigned Tuesday on attempted first degree murder charges. Police said Jackson, an escaped inmate from Mississippi, shot Sgt. Mark Chesnut several times in June 2009 while the officer was sitting in his patrol car on Interstate 40 near Bellevue. Chestnut had just stopped the pair for a seatbelt violation. Chesnut has since returned to work following his recovery. Chesnut also filed a $14 million lawsuit against the Corrections Corporation of America, claiming they are responsible for his injuries because Jackson escaped from custody under the supervision of their guards at a doctor's appointment.

October 30, 2009 Tennessean
Sgt. Mark Chesnut, the Metro police officer shot by an escaped prisoner in June has filed suit against the Corrections Corporation of America, alleging the company is responsible for the failures that led to the escape and subsequent shooting. Chesnut was critically injured on June 25 when he was shot five times during a traffic stop. Police later arrested Joseph Jackson, Jr., who escaped from prison in Mississippi earlier that day, and his cousin Courtney Logan, accused of helping Jackson escape, for the shooting. Chesnut is still recovering from the injuries. CCA spokesman Steve Owen said the company has not been served with the suit and is not in a position to comment. According to the lawsuit, filed late Friday by Nashville attorney David Raybin, the company was negligent in following its own policies to prevent and respond to an escape. Chesnut is seeking $14 million from the Nashville-based private corrections giant, and his wife, Michelle Chesnut, is seeking an additional $2.5 million. “They give (Jackson) advanced warning, the means to escape, they give him a gun and he’s out in a few hours shooting a police officer,” Raybin said. “To me, it’s foreseeable that any police officer who stopped these guys was in mortal danger.” Jackson had two weeks notice that he was going to an off-site doctor’s appointment and didn’t prevent him access from cell phones that he used to plan his escape, the lawsuit said. The advance notification was against the policies of CCA, which operated the Delta Correctional Facility in Greenwood, Miss., where Jackson was held. Police said that Logan entered the doctor’s office during the scheduled time to help Jackson escape. Logan fired several shots into the ceiling, and ordered everyone to get down. The lawsuit adds new details about the escape, saying that Jackson, who was in prison for violent offenses and serving a life sentence, was escorted by an armed female guard and two unarmed male guards. When Logan pulled the gun, according to the lawsuit, the armed guard reached not for her gun but for her cell phone. Jackson took the gun and the phone, and the two fled toward Nashville. Just a few hours later, they were pulled over by Chesnut. “For the few extra dollars it might have cost this for-profit institution to have a house call, Sgt. Chesnut wouldn’t have eight bullets in him,” Raybin said. Chesnut was running Logan’s driver’s license when Jackson walked back to talk to the officer. He walked away, but came back and drew the gun he took from the CCA guard, shooting Chesnut five times. Two bullets lodged in his bulletproof vest, but he was struck by the other three. Despite the injury, Chesnut threw the car into reverse when the gunman returned and radioed in the shooting, giving a description of the suspects and the car to officers that were looking for them within minutes. They were arrested within hours by Metro police and taken into custody without incident. “He radioed in not only to report own injury, but in hope that other officers could stop these guys,” Raybin said. “It’s about as heroic a thing as I’ve ever seen.” CCA was under heavy criticism for security in February 2008, when Terrell Watson escaped from the Metro Detention Facility in Nashville. When Watson was discovered missing, jail employees notified authorities and put the jail on lockdown, and an exhaustive search inside the prison and around the grounds went on for two days. They didn’t file an escape warrant that would let other police agencies know he was an escaped prisoner for two days. The internal procedure to handle a possible escape dictates only that police should be notified, CCA officials said at the time.

October 18, 2009 Honolulu Advertiser
A female inmate who was housed at the Otter Creek Women's Prison in Kentucky has filed a lawsuit against the state of Hawaii and the company that operates the prison, alleging she was sexually assaulted by a guard while incarcerated. Pania Kalama, 35, alleges in her Circuit Court lawsuit that the state and Corrections Corporation of America knew about improper behavior by corrections staff at Otter Creek, but took no actions to ensure the safety of inmates. Kalama said she was sexually assaulted on June 13 by corrections officer Charlie Prater, according to the lawsuit. Last month, Prater, 54, was indicted in Kentucky on a charge of first-degree rape. Hawaii corrections officials sent 165 women inmates to Otter Creek, a private prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America. State officials removed the inmates from the facility following allegations of sexual assaults of inmates by staff. The lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Myles Breiner, seeks an undetermined amount in damages.

October 14, 2009 The Denver Post
A private prison operator will pay $1.3 million to settle complaints from 21 female employees who claimed they suffered harassment from male supervisors and colleagues ranging from sexually explicit comments to rape. A female officer complained a male co-worker sexually harassed her and that after she complained, she was reassigned to an isolated location of the medium-security Crowley County Correctional Facility where she was raped by the man she complained about, according to the federal lawsuit. The suit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also accused a chief of security at the prison of forcing a female correctional officer to have sex with him so she could keep her job. Female employees also accused their male counterparts of openly viewing pornography and making demeaning sexual jokes about them. The EEOC sued Corrections Corporation of America and Dominion Correctional Services on behalf of the female employees in 2006. Although a settlement was reached, the defendants did not admit liability. Dominion is no longer operating prisons and the company could not be reached for comment. "CCA settled the claim to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainties of continued litigation and trial," said a statement issued by that company. CCA assumed control of the prison in January 2003 from Dominion and claims that a "substantial number" of the more serious allegations occurred under Dominion's operation. "Of the 21 individuals alleging discriminatory conduct, eight were never CCA employees, but were employed solely by Dominion," the statement said. "Moreover, although seven of the 21 individuals were employed by both CCA and Dominion, the majority of their claims also related to events that allegedly occurred before CCA began operating the facility." EEOC attorney Rita Byrnes Kittle said some of the employees accused of sexual harassment over the years have resigned, but some are still working at the prison. Guadalupe Gonzales, the 39-year-old former employee accused of rape in 2002, was convicted in 2005 of felony sexual assault. He was sentenced to four years of probation and is registered as a sex offender. As part of the settlement agreement, Dominion cannot operate a prison in Colorado for three years. CCA must have sexual harassment training conducted by an outside expert for the next three years and have a toll-free number available for employees to call to report sexual harassment. Some of the women who lost their jobs because of the harassment will get them back and will also get letters of apology. The settlement comes four months after a federal judge imposed a $1.3 million judgment against a former Colorado correctional officer who sexually abused a female inmate at the state women's complex in Denver.

September 3, 2009 Arizona Daily Sun
A lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses the Corrections Corporation of America and an Arizona prison of denying inmates some books. Prison Legal News, a nonprofit criminal-justice publication, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Nashville, Tenn., company and various officials at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. The Seattle-based publication also publishes, sells and distributes books to about 7,000 prisoners around the world. The nonprofit accuses prison officials of prohibiting at least six Saguaro prisoners from receiving books in the last two years. Calls to Saguaro warden Todd Thomas and Corrections Corporation of America were not returned Wednesday. When refusing Prison Legal books to inmates, prison officials gave them notices saying that the company was not an approved vendor and that their books would "create a serious danger to the security of the facility," according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says that the prison only allowed inmates to get their books from Barnes & Noble, and when that company didn't have a certain publication, they could use amazon.com. Prison Legal gives inmates books for free if they can't afford them. The lawsuit says Corrections Corporation of America and prison officials are violating Prison Legal's First and 14th Amendment rights. The publisher wants the prison to be ordered to pay unspecified damages and allow inmates to get Prison Legal books.

August 31, 2009 Kansas City Star
The largest U.S. private prison firm, in settling a national class-action lawsuit, has agreed to payments worth up to $7 million in back pay and attorney fees for more than 30,000 guards and other employees. The agreement by the company, Corrections Corporation of America, was approved in February and promptly sealed. But it was unsealed last week in Kansas by U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum. The guards and other workers had claimed they were regularly required to work off the clock, in violation of federal labor laws. Eligible employees will reportedly receive about $100 for each year they worked for the company, from December 2005 through February 2009. The case grew from a single complaint from employee Keith Barnwell at the company’s Leavenworth facility. As part of the settlement, the company denied any wrongdoing. Lungstrum’s decision to unseal the settlement came on a motion from Prison Legal News, a Seattle-based monthly newsletter that reports on criminal justice issues. Prison Legal News had argued that the settlement agreement was a public document, in part because the company’s contracts for prison space involve tax dollars. Corrections Corporation of America lawyers argued against unsealing the document, saying that it was not newsworthy and that the settlement relied for success on the terms of the agreement being sealed. The company also argued that the newsletter was simply trying to disparage it by showing that the company violated labor law. Lungstrum ultimately ruled that the company’s argument “is not significant enough to outweigh the strong presumption in favor of public access to judicial records.” The attorney for the employees, Brendan J. Donelon of Kansas City, had no comment on the decision to unseal the agreement, but he said he was satisfied with the results of the lawsuit. A separate case is pending against the company covering employees the company had allegedly misclassified as managers and who should have received overtime, Donelon added.

August 28, 2009 PLN Press Release
Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas unsealed a settlement agreement in a national class-action lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison firm. On July 27, 2009, Prison Legal News (PLN), a monthly publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues, had filed a motion to intervene in the suit for the purpose of unsealing the settlement. The suit, brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), alleged that for years CCA had required some of its employees to perform work duties "without compensating them for all such hours worked as required by the FLSA." The parties reached a settlement that was approved by the court on February 12, 2009; however, the settlement was sealed and did not become publicly known until June. PLN argued that as a matter of public policy, documents filed in federal court should remain open to the public. This is particularly true for CCA, since almost all of CCA’s income is derived from taxpayer funds through government contracts. The court agreed that the settlement and related documents should be unsealed. U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum wrote that the confidentiality of the settlement was insufficient "to outweigh the strong presumption in favor of public access to judicial records," and that "no evidence whatsoever" had been presented to show that unsealing the settlement agreement "would cause significant damage or prejudice to the parties. ..." The unsealed documents reveal that the maximum gross settlement amount payable by CCA is $7 million, which includes up to $2.33 million in fees for the plaintiffs’ attorneys who brought the FLSA suit. The actual amount of the settlement and attorney fees will depend on the total number of class members who opt-in to the settlement. CCA was responsible for providing a list of the potential class members, consisting of current and former CCA employees, so they could be notified of the settlement. The potential class numbers over 30,600 nationwide. PLN is aware of at least one former CCA employee who did not receive notice of the settlement but who was later determined to be eligible by the claims administrator. The deadline for submitting claims was July 27, 2009. The settlement provides that current CCA employees who opt-in to the settlement must agree, among other requirements, that they will "report any alleged instruction or suggestion by CCA or any CCA employee to work ‘off the clock’ or to otherwise under- or over-report the amount of working time." CCA expressly denied any liability or wrongdoing, and wrote that the company had agreed to settle the case to avoid "the costs and disruption of ongoing litigation." The class action suit against CCA is Barnwell, et al. v. Corrections Corp. of America, U.S.D.C. (D. Kan.), Case No. 2:08-CV-02151-JWL-DJW. PLN was ably represented in its motion to intervene by Stephen D. Bonney, Chief Counsel and Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. Other than its motion to intervene, PLN has no part in this lawsuit.

August 7, 2009 Tennessean
Prisons run by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America perform a government function and must follow public records laws, the Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled. The prison giant appealed the ruling issued last year by Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman, who ruled that the corporation was the functional equivalent of government and that its administrators must turn over all records requested by prison reform advocate Alex Friedmann. Friedmann, the associate editor of the monthly publication Prison Legal News, sued for access to several types of records, including CCA's government contracts, legal settlements and cases where CCA was sanctioned or fined. "With all due respect to CCA, this court is at a loss as to how operating a prison could be considered anything less than a governmental function," Judge D. Michael Swiney wrote in the opinion. But the court also reversed Bonnyman's order that the company produce all the records, though, saying that the Private Prison Contracting Act limits the records the country's largest private prison corporation must make public. CCA spokesman Steve Owen said in an e-mail that the company is still "reviewing the decision to determine its full impact." Friedmann said he is pleased with the ruling, although it's mixed. "The main issue we did prevail on, and that CCA argued very hard at, was whether CCA was the functional equivalent of a state agency," Friedmann said. "Their argument against that was blatantly frivolous." He said he has not consulted yet with his attorney but plans to submit another public records request to the company in light of the ruling. They are considering whether to challenge parts of the decision.

July 20, 2009 Knoxville News Sentinel
John Ferguson, CEO and board chairman of Corrections Corporation of America, has donated to all four major Republican candidates for governor and to all four major Democratic candidates as well, a review of candidate disclosures shows. But Ferguson, who served as state finance commissioner under former Republican Gov. Don Sundquist, did apparently have a favorite in each party. He donated $2,500 each to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican, and Mike McWherter, a Democratic candidate who is son of former Gov. Ned McWherter. That is the maximum allowed for an individual's contribution to a primary campaign under state law. To all other major candidates, the Ferguson donations were for $1,000 each. The Democrats receiving $1,000 contributions were Nashville businessman Ward Cammack, state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden and former state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan of Clarksville. The Republicans receiving $1,000 were District Attorney General Bill Gibbons of Memphis, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga. CCA contracts with governments to house prison inmates for a negotiated fee. The company is headquartered in Nashville and operates five facilities in the state, including two that house state inmates. At one point earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration proposed to terminate the state contract for CCA operation of the Whiteville Correctional Facility in West Tennessee, but subsequently accepted a one-year extension. Ferguson could not be reached for comment.

July 17, 2009 Times Free-Press
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey's gubernatorial fundraising got a big lift from trade groups and businesses that often have issues come before the General Assembly or do business with the state, midyear campaign disclosure shows. Filings show political action committees alone coughed up an estimated $140,000 to the campaign of Lt. Gov. Ramsey, according to a Chattanooga Times Free Press analysis of his campaign-finance report filed late Wednesday night with the state Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. Other readily identifiable interests, such as company owners or executives, gave at least $30,000, bringing the total linked to special interests contributing to the lieutenant governor to about $170,000, according to the report, which covered Jan. 15 through June 30. That comes to 12.7 percent of the $1.3 million that Lt. Gov. Ramsey reported in his disclosure. The lieutenant governor, who is the Senate's speaker, disclosed expenditures of $70,308.24, leaving him with $1.26 million on hand. He also had $41,944 in unpaid obligations for other expenditures such as $11,268 in postage for mailings. The lieutenant governor, who as a legislator was barred by a legal ban on in-session fundraising until June 1, recently announced he raised an "eye-popping" $1.3 million in 30 days from June 1 through June 30. Mr. Todd said contributions from interests before the legislature do not sway Sen. Ramsey. As speaker, Sen. Ramsey appoints committees and controls the flow of legislation. "Lt. Gov. Ramsey has been the most important and effective advocate for business and industry and commerce in our state, which is what we need," Mr. Todd said, calling it "no surprise that people who advocate pro-growth policies would support him." Among donors was the National Healthcare Corp. PAC, a nursing home chain, which in the last legislative session battled unsuccessfully to cap damage awards filed by patients or their families against nursing homes. The company's PAC gave $7,500, according to his disclosure. The Tennessee Health Care Association, which represents the nursing home industry, contributed another $3,500. "Ron Ramsey's position on issues like lawsuit reform ... are pretty long-standing and predate any discussion of limiting lawsuit abuse," Mr. Todd said. Top executives with Corrections Corporation of America, which operates one state prison and twice sought to privatize the entire state prison system, gave $9,500 to Lt. Gov. Ramsey, the disclosure shows. The company made no PAC contributions. The money CCA executives gave to Lt. Gov. Ramsey far exceeded the $5,000 they gave to Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, a Republican running for governor, as well as U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. ($3,500), and Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons ($1,500), another Republican. State Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, received $500 from CCA President John Ferguson, according to his disclosure.

June 29, 2009 Texas Watchdog
In the 2009 legislative session, the GEO Group, a Florida-based private prison company, poured money into lobbying, selecting some of the priciest and best-connected hired guns in Austin. The reason was simple: The company had a lot of explaining to do before state lawmakers. For at least three years now, the GEO Group has endured a rash of dangerous, embarrassing episodes that call into question the outfit’s ability to run prisons and jails. The state shut down one of its facilities, citing filthy conditions, while two riots broke out at its prison in West Texas. Then in April, a high court upheld a massive judgment against the GEO Group after an inmate was fatally beaten at another one of its prisons. This year state lawmakers (all Democrats) arrived in Austin with their sights set on the GEO Group. They authored six separate bills targeting private prison companies, most of which outlined more public accountability and state oversight. Anti-private prison activists were confident that some of the measures would be approved. But in a remarkable turnaround for the corrections outfit, if not the entire troubled industry, not a single anti-private prison bill passed. In fact, none of the measures even received a floor vote. Despite an ongoing bout of bad press and public mishaps, the GEO Group emerged unscathed this legislative session thanks to a team of high-dollar lobbyists with deep roots in state government. “At the beginning of the session there were several people who were rightfully outraged by what happened over the last two years,” says Bob Libal, the Texas campaigns coordinator for Grassroots Leadership, a social justice organization that opposes private prisons. “So for there to be nothing to come out of this session out of six or seven good thoughtful bills that would have just provided basic accountability, it’s really sad. And it really speaks to the private prison industry and the amount of influence they have.” That is particularly true of the GEO Group and its mental health unit, GEO Care, which shelled out a maximum of $370,000 this year on lobbyists in Austin, neatly coinciding with the company’s slate of troubles that made national news. Meanwhile, its rival, the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, spent a maximum $50,000, according to records on file with the Texas Ethics Commission. Both prison companies do comparable business with the state, with each firm operating all or part of at least nine state facilities. But it’s not just the GEO Group’s expense account that makes it noteworthy. A lot of companies pay top dollar for a crew of lobbyists. But few of them can match GEO’s well-connected team, a team that, over the last two sessions, have helped the outfit expand their business and beat back efforts to regulate their operations. In the 2007 legislative session–before the GEO Group’s troubles made headlines– lawmakers passed a bill that essentially allowed private prison companies to house more inmates, enabling them to make more money off their contracts with the state. During that session, two of the company’s lobbyists had close ties to then-House Speaker Tom Craddick. Bill Miller once served on Craddick’s transition team and as his consultant while fellow GEO lobbyist Michelle Wittenberg had served as the speaker’s general counsel. Both were also on hand for the company this session with each slated to make up to $50,000 this year, according to state ethics records. Also in the 2007 legislative session, the GEO Group enlisted the services of former House Republican Ray Allen, who resigned in the middle of his seventh term a year earlier to become a lobbyist for the company. He certainly had all kinds of experience. In 2003, Craddick appointed the Grand Prairie Republican to serve as the chairman of the House Corrections Committee even though at the time Allen was lobbying for a private prison company outside Texas. Interestingly, when Allen decided to quit his elected office, one reason was that he was “tired of being broke,” according to the Dallas Morning News. Almost immediately, Allen signed on to join the GEO Group’s team of lobbyists and was slated to earn as much as $100,000 from the prison company. He also lobbied for the GEO Group in 2007 with the same pay plan. The GEO Group’s top lobbyist is Lionel “Leo” Aguirre, a former executive with the state comptroller’s office. Aguirre is the widower of Lena Guerrero, who became the first Latina chair of the Texas Railroad Commission in 1992 after serving three terms in the state House. A state and federal lobbyist for the GEO Group, Aguirre topped the list of the state’s highest compensated prison lobbyists with a maximum salary at $250,000 in 2007. This year, Aguirre’s compensation remained unchanged. In that same list of hired guns, put together by Texans for Public Justice and Grassroots Leadership, the GEO Group had the four highest paid lobbyists of all the prison companies doing business in Texas. (The GEO Group did not return a call for comment.) The corrections firm’s local attorneys also have close ties to state government. In April, we reported how Carlos Zaffirini, the husband of state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, is a lawyer for the firm and has lobbied on behalf of the GEO Group before the Webb County Commissioners Court. The GEO Group also uses the Brownsville law firm of state Rep. Rene Oliveira as its local defense counsel. The House member’s cousin David Oliveira, a partner at the firm, has represented the company on a lawsuit alleging misconduct that one court described as “reprehensible.” That the GEO Group’s lobbyists helped beat back a half a dozen anti-private prison bills is remarkable considering the problems that have plagued the company lately. In April, a state high court upheld a record $42.5 million judgment against the GEO Group after inmates at its Willacy County prison beat a man to death while the warden merely chuckled. Earlier this year a riot and a fire broke out at its Reeves County prison, just two months after inmates took a pair of prison employees hostage. But the worst incident came in 2007, when state officials closed down the GEO Group’s 200-bed youth detention center in Coke County. Inspectors had reported that feces and urine littered the common areas, while the inmates’ education program consisted of a daily crossword puzzle slipped into their cell. Inmates would sometimes go 72 hours without taking a shower, days without brushing their teeth and were sometimes forced to defecate in something other than a toilet. Inspectors also found discrimination based on race. Whitmire  -- After the state took action against the company’s youth facility, an angry state Sen. John Whitmire, the powerful chairman of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, decided to take action. He ordered a probe into the embattled firm and concluded that it had done a “terrible job” operating the Coke County facility. But for the GEO Group, that rebuke was about all it would ever hear out of Austin. The GEO Group is hardly the only prison company that chooses its Texas lobbyists wisely. The Corrections Corporation of America, whose embattled immigrant detention facility in South Texas was the focus of a federal lawsuit last year, can count on Mike Toomey to navigate the corridors of the state capitol. Toomey is a former three-term House member. On his online bio with Texas Lobby Group, where he is listed as one of three consultants, Toomey is also billed as “only individual in Texas history to be Chief of Staff for two Texas Governors”–Rick Perry and William Clements. Open government advocates say that companies often seek out lobbyists who either worked for lawmakers or served in the legislature. “It’s a huge advantage. You know how things work, you know the system and most specifically you know the members you are lobbying,” says Mary Boyle, the spokesperson for Common Cause, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting good government practices. “Lobbying is all about relationships.” Those relationships aren’t exactly out in the open either. They’re often fostered after hours, perhaps at a dimly-lit restaurant where lobbyists might present their case to a lawmaker between glasses of wine. If they’re good at their job, they’ll avoid a messy floor vote and figure out how to silence a bill they don’t like without a pitched public debate. Just look at HB 3903, which was killed on the House floor without anyone explaining why. Ortiz -- Authored by House Democrat Solomon Ortiz Jr., the bill would have made privately-run state prisons subject to open records laws, prompting companies like the GEO Group to be more transparent about how they operate public facilities. But seven House members, including Jerry Madden, the former corrections chair, signed a card to send it back to the Local Consent and Calendar Committee. That was a delay tactic that, at that late date, had the effect of killing the bill. “I am disappointed that HB 3903 was removed from the calendar,” says Ortiz in an e-mail to Texas Watchdog. “My bill would have allowed more oversight of the private prison industry. The public deserves a say on whether they want a private prison in their area, and the media need better access to information about these facilities to ensure that they are properly run.” Did the GEO Group’s lobbyists play a role in defeating Ortiz’s accountability measure? Ortiz, a Corpus Christi Democrat, wouldn’t say. But it couldn’t have hurt that the firm employs two lobbyists with close Craddick ties, considering that Madden himself was one of the former House Speaker’s most loyal allies. Madden -- Madden readily admits to Texas Watchdog that he had conversations with GEO lobbyist Wittenberg, who once served as Craddick’s general counsel, about Ortiz’s bill. Suffice it to say she didn’t like it. But the Richardson Republican says that just because he talks to lobbyists doesn’t mean he listens to them alone. In this case, though, he agreed with Wittenberg’s position that Ortiz’s bill would have singled out prison companies to comply with open records laws when other private firms have no such mandate. “A lobbyist is effective when a legislator gets to know them,” he says. “When you get information from them that it is true, they gain your respect. But in my case I’ve always had an open door and try to listen to all sides.” But critics of the private prison industry say that only one side is really heard. “The private prison industry pours money into the Texas Capitol, building connections and allies,” says Libal with Grassroots Leadership. “This legislative session is as good an example as any of how that money pays off.” Contact Matt Pulle at matt@texaswatchdog.org or 713-980-9777.

June 25, 2009 The Tennessean
Whether Nashville’s Corrections Corporation of America, a private company that runs state prisons, is equivalent to a governmental entity and should turn over records is in the hands of the State’s Court of Appeals. Appellate judges heard arguments this morning from CCA’s attorney, Joe Welborn, and civil rights lawyer Andy Clarke, who is representing Alex Friedmann, the prison reform activist requesting the records. CCA appealed a Chancery Court judge’s ruling last year that stated the for-profit prison operator must follow public records law and open its files for viewing. From the start, CCA’s argument has been that allowing access to some of their records will set a bad precedent with other private companies who contract with the state. Welborn says CCA does only 10 percent of its business in Tennessee and the company is not a state agency. In the lawsuit, Friedmann, a former inmate with CCA, is requesting records of audits by state and local agencies, every lawsuit, claim and legal action taken against them, settlement agreements, judgments, databases showing all litigation against CCA and contracts between the state and the company. “This will tell us how they operate these facilities that are all funded by taxpayer dollars,” says Friedmann.

June 10, 2009 Times Free Press
The company that runs Silverdale Detention Center in Hamilton County has settled a national class-action lawsuit that claimed it had a history of not paying employees for certain types of work. The settlement amount that Corrections Corp. of America must pay is confidential, according to Kansas attorney Brendan Donelon, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of 17 original plaintiffs last year in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. The plaintiffs now include about 282 corrections officers from 14 states who work in 29 CCA facilities. All CCA employees, including those in Hamilton County, who think they might have been affected by policies that allegedly prevented them from receiving compensation have until July 27 to file claim forms. Tommy Standifer, the superintendent at Silverdale, declined Tuesday to comment on the matter, specifically with regard to whether local employees are entitled to any back pay. He said the lawsuit was against CCA and has nothing to do with Hamilton County, which has a contract with CCA to run Silverdale. According to court documents, CCA “has a policy of not paying corrections counselors, case managers and clerks for work performed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.” In particular, court documents state that CCA requires employees to be present at work before their shift starts but fails to compensate them for that time. Employees also are required to attend meetings off the clock, documents state.

May 20, 2009 Tennessean
A former business partner is suing several entities connected to past Corrections Corporation of America CEO Doctor R. Crants Jr., accusing the groups of taking stolen money from a homeland security company both men worked on. Bruce Siddle said in a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Illinois that apparently 19 parties knowingly accepted a total of more than $27.3 million stolen or unlawfully taken from Homeland Security Corp. The money could have been illegally taken from Siddle, his wife, a trust or Siddle’s company PCCT Management Systems Inc., the lawsuit said. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois on Tuesday, is asking for more than $81.9 million in damages and names as defendants companies ranging from Connectgov Inc. to Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain that handled the accounting services to Homeland Security Corp. “All allegations of misconduct about LBMC are just false,” said Larry Thrailkill, the accounting firm’s outside counsel. “They will be defending the litigation very vigorously.” Siddle’s involvement with Homeland Security Corp. began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when he agreed to have all of PPCT stocks purchased by Homeland Security Corp. Crants founded Homeland Security Corp. in 2001 after he was ousted from Nashville-based prison operator Corrections Corporation of America. Working together, Siddle and Crants went after contracts, including a deal that involved training 80,000 baggage screeners for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after the Sept. 11 attacks. It also trained air marshals for Delta Air Lines. Siddle sued Crants last year, alleging that Crants bilked Homeland Security Corp. of more than $41 million through self-dealings and embezzlement, among other allegations. Siddle also listed others as defendants who apparently assisted the racketeering activity. That case is still pending in federal court in Nashville. Siddle’s attorney, Bruce Carr, said there could be more lawsuits filed in the future on his client’s behalf. “We’re continuously finding out different things that Crants did,” Carr said. Crants’ attorney Steven Riley said he would comment after reviewing the case this afternoon.

March 30, 2009 Nashville Post
Nashville attorney Gregg Ramos has been interviewed by members of President Barack Obama's administration for vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, according to NashvillePost.com sources. The vacancies on the courts were created when 6th Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey took senior judge status on Jan. 1 and when Memphis based Judge Robert L. Echols took senior judge status in 2007. Echols' slot had been the focus of much controversy when then-President George W. Bush nominated Nashvillian Gus Puryear to fill the seat in June of 2007. Puryear, general counsel for Corrections Corp. of America, was the subject of an intense lobbying effort that eventually doomed his nomination.

March 12, 2009 AP
The agency that oversees Florida's six privately run prisons needs to ensure that problems found during audits _ such as broken alarms and unsanitary infirmaries _ are quickly fixed, lawmakers were told Thursday as part of a report reviewing the agency. Audits of private prisons by the Florida Department of Corrections had previously found broken escape sensors and buildings that had not been checked for any attempts by inmates to tunnel out. Audits also found delays in medical care and problems involving contraband. "Some of these problems were repeated year after year at the same prisons," said analyst Vic Williams, who summarized the report for lawmakers in testimony before the Senate Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations. The report was written by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability and released in December. Lawmakers heard a formal presentation of the details Thursday. An official with the Department of Management Services, the agency that oversees the private prisons, told lawmakers that his agency has already begun to address some of the issues raised by the report. "We've already started the process to implement a lot of these recommendations," Department of Management Services' J.D. Solie told the panel. Solie promised that any future violations found by Department of Corrections audits would be corrected within 45 days. "This is an eye-opening report," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. The state has six private prisons housing approximately 8,000 inmates or about 8 percent of the state's inmates. The facilities cost the state about $133 million a year, or some 6 percent of the Department of Corrections' $2.2 billion budget. The state currently contracts with two private prison companies: Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America and Boca Raton-based GEO Group Inc. The state's 131 other facilities are run by the Florida Department of Corrections. CCA said in a statement that it has "worked closely" with the state to "ensure contract compliance and will continue to do so." A message left for a spokesman at GEO was not immediately returned. Among recommendations, the report also said private prisons should be required to track the percentage of inmates who successfully complete substance abuse and education programs. It also noted that phone calls made from private prisons are more expensive than calls from prisons run by the Department of Corrections. A 15 minute phone call from a private prison costs around $6 while the same call costs 50 cents in a state-run prison, lawmakers were told. And while families can visit state-run prisons on Saturdays and Sundays, private facilities allow visits either every other weekend or only one of the two weekend days, the report found. The Department of Management Services said future contracts would require private prisons to measure and report graduation rates from education and treatment programs. Contracts will also require that phone call prices be "more in line" with the cost at state-run prisons, according to a written reply from the agency. But, the agency wrote it believed the visitation policies at private prisons were appropriate, though it agreed to ask inmates and families about their satisfaction.

March 6, 2009 Tennessean
Five national journalist groups and the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have joined forces supporting a prison reform advocate who is seeking public records from Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. A friend of the court brief filed in state appeals court Tuesday asks the court to uphold a July ruling by a Nashville chancellor saying that CCA must follow public records law and open its files for viewing. Alex Friedmann, a former inmate who is now an advocate and associate editor for Prison Legal News, has taken the nation's largest for-profit prison operator to court, seeking access to public records under the Tennessee Public Records Act. He has campaigned for records that deal with the deaths and questionable treatment of inmates. Friedmann, the journalism associations and the ACLU contend CCA is performing a governmental function, operating prisons, detention centers and jails with public funding, and, therefore, the public has a right to access documents. "Our state government cannot contract away its accountability to the public by hiring private, for-profit companies like CCA to perform core governmental functions, such as operating prisons," Friedmann said. "Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent." The journalism groups are: Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Associated Press. Nashville Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman had ruled that CCA, by running jails and prisons, which are essential governmental roles, was a "functional equivalent" to a governmental entity. Since most of its revenues are taxpayer-funded, she ordered the company to make all of its records available, except those sealed by a court order. CCA fights ruling -- CCA, which operates the Metro Detention Facility and six other detention facilities across Tennessee, has maintained the company does not have to comply with public records requests because it is private. CCA had its own ally file on its behalf. The Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association claims in its brief that the chancery court's ruling would affect other government contractors. Louise Grant, CCA's spokeswoman, declined to comment, referring to their appellate brief.

February 11, 2009 Nashville City Paper
U.S. stocks fell Tuesday, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest drop since Barack Obama’s inauguration, on skepticism that the government’s bank rescue will work. Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. slipped more than 15 percent after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he’s still “exploring a range of different structures” to bail out lenders. Principal Financial Group Inc. plunged 30 percent on concern the life insurer needs more capital. Alcoa Inc. slumped 10 percent after S&P cut the aluminum producer’s credit rating to the lowest investment grade. Corrections Corp. of America fell 27 percent, the most since November 2000, to $11. The Nashville-based company, which is the biggest U.S. private operator of prisons, said it expects to earn 26 cents a share at most in the first quarter. That missed the 30-cent average estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

February 10, 2009 AP
Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: Corrections Corp. of America, down $3.37 at $11.65. The private prison operator gave first-quarter and fiscal year profit predictions that undershot average Wall Street predictions.

February 10, 2009 AP
Private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America on Tuesday issued first-quarter and fiscal year profit predictions that undershot average Wall Street predictions, partially as a result of fewer days in the 2009 periods. Corrections Corp. said it expects to post a first-quarter profit of 24 cents to 26 cents per share, while 2009 profit is expected to fall within a range of $1.10 to $1.20 per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect a first-quarter profit of 30 cents per share and a 2009 profit of $1.34 per share. Corrections Corp. said the 2009 periods will have fewer days than the comparable periods last year as a result of the leap year in 2008. The first quarter's results are also expected to be hurt by unemployment taxes as base wage rates reset for state unemployment tax purposes. The company said its guidance also reflects higher depreciation and interest expense, along with a decline in capitalized interest on expansion and development projects. Corrections Corp. added that it remains cautious about the economic outlook through this year, but believes that the long-term growth opportunities remain very attractive.

January 13, 2009 Press Release
A report released today by the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program describes harsh conditions of confinement for the roughly three hundred women housed in immigration detention facilities in Arizona. The report, Unseen Prisoners: A Report on Women in Immigration Detention Facilities in Arizona, is based on over a year of research, including over 40 interviews with detainees, their family members, attorneys, and service providers. “Few people realize that we are locking up huge numbers of immigrants every day and holding them for months and in some cases years at a time. They are not being punished for a crime, and yet they are held in facilities that are identical to, and often double as, prisons or jails,” said Nina Rabin, the lead researcher and author of the report. “Women immigration detainees in particular are an invisible population. We hope this report will raise awareness about women locked up just an hour away from here in conditions that would shock most Americans. We also hope to raise awareness about the U.S. citizen children separated from their mothers right now because of immigration detention.” The report provides detailed information about day-to-day life in the three facilities that house women immigration detainees in Arizona: Central Arizona Detention Center, Pinal County Jail, and Eloy Detention Center. Rabin and several University of Arizona law students conducted interviews and extensive background research for the report over a twelve month period between August 2007 and August 2008. Rabin described the study’s participants: “In our small sample size of detainees who agreed to participate in this research study, we encountered pregnant and nursing mothers, domestic violence victims, low-wage workers swept up in worksite raids, and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and sexual violence.” The federal agency in charge of the detention and removal of immigrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), contracts for two of the facilities to be run by the private prison company the Corrections Corporation of America. In the case of Pinal County Jail, ICE contracts with the county. ICE permitted the researchers access to two of the three facilities, but declined requests to interview ICE representatives or facility personnel for the report. Rabin met with ICE representatives in December to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations. Key findings of the report include: • Family separation: The majority of women interviewed were separated from at least one U.S. citizen child under the age of 10 and were transferred to Arizona from out of state. As a result, they were hundreds or at times thousands of miles away from their families and communities during their time in detention. • Severe penal conditions for women who are not serving criminal sentences: Women described conditions of confinement that are in many cases more restrictive than in county jails or prisons, including limited access to recreation, a complete absence of programming or activities, frugal provision of food and other supplies, and the routine use of strip searches and shackling during transport. • Aggressive government prosecution and detention of women who pose no security threat or flight risk: Attorneys reported that ICE routinely appeals decisions to release pregnant women on bond; rejects or does not respond to applications for humanitarian parole of victims of domestic violence, refugees, or women with serious health conditions; and refuses to reduce bonds for families unable to pay. • Inadequate medical care: Women reported inadequate gynecological and obstetrical care, long waits for medical attention, and dismissive responses to medical requests. The report contains detailed recommendations for Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, and the individual facilities researched. Recommendations range from broad policy changes, including the need for increased consideration of the impact of immigration detention on families, to specific facility-level concerns, such as the lack of outdoor recreation in Pinal County Jail. The report will be available beginning on January 13, 2009, at http://www.law.arizona.edu/depts/clinics/ilc//UnseenPrisoners.pdf. For more information, please contact Nina Rabin at (520) 621-9206 or rabin@email.arizona.edu.

January 12, 2009 Tallahassee Democrat
Bill Cotterell: Perhaps privatized prisons just doesn't work -- There comes a point, when a car or a business venture or a relationship has repeatedly turned out to be more trouble than fun, when we need to step back and say, "Maybe this just is not going to work." A new report from the Legislature's fiscal analysts indicates that Florida may be at that point with private prisons. One of Gov. Jeb Bush's lasting legacies, particularly among Republicans, is the belief that privatization works. But the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability says — again — that our $133 million commerce in corrections might be something less than a smashing success. OPPAGA says the Department of Management Services has improved its oversight of the six privately run prisons, with state monitors spotting contract violations that resulted in removal of three prison wardens and levying of $3.4 million in fines and deductions from state payments to the companies. But over the years, prison privatization has been as troublesome, or more so, than the state's attempts at outsourcing personnel, purchasing and insurance administration. At least those "outsourcing" efforts, while profitable to the companies that got contracts and headaches for the employees who had to deal with them, didn't affect public safety. Prisons are different. Significantly, OPPAGA doesn't single out either of the worldwide companies that operate private prisons in Florida. It's the system itself — the corporate need to make money by cutting corners, the government's bureaucratic blame-shifting — that draws critical attention. The Department of Corrections inspects the six corporate-run prisons, which house nearly 8,000 inmates, and here is some of what OPPAGA said the inspectors found: Security violations, "including inoperable alarms, spotlights and escape sensors; buildings not checked for tunneling; and missing tools that could be crafted by inmates into weapons." "Contraband violations including positive inmate drug tests and inmate possession of drugs and drug residue, gang material and weapons as well as staff and visitors arriving at the prison in violation of contraband policies." Medical treatment violations, including lost or never-ordered laboratory tests, delays up to five months in filing records, "unsanitary conditions and nursing staff vacancies." Another way private prisons can operate 7 percent cheaper than comparable state institutions — as required by law — could be by having far fewer inmates with serious health and mental problems. At the Graceville prison, OPPAGA said, 18 percent of inmates were classified "psychological grade 3," compared with 67 percent in a comparable state prison; 16 percent of Graceville's inmates had medical upgrades, compared with 53 percent in a state prison of similar size. "As special-needs inmates are more expensive to serve than other inmates, the difference in the populations of public and private prisons results in the state shouldering a greater proportion of the cost of housing these inmates," said the report. "As a result, the requirement that the private prisons operate at 7 percent lower cost than state facilities is undermined." Then there are the phone calls home and visitation with families, which are considered important to rehabilitation. "While the families of inmates in state prisons pay 50 cents for a 15-minute collect call, families of inmates in private prisons, on average, pay $6.18 for the same length call," OPPAGA reported. State prisons normally allow visits on Saturdays and Sundays, but OPPAGA said the private prisons allow them on one of those days, not both. DMS said that's because of space limitations in common areas, but OPPAGA said "these centers have twice the median square feet of those in public prisons." There's an adage in corrections that people go to prison "as" punishment, not "for" punishment. Once there, they're supposed to get some help, so they don't come out — and almost every one of them is coming out, eventually — worse than they went in. But the OPPAGA report said DMS contracts for private prisons don't set standards or measure performance in GED completion, graduation from treatment programs, completion of vocational training or transition programs meant to reduce recidivism. OPPAGA, which does performance studies on agencies and reports to the Legislature on how things are going, also said the inmates' own money is not being properly accounted for in the private prisons. About $1.5 million a year is collected from sale of snacks, cigarettes and toiletries in the prison canteens, to be used for some extras that the taxpayers shouldn't have to provide. But OPPAGA said the some of the money was used to buy computers and software for administrative staff of the prison companies, and sometimes prisons simply couldn't account for some of it. If these were a few small, isolated events, they might be just unfortunate glitches and misunderstandings in a big, statewide operation of business and government. But the history of prison privatization is a troubled one. Under the old Correctional Privatization Commission, one executive director was fined and fired for ethics violations and another went to jail (admittedly not the companies' or the state's fault; he just happened to make a better inmate than executive). Shortly after assuming oversight, the DMS inspector general reported widespread billing of the state for nonexistent employees. There have been frequent disputes over who pays for equipment and services, and allegations of corner-cutting on staffing and security. True, a lot of the complaining has come from the Police Benevolent Association, which represents correctional officers in state prisons and understandably doesn't like privatization in any form. And DMS says it is currently satisfied that problems are being fixed and the 7-percent savings rate is being attained. The private prisons are a big business, hiring some of Tallahassee's top lobbyists. But when an enterprise has been so troubled, so long, maybe it's time to reconsider doing it. Contact Bill Cotterell at (850) 671-6545 or bcotterell@tallahassee.com.

November 14, 2008 Nashville City Paper
Tennessee Democrats had a losing record this election season in the state, but they are likely about to see a pack of federal appointments in the legal system roll their way. With the changing of the guard from President George W. Bush’s administration President-elect Barack Obama’s in 2009, appointments for a federal judgeship in the U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee and the positions of U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshall for the same region are on the table. Currently filling those posts are U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough and U.S. Marshall Denny King. The spot that is open on the U.S. District Court has been publicized not because who was once in the seat, but who was nominated for it — Gus Puryear. Puryear, who is the executive vice president and general counsel for Nashville based Corrections Corporation of America, was nominated for the bench by President George W. Bush in June of 2007. Although Puryear did get a nomination hearing, the U.S. Senate, which has final say on these lifetime appointments, never voted on his appointment. Puryear’s nomination suffered from negative press reports about his ties to Belle Meade Country Club as well as the alleged practices of CCA in its prisons. Puryear was also targeted by an organization opposed to prison privatization. The Florida group had ties to organized labor that represents state corrections officers. Traditionally, when openings for a federal judgeship occur, the U.S. Senators from that state tell the president whom they want and he nominates them. When the Senators are from an opposing party, as is the case of Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, that courtesy falls to Democratic members of the U.S. Congress, in this case primarily Congressmen Jim Cooper and Bart Gordon. Because Cooper was such an early and strident supporter of Obama’s, he likely will have the upper hand. Protocol would dictate that Alexander and Corker would be given advance notice of the nomination and as a courtesy they would say if they had any major objections to the nomination.

October 5, 2008 San Francisco Chronicle
They're not dueling initiatives. But a pair of anti-crime measures on the Nov. 4 state ballot could hardly be more different in their approach to improving California's criminal justice system. Proposition 5 would divert more drug addicts and nonviolent offenders from prison to rehabilitation programs. Proposition 6 would set aside money for anti-crime agencies and put more convicts - gang members in particular - behind bars. One would shrink the prison system, the other make it bigger. ... Spending boost -- Prop. 6, the other measure, would require the state to spend at least $965 million a year on programs for police and probation departments, prosecutors, jails and juvenile lockups. That's a $365 million increase from current spending, a figure likely to rise to $500 million within a few years, the legislative analyst said. Penalties would increase for some crimes, particularly offenses that are gang-related. Civil injunctions restricting the movement of alleged gang members - like those that San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has pursued in recent years - would become easier to obtain. "It's a response to the growing gang problem, which is affecting all parts of California," said Prop. 6 supporter Scott Thorpe, who leads the California District Attorneys Association. Macallair said Prop. 6 would worsen the crisis in prisons and noted that law enforcement contractors had donated to the Prop. 6 campaign, including Corrections Corporation of America, which builds and manages prisons.

September 24, 2008 Nashville Scene
Yesterday, Lamar Alexander, the lead water-carrier for judicial nominee Gus Puryear, read the campaign its last rites. Alexander's statements are the last nail in the coffin for Puryear, lead counsel for private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America. They're also an unofficial acknowledgment of the power of the one-man campaign. No matter where your loyalties lie, it's tough to argue that anyone deserves more of the credit (or blame) for Puryear's failed nomination than Alex Friedmann. Getting the locals to care about who swings a gavel in Middle Tennessee is one thing. Getting pub from national outlets is another. Now with the campaign over, Friedmann is a stick without a spoke. He says he'll continue working on the humdrum elements of vigilanteism and may even aim his scope at larger targets. "There's always Palin," he jokes. We here at Pith, however, think Friedmann's bandwagon should be steered elsewhere. Trudging through the muck of rancorous politics during this election season has left us exhausted. It's time all of Nashville had a cause worth championing. Something fun and family-friendly that makes us forget about the world while alternately making us worry about the cleanliness of our undergarments.

September 24, 2008 Tennessean
Nominations of two Tennesseans — Gus Puryear of Nashville to be a federal judge and Susan Williams of Knoxville to be a TVA board member — have been derailed by political squabbles. Several prison rights and civil rights groups have objected to the nomination of Puryear, general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison giant based in Nashville. CCA had been hammered by allegations of underplaying serious incidents in its jails and misrepresenting the circumstances of in-custody deaths. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, said Tuesday that neither nomination would be approved before the end of the year. That means the nomination process for both slots will begin again after a new president takes office in January. "That's another example of the Democratic Congress not approving a qualified nominee," Alexander said of Puryear's choice by President Bush to be a judge in the Middle District of Tennessee. Democrats opposed both -- Puryear was caught in an election-year political fight. Republicans have tried to gain approval for as many of Bush's nominees as possible before the end of his term. Reasons cited by opponents as to why Puryear should not be confirmed include: a lack of trial and judicial experience, his role as chief lawyer for the country's largest private prison company, and the company's handling of the 2004 death of Estelle Richardson while she was in the Metro Detention Facility in Nashville. Democrats, who control the Senate, say they have treated the president's nominees as well as Republicans did near the end of Bill Clinton's presidency. But they have slowed the process, hoping they will be able to fill the vacancies if their nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, wins the presidency. Williams' nomination to the TVA board was a casualty of a battle between Alexander and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Reid held up her nomination and that of Bishop William Graves of Memphis because he wants a Democratic representative on the TVA board. In June, Reid let Graves' nomination go through after Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker blocked a nomination Reid wanted. In response to Alexander's comments, Puryear released a written statement through CCA. "I was honored to be nominated and understand fully how election-year politics works in Washington. I am very happy in my current job and look forward to continuing to work with my friends in Nashville to make our city and state a better place." Alex Friedmann, vice president of Private Corrections Institute, coordinated much of the opposition to the Puryear nomination, which Bush made in June 2007. "Mr. Puryear was an unqualified, inexperienced, conflicted and controversial nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. The citizens of Middle Tennessee deserve better and hopefully will receive a more qualified candidate during the next administration," Friedmann said in a statement.

September 23, 2008 Tennessean
The nominations of Gus Puryear of Nashville to be a federal judge and Susan Williams of Knoxville to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority are dead for this year, Sen. Lamar Alexander said this morning. "That's not going to happen," Alexander said at a briefing with Tennessee reporters, referring to the nomination of Puryear for a federal judgeship in the Middle District of Tennessee. "That's another example of the Democratic Congress not approving a qualified nominee." The nomination by President Bush of Puryear, general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America, had been criticized by prison rights and civil rights organizations because of his role in representing the largest private prison company in the country. Williams' nomination has been stalled because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, wants a Democratic representative on the TVA board. Puryear issued a statement through CCA. "I was honored to be nominated and understand fully how election-year politics works in Washington. I am very happy in my current job and look forward to continuing to work with my friends in Nashville to make our city and state a better place."

September 21, 2008 Las Vegas Sun
Some state lawmakers plan to push to end local governments’ hiring of lobbyists to represent them at the Legislature, but the Clark County Commission last week agreed to negotiate a contract with R&R Partners to lobby on behalf of University Medical Center. Is there a particular lobbyist who will be working on the UMC account? Yes, a former assemblyman, Jim Spinello. He has a long history in state politics. The year after he lost a bid for secretary of state in November 1990, he became assistant general manager of the State Industrial Insurance System. Last year, he was appointed chairman of a 60-member committee, Nevada Educators for Edwards, established by then-presidential candidate John Edwards. Didn’t the county select someone else for the lobbying job recently? The county’s choice of R&R represents quite a change from its previous choice of J3, the lobbying firm of Robert Uithoven, a longtime Republican who withdrew his name from consideration in August. Democrats dominate the commission 5-2, with Rory Reid, son of the U.S. Senate majority leader, serving as chairman. Uithoven’s being considered for the job drew many questions. Not only has Uithoven worked on behalf of Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons, he argued last summer that the casino industry should be able to obtain refunds for up to $150 million in state taxes that casinos paid on comped meals. How much is the R&R contract for? The amount is to be negotiated before being brought to the commission for final approval. Who else does R&R represent? Perhaps the better question is: Who doesn’t it represent? During the 2007 session, lobbyists for the firm represented myriad businesses and industries including the Andre Agassi Foundation, the Corrections Corp. of America, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, Medic West, Las Vegas Monorail, the Nevada Cancer Institute, the Nevada Mining Association, the Nevada Resort Association, Opportunity Village, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association and US Airways.

September 14, 2008 Indianapolis Star
Attorney Paul Ogden has been kicking some dirt lately about potential conflicts of interest involving the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg. Ogden's firm, Roberts & Bishop, has four lawsuits pending against Corrections Corporation of America, the company that manages the city's minimum-security jail. The suits evolve from allegations of inadequate medical care at the facility. Barnes & Thornburg represents CCA. Last week, Ogden wrote a letter to Democratic council members noting that the chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee is Ryan Vaughn, a Barnes & Thornburg attorney. Vaughn said he's open to scrutiny of the relationship. He said he's not a partner, so his salary does not change depending on the firm's revenues. He acknowledged there could be a situation where he would face a conflict in the future, such as if there were a proposal to privatize the maximum-security jail. "That's the nature of a representative legislature where the members have a full-time job," Vaughn sad. "Unless you're retired, most people will have a conflict at some level if you look hard enough." Vaughn said the solution is full disclosure and abstaining from any matters where the benefit for his firm would be obvious. Jackie Nytes, a Democratic council member, agreed. She said Vaughn will have to be careful because conflicts can arise. "The trouble with ethics legislation," Nytes said, "is that people have to work for a living."

September 7, 2008 Murfreesboro Post
Look, can we get this out of the way right here? When a teenager, Alex Friedmann pulled an armed robbery, got into a shoot out, was wounded, tried, convicted then spent 10 years in the pen. Unlike the rest of us, he made some mistakes when he was a teenager. “I can’t provide any reasonable explanation. I was stupid. I was greedy. In addition, I was a terrible criminal and was caught right away.” That was in ’87. “I was young, but there are a lot of young people out there who don’t get in trouble.” He’s aware of maybe a debt he still owes. “I’ve tried to make amends. The experience led me to become interested in criminal justice issues,” he said from his Nashville office where he is associate editor of Prison Legal News (www.prisonlegalnews.org). He’s also vice president of the non-profit Private Corrections Institute. Friedmann, who spent the usual college years—18-26 – behind bars, is an articulate spokesman for prison reform. “Look, we have 2.3 million locked up now and the number’s going up, and 95 percent of them will be released back into society. They’ll be given 50 bucks and shoved out the gate. They’ll go back, most of them, to their old neighborhoods that probably are crime infested. They’ll have trouble getting a job. Sixty percent of them will be back in prison sooner or later.” “We’re not preparing prisoners to be released. Drugs are a problem, OK, but many crimes are the result of alcohol.” Friedmann, a graduate of both types of prison, is solidly against privatization of prisons. “I have moral and philosophical objections to the privatization of prisons. Now, I want to be very careful not to imply that our public prisons are great. They aren’t. “But the privately run prisons are operated for one reason: profits. That’s a poor excuse to be in the prison business.” He points out that our “corrections system” fails to correct. “And I have a big gripe that we think institutionalizing is the only punishment. Most of the nation’s prisoners are not murderers or bank robbers. They are into drugs, drinking, fights, stealing, fraud, and they can be punished by drug and alcohol courts, fines, community work service, weekend incarceration, electronic monitoring, counseling, treatment. All this is cheaper than prison and will increase the chances of bringing about corrections in behavior.” Friedmann likes drug, alcohol and mental treatment courts. “Most of our citizens want less crime, less victimization. These measures will generate some correctional behavior.” Friedmann drew regional attention in mid-August when he led a fight to derail a federal court nominee.

September 2, 2008 Trading Markets
Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) recently promoted several senior-level employees within the company's Business Development department at its headquarters in Nashville, company officials announced. "These proven professionals bring a wealth of experience to their new roles at CCA," said Tony Grande, executive vice president and chief development officer. "The knowledge and skills of these individuals will only enhance our company as we maintain our leadership position in the corrections industry." According to the company, Lucibeth Mayberry has been promoted to vice president, deputy chief development officer. Mayberry began her career at CCA in 2003 as a senior director, Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). She has since served as managing director, State Customer Relations and most recently served as vice president, Research, Contracts and Proposals. Natasha Metcalf now serves as vice president, Customer Contracts. Metcalf also joined CCA in 2003 as vice president of Local Government Customer Relations and most recently served as vice president and associate general counsel, Contract Management, within CCA's Office of the General Counsel. Brad Regens is now managing director, State Customer Relations. Regens began his career at CCA in 2007 as senior director of State Customer Relations, where he was responsible for managing business relationships with established and prospective state partners in the southwestern United States. Bart VerHulst has assumed the role of managing director, Federal and Local Customer Relations. VerHulst spent 12 years on the staff of United States Senator Bill Frist in Washington, D.C., most recently as his chief of staff. The company also announced the addition of a new member to its Business Development team. Ben Shuster has joined CCA as a senior director/customer relationship manager for State Customer Relations. He previously served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Shuster has also worked as special assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and as trip coordinator/lead advance representative in the White House for the Office of the Vice President. CCA is the founder and industry head of the private corrections management industry.

August 31, 2008 Murfreesboro Post
Four years ago, Estelle Richardson, 34, was murdered in a Nashville jail run by Corrections Corporation of America. That's a tangential issue in the legal career of Gustavus A. Puryear IV, just one of the things that has caught the attention of Alex Friedmann, an ex-con gone good and now an editor of Prison Legal News, an organization devoted to digging out mistreatment and maltreatment of prisoners. Charges were filed against four guards who were accused of beating Richardson to death. But their conviction foundered on a technical matter involving time of death. It is one of the things that troubles Friedmann (once a convict himself) about Puryear's nomination for a lifetime appointment to the federal district court in Middle Tennessee. Puryear is chief lawyer of Corrections Corporation of America that is headquartered in Nashville. "CCA is the defendant in scores and scores of lawsuits each year. It is difficult to see how Puryear could ever serve as presiding judge in a trial involving his old bosses." The nomination---presented before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Republican Senators Corker and Alexander---came about the way most do: Puryear has been a worker in the vineyards for Tennessee and national Republicans. He gave important money to Corker and Alexander and coached up Dick Cheney for the '00 vice presidential debates. He worked for Fred Thompson. He's been named a "Republican heavyweight" by a Nashville newspaper. Unhappily, his qualifications for a federal judgeship are wanting. Friedmann says Puryear has been personally involved in only five federal cases and two trials over his entire legal career, and lost one of those. "He has not served as a practicing attorney for years," Friedmann says. Republicans answer that Puryear has been rated as "qualified" by the American Bar Association. "Well," Friedmann says, deconstructing the classification methodology. "ABA rates lawyers Qualified, Unqualified, or Well Qualified. Seventy-five percent of all lawyers get the Well Qualified classification. Puryear, therefore, is in the bottom 25 percent." But Friedmann's great objection to Puryear's appointment remains his conflicted position. He's a CCA man and has been their chief lawyer for years. He says he'll recuse himself from their cases for five years. "Well, CCA's in the courts all the time. And what about after five years? He doesn't say what he'll do after that." In typical Republican fashion of the past seven years, Puryear's record was great from a political standpoint but wanting for professional creds. Today, the nomination is being held up in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which indicates it failed to get pro forma approval, a bad indicator for the state's Republican senators and party. There is a chance that Puryear won't be approved in the Senate committee. This would, in effect, kill the nomination.

August 21, 2008 The Nashville Scene
So this is hilarious. Corrections Corporation of America, the widely condemned prison company in Green Hills, has launched a Pravda-styled website aimed at providing "factual information" about its operations. The site makes out CCA to be as sweet and innocent a business as your daughter's lemonade stand. Sadly, as the company's PR push notes, a "local daily paper" has willfully mischaracterized the outfit's open and efficient approach to doing business. That's right: Only The Tennessean has raised pertinent questions about CCA. No one else has said a word, correct? Well, actually there was The New Yorker, arguably the most respected magazine in the country, which reported that CCA dressed the young children of detainees at its immigration farm in Texas in prison garb. At that same facility, the magazine continued, CCA stored women and children in the same cell, where they would sleep on bunk beds next to an open toilet. Nice to see how the company (which maintains strong Republican ties) practices its family values. For more horror stories, we turn to The New York Times, which wrote that CCA refused to divulge information about the immigrants who mysteriously die in its facilities. The Times chronicled how one inmate at a CCA facility in New Jersey—a man who had merely overstayed a tourist visa—found himself "shackled and pinned to the floor of a medical unit." He moaned and vomited and was thrown in a disciplinary cell for 13 hours, even as he foamed at the mouth like a rabid raccoon. The man later died. Then there's Time magazine, which reported the astonishing tale of a former CCA insider who suddenly grew a conscience. He told the magazine CCA kept two sets of books: an accurate one that chronicled an array of prison disturbance—and a heavily doctored one designed to limit bad publicity and federal fines. Meanwhile, the man who oversaw CCA's fraudulent reporting system was none other than Gus Puryear, the company's hapless corporate counsel, whose nomination to the federal bench appears to have gone belly up. (A side note: The local bar, which would like to argue cases before a competent jurist, couldn't be happier at Puryear's demise.) Next, in the Scene's recent cover story about CCA, we reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division (ICE), a body hardly known for its vigilance, slapped the company for running its Texas immigration facility on the cheap. "CCA is losing staff as quick as they can hire them," one internal memo said, tearing into the privatized prison company for paying its guards even less—much less—than the local county jail. "As long as CCA continues to hire employees at this rate per hour," the memo concluded, "they will continue to experience the problems they are currently experiencing on the floor." Finally, in that same story, we also reported that the Tennessee Department of Correction investigated allegations of abuse at CCA's Hardeman County Correctional Facility. So what did they uncover? How about a warden who shoved an inmate to the ground and then punched him in the face? That warden, a refined 40-something gentleman named Glen Turner, later resigned and pleaded guilty to a charge of official oppression. My guess is that he's now angling for the top job at Gitmo. His time at CCA would serve him well.

August 20, 2008 The City Paper
Bedeviled this year by negative publicity on several fronts, Corrections Corp. of America late last week launched a public relations push to counter what it says are biased reports. The Nashville-based company has been under the microscope since its general counsel, Gus Puryear, was nominated for the federal judgeship of the Tennessee Middle district in February. At the same time, activists have stepped up their work against the company, seeking the company’s contracts and other papers under public-record laws. CCA’s response includes an advertising campaign pointing people to a new Web site that promises an “unfiltered, full, 360-degree view of CCA.” The company has bought advertising on NashvillePost.com and the Web site of its sister publication, The City Paper. The company also published an open letter in The City Paper’s Monday print edition. The campaign, designed by local firm MMA Creative, accuses "a local daily paper" of ideological bias that CCA spokeswoman Louise Grant says has produced a media smear campaign. “It’s completely baffling,” Grant said. “We definitely think there’s a bias that’s been there for years and years.” Grant said the company was particularly stung by a recent Tennessean article that drew renewed attention to the unanswered questions surrounding the death of CCA inmate Estelle Richardson. “There was no new news in it," she said. "It was a very editorialized article." The article reiterated the details leading to Richardson’s death, featuring the comments of fellow inmate and friend Sharron Peterman, who called for the cold case to be solved. The Web site, called The CCA 360, responded by dissecting the article line by line, linking to evidence Grant says the company believes has been withheld from public consumption. She says accusations leveled against four prison guards were dropped because medical experts hired by both the prosecution and the defense found that Richardson sustained her injuries before the accused guards were in contact with her. The site also claims The Tennessean printed allegations against CCA without publishing the company’s accompanying denials. Grant also said that the paper ignored the medical evidence and focused only on the negative side of the story. “We have achieved excellence on American Correctional Association audits and our customers hold us in high regard,” Grant said. “That wasn’t a fair and balanced viewpoint.” Grant also said Tennessean editors have told CCA representatives that they oppose private correctional facilities from an editorial standpoint. Tennessean Editor Mark Silverman would only say that the paper stands by its article. But Alex Friedmann, a prison reform activist and associate editor of Prison Legal News, dispute the Web site’s claim to a 360-degree view of the issue. “They’re a corporation — their only responsibility is to their shareholders,” he said. “They’re interested in this incident because it causes problems with their stock price and shareholder confidence.” Shares of CCA (Ticker: CXW) are down about 6 percent in 2008 and are up almost 10 percent from a year ago. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has dropped more than 11 percent since last summer. Friedmann believes that, for the Web site to be considered balanced, it should have included a sheriff’s report excoriating CCA practices as well as an initial autopsy that conflicts with those conducted by the examiners during the trial. Friedmann’s credibility is also questioned on the Web site, which points to his lack of academic expertise and refers to him as a “former inmate.” Friedmann says everyone has an agenda and freely admits to his own. “Obviously, I have a bias. I have been an inmate at a CCA prison,” he said. “But CCA, they’re a private, for-profit organization. They have a $1.45 billion bias.”

August 15, 2008 AP
Private prison company Corrections Corp. of America spent $240,000 lobbying the federal government on legislation dealing with prison spending and policy, according to a recent disclosure form. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company lobbied on legislation dealing with private prisons and public safety, as well as on issues involving immigration, labor and more. Besides Congress, Corrections lobbied the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department, Office of Management and Budget, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to a report filed July 18 with the House clerk's office.

August 14, 2008 AP
Had this been like most nominations for federal judgeships, the chief lawyer with Corrections Corporation of America might have been packing up his office and heading for the courthouse by now. But a determined opponent — a former prisoner at a Corrections Corporation of America facility in Clifton, Tenn. — has worked tirelessly to see that would not happen. And he may have succeeded. More than a year after President Bush nominated Gustavus A. Puryear IV to become a U.S. district judge in Nashville, the 40-year-old's appointment appears to be in serious trouble, thanks in no small part to Alex Friedmann, a convicted armed robber turned inmate advocate. Friedmann, 39, contends Puryear is unqualified because he lacks experience in federal courts — he's been involved in only two federal trials — and might have a potential conflict of interest in hearing cases that involve CCA. On his Web site, http://www.againstpuryear.org, Friedmann also has detailed Puryear's ties to powerful Republicans like Dick Cheney, whom he helped prep for a 2000 debate, and portrayed Puryear as someone who got the nomination because of his connections rather than his qualifications. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Puryear's nomination in February but has yet to vote on whether to send his name to the full Senate. Erica Chabot, the press secretary for committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, said Puryear is one of only three people who have been nominated for district judgeships since January 2007 and have had hearings before the committee but have not had their nominations voted on. Leahy, D-Vt., has said the panel will not consider any more nominees this session without the consent of leaders from both parties. "I understand they have put Puryear in the 'controversial' category," said Brian Fitzpatrick, who once worked for Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas defending Bush's Supreme Court nominees and is now an assistant law professor at Vanderbilt University. "It's very rare for a district court nominee to become controversial. Usually they just fly through." The Senate typically defers heavily to the senators from the nominee's home state, and Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee solidly support Puryear. But the opposition has been unusually committed. Multiple organizations, including the left-leaning Alliance for Justice and the National Lawyer's Guild, have challenged Puryear's nomination, all of them using research that originated with Friedmann, occasionally quoting it verbatim. Friedmann says he learned of the nomination because he keeps track of Nashville-based CCA, which manages 66 facilities around the country. He looked through dockets and court cases, contacted former co-workers and made Freedom of Information Act requests. To get the word out, he relied on the nonprofit Private Corrections Institute, for which he serves as vice president, and a group he formed called Tennesseans Against Puryear. Puryear did not return calls from The Associated Press for this story. White House spokesman Blair Jones said the White House suggests that nominees not speak to the media, prior to confirmation, out of respect for the deliberative process of the Senate. "Groups can attack a nominee, but you'll never see (the nominee) respond to anything except at hearings," said Puryear's friend Ed Haden, an attorney in Birmingham, Ala. Haden said the obstacles to Puryear's nomination are political, and don't mean he is not qualified for the job. "As far as his qualifications go, he was at the top of his class in law school, he clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals, he has legislative experience in the U.S. Senate, he manages litigation for a big Fortune 500 company, and the ABA (American Bar Association) rated him as qualified," Haden said. "Gus realizes this is a lame duck year in politics," he added. "It's true for all nominees — whether you're in the deal or not is beyond your control." Puryear's nomination remains active until Congress adjourns, and he could still be confirmed. The most likely scenario for that would be a deal struck between senators. "At the end of the session, it's, 'Who wants a bridge in Vermont?'" said Haden, who has worked with two U.S. senators on judicial nominations. Meanwhile, Friedmann is continuing his opposition campaign in the hopes of making a last-minute deal less likely. "I'm glad the Judiciary Committee is taking a closer look at Mr. Puryear as a candidate because the issues we raised are legitimate issues," he said. "But," he added, "I'm definitely not claiming victory."

August 13, 2008 Tennessean
Alex Friedmann doesn't think people can see past his conviction, so he's the first one to bring it up. He spent 10 years in a cell — six of them at a Corrections Corporation of America prison in Tennessee — for armed robbery and attempted murder. "I was absolutely not cut out for a life of crime," Friedmann, 39, says. "And I was quite incompetent at it. I deserved the punishment. But punishment, technically, ends at some point. Society says it doesn't, and that lasts for the rest of your life. It follows you around like a legacy." Now, years removed from prison, Friedmann is engaged in an ardent struggle against Nashville-based CCA, the nation's largest for-profit prison company. He is a self-described underdog, battling the multibillion-dollar corporation that has drawn nationwide criticism for its treatment of prisoners. He didn't like the way he was treated while he was incarcerated, and he has questioned whether CCA gave prompt medical attention to a friend who died while in CCA custody many years ago. CCA, in turn, paints him as a less-than-credible advocate for prison reform and a pawn of unions that oppose privatized prisons like those run by CCA, which has 17,000 employees nationwide and holds more than 75,000 inmates. "He is a former inmate convicted of armed robbery at Green Hills," said Louise Grant, a spokeswoman for CCA. "The fact that he shot at a father and a son is lost. He now works for a union-funded company.'' Still, Friedmann says prison reform is what defines his life. "I admire people who devote their lives to causes — to saving whales, the environment, child abuse," he said. "This cause gives meaning to my life." He's a CCA shareholder -- In that role, Friedmann has single-handedly taken CCA to task over the years — even at the shareholder meetings. Friedmann owns one share of CCA stock, giving him the right to attend and ask questions at the meetings. "What I'm saying is that CCA is for-profit and it colors their decision," he said. "It's their business model." He is seeking access to CCA records. He won that access, albeit briefly, when a judge said that because the for-profit prison operates similar to a government entity, it should make its records open to the public, but CCA is appealing the judge's ruling. Friedmann is vice president of Private Corrections Institute, which is against the privatization of correctional institutions and is supported by unions. He says he does not collect a paycheck in his role with Private Corrections Institute. The company has paid for his travel and he has been reimbursed for expenses. He also is associate editor of Prison Legal News, working 60 hours a week reading and editing dozens of stories for the monthly publication, which looks at the nation's penal system. Then he leaves his desk to hand out fliers asking for more information regarding the death of a CCA inmate. He went to Congress to testify against the federal judgeship nomination of Gus Puryear, CCA's general counsel, a battle he is even keener about. He double-checked every answer Puryear gave to the Senate Judicial Committee. He investigated the general counsel's commission meetings and memberships in a country club, and he challenged a contradictory statement regarding the death of an inmate. He started a Web site, againstpuryear.com. His was 'a harsh crime' -- Friedmann considers himself a private person despite the public battles he has waged against CCA. During a lunch interview, he does not want to talk in any depth about his family, his personal life or religious affiliations. He is succinct. His father's family was Jewish, his mother a Southern Baptist. Friedmann was born outside of Boston and left for Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, with his parents as a 1-year-old only child. His father worked for Aramco, the Arabian American Oil Co. "I did not have to share my toys," he said jokingly as he eats a salad and waits for his pizza to cool down. They lived in a compound with people from around the world. Years later, with extended family in Tennessee, Friedmann returned to the U.S. as a teen. It was the 1980s and he was not accustomed to American society, he said. Caught in a downward spiral of greed, stupidity and his personal struggle to assimilate back to American life after being raised in Dhahran, the 18-year-old Friedmann armed himself with a gun and robbed a Green Hills store. During the robbery he got into a gunfight with the store owner, who shot Friedmann in his left hand. "It was a harsh introduction to the system, but I committed a harsh crime," he said. Friedmann says he was able to get probation but still fouled up. His probation was revoked and he had to serve 10 years after he was busted for shoplifting. In prison he read a number of books, including the classics and a couple that sparked his interest in activism: Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a story based on a character who served 10 years in prison in Stalin's gulag. He began writing and learning how to do research. He admired the in-depth investigative pieces produced by reporters. Today, he worries it's not done enough. He has no social life, he says. His downtime consists of zipping around in his restored 1982 Corvette and working on computer systems. But he sees himself as a reporter and an activist.

July 31, 2008 Nashville Scene
On Tuesday, Alex Friedmann and CCA went to court. Friedmann, whose Dumpster-diving exploits we profiled this week, was there on behalf of Prison Legal News (PLN) where he works as associate editor. Back in April of ‘07, PLN made a formal request for CCA records. The paper wanted to know how much the prison-operator paid out in lawsuit settlements. CCA said it couldn’t have the info. PLN’s logic seemed simple enough. Locking up criminals is a public service. And even though CCA is a private company, 100 percent of its funding comes from the government, making it subject to the same transparency expected of their agencies. Simple, right? If you answered “yes,” then you’re obviously not a lawyer… Because if you’d been to law school, you would have understood CCA's higher allegiance to semantics. Using the patented “Grasping at Straws” stratagem, CCA lawyers argued that the millions the company gets from Tennessee each year isn’t technically funding. It's “contractual payments for services rendered.” See? Running a prison is just like paying your cell phone bill. You wouldn’t call the money you give Verizon every month “funding,” would you? Good. Glad to know you’re not a commie. Fortunately for PLN and fans of logic everywhere, the ruling judge wasn’t havin’ it. “The court just cut right through that (argument),” says Friedmann. Which means a momentary victory for Friedmann and PLN, even if CCA is almost guaranteed to appeal. We'll keep ya posted.

July 30, 2008 Tennessean
Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America must follow public records law and open its files for viewing, a Chancery Court judge ruled Tuesday, a decision that could lead to more transparency in a historically hidden industry. Alex Friedmann, an ex-offender and vice president of advocacy group Private Corrections Institute, had filed suit after CCA denied his request for records about prison operations and lawsuits they were part of. CCA, which operates the Metro Davidson County Detention Facility and six other detention facilities across Tennessee, maintained the company did not have to comply with public records requests because it is private. Access to prison records could accomplish two main goals, said Michele Deitch, an expert on private prison issues and adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin: shedding light on the operation of the private facilities and showing taxpayers how much money is spent on settlements with those who claim mistreatment. "When the private sector says, 'We can do this cheaper and better,' people don't think about what happens if things go wrong," Deitch said. "Who pays for that? In fact, it does come back to the taxpayers and the government. We need that information for a fuller picture of the true cost of these prisons." CCA plans to appeal the ruling, according to attorney Joe Welborn, who represented the company. Public-private line blurs - It's too soon to say whether there will be national implications to the decision, said Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center. But as more governmental functions are turned over to private industry, he said, the issue of what documents remain public can get muddied. "These issues will be litigated more and more," Policinski said. "Where does public responsibility and public visibility end, and a private institution's own records begin, when performing public functions and accepting public money?" Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled that CCA was a "functional equivalent" to a governmental entity, because the operations of jails and prisons are essential governmental functions, and most of their revenues are taxpayer-funded. She ordered the company to make all of its records available, except those sealed by a court order. Andrew Clarke, attorney for Friedmann, said he kept his arguments simple because he felt the facts supported his client's assertion that CCA performs a governmental function. "Sometimes it just is what it is," Clarke said. 'A layer of secrecy' The chancellor has not yet ruled on whether to award attorney's fees to Friedmann. CCA spokesman Steve Owen said the company is reserving comment until a final order has been issued. CCA has been hammered in recent months by allegations of underplaying serious incidents in its jails and misrepresenting the circumstances of in-custody deaths. Much of the heat came after CCA's general counsel, Gus Puryear, was nominated to a federal judgeship. The company's treatment of mentally ill inmates locally also was questioned after it was reported that an inmate hadn't left his cell or showered for nine months. Friedmann's organization recently offered reward money for anyone who could shed light on the death of Estelle Richardson, who died in the Metro jail in 2004. CCA officials said that, because of a malfunction, there was no tape of the incident that led to Richardson's fatal injuries. Friedmann served six years in a CCA-run facility before his release in 1999. "This important ruling strips away a layer of secrecy that CCA has misused to conceal embarrassing and negative information from the public," Friedmann said.

July 29, 2008 AP
A Nashville judge ruled Tuesday that private prison company Corrections Corp. of America is subject to Tennessee's open records law. Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ordered CCA to provide information on settlements, judgments and complaints against the company to Alex Friedmann, who first requested the information in an April 2007 letter. Joe Welborn, an attorney representing CCA, said the company will appeal. Bonnyman said the overriding issue was whether the company performs a government function. "The court finds that CCA is the equivalent of a government agency based first and foremost on the fact that the Tennessee constitution makes the maintenance of prisons and keeping of prisoners a state function," she said. The ruling only applies to records of Tennessee prisons, not to federal prisons the company runs, or prisons in other states. Attorney Andy Clarke said he represented Friedmann pro bono because he felt the Nashville-based company was deliberately trying to keep damaging information from becoming public. "Information is knowledge," he said. "They probably don't mind a $4,000 settlement for a broken back becoming public, but if someone gets killed, they probably do." Friedmann, a Tennessee resident and associate editor at the monthly magazine Prison Legal News, sued CCA after the company denied his records request, claiming it was not subject to the state's open records law. Among other things, he asked to see verdicts against the company and settlement agreements with prisoners. The judge ruled that even confidential settlements were public records and had to be turned over as long as they had not been sealed by a court order.

July 1, 2008 News Channel 5
A victim's advocate claims someone got away with murder at a Nashville detention facility. On July 5, 2004, Estelle Richardson died while in solitary confinement at the Davidson County Detention Facility operated by Corrections Corporations of America. An autopsy showed she died from blunt-force trauma to the head. She also had several broken ribs. Her file at the facility indicated that she died of "homicide ... unsolved murder." "She died a brutal, painful, vicious death," said Denver Schimming, a victim's advocate. Schimming, a reformed felon who served time for bank robbery, has turned his life around. He is determined to solve the Richardson case. "She did get the death sentence. Yeah, CCA was the judge, jury, and executioner in this case," he said about the mother of two. Schimming was among a small gathering of people standing outside the medium security prison Tuesday night to commemorate Richardson and keep the investigation open. "We're saying that justice has not been served. That we need to dig harder, work harder, and find out who it is," he said. "The question is not did it happen? It did happen. The question is who it is. Let's find out who murdered Estelle Richardson." Richardson was found unresponsive in solitary confinement 24 hours after cell extraction, which is described by some as a violent procedure to forcibly remove an inmate. Charges were dismissed against four former CCA guards indicted for her death because the district attorney general had "no definitive proof that (Richardson) died as a result of the actions of these defendants." The medical examiner, according to the district attorney, ruled "the blunt trauma that eventually killed Ms. Richardson likely took place several days before she was extracted from her cell." A key piece of evidence in the case is a videotape of Richardson's cell extraction. It no longer exists. Schimming said it's protocol to record such maneuvers, but CCA claims the camera malfunctioned. The district attorney general's office said the case isn't solved, but it's not being actively investigated either.

June 26, 2008 Nashville Scene
Regarding the Scene’s cover story on CCA, “Locked and Loaded” (June 19), when it comes to prisons—particularly private prisons—the devil’s in the details. While the article was informative and wide-ranging, it missed some important details, including these: It wasn’t clear that there was a cover up of the assault on inmate James Ingram at CCA’s Hardeman County facility. The assault by Warden Turner occurred on May 17, 2007, but the Tennessee Department of Correction wasn’t notified until July 19—two months later. Nor were they notified by CCA; they learned about the incident from Ingram’s attorney. CCA staff had tried to hide the incident from state officials. CCA employees apparently have problems following the law. From February 2003 to April 2008, at least 55 CCA employees at three prisons in Tennessee (Hardeman County, Whiteville and South Central) were charged with criminal offenses—or an average of one a month. That doesn’t include arrests of CCA staff members at the company’s 62 other facilities. Gerald Townsend, the inmate at the CCA-Metro facility who was beaten to death by his cellmate in January, was the brother of Judy Townsend—who, ironically, was present at the same CCA-run facility in July 2004 when Estelle Richardson was found “unresponsive” in her segregation cell and later died. Four CCA guards were indicted in connection with her death, but the charges were later dropped. A $35,000 reward has been offered for information related to Estelle’s murder: See whokilledestelle.org. Alex Friedmann Vice President, Private Corrections Institute (and former CCA prisoner)

June 19, 2008 Nashville Scene
Located in a bland, almost anonymous Green Hills office park of fake lakes and fountains is the headquarters of the nation’s largest private prison company, which, at the moment, may be the most disparaged corporation in the country. Since its inception in 1983, CCA has encountered legions of angry detractors who believe that the business of punishing criminals should not be—well, a business. But if the company has become accustomed to criticism over the years—like a best-selling author whose novels garner predictably bad reviews—it is now mired in a series of scandals, embarrassments and public-relations catastrophes that may tar its reputation for years to come. In the last 18 months alone, CCA has been the target of several stinging lawsuits supported by detailed affidavits and third-party reports alleging dangerous and inhumane practices that have put inmates’ lives at risk. Whistle blowers, once in positions of trust at CCA, have emerged from the shadows to tell vivid tales of corporate misconduct. Federal authorities have castigated the publicly traded corporation for operating an immigration detention facility in Texas on the cheap. And at that CCA complex—which at one point forced children of immigrant detainees to dress in prison garb—dozens of incarcerated women and children have come forward with gut-wrenching tales of anguish and neglect. Here in Nashville, CCA’s officers volunteer on the boards of noble nonprofits. But the company’s local detention center, far removed from the world of tony fundraisers and white-tie dinners, has been the setting for a string of grim events. One inmate beat his cellmate to death. A mentally ill man apparently went nine months without being allowed a shower. And another inmate lost his ear in a fight. So considering the company’s problems in its own backyard, not to mention its near-epic failings in Texas, it may seem odd to begin our story at a CCA facility in West Tennessee, where last May a few inmates brawled inside a prison chapel. The disturbance at the Hardeman County Correctional Center, located in the tiny town of Whiteville, was no different from any other jailhouse scuffle, and it’s not clear that anyone was even hurt. But an inmate who saw the fight—and maybe even threw a punch or two—got a lesson about the workings of CCA’s particular brand of law and order and its longtime penchant of avoiding scrutiny. On May 16, 2007, James Ingram, an inmate from Memphis who battled a drug problem, was serving a 17-year sentence for aggravated robbery at the medium-security prison. Clean-cut and not much older than 30, Ingram was walking to his pod at the time of the brawl and overheard a group of inmates fighting at the chapel. Ingram fell into a fetal position to demonstrate, in his lawyer’s words, “a spirit of surrender and cooperation.” If that sounds implausible, consider the next part of the inmate’s story. After prison officials quelled the fight, they took Ingram to a back room and demanded that he give up the names of the prisoners who squared off. Ingram saw who was involved, but he wouldn’t talk. So the warden, a 40-something man named Glen Turner and the brother of one of CCA’s corporate vice presidents, placed him in solitary confinement. Shortly after, Turner shoved him to the ground and Ingram fell on his back. The warden then punched him in the face, opening a 2-inch cut below his eye. Typical convict hogwash, right? The state didn’t agree. Ingram called a lawyer, who called the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) to look into what happened. Joined by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, TDOC investigated the incident and determined that Turner assaulted Ingram by “throwing him to the floor and striking him at least twice in the head with the closed fist of his right hand.” In August, Ingram resigned as warden. A month later, he pled guilty to a charge of official oppression. It’s not clear when CCA’s headquarters learned what happened at its West Tennessee prison. But state authorities hint that company officials were slow to act. In an email to his colleagues, Jerry Lister, then TDOC’s acting director of internal affairs, notes that it was only when his department learned of the allegations from Ingram’s lawyer that “anyone at the facility [began] to acknowledge the excessive use of force by Warden Turner.” As a private company, CCA doesn’t have to answer for what happened at its prison. It refused a request from the Scene to review Turner’s original résumé, job application and disciplinary file. Meanwhile, TDOC never issued a press release about the findings of its investigation. As a result, the publicly traded company escaped the rounds of bad publicity that a state-run prison would have endured had one of its wardens pummeled an inmate. Until now, the media has never reported the details of Turner’s attack on Ingram. But if CCA was able to dodge a PR nightmare last summer, its luck has since faded. Now it can’t seem to serve so much as a cold meal without landing in hot water. The well-heeled company finds itself embroiled in an array of ugly incidents, both in Nashville and throughout the country, that have been featured on the pages of national newspapers and magazines and in the bold type of heavy-hitting lawsuits. Taken separately, the company’s struggles may not seem extraordinary. The business of incarceration is a rough one, even for those who don’t view it as a business. But for CCA, which for most of the decade has been able to avoid criticism from everyone other than a thin cast of anti-privatization foes, there seems to be a growing series of corroborated accounts that sketch a new portrait: that of a reckless, callous enterprise that treats inmates—even those who haven’t been convicted of a crime—as if they were cattle. Maybe, then, it’s appropriate that we move our story to cattle country. Elsa is a sturdy woman in her mid-20s with soft, round cheeks and straight, black hair that she sometimes pulls behind her head. Before she found herself locked up in a dusty Texas town, she lived in Honduras with her two children, Richard and Angelina. Here is her story: Elsa was happy in her native country and “didn’t need anything from anyone to be well-off.” Then one day, while walking on a quiet road, a man grabbed her hair and put a gun to her head. He forced her to take off her clothes, and then he hit her. He called her a “perra” or bitch and laughed as he ran his weapon over her body. Elsa cried and screamed and then, after being raped, begged for her life. “Please don’t kill me. I have two children.” The man struck her again, but let her live so that he could haunt her once more, showing up on a whim at her friend’s place to let her know he could have her again whenever he chose. The man’s father worked for the local police department, and Elsa knew the only way to flee him was to flee Honduras with Richard and Angelina. When she arrived in the United States, an immigration agent took her and her family to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, 30 miles north of Austin. It would be anything but a safe haven. In 2005, Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division (ICE), ended the practice of “catch-and-release”—which permitted undocumented immigrants like Elsa to remain free at-large while they awaited their day in court. Under catch-and-release, no-shows were common. So after 9/11, the specter of illegal immigrants from all over the world roaming the country became a security issue. Pilot programs sprung up that tracked immigrants with electronic bracelets, though Chertoff went with a draconian plan instead: Throw many of these men, women and children in Hutto, a former medium-security prison that was surrounded by a 15-foot fence topped with rings of barbed wire when it reopened in 2006 as a place for immigrant families. After she arrived in Taylor, Elsa and her family shared a tiny living area, where they’d be loudly awoken at 5:45 a.m. Elsa, Richard and Angelina then had 20 minutes to eat breakfast. When they didn’t finish on time, guards would just snatch their food and throw it in the trash. “When this happens, the children cry and cry,” Elsa later explained in an affidavit that chronicled her plight. The detention center was very cold, so much so that the guards walked around wearing gloves. But they’d yell at Elsa if she asked for a blanket. One time they came into her cell and confiscated two of her sweaters. “They don’t care that we are cold,” she said. “They don’t care if we eat or if we don’t eat.” Elsa and her children wore prison uniforms and spent hours in their pod, often with no toys or books for the kids. One day, Elsa and her family were in the doctor’s office, where all the kids were playing with crayons. Angelina drew a picture, but a guard grabbed the girl’s artwork. She cried a lot at Hutto, wondering what her family had done wrong. “Mommy, where is God that he doesn’t want to help us? Mommy, tell God to come and take us out of here and take us to our house,” Elsa recalled her daughter saying. “Mommy, why do they have us as prisoners if we have never killed anybody?” In March 2007, the ACLU helped bring suit against Michael Chertoff and the immigration officers who ran Hutto. As a part of that litigation, attorneys collected more than 20 affidavits from detainees like Elsa, nearly all of whom were bidding to receive political asylum from their home countries. The detainees hail from different continents—some are adults, others young children—but they all tell the same story because they lived it together. Raouitee Pamela Puran fled her home country, where her husband was kidnapped and murdered. Seeking political asylum in the United States, she and her daughter Wesleyann wound up at Hutto. The young girl, just 4 years old, had trouble sleeping. It was always cold, and it didn’t help that the guards kept turning the lights on and off in their living quarters. The food was awful too. When Wesleyann would talk to her aunt on the phone, she’d plead with her to cook her chicken curry and rice. That always stung her mom. Even worse, Wesleyann would hear the guards threaten the children who acted up. If you don’t behave, they’d tell them, we’re going to separate you from your parents. Wesleyann was terrified. A sixth-grader at a junior high school in Ohio, Aissha Ibrahim came to Hutto with his mother, brother and sister on Nov. 30, 2006. Aissha, whose family had fled war-torn Somalia, said in an affidavit that when his sister Bahja got in trouble, the guards threatened to take her away from her family. Another guard told Aissha that if he complained, he would never see his mother again. “I would be scared if I never got my mom back, and I would think of how she took care of me when I was a baby,” he said. Just about every affidavit from a child or mother portrayed Hutto the same way—as a rough and cold place, where kids lie awake at night hungry and crying in the dark. And if they act up, like children often do, a guard would threaten to remove them from their families. To hear the stories from inside the walls, Hutto seems more like a medieval dungeon than a 21st century facility run by a wealthy company. “The conditions were shocking,” says Barbara Hines, a University of Texas law professor who spent many hours inside the facility representing detainees. “There were children in prison garb dressed like their parents; it was like an adult prison system. Seven times a day parents and their children were required to stay in their pods so they could be counted. Laser beams shined through the cells at night.” Just about everyone else who walked through the gates at Hutto, including federal authorities, saw it as a deeply troubling facility. In March 2007, ICE inspectors visited Hutto and, in their own distinct bureaucratic language, corroborated the anguished accounts of the detainees. The inspectors noted that their “overall review of the facility can be accurately rated as deficient” and determined that the staff wasn’t following basic standards of detention. “The Review Team’s observation of CCA’s overall attitude is of disinterest and complacency in their work performance,” the agency noted in its report. A month later, an interoffice memo from ICE said that at Hutto, CCA is “losing staff as quick as they can hire them.” That’s because the company was only paying its detention officers around $10 an hour, nearly $4 less than what they could make at the county jail. “As long as CCA continues to hire employees at this rate per hour, they will continue to experience the problems they are currently experiencing on the floor,” read the memo. “The current problems CCA is experiencing are a direct result of what ‘they are paying their employees for.’ Unfortunately, it is at ICE’s expense.” Among other issues, the Scene asked CCA to address the portrayal of Hutto that emerges from both federal officials and the people who lived there. The company declined to comment on any and all matters in this story, instead emailing news clips and a U.S. magistrate’s report of the facility. That report, which came three months after the ACLU filed its federal lawsuit, depicted a more humane place than other earlier accounts and noted, “there have been attempts to ‘soften’ the feel of the building.” The magistrate observed that the staff removed door locks and hung murals on the walls, “although the building still retains a very institutional feel.” In August, the ACLU announced a settlement with ICE over the treatment of immigrant families at the Hutto facility. The settlement called for several common-sense measures, including installing privacy curtains around toilets in common areas and letting kids play with toys in their rooms. All 26 children and their parents who took part in the suit were released into the custody of family members who are legal residents of the United States. By all accounts, Hutto is no longer as oppressive as it was when Elsa and her family first arrived from Honduras. But why didn’t CCA get it right from the start? Or to put it more bluntly, why did a rich company—one with $388 million in revenues last quarter—have to be told by the ACLU to cease treating innocent children like criminals? “The point I’d like to make is that none of these changes were done voluntarily,” says Hines, the attorney. “When you look at CCA and ICE, the question is, how would this facility have been if no one found out about it?” The apathetic treatment of Hutto’s immigrants was hardly an anomaly. CCA also operates a detention facility in San Diego that drew a separate ACLU lawsuit last year. In the complaint, the group claims that CCA routinely denied basic medical care to immigrant detainees with hepatitis, diabetes and other serious illnesses. One man from Ghana died from heart failure after the center’s staff allegedly asked him to fill out some paper work—even though he was seen kneeling on the floor of his cell and complaining of chest pains. At jails and prisons across the country, inmates routinely die under dire circumstances; some commit suicide after nurses fail to fill their anti-psychotic prescriptions, others find themselves on the wrong end of a baton stick. And in fairness, CCA doesn’t have a monopoly on jailhouse horror stories. For every dark tale of cruelty at CCA, there is an equal travesty in a county jail or federal penitentiary. The difference, though, is that CCA can duck responsibility for what happens inside its walls, whereas a government-run facility can’t. CCA doesn’t have to turn over the disciplinary file of a disgraced guard or give a press conference when one of its inmates escapes over the fence. It has the luxury to operate in the shadows and turn a booming profit without having to explain how it runs the business. We don’t know a lot about Patrick Perry, a onetime captain for CCA’s Metro Detention Facility, located on Harding Road in South Nashville. But we do know that on the morning of Jan. 31, 2008, Perry arrived at the Metro Health Department to talk about his employer and offer a glimpse into some of its secret practices. Metro Health officials would later write a memo detailing what the captain told them. Perry was worried about a troubled inmate named Frank Horton, who was imprisoned on a drug conviction and had stayed in the same segregation cell since May 2007. Perry said that CCA’s policy dictates that an inmate has to leave his cell at least once every three days or else guards need to remove him by force. But at CCA’s Harding facility, the warden reprimanded the staff if they followed this policy. That’s because every time they had to escort an inmate against his will, it raised the facility’s “use of force” numbers. And that placed the Metro Detention Center in a negative light when CCA officials evaluated it against its other jails and prisons across the country. At first blush, the warden’s directive may not seem out of order. If an inmate doesn’t want to leave his cell, why should the guards care? But Frank Horton was a special case. As Perry told Metro officials, the 23-year-old inmate seemed disoriented and was speaking gibberish. At the very least, he needed medical care. (Metro Health Department officials say they made sure Horton received a psychiatric screening after their visit with Perry, but say they can’t divulge any more details due to privacy concerns.) Horton’s mother, Cytherea Braswell, had tried to visit her son before Christmas but says that a guard couldn’t find the necessary forms. She later had a lawyer, John Clemmons, drop in to see him in March, after she learned her son wasn’t well. When Clemmons arrived, a guard told him that Frank was just fine, that he’d received a shower and a shave. But when he went to see his client, what he saw troubled him. “He had a big, unkempt goatee, and some stubble on his face and lint on his hair,” Clemmons says. “He was completely naked except for a blanket draped around him, and when they walked me back there, they didn’t act like this was unusual.” Now contemplating a lawsuit against CCA, Clemmons says that his client went nine months without taking a shower, which dovetails with Perry’s account of how Horton went the better part of 2007 without leaving his cell. Even worse, Horton appeared as if he were completely oblivious to the outside world and lost in his own muddled thoughts. Brawell says that, as a child, her son was diagnosed with hyperactivity and mild to moderate bipolar disorder. As a young adult, he worked at a Waffle House and played basketball with his friends. With the right treatment, she says, he could live a normal life. “He was an average person,” she says. “He had a job, he went to work every day, he had friends. He knew how to take care of himself.” But when Clemmons went to visit Braswell’s son, he was talking in the same mysterious language that Perry described in his visit with Metro officials. It was an odd blend of broken Spanish and English, and Horton spoke it as if it were his native tongue, repeating the same incoherent phrases to identical questions. “When I saw him, he was in a state where he had no awareness of his mental capacity,” Clemmons says. With the help of the Metro Legal Department and the Davidson County Sheriff’s office, Clemmons was able to transfer Horton to a state facility for inmates with special needs. Now in the process of researching his case, Clemmons isn’t sure what kind of, if any, mental health treatment his client received behind bars. For that, he may subpoena Patrick Perry to discover whether the CCA facility risked Horton’s health to polish its internal data. “When I was there, the only medical staff I saw was a nurse who merely walked from window to window and looked at the inmates through a slot in the door,” he says. “It just looked like all they were concerned with was that their physical well-being was intact.” In his meeting with Metro Health officials, Patrick Perry also said that an alarm for inmates to trigger in the event of an emergency wasn’t working. He added that CCA knew the call system was a problem “but did nothing about it.” The former captain may find himself testifying about that observation as well. Two weeks before Perry came forward, Gerald Townsend, a 36-year-old inmate at the Harding facility who loved scary movies, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after being diagnosed with internal bleeding. His spleen was ripped open and blood had flooded his lungs. In his final hours, Townsend told a nurse that Ronnie Sullivan, his 22-year-old cellmate, assaulted him. Metro police later charged Sullivan with Townsend’s murder. Attorney Blair Durham is representing Townsend’s mother, Jackie, who plans to file a suit against CCA this week. Durham says he’s learned that inmates were banging on their cells as Sullivan began to assault his cellmate. But no one rushed to help. Durham also heard that the alarm, which could have saved Townsend’s life, wasn’t working. A month after Townsend’s death, an inmate fled the same jail through an air vent. At first, the company announced that the man, who had a history of escape attempts, was simply hiding inside the grounds. A day or so later, when the Scene called to see if he had been found, the company refused to comment. Earlier this year, after CCA endured a series of PR nightmares at the Metro Detention Center during which the company largely ducked interviews with the media, the private jailer reassigned the facility’s warden, Brian Gardner. For the Davidson County Sheriff’s office, which contracts with CCA to run the Harding jail, the company needed to reevaluate its management of the facility. “We are satisfied that CCA has responded with a policy change as well as the fact that they have changed their management since these incidents have occurred,” says Karla Wiekal, the sheriff’s spokesperson. “At some point, (CCA) recognized there needed to be a leadership change and at this point forward we will see if these changes are effective.” In June 2007, President George Bush nominated CCA corporate counsel Gus Puryear to a federal seat in the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee. Initially viewed as a safe bet to receive a lifetime appointment, Puryear faltered badly in his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February, appearing to some as arrogant and unprepared. The 39-year-old nominee, who twice served as debate coach for Vice President Dick Cheney, struggled in particular to explain how his company handled the brutal 2004 death of Nashville inmate Estelle Richardson, at one point wrongly stating that the guards initially charged in connection with her murder were “exonerated.” Now Puryear’s bid has turned into an unofficial referendum on CCA, and it appears unlikely that the Senate will confirm him before the end of Bush’s presidency. It’s been that kind of year for the private jailer. Puryear’s struggles, playing out awkwardly on a big stage, make up just the latest bout of bad publicity for the Nashville company, which has also been battered in the national press. In February, The New Yorker reported the definitive story about the company’s Hutto facility in Texas. The magazine detailed how immigrant families shared a tiny cell with a bunk bed, thin mattress and an exposed toilet, while ill-trained guards rounded them up seven times a day for a head count. Then in March, Time.com detailed the accusations of a former high-ranking CCA official who claimed that the company repeatedly misled state and local authorities about the rate of violent incidents at the prisons and jails it had under contract. In May, The New York Times chronicled how an ailing detainee was treated at a CCA facility in New Jersey just before he lapsed into a coma and died. The paper uncovered records that show that the man, a 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who overstayed a tourist visa, was “shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit.” He vomited and moaned and then was dumped in a disciplinary cell for 13 hours, even though he was foaming at the mouth. Operating 65 facilities in the country with more than 70,000 inmates and detainees in its custody, CCA will never have a perfect record. But what may say more about the company anchoring a Green Hills office park is not the middle-aged detainee who died of a heart failure or the sinister warden who struck an inmate, but the 9-year-old boy who was forced to live like a common criminal. Kevin Yourdkhani, whose parents fled from torture in their native Iran, wound up at CCA’s Hutto facility on Feb. 9, 2007. There, he shared a small cell with his mother and had to climb a tall ladder to get to his bunk bed. He slept right next to an open toilet that smelled. The boy also complained about the food—he called it “garbage”—saying that all he was ever fed were beans. “We are lucky if we get 30 minute to eat,” he said an affidavit for the ACLU’s lawsuit against the place. “It is usually 20 minutes, and they are always rushing.” In his pod, a small living area that he shared with other detainees, the children were always sick. Lots of kids had eye infections. Kevin attended school but rarely learned anything. All he did was watch “Spanish movies” and color and draw pictures. One day his father, who was being kept at another part of the facility, came to visit Kevin. That infuriated a guard, who told Kevin that he would be placed in foster care if his dad ever dropped by to see him again. “I cried and cried so much that I lost my energy and went to sleep.”

June 17, 2008 AlterNet
Gustavus "Gus" Puryear, head legal honcho for the nation's largest private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), isn't the kind of guy who's accustomed to sitting in the hot seat, much less showing visible signs of discomfort. The kind of discomfort, say, that Puryear might have felt when he heard that up to $35,000 in cash reward money had been announced for information leading to the conviction of Estelle Richardson's murderer(s). Ten thousand dollars will go to anyone who can recover "missing" cell extraction video footage from within the CCA-operated Nashville prison where Estelle was found dead in her solitary confinement cell. The cash reward announcement came a couple of weeks after AlterNet ran the two-part investigative feature I wrote about the Estelle Richardson, and what any of the events surrounding her life and death has to do with Puryear's bid for federal judgeship. This money's quite real, and the offer is quite legitimate, although the actual donor has chosen to remain anonymous. Check it out for yourself at WhoKilledEstelle.org. The grassroots organizing front has picked up steam, as well, especially after Amy Goodman took interest in the story and brought me on Democracy Now! to discuss some of the particulars. Many readers and viewers have followed up by going to AgainstPuryear.org, run by a man named Alex Friedmann. [T]he judicial nomination of CCA general counsel Gus Puryear is largely in the toilet," Friedmann wrote to me in a recent e-mail, referring to an article from The Tennessean. Wow. When President Bush nominated him to a lifetime federal judicial appointment last year, it seemed to most people paying attention that he'd be confirmed without much fanfare or fuss. Puryear had always been a staunch GOP loyalist, but he wasn't the kind to rock the boat with public, proclamations about controversial issues. Instead, he proved himself to be the behind-the-scenes guy; the kind of guy, for example, who got a kick out of prepping Dick Cheney for the 2000 and 2004 vice-presidential debates. By the time he was nominated for the U.S. District Court judgeship. Puryear also proved himself to be a relentlessly corporate litigator whose loyalty to CCA's bottom line had been (and still is) handsomely rewarded. If it weren't for the fact that CCA brought in a corporate commando in 2001 by the name of John Ferguson (and that Ferguson decided to bring Puryear in to create a new, formidable legal fortress), CCA's scandal-ridden, stock-price-tanking, shareholder-suing mess would have surely have brought the entire company crashing to the ground. (Yes, CCA scandals are now more prevalent than ever, but so are the number people cycling in and out of prison. Where federal and state governments have run out of options, CCA and other prison privatizers have made in their business to make themselves indispensable.) With a net worth of $13 million (and climbing), the 39-yr-old Puryear didn't just show up with an old-money pedigree and a seemingly skeleton-free closet; he was able to turn it up a few notches as a quick-witted, nattily-attired, blue-eyed whippersnapper eager to play his part to freshen up a stale party image. And what better way to do so than to slip on a nice, roomy judge's robe and decide on the fate of people's lives? He was riding in the slipstream of the most reprehensible driver of the American prison machine, Sure, he hit a few small speed bumps along the way, and Estelle Richardson was one of those. I'm grateful that Friedmann wasn't willing to let her memory fade away. "But the fight isn't over yet," he cautions. "Puryear can still be confirmed anytime from now until January 2009. Since his nomination is presently on the ropes, it's time for a knock-out blow. If you or your organization haven't already done so, now is the time to contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and object to Puryear's pending nomination. I'll second that. www.againstpuryear.org. Estelle, I hope that you can rest in peace.

June 13, 2008 Tennessean
A year ago today, Gustavus "Gus" Puryear IV was nominated for a federal judgeship in Nashville and appeared headed to an easy confirmation. Now Puryear's confirmation seems unlikely. In addition to questions raised about his qualifications and actions as general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America, Puryear's fate is now caught in intense election-year battles between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate over lifetime judicial appointments. Senate Democrats are looking to approve as few of Republican President Bush's appointments as they can before his term expires, hoping Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wins the presidency. Republicans did the same during the final months of the Democratic Clinton administration. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which vets nominees, said at a committee hearing Thursday that this practice is simply the "fact of the matter." "It is legitimate," Biden said. "These are lifetime appointments." Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said at the end of the hearing, which included approval of three judicial nominees, that no more judges would be confirmed unless there is agreement among him and ranking committee Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate. Even Tennessee's two Republican senators, who signed off on Puryear's nomination, acknowledge his confirmation is in trouble. "Gus Puryear is a qualified nominee who deserves an up-or-down vote in the Senate, and we're continuing to pursue every option to that end," Sen. Bob Corker said in a written statement. "The current atmosphere in the Senate makes his confirmation more difficult — not impossible, just increasingly more difficult as we approach the fall elections." Sen. Lamar Alexander said he was still hopeful. "But the Democrats have slowed confirmation of President Bush's nominees to a ridiculous extent," Alexander said in a recent interview. CCA spokesman Steve Owen, responding to a request for Puryear to comment, said the company has "no way of knowing what the outcome of the confirmation process will be. We continue to believe that Mr. Puryear would make an excellent federal judge. He has served the company admirably and with great integrity as general counsel." The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Puryear's nomination in February but has not scheduled a vote on whether to send his name to the full Senate for a vote. Reasons cited by opponents as to why Puryear should not be confirmed include: a lack of trial and judicial experience, his role as chief lawyer for the country's largest private prison company, and the company's handling of the 2004 death of Estelle Richardson while she was in the Metro Detention Facility in Nashville. Among those opposing Puryear's confirmation are: The Alliance for Justice, an umbrella group of national civil rights and other organizations, Private Corrections Institute Inc., which opposes prison privatization and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

May 19, 2008 Press Release
On May 19, 2008, Prison Legal News (PLN), an independent monthly publication that reports on corrections and criminal justice-related issues, filed suit in Davidson County Chancery Court against Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), the nation's largest private prison firm, which is headquartered in Nashville. Last year PLN's associate editor, Alex Friedmann, submitted a public records request to CCA under Tennessee's open records law. In 2002 the Tennessee Supreme Court had ruled that private companies which perform functionally equivalent public services must comply with public records requests to the same extent as government agencies. Although CCA performs an equivalent government function by operating prisons and jails through contracts that are funded with taxpayer dollars, the company refused to produce the requested records. CCA claimed it was not subject to the state's public records law despite the Tennessee Supreme Court's clear ruling to the contrary. PLN had requested records related to successful litigation against CCA, as well as "reports, audits, investigations or other similar documents which found ... that CCA did not comply with one or more terms of its contracts" with government agencies. The lawsuit filed by PLN is to ensure that records maintained by CCA as a private prison contractor are available to the public to the same extent as from government agencies, in order to ensure accountability and public oversight of CCA's prison and jail operations. "Public agencies cannot contract away the public's ability to review records that otherwise would be publicly accessible under the state's open records law. The public's right to know is not delegable to private corporations," said Paul Wright, PLN's editor. In a 2007 news article, Steven Owen, CCA's Director of Marketing, was quoted as saying prison privatization was "one of the most transparent industries out there." As CCA has refused to comply with Tennessee's public records law, PLN's lawsuit will put the company's self-proclaimed transparency to the test. The case is Friedmann v. CCA, Chancery Court of Davidson County, Tenn., Case No. 08-1105-I. PLN is represented by Andy Clarke of the Memphis law firm of Borod and Kramer, PLC.

May 7, 2008 Nashville Post
A series of articles by the New York Times have Washington, D.C. insiders saying that Gus Puryear should keep his day job. Puryear, executive vice president and general counsel for Nashville based Corrections Corporation of America, was nominated by President George W. Bush last year to serve on the U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee. Since the nomination, Puryear has been attacked here and in Washington for everything from his handling of CCA legal matters, his membership in the Belle Meade Country Club, to his lack of experience outside of corporate law. While the nomination of Puryear has not moved due to objections of U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and Diane Feinstein, he still has had hope of being confirmed to the bench. Now, a number of NashvillePost.com sources are saying that hope is even in more jeopardy. Democratic insiders in Washington contacted by NashvillePost.com say that what hope Puryear had was effectively killed by a series of articles published this week by the New York Times. Republican insiders acknowledge that the articles have made Puryear's bid "more complicated" and there is no momentum to push him forward at this time. While the articles don't mention Puryear by name, CCA is sharply criticized for their handling of the death of Boubacar Bah and the labeling of his inmate file as "proprietary information - not for distribution." Bah was 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who had overstayed a tourist visa. While incarcerated, Bah had fallen and hit his head and became incoherent. According to the NYT, "documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth." He was eventually transported to a hospital, but his family was not notified of his whereabouts for five days. He died four months later. The Times also ran an editorial on this matter yesterday.

May 6, 2008 AlterNet
Until very recently, Puryear has enjoyed an easy climb up the political and corporate ladder. It hasn't hurt that the 39-year-old Republican Party loyalist has always kept the right company, starting with the day that he was born. Puryear's paternal lineage is flush with old money tied, in particular, to the Southern banking industry. (It's a tradition that Puryear has carried on by joining the board of the Nashville Bank & Trust Company.) Born in Atlanta, Puryear attended an exclusive Christian private school, Westminster. After high school graduation in 1986, Puryear received a full academic scholarship to Emory University, and then to the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 1993, freshly equipped with his J.D., Puryear landed a plum assignment as law clerk to Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale, Fifth U.S. District Court of Appeals. (Hawkins was appointed to the bench in 1990, by President George H.W. Bush.) In an odd twist of fate, clerking for Judge Barksdale brought Puryear close to the lives of prisoners, at least insofar as their legal paperwork. In an October 2005 feature in South magazine, "No more get out of jail free," Puryear noted that one-third of all the cases they dealt with were pro se prisoner cases: "In fact, when I got out of law school, I was appointed to represent an inmate in a Section 1983 civil rights action, and we took it to a jury trial," he told writer Greg Land, adding dryly, "We lost." Land made the apt observation that Puryear's district court experience was "fitting foreshadowing for the young lawyer who would eventually make 'no settlements' a key corporate goal at CCA." That case was to end up as one of only five federal cases Puryear has ever personally handled as practicing attorney, only two of which went to trial, in addition to one trial in Tennessee state court in the 1990s. This, despite Puryear's three years as an associate attorney at Farris, Warfield & Kanaday (now Stites & Harbison), a law firm to which his grandfather had longstanding ties. Perhaps Puryear had a sense all along that he was destined to use his legal mind for a different purpose, say, for the glory of the GOP and the size of his pocketbook. Puryear made the leap to GOP employment very quickly, serving as counsel from 1997-1998 for a legal team assembled by former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), as part of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. The Committee was busy investigating a major campaign finance scandal; 22 people were eventually convicted for fraud or illegally funneling foreign money to the DNC's federal election coffers. Puryear's work was duly noted. From 1998-2000, Puryear held the position of legislative director for Republican Senator Bill Frist, a former state deputy director for the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign. Frist, who served in Congress from 1995-2007, was also a Belle Meade Country Club member, although he (unlike Puryear) had the common sense to resign from the historically racially segregated organization before heading toward his political career. Puryear's close friendship with beltway insider and Republican attorney/lobbyist powerhouse, Philip Perry, also yielded convenient connections to the Bush administration. When he was asked to help Perry's father-in-law prepare for high profile, televised debates, Puryear set about filling up the father-in-law's tricky brain with facts, statistics, zingers, and parrying tactics. The father-in-law and VP-to-be? Dick Cheney. The occasion? The 2000 and 2004 vice presidential debates. Friends like these can come in handy when it comes time to search for nominees for a slate of empty federal court benches. With his connections to Frist, Thompson, Barksdale, Perry, and Cheney in place, Puryear has also had a knack for knowing when to write the requisite donation checks to GOP leaders: to date, he's donated at least $13,000 to state and federal Republican campaign committees since 2001, including $1,000 to Mitt Romney in 2007. When Puryear donates money, he seems to do so to with a special patriotic flare: on September 11, 2003, he donated $2,000 to George W. Bush's re-election campaign to emphasize his loyalty to the War on Terrorism. Puryear would hardly be the first person appointed to the bench despite overtly partisan political allegiances and/or paltry legal chops. There's really no question about either. Puryear's affiliation with the ultra-conservative echelons of the Republican Party has spanned the course of his entire career, and his connections in the party clearly run quite deep. Small surprise, then, when Sen. Frist rose to Puryear's defense in an April 13th opinion piece for The Tennessean about the mounting opposition to his confirmation. One could almost hear the tremolo in Frist's voice as he bemoaned his besieged former employee's plight: "The infusion of political posturing, fed by outside groups, into our nomination process means that nominees are sometimes subject to unfair attack …. The toll on nominees and their families cannot be underestimated. The confirmation process has become so brutal that people who want to serve the public no longer do so." It's unlikely that Puryear's going to wilt away, no matter how vocal the opposition. After all, he's still got the right friends, wealth, and business connections. Most importantly, the people behind him have a lot at stake. If Puryear were to be confirmed, he would help cement a GOP/Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) stranglehold in the State of Tennessee. Most of these ducks are already in a row: both of Tennessee's U.S. Senate seats are controlled by CCA-supportive politicians, Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (both of whom have received tens in thousands in donations from CCA's PAC, as well as company employees and their spouses), and former Senator Frist is rumored to be running for governor in the next election cycle. The House that CCA Built -- It's worth taking an even closer look at the ties that have made CCA the corporate entity that it is. CCA's press materials tout the company's expansive network of detention centers (and its subsidiary prison transport company, TransCor America), as "prison privatization at its best." The company's top brass have all enjoyed illustrious careers in high-ranking positions as state legislative aides, lobbyists, and influential legislators. Some CCA officials held cushy jobs in governor's offices, while others came to CCA from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the U.S. Marshals, or the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Chuck Kupferer, CCA's Senior Director of Federal Customer Relations for U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service, is a former L.A. cop who became a chief deputy in New Orleans, and then went onto be the chief inspector with the CIA's Counter Narcotics Center in Virginia. With annual earnings and compensation nearing $1.5 million, Richard Seiter is handsomely compensated as CCA's Chief Corrections Officer and Executive Vice President. Of all the major CCA figureheads, Seiter's background is the one most based in corrections. Seiter was formerly the Chief Operating Officer for Federal Prison Industries (also known as UNICOR, which is in the business of selling prisoner-made goods and services), as well as the warden of two federal prisons, and one-time director of the scandal-ridden Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. CCA board members are similarly loaded with connections to state and federal level offices and agencies, including Donna Alvarado, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the U.S. Department of Defense. Board member Anthony Grant was the Commissioner of Economic Community Development for Tennessee, while former Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), is perhaps best remembered as one of the Keating Five. (John McCain (R-AZ) was one of the lesser-implicated figures in the scandal.) These days, CCA's financial horizon looks quite splendid, even if the conditions in which the company's "customers" are housed are far from it. With projected 2008 revenue of roughly $390 million, and 4,000-6,000 new beds in development, CCA can generally report good news back to its shareholders (NASDAQ: CXW) -- as it is anticipated to do in its May 6th, first-quarterly report. Although CCA is hardly the only player in the facility operating-and-owning aspect of the private corrections industry (e.g., GEO and Corrections Corporation), CCA is the undisputed leader of the pack. To be sure, corrections-related stocks are generally on the upswing because the demand for incarceration has far outstripped the ability of city, county, state, and particularly federal agencies to handle all of those shackled bodies. (Federal agencies already constitute over 40% of CCA's revenue base.) Between demand and the opportunity for profit, it's no wonder that private prison companies hold at least seven percent of the national prison population behind their walls. In a recent article, "Lock in Some Dollars with Corrections Corporation of America," the stock advisory site, SeekingAlpha.com, makes no bones about the cold, hard facts: "Collectively, $44 billion was spent on corrections last year, a 127% increase over 1987 totals In this same time period, spending on higher education increased at just 21% -- this is dire news to hear, we know, but we believe policies aiming to cut the massive amounts of dollars spent on corrections will take longer than expected. This means jail stocks will still be good investments over the next couple of years The demographics at play suggest more crime is on its way, and no one's better positioned than CXW." Never mind that overall crime rates haven't, actually, been going up, especially when it comes to serious and/or violent criminal offenses. Because CCA can't bank on actual crime statistics, they must rely to some extent on the culture of fear that feeds the American prison machine. When the Institute on Money in State Politics studied the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, they found that private prison companies, directors, executives and lobbyists gave no less than $3.3 million to candidates and state political parties across 44 states. In general, CCA and other private prison companies have favored giving money to states with the toughest sentencing laws, because those are the states that are most likely to generate the bodies for empty jail and prison beds. Those states are also the ones most likely to have passed "two-strikes" or "three-strikes" laws -- including CCA's home turf, Tennessee. And those laws, in turn, are based on cookie-cutter legislation pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose corporate and "Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Task Force" members have come from the ranks of CCA and other private prison companies. It's a twisted game of prison-and-politics, and CCA certainly knows how to play it. According to disclosures filed with the Senate's public records office, CCA spent nearly $2.5 million in 2007 (down from 3.4 million in 2005) to lobby Congress and federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In particular, CCA sought to build support for immigration "reform" policies that would yield more arrests and deportations, and to build opposition against the Public Safety Act, which would outlaw private prisons, as well as the Private Prison Information Act, which would force private prisons to make public the same information that government-run detention facilities must provide. In the meantime, CCA's PAC money keeps flowing, as well: in the past four months alone, the PAC has spent nearly $200,000, including $52,500 to federal candidates, of whom 80% are Republican. But when Puryear was brought on board in 2001, CCA was saddled with debt, and company stock was in a tailspin. Puryear was hand picked by CCA President and Chief Executive Officer John Ferguson. Ferguson was determined to set the company on the right track. The former Commissioner of Finance for Tennessee, Ferguson was obviously up to the challenge -- actually, he exceeded expectations by leaps and bounds. Small wonder that his resulting financial reward has been of enormous magnitude. In FY 2007, Ferguson earned over $2.8 million in cash compensation, and holds over $28.5 million in unexercised stocks, by today's market value. Puryear's position in the company therefore became one of utmost importance. His no-nonsense, "no-settlements" approach is still the right fit for a company besieged by lawsuits and scandals. As it was true then, it is now: CCA must do everything it can to prevent cases from going to trial because the accompanying press almost always negatively impacts stock prices, and jeopardizes the renewal or acquisition of local, state, and federal contracts. To keep shareholders (and company executives) happy, CCA needed to avoid coughing up too much money to settle even a small percentage of the hundreds of lawsuits biting at the heels of company at any given time. (In the interview with South magazine, Puryear offered that the number of claims and lawsuits facing CCA on any given day range from 700-1,000.) In another interview with Corporate Legal Times in 2004, Puryear quipped thusly: "Litigation is an outlet for inmates ... it's something they can do in their spare time." Richardson, of course, had none of that spare time to speak of. But Puryear seemed to have handled her case, as most others, with the kind of diplomatic finesse upon which his reputation has been built. Unlikely Friends and Foes -- In the scope of things, Estelle Richardson's murder was hardly the biggest lawsuit or scandal that CCA ever faced. Indeed, if the Senate Judiciary Committee members had wanted to spotlight larger-scale scandals that took place during Puryear's tenure, they could have pointed to one of the biggest prison riots in recent memory, at the CCA-operated Crowley County Correctional Facility in Olney Springs, Colorado. On July 20, 2004, just days after a mass interstate of nearly 200 prisoners from Washington State, and despite numerous signs of impending trouble (including lack of food and grossly inadequate medical staffing), prisoners staged a full-scale riot that brought the facility to its knees. In the ensuing hours, all of the prison's living units but one were taken over, burned, and destroyed. Unbelievably, there were only 33 uniformed guards on duty when the riot broke out, although the prison population stood at 1,122 inmates. Most of the staff fled their stations, as a post-riot incident report revealed, while those that stayed were waiting on word from CCA headquarters. Ill-trained in emergency containment and medical response, munitions and chemical weapons usage, the prison was nearly burned to the ground by the time that the outside law enforcement agencies moved in to stop the situation from escalating even further. All totaled, 13 staff and prisoners were assaulted, not including the hundreds of prisoners who were gassed, beaten, shot, and made to lie in excrement in the post-riot "containment" situation. Those prisoners injured and abused post-riot, who had not participated in the violence and havoc to begin with, sued CCA in 2005 and 2006. According to a Trial Lawyers for Public Justice press release, "the punishment of bystanders included forcing tightly bound inmates to urinate and defecate in their own clothing; dragging handcuffed inmates from their cells face down through water filled with glass shards, blood, and raw sewage; shooting inmates who were lying down, or sitting or walking with their hands up; using tear gas on plaintiffs who were locked in their cells or were prone at gunpoint, waiting to be cuffed; withholding drinking water and medications; denying shower privileges and clean clothes for more than a week; and forcing inmates to strip and parade naked in front of female guards who snapped pictures and videotaped inmates bathing without a shower curtain." These extreme, Abu Ghraib-like circumstances, testified to by hundreds of prisoners, were not enough to gain remedy, something that Puryear's legal team would have had a hand in. The U.S. District Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint for "failure to exhaust administrative remedies," a common ruling in federal courts after the passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee could also have taken a look at conditions at the CCA-run T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, where immigrant adults and children are imprisoned in a medium-security correctional setting, and how the company's legal department worked with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to mitigate the damage brought about by a (now settled) ACLU lawsuit on behalf of the detainees. Also of concern could have been how CCA's legal team dealt with the knowledge that one of their own guards, who raped a female detainee at that facility, went without prosecution despite ample evidence of the crime. Puryear's nomination is opposed by a wide variety of organizations, including the National Lawyers Guild, AFSCME, Alliance for Justice, People for the American Way, and the Private Corrections Institute (PCI). In March, Women's Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund president Gloria Allred issued her own a statement against Puryear's confirmation, after it was revealed that he is a resident member of the Belle Meade Country Club. Puryear's nomination is supported, on the other hand, by the likes of Frist, Thompson, Corker and Alexander, as well as Thurgood Marshall, Jr., something touted by his allies as evidence of Puryear's non-racism. All of that would sound good indeed, were it not for the fact that Marshall, Jr., is actually on the board of CCA. Why would the Senate Judiciary Committee focus on Richardson's case, then? The answer comes down to two words: Alex Friedmann. The organizer of the grassroots effort to derail Puryear's nomination for the U.S. District Court, Tennesseans Against Puryear, Friedmann is also a former CCA prisoner, a bonafide genius of a jailhouse lawyer, and vice president of PCI. Friedmann speaks with a steady pace, in a nearly expressionless monotone, but the words he chooses are carefully placed and to the point: "People should be concerned about this nomination as a matter of justice," he explains. "We shouldn't make the mistake and think that U.S. District Court nominations are not something to be worked up about. In fact, these judges are among the most powerful in the country. They make serious, precedent-setting, and life-and-death decisions on a regular basis." It was because of his efforts that the Senate Judiciary Committee first came across information about Richardson's case, and it was primarily because of his efforts that Puryear's relative lack of experience as a trial lawyer in any court system caught the committee's notice. (And then there is that pesky bit about Puryear's membership in the Belle Meade Country Club; Puryear can thank Friedmann for that, as well.) Because of Friedmann's efforts, much of the opposition to Puryear's appointment has centered on the question of whether the top corporate lawyer could possibly be impartial enough to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in the same district where CCA headquarters are located. Hundreds of lawsuits related to CCA have been filed in that court, but Puryear insists that this would not be a problem: he has promised, in advance, that he would recuse himself from any such lawsuits for a period of five years. Friedmann says that he didn't actually set out to highlight Richardson's case, because he didn't anticipate that the committee members would even bring their attention to it. Moreover, he didn't anticipate that Puryear would so blatantly downplay the very fact and circumstances related to Richardson's murder. Nor did he expect that the committee would fire off a series of challenges to Puryear's February testimony, or that Puryear would rally his defense troops in such a way that one of the primary attorneys who sued CCA on behalf of Richardson's family would wind up on his side. After it became evident that Puryear's original testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee hadn't gone particularly well, a series of behind-the-scene moves appear to have been set into motion. That process seems to have accelerated after Dr. Bruce Levy, Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Tennessee, got wind of Puryear's assertions. Dr. Levy took particular exception to Puryear's suggestion that Richardson's broken ribs were quite possibly the result of CPR, and that it was also quite possible that she hadn't been murdered, after all. Because Dr. Levy had personally conducted the autopsy on Richardson, he took it upon himself to fire off an unusually opinionated letter. "The committee should be very concerned about a nominee for federal judge who is less than truthful when answering questions from the [committee]," he wrote on February 21, 2008, emphasizing that there was no question that Richardson had, indeed, been brutally beaten while still alive -- and that her injuries led directly to her death. Then, in quick succession, these events transpired: On February 22, David Randolph Smith, lawyer for the Richardson family and Joseph Welborn, representing CCA, files a joint motion in U.S. District Court (Middle District of Tennessee) to unseal the transcript of the settlement hearing re: Richardson's minor children. The attorneys argue that the transcript would not violate the confidentiality component of the agreement because that portion didn't contain the actual terms of the settlement (or the monetary amount). Judge Campbell grants the motion, although none of the Richardson family members are notified that the action is taking place; That transcript, however, did make clear the actual dollar amount of CCA's gross settlement: $2 million dollars, of which one-quarter went to various plaintiffs' attorneys. Of that $500,000, Richardson family attorney Smith received $192,000; On February 25, Smith, freed from certain confidentiality concerns, sends an unexpected letter of support for Puryear to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the letter, he agrees that Richardson could have died for any number of reasons and that her death was not necessarily a murder at all; On February 26, James Sanders, a Tennessee attorney with Neal & Harwell, issues a three-page letter of support, praising Puryear's skills and talents. Also freed from confidentiality concerns, Sanders, who helped to represent CCA in the Richardson case, addresses her death specifically: "I can tell you that the facts, particularly the medical evidence, showed conclusively that Ms. Richardson's death was not caused by correctional officers extracting Ms. Richardson from a cell in short, there is no credible evidence to support Dr. Levy's homicide conclusion, other than the head injury and the death itself." Ah, yes, just those bothersome little details. The head injury and the death itself. In his written response to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March, Puryear tried to show his sympathetic side: "I regret that this uncertainty leaves a cloud over CCA; however, I know that the far greater tragedy is that the children of Estelle Richardson will likely never know exactly why their mother died." But if Richardson herself could speak from her grave, she would be likely to say that the far greater tragedy is this: That a man like Puryear would have the sheer audacity to try to sweep her murder under the rug, yet again. Silja J.A. Talvi is an investigative journalist and the author of Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System (Seal Press: 2007). Her work has already appeared in many book anthologies, including It's So You (Seal Press, 2007), Prison Nation (Routledge: 2005), Prison Profiteers (The New Press: 2008), and Body Outlaws (Seal Press: 2004). She is a senior editor at In These Times.

May 5, 2008 AlterNet
It's hard to say what Estelle Ann Richardson would have thought if she had would have the chance to meet the man who authorized a hefty settlement check for her children. Maybe she would have noticed that he moved in the world like someone who was used to things going his way, that he had a lot of money, or that he looked a lot younger and more relaxed than most of his corporate peers. It's hard to say, because she never had the chance to be introduced to the harmless-enough looking man possessed of a rather ostentatious name: Gustavus Adolphus Puryear IV. The 39-year-old lawyer, awaiting a lifetime appointment as a judge in U.S. District Court, prefers to be called "Gus." By all accounts, Gus is a charismatic, outgoing guy who likes to spend time with his family. He volunteers as a Deacon in the Presbyterian Church, and serves as a board member of The Exchange Club of Nashville, where one of his responsibilities is to organize the annual Antiques and Garden Show. From a corporate standpoint, Puryear has excelled in his job as general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest and most influential private prison company. Under his direction, CCA's in-house attorneys work with a stable of contracted law firms to handle corporate legal matters of all kinds, not the least of which are the hundreds of claims and lawsuits filed against the company at any given time. A smart, enthusiastic GOP stalwart, Puryear is the kind of guy the party wants around. It doesn't hurt that he's also very, very rich: between his bank account, assets, and unexercised CCA shares, he's worth about $13 million, give or take a few thousand. On the other hand, Richardson, a low-income, African American mother of two, moved through a world quite removed from that of the upper-echelon neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces that afford Puryear his comfort zone. It's unlikely that the two would have ever met under even the most random of circumstances. The exclusive, members-only Belle Meade Country Club to which Puryear belongs, for instance, wouldn't have been the kind of place Richardson would have set foot in, particularly considering that African Americans weren't even allowed to join until 1994. (To this day, the only Black member lives out-of-state. To boot, none of the women who have been admitted to the club, called "lady members," hold voting privileges.) Belle Meade country clubbers probably raised a glass to toast Puryear when President Bush nominated him to sit on the federal bench in the Middle District of Tennessee. Yet, instead of breezing through what should have been an easy, perfunctory hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past February, Puryear was confronted with a series of uncomfortable questions about his legal and professional qualifications for the bench. Nothing about Puryear's hobnobbing, rapid ascent to the status of a GOP darling suggested emergence of an ad-hoc, grassroots movement to derail his nomination, much less the methodical persistence of a former CCA prisoner-turned-jailhouse lawyer hell bent on exposing the judicial candidate's affiliations, biases, and lack of courtroom experience. What Richardson's story has to do with all of this isn't obvious on the face of it, but the connection between the two has bubbled to the surface amidst a strange series of post-nomination twists and turns that no one, including Puryear, could have seen coming. A mysterious homicide -- On July 5, 2004, Richardson's lifeless, 34-year-old body was found slumped on the floor of an isolation cell in a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)-operated detention facility in Nashville, Tennessee. An autopsy revealed that she died as a result of massive blunt force injuries to the head, resulting in a cracked skull. Richardson also had four broken ribs and serious internal organ injuries. Dr. Bruce Levy, Tennessee's chief medical examiner, ruled that Richardson's death was homicide. His autopsy revealed a set of injuries that were consistent with a "deceleration injury," meaning that her head and body slammed simultaneously toward a hard surface, such as a wall or a floor. In an interview with The Tennessean in September 2004, Dr. Levy emphasized that Richardson's injuries could not have been the result of a fall or suicide. Richardson, as he pointed out, was in a highly restricted segregation unit, allowed no freedom of movement outside of her small, one-woman cell, much less contact with other prisoners. "It's a restricted area," he said. "There's a limit to what you can do. If she had fallen from a high window or if she had been hit by a car, I would expect to see these types of injuries." Richardson was murdered in the notoriously overcrowded and understaffed CCA-run Metro Detention Facility (MDF). Previously known as the Metro Davis County Detention Facility, MDF serves as a multipurpose role as a pre-trial detention facility, a jail for misdemeanant offenders and, under $17 million annual contract with the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC), a medium-security prison for convicted felons serving one-to-six year sentences. Overseeing the entire operation is Sheriff Daron Hall, a former prison administrator for a CCA-run prison in Brisbane, Australia. While Richardson was locked up at MDF, the prison still held men and women alike in grossly overcrowded conditions. (A few months after her death, women were moved into a separate facility.) Two years before Richardson's death, a 12-year period of federal court supervision related to overcrowding had finally been lifted, but it would have been hard for anyone to argue that conditions had improved to any meaningful extent. Operated by CCA since 1992, MDF was designed to accommodate fewer than 900 people. MDF's population now surpasses 1,300 inmates. Chronic overcrowding and understaffing in private or public detention facilities has inevitable consequences, ranging from the spread of contagious diseases to an increase in sexual and physical violence. At MDF, in just a three-and-a-half year period (2000-2004), ten prisoners died in custody. Eight of those were deemed "natural" deaths, although specific details on these kinds of incidents are difficult to suss out, especially because the TDOC does not collect any incident reports or statistics from MDF. The state prison system uses the strange rationale that these inmates are housed in a county jail run by an outside contractor, and therefore not subject to the same kind of reporting requirements. With 70,000 juveniles and adults in its custody in 65 detention facilities nationwide, CCA contracts with all three federal corrections agencies, nearly half of all states, and more than a dozen municipalities. Representing the fifth-largest prison system in the country, CCA is the nation's largest private prison corporation and, as such, the publicly traded company is directly accountable to its shareholders, not to taxpaying citizens. Although the company is expected to comply with federal and state laws and provide contract-specific reports to governmental agencies, there can be long delays before an agency (much less the public) receives word of in-detention suicides, violence, disease epidemics, employee sexual harassment complaints -- even prison escapes and riots. In March, a former CCA employee, Ronald Jones, went public with his assertion that Puryear directly told him and other staff in the quality assurance department to create two audit reports relating to serious incidents at their detention facilities-such as riots, escapes, and "unnatural" deaths. According to Jones, one of the audit reports was intended for clients, board members, and shareholders, while the other was kept secret as an internal company document. CCA responded by calling his assertions inaccurate and those of an employee bent on retaliation for a pending termination: "If our interest was in under-reporting or not finding quality issues, we simply would not have created this department or its programs in the first place," CCA spokesperson Louise Grant told The Tennessean. Richardson's death occurred in 2004, one year before Puryear subsumed quality assurance under the legal department and instituted the policy. As such, Richardson's murder might have generated little media interest were it not for the fact that she died during three weeks in solitary confinement, and was allowed out of her cell only one hour a day for either closely supervised "recreation" time or a brief opportunity to bathe in a caged shower under guard supervision. In search of a better life -- In 1999, Richardson headed down to Tennessee with her young children in tow. Diane Buie, her older sister, says that Richardson had grown tired of stagnating in her hometown. Although she had skills as both a medical technician and an interior decorator, Richardson was struggling financially, working a dead-end job as a telemarketer. She had decided to go after the necessary training to become a surgical assistant, Buie explained, because she wanted to provide a better life for her children. The interstate move in 1999 didn't prove to be a fortuitous one. Richardson missed her sister and mother back home, and she was having real trouble making ends meet. Somewhere along the way, Richardson fell in with a crowd of small-scale hustlers who sold prescription drugs on the black market. At first, she helped out with obtaining the drugs sold to habitual pill poppers. Later, she started to sample the goods, and developed a habit of her own, resulting in a March 2002 arrest when she tried to acquire painkillers with a forged prescription. Her children were with her at the pharmacy, and so in addition to charges of illegal drug possession, forgery, and theft, the D.A.'s office added a charge of attempted child neglect. Richardson pled guilty in September 2002, and was handed a suspended six-year sentence, as long as she complied with the terms of her parole. Like so many others struggling in the grip of both addiction and poverty, Richardson tried to hold everything together for a while, but eventually fell back into drug use. In November 2003, she failed urine analysis by testing positive for marijuana and cocaine; her probation officer issued an arrest warrant when Richardson didn't turn herself in. Busted for food stamp fraud in March 2004, Richardson was sent to MDF as a pre-trial detainee. It wasn't until April 23, 2004, that a judge decided to revoke her probation and sentence her to a two-year prison term. Buie was in regular contact with her younger sister by phone. She says that they were able to keep each other strong by focusing on Richardson's post-release plan of returning to Michigan to be reunited with her children, who had since moved back to Lansing. "I was going to help her find a nice place and buy new furniture for her," Buie explains. It was going to be the end of a bad chapter in Richardson's life, and the beginning of a new day. Unbeknownst to Buie, Richardson hadn't been at MDF for long before CCA staff identified her as a "special needs" inmate. According to information that CCA shared with the press after a $60 million lawsuit was filed on behalf of Richardson's minor children, Richardson had gotten into three fights since she had been imprisoned, and that she required psychotropic medication. To be more specific, CCA noted that she had been classified "mentally deficient and psychologically impaired," something that the company's legal defense team, directed by Puryear, would later make a point of great emphasis. While CCA spokespersons seemed to have no problem letting out the information about Richardson's special classification and her need for medication, they claimed the imperative to protect the confidentiality of medical records as the reason why they couldn't provide more detail about what kind of care Richardson actually received and when, if at all, a mental disorder had been diagnosed. Whether Richardson was actually mentally ill or "deficient" cannot be conclusively established. Some family members seemed eager to allow the lawsuit against CCA to highlight this alleged mental deficiency as an indication of her vulnerability. Buie and her mother, Estella, reject it altogether, and see it as yet another attempt by CCA to point the finger at Richardson's allegedly erratic behavior instead of the violence inflicted by their prison guards. To boot, Richardson's probation officer said that she had never seen evidence of any kind of mental deficiency. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Richardson had developed psychological problems that weren't as obvious until she got to prison. Understandably, the experience of being separated from her children, trying to recover from drug addiction without any kind of treatment incarceration, and being in prison for the first time in her life, would compromise her mental health. Whatever the underlying factors, CCA staff made the decision to put her in a segregated, "lockdown" area of the prison reserved for the ill-defined "special needs" population, and/or for those who had been deemed too disruptive for the general population. The last days -- What we are able to piece together about these last few weeks of Richardson's life are the products of a police and prosecutor's investigation, copies of MDF/CCA prison logs in evidence, the public statements of one prison guard, in-detention videotape of physically violent encounters, and sworn affidavits from four women who were also locked up in administrative segregation. Together, they point toward a brutal end to Richardson's life. As the plaintiffs in Vilella v. CCA asserted: "CCA employees routinely and systematically unconstitutionally used excessive force and caused injuries to Estelle Richardson." Most significantly, the evidence gathered by the plaintiff's investigation reveal circumstances leading to her death radically different from the explanations that Puryear has tried to put forth: On April 26, 2004, a CCA guard pepper-sprayed Richardson while she was in the "shower cage" of the segregation unit, something captured by the automatic video cameras mounted throughout the unit, according to the lawsuit. (Buie attests to the existence of the videotape, which was entered into evidence and cited in the lawsuit. She still possesses transcripts of this and later altercations.) The lead attorney for the plaintiffs, David Randolph Smith, notes in the Second Amended Complaint to Vilella v. CCA that Richardson that had been pepper-sprayed for not "putting on her pants following the shower quickly enough to suit the officer." Richardson was then cuffed and placed in leg irons, placed face down on the floor. During the incident, one or more officers put their body weight on Richardson's back. On or about June 27th, 2004, guards notified medical personnel that Richardson had "blood on her head." The nurse who examined her in the early morning hours of June 28th noted that Richardson had "blood oozing from [left] ear," gave her Tylenol, and made an urgent doctor's referral for an appointment later that day. There is no record she was subsequently seen by a physician. On June 29th, 2004, CCA Captain Hambrick recorded Richardson's pleas for medical attention in the unit log: "Can you get the nurse down here? I am hurting, and if you don't get the nurse down here I am going to die." Other prisoners in the isolation unit later attested to Richardson's attempts to stop constant, untreated ear bleeding with sanitary napkins or tampons. Hambrick reported that she notified medical personnel. There is no record of a follow-up examination by a nurse or physician. According to the complaint, these observed injuries were "the result of the use of excessive force by [unidentified CCA guards]," and that a physician's order on July 2 was ignored. When CCA was asked to validate whether Richardson was seen (or not), the company cited the need to protect medical confidentiality. On July 2nd, 2004, four prisoners in the segregation unit offered similar accounts of another incident in Shower Cage 3. According to their affidavits, CCA guard Shirley Foster assaulted Richardson with "excessive force." Richardson screamed, and there was "blood all over the shower cage," said prisoner Cameron James. Another noted that the guard pushed Richardson so hard that she fell and "busted her mouth." One prisoner, who kept her own, daily calendar, had written an entry that day: "Foster slamed [sic] Estelle in shower Fri." From that point forward, there are numerous and consistent prisoner accounts of Richardson's blood stains on her sheets, of non-stop bleeding from her ear, and of disregard by prison guards for her well-being. It is particularly notable that these prisoners were willing to come forward and provide affidavits despite their fears of retaliation. Indeed, It is possible, although not provable, that retaliation did take place, after all. This past January, 36-year-old Gerald Townsend, died from internal bleeding after, Ronnie Sullivan, 22, attacked him for an unknown reason. Townsend was serving a sentence for non-violent burglary and vehicle theft, while Sullivan was had been convicted for an aggravated assault charges. As it turned out, Gerald was the brother of Judy Townsend, one of the four women who were willing to sign affidavits regarding the assault on Richardson. Then, on July 4, 2004, Richardson was to have her last, physical encounter with CCA guards. According to information gathered from the guards and prisoners in the unit, Senior Officer Keith Andre Hendricks told Richardson to get her "nasty ass up and clean [your] room," referring to bloodied sanitary napkins and other debris in her cell. When she did not respond, he entered the cell with Officer Joshua Shockman, with Officer Jeremy Neese observing. According to the investigation, Hendricks pulled her off the cell bed and threw her to the ground. James, one of the prisoners, recalled that he kicked Richardson [while she was face down," with his knee in her back. Another prisoner in the unit, Ruby Champlin, swore that she heard Richardson's head hit the floor, before Hendricks sprayed her with mace. In her diary from that time, prisoner Tracey Alexander recorded that all three officers beat Richardson after she was maced. Early the next morning, at 5:37 a.m., a call to 911 came in from MDF. A CCA supervisor alerted the 911 operator that a "female inmate was on the floor and needed medical assistance." Paramedics arrived and found her unresponsive at 6:00 a.m. Richardson was pronounced dead at Southern Hills Medical Center. Police conducting the murder investigation shortly after Richardson's death asked to see the videotape footage which would have been recorded by the constantly running video camera in the unit. According to the CCA guards, the video camera somehow malfunctioned during this incident. Upon examination, the police investigators noted that there appeared to be nothing wrong with the camera. Two of the four CCA guards were working double-shifts because of staffing shortages at MDF. Three of the four were young, relatively new employees: Schockman, 23; Wood, 26; and Ness, 24. Only Keith Andre Hendricks, 35, was a senior prison guard, with four years of experience. Neese had only been on the job for four months. Shockman, who shared a residence with Neese, had been on the job for little over a year, coming to CCA from a background as a boxing instructor and club bouncer with extensive experience in various martial arts. It is very unlikely that the three younger guards had receiving sufficient training to help them understand (or manage) the psychological stressors of working in a lockdown unit, in which prisoners are likely to exhibit various states of distress, anger, and/or serious psychiatric problems. Even experienced correctional officers tend to avoid working in these prisons-within-a-prison, in these increasingly prevalent 23-hour lockdown units known as "Administrative Segregation," "Security Housing Units (SHU)," Intensive Management Units (IMU)," "Special Management Units (SMU)," or what MDF refers to as "Admin Max." With little else to do but sit and stew in stripped-down cells for days, weeks, months (or even years on end), many prisoners begin to lose touch with reality altogether, which is only exacerbated by the absence of natural light, human touch, limited or non-existent reading materials or phone privileges. Hallucination, paranoia, aggression, self-mutilation, and suicidal ideation are among the more common by-products of this form of isolation, which Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Stuart Grassian first identified and entitled the "SHU syndrome" in the 1980s. As such, it's entirely possible that Richardson was mad at the prison for putting her in a unit like this one, and it's also quite possible that her first experience dealing with this kind of deprivation-oriented punitive confinement led her to act disruptively. Based on the incident the day before she was found dead in her cell, it is just as likely that she could have been responding sluggishly or erratically. The latter scenario is even more likely in the wake of autopsy and toxicological reports that revealed Richardson had not only suffered severe physical trauma, but that she had died with extremely high doses of psychiatric medicines in her system. The levels of Paxil and Doxepin found in her body were extremely high, according to post-mortem toxicological analysis by a Vanderbilt University clinical pharmacist; Richardson would have likely been behaving abnormally. There's also the possibility that Richardson could have incurred the wrath of these guards because she persisted in asking for help for pain and bleeding. No matter what, Richardson would have been very weak, which begs the question: why would it take four, healthy adult males to perform a forcible cell extraction with the use of a chemical agent? By definition, cell extractions in jails and prisons are very physical: armed with some kind of chemical agent, electrified or non-electrified shields, riot gear, batons, and/or stun guns, any number of guards rush into a prisoner's cell to subdue him/her as quickly as possible, to get that person down to the ground, and to hogtie (or otherwise restrain) that person. According to most jail/prison guidelines, cell extractions are only to be committed as a matter of last resort (especially in relation to the safety of the individual, or other prisoners and staff); usually with the presence of medical staff; and must be videotaped from start to finish. The commonplace mandate for cell extractions to be videotaped isn't hard to deduce: people get hurt. Considering the force with which prisoners are taken down, injuries sustained by prisoners related to cell extractions are more common than not, whether in the form of lacerations, broken teeth, or more serious bodily harm. Without videotaped evidence, prisoners can sue on grounds of cruel and unusual punishment-for short-term injuries or permanent disabilities sustained. Without videotaped evidence, it was the word of those four prisoners and the opinion of the state's top medical examiner, who conducted the autopsy that Richardson died as a result of one or more serious assaults inflicted by CCA guards -- the only people who could have possibly had physical contact with Richardson for nearly three weeks on end. Handling the damage -- It took one year and three months for the four male guards to be charged with reckless homicide. (The female guard was not charged.) During that time period, all four guards were on paid administrative leave. After they were arrested, ach posted bail and were quickly released from custody. While the prosecution moved forward, the Richardson family filed the $60 million lawsuit against CCA for being responsible for her murder by failing to provide adequate training and supervision of its guards. Under Puryear's direction, a bevy of outside lawyers were already hard at work so as to minimize the damage to CCA. Medical experts were brought in to challenge chief medical examiner Dr. Bruce Levy's original autopsy conclusions about the injuries indicating that she had been murdered, who reported that her fatal injuries were several days old and thus could have been self-inflicted or caused by earlier fights with prisoners. CCA's hired pathologist, Dr. William McCormick, went so far as to postulate that the "cause of the rib and liver injuries is almost certainly the resuscitative attempts made on Ms. Richardson." In the process, Puryear and his legal while emphasizing their empathy for the family's "tragic loss," their desire to comply with the investigation, and alleged that her death could have been the result of earlier injuries sustained from fights with other prisoners, a seizure, or a self-inflicted injury. "My understanding of the medical experts' opinions is that this raises the possibility that Ms. Richardson could have unintentionally struck her own head against an object or concrete floor (as in the case of a seizure or fall)," Puryear wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee. CCA's interpretation of the injuries leading to Richardson's death, a lack of videotaped evidence, provided the necessary level of doubt to help Puryear lessen the PR and financial damage to CCA. Puryear's legal strategy worked. His timing was good: not only had the medical findings cast doubt on the circumstances surrounding Richardson's death -- something that would making a court victory much harder to obtain -- but severe infighting between economically struggling family members had worn them down. Buie's mother lost custody of Richardson's children. As a result, they were shut out of the lawsuit, although the two of them had always been in the children's lives (and had assumed the primary responsibility of raising the kids when Richardson left for Tennessee), Buie and her mother aren't related to Richardson by blood; they were her mother- and sister-by-adoption. On February 22, 2006, Puryear personally represented CCA in the final mediation between the company and Richardson's family members. CCA settled with the plaintiffs for an undisclosed sum after plaintiffs dropped all civil actions against the four guards. Citing lack of definitive proof that the four guards caused her death, the Davidson County D.A.'s office dropped all charges against them, while acknowledging that she had, indeed, been killed. Richardson's murder remains unsolved to this day. A story like this isn't particularly unusual within the American prison system. It's not unusual for correctional employees accused of abuses behind prison walls to have charges dropped once enough time has passed -- that is, if charges got filed in the first place. It's certainly not unusual for public and private prison systems to settle lawsuits away from the public eye, reassured by the knowledge that strict non-disclosure clauses can keep aggrieved parties from speaking out. It's not unusual that Richardson entered the CCA jail as a non-violent offender with a drug problem, or that she was abused in the confines of an out-of-sight segregation unit. What is unusual is that a woman with so little power in her day-to-day life, particularly in the eyes of the people who arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned her, would heavily influence Puryear's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past February. Much of the reason why Richardson's murder popped back up to haunt Puryear's appointment as a federal court judge is attributable to a former CCA prisoner, Alex Friedmann. It can be said with a fair amount of certainty that Puryear couldn't possibly have seen Friedmann's agitation against his confirmation coming his way. And he certainly couldn't have expected that Estelle Richardson's unsolved murder didn't just go away with a few handshakes, a confidentiality agreement, and a two million dollar settlement check. In Part 2: Puryear battles his opposition with a few unlikely allies, including the lead attorney on the lawsuit against CCA, Thurgood Marshall, Jr., U.S. Senators, and bipartisan Tennessee attorneys. What most of them have in common is the company that Puryear has spent over a half-decade defending, the GOP, and a bunch of well-placed campaign donations. Silja J.A. Talvi is an investigative journalist and the author of Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System (Seal Press: 2007). Her work has already appeared in many book anthologies, including It's So You (Seal Press, 2007), Prison Nation (Routledge: 2005), Prison Profiteers (The New Press: 2008), and Body Outlaws (Seal Press: 2004). She is a senior editor at In These Times.

May 5, 2008 New York Times
The four sons of Maya Nand, 56, are still haunted by the last collect call he made to them from an immigration detention center in Eloy, Ariz. “This was the first time we ever heard our dad cry,” said one, Jay Ashis Nand, 25. “He said, ‘Son, if you don’t get me out of here today, I’m going to die.’ ” Mr. Nand, a legal immigrant from Fiji who was diabetic, had been calling his family with mounting desperation over a 10-day period, the sons said. Already ailing when he was abruptly taken into custody at the family’s home in Sacramento early in the morning of Jan. 13, 2005, he had deteriorated after a week at the Arizona detention center, which is run for the federal government by Corrections Corporation of America, a publicly traded prison company. “He felt a lot of pain in his heart,” Jay Ashis said. “He would stand up all night because he couldn’t breathe.” The sons, all naturalized American citizens, said their father told them that the medical staff at Eloy did not take his condition seriously, and that when he could barely walk, guards would tell him to stop faking. The sons kept calling the center to plead for medical attention, they said, but could get through only to an answering machine. They said they hired a lawyer to reach the warden, but nothing changed. And in their father’s last call, it seemed his life was hanging in the balance. That he was being detained at all was hard for the family to understand. Mr. Nand, whose forefathers were brought to Fiji from India as slaves by the British, had waited 10 years so he could move the family legally to the United States, in November 1998. A former civil servant, he struggled to find work as an architectural draftsman, and eventually applied for United States citizenship. It was the rejection of his citizenship application, because of a 2002 misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, that apparently prompted his arrest. The misdemeanor was the lone blot on his record, his sons said, and had been resolved to the court’s satisfaction with a year of anger management classes. But immigration authorities considered it grounds for deportation. And instead of summoning him by letter to immigration court, where he could have fought to stay in the United States, immigration agents arrested him without warning and shipped him to detention in another state. On Jan. 25, 2005, the day after Mr. Nand’s last call from Eloy, about midway between Phoenix and Tucson, he was found slumped in the lobby of the detention center’s clinic suffering cardiac arrest, said his second son, Jay Pranawnip Nand, 27. Then he was taken by ambulance to an emergency room in Casa Grande, Ariz., where, according to a letter to the family from an immigration official, doctors diagnosed congestive heart failure and later a heart attack. He was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson, on life support. After driving 12 hours to get to the hospital, the sons and their mother, Malti, said they watched helplessly as Mr. Nand’s damaged heart failed. He died Feb. 2, shackled to the bed. Asked about Mr. Nand’s treatment, Corrections Corporation officials said in a written statement that he had been medically screened when he arrived at the Eloy center, seen and treated “multiple times” by its medical staff, and taken to a hospital. According to a government list of deaths in immigration custody, Mr. Nand was one of five detainees to die at Eloy within a 26-month period; none of the deaths have previously been brought to public attention. “After the funeral, I was like, ‘I want to sue the hell out of them,’ ” Jay Pranawnip said. “I don’t want money. I just want them to realize what they have done and change the policy, because there are people dying.” But he said an inexperienced lawyer who took the case dropped it a year later without having filed anything. After hunting fruitlessly for a replacement, the family gave up. “Just talking about it now, I’ve got goose bumps,” he added. “I’ve got rage and anger and sorrow at the same time.”

May 5, 2008 New York Times
Word spread quickly inside the windowless walls of the Elizabeth Detention Center, an immigration jail in New Jersey: A detainee had fallen, injured his head and become incoherent. Guards had put him in solitary confinement, and late that night, an ambulance had taken him away more dead than alive. But outside, for five days, no official notified the family of the detainee, Boubacar Bah, a 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who had overstayed a tourist visa. When frantic relatives located him at University Hospital in Newark on Feb. 5, 2007, he was in a coma after emergency surgery for a skull fracture and multiple brain hemorrhages. He died there four months later without ever waking up, leaving family members on two continents trying to find out why. Mr. Bah’s name is one of 66 on a government list of deaths that occurred in immigration custody from January 2004 to November 2007, when nearly a million people passed through. The list, compiled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after Congress demanded the information, and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, is the fullest accounting to date of deaths in immigration detention, a patchwork of federal centers, county jails and privately run prisons that has become the nation’s fastest-growing form of incarceration. The list has few details, and they are often unreliable, but it serves as a rough road map to previously unreported cases like Mr. Bah’s. And it reflects a reality that haunts grieving families like his: the difficulty of getting information about the fate of people taken into immigration custody, even when they die. Mr. Bah’s relatives never saw the internal records labeled “proprietary information — not for distribution” by the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the New Jersey detention center for the federal government. The documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth. Mr. Bah had lived in New York for a decade, surrounded by a large circle of friends and relatives. The extravagant gowns he sewed to support his wife and children in West Africa were on display in a Manhattan boutique. But he died in a sequestered system where questions about what had happened to him, or even his whereabouts, were met with silence. As the country debates stricter enforcement of immigration laws, thousands of people who are not American citizens are being locked up for days, months or years while the government decides whether to deport them. Some have no valid visa; some are legal residents, but have past criminal convictions; others are seeking asylum from persecution. Death is a reality in any jail, and the medical neglect of inmates is a perennial issue. But far more than in the criminal justice system, immigration detainees and their families lack basic ways to get answers when things go wrong. No government body is required to keep track of deaths and publicly report them. No independent inquiry is mandated. And often relatives who try to investigate the treatment of those who died say they are stymied by fear of immigration authorities, lack of access to lawyers, or sheer distance. Federal officials say deaths are reviewed internally by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which reports them to its inspector general and decides which ones warrant investigation. Officials say they notify the detainee’s next of kin or consulate, and report the deaths to local medical authorities, who may conduct autopsies. In Mr. Bah’s case, a review before his death found no evidence of foul play, an immigration spokesman said, though after later inquiries from The Times, he said a full review of the death was under way. But critics, including many in Congress, say this piecemeal process leaves too much to the agency’s discretion, allowing some deaths to be swept under the rug while potential witnesses are transferred or deported. They say it also obscures underlying complaints about medical care, abusive conditions or inadequate suicide prevention. In January, the House passed a bill that would require states that receive certain federal money to report deaths in custody to their attorneys general. But the bill is stalled in the Senate, and it does not cover federal facilities. The only tangible result of Congressional concern has been the list of 66 deaths, which names Mr. Bah and many other detainees for the first time, but raises as many questions as it answers. For Mr. Bah’s survivors, the mystery of his death is hard to bear. In Guinea, his first wife, Dalanda, wept as she spoke about the contradictory accounts that had reached her and her two teenage sons through other detainees, including some who speculated that Mr. Bah had been beaten. In New York, a cousin who is an American citizen, Khadidiatou Bah, 38, said she was unable to bring a lawsuit, in part because other relatives were afraid of antagonizing the authorities. “They don’t want to push the case, or maybe they will be sent home,” she said. “This guy was killed, and we don’t know what happened.” Lingering Questions -- The list of deaths where Mr. Bah’s name surfaced is often cryptic. Along with 13 deaths cited as suicides and 14 as the result of cardiac ailments, it offers such causes as “undetermined” and “unwitnessed arrest, epilepsy.” No one’s nationality is given, some places of detention are omitted, and some names and birth dates seem garbled. As a result, many families could not be tracked down for this article. But when they could be, they posed more disturbing questions. In California, relatives of Walter Rodriguez-Castro, 28, said they were rebuffed when they tried to find out why his calls had stopped coming from the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield in April 2006. Then in June, his wife went to his scheduled hearing in San Francisco’s immigration court and learned that he had been dead for many weeks, his body unclaimed in the county morgue. The coroner found that Mr. Rodriguez-Castro, a mover from El Salvador in the country illegally, had died of undiagnosed meningitis and H.I.V., after days complaining of fever, stiff neck and vomiting. The cause of death on the government’s list: “unresponsive.” Immigration authorities said on Friday that the case was now under review, but would not answer questions about it or other deaths on the list. Sgt. Ed Komin, a spokesman for the jail, said the death had been promptly reported to immigration officials, who were responsible for notifying families. Four sons in another family, in Sacramento, described trying for days to get medical care for their father, Maya Nand, a 56-year-old legal immigrant from Fiji, at a detention center run by the Corrections Corporation in Eloy, Ariz. Mr. Nand, an architectural draftsman, had been ailing when he was taken into custody on Jan. 13, 2005, apparently because his application for citizenship had been rejected, based on an earlier conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence. In collect calls, the sons said, he told them that despite his chest pains and breathing problems, doctors at the detention center did not take his condition seriously. The Corrections Corporation said he had been seen and treated “multiple times.” But a letter to the family from an immigration official said his treatment was for a respiratory infection. The letter said that Mr. Nand was taken to an emergency room on Jan. 25, where congestive heart failure was diagnosed, and that he “suffered an apparent heart attack while at the hospital.” He died on Feb. 2, 2005, shackled to a hospital bed in Tucson. Boubacar Bah had more going for him than many detainees. He had a lawyer and many friends and relatives in the United States, and his detention center in New Jersey was one of the few frequented by immigrant advocates. But three days after he suffered a head injury in detention last year, no one in his New York circle knew that he was lying comatose in a Newark hospital, where he had already been identified as a possible organ donor. “Thank you for the referral,” an organ-sharing network wrote on Feb. 3, 2007, according to hospital records. “This patient is a potential candidate for organ donation once brain death criteria is met.” Four days after the fall, tipped off by a detainee who called Mr. Bah’s roommate in Brooklyn, relatives rushed to the detention center to ask Corrections Corporation employees where he was. “They wouldn’t give us any information,” said Lamine Dieng, an American citizen who teaches physics at Bronx Community College and is married to Mr. Bah’s cousin Khadidiatou. On the fifth day, they said, a detention official called them with the name of the hospital. There they found Mr. Bah on life support, still in custody, with a detention guard around the clock. “There was one guard who knew Boubacar,” Ms. Bah said. “He told me on the down-low: ‘This guy, you have to fight for him. This guy was neglected.’ ” Within the week, word of the case reached a reporter at The Times, through an immigration lawyer who had received separate calls from two detainees; they were upset about a badly injured man — named “something like Aboubakar” — left in an isolation cell and later found near death. But advocacy groups said they were unaware of the case. And Michael Gilhooly, the spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that without the man’s full name and eight-digit alien registration number, he could not check the information. For those who knew Mr. Bah, it was hard to understand how such a man could lie dying without explanations. “Everybody liked Boubacar,” said Sadio Diallo, 48, who has a tailor shop in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he and Mr. Bah had shared an apartment with fellow immigrants since arriving in 1998. “He’s a very, very, very good man.” For six years, Mr. Bah had worked for L’Impasse, a clothing store in the West Village, sewing dresses that sold for up to $2,000 with what a former manager, Abdul Sall, called his “magic hands.” Mr. Bah often spent Sundays at the Bronx townhouse his cousins had inherited from the family’s first American citizen, a seaman who arrived in 1943. In Africa, Mr. Bah’s earnings not only supported his first wife, sons and ailing mother, but in Guinean tradition, allowed him to wed a second wife, long distance. It was his longing to see them all again after eight years that landed him in detention. When he returned from a three-month visit to Guinea in May 2006, immigration authorities at Kennedy Airport told him that his green card application had been denied while he was away, automatically revoking his permission to re-enter the United States. An immigration lawyer hired by his friends was unable to reopen the application while Mr. Bah waited for nine months in detention, records showed. Mr. Bah died on May 30, 2007, after four months in a coma. His lawyer, Theodore Vialet, requested detention reports and hospital records under the Freedom of Information Act. But by the time the records arrived last autumn, the idea of a lawsuit had been dropped. So Mr. Vialet just filed the records away — until a reporter’s call about a name on the list of dead detainees prompted him to dig them out. After the Fall -- There are 57 pages of documents, some neatly typed by medics, some scrawled by guards. Some quote detainees who said Mr. Bah was ailing for two days before his fall on Feb. 1, and asked in vain to see a doctor. The records leave unclear exactly when or how Mr. Bah was injured in detention. But they leave no doubt that guards, supervisors, government medical employees and federal immigration officers played a role in leaving him untreated, hour after hour, as he lapsed into a stupor. It began about 8 a.m., according to the earliest report. Guards called a medical emergency after a detainee saw Mr. Bah collapse near a toilet, hitting the back of his head on the floor. When he regained consciousness, Mr. Bah was taken to the medical unit, which is run by the federal Public Health Service. He became incoherent and agitated, reports said, pulling away from the doctor and grabbing at the unit staff. Physicians consulted later by The Times called this a textbook symptom of intracranial bleeding, but apparently no one recognized that at the time. He was handcuffed and placed in leg restraints on the floor with medical approval, “to prevent injury,” a guard reported. “While on the floor the detainee began to yell in a foreign language and turn from side to side,” the guard wrote, and the medical staff deemed that “the screaming and resisting is behavior problems.” Mr. Bah was ordered to calm down. Instead, he kept crying out, then “began to regurgitate on the floor of medical,” the report said. So Mr. Bah was written up for disobeying orders. And with the approval of a physician assistant, Michael Chuley, who wrote that Mr. Bah’s fall was unwitnessed and “questionable,” the tailor was taken in shackles to a solitary confinement cell with instructions that he be monitored. Under detention protocols, an officer videotaped Mr. Bah as he lay vomiting in the medical unit, but the camera’s battery failed, guards wrote, when they tried to tape his trip to cell No. 7. Inside the cell, a supervisor removed Mr. Bah’s restraints. He was unresponsive to questions asked by the Public Health Service officer on duty, a report said, adding: “The detainee set up in his bed and moan and he fell to his left side and hit his head on the bed rail.” About 9 a.m., with the approval of the health officer and a federal immigration agent, the cell was locked. The watching began. As guards checked hourly, Mr. Bah appeared to be asleep on the concrete floor, snoring. But he could not be roused to eat lunch or dinner, and at 7:10 p.m., “he began to breathe heavily and started foaming slightly at the mouth,” a guard wrote. “I notified medical at this time.” However, the nurse on duty rejected the guard’s request to come check, according to reports. And at 8 p.m., when the warden went to the medical unit to describe Mr. Bah’s condition, the nurse, Raymund Dela Pena, was not alarmed. “Detainee is likely exhibiting the same behavior as earlier in the day,” he wrote, adding that Mr. Bah would get a mental health exam in the morning. About 10:30 p.m., more than 14 hours after Mr. Bah’s fall, the same nurse, on rounds, recognized the gravity of his condition: “unresponsive on the floor incontinent with foamy brown vomitus noted around mouth.” Smelling salts were tried. Mr. Bah was carried back to the medical unit on a stretcher. Just before 11, someone at the jail called 911. When an ambulance left Mr. Bah at the hospital, brain scans showed he had a fractured skull and hemorrhages at all sides of his swelling brain. He was rushed to surgery, and the detention center was informed of the findings. But in a report to their supervisors the next day, immigration officials at the center described Mr. Bah’s ailment as “brain aneurysms” — a diagnosis they corrected a week later to “hemorrhages,” without mentioning the skull fracture. After Mr. Bah’s death, they wrote that his hospitalization was “subsequent to a fall in the shower.” The nurse, Mr. Dela Pena, and the physician assistant, Mr. Chuley, said that only their superiors could discuss the case. The Public Health Service did not respond to questions, and the Corrections Corporation said medical decisions were the responsibility of the Public Health Service. Mr. Bah’s cousins demanded an autopsy, but the Union County medical examiner’s confidential report was not completed until Dec. 6. It was sent to the county prosecutor’s office only as a matter of routine, because the matter had been classified as an “unattended accident resulting in death.” Prosecutors said they did not investigate. “According to the report, Bah suffered a fall in the shower,” Eileen Walsh, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors, said in an e-mail message. “We are not privy to any other bits of information.” In the home movies Mr. Bah made of his last journey home, he is only a fleeting presence: a slim man with a shy smile. But without his support, relatives in Africa say they have little money for food and none for his sons’ schooling. His body went back to Guinea in a sealed coffin. “I stayed here seven years, waiting for him,” his second wife, Mariama, said in French, recalling their long separation and the brief reunion that led to the birth of their son, now a toddler, while Mr. Bah was in detention. “I wanted them to open the casket,” she added, “to know if it was him inside. Until today, I cry for him.”

April 25, 2008 Nashville Scene
State Rep. Mike Turner has fired off a missive to Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner George Little about the spate of questionable practices and incidents that have landed Corrections Corporation of America in the news. CCA, as you'll recall, contracts with Tennessee (along with many other state and federal authorities) to run their prisons and jails. In his April 16 letter, which Pith obtained this morning, Turner mentions the Time magazine story that alleges CCA counsel Gus Puryear allegedly whitewashed incident reports on escapes and unnatural deaths, so as not to alarm the company's clients. He also cites The Tennessean piece on an inmate at a Metro-controlled, CCA-run correctional facility who went nine months without a shower, as well as the recent Nashville Scene article that reported how guards at that same facility falsely claimed a jail-cell surveillance camera wasn't working—just one day after an inmate was found in her cell with a broken skull, according to the detective who wanted to review the footage. In other words, it's just another day in the life of CCA and Gus Puryear—who, we should add, is called out in the upcoming issue of the National Law Journal for being one of Bush's most controversial judicial appointees.

April 11, 2008 AP
The president and chief executive of private prison operator Corrections Corp. of America exercised options for 18,000 shares of common stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In a Form 4 filed with the SEC Thursday, John D. Ferguson reported he exercised the options Tuesday for $5.70 apiece and then sold all 18,000 shares on the same day for $27.57 to $28.02 apiece.

April 10, 2008 Muckety
On the spectrum of freedom, Charles Overby pretty much has the full range covered. He heads the Freedom Forum, which opens its new $450 million Newseum Friday in Washington, D.C. And, in his free time, he’s a director at the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the nation’s largest privatized prison system. The Freedom Forum says it is a “nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people.” CCA says its vision is “to be the best adult corrections company in the United States.” Overby is a former Gannett newsman who led The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., to a public service Pulitzer in the early 1980s. He became president and CEO of the Gannett Foundation in 1989. In 1991, after former Gannett CEO Al Neuharth re-directed (some might even say “hijacked”) the foundation’s mission and money, it was renamed the Freedom Forum. Overby joined the Nashville-based Correction Corporation’s board in 2001. Today, he is chairman, president and CEO of the Freedom Forum and CEO of the Newseum.

April 2, 2008 AP
The executive vice president and chief corrections officer of private prison operator Corrections Corp. of America exercised options for 9,000 shares of common stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. In a Form 4 filed with SEC, Richard P. Seiter reported he exercised the options on Tuesday for $13.06 apiece, then sold all 9,000 shares on the same day for $27.51 apiece.

March 31, 2008 Honolulu Advertiser
State lawmakers today will consider ordering an audit of two Corrections Corporation of America facilities in the wake of national media accounts alleging that the huge private prison company misrepresented statistical data to make it appear that CCA facilities had fewer violent acts and other problems than was actually the case. Hawai'i pays CCA more than $50 million a year to house more than 2,000 men and women convicts in CCA prisons in Arizona and Kentucky. Senate Bill 2342 calls for the State Auditor to conduct performance audits of two of the three Mainland prisons that house Hawai'i inmates, including reviews of the food, medical, drug treatment, vocational and other services provided to Hawai'i inmates. The audit also would scrutinize the way the state Department of Public Safety oversees the private prisons and enforces the terms of the state's contracts with CCA. According to the bill, "there has never been an audit of the private Mainland prisons that Hawai'i has contracted with to house the state's inmates, despite the fact that deaths and serious injuries have occurred at several of the contract prisons on the Mainland." Clayton Frank, director of the state Department of Public Safety, testified against the proposed audits in Senate hearings last month, calling the audits "unnecessary and repetitive" because his department already conducts quarterly audits to make sure CCA is complying with its contracts with the state. Frank also suggested his department was being singled out, arguing that if lawmakers want performance audits to provide more accountability and transparency to the public, "then it should apply to all state contracts and not be limited to just the Department of Public Safety." Critics of the Mainland prison contracts contend the audits are needed because the private prisons are for-profit ventures designed to keep costs as low as possible. During the decade that Hawai'i has housed inmates on the Mainland, the state itself has criticized private prison operators when the companies failed to provide Hawai'i inmates with programs that were required under the contract. Now, supporters of the audit bill say an independent review is necessary to scrutinize what is one of the state's largest ongoing contracts of any kind with a private vendor. "Are we getting what we pay for? We'd like to know," testified Jeanne Y. Ohta, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i. The audit would cover the 1,896-bed Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., which houses only male prisoners from Hawai'i, and the 656-bed Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky., which holds about 175 Hawai'i women inmates. The House Finance Committee hearing on the bill today comes in the wake of Mainland media reports citing a former CCA manager who said he was required to produce misleading reports about incidents in CCA prisons. The company operates about 65 prisons with about 75,000 inmates. Time magazine interviewed former CCA senior quality assurance manager Ronald T. Jones, who said CCA General Counsel Gus Puryear IV ordered staff to classify sometimes violent incidents such as inmate disturbances, escapes and sexual assaults as if they were less serious events to make the company performance appear to be better than it was. Jones said more detailed reports about the prison incidents were prepared for internal CCA use, and were not released to clients. CCA denied the allegations, which Time published as Puryear is being considered for a post as a federal judge. The Private Corrections Institute Inc., an organization opposed to private prisons, wrote to Hawai'i prison officials urging them to investigate CCA's reporting procedures in the wake of the Time report. Alex Friedmann, vice president of the institute, said most state monitors who are overseeing CCA prisons "largely rely on information and data provided by CCA; further, the accuracy of incident reports is entirely dependent on whether those incidents are documented by the company's employees." Hawai'i Public Safety officials did not respond to requests for comment on the allegations in the Time article.

March 27, 2008 AP
The president and chief executive of prison-operator Corrections Corp. of America exercised options for 18,000 shares of common stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday. In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, John D. Ferguson reported he exercised options for the shares on Monday for $5.70 apiece and then sold them all the same day for $26.73 to $27.68 apiece.

March 26, 2008 Tennessean
Add women’s rights groups to the list opposing the federal judicial nomination of Gus Puryear IV, the embattled general counsel for the Corrections Corporation of America. Puryear’s membership to Nashville’s Belle Meade County Club is under fire by the women’s rights organization who say women are unable to vote or hold office at the private golf club. National Organization of Women, the National Council for Women’s Organizations and the Women’s Equal rights Legal Defense and Education Fund have sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Puryear’s nomination ignited a debate whether the general counsel of CCA, the for-profit prison giant, is suited for the bench in light of allegations that he encouraged misleading incident reports. Private Corrections Institute, an advocacy group that opposes prison privatization, has been an outspoken critic of Puryear's nomination. The Alliance for Justice and the National Lawyers Guild are among the opposition. There’s also a website, www.againstpuryear.org, is part of the opposition campaign. The hearings were held last month and the committee has not voted on his nomination. President Bush nominated Puryear last June to serve as a federal judge for the Middle District of Tennessee.

March 21, 2008 Nashville Scene
Yesterday I talked with Rob McGuire, the local prosecutor who brought charges against four CCA guards in the death of inmate Estelle Richardson, who in 2004 was found in her solitary cell with a broken skull and four cracked ribs. McGuire ultimately dropped the case, after doctors for both CCA and Richardson's family determined that her head injuries might have been sustained before she was placed in solitary confinement. Now, though, the Richardson case has taken center stage in the nomination hearings of Gus Puryear, the CCA general counsel who was nominated by President George W. Bush to a federal judgeship in Tennessee's Middle District. The Senate Judiciary Committee has grilled Puryear about his statements about the case—he falsely claimed the guards were “exonerated”—and how his company handled the investigation. On that count, McGuire has a rather interesting story to share. And now we're going to have to jump. McGuire says that when a Metro homicide detective began to investigate Richardson's death, he asked to see videotape of the extractions—i.e., those times when an inmate is ushered in and out of her cell. Instead, guards told him the camera had mysteriously malfunctioned. Wouldn't you know it, the detective was told, there's no footage available—which is not much different than when the suspect tells Lennie Briscoe he doesn't remember what he was doing the night of the murder. At that point, the detective examined the camera and could find nothing wrong with it. “He turns it on and it appears to be working just fine,” McGuire says. “That was a significant problem for us; it did not help their cause.” Of course, McGuire ultimately had to drop the case when it appeared that any number of different people—from inmates to guards—could have caused Richardson's head injuries. And because she was heavily medicated at the time, it was certainly possible that the inmate could have endured a serious injury without realizing until it was too late. But none of this lets CCA off the hook. First, there's the issue that, no matter how you look at it, Richardson was almost certainly killed in a CCA facility, which Puryear glosses over in his correspondence with members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. In fact, Puryear makes her death out to be a veritable mystery, even though it's ludicrous to imagine how someone could break their skull and crack their ribs by simply slipping on the floor. So if—and we're using the word “if” lightly here—she was killed in jail, that doesn't reflect well on CCA. Then, of course, there's McGuire's fresh anecdote about the supposedly malfunctioning camera, which makes you wonder if CCA took an awkward stab at a cover-up. CCA and Puryear are already under fire for last week's Time.com report, in which a former prison manager accused the company of lying to its government clients about the safety of its prisons. Is there a pattern here? It's next to impossible to gleam objective data from CCA, even though it manages public facilities across the country. But with Puryear likely to face additional additional questions from the members of the judiciary committee about the Richardson case and other CCA matters, a little more transparency might be in order. Developing....

March 21, 2008 The California Majority Report
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- who railed against special interests during his recall campaign and has since shattered all fundraising efforts -- has quietly been padding his campaign accounts with hundreds of thousands of dollars during the past few weeks. In the last week, Schwarzenegger has added five- and six-figure donations from health care interests, pharmaceutical companies, homebuilders, and private prison companies -- just as he begins reviewing legislation being passed in the legislature reviewing those industries. For example, he has received $25,000 from Pacific West Pharmacy, $5,000 from the Corrections Corporation of America, and $25,000 from General Motors Corporation. The funds have been funneled to this "California Dream Team" account, one of several the governor has to raise campaign cash. It should be noted, however, that Schwarzenegger cannot run for re-election. Fascinating that Schwarzenegger can shake down the wealthy and contributions from millions in campaign money but rules out Democratic proposals to tax these very same interests to pay their fair share for our kids education.

March 18, 2008 The Huffington Report
At a moment when Democratic Party officials are urging voters to trust unelected superdelegates to act in the country's best interests, HuffPost's Off-The-Bus investigation into the background of DNC superdelegates reveals at least one appointed superdelegate who is as likely to use his political connections for personal profit as for the greater good. Take the case of Joseph F. Johnson, a member-at-large of the Democratic National Committee from Chantilliy, Virginia -a suburb of Washington D.C. -- and a superdelegate currently tilting toward Hillary Clinton. Using his web of connections, Johnson successfully lobbied for the construction of a private prison linked to a company on whose board he sat; he managed to have that prison contract with other companies he was linked to; and though the prison became a notorious and dangerous failure, Johnson benefited personally, pulling in millions of dollars in stock options and fees. Johnson first rose through the ranks of the Democratic machine in the early 1990s, as executive director of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He brought with him strong ties to D.C. government that he'd built after his first job in the nation's capital, as chief of staff for the city of Washington DC's city council head. He also managed Douglas Wilder's successful campaign to become Virginia's first African-American governor in 1991. And Johnson advised Mark Warner on his successful 2001 gubernatorial bid in Virginia. Johnson's reputation as a mover and shaker in D.C. Democratic politics helped pave the way for his appointment to the board of Corrections Corporation of America, the largest operator of private prisons in the country. While serving in that position from 1996 to 1999, Johnson was instrumental in convincing the local government in Washington, DC to pay CCA to run a prison in Youngstown, Ohio for DC inmates, according to SEC filings for the company. Meanwhile, two of Johnson's own companies, National Corrections and Rehabilitation (NCRC) and MedCorr, were contracted to provide employment rehabilitation and health services in the same prison he helped establish. The private Ohio prison which Johnson helped establish was, according to Youngstown's then-mayor, "a nightmare." By 1998, there had been two fatal stabbings, 44 assaults, and six escapes at the prison. A Department of Justice report found that under CCA, the prison had "failed to accomplish the basic mission of correctional safety;" and prisoners eventually collected $1.65 million in damages and legal costs for their treatment under CCA. News reports traced the problems at the prison to both CCA's management and D.C. Corrections' practice of sending high-security inmates to the medium-security facility. The problems, Johnson told the Washington Post at the time, weren't "anyone's fault, it was just one of those things." Mr. Johnson nonetheless profited from the deal, receiving $2.6 million in stock options for his work linking CCA with officials in Washington, D.C. Calling his work "instrumental" to their receipt of the contract, CCA said that Mr. Johnson had "exceeded his duties and obligations" to the company and also paid him $382,000 for his "consulting services" in helping to arrange the deal, and $991,000 for NCRC's services in another CCA prison in Texas. Johnson had also helped arrange for Washington, D.C. to sell one of its local prisons to CCA in 1996. Local activists complained that procurement rules had been skipped over to hand the bid to CCA, but the deal ultimately went through, and CCA then managed the facility and used NCRC to provide services to inmates. When the Washington Post asked Johnson if he considered his dual roles as a conflict of interest, he replied, "Not in my mind." Two years later, the Washington Post reported that CCA faced $1.3 million in fines for failing to provide services to inmates, including $536,000 in fines for failing to properly administer medications and another $77,400 for failing to provide vision services. The city's Department of Corrections, despite being $8.8 million in the red, suspended most of the fines, according to Post reports from the time. Johnson has over time expanded his list of companies; NCRC is technically a subsidiary of his firm, the Johnson Companies [www.jcmps.com]. Under that umbrella, Mr. Johnson also houses the Houston-based Satellite Tracking of People, LLC (STOP), which deals in GPS tracking devices for inmates and parolees; the Nashville-based ConnectGov, Inc, which coordinates distance learning; and the National Preparedness Training Center, which trains first responders to disasters.

March 14, 2008 Nashville Scene
Once thought to be a sure thing, Gus Puryear's nomination to the federal bench is now in serious trouble. A devastating story published on Time magazine's website yesterday alleged that the young attorney whitewashed company reports in his role as corporate counsel for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The story revolves around Ronald T. Jones, a former CCA prison manager described as a loyal Republican like the judicial nominee himself. Jones claims Puryear oversaw a reporting system in which the company basically lied to its public-sector clients, minimizing outbreaks of prison disturbances in the jails it operates. In theory at least, CCA is supposed to provide thorough and objective reports to the government agencies who have outsourced the management of its jails to the private company. But Jones says his ex-boss Puryear masked or omitted details that could result in litigation, fines or bad press. That aside, he behaved admirably. “When Puryear felt there was highly sensitive or potentially damaging information to CCA, I would then be directed to remove that information from an audit report,” Jones told Time.com. Today, The Tennessean published a well-reported front-page story that included additional details, including how in 2005 a CCA official once had the temerity to issue a memo with potentially damaging information about a prison incident. That led to a change in company policy—in which any reports to be made public had to be cleared by the office of the general counsel. The Private Corrections Institute, which has led the charge against Puryear, issued a press release calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to summon the nominee back to Washington for yet another hearing. The group may well get its wish. It's been a dismal week for Puryear—right as he tries to explain his membership in the historically discriminatory Belle Meade Country Club, he now will likely have to defend himself against serious charges of turning CCA’s cold, hard facts into creative fiction. It's still possible for Puryear to survive this latest onslaught of bad press and go on to become a good judge. But considering how much trouble he's had so far convincing people he's up for the job, couldn't the Bush administration have just plucked someone else? There are plenty of intelligent Republican attorneys in Nashville. How many of them have Puryear's baggage?

March 14, 2008 Tennessean
A former Corrections Corporation of America manager is accusing the company's general counsel and federal judicial nominee Gus Puryear IV of overseeing a practice that produced misleading reports about safety incidents at its prisons. Ronald T. Jones, who until last year worked as a senior manager in quality assurance at the Nashville-based prison operator, said that Puryear directed him and other staff to classify incidents such as escapes, unnatural deaths and disturbances as less serious to make its performance look better in reports to government agency clients. Reports prepared for internal use, meanwhile, included more details about the specific incidents, Jones said. Private Corrections Institute, an advocacy group that opposes prison privatization and has been an outspoken critic of Puryear's nomination, Thursday urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold another round of hearings at which Jones could testify and Puryear be asked more questions about his actions. "Alternatively, we support the position of not bringing Mr. Puryear's judicial nomination forward for a committee vote," said Alex Friedmann, a former inmate at a CCA prison and the group's vice president. At a Feb. 12 hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Puryear faced tough questions on the 2004 death of a woman at the Metro Detention Facility, possible conflict of interest with cases involving CCA and its executives that are often filed in Middle Tennessee District, where he would serve, and his membership in the exclusive Belle Meade Country Club. In response, Puryear said that he would recuse himself for at least five years from all cases involving CCA and its executives: said there were disagreements among medical experts about what happened in the death of Estelle Richardson at the detention facility; and promised to resign from Belle Meade if he found its membership policies violated the code of judicial ethics. Committee staff said any action on Puryear's nomination is unlikely until April at the earliest. The committee has no more business meetings this week and Congress is on Easter break for the next two weeks. The Judiciary Committee usually does not hold additional hearings with the nominee and other witnesses. Instead, the senators rely on written responses to questions and the transcript of the original hearing when discussing and voting on a nominee. Puryear couldn't be reached last night for comment. CCA denies allegations -- Louise Grant, a CCA spokeswoman, called Jones' allegations inaccurate and added that it paints a false picture of CCA's quality assurance process and of Puryear's role. "We question the motives of this former employee, who was not in a leadership position in quality assurance and resigned in lieu of termination," Grant added. "If our interest was in under-reporting or not finding quality issues, we simply would not have created this (quality assurance) department or its programs in the first place." Jones denies that he faced termination at CCA. He now lives in Detroit and said he left CCA to pursue a legal career. He said in his job he was responsible for tracking information on events such as unusual deaths, disturbances and audit findings and that the misleading practices began in early 2005, when the quality assurance department was put under Puryear as general counsel. A CCA staff member in 2005 provided a report containing potentially damaging information about an incident at a prison to a government client without corporate approval, Jones said. That incident, according to Jones, led to a new policy in which any reports that could be made public needed to be cleared by the office of the general counsel. "Mr. Puryear then directed me, and other quality assurance department staff who process audit report finding, to create two reports for distribution of audit findings," Jones wrote in a statement sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I would prepare one report with all of the audit findings and auditor comments in it for "internal purposes only" and a separate more generic report that contained only general information about audit results as a whole." In a separate interview with The Tennessean, Jones added that the more information that could potentially damage the company if it was released publicly, the more that its operations and financial status could be affected. In the corrections industry, the number of incidents such as prison escapes, riots, and sexual assaults are among variables often used to determine bonuses for employees from wardens to chief executives, industry observers said. If a prison contract provides for a bonus, such incidents also would be taken into account by a client government agency in determining the award. CCA is required to file reports with the state on incidents such as inmate-on-inmate assaults or inmate-on-staff assaults, disturbances and a daily census of inmates at its prisons that house state inmates, said Dorinda Carter, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Corrections. The department has onsite contract monitors and other designated employees at the prisons that report daily on incidents and another division that conducts annual audits of the CCA prisons, she said. "We feel pretty sure that we're finding out about incidents as they happen," Carter said. She added that CCA is required to follow the same policies as the 13 prisons run by the state and that officials are confident in their monitoring of the company.

March 13, 2008 Mother Jones
Most ambitious lawyers know that if they want to become a federal judge, they have to fulfill several key requirements. First, they must schmooze the right people, sit on the right bar committees, and make the requisite political contributions. Then, above all, they must 1) pay nanny taxes, and 2) wait until after securing a lifetime appointment to join an exclusive, discriminatory country club. Gustavus Adolphus Puryear IV, Bush's choice for a trial court seat in the middle district of Tennessee, had ticked off most of the items on the list by the time he was nominated last summer. He'd given money, befriended Dick Cheney's son-in-law, and even prepped Cheney for the vice-presidential debates in 2000 and 2004. But he forgot about rule number 2, an oversight that might be his undoing. As a prison company lawyer with virtually no litigation experience, Puryear's resume offers any number of reasons why he shouldn't be confirmed. But inexperience has never stopped the politically connected from ascending to the bench. Country club memberships, however, are a different matter. And Puryear happens to be a member of the exclusive Belle Meade Country Club in Nashville, a club whose racist history is so well known that even former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had the good sense to quit the club before running for office. After Puryear's surprisingly contentious confirmation hearing last month, several senators asked him to provide additional written answers to their questions. According to the Nashville Scene, Puryear's responses aren't likely to win him any friends with the Democrats on the committee, particularly Ted Kennedy, who sent Puryear four sets of questions regarding the club, including one about its racial diversity. Puryear replied in legalese, writing, “I am advised that the club does not track its members based on race, nor does it respond to such requests. I am personally aware that there are minority members, but I do not myself know the number,” he wrote. The number of black members of the Belle Meade Country Club is an open secret in Nashville, largely because the number is exactly one. Belle Meade didn't allow black members until 1994, when they admitted one guy, a lawyer from Atlanta. Today, that same guy remains the only black member of the club. So either Puryear is being incredibly disingenuous, or he is a lot dumber than his supporters claim. (The Nashville Scene had no trouble figuring out how many black members the club had, after all, so it's hard to believe Puryear, who's actually a member, couldn't do the same.) It's rare for the Senate to see confirmation fights over trial court judges, but Puryear could be the exception. His country club membership has caught the attention of women's groups, who are mounting some opposition. Feminist lawyer Gloria Allred has written a letter to the Judiciary Committee raising questions about Puryear's nomination. She, too, doesn't buy his claim of ignorance about the club's discriminatory practices, noting that the club's "entire voting membership is male, "Lady members" are not allowed to vote, and no women have been proposed for Resident Member status that would afford voting privileges." As a trial court judge, Puryear would preside over a fair number of sexual and racial discrimination trials, which is another reason women's groups are worried about his nomination. If Puryear can't see the blatant, longstanding discrimination going on in his own country club, can you imagine what he'd be like in the courtroom? Egads!

March 13, 2008 AP
The president and chief executive of prison operator Corrections Corporation of America exercised options for 18,000 shares of stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. In Form 4s filed with the SEC Wednesday, John D. Ferguson reported he exercised the options Monday for $5.70 apiece and then sold all the shares the same day for $26.14 to $27.20 apiece. The stock sale was conducted under a prearranged 10b5-1 trading plan, which allows a company insider to set up a program in advance for such transactions and proceed with them even if he or she comes into possession of material nonpublic information.

March 13, 2008 TIME
As the top lawyer for America's biggest private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Gus Puryear IV, is known to sport well-pressed preppy pink shirts, and his brownish mop of hair stands out among most of President Bush's graying nominees to the federal bench. A favorite of G.O.P. hardliners, Puryear, 39, prepped Dick Cheney for the vice presidential debates — both in 2000 and 2004 — and served as a senior aide to two former senators and onetime presidential hopefuls, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson. Political connections, though, may not be enough to get Puryear a lifetime post as a federal district judge in Tennessee. Puryear recently confronted tough questions about his conduct, experience and potential conflicts of interest from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which must approve him before a full Senate vote. Now, a former CCA manager tells TIME that Puryear oversaw a reporting system in which accounts of major, sometimes violent prison disturbances and other significant events were often masked or minimized in accounts provided to government agencies with oversight over prison contracts. Ronald T. Jones, the former CCA manager, alleges that the company even began keeping two sets of books — one for internal use that described prison deficiencies in telling detail, and a second set that Jones describes as "doctored" for public consumption, to limit bad publicity, litigation or fines that could derail CCA's multimillion dollar contracts with federal, state or local agencies. CCA owns or operates 65 prisons, housing some 70,000 inmates across the U.S. According to the company's website, it has a greater than 50% share of the booming private prison market. CCA is also a major contributor to Republican candidates and causes, and spends millions of dollars each year lobbying for government contracts. (Puryear enjoys a friendship with Cheney's son-in-law, Philip Perry, who lobbied for CCA in Washington before serving as general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, which has millions of dollars in contracts with CCA, from 2005 to 2007.) The company has likewise given financial support to tax-exempt policy groups that support tough sentencing laws that help put more people behind bars. Like other prison companies, CCA has faced numerous lawsuits that stem from allegedly inadequate staff levels that can be a cause of high levels of violence in the prisons. Though hundreds of such lawsuits are often pending at any given time, many brought by inmates in its own facilities, CCA under Puryear has mounted an especially vigorous defense against them, refusing to settle all but the most damaging. Jones knows CCA intimately. Until last summer, the longtime Republican was in charge of "quality assurance" records for CCA prisons across the U.S. He says that in 2005, after CCA found itself embarrassed on several occasions by the public release of internal records to government agencies, Puryear mandated that detailed, raw reports on prison shortcomings carry a blanket assertion of "attorney client privilege," thus forbidding their release without his written consent. From then on, Jones says, the audits delivered to agencies were filled with increasingly vague performance measures. "If the wrong party found out that a facility's operations scored low in an audit, then CCA could be subject to litigation, fines or worse," explains Jones. "When Mr. Puryear felt there was highly sensitive or potentially damaging information to CCA, I would then be directed to remove that information from an audit report." Puryear would not comment on the allegations. Jones resigned from CCA last summer to pursue a legal career. According to Jones, Puryear was most concerned about what CCA described as "zero tolerance" events, or ZT's — including unnatural deaths, major disturbances, escapes and sexual assaults. According to Jones, bonuses and job security at the company were tied to reporting low ZT numbers. Low numbers also pleased CCA's government clients, as well as the company's board, which received a regular tally, and Wall Street analysts concerned about potentially costly lawsuits that CCA might face. In 2006, for example, Jones says CCA had to lock down a prison in Texas to control rioting by as many as 60 inmates. Despite clear internal guidelines defining the incident as a ZT, Jones says he was ordered not to label it that way. Instead it was logged as, "Altered facility schedule due to inmate action". And this was not unusual, says Jones: "Information was misrepresented in a very disturbing way concerning the company's most important performance indicators, which included escapes, suicides, violent outbreaks and sexual assaults." Companies often try to show their best face to customers, and safeguard internal records with "attorney-client privilege." But according to Stephen Gillers, a leading expert on legal ethics at New York University, CCA's use of that privilege seems like "a wholesale, possibly overreaching claim," similiar to the blanket assertions of major tobacco companies that tried to keep damaging internal documents from public view. Those assertions of privilege have been rejected by federal judges as an attempt to improperly conceal their internal data on the dangers of smoking from customers, the courts and legal adversaries. CCA could also be in legal trouble if it minimized the tally of serious prison incidents and, by implication, its possible financial liability. As chief legal counsel, Puryear would have also had an obligation to ensure his board had all the information it needed, good or bad, to make decisions. If Puryear's reporting system had the effect of withholding information relevant to official prison oversight, that could bear on his suitability as a federal judge by suggesting his "disdain for the proper operation of an important function of government," notes Gillers. Contacted by TIME, CCA says that Puryear, "has served the company well and honorably as general counsel and will be an outstanding judge." The company denies allegations that it keeps two sets of books, saying: "A final audit report is made available to our customers. Appropriate information gathered in the audits is separately provided to our legal department." The company adds that "CCA has produced all relevant, non-privileged documents in litigation," that its board is regularly apprised of the most serious prison incidents, and that "all appropriate" information is given to the financial community. President Bush recently called Puryear and his 27 other judicial nominees facing Senate confirmation "highly qualified." Whether or not the Senate agrees on Puryear, Bush is likely to leave the White House with fewer judges approved than Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, both two-term chief executives.

March 7, 2008 Tennessean
Long list of problems exists in use of CCA By ALEX FRIEDMANN Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest for-profit prison firm, has a history in Tennessee that dates back to 1983. It hasn't always been a proud history, though. Last May, the warden of CCA's Hardeman County facility assaulted an inmate who was in restraints. The warden resigned, was prosecuted and pled guilty. The prison's internal affairs officer was charged with an unrelated assault. On July 30, 2007, a riot occurred at CCA's South Central Correctional Center in Wayne County. The company's tactical officers responded; however, there was a delay when they tried to enter the housing units because no one had the gate keys. On Jan. 14, 2008, an inmate at the CCA-run Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility was beaten to death by his cellmate. Also, a prisoner escaped from CCA's Metro jail. CCA initially didn't know he had absconded on Feb. 16. Those are just the latest in a long line of assaults, escapes, inmate and employee deaths, and riots at CCA facilities in Tennessee. Most people don't care because they don't have a private prison in their backyard. That will soon change for residents of Trousdale County, where CCA plans to build a 2,040-bed detention center. Type of jobs an issue  -- Proponents cite the estimated 350 jobs the prison will bring. But what kind of jobs? According to internal CCA documents, as recently as October 2007, guards at the Hardeman County prison were paid a starting wage of $9.41 an hour; after two years, they were earning less than $10.25. An administrative clerk at the prison was hired at $7.67 per hour. CCA's supporters also point to taxes and fees the company will pay. Those payments are partially offset by other costs, such as $6 million in water and sewage upgrades that Trousdale County will make in preparation for the prison. In at least two cases, in Ohio and Texas, CCA was sued over tax breaks and failure to pay taxes owed. In another case, CCA sued the state of New Mexico in an attempt to recover $2.5 million in tax payments. A 2003 report titled, "Big Prisons, Small Towns," found that incarceration is a poor form of economic development. Once a city becomes a "prison town" other industries are less likely to move in, making the community dependent on the facility for income — and in the case of a private prison, at the mercy of the company that owns it. Last month, CCA threatened to remove inmates from one of the company's prisons in Colorado if the state didn't increase its payments. After a for-profit facility is filled, the contracting government agencies can be held captive to rate increases or other demands, as they have nowhere else to put their prisoners. The residents of Trousdale County may be stuck with a private prison despite the objections of concerned community members whose repeated requests for a public hearing were denied. Those who favor the CCA facility will deserve exactly what they get.

March 5, 2008 Tennessean
The accuracy of testimony by Gustavus "Gus'' Puryear IV at his confirmation hearing to be a federal judge is being questioned by four Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Puryear is general counsel of Nashville-based private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America and was nominated by Republican President Bush. After the February hearing, he provided written answers to additional questions about the company's handling of the death of an inmate at a company-run facility in Nashville, potential conflicts of interest he would face as a judge and his membership in the Belle Meade Country Club. The sometimes-pointed questions and Puryear's responses again raise the stakes in his confirmation. Once thought to be routine, Puryear's nomination is being fought by a coalition of civil rights, labor and other groups spearheaded by the Private Corrections Institute, which opposes prison privatization. Puryear's responses were released Thursday. Inmate death testimony -- Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, along with Sens. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin questioned the testimony Puryear gave last month about the 2004 death of Estelle Richardson. Richardson died at the Metro Detention Facility after she was forcibly removed from her solitary confinement cell by four guards. She had a fractured skull, broken ribs and liver damage. The state's medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and the four guards were charged, but the indictments eventually were dropped. Later, a civil suit brought by Richardson's family was settled out of court when experts representing the family and the CCA concluded the skull fracture occurred before she was extracted from her cell. At his Feb. 12 hearing, Puryear testified it was not clear how Richardson received her head injuries and that they could have been self-inflicted. He said CPR done in an attempt to revive Richardson could have caused her broken ribs and liver damage. All four senators questioned that testimony, citing a letter sent to the committee from Dr. Bruce Levy, Tennessee's chief medical examiner, who conducted the autopsy on Richardson. He reiterated that the death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma that was not self-inflicted. Levy called "misleading at best'' Puryear's comment about CPR causing injuries. Puryear responded by citing a letter to the committee from David Smith, attorney for the Richardson family, who wrote that the "the circumstances and causes of Ms. Richardson's tragic death were complex and debated ... our own experts attributed the death to a seizure.'' "There were also issues on whether CPR may have caused the liver and rib injuries,'' Smith wrote. Puryear said the company's expert, Dr. William McCormick, former deputy chief medical examiner for Tennessee, wrote that the rib and liver injuries were "almost certainly'' caused by CPR and cited medical research to back his claim. Promises made -- Puryear expanded on a promise made during testimony that he would recuse himself for at least five years from CCA cases and would also not take on personal cases involving company executives. He said at the hearing he also would sell all of his CCA stock. Puryear also wrote that he would resign from the Belle Meade Country Club if he discovered that the club's membership practices violated the judicial code of conduct. Kennedy wrote that the club did not allow blacks to join until 1994 and does not give women the right to vote on club business. Puryear said there are no women who are "resident members,'' the class allowed to vote, but that he knows of no policy that restricts women from being recommended for that category. "I am not aware ... that any woman has been proposed or has sought to be proposed as a 'resident member,' " he said. Judiciary Committee spokesman Erica Chabot said the committee would likely not deal with the nomination until April at the earliest because members may want to ask follow-up questions and Congress is out of session the last two weeks of March. The full Senate must confirm the nomination once it is out of committee.

February 27, 2008 AP
The president and chief executive of prison management company Corrections Corp. of America exercised options for 18,000 shares of common stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In Form 4s filed with the SEC Tuesday, John D. Ferguson reported he exercised the options on Friday for $5.70 apiece, then sold all 18,000 shares on the same day for $25.92 to $26.70 apiece.

February 25, 2008 Tennessean
Gustavus "Gus" Puryear IV is the top attorney for Corrections Corporation of America, the Nashville-based private prison giant. He graduated with honors from law school, is a deacon in his church and serves on the boards of numerous community organizations. Now President Bush has nominated him to be a federal judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. But Puryear has never been a judge, has little trial experience, and works for and holds stock in a company enmeshed with the federal government through campaign donations, lobbying and huge contracts. And the company he represents gets sued a lot, many times in federal court in Nashville. Civil rights and prison rights advocates and others say those and other concerns make Puryear a poor choice to be a judge in the very court where his company is often a defendant. And his answers at his confirmation hearing earlier this month are raising questions among some senators and the state's top medical examiner. What appeared to be a routine confirmation process has suddenly become complicated. "During that hearing, a lot of red flags were raised," said Erica Chabot, spokeswoman for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "You can bet there are some follow-ups." Senators on the committee were given two weeks to submit additional questions that will be sent to Puryear for written responses. Puryear, 39, declined to comment on questions about his fitness for the bench while the confirmation process is ongoing, said Steve Owen, spokesman for CCA. Trial experience lacking -- Letters opposing Puryear were sent to the committee by Private Corrections Institute Inc., which opposes prison privatization; the Alliance for Justice, an umbrella group of dozens of national civil rights and other organizations; and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Among their arguments: Puryear doesn't have the proper legal qualifications. Puryear spent less than three years in private practice in Nashville before signing on as counsel for the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, headed by then-Sen. Fred Thompson. Next, he served as legislative director for former Sen. Bill Frist for about three years before becoming general counsel and vice president at CCA in January 2001. Puryear's lack of trial experience is a greater concern than his role as a corporate lawyer and his lack of judicial service, said Douglas Laycock, a professor of the University of Michigan Law School. "District court judges have to run a trial and run it efficiently. It's just a different skill set," Laycock said. An analysis of a database of the nearly 1,200 sitting and senior federal judges shows slightly more than one-third served as judges prior to their appointment. Only 18 served as general counsels or assistant or associate general counsels for private companies. Puryear's lack of trial experience is probably why he received a "qualified" rating by the American Bar Association, instead of the higher "well qualified," Laycock said. Of the 67 judges nominated by President Bush since January 2007, 14 received a unanimous or majority "qualified" rating. The rest had unanimous or majority "well-qualified" ratings. Alex Friedman, vice president of Private Corrections Institute, said conflict of interest is a major reason not to confirm Puryear because lawsuits against the company and its executives are often filed in the court on which he would serve. Friedman served six years in a CCA-run facility in Tennessee. Puryear told the committee he would sell off all his CCA stock and recuse himself from cases involving the company. Laycock said "that CCA gets sued a lot is not a problem" because the number of cases would be relatively small and could be picked up by other judges. CCA and Puryear have strong connections to the federal government. Puryear gave $3,000 to Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker's campaign in 2005-06 and $1,000 to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander in 2005. CCA executives and its political action committee have given $48,950 to Alexander since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Corker has received $27,250 from CCA and its executives. Puryear is a registered lobbyist for CCA and the company spent more than $3 million in 2007 lobbying the federal government, according to lobbying reports. It has received nearly $1.2 billion in federal contracts since 2004, according to a database of federal contracts compiled by the Office of Management and Budget. Nashville death cited -- Another complaint is the company's handling of the 2004 death of Estelle Richardson in the Metro Detention Facility in Nashville. Puryear testified at his confirmation hearing that her broken ribs and liver injuries could have been caused by CPR attempts to revive her. Tennessee's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Bruce Levy, who conducted the autopsy on Richardson, said in an e-mail that Puryear's "statement that the rib fractures and liver damage could have been caused by CPR is in error and is not based on sound forensic medicine." Levy has contacted the judiciary committee. But Dr. William McCormick, the state's former deputy chief medical examiner, concluded in a report prepared for attorneys defending the company in a civil lawsuit that the injuries were "almost certainly" caused by the CPR, said Joe Welborn, one of the attorneys. Four CCA guards were charged, but the charges were dropped and Richardson's family ultimately settled a lawsuit against the company. Both Tennessee Republican senators, Alexander and Corker, released written statements last week repeating their support for Puryear. "The American Bar Association investigated all allegations raised by liberal interest groups, but still concluded that Mr. Puryear was qualified to serve on the federal bench," Alexander said. The Senate Judiciary Committee is not likely to hold a second hearing on the nomination, said Chabot, spokeswoman for chairman Leahy. The committee will rely on the record of the first hearing and answers to written questions to vote. It is not clear when that vote will take place.

February 22, 2008 National Lawyers Guild PR
On June 13, 2007, President Bush nominated Gustavus Adolphus Puryear IV for a position on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Mr. Puryear currently serves as vice president and general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest for-profit private prison company. If appointed he would serve as a federal judge in the same jurisdiction where CCA is headquartered. Since 2000, at least 260 federal lawsuits naming CCA, company subsidiaries or CCA employees have been filed in the Middle District of Tennessee. Such cases would constitute a conflict of interest for Mr. Puryear, and assigning them to other judges would not be an effective use of judicial resources. Of greater concern is that Mr. Puryear lacks familiarity with the federal courts and has little trial or litigation experience. By his own admission he has tried only two cases to verdict; he has been personally involved in only five federal cases, most recently a decade ago. He is not admitted to practice before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is over the Middle District of Tennessee, and received only a "qualified" rating from the American Bar Association rather than a "highly qualified" rating. Both Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker strongly support Mr. Puryear's nomination. Neither Senator has acknowledged the substantial financial contributions received from Mr. Puryear and his employer, CCA – which include over $80,000 to Senator Alexander and $27,000 to Senator Corker since 2004. Further, Mr. Puryear mentioned in disclosure statements that he is a member of the Nashville-based Belle Meade Country Club. The fact that Mr. Puryear maintains membership in an exclusive, predominately white club that did not admit its first minority member until 1994, and reportedly does not afford voting privileges to female members but only to male members, is a matter of significant concern for a federal judicial nominee. In an Associated Press national wire article concerning Mr. Puryear's nomination, Vanderbilt Professor Stefanie Lindquist was quoted as saying his judicial appointment "might slide through as a compromise." The National Lawyers Guild does not believe the people of Tennessee should have to compromise or settle for a less-than-qualified federal judge to represent their interests in U.S. District Court. The National Lawyers Guild calls on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to vote down this unqualified, conflicted and controversial judicial candidate.

February 21, 2008 AP
A private prison company executive nominated to become a federal judge has run into a determined opponent — a former inmate. President Bush in June nominated Gustavus A. Puryear IV, chief lawyer with Corrections Corporation of America, to become a U.S. district judge in Nashville. That led Alex Friedmann, who spent six years at the company's prison in Clifton, Tenn., to investigate Puryear's qualifications. He looked up every case where Puryear was listed on the docket as counsel. The prisoner-turned-inmate advocate found only five instances where Puryear was the attorney of record. By his count and Puryear's, the judicial nominee has been involved in only two federal court trials during his career. That's just one more case than Friedmann himself has handled in federal court. Convinced that the well-connected Puryear was unqualified to be a federal judge and might face a conflict of interest overseeing litigation involving his former employer, Friedmann began a public relations campaign against the nomination that led all the way to the Senate. He formed the group Tennesseans Against Puryear and enlisted the help of the liberal Washington-based Alliance for Justice and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, both of which sent letters opposing the appointment. Puryear, a 1993 graduate of the University of North Carolina law school, didn't respond to several phone and e-mail requests left at his home and office for an interview with The Associated Press. At a Feb. 12 hearing of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., questioned Puryear about several issues originally raised by Friedmann and the nonprofit Private Corrections Institute, a group opposing private prisons that Friedmann helps run. Puryear told the Senate committee he already was selling off his stock in the company, according to reports in The Tennessean newspaper. He owned CCA shares valued at just under $1.3 million as of Feb. 1, according to Lionshares.com, an online database of stock ownership. He also pledged to recuse himself from cases involving CCA even after he no longer holds a financial interest. The committee also questioned Puryear about whether the volume of lawsuits against Nashville-based CCA — the nation's largest for-profit private prison company — would burden other judges who would have to hear the cases when Puryear recused himself. Puryear said it would not be a significant burden. Friedmann's campaign against Puryear continues. He plans to send a letter to the Committee on the Judiciary pointing out what he contends are inaccuracies in Puryear's answers. The two men have never met. Although Friedmann learned of the nomination because he keeps tabs on CCA, he insists his crusade is based on Puryear's lack of qualification and not because he's a CCA executive. Friedmann sued CCA and several employees in 1996 while incarcerated for six years for armed robbery. Serving as his own lawyer, Friedmann eventually won a $6,000 judgment against a former prison unit manager for a civil rights violation. Puryear's legal resume includes significant political work — serving as counsel to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and junior counsel during the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee investigation of campaign finance abuse led by former Sen. Fred Thompson. He also was a debate adviser for Dick Cheney in 2000. Stefanie Lindquist, an associate professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, said courtroom experience is good but not essential for federal judge nominees. She sees more significance in the American Bar Association rating of Puryear as "qualified," instead of "well qualified" to be a judge. "A 'qualified' rating is relatively weak. That's going to hurt him," Lindquist said. Lindquist said Friedmann's efforts are unusual for even temporarily disrupting what should be a routine confirmation. There are about 180 Bush nominations pending as the administration and Democratic-controlled Senate tangle over some sharply contested nominees. Of the Puryear nomination, Lindquist said: "If there are other, more controversial nominees, this might slide through as a compromise."

February 20, 2008 Mother Jones
In October 2000, Dick Cheney faced off for a debate with Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman. The 60-year-old Cheney appeared comfortable discussing the ins and outs of policy and made good-natured jokes about Lieberman's singing abilities, or lack thereof. Cheney's smooth performance reflected his many years in public service. But the aspiring vice president also had a strong debate-preparation team made up of longtime friends and GOP loyalists. Among them was Gustavus Adolphus Puryear IV, a legislative director for Tennessee senator Bill Frist, who was on contract with the Bush/Cheney campaign. Puryear apparently did such a good job prepping Cheney that he was called in again in 2004 to help him gear up for his debate with Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards. Puryear's efforts on behalf of the Bush administration paid off last June when the president nominated him to be a federal trial court judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. Puryear certainly isn't the first judicial nominee selected primarily for his political service, but still, his resume is remarkably thin on the practice of law, a basic prerequisite even for the best-connected political hacks. Puryear got his start in politics in the mid-1990s working as counsel to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, then chaired by Fred Thompson, as it investigated the Clinton fundraising scandals. From there he went to work for Frist. Beyond a brief stint in private practice for a corporate law firm when he was fresh out of law school, Puryear has spent more time inside an executive suite than a courtroom. And it's that corporate work that makes him an especially questionable candidate for the federal bench. Puryear was in Washington last week for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Senators Arlen Specter (D.-Pa,) and Dianne Feinstein (D.-Ca.) both put his resume under a microscope, noting his conspicuous lack of trial experience. At one point Specter asked him point blank, "How many cases have you actually tried?" To which Puryear answered: Two. Indeed, according to his written questionnaire for the committee, of the two cases he has tried in the entirety of his legal career, he was lead counsel on one of them. The last time he litigated a case in federal court was more than a decade ago. Puryear has spent the bulk of his legal career at the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private prison company. As its general counsel since 2001, Puryear has made millions of dollars working for a company that profits from the country's incarceration boom, particularly through his recent sale of more than $3 million worth of the company's stock. (His financial disclosure form shows a net worth of more than $13 million.) His employer creates enormous conflicts for Puryear as a potential federal judge, as the CCA gets sued all the time, often in the very district where he hopes to preside as judge. Since 2000, roughly 260 cases have been filed in that court against the CCA, its officers, and subsidiaries. In addition, Puryear's current job involves overseeing the CCA's defense against inmate litigation, a prison staple that he has publicly dismissed as a nuisance, even though such litigation has led to significant verdicts and settlements against the company. For instance, in 2000, a South Carolina jury hit the CCA with a $3 million verdict for abusing juveniles. Other successful suits have alleged that the company's employees abused inmates and provided negligent medical care. Yet in a quote he no doubt now regrets, in 2004 Puryear said that, "Litigation is an outlet for inmates. It's something they can do in their spare time." Inmate lawsuits typically account for more than 10 percent of the docket in Tennessee's Middle District, meaning that Puryear will see his share of them if he gets confirmed. During his confirmation hearing last week, Puryear told the committee that he would recuse himself from any cases involving the CCA—at least, he said, for some time after he's divested all of his stock in the company. He dismissed concerns about his conflict of interest by noting that the CCA cases make up a small part of the court's workload and that his recusals would not create problems for the other judges. But his promises to recuse still don't get to the heart of a fundamental conflict: To the CCA, inmates are a revenue stream warehoused at the cheapest price. This not exactly the view of the criminal justice system you want from a judge if you are a defendant. A trial court judge in Tennessee's Middle District can expect to handle more than 60 criminal cases a year. Every person Puryear sends to prison is a potential money-maker for his former employer, which contracts with the federal government to manage 15 detention facilities, and also holds federal prisoners in other CCA institutions that house state and local prisoners when the need arises, according to Steve Owen, the company's director of marketing and communications. The number of inmates coming from Tennessee may be relatively small, but still, it seems fair to ask whether Puryear's conflict of interest runs so deep that he might have to recuse himself from criminal cases entirely. Thus far, Puryear has largely escaped media scrutiny, as the activist groups that monitor the federal courts tend to focus mostly on appellate courts and the occasional Supreme Court battle rather than on trial court nominees. Puryear's CV also doesn't signal fights on many of the hot-button social issues that usually set off a confirmation battle. He doesn't sound—or look—like Robert Bork. He's young, patrician, a model member of the exclusive Belle Meade Country Club, and director of the Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville. But for his deep voice he could be Niles on "Frasier." Nonetheless, Puryear might be in for an unexpected fight, due in part to his decision to publicly dis jailhouse lawyers. Alex Friedmann was one of those jailhouse lawyers. He spent six years inside one of the CCA's prisons in Tennessee for attempted murder and armed robbery. Friedmann actually sued the CCA while incarcerated for retaliating against him for his comments to a reporter for The Nation. Representing himself, he took another case all the way to a jury trial, where he mostly lost, though he won a default judgment against a former unit manager. He also appealed a different case against the state, over censorship, that went all the way to the Sixth Circuit court of appeals where he won. "In that regard, I'm more qualified than [Puryear] is," he observes, noting that Puryear isn't even admitted to practice in the Sixth Circuit. Now out of prison nine years, Friedmann is an editor for Prison Legal News, which is how he first learned about Puryear's nomination. After doing a little checking on him, Friedmann ran across Puryear's quote about inmate litigation, which didn't sit too well with him, and he set out to torpedo Puryear's nomination. As a former CCA inmate and a board member of a Florida nonprofit group that opposes prison privatization, Friedmann readily admits that he's not a disinterested party in the nomination battle. Nonetheless, his political instincts are sound. He is cobbling together a coalition to oppose Puryear's nomination, including the American Federal State and Municipal Employees Union, which opposes private prisons for their anti-labor positions. Friedmann's currently at work trying to enlist the real powerhouse of liberal judicial activists to join the coalition: women's groups. Friedmann has compiled stats from the federal court docket on the CCA's lawsuit history in order to highlight the potential conflicts of interest Puryear might face, and he picked apart Puryear's resume and his responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee's questions last week. For instance, when pressed on his view of criminal defendants and prison inmates, Puryear pointed to his service as a commissioner on the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. Skeptical, Friedmann checked out Puryear's attendance record with the commission. He says the commission held eight public hearings between 2005 and 2007—and Puryear missed at least four of them. "If the gentleman does have a genuine concern about inmates, why did he miss half the meetings?" he asks. Friedmann is also raising significant questions about Puryear's response to questions about the death of a female inmate at the CCA's facility in Nashville. The medical examiner ruled that 34-year-old Estelle Richardson was beaten to death while in the company's custody. She suffered a skull fracture, broken ribs, and liver damage. Prosecutors indicted four CCA guards in 2005, but later dropped the charges after being unable to determine the time of death. So far, no one has been held responsible for Richardson's death, although the CCA settled a private lawsuit filed by her family. When Sen. Feinstein asked Puryear about the case, Puryear disputed the medical examiner's findings and claimed that Richardson's death might not have been a homicide at all. He suggested that the broken ribs and liver injury may have been caused by CPR. It's "common" for people to suffer such injuries from CPR, Puryear said, to which a dumbfounded Feinstein exclaimed, "Common?" Apparently not satisfied with Puryear's answers, Feinstein asked him to provide the committee with further written information about the case. Meanwhile, after the hearing, Friedmann called the Tennessee medical examiner who worked the case, who he says reaffirmed the original finding that Robinson's death was a homicide and that there was nothing to suggest her injuries were caused by resuscitation efforts. Friedmann also spoke with the lawyers who represented Richardson's family and he says that they told him that the CCA never raised CPR injuries as a defense in the litigation. Puryear's comments to the committee, says Freidmann, are "not supported by the medical record," which makes him skeptical about Puryear's judgment as a lawyer—and his credibility. Friedmann seems to recognize that prison inmates are not the stuff of judicial confirmation fights, so he has also homed in on another issue that might provide more traction, not to mention the interest of powerful women's groups: Puryear's country club. The tony Belle Meade Country Club in Nashville is so exclusive that you have to be a member just to access its website. It didn’t admit a single black member until 1994, a racist history so potent that even Puryear's mentor, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, quit the club in 1993 when he first ran for office. While Belle Meade admits women, Friedmann has heard that it still won't give "lady members" voting rights. (Troy Cunningham, the controller of the club for the past 17 years, wouldn’t respond to questions about women's voting rights, saying that "all questions flow through the members," meaning that someone will have to put the question to Puryear himself.) But if Friedmann can stir up controversy over Puryear's country club membership, he might actually have a shot at scuttling his nomination.

February 20, 2008 AP
Corrections Corp. of America spent almost $2.5 million in 2007 to lobby on legislation and regulations related to the private prison industry. The prison management company spent more than $1.1 million in the second half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form posted online Thursday by the Senate's public records office. The company lobbied on the privatization of Bureau of Indian Affairs prisons and on the Public Safety Act, which would outlaw private prisons, as well as the Private Prison Information Act, which would force private prisons to make public the same information government jails must provide. Corrections Corp. spent more than $1.3 million in the first six months of 2007 to lobby on similar issues. In addition to lobbying Congress, the company also lobbied the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Office of Management and Budget. Corrections Corp. lobbyists included Bart VerHulst, previously chief of staff for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.; Mike Quinlan, former director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons; and Gus Puryear, previously counsel to Frist and an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995.

February 13, 2008 Market-Wire
Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE:CXW - News), the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today that Dennis DeConcini, the former U.S. Senator from Arizona, has been elected as an independent member of CCA's Board of Directors. "Senator Dennis DeConcini has a distinguished career serving the state of Arizona and the U.S. government," said William F. Andrews, chairman of CCA's Board of Directors. "We are extremely pleased to bring Dennis onto our Board. His extensive knowledge and understanding of government, coupled with his experience with other directorship positions, make him ideally suited to help lead management's initiatives to enhance government's utilization of public/private partnership in corrections." Senator DeConcini served three terms, from January 1977 through January 1995, representing the State of Arizona in the United States Senate. As Senator, he served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government. He also served on the Subcommittees of Defense, Foreign Operations, Energy and Water Development, and Interior and Related Agencies. Prior to his service as a U.S. Senator, DeConcini served one elected term as the County Attorney for Pima County, Arizona. Senator DeConcini, age 70, is a partner in the law firm of DeConcini McDonald Yetwin and Lacy in Tucson, Arizona, which he co-founded in 1968. DeConcini also is a Principal in the lobbyist consulting firm Parry, Romani, DeConcini & Lacy P.C. in Washington, D.C.

February 13, 2008 The Tennessean
The expected smooth confirmation of Gustavus "Gus" Puryear IV to be a federal judge in Nashville hit some bumps Tuesday during a sometimes-tense congressional hearing that raised questions about his role as chief lawyer for Corrections Corporation of America. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., quoted letters from civil rights and other groups opposing Puryear's nomination. Despite Tuesday's tough questioning, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing could suggest Puryear is on track to win confirmation at a time when Senate Democrats and President Bush are feuding over judicial nominations. Many nominees have never been granted a hearing before the panel. The groups say Puryear is biased against inmates' rights and was more interested in protecting CCA in 2004 than in finding out why a woman died in a Nashville jail run by the company. They also say Puryear would have to recuse himself from cases involving CCA, which they contend would clog up the court system. Puryear carefully rebutted each claim and said he has already started to sell off his stock in the Nashville-based company. He promised to sell off all his stock and said he would avoid hearing cases involving the company even after completely divesting. He did not say how long he would wait before he would begin hearing cases involving CCA. The committee's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., could not attend the hearing but submitted a written statement saying it shows he's trying to fill vacant judgeships. Tennessee Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander support Puryear's nomination to U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. They introduced him at the hearing. Various groups opposed -- The campaign against Puryear is being led by the Alliance for Justice, a Washington-based umbrella group representing dozens of national civil rights and other groups ranging from Planned Parenthood Federation of America to The Sierra Club Foundation. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents workers at CCA prisons, also sent a letter opposing Puryear's nomination. The Alliance for Justice letter says Puryear "cavalierly dismissed" the legitimacy of civil rights lawsuits filed by prisoners when he said in 2004 that "litigation is an outlet for inmates. ... It's something they can do in their spare time." "The courts should be open to civil rights lawsuits of all types," Puryear said when Specter asked him about the comment. Puryear said he was referring to "frivolous" lawsuits filed by prisoners, prompting Specter to demand what he meant by frivolous. Jail death is an issue -- Feinstein asked about allegations on an anti-Puryear Web site claiming Puryear was more concerned in 2004 with protecting CCA than with finding out who killed Estelle Richardson in the Metro Detention Facility in Nashville in 2004. Richardson, 34, had a fractured skull, broken ribs and liver damage. Four CCA guards were charged, but the charges were dropped and Richardson's family ultimately settled a lawsuit against the company. Puryear said Tuesday that "four innocent correctional officers were exonerated" and that the cause of Richardson's death could not be determined. He suggested her broken ribs and liver damage could have been caused by CPR, which he said is a "common" occurrence during such resuscitation. "Common?" Feinstein responded, sounding incredulous. Puryear's opponents say 400 cases involving CCA have been filed in Tennessee's Middle District since 2000. That volume would place a significant burden on other judges if Puryear had to recuse himself from such cases, they said. Puryear disputed the allegation, saying the correct number is 181 cases. An electronic search of the Middle District's docket since 2000 lists 165 cases with Corrections Corporation of America or CCA named as a party. Few are still active. Feinstein asked Puryear to respond to some claims in writing. The committee could then hold another hearing and question Puryear more, or the panel could move ahead with a vote on whether to send the nomination to the full Senate with a recommendation for approval or disapproval, or with no recommendation at all.

February 6, 2008 Pueblo Chieftain
A private prison company is threatening to move all Colorado inmates out of one of its facilities if it doesn't get an increase in what the state pays to house them. Corrections Corporation of America, which operates four of the state's five private prisons, including three in Southern Colorado, is demanding that the Colorado Legislature give it a 5 percent hike in the per diem it receives to house about 4,000 state inmates, Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, said Tuesday. Buescher, chairman of the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee, said the Tennessee-based company is using its weight to try to force more money out of the state. "We've got a negotiating disadvantage," he said. "The choice we've got to make is to give them a provider rate increase that is three times what we're giving to all other providers, or to build hundreds of millions of dollars in additional prisons. We don't have that hundreds of millions of dollars, and they know it. The decisions that have been made over the last 12 years (in using private prisons) have put us in a very difficult negotiating position." Steve Owen, spokesman for the Nashville company, said CCA is simply trying to do what's best for its business. He said the company agreed to a lower per diem rate in 2001 when the state was suffering from a major budget shortfall. Since then, however, the state hasn't made up the difference. "We were basically asked to help with the burden of trying to ease some of those (budget) constraints, which we did," Owen said. "So, there's nothing Draconian at work here in terms at what has been presented to the state. We're just honestly trying to put options out there to help preserve this partnership with Colorado so we can continue to provide the services to the state and keep our folks employed out there." In 2001, the state had been paying CCA a $53.33 per diem. That amount was lowered to less than $50 and has since risen to $52.69, still far less than what it would be receiving after seven years of inflation and cost increases. Now the company is asking for $55.32 per inmate a day. "We've actually had a real dollar decrease," Owen said. "That's compounded with another issue that the state has underutilized beds that we've made available. Between those two things, it makes for a difficult situation on a financially viable business operation." Currently, the company - which operates private prisons in Bent, Huerfano, Crowley and Kit Carson counties - has about 460 open beds, and that doesn't count the 1,440 more that are expected to become available later this year because of expansions of the Bent and Kit Carson facilities, Owen said. Owen said that if the state can't pony up more money, his company would consider consolidating all Colorado prisoners in three of its facilities. The fourth facility, which has not been determined, would be used for inmates from the federal prison system or other states, some of which pay anywhere from $10 to $15 a day more than Colorado. Still, some lawmakers said they didn't like the idea of the company demanding a 5 percent hike at a time when the state can only afford to give other private providers, from health care to human services, less than 1 percent. Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West and a longtime critic of private prisons, said the state should call CCA's bluff and give them no increase. "I don't like doing business when we're being held hostage, and that's exactly what this is," McFadyen said. "We saw it coming. We had a past governor (Bill Owens) who brought us private prisons without a bid process, now we're dealing with it. If they don't want to work with us, we don't have to play ball with them."

January 28, 2008 Colorado Confidential
In just two months, two executives of the nation's largest prison business gave $2,400 to various campaigns in Colorado, nearly triple the total amount contributed a year before. According to records from the Secretary of State's office, high- ranking officials with Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America went on a spending spree during the last two months of 2007, contributing money to the candidate committees of seven state legislators, usually in $400 increments, the highest legal amount. State campaign finance records show that Marsha Wedell, wife of CCA board member Henri Wedell and a listed vice president at the company, gave $1,400 to the campaigns of Reps. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood; Mary Hodge, D-Brighton; Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield; and House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker. May's committee received $200, while the rest were given $400 contributions -- the maximum allowed by law. Josh Brown, a senior director at CCA who handles business relations in Colorado, gave a total of $1000 to the committees of Reps. David Balmer, R-Centennial; Michael Garcia, D-Aurora; and Nancy Spence, R- Centennial, according to SOS documents. What makes the spending surge unique is not the monetary amounts given to state lawmakers, but the sheer increase in spending from last year by CCA. State records show that CCA board member Henri Wedell gave $400 in November 2006 to the campaign of House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D- Denver, while CCA gave a business contribution of $500 to the Colorado Leadership Fund, a Republican political committee, during the same month. The company didn't contribute again until the end of 2007, when executives gave nearly triple the $900 amount contributed at the same time in 2006. CCA operates four detention facilities in Colorado. Earlier in the month, the company demanded a 5 percent increase in the daily rate the state pays to hold inmates and threatened to stop housing prisoners.

November 12, 2007 AP
Private prison operator Corrections Corp. of America paid Sisco Consulting Inc. $140,000 in the first half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form. The form, which was posted online Nov. 7 by the Senate's public records office, did not indicate any specific initiatives the lobbying firm worked on. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company, which designs, builds and manages prisons, jails and detention facilities, previously indicated it spent $1.3 million lobbying so far this year on issues related to prison privatization. The company owns 40 facilities, but also operates in another 25 facilities across the nation. Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.

November 11, 2007 Tennessean
They are some of the most powerful people in the state, but you rarely hear about them. They make decisions that address hot-button topics ranging from abortion and political corruption to religious freedom and the death penalty. They can put you in prison or they can vindicate your civil rights. Who am I talking about? Federal judges. The legal decisions rendered by U.S. district court judges seldom make the news unless they deal with issues of public importance, such as Judge Aleta Trauger's ruling last month that suspended executions in Tennessee. Federal judges, who are appointed for life, wield an enormous amount of power. Thus, it stands to reason that only highly qualified candidates would be nominated for federal judicial positions. Considering the nomination of Gustavus A. Puryear IV for the district court in Middle Tennessee, however, that apparently isn't the case. You've probably never heard of Mr. Puryear, but you may know his employer, Corrections Corporation of America — the nation's largest private-prison company. Mr. Puryear serves as CCA's general counsel. He received a salary of $237,308 plus $602,957 in other compensation last year, and since November 2006 has cashed in $2.64 million in CCA stock. This presumably means he would have a conflict of interest should he preside over cases involving CCA ... and more than 400 federal cases naming CCA or CCA employees have been filed in Middle Tennessee. While Mr. Puryear may be wealthy in terms of cash and stock, whether he is equally rich in legal experience is debatable. He spent just three years at a Nashville law firm. He has been named as counsel in 130 federal cases in Tennessee, mostly after hiring on with CCA in 2001. However, 85 of those cases were dismissed by the court, with no action taken by Mr. Puryear. In 39 of the cases, other attorneys handled the actual litigation. Mr. Puryear sent a letter to the court in one case and was actively involved in five others — most recently in 1998. According to court records, only one case in which he was personally involved went to trial, and he has never litigated a case on his own. So what makes Mr. Puryear qualified for appointment as a federal judge? He has strong political connections. He worked under former Sens. Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, and served as an adviser to Dick Cheney during the 2000 debates. He has donated more than $13,000 to Republican candidates since 2001 — including to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, who have endorsed his nomination. But lifetime federal judicial appointments should not be based on political payback; only the most experienced and qualified candidates should be appointed to the federal bench. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case in regard to Mr. Puryear's nomination, which ill-serves all Middle Tennessee residents. Last week, the Alliance for Justice submitted a formal letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, opposing Mr. Puryear's nomination. For more information on Mr. Puryear's judicial nomination, please visit: www.privateci.org/puryear2.htm. By ALEX FRIEDMANN

November 8, 2007 The Tennessean
On Oct. 31, John Ferguson, CEO of Corrections Corp. of America, wrote that his private prison company saves the state money despite charging higher rates than those paid to county jails that house state prisoners. Most studies that have been conducted on private prison costs have found uncertain or minimal savings — including a study by the Tennessee Legislative Fiscal Review Committee that compared expenses at two state prisons, and the CCA-run South Central Correctional Center. Regardless, I don’t doubt Ferguson’s statement that CCA has lower per-diem rates than state prisons. But he didn’t explain why, so I will. CCA doesn’t operate any maximum-security prisons in Tennessee, does not house death-row prisoners and doesn’t operate women’s facilities. All of those prison populations have much higher incarceration costs that CCA doesn’t have to pay. The state must also cover all medical costs for prisoners. CCA’s medical expenses are capped at a certain amount ($5,000 the last time I checked); after that, the state has to pick up the tab. Further, CCA has cherry-picked prisoners at South Central, such as transferring prisoners who are HIV-positive — and more expensive to house — to state facilities. So, yes, CCA might have lower per-diem costs than state prisons, but only if you compare public apples with privately-managed oranges. Alex Friedmann, Antioch 37013

October 22, 2007 Times Free Press
Tennessee's payments to facilities run by the privately owned Corrections Corporation of America for housing felons increased substantially since 1998, a time when state reimbursements to local jails was frozen, figures show. Money the state paid per day to house a felon at the CCA-run South Central Correctional Facility increased 22.8 percent from fiscal 1998 to the fiscal year that began July 1, the state Department of Correction reported. Payments to the Hardeman County Correctional Facility, owned by a Hardeman County entity but managed by CCA, increased 29.1 percent during the same period, state figures show. But state payments for housing convicted felons at the Hamilton County Jail and many other local jails across Tennessee have been stuck at $35 per day since 1994. "I don't know if it's fair or not," Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long recently said of state increases to CCA. "It's just we need to be paid whatever our jail cost is." The Hamilton County Jail's daily cost per prisoner as of June 30 was $59.24, said Bill McGriff, county auditor. He estimates county taxpayers in fiscal 2007, which ended June 30, lost $692,596 because of the state's cap. Hamilton County Commissioner John Allen Brooks said it is hard for the county "to make up what the state isn't paying us." Gov. Phil Bredesen and state Correction Commissioner George Little recently said they are willing to re-examine jail payments but contend a number of local jails make money housing state felons. According to a Department of Correction list of local jail costs provided by Mr. McGriff, 65 city or county jails in Tennessee have costs that are above the $35 cap, while 38 have costs below or at the $35 cap. Facilities below the cap are reimbursed at their costs. Mr. Little said the privately operated facilities have annual reimbursement increases written into their contracts. "I'm not suggesting for a moment that county jail costs are not going up or that it's not a real issue," Mr. Little said. "I'm merely suggesting that as the state looks at raising the rate of reimbursement, we need to be prudent and take a broad look, not just pop more dollars into that pot." David Connor, executive director of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association, said, "The private providers are getting a better contractual deal than counties are right now." "I would hope we would treat our local government partners at least equally as well as we're treating the private sector," Mr. Connor said.

October 13, 2007 Billings Gazette
Forty percent of the money raised this year by Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer for his 2008 re-election campaign came from non-Montanans, including slightly more than half of the $175,700 he raised in the past three months, an analysis by the state Republican Party shows. Schweitzer's sizeable chunk of cash from out-of-state donors this year - $281,000 of the approximately $684,000 he has received from all contributors - prompted criticism from the GOP on Friday. "The governor has spent the last three years courting wealthy Democrat elites from all around the country," said Erik Iverson, chairman of the state Republican Party. "We've got a governor who puts self-promotion and campaign fundraising ahead of doing what's right for Montana." A spokesman for the state Democratic Party said the GOP analysis conveniently omitted some key facts: That Schweitzer had 1,333 in-state donors the past three months, or more than in any other quarter this year, and that he has taken no money from political-action committees. "These are small-dollar donors from all across the state who recognize that Montana is on the move," said Harper Lawson. "They want to make sure it stays that way. Their backing is a sign of enormous grass-roots support for Governor Schweitzer." Lawson noted that 84 percent of the donors to the governor's campaign are Montanans. Schweitzer, who's running for a second four-year term as governor next year, has no opponent so far, from any political party. He has been raising money for his re-election campaign since last year. Nonresidents contributing to statewide campaigns in Montana is not unusual, particularly when it involves candidates for Congress. Relatively large amounts of out-of-state money going to gubernatorial candidates, however, is not as common. Schweitzer has traveled out of state many times during his nearly three years as governor, to attend political events, fundraisers, conferences and speaking engagements. He's also the finance chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a job that has taken him out of state for fundraising and political strategizing events. He went to the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., this spring for a Democratic Governors Association meeting. Here's a summary of information from the GOP analysis of Schweitzer's fundraising: • Of Schweitzer's $684,000 raised this year, about 59 percent came from Montanans, while the remainder came from nonresidents. • Nonresident donors tended to give larger amounts, averaging $420 per donation. The maximum allowed gift from any one donor is $500 per election cycle. Money from Montana residents averaged $118 per donation. • About one of every six donations, or 16 percent, came from a nonresident. • In the past three months, Schweitzer had donors from 26 states other than Montana. Behind Montana, the states providing the most money for his campaign were California, Washington, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas. The Republican Party also provided a list of the more than 200 nonresident individuals who donated to Schweitzer in the past three months, culled from campaign finance records. They include utility executives, health insurance executives, radio personality Casey Kasem of Los Angeles, college professors, executives from Qwest and Verizon telephone companies, physicians, numerous attorneys and several executives from Corrections Corp. of America, the Tennessee private-prison firm that owns a facility near Shelby.

October 5, 2007 AP
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, so far unopposed for re-election, continues to sock away campaign money in case a challenger steps forward. Schweitzer reported raising $175,000 this quarter, for a total of more than $750,000 this election cycle. The Democrat reported having just over $452,000 in the bank. A Republican who stepped into the race would start in a big campaign fundraising hole. The GOP remains undaunted, however, saying a Republican candidate could catch up. The governor says 84% of the campaign's more than 5,000 contributions came from Montanans. The average donation was just over $140. A number of the largest donations came from out-of-state donors in states ranging from New York to California. Executives with companies such as Corrections Corporation of America, which runs a private prison in Montana, and United Healthcare were among the donors giving the maximum $500 allowed by Montana campaign finance law. Schweitzer, a Democrat, has vowed he will not take money from political action committees.

September 17, 2007 Forbes
Corrections Corp. of America, which builds and manages prisons, spent $1.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first half of 2007, according to a disclosure form. The company lobbied Congress on legislation and regulations related to the privately owned prison industry, according to the disclosure form posted online Aug. 10 by the Senate's public records office. In addition to lawmakers, the company lobbied the Bureau of Indian Affairs, plus the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, the White House budget office. Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.

September 12, 2007 Boise Weekly
There's little to no distinction in the world of private prisons, a place where capitalism meets public service. It's an industry based on keeping people locked up, and doing it as efficiently as possible. It's also an industry that generates lots of controversy. While some argue that privately owned and operated prisons allow government agencies to deal with increasingly overcrowded prison systems and dwindling budgets, others say that introducing the element of profit into the management of incarcerated people leads to corruption, mismanagement and mistreatment of prisoners. "You shouldn't introduce a profit margin and a profit motive into a prison," said Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. "The industry as a whole shouldn't exist." But it's an industry that may be expanding into Idaho if some state leaders get their way. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has asked lawmakers to begin drafting legislation that would allow privately owned and operated prisons to go to work in Idaho. There are currently no private facilities in the state, although the Idaho Correctional Center in Kuna is managed by the Correction Corporation of America of Tennessee. CCA is the largest private prison business in the country, ranking just behind the federal prison system. The company owns 41 prisons nationwide, and manages another 24 facilities in 19 states and Washington, D.C., for a combined total of roughly 75,000 beds. To pave the way for their Idaho entry, a work group made up of lawmakers, Idaho Department of Corrections officials and industry representatives are in the early stages of drafting legislation that will be introduced in the next legislative session. "[It would] set the stage for a private firm to come into the state of Idaho and create a facility that the firm would own and operate," said Brent Reinke, director of the Idaho Department of Corrections. "Truly, Gov. Otter is very insistent in this area and has been very, very outspoken and there's no doubt at all the way he wants to proceed," Reinke said. "We have a critical need right now to do something immediately to address the [prison] population crisis that we're seeing," said Jon Hanian, Otter's press secretary. "When you're talking about a private prison vs. a state-run one, building one, you're talking about up to four years on the state-run side vs. 18 to 24 months. The private side is going to be a more immediate impact." Hanian said Otter's priority was to get prisoners now housed in out-of-state facilities back in the state. Until Idaho has more room, Hanian said, "our hands are tied on that." Otter has vowed that any agreement reached with a private company would include stipulations that the state has a first right of refusal on any beds, and could bump any out-of-state inmates if the space is needed. It's not so cut and dried for opponents of the industry, though. "The bottom line for the private prison industry is to make a profit," said Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Institute, a Florida-based group that opposes the private prison industry. "They give you a snow job about rules and training. They have to provide a profit, and they actually turn quite a profit for quite a few years. "They do a very good P.R. job," he said. A key part of that public relations campaign is to make inroads with politicians in states targeted by the industry as likely locations for expansion. Opponents of private prisons are full of stories of corrupt officials and lobbyists serving as advisers for the state, including a college professor in Florida who served as a state adviser on the private prison industry while that industry funded his professional research. There's also Manny Aragon, former president of the New Mexico Senate, who was indicted by a jury in April for an alleged kickback scheme. "There's going to be more of it when it's [in Idaho]," said Kopczynski. "They're not stupid. Most of these folks [private corrections company leaders] come out of government anyways." The industry has already made its first foray into the wallets of Idaho politicians. According to campaign finance reports filed with the state, both CCA and GEO Group, the two largest private prison operators, donated $5,000 to Otter's 2006 campaign for governor. But Hanian said there is no impropriety in Otter's interest in private prisons. "There is no quid pro quo when it comes to any campaign contribution the governor has received and the establishment of state policy. None," Hanian said. "He bases every decision solely on its merits." Reinke said he doesn't feel there's any undue influence within the state government. "It's very important that we have the system in place so that it is competitive, and everything is done in the light of day. That's a challenge we're faced with," he said. The Texas Connection -- Idaho has already had experience with the industry. Some 750 of Idaho's roughly 7,300 inmates are housed in private prisons in Texas and Oklahoma, and plans call for another 240 to be moved by the end of the year, according to Reinke. Another 500 are being housed in county facilities. "Our needs are very significant," Reinke said. Idaho's prison population has been growing by roughly 6.5 percent annually, and Reinke estimates it will take an additional 2,000 to 3,000 beds to meet the state's short-term needs. "What I'm concerned with right now is bed capacity," Reinke said. "This is not a new need." If the prison population continues to increase at the same rate, Reinke said the state will need several new facilities within the next 10 years. "We need to do what we can to meet the need of Idahoans within the state of Idaho," he said. "The longer we wait on this, the longer the inmates are going to be out of state." Currently, Idaho has eight prisons, four community work centers and 22 probation and parole district satellite offices. The state corrections agency employs roughly 1,500 people. While moving inmates to out-of-state facilities with extra room seems to offer some relief for Idaho prison managers, the practice hasn't been without its problems. Idaho's troubles with private prisons began when they shipped 302 prisoners to a private prison in Minnesota in October 2005. After space ran out at the Minnesota prison in August 2006, the Idaho inmates were sent to two facilities in Texas, one of which was the Dickens County Correctional Facility in Spur, Texas, a private prison owned by GEO Group. In March, according to news reports, Idaho inmate Scot Noble Payne committed suicide. In letters to family, he placed the blame for his depression on the unsanitary conditions at the prison and the poor treatment by staff. While Idaho officials plan to move the 56 inmates remaining at the Dickens County facility by the end of the year, they will be transferred to another Texas facility owned by the same company. It's just the latest of the state's problems stemming from housing prisoners out of state—a list that includes riots and escapes at a private prison in Louisiana in 1997. Those who oppose private prisons say these sort of problems are indicative of the industry as a whole. "Why does your governor think having a private prison in Idaho is going to be any different than the mess they had in Texas?" Kopczynski said. Among his and Donner's chief concerns is the hiring of untrained correctional officers, who they say are paid wages below that of their public sector counterparts. This, coupled with poor training, leads to prisoner abuses, poor conditions, high employee turnover and an unwillingness to respond in the face of a dangerous situation, they believe. "The problems we have had in Colorado are around some of the tactics of private prisons use to make money: smaller staff, fewer programs, lower pay," said Donner. "If you want a riot, that's a great strategy." "There's no institutional knowledge," said Kopczynski. "You don't know your elbow from a hole in the ground when it comes to correctional work." Industry representatives vehemently disagree. "That's completely baseless," said Steven Owen, director of marketing for CCA. "It's absolutely, categorically false." Owen argues that all employees of CCA meet the training standards of the American Correctional Association, the largest correctional trade association in the world, and because of contractual agreements with the states they serve, must have as much training as correctional officers in public facilities. When it comes to wages, Owen said it's a philosophical difference. "Generally, in a state correctional system, it's a one-size-fits-all starting salary for a correctional officer," he said. "CCA prices salary and wages by the facility. We compete with the labor pool in the area around the facility. "Critics like to focus in on wages," Owen said. "We are competitive in the locations where we operate." He added that wages for mid-management positions are typically much higher than in the public sector. A 2003 report published by Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First and Prison Privatization Report International—both corporate watchdog groups—stated that CCA has managed to stem the tide of negative publicity. But the report didn't have a favorable overview of the company. "CCA has built a reputation marred by numerous instances of scandal, mismanagement, alleged mistreatment of prisoners and its own employees, attempted manipulation of public policy and a proliferation of questionable research. Its record is a clear example of how the pursuit of profit stands in the way of carrying out a core public function such as corrections. CCA has succeeded in staying in business for two decades, but it has not succeeded in demonstrating that prison privatization makes sense," the report reads. From CCA's perspective though, the advantages are clear and numerous. "We try to operate as well as, or better than, our public counterparts," Owen said. "We don't have some of the bureaucracy that can sometimes get in the way of government processes." It's the company's size that Owen said gives it an advantage, not only with purchasing power for goods, but with the ability to get a new facility up and running quickly. "It takes three to five years for the state to have to go through the legislative process," Owen said. "We can bring a new facility on line in 12 to 18 months." He said a privately owned prison also saves taxpayers the cost of the capital investment. Typically, the states pay CCA on a per-prisoner, per-day basis depending on the level of programs required by the state contract, as well as the level of security needed. "It's the capacity that we bring on line that relieves overcrowded systems," he said. "It helps existing systems to become safer and more efficient." Since the company typically hires much of its workforce from the local community, Owen said there's a strong economic impact. "We want to do business in places where we're wanted," he said. Apparently, Idaho ranks among those places. Owen said CCA has had a good partnership with the state since the Idaho Correctional Center opened in 2000. He said if the law should change, the company would be interested in building a facility in the state. Problems Behind the Bars -- One of the biggest issues for critics of the private prison system is the practice of moving prisoners out of state. For many, separating inmates from their families and familiar environments only leads to more problems and creates an unending cycle of prisoners returning to jail. "They're doomed to re-offend," said Frank Smith, national field coordinator for the Private Corrections Institute. "They're estranged from their families and support systems. It's a futile effort. It's life on the installment plan. It drains tax money, and they're never rehabilitated." If prisoners from other states are involved in conflicts, there are jurisdictional issues, Donner said. "If prisoners from other states have problems, it's in your jurisdiction," she said. "Now they have to be under your cost." Owen said CCA does extensive work assimilating prisoners brought from out of state. Including sending staff to their home state to learn about the habits and cultural practices of the inmates. "It's worked well for us," he said. But that doesn't always seem to be enough. In 2004, one of the largest prison riots in recent Colorado history took place at the Crowley County Correctional Facility, a prison owned by CCA. Apparently, the incident was touched off by tensions between a group of inmates from Washington state and prison staff. A general feeling of unrest spread through the prison, and more than 1,000 inmates rioted. In the end, 13 prisoners were injured. Following the incident, a state investigation placed the blame on staff shortages and inexperience. Additionally, the final report stated that the prison's emergency plan was not effective and that basic security measures weren't followed. CCA also took flak because the company's incident commander refused an order from state officials to use gas to quell the riot, until he had approval from the parent company. CCA was recently fined by the state of Colorado for continued understaffing. Fines totaled $23,000 for leaving 157 shifts unfilled at the Crowley facility, $103,743 for 701 unfilled shifts at the Kit Carson Correctional Center and $2,651 for 18 shifts at the Bent County Correctional Facility. Corrections Corporation of America -- "This is a broader issue," Owen said. "It is a reality in both public and private facilities around this country that disturbances do occur. It's just an unfortunate reality." Owen said the company is proud of its security record. The proof, he said, is in the amount of repeat business. "[We've had a] 95 percent contract renewal rate in our 25-year history," he said. "For all critics to be right about some of the things they lob out there, means that all three federal agencies that contract for facilities would all collectively have to be wrong about us. "It doesn't make any sense," Owen said. "The fact is that we do have a very good reputation and customers trust us. "There's a lot of emotional rhetoric that is out there," he said. "You can't just look at isolated incidents." Owen says the key to success is the oversight by states contracting with CCA. "We're one of the most transparent industries out there," he said. Several state and federal agencies routinely monitor the health and welfare of inmates, he added. "At the end of the day, you have to remember the employees that work in these facilities are citizens in these communities as well," he said. "They have as much vested interest in making sure the facility is safe and secure." But the issue of oversight is exactly what critics of the private system say is lacking. "The biggest issue is oversight, or lack of oversight," Kopczynski said. "Public prisons have problems, but not as much as private." Smith, who began studying private prisons in Alaska 11 years ago, said he's seen the same trend across the industry. "What I see is almost 100 percent failure to monitor," he said. Smith said that's exactly what happened in Texas earlier this year, when Idaho inmates found themselves in unacceptable conditions. "Idaho is claiming they had no idea," he said. "That's B.S. They knew exactly what was going on. What they didn't know was what they didn't want to know." Reinke admits that monitoring was a large factor in what happened in Texas. "It plays into the problems from out of state," he said. Reinke said the department has recently created a position that is basically a virtual prison warden in a new Contract Operations division. The virtual warden is responsible for monitoring all of the inmates who are sent out of state and will continue to do so as they are brought back to Idaho. Reinke said opening a private, for-profit facility in the state has some distinct issues. "We need to monitor it very closely," he said. "When we sit down and look at a facility of this nature, it comes down to management and how we monitor it. It's important that the staff and facility goes through the same amount of training as state employees do until it acts, walks and talks like an Idaho facility. "We're not going to wait for an incident," Reinke said. "We're going to be proactive in that area." Why Idaho Wants Them -- For Reinke, it comes down to bringing Idaho prisoners back to the state that locked them up in the first place. "We can do a better job monitoring in-state than out of state," he said. "We would like to keep Idaho inmates in Idaho. We would like to have Idaho jobs here if we're going to be paying." Reinke said the state would also have to approve any inmate brought from out of state as part of any contract agreement with a private operator. If a private prison is built in Idaho, Reinke said he expects the state would pay between $40 and $50 per prisoner per day, a price comparable to what is currently being paid for prisoners being housed out of state. Instead of planning for even more prison facilities in Idaho, Reinke said he would prefer to focus on stemming the tide of future inmates before they ever become part of the prison system. "We're looking at what we can do upstream to slow the growth," he said. "We have to deal with the growth, and why they're coming in the first place." The state's growing prison population is not only a result of a growing overall population, but with increased substance abuse problems, Reinke said. By creating more programs within the state to provide services for substance abuse and even mental illness, officials can better deal with the issue of overcrowded prisons. Reinke said Idaho is working with Boise State to look at what would be the most effective methods for addressing the issues. The first part of Boise State's report is due out in late November. The private corrections industry critics say Idaho will face the same problems other states have if they allow the businesses to enter into the Gem State. It's a scenario they've seen played out again and again. "If you think private companies can do better, you should privatize the legislature," Kopczynski said. "There are certain things that government should be doing." "This is not a no-brainer," Donner said. "People have to really look at the consequences." But Reinke said no one is going into this blindly. "I'm sure there are strengths and weaknesses and unforeseen challenges," he said. "We'll apply our own experiences."

August 24, 2007 AP
Corrections Corp. of America, a company that designs, builds and manages prisons, paid Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLC $120,000 in the first half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form. The firm lobbied on issues related to the management of private prisons and detention centers, immigration reform, as well as the fiscal 2008 spending authorization bills for the Homeland Security and Commerce departments, according to the form posted Aug. 13 by the Senate's public records office. Besides Congress, the firm also lobbied the Labor Department and the Office of Management and Budget. Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.

May 15, 2007 Tennessean
Corrections Corporation of America won't have to reveal how much money it gives politicians and political causes after an overwhelming majority of shareholders voted down a proposal Thursday calling for twice-yearly disclosures. A group of faith-based activist shareholders sought the disclosures, which would have included information on CCA's policies and procedures, saying it would improve accountability and transparency. "We just feel that all of the shareholders should be aware of that, so it should be easily available," said Gwen M. Farry of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which owns 100 shares in CCA and is part of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. But at the Nashville-based prison operator's annual meeting Thursday, two-thirds of shares voted were against the proposal. CCA officials had recommended a vote against the proposal, saying the time and expenses required to implement the proposal would have resulted in little or no corresponding benefit to shareholders. The holders of roughly 26.2 million of about 40 million voting shares agreed. Currently, the board's nominating and governance committee oversees procedures and policies regarding CCA's political activities, General Counsel Gus Puryear said. The activists cited published reports showing that CCA contributed at least $403,000 to political candidates and parties during the 2006 election cycle — money that was not subject to federal regulations. They also said payments by CCA to trade groups that use money for political activities weren't disclosed and sought to make those public as well. One-third voted in favor -- Farry said after the meeting she was pleased that one-third of shares voted were in favor of the groups' proposal.

March 16, 2007 Vermont Guardian
Gov. Jim Douglas’ third inaugural celebration raised $47,000 from some of the state’s top contractors, and corporations. The money raised will benefit the Vermont Military Family Emergency Assistance Fund, and the collected several hundred pounds of food for the Vermont Foodbank. The events top two sponsors, who donated $5,000 apiece, were Electronic Data Systems, which handles Medicaid payments for the state, and Pike Industries, Inc., a paving contractor. “Choosing a charity to receive the proceeds of the ball is always a challenge. There are many capable organizations and worthy causes in Vermont,” Douglas said. “Dorothy and I decided the proceeds should again go to military families in Vermont who are struggling to make ends meet. These families are making extraordinary sacrifices on our behalf and this is another way for us to show them that Vermont will always stand by them.” Douglas’ first inaugural ball raised thousands of dollars for alcohol and drug rehabilitation and prevention programs of the United Ways of Vermont and collected non-perishable food for the Vermont Foodbank. The second inaugural celebration, in January of 2005, raised $27,000 for the family assistance fund and, like this year, collected more than 700 pounds of food for the Vermont Foodbank. The Vermont Military Family Emergency Assistance Fund, Inc. non-profit group created solely to provide emergency financial assistance to service members and their families. It is for the benefit of any Vermont service member and their families that live in Vermont as well as service members who live outside the state but belong to a Vermont unit. Sponsors at the $2,500 level were: AT&T; Barr Laboratories; Blue Cross Blue Shield; Casella Waste Systems; CIGNA; Corrections Corporation of America; Goodrich Corporation; Green Mountain Power; and, Kimbell, Sherman, Ellis.

March 14, 2007 Tennessean
Owners of stock in Corrections Corp. of America will vote in May on whether the company must start revealing more about funding it provides for political causes. A shareholder group has placed the proposal on CCA's 2007 proxy statement, a first draft of which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. The measure, if passed, will require the Burton Hills-based operator of privately run prisons to report twice a year on "soft money" contributions it has made to organizations that support political causes and candidates. It would also have to identify the people within the company who made the decisions to give. The shareholders behind the push are the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, based in Chicago; the Mercy Investment Program, of New York; and The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, of Milwaukee. Between them, the three groups own some 400 shares of CCA stock. The proponents claim that CCA spread around nearly $1 million in soft money during the election cycles of 2002, 2004 and 2006. They say that "publicly available data does not provide a complete picture of the company’s political expenditures" that would allow shareholders "to fully evaluate the political use of corporate assets." CCA recommends in the proxy that shareholders vote against the proposal. The company calls it "unnecessary" and contrary to CCA's best interests. "The Board believes that participating in the political process is an important means to enhance stockholder value and promote good corporate citizenship," the statement in opposition says. "From our perspective, it is important that federal, state and local governments have an understanding of how their actions impact the Company’s business, customers and employees as well as an understanding of the benefits of public-private partnerships and the Company’s ability to assist them in meeting their corrections needs." The company says its political activities are "important efforts that should not be burdened by special disclosures in addition to those required by federal, state and local regulatory authorities."

March 14, 2007 Tennessean
Corrections Corporation of America said its outgoing chief financial officer would continue to receive his annual base salary of $353,550 for another year. Two weeks ago, the Nashville-based prison operator said that Irving Lingo Jr. planned to retire as CFO on this Friday but stay with CCA for a year to help with the transition. In a regulatory filing Tuesday, the company said in addition to his salary Lingo should continue to receive life and health insurance benefits. He won't get a bonus for 2007.

February 23, 2007 The Arizona Republic
The parent company of the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence has agreed to pay more than $400,000 to settle findings of hiring discrimination. U.S. Department of Labor investigators said the privately run prison's selection process disproportionately rejected non-Hispanic job applicants who applied to be correctional officers during a two-year period that ended in March 2005. The prison has agreed to pay 464 former applicants an equal share of $438,626, or $945.32 each, which includes back pay and interest. The prison will also hire 16 previously rejected applicants. The Corrections Corporation of America, which manages the prison, said the settlement doesn't mean it violated federal affirmative action law. "Although we continue to disagree with the position taken by (the Labor Department), we have agreed to take certain steps to resolve this matter," a company statement said. The investigation was the result of routine audits that the Labor Department conducts with companies contracting with the federal government. "We'll go in and we'll look at the job applicant pool for more than one position, and we look at who applied for the jobs and who was hired," spokeswoman Deanne Amaden said. "In this case, what we found was a high disproportionate number of Hispanics were being hired. The result was that the non-Hispanics were not getting that job opportunity." Corrections Corporation of America has also agreed to immediately stop discriminatory practices and undergo self-monitoring measures to ensure legal hiring practices, according to the Labor Department.

February 21, 2007 AP
Private prison operator Corrections Corp. of America shares dropped Wednesday morning after a judge ruled California could not transfer thousands of prisoners out of state. In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency because of prison overcrowding and ordered that as many as 5,000 prisoners be sent to private prisons around the country. But the prison guard union sued, and Tuesday Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian said the situation was not an emergency, and the order violated the state Constitution, which bans jobs normally done by state workers from being done by a private company. She gave the state until June to reduce overcrowding in its prisons - rather than work with CCA. Banc of America Securities analyst T.C. Robillard said the ruling was not unexpected and would be appealed, though it does create a brief psychological barrier for CCA and, thus, an opportunity for investors. "We continue to be buyers of the stock and would use any near-term weakness as a buying opportunity," he said. Corrections Corp. shares gave up $1.02, or 1.9 percent, to $52.35 on the New York Stock Exchange.

January 31, 2007 AP
Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday to conduct a preliminary investigation into more than $4.5 million in alleged overpayments to two companies that operate private prisons for the state. The contracts with GEO Group of Boca Raton and Nashville,Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America were signed by the now-defunct Correctional Privatization Commission. Crist sent a letter to FDLE Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey directing him to "conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether any criminal violations have occurred." The Department of Management Services, which inherited the contracts, recently reached a $402,501 settlement with GEO but is still negotiating with CCA. Management Services Secretary Linda South, in a statement Friday, blamed the excessive payments on concessions the commission had included in the contracts. The commission was abolished by the Legislature in 2004. Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said Wednesday that she asked her staff what went wrong and received the same answer. "The contract was so poorly written and so poorly conceived that we were only able to verify $400,000 in overpayments even though we know there were huge abuses through the auditing procedures," Sink said. "We had virtually no legal standing to go back and get back from the taxpayers the dollars that we deserved." Audits concluded the state paid for vacant jobs and other questionable expenses. Telephone messages left at the offices of the two companies after hours Wednesday were not immediately returned. GEO runs the Moore Haven and Southbay correctional facilities and has a contract to run a new one at Graceville. CCA operates correctional facilities in Lake City, Panama City and Quincy. State Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, who is not related to the governor, last week urged FDLE to investigate the relationship between the commission and contractors.

January 27, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
The first definition of "oversight" involves supervision, as in the oversight of a contract by a state agency; the second involves a careless mistake or omission, as in, "Sorry for my oversight. I'll straighten it out right away." The problem with a settlement between the state and a private prison contractor that was one of two firms that were overpaid $4.5 million is that it's not at all clear which kind of oversight was in play. But if it's the first, the Department of Management Services' agreement with a Boca Raton company called GEO Group was highly questionable and very possibly a lousy deal for Florida taxpayers. DMS' agreement with the company calls for the collection by the state of $402,501 to settle previous claims. That comes to about 10 cents on your dollar that the state decided was a sensible arrangement - although the state is still negotiating with a second contractor, Corrections Corporation of America, which also received overpayments. It's no wonder that Sen. Victor Crist, R-Temple Terrace, was taken aback this week, saying the settlement "almost seems criminal." He asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. That's a reasonable request. If there's more here than meets the eye, taxpayers would love to know. If the rest of the story smells just as fishy, taxpayers should know that, too. There's little question that politics and past mismanagement are helping to cloud the picture. The original contract was handled by the now-defunct Correctional Privatization Commission, an agency created to oversee prisons in the state that are run by private companies. That board was legislated out of existence in 2004 and the commission's oversight responsibilities transferred to DMS. Given the performance of the Correctional Privatization Commission, that was a smart move. But the news about the DMS agreement with GEO now raises real questions about that agency's ability to effectively manage contracts with private prison companies. "It was not an honest mistake," Ken Kopczynski, a lobbyist for the Police Benevolent Association who's been tracking private prison contracts for more than 10 years, said of GEO. "I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to know that if a bank teller gives you $100 more than you are legally liable to receive, you need to give the money back." The politically influential PBA, which represents state corrections officers, has been the most consistent opponent of prison privatization. It maintained for years that the defunct commission had inappropriately cozy ties to the industry it was supposed to regulate - a charge that Mr. Crist, the Senate justice appropriations chairman, echoed last week. Mr. Kopczynski said he asked FDLE to investigate last year, but without success. But an investigation is still appropriate - before any more bad deals are cut on taxpayers' behalf.

January 26, 2007 St Petersburg Times
Alarmed by millions of dollars in overpayments the state made to a private prison contractor, a state senator called for a criminal investigation Thursday. The payments have been known since 2005, but a settlement was reported this week in which the contractor will pay a fraction of what it received. Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, said he read a story about the settlement, and "it just didn't rest well with me." Crist asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look at the contract between GEO Group of Boca Raton and the state Correctional Privatization Commission, which was disbanded in 2004 amid allegations of mismanagement and cronyism. A spokeswoman for the FDLE declined to say whether the agency would investigate. A 2005 state audit revealed that over an eight-year period GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, another private contractor, were overpaid $4.5-million. The Correctional Privatization Commission also gave GEO $5-million in cost-of-living salary adjustments that, auditors said, were not fully passed on to employees. At the Quincy facility, Corrections Corp., of Nashville, got $2.9-million more for facility maintenance than it spent. This month, GEO agreed to pay $402,501 under a deal reached with the Department of Management Services, which took over oversight of the contracts. Crist called the payback "unacceptable," but said his main focus was on what seems a too cozy relationship between the former Correctional Privatization Commission and the contractors. A GEO spokesman did not return a call Thursday. Corrections Corp. has not reached a deal with the state.

January 25, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
The head of a Senate budget committee today called for a criminal investigation of overpayments to two companies running private prisons for the state. Sen. Victor Crist, R-Temple Terrace, said he is not satisfied with a $402,501 settlement negotiated by the Department of Management Services this month with GEO Group, a Boca Raton-based company that runs prisons for the state in South Bay and Moore Haven. The state is still negotiating reimbursement of overpayments with Corrections Corp. of America, the Nashville company that runs prisons at Quincy, Lake City and Panama City. "This almost seems criminal," Crist told his Senate Justice Appropriations Committee. He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement should investigate how the overpayments occurred. After DMS assumed oversight from the old Correctional Privatization Commission, the department's inspector general did an audit that questioned some $13 million in payments to the two private prison operators. The audit said the companies were overpaid $4.5 million for unfilled positions. Crist said he was not blaming DMS because the overpayments occurred under the defunct commission, but that "we'd like an extra set of eyes to take a closer look at" the settlement with GEO and past payments to both companies. "If it was an honest mistake and $4.5 million was overpaid, they ought to write a check and clear it up," he said after the meeting of his committee. "They (CCA and GEO) took more than $4 million for positions that didn't exist and it just sticks in my craw that we would be getting $400,000 for it." The settlement includes $111,000 for partial reimbursement of legal fees incurred by the state in court challenges to the property-tax exemption of the state-owned, privately operated prisons. Those fees were unrelated to the overpayment. Roz Ingram, director of specialized services for DMS, said almost $5 million in overpayments occurred under "competitive area differential" provisions carried forward from the old contracts between the CPC and the companies. She said the differentials were killed by DMS when renegotiating contracts. "We used this a as a tool to go in and try to revamp the system and we've put a lot of different things in place," Ingram said of the audit. Ken Kopczynski, a lobbyist for the Police Benevolent Association, cheered Crist's action. The PBA, which represents correctional officers in state prisons, has been a vocal critic of privatization. "God bless 'em. It's about time," said Kopczynski.

January 24, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
The state has reached a $402,000 agreement with one of the two companies that run private prisons in Florida. Department of Management Services Secretary Linda South said Tuesday night she was satisfied with the settlement with The GEO Group Inc., which operates prisons in South Bay and Moore Haven. GEO also has a contract for the Graceville prison opening in September. South said DMS is negotiating terms with Corrections Corporation of America, the company that runs three other privatized prisons. She declined to discuss those talks. After the Correctional Privatization Commission was abolished and oversight of the five private prisons was shifted to DMS in 2004, the DMS inspector general did an audit that cited numerous discrepancies. The GEO Group settlement involved $357,520.94 in overpayments. Under the agreement, signed by previous DMS Secretary Tom Lewis, GEO agreed to pay $290,952.43. The company separately agreed to pay $111,549.27 of the state's legal fees in a court fight over disputed property-tax bills for the prison facilities. The agreement said DMS has paid $446,197.08 defending the sovereign immunity of the state-owned prisons. Ken Kopczynski, a lobbyist for the Florida Police Benevolent Association, said the state "let them off easy." The PBA, which represents correctional officers in state-run institutions, has been highly critical of privatization. South said "this is good news for DMS" and that the audits ended "some really critical lack of internal controls" under the defunct Correctional Privatization Commission. She added, "The $400,000 is a lot higher than zero."

January 24, 2007 St Petersburg Times
A private prison contractor that was one of two companies the state overpaid by nearly $13-million has agreed to pay back a small amount. The GEO Group of Boca Raton will pay $402,501 under a deal settled this month by the state Department of Management Services. The company also will cover half of the legal fees to defend local governments' challenges to its tax-exempt status. A state audit in 2005 found that over an eight-year period, Florida overpaid GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, $4.5-million for unfilled jobs. The now-defunct Correctional Privatization Commission, which was supposed to oversee the private prisons, also authorized $5-million in cost-of-living salary adjustments at GEO's South Bay Correctional facility. At a facility in Quincy, Corrections Corporation got $2.9-million more for facility maintenance than it spent. The state is still working on a settlement with Corrections Corporation. A GEO spokesman was not working Tuesday and a woman who answered the phone said no one else was available. DMS Secretary Linda H. South, asked about the large disparity in what GEO Group was overpaid and what it will pay back, said if the agency had not done its "due diligence there would be no money to recover."

January 9, 2007 AP
The president and chief executive officer of Corrections Corp. of America, which operates prisons and detention facilities, exercised options for 22,500 shares of common stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday. In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, John D. Ferguson reported he exercised the shares last Wednesday for $5.83 and then sold them the same day for $45.20 apiece.

November 14, 2006 Tennessean
Doc Crants had big plans for Homeland Security Corp. when he founded the security management and training company five years ago, including a possible listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Then Crants, co-founder of Nashville prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, recently sold his 60 percent stake in the security firm to a group that includes his Illinois co-owner, who said he plans to be more aggressive in seeking contracts with the United Nations, U.S. State Department and Department of Defense to provide personnel in political hot spots around the globe. Bruce K. Siddle, who merged his Belleville, Ill.-based PPCT Management Systems Inc. into Homeland Security in 2002, bought out Crants' stake with backing from investors including businessman Joseph F. Johnson, who was a director. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed. Crants declined to comment. On Monday, Homeland Security's Vice President Valerie Van Eaton said that the future remains bullish for the company, adding that Crants "was just ready to move on to something else." Homeland Security, with an