Author Topic: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)  (Read 16473 times)

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an ex-FBI man, formed his namesake security company in Florida in 1954. Closely tied to the Mob, radical Cubans, and right wing nuts including WACL. Since the company's inception, its board has been packed with "former" CIA, FBI, and military agents. The company guards the US' most sensitive facilities, and runs vast domintel ops. Was a key player in the Inslaw/Octopus affair, and reportedly smuggled arms to Iraq during the BUSH Administration. Wackenhut Corrections Corp. is now the no. 2 private prison contractor. Mr. Wackenhut once called George Bush "pink".

"Wackenhut was very active in El Salvador during the Contra war, providing employees to protest the U.S. embassy and other installations, and doing "'things you wouldn't want your mother to know about'," one Wackenhut employee told Spy Magazine in 1992."-Webb (Dark Alliance, p.113)
And there are more dots:
An integral part of the police state drug war is the prison­industrial­complex. And the drug war has certainly fueled that system where prisoners, many of whom are incarcerated for minor drug offenses, are contracted out as slave labor pools for large corporations. In other words, prisons are thinly disguised, government/corporate forced labor camps. It's offical! America now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. We've even surpassed China and Russia. According to the latest figures: 1 in 138 Americans are currently behind bars. But how many people realize that before the so-called "drug war" was declared by President Regan, in 1980's America's prison population was actually declining. Hmmm! Who benefits? The Illuminati, ofcourse.
One of the sleaziest players in the prison for profit growth industry is a company called Wackenhut. But did you know that Wackenhut is a CIA front?
"GEORGE WACKENHUT, an ex-FBI man, formed his namesake security company in Florida in 1954. Closely tied to the Mob, radical Cubans, and right wing nuts including WACL. Since the company's inception, its board has been packed with "former" CIA, FBI, and military agents. The company guards the US's most sensitive facilities, and runs vast domintel ops. Was a key player in the Inslaw/Octopus affair, and reportedly smuggled arms to Iraq during the BUSH Administration. Wackenhut Corrections Corp. is now the no. 2 private prison contractor. Mr. Wackenhut once called George Bush "pink".
Here's an eye-opener article, Wackenhut: "Prisons, profits and golf umbrellas"BY ARUN PRADHAN
"Wackenhut maintained files on over four million suspected dissidents."

"William Corbett, who worked for the CIA for 18 years, told the US-based "Spy Magazine", " 'For years Wackenhut has been involved with the CIA and other intelligence organizations. Wackenhut would allow the CIA to occupy positions within the company [in order to carry out] clandestine operations.' "
"He also said that Wackenhut would supply intelligence agencies with information, and that it was compensated for this " 'in a quid pro quo arrangement'."
"Retired FBI agent William Hinshaw also told the magazine about Wackenhut's ease in snaring lucrative governmental contracts as being governments' way of " 'pay[ing] Wackenhut for their clandestine help' ".
" 'It is known throughout the industry that if you want a dirty job done, call Wackenhut' ", Hinshaw said.
Let's see if I've got this straight:
1. The CIA sells and supplies the drugs.
2. The CIA launders their drug profits vis-a vis proprietary CIA banks around the globe and Wall Street at home.
3. The CIA is also involved in the slave labor, prison-for-profits racket, where drug offenders comprise the largest segment of the prison population?

Private Prisons: Profits of Crime

By Phil Smith
from the Fall 1993 issue of Covert Action Quarterly

Private prisons are a symptom, a response by private capital
to the "opportunities" created by society's
temper tantrum approach
to the problem of criminality.

At Leavenworth, Kansas, within a perimeter of razor wire, armed prison guards in uniform supervise hundreds of medium- and maximum-security federal prisoners. Welcome to one of America's growth industries- private sector, for-profit prisons. Here in the shadow of the federally-run Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks and the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) runs a short-term detention facility for medium- and maximum-security prisoners.

Under contract to the U.S. Marshal's Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the CCA Leavenworth facility is not an anomaly but part of a trend. In the last decade, from juvenile detention centers to county jails and work farms to state prison units to INS holding camps for undocumented aliens, private interests have entered the incarceration business in a big way. Where there are people detained, there are profits to be made.

Imprisonment is an ugly business under any regime, but the prospect of a privatized prison system raises difficult and disturbing questions beyond those associated with a solely state-operated prison system. It has been, after all, a common assumption that the criminalization and punishment of certain behaviors-the deprivation of physical liberty and even of life itself-are not amenable to private sector usurpation. Some of the arguments that inform this assumption are ethi cal, some legal, and others practical, but all are being chal lenged by a growing group of special interests.

Prisons for Profit
Surprisingly, private prisons are nothing new in U.S. history. In the mid-1800s, penny-pinching state legislatures awarded contracts to private entrepreneurs to operate and manage Louisiana's first state prison, New York's Auburn and Sing Sing penitentiaries, and others. These institutions became models for entire sections of the nation where privatized prisons were the norm later in the century. These prisons were supposed to turn a profit for the state, or at least pay for themselves. Typically, privatization was limited: The state leased or contracted convict labor to private companies.

In some cases, such as Texas, however, the corrections function was turned over wholesale to private interests which prom ised to control delinquents at no cost to the state. As the system spread, labor and businesses complained that using unpaid convict labor constituted "unfair" competition. Of equal concern to reformers-but of less weight to politicians-was the issue of prisoner abuse under the private corrections regime. Anecdotal evidence from across the country painted a grim picture: While state officials remained indifferent or were bought off by private interests, prisoners suffered malnourishment, frequent whippings, overwork and overcrowding.

A series of investigations of state prisons confirmed the tales of horror and produced public outrage. l As with anti-trust legislation and the progressive reforms which followed, public pressure impelled government regulation of private sector abuse. By the turn of the century, concerted opposition from labor, business, and reformers forced the state to take direct responsibility for prisons, thus bringing the first era of private prisons to an end.

Three Trends Converge
But as the twentieth century stumbles to an end, the hard lessons of a hundred years ago have been drowned out by the clamor of free market ideologues. Again, privatization is encroaching ever further on what had been state responsibilities, and prison systems are the target of private interests. The shift to privatization coalesced in the mid-1980s when three trends converged: The ideological imperatives of the free market; the huge increase in the number of prisoners; and the concomitant increase in imprisonment costs.

In the giddy atmosphere of the Reagan years, the argument for the superiority of free enterprise resonated profoundly. Only the fire departments seemed safe, as everything from municipal garbage services to Third World state enterprises went on sale. Proponents of privatized prisons put forward a simple case: The private sector can do it cheaper and more efficiently. This assortment of entrepreneurs, free market ideologues, cash-strapped public officials, and academics promised design and management innovations without re- ducing costs or sacrificing "quality of service." In any case, they noted correctly, public sector corrections systems are in a state of chronic failure by any measure, and no other politically or economically feasible solution is on the table.

More Prisoners, More Money This contemporary push to privatize corrections takes place against a socioeconomic background of severe and seemingly intractable crisis. Under the impetus of Reaganite social Darwinism, with its "toughness" on criminal offenders, pris on populations soared through the 1980s and into the 1990s, making the U.S. the unquestioned world leader in jailing its own populace. By 1990, 421 Americans out of every 100,000 were behind bars, easily outdistancing our closest competitors, South Africa and the then USSR. By 1992, the U.S. rate had climbed to 455. In human terms, the number of people in jails and prisons on any given day tops 1.2 million, up from fewer than 400,000 at the start of the Reagan era.

While incarceration statistics have skyrocketed, crime rates have increased much more slowly. In fact, from 1975 to 1985, the serious crime rate actually decreased by 1.42 per cent while the number of state and federal prisoners nearly doubled. The number of people sent to prison is actually determined by policy decisions and political expediency. Politicians of all stripes have sought cheap political points by being "tough on crime."

They throw oil on the fire of public panic by portraying the urban underclass (read: young, black males) as predator. Ignoring the broad context of economic policies that have effectively abandoned large segments of the population, they have instituted mandatory minimum sentences, tighter or no parole schedules, and tougher "good time" regulations. Adding to the overpopulation these putative measures wrought, the War on Drugs-which aimed its frenzy at the inner city-stuffed the nation's already over crowded prisons with a large crop of mostly African-American and Latino nonviolent offenders.

In state after state, budgets have been stretched to the breaking point by the cost of maintaining and expanding this massive correctional archipelago. In California, the nation's largest state prison system, the corrections budget increased seven-fold during the 1980s to $2.1 billion annually at the end of the decade-and the system was still operating at 180 percent of capacity. The huge costs associated with the choice to deal with social problems by mass imprisonment are a fundamental part of the drift toward private prisons. The converging trends (rampant free-marketism, higher prison population, and escalating costs) are part of a larger trend-the sharpening of Reaganite class war and the social meanness that accompanied it.

The last time the U.S. faced such an influx of prisoners was after the Civil War when freed blacks, who were previously punished and controlled within the slave system, were sent to formerly all-white prisons. The present situation is not perfectly analogous, but once again, policy-makers faced with burgeoning and unruly minority resistance of their own making seem to have chosen a similar course: "Lock 'em up and throw away the key."

The Buslnes of Punishment
Punishment is not only a crucial and ever-larger state function, it is also big business. Private ownership and/or operation of prisons, while an increasingly significant part of the corrections system, represents only a fraction of the "prison-industrial complex." The cost of corrections-in cluding state, local, and federal corrections budgets-ran to more than $20 billion a year in the early 1990s.

The cost of constructing enough cells just to keep up with the constant increase in prisoners is estimated at $6 billion a year. This figure does not address existing overcrowding, which is pandemic from city jails to federal prisons. The public sector imprisonment industry employs more than 50,000 guards, as well as additional tens of thousands of administrators, and health, education, and food service providers. Especially in rural communities where other employment is scarce, corrections assumes huge economic im portance as a growth industry which provides stable jobs.

The punishment juggernaut of the Reagan-Bush years also spawned an array of private enterprises locked in a parasitic embrace with the state. From architectural firms and construction companies, to drug treatment and food service contractors, to prison industries, to the whole gamut of equipment and hardware suppliers-steel doors, razor wire, communications systems, uniforms, etc.-the business of imprisonment boasts a powerful assortment of well-or ganized and well-represented vested interests.

Privatized prisons, then, are not a quantum leap toward dismantling the state but simply an extension of the already significant private sector involvement in corrections. The public-private symbiotic relationship was well-established long before 1984, when CCA first contracted with the INS to operate detention centers for illegal aliens. With private firms already providing everything from health care to drug treatment, the private management of entire prisons was a natural progression, especially given the tenor of the times.

Prison Prlvateers
The growing private prisons industry-several dozen companies contracting with state entities to provide and/or operate jails or prisons-is oligopolistic in structure. CCA and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation dominate the upper tier, control more than half the industry's operations, and run 29 minimum- and medium-security facilities with more than 10,000 beds.

Beneath the big two is a tier of lesser players: a cluster of smaller regional companies, such as Kentucky-based U.S. Corrections Corporation and Nashville-based Pricor; and small corrections divisions of international concerns, including construction giant Bechtel Corporation. The boom has created a shadier realm of speculators ready to turn a quick profit from the traffic in convicts. Compared to the big three, these smaller companies are undercapitalized, inexperienced, understaffed, and are more likely to fail eventually.

Run by hucksters, fast-talking developers, and snake-oil salesmen, they sell for-profit prisons-disguised as economic development-to depressed rural communities desperate to bolster their budgets and local economies. The pitch is simple: Prisons are overcrowded! Build a prison and the prisoners will come to you! You'll reap the benefits in terms of jobs and increased tax revenues! Reality is a bit more complex.

Quirks in the federal tax codes remove exemptions for prison bonds if more than ten percent of prisoners are out-of-state, if state prison officials are reluctant to have their prisoners housed out-of-state, or if large cities with severe overcrowding are unwilling or unable to pay to transport local prisoners hundreds of miles. In short in the trade in convict bodies, supply and demand don't always match. Prisons built on a speculative basis are a risky venture-at least for the towns or counties involved; the speculators take their money off the top.

Historically, this bottom tier has been the locus of most of the publicized problems and abuses. But although these bottom feeders attract "60 Minutes"-style scandal of banal corruption, it is in the top tiers that the most serious potential for abuse exists. Wackenhut, founded by former FBI of ficial George Wackenhut in 1954, is the largest and best known, as well as the oldest and most diversified.

From its beginnings as a small, well-connected private security firm, Wackenhut has grown to a global security conglomerate with earnings of $630.3 million in 1992. Prison management is only the latest addition to its panoply of security and related services. When the Coral Gables, Florida-based firm first entered the prison business in 1987, it had one 250-bed INS detention center. It now operates 11 facilities in five states housing nearly 5,500 prisoners. Wackenhut maintains two medium security prisons in Australia and boasts of "prospects for additional facilities in the U.S., South America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.''

While some of its competitors in the private repression industry have specialized-Pinkerton and Burns, for example, lead the "rent-a-cop" field-Wackenhut tries to cover all the bases. Its 1991 revenues reflect its corporate diversity: The private security division contributed 43 per cent; the international division, 22 percent; airport security services, 15 percent; contracts to guard nuclear installations and Department of Energy facilities, 10 percent; and, last but not least, private corrections contributed 10 percent. Given the high rate of return in its corrections division-10 percent compared to 1.8 percent overall-Wackenhut has indicated that it wants to see that area grow.

Corrections Corporation of America
Its closest rival is CCA, which despite its youth and small size compared to the Wackenhut empire, has emerged as the pioneer and the industry leader. But unlike Wackenhut, CCA -like the second tier companies such as Pricor, U.S. Corrections, Concepts, Inc., and Correction Management Af filiates-is almost completely dependent on private imprisonment for its revenues.

Founded in 1983 by the investors behind Kentucky Fried Chicken, CCA used the sales skills of Nashville banker/ financier Doctor R. Crants and the political connections of former Tennessee Republican Party chair Tom Beasley- co-founders of the company-to win early contracts. The next year, CCA cut its first big deals: to operate INS detention centers in Houston and Laredo, and to run the Silverdale Workhouse (Hamilton County prison farm) in its home state, Tennessee. In the next nine years, CCA grew steadily to become the industry leader, with 21 detention facilities hous ing more than 6,000 prisoners in six states, the U.K., and Australia. Its profits are up by nearly 50 percent from its 1991 end-of-the-year figures.

Once number three behind CCA and Wackenhut, Pricor has taken a different tack from its competitors. It carved out a specialized niche within the private prison industry by convincing underused county jails in rural Texas that they could profit by accepting inmates from overcrowded national and statewide prisons. After cutting its corporate teeth on juvenile education and detention and halfway houses, expan sion into adult prisons must have seemed a natural step.

In 1986, its first year of adult prison operations, Pricor opened minimum security detention facilities totaling 170 beds in Alabama and Virginia. By 1990, the company looked west to Texas, with its seemingly unending supply of prisoners and profits. Soon, it operated or had contracts pending for six 500-bed county "jails for hire," mainly in underbudgeted and underpopulated West Texas, and also with one 190-bed pre release center operated under contract with the Texas Department of Corrections. Although Pricor, fueled by its West Texas operations, posted fiscal 1991 revenues of more than $30 million for its adult corrections division, its Texas project was in shambles by mid-1992.

The Critiques ot Prison Prlvatlzatlon
Since the last round of prison privatization ended a century ago, a strong ethical and practical presumption has grown up that imprisonment should be solely a function of the state. The practical challenge centers around the material self interest of the various pro-privatization constituencies.

There are two broad areas of concern: efficiency, i.e., can private operators be trusted to run prisons for less without sacrificing "quality of service"; and accountability, i.e., what oversight mechanisms will assure that society's interests come before those of the managing corporations. As to efficiency-leaving aside for a moment critical questions about what "efficiency" means in prison operations-three well-designed comparative studies found that private operators did run prisons more cheaply without sacrificing ''quality.'' Typically, the studies found, Wackenhut and CCA were able to provide cost savings of five to fifteen percent while still maintaining high marks for provision of services. Even in Texas, which has one of the lowest cost per prisoner rates, both Wackenhut and CCA came in cheaper.

But what about "efficiency"? If the term means nothing more than the ability to house bodies cheaply while complying with minimal standards, then industry leaders, at least, appear to be efficient. Imprisonment, however, is generally acknowledged to include, at best, deterrence and rehabilita tion, or at least, reduction of recidivism rates. While there is no definitive private-public comparative study on recidivism, the private prisons, as opposed to the state, have a direct conflict of interest. By reducing the number of repeat offenders, they are in effect reducing the supply of profit producing "customers." It is in the material interest of these companies, therefore, to produce not prisoners who have "paid their debt to society," but ones who will continue to pay and pay on the installment plan.

The question of accountability is a legal sinkhole. Under U.S. Iaw, the state is subject to constitutional restraints that do not apply to private entities. With prisoners' rights already under attack from Congress and the federal courts, and with ambiguous case law on private versus public liability, some legal scholars are worried. They fear that privatized prisons place inmates in a legal limbo-caught in a grey area between the state and the private sector-unable to hold either answerable for infringements of their constitutional rights.

Another accountability issue concerns monitoring. The profit-motive could cause private operations to cut corners; leading to poor or unsafe conditions. Privatization proponents argue that regulation and careful state monitoring of compliance will sufficiently protect inmates, but that contention must come as cold comfort to prisoners who have already felt the tender mercies of the state.

The record so far, however, shows that compared to the murderous outbreaks in state penitentiaries, incidents of violence, riot, escape and the like have been relatively rare in the private prisons. Direct comparisons are problematic, however, as CCA's Leaven worth facility opened in 1992, is the first, and so far only, private sector institution to handle maximum-security inmates as its primary function.

Doing Well Beats Dolng Good
Aside from practical issues of superficially defined performance, there is the fundamental ethical question involved in farming out the repressive functions of the state to private interests: Should we, as a society, shift responsibility for the ultimate sanction by which we measure normative behavior to those whose motive is profit? The deep philosophical issue is perhaps unanswerable, but the ramifications are disturbing.

Imagine a full-fledged corporate public relations campaign designed to whip up crime hysteria in order to increase profits.
The most worrisome aspect of prison privatization is the inevitable emergence of a private "prison lobby" concerned not with social welfare but with increasing its dividends, not with doing good, but with doing well.

Sentencing guidelines, parole rules, corrections budgets, and new criminal legislation are areas in which private prison operators have a vested interest and could influence policy decisions. They could also benefit by manipulating public fear of crime. Unlike most other public policy arenas, criminal justice policy is largely determined not by the realities of crime but by its perception. That the fear of crime is exploited by politicians and "reality television" programming is a truism; but imagine a full-fledged corporate public relations campaign designed to whip up crime hysteria in order to increase profits.

"Prisons Are Built with Stones of Law..."
The practical arguments of prisoncrats and academics, as well as the more abstract philosophical and humanitarian objections of liberal critics, betray a certain myopic view of the problem and thus of its solutions. To accept the current parameters of debate within the criminal justice community is to beg some questions not only about the role of private enterprise in corrections, but also and more fundamentally, about the relationship between state and citizen (or alien) and the function of imprisonment in contemporary America.

By any criteria for cost-benefit analysis, crime and corrections policy in the U.S. is a dismal failure. Prisons neither deter nor rehabilitate, nor do punishment variables seem to have any impact on crime. Granted, imprisonment does incapacitate and discipline offenders, but only while they remain behind bars-and only a minuscule minority of prisoners do not one day return to society. Prisons form a very narrow platform from which to alter behavior that is shaped by myriad factors, but these institutions, and the criminal justice system as a whole, are charged with precisely that task.

Given the failure of corrections to achieve its stated goals, however, it is appropriate to ask whether imprisonment serves other, latent functions and what these functions might be. One role that imprisonment clearly fulfills is that of taking symbolic action against socially defined deviants. It seems to matter less that prisons stop crime than that they give the appearance of doing so--or of doing something. In a society unable or unwilling to address the fundamental social and economic causes of criminality, this symbolic action substitutes for substantive reform. Imprisonment also serves to demonstrate the disciplinary power of the state.

In Michel Foucault's view, the prison is the model, the point of origin, for the entire model of social control that characterizes industrialized societies. Incarceration is at one end of a sliding scale of socially imposed surveillance and discipline. After two centuries of wide spread acceptance, its place on the continuum is distinguished mainly by the degree of day-to-day control and the physicality of its bars. The scale of control, in less extreme and visible form, however, extends throughout the institutions of society.

As for the privatization of prisons, that industry, while a deeply disturbing phenomenon, is not the fundamental problem. Private prisons are a symptom, a response by private capital to the "opportunities" created by society's temper tantrum approach to the problem of criminality in the context of free-market supremacy. Dostoevsky once remarked that he measured the quality of a society by the quality of its prisons. In the present case it may be as appropriate to judge us by their quantity, too. In either case, the judgment would be harsh indeed.


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Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2009, 07:07:53 pm »

Wackenhut Rent-a-Cops

While Wackenhut has been on best behavior in its push for the top spot in the private prison field, the parent company garnered much unwelcome notoriety. It provided the controversial protection for strike breakers in the Pittston strike. Its contract with the Savannah River Site and Rocky Flats nuclear facilities brought in $39 million in 1992, according to the company's annual report.

The company's ubiquitous presence at nuclear facilities and the role of its employees in repressing anti-nuclear demonstrations--including intelligence gathering--has made the term "wackenhuts" synonymous with rent-a-cops. The company has resorted to "dirty tricks" against its perceived foes or those of its clients. As security provider for the Alyeska pipeline consortium, for example, Wackenhut employed unlicensed investigators and questionable methods to find and discredit environmentalist whistle-blowers within the company.

CCA Business as Usual

For the most part, when the private prison industry exceeds the bounds of law and order, it abuses standards of corruption and influence-peddling rather than prisoners. CCA, for example, has been linked to possible corrupt practices over its cozy relationships with state and local offcials in its home state, Tennessee. The U.S. attorney in Nashville is investigating charges of bribery or kickbacks surrounding a million dollar contract award to CCA to operate the South Central Correctional Center in Pikeville.

Suspicion was aroused by the discoveries that CCA was significantly underbid by U.S. Corrections corporation and that CCA original shareholders were influential state and local politicians, including current Governor Ned McWherter; Honey Alexander, the wife of former Governor Lamar Alexander; and Alexander's insurance commissioner, John Neff. Although McWherter and Ms. Alexander divested their company stock in 1985 to avoid conflict of interest charges, the relationship between CCA and high state officials remains very friendly. It was Governor McWherter's administration that ram rodded the entire privatization scheme that resulted in the disputed contract.

CCA's "scratch my back" relationship with public officials is also apparent at the Silverdale Work house, the first prison it managed. After Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Long voted to approve CCA's proposal, his pest control company was awarded a CCA contract. When Long later left his government post, he was hired by CCA to lobby his former fellow commissioners on its behalf.

Pricor: What if You Built a Prison and Nobody Came?

Empty private prisons and municipal coffers plague rural communities around the country. It is in Texas, however, with the nation's highest number of private prison beds, that this combination has most clearly illuminated the shadier side of privatization. Among the more notorious of many scandals was the Pricor/N Group scheme. Promising ample prisoners and profits, Houston-based N-Group convinced six Texas counties to issue $74 million in bonds for for- profit prison construction to be managed by Pricor.

To ease the deal through the legal and political obstacles, N-Group owners, Houston brothers Michael and Patrick Graham, linked up with local power brokers. They hired an ex-governor's law firm, signed on a former Texas House speaker as a lobbyist, and took on the husband of the future state treasurer as bond counsel. Covering their bets, the Grahams paid several county attorneys and financial advisers $10,000 each to "review" the deals.

N-Group's assiduous wooing of politicians paid off: The Graham brothers collected $2.2 million in bond proceeds-but no prisoners showed up, and the counties and the bondholders are left in the lurch. The legal and political fallout continues. In 1991, Pricor was named as an unindicted co-conspirator by a West Texas grand jury for its role in putting together the scheme; N-Group was indicted on criminal antitrust charges. The two companies, along with Drexel Burnham Lambert, the plan's underwriter, were sued by a group of mutual fund investors who claim to have been bilked out of $70 million in the failed effort.

The private prison profiteers were undeterred. Gilbert R. Walker-Pricor president from 1988 to 1990, when he left the company in the middle of the failed Texas prison deal--and David Arnspiger, a former Drexel official named in the Texas lawsuit, joined forces. As heads of GRW Corporation and Potomac Financial Group, respectively, they put together a similar deal in Walton County, Florida, in 1992. Under the joint proposal presented to Florida officials, Potomac would broker the bonds to finance a new prison in DeFuniak Springs, while GRW would manage the facility. After exposure of Pricor's shenanigans in Texas, Florida officials declined Walker's proposal.


  • Guest
Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2009, 09:36:41 pm »
Damn it!  Thanks Anti_Illuminati!

Silverdale is still running and the shit is bad there!  Remember the Avian Flu that was going around in birds a few years ago?  Well I have a frien who was incarcerated in Silverdale then.  They were fed chicken every friggin night!

There are abuses inside ( allowed bullying and gang fights) and they have options to work off their debt for staying there.  But they work for the county to do it, yet they still have to pay when they get out. 

Mind you the jungle gym justice system here is not a sure way to put away just guilty folks.

I am going to the court house to see if commissioner Long is related to Sheriff Billy Long


  • Guest
Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2009, 09:59:20 pm »
This crap is amazing!!  Here is a recent history of the private prison system in Tennessee!!  Well, Anti_Illuminati, ya got me started!
America's Private Gulag
by Ken Silverstein

© 1997 by KenSilverstein

What is the most profitable industry in America? Weapons, oil and computer technology all offer high rates of return, but there is probably no sector of the economy so abloom with money as the privately-run prison industry.

    Consider the growth of the Corrections Corporation of America, the industry leader whose stock price has climbed from $8 a share in 1992 to about $30 today and whose revenue rose by 81 percent in 1995 alone. Investors in Wackenhut Corrections Corp. have enjoyed an average return of 18 per cent during the past five years and the company is rated by Forbes as one of the top 200 small businesses in the country. At Esmor, another big private prison contractor, revenues have soared from $4.6 million in 1990 to more than $25 million in 1995.

    Ten years ago there were just five privately-run prisons in the country, housing a population of 2,000. Today nearly a score of private firms run more than 100 prisons with about 62,000 beds. Thatâs still less than five per cent of the total market but the industry is expanding fast, with the number of private prison beds expected to grow to 360,000 during the next decade.

    The exhilaration among leaders and observers of the private prison sector was cheerfully summed up by the headline in USA Today: "Everybodyâs doinâ the jailhouse stock." An equally upbeat mood imbued a conference on private prisons held last December at the Four Seasons Resort in Dallas. The brochure of the conference, organized by the World Research Group, a New York-based investment firm, called the corporate takeover of correctional facilities the "newest trend in the area of privatizing previously government-run programs... While arrests and convictions are steadily on the rise, profits are to be made ¾ profits from crime. Get in on the ground floor of this booming industry now!"

    A hundred years ago private prisons were a familiar feature of American life, with disastrous consequences. Prisoners were farmed out as slave labor. They were routinely beaten and abused, fed slop and kept in horribly overcrowded cells. Conditions were so wretched that by the end of the nineteenth century private prisons were outlawed in most states.

    During the past decade, private prisons have made a comeback. Already 28 states have passed legislation making it legal for private contractors to run correctional facilities and many more states are expected to follow suit.

    The reasons for the rapid expansion include the post-1980s free-market ideological fervor, large budget deficits for the federal and state governments and the discovery and creation of vast new reserves of "raw materials" ¾ prisoners. The rate for most serious crimes has been dropping or stagnant for the past 15 years, but during the same period severe repeat offender provisions and a racist "get-tough" policy on drugs have helped push the US prison population up from 300,000 to about 1.5 million. This has produced a corresponding boom in prison construction and costs, with the federal governmentâs annual expenditures in the area of $17 billion. In California, passage of the infamous "three strikes" bill will result in the construction of an additional 20 prisons during the next few years.

    The private prison business is most entrenched at the state level but is expanding into the federal prison system as well. Last year Attorney General Janet Reno announced that five of seven new federal prisons being built will be run by the private sector. Almost all of the prisons run by private firms are low or medium security, but the companies are trying to break into the high-security field. They have also begun taking charge of management in INS detention centers, boot camps for juvenile offenders and substance abuse programs.

    Roughly half of the industry is controlled by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, which runs 46 penal institutions in 11 states. It took ten years for the company to reach 10,000 beds; it is now growing by the same number every year.

    CCAâs chief competitor is Wackenhut, which was founded in 1954 by George Wackenhut, a former FBI official. Over the years its board and staff have included such veterans of the US national security state as Frank Carlucci, Bobby Ray Inman and William Casey, as well as Jorge Mas Canosa, leader of the fanatic Cuban American National Foundation. The company also provides security services to private corporations. It has provided strikebreakers at the Pittston mine strike in Kentucky, hired unlicensed investigators to ferret out whistle blowers at Alyeska, the company that controls the Alaskan oil pipeline, and beaten anti-nuclear demonstrators at facilities it guards for the Department of Energy.

    Wackenhut has a third of the private prison market with 24 contracts, nine of which were signed during the past two years. In a major coup, the company was chosen to run a 2,200 capacity prison in Hobbs, New Mexico, which will become the largest private prison in the US when it opens late this year.

    Esmor, the No. 3 firm in the field, was founded only a few years ago and already operates ten corrections or detention facilities. The companyâs board includes William Barrett, a director of Frederickâs of Hollywood, and CEO James Slattery, whose previous experience was investing in and managing hotels.

    US companies also have been expanding abroad. The big three have facilities in Australia, England and Puerto Rico and are now looking at opportunities in Europe, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and China.

    The companies that dominate the private prison business claim that they offer the taxpayers a bargain because they operate far more cheaply than do state firms. As one industry report put it. "CEOs of privatized companies... are leaner and more motivated than their public-sector counterparts."

    But even if privatization does save money ¾ and the evidence here is contradictory ¾ there is, in the words of Jenni Gainsborough of the ACLUâs National Prison Project, "a basic philosophical problem when you begin turning over administration of prisons to people who have an interest in keeping people locked up."

    To be profitable, private prison firms must ensure that prisons are not only built but also filled. Industry experts say a 90 to 95 per cent capacity rate is needed to guarantee the hefty rates of return needed to lure investors. Prudential Securities issued a wildly bullish report on CCA a few years ago but cautioned, "It takes time to bring inmate population levels up to where they cover costs. Low occupancy is a drag on profits." Still, said the report, company earnings would be strong if CCA succeeded in "ramp[ing] up population levels in its new facilities at an acceptable rate."

    A 1993 report from the State Department of Corrections in New Mexico found that CCA prisons issued more disciplinary reports ¾ with harsher sanctions imposed, including the loss of time off for good behavior ¾ than did those run by the state. A prisoner at a CCA prison said, "State run facilities are overcrowded and thereâs no incentive to keep inmates as long as possible... CCA on the other hand reluctantly awards good time. They give it because they have to but they take it every opportunity they get... Parole packets are constantly getting lost or misfiled. Many of us are stuck here beyond our release dates."

    Private prison companies have also begun to push, even if discreetly, for the type of get-tough policies needed to ensure their continued growth. All the major firms in the field have hired big-time lobbyists. When it was seeking a contract to run a halfway house in New York City, Esmor hired a onetime aide to state Rep. Edolphus Towns to lobby on its behalf. The aide succeeded in winning the contract and also the vote of his former boss, who had been an opponent of the project. In 1995, Wackenhut Chairman Tim Cole testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge support for amendments to the Violent Crime Control Act ¾ which subsequently passed ¾ that authorized the expenditure of $10 billion to construct and repair state prisons.

    CCA has been especially adept at expansion via political payoffs. The first prison the company managed was the Silverdale Workhouse in Hamilton County, Tennessee. After Commissioner Bob Long voted to accept CCAâs bid for the project, the company awarded Longâs pest control firm a lucrative contract. When Long decided the time was right to quit public life, CCA hired him to lobby on its behalf. CCA has been a major financial supporter of Lamar Alexander, the former Tennessee governor and failed presidential candidate. In one of a number of sweetheart deals, Lamarâs wife, Honey Alexander, made more than $130,000 on a $5,000 investment in CCA. Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter is another CCA stockholder and is quoted in the companyâs 1995 annual report as saying that "the federal government would be well served to privatize all of their corrections."

    The prison industry has also made generous use of the junket as a public relations technique. Wackenhut recently flew a New York-based reporter from Switzerland ¾ where the company is fishing for business ¾ to Florida for a tour of one of its prisons. The reporter was driven around by limousine, had all her expenses covered and was otherwise treated royally.

    In another ominous development, the revolving door between the public and private sector has led to the type of company boards that are typical of those found in the military-industrial complex. CCA co-founders were T. Don Hutto, an ex-corrections commissioner in Virginia, and Tom Beasley, a former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. A top company official is Michael Quinlan, once director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The board of Wackenhut is graced by a former Marine Corps commander, two retired Air Force generals and a former under secretary to the Air Force, as well as by James Thompson, ex-governor of Illinois, Stuart Gerson, a former assistant US attorney general and Richard Staley, who previously worked with the INS.

    Because they are private firms that answer to shareholders, prison companies have been predictably vigorous in seeking ways to cut costs. In 1985, a private firm tried to site a prison on a toxic waste dump in Pennsylvania, which it had bought at the bargain rate of $1. Fortunately, that plan was rejected.

    Many states pay private contractors a per diem rate, as low as $31 a prisoner in Texas. A federal investigation traced a 1994 riot at an Esmor immigration detention center to the companyâs having skimped on food, building repairs and guard salaries. At an Esmor-run halfway house in Manhattan, inspectors turned up leaky plumbing, exposed electrical wires, vermin and inadequate food.

    To ratchet up profit margins, companies have cut corners on drug rehabilitation, counseling and literacy programs. In 1995, Wackenhut was investigated for diverting $700,000 intended for drug treatment programs at a Texas prison. In Florida the US Corrections Corpora-tion was found to be in violation of a provision in its state contract that requires prisoners to be placed in meaningful work or educational assignments. The company had assigned 235 prisoners to be dorm orderlies when no more than 48 were needed and enrollment in education programs was well below what the contract called for. Such incidents led a prisoner at a CCA facility in Tennessee to conclude, "There is something inherently sinister about making money from the incarceration of prisoners, and in putting CCAâs bottom line (money) before societyâs bottom line (rehabilitation)."

    The companies try to cut costs by offering less training and pay to staff. Almost all workers at state prisons get union-scale pay but salaries for private prison guards range from about $7 to $10 per hour. Of course the companies are anti-union. When workers attempted to organize at Tennesseeâs South Central prison, CCA sent officials down from Nashville to quash the effort.

    Poor pay and work conditions have led to huge turnover rates at private prisons. A report by the Florida auditorâs office found that turnover at the Gadsden Correctional Facility for women, run by the US Corrections Corporation, was 200 per cent, ten times the rate at state prisons. Minutes from an administrative meeting at a CCA prison in Tennessee have the "chief" recorded as saying, "We all know that we have lots of new staff and are constantly in the training mode... Many employees [are] totally lost and had never worked in corrections."

    Private companies also try to nickel and dime prisoners in the effort to boost revenue. A prisoner at a Florida prison run by CCA has sued the company for charging a $2.50 fee per phone call and 50 cents per minute thereafter. The lawsuit also charges that it can take a prisoner more than a month to see a doctor.

    A number of prisoners complain about exorbitant prices. "Canteen prices are outrageous," wrote a prisoner at the Gadsden facility in Florida. "[We] pay more for a pack of cigarettes than in the free world." Neither do private firms provide prisoners with soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes or writing paper. One female prisoner at a CCA prison in New Mexico said: "The state gives five free postage paid envelopes per month to prisoners, nothing at CCA. State provides new coats, jeans, shirts, underwear and replaces them as needed. CCA rarely buys new clothing and inmates are often issued tattered and stained clothing. Same goes for linens. Also ration toilet paper and paper towels. If you run out, too bad ¾ 3 rolls every two weeks."

    General conditions at private prisons appear in some respects to be somewhat better than those found at state institutions, a fact possibly linked to the negative business impact that a prison disturbance can cause private firms. For example, the share price of stock in Esmor plunged from $20 to $7 after a 1994 revolt at the companyâs detention center for immigrants in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

    Nevertheless a number of serious problems at prisons run by private interests still exist. Back in the mid-1980s, a visiting group of professional guards from England toured the CCAâs 360-bed state prison in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and reported that inmates were "cruelly treated" and "problem" prisoners had been gagged with sticky tape. The warden regaled his guests with graphic descriptions of strip shows performed by female inmates for male guards.

    Investigators at a CCA jail in New Mexico found that guards had inflicted injuries on prisoners ranging from cuts and scrapes to broken bones. Riots have erupted at various private facilities. In one of the worst, guards at CCAâs West Tennessee Detentional Center fired pepper gas canisters into two dormitories to quell a riot after prisoners shipped from North Carolina revolted over being sent far from their families.

    In addition to the companies that directly manage Americaâs prisons, many other firms are getting a piece of the private prison action. American Express has invested millions of dollars in private prison construction in Oklahoma and General Electric has helped finance construction in Tennessee. Goldman Sachs & Co., Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, among other Wall Street firms, have made huge sums by underwriting prison construction with the sale of tax-exempt bonds, this now a thriving $2.3 billion industry.

    Weapons manufacturers see both public and private prisons as a new outlet for "defense" technology, such as electronic bracelets and stun guns. Private transport companies have lucrative contracts to move prisoners within and across state lines; health care companies supply jails with doctors and nurses; food service firms provide prisoners with meals. High-tech firms are also moving into the field; the Que-Tel Corp. hopes for vigorous sales of its new system whereby prisoners are bar coded and guards carry scanners to monitor their movements. Phone companies such as AT&T chase after the enormously lucrative prison business.

    About three-quarters of new admissions to American jails and prisons are now African-American and Hispanic men. This trend, combined with an increasingly privatized and profitable prison system run largely by whites, makes for what Jerome Miller, a former youth corrections officer in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, calls the emerging Gulag State.

    Miller predicts that the Gulag State will be in place within 15 years. He expects three to five million people to be behind bars, including an absolute majority of African-American men. Itâs comparable, he says, to the post-Civil War period, when authorities came to view the prison system as a cheaper, more efficient substitute for slavery. Of the stateâs current approach to crime and law enforcement, Miller says, "The race card has changed the whole playing field. Because the prison system doesnât affect a significant percentage of young white men weâll increasingly see prisoners treated as commodities. For now the situation is a bit more benign than it was back in the nineteenth century but Iâm not sure it will stay that way for long."

Side Bar

    Private prison companies have been predictably enthusiastic about the booming market for convict labor. Between 1980 and 1994, the value of goods produced by prisoners rose from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Prisoners now make articles such as clothes, car parts, computer components, shoes, golf balls, soap, furniture and mattresses, in addition to staffing jailhouse telemar-keting data entry and print shop operations. Some states have even begun assigning prisoners to institutions after matching up their job skills with a prisonâs labor needs.

    Prisoners at state-run institutions generally receive the minimum wage, though in some states, such as Colorado, wages fall to as low at $2 per hour (workers receive only about 20 per cent of that amount, with the rest going to pay room and board, victims compensation programs and other fees). As an added bonus, companies that employ prison labor have no need to offer benefits, vacation days or sick time to employees and many states offer such firms tax breaks and other advantages as well.

    Lured by such enticements, many big firms have moved eagerly into the prison-industrial complex. Trans World Airlines pays prison workers $5 per hour to book reservations by phone, less than a third of the rate it previously paid to its own employees. The EAU succeeded in shutting down a program at an Ohio prison where the Waste corporation was paying prisoners $2.05 per hour to assemble parts for Honda cars.

    For businesses, the deal is even sweeter at private prisons where pay rates can be as low as 17 cents per hour for a six hour maximum day, which translates into a monthly pay check of about $20. The maximum pay scale at a CCA prison in Tennessee is 50 cents an hour for what are classified as "highly skilled positions." Given such rates itâs not surprising that a prisoner there complained about the relative generosity of publicly-run programs, saying, "At federal prisons you can take home $1.25 per hour and work eight hours a day, sometimes even double shifts. A two, three or four hundred dollars a month check isnât unusual in the feds."

    Thanks to prison labor, America is again attracting the sorts of jobs that were formerly available only to workers of the Third World. A US company operating in Mexicoâs maquiladora zone shut down its data processing shop and moved it to the San Quentin State Prison in California. A Texas factory booted 150 workers and set up shop at a privately-run prison in Lockhart, Texas, where worker/inmates assemble circuit boards for companies including IBM and Compaq. Oregon State Rep. Kevin Mannix has even encouraged Nike to shift production from Indonesia to his home state, saying the shoemaker should "take a look at transportation and labor costs. We could offer competitive prison labor (here)."l
The following article originally appeared in CounterPunch, a Washington, DC-based political newsletter ($40/$25-low-income, CounterPunch, PO Box 18675, Washington, DC 20036.)
Strange Bedfellows
CCAâs Political Connections
by Alex Friedmann
    CCAâs connection with local politics began when the Nashville-based company was formed during Governor Lamar Alexanderâs administration. When CCA made a bid to operate Tennessee's entire prison system in 1985, the governorâs wife, Honey Alexander, was criticized for owning $5,000 of CCA stock. She realized a substantial profit ($100,000) when she converted the stock to a blind trust in order to avoid an apparent conflict of interest.

    CCA chairman emeritus Thomas Beasley, who co-founded the company in 1983, was previously a chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

    Among CCAâs board members is Clayton McWhorter, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Tennessee governor in 1994.

    From 1994-96, Doctor Crants, CCAâs chief executive officer, and CCAâs chairman emeritus Thomas Beasley donated at least $60,491 to Tennessee lawmakers ¾ including $38,500 to Sundquistâs re-election campaign (this includes donations from Beasleyâs wife, Wendy). In 1996 alone, Crants donated $22,450 to 46 state political candidates, including $2,000 to Rep. Randy Rinks, House Democratic Caucus chairman; and $1,350 to Senator Jim Kyle, chairman of the Select Oversight Committee on Corrections. CCA has seven registered political lobbyists in Tennessee.

    In 1995, Governor Sundquist endorsed a controversial arrangement whereby CCA could contract with Hardeman County, TN, to construct and operate a 1,540-bed "jail," funded with $47 million in municipal bonds guaranteed by the state, to house state prisoners. This arrangement circumvented a TN state statute that allows only one privately-managed state prison to operate in Tennessee at a time.

    State Senator Robert Rochelle, who received at least $1,000 in campaign contributions from CCA board members, sponsored a bill to permit privatization of any newly-built state prisons. He has sponsored other legislation on behalf of CCA.

    Peaches Simkins, Governor Sundquistâs former Chief of Staff, reportedly owned CCA stock while she was advising the governor on prison privatization.

    The Speaker of the House in Tennesseeâs General Assembly, Jimmy Naifeh, is married to CCA political lobbyist Betty Anderson.

    In terms of connections on a U.S. Congressional level, CCA employs several former high-ranking members of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as well as Dr. Tyree Tanner, the brother of U.S. Representative John S. Tanner.


  • Guest
Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 10:19:33 pm »  there is way too much on this link.  It is basically a rap sheet, rather than the intent of this thread.  I am sorry.

Adams County Correctional Facility, Natchez, Mississippi
April 21, 2009 Natchez Democrat
Eric Staiger just moved to Natchez and now he and his family need a place to live. Staiger is a newly hired assistant warden at the Correction Corporations of America facility and has not been able to find rental housing since he began searching prior to his move to Natchez. “It’s been a challenge so far,” Staiger said of locating a rental house for himself, his wife and their two kids. He started his search on the Internet before he left his home in Ohio. “I thought it would be easier,” he said. “Now I’m just relying on word of mouth and working with my Realtor.” And Natchez Realtor Sue Stedman said while she’s thrilled to see job growth in the community, she isn’t surprised by Staiger’s struggle. “There aren’t many rentals out there right now,” Stedman said. “And some people are going to notice a shortage.” But Stedman said while rentals can be hard to come by, the sale market in Natchez is doing well. Stedman said the number of houses for sale in the area has reached pre-Katrina levels. But that won’t help Staiger. CCA Warden Vance Laughlin said upper level management at the prison is being hired from within the company. Laughlin said his group of managers is coming to the area with the intent of being promoted out of Adams County, and are not in the market to buy a house. “They need rentals,” Laughlin said.

March 15, 2009 Natchez Democrat
Last week, as most of the Adams County Supervisors were in town taking care of county business, one supervisor was in the nation’s capital taking county business to a whole other level. Supervisor Darryl Grennell was in Washington D.C. for the National Association of Counties’ Legislative Conference, and in the midst of lectures and meetings Grennell was able to meet with some of the nation’s higher-ups to talk county business. On Monday, Grennell was able to meet with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran to discuss several issues pertinent to Adams County. “I think it was a very productive meeting,” Grennell said. “He was very receptive.” Grennell said while no formal actions came from the meeting, he was glad to have had the opportunity to make Cochran aware of what’s going on in Adams County. Grennell said he and Cochran were able to discuss the repair projects at Marblestone Alley and West Stiers Lane, acquisition of federal stimulus money for road repairs in the county and the new Corrections Corporation of America prison. “Basically he said he’d make some phone calls on the county’s behalf,” Grennell said. “It went well.” While work on the Marblestone Alley and West Stiers projects isn’t new, Grennell said he was grateful to have had a chance to talk about stimulus funding and the CCA prison. The county hasn’t gotten any firm commitments on stimulus funding and the prison is currently without prisoners since it has not secured any contracts that would provide inmates. “Hopefully this can get the ball rolling,” Grennell said. Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he hopes the county will be able to see positive results from Grennell’s visit. “It’s always good to have connections,” Lazarus said. “It’s big. It keeps our name at the top of the list when projects come up. It’s very helpful for us.”

January 8, 2009 Natchez Democrat
On Dec. 1 Corrections Corporation of America completed construction at its new prison on U.S. 84, but the facility is without prisoners. Warden Vance Laughlin said the facility looks great.
The halls are quiet, the beds are empty and there aren’t any guards on duty. And that won’t change anytime soon. Laughlin said he’s not expecting any inmates until at least June. The hold up comes from a missing, but crucial, federal contract. Once in place, it’s the contract that will fill the jail with the all-important prisoners. The contract, which was originally expected to be in place by Oct. 1, is “delayed indefinitely,” Laughlin said. Laughlin said he’s hoping it will be in place by the first quarter of this year. But once the contract is in place it will be at least 120 days before the prison sees its first inmate. That 120-day period will be used for hiring and training guards and other employees. And there’s no clear answer on exactly what’s stalling the contract. Laughlin said he thinks the general economic slow-down has had an impact on the contract. Additionally, the money to be used for the contract has not been finalized. CCA marketing director Steve Owen said he attributes some of the delay to administrative changes as high up as the White House. Owen said those changes have an impact on Congress, which ultimately controls the budget for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. And Congress has yet to finalize the bureau’s 2009 budget. “Government contracts can move slowly,” Owen said. “Sometimes these things can just drag out.” But the slow pace of progress isn’t reason for concern, Owen said. Owen said he’s confident the federal contract will come through — but if it doesn’t there are other options. “Still our focus is on what we pitched the facility for,” he said of CCA’s intent to pursue a federal contract. Both Laughlin and Owen said if the federal contract fails, the prison can, and will, pursue other contracts.

November 3, 2008 Natchez Democrat
If country music songs are to be believed, prison cells are the loneliest places to be, but being warden of a prison with no prisoners isn’t much fun either. Vance Laughlin, warden of the new Adams County Correctional Facility, told members of the Rotary Club of Natchez that he’s got plenty of time on his hands in the next couple of months. Just call if you need a hand with anything, he told the crowd, joking, at least a little. Laughlin said Wednesday that a delay in granting a federal prison contract means the new facility is vacant for just a little while longer. Originally, Corrections Corporation of America, the owner of the private prison, expected the contract would be announced Oct. 1, Laughlin said, but now it looks like it will be in the first quarter of 2009. Originally, CCA had announced they would start accepting job applications in October, but Laughlin said the delay in the contract has delayed the need for hiring just a bit longer. “We’re (still) coming,” Laughlin said. “Once we start hiring, it’s going to be very, very visible … lots of big ads … just give us some time.” The time is no problem, Laughlin said, in fact he said he’s looking at it as a positive factor. “From my perspective, as warden, it gives me another two to three months to get things set up,” he said. Construction on the $140 million, 2,500-bed facility is expected to be complete by Dec. 1, he said. But even if CCA receives the much-anticipated contract to house illegal immigrant prisoners — ones who will likely be deported after their sentences are served — the first prisoner would not report to the facility until 120 days after the contract is awarded. But, Laughlin said, CCA would begin screening applicants the very next day after the contract is awarded. “We’re very hopeful for this contract, but we could not get it,” he said. “If so, we have a plan B and we have a plan C. “The (Federal) Bureau (of Prisons) is a very important customer so they get first shot,” he said.

April 21, 2008 AP
Gov. Haley Barbour has signed into law a bill that gives a privately owned jail in Natchez the authority to house federal and state inmates
. The Adams County Correctional Center is currently under construction and is slated to be completed in December 2008. Barbour said signing "this legislation is appropriate as the state continues to find alternative housing solutions for our growing inmate population." Governor. The correctional facility is located on more than 140 acres in southwest Mississippi near Natchez. It is owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America.

August 1, 2007 Clarion Ledger
A 1,668-bed private prison being built in Adams County secured the final $500,000 in matching funds today to extend the Natchez sewer lines to the site. The Delta Regional Authority will provide that money for the Corrections Corporation of America prison, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2008. Funding for the sewer project will accelerate completion of the project, which is expected to create approximately 300 jobs. The funding was announced today in a joint news release from Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, Gov. Haley Barbour and 3rd District U.S. Chip Pickering. "Southwest Mississippi is an important part of our state and this new facility will help create economic confidence in the area by generating hundreds of new jobs," Cochran said in the news release. Lott noted in the news release that the sewer project has an additional benefit. "Anytime you expand or upgrade water or waste water service, it is a well-placed, long-term investment in the community that can promote new residential and commercial growth," he said.

June 12, 2007 Natchez Democrat
The board of aldermen agreed on a more binding agreement between the city and county governments regarding water and sewer services to a private prison Tuesday. Walter Brown, who represents the private prison company CCA and the city waterworks, asked the aldermen to sign an interlocal agreement. The agreement would spell out more specific responsibilities of the parties involved, Brown said. The city and county are applying for grants to fund the water and sewer infrastructure to the proposed prison near Cranfield. An interlocal agreement would help secure those grant monies, Brown said. The project will still require no city or county taxpayer money, he said. The interlocal agreement would simply say, “We’re doing our part of the project, and they’re doing theirs,” Brown said. Because CCA wants to meet the GO Zone deadline to benefit from financial incentives, time was short, Brown said. “CCA still wants to take the deed by July 1,” Brown said. “We’re really under the gun to meet their timeline.” Some of the parties involved, such as Adams County Water Association and the county have asked for changes to the original draft of the agreement, he said, so he did not have the final document at Tuesday’s meeting. That didn’t sit well with Alderman James “Ricky” Gray. “It’s kind of unusual for me to sit up here and vote for something I haven’t seen and the city attorney hasn’t read over,” Gray said. “I like to read over something before I vote and sign it.” Since time was of the essence, Alderman Jake Middleton suggested the board give the mayor and board attorney authorization to review the document before they signed it. “I don’t think they’re going to sign off on something that’s not beneficial,” Middleton said. Brown said he would be happy to get copies of the draft to anyone interested. The board voted authority to the mayor to sign the agreement.

May 3, 2007 Natchez Democrat
The new prison needs $4 million in water and sewer infrastructure, but if all goes as planned, the county and city won’t have to shell out a penny of their own. If plans fall through, the money may come out of taxes the company would be paying to the county. Adams County Water Association plans to provide the water, and Natchez Water Works will provide the sewer for the Corrections Corporation of America private prison near Cranfield. However, they need the money for things like labor, pipes and a water tank. So the city and county are looking to get money through grants that private CCA can’t get. The county board of supervisors approved the project Tuesday and asked the Southwest Mississippi Development District to hunt for grants and loans. Such grants could come from several places, including federal funds and the Delta Regional Authority, attorney Walter Brown said. Hopefully, the grants won’t require matching funds, said Brown, who represents CCA locally and Natchez Water Works. “A 10 percent match is normally required, but we’ve asked for it to be waived,” Brown said. “If not, we’ll figure out how to handle it. Most logical would be a tax increment financing bond.” Such a bond would use the company’s future taxes to pay off the debt. That way, the county isn’t losing any money it currently has, Brown said. Previously, CCA and county representatives said no city or county money would be required if the prison located in Adams County. That worries Supervisor Henry Watts. “Full disclosure is always my concern — full disclosure on the front end, letting the supervisors know,” Watts said. “Give us a good idea what kind of money the taxpayers of Adams County are having to put up, not only on the prison but on any proposal.” Tuesday’s supervisors meeting was the first time Watts said he had heard the county might need to play a role in the prison project. “It was the first time I’d heard we were actually going to have to put up money,” Watts said. “Am I scared of that? No. But right now, we have no idea how much money we’d have to put up.”

Bartlett State Jail, Temple, Texas
February 25, 2009 FOX 7
A former corrections employee, armed with a gun, had a central Texas jail on full alert this morning. A swat team was called out to the Bartlett State Jail around 11:00 Tuesday for a hostage situation. The standoff ended early Wednesday morning, when a former employee of this jail was taken into custody. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice tells us the woman confronted a current employee in the parking lot late last night. Another employee came out to see what was going on, and the former employee pulled out a gun and took the two men hostage, forcing them back into the jail. That brought out the swat team and DPS, and the jail was locked down. The hostages were in the jail's visitation area and were able to escape. At that point, this was a standoff between the woman with the gun and the law enforcement officers outside. By 1:25 this morning, the TDCJ spokesperson tells us the woman was taken into custody and taken to the Williamson county jail in Georgetown. This is a state jail under the authority of t-d-c-j, but it's run by a private company called corrections corporation of America. The woman accused of taking two employees hostages here is a former employee, who stopped working here about a year ago.

Kyndall Dwight James, 22, who escaped from the Bartlett State Jail in 2000, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of escape, a second-degree felony, and unlawful use of a motor vehicle, a state jail felony. James was sentenced to 20 years in prison. David Lee Sanders, a second Bartlett inmate accused of escaping with James, will stand trial today. (The Statesman, January 8, 2002)

Two convicted felons escape after breaking into the maintenance shop and stealing a cutting tool to cut through the 12-foot perimeter fence. They were caught the next day after a high speed car chase that ended with the escapees' stolen truck tires being shot out. (Austin American-Statesman, August 29, 2000)

Bay County Correctional Facility, Panama City, Florida
May 7, 2009 News Herald
Corrections Corporation of America is cutting 52 positions from the Bay Correctional Facility, officials said Thursday. "While some of these positions are currently vacant, there are 29 employees who will be affected by this staff restructuring," Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA management said in a news release. The layoffs primarily will affect instructors and counselors at the facility but also will impact some correctional officers and support staff, officials said. The cuts are expected to take place May 24. Prison officials added they are assessing which programs will be axed because of the layoffs. Officials said safety at the medium-security prison will not be affected by the cuts. "This reduction in force is a painful but necessary action in response to the state's ongoing fiscal challenges and the budgetary actions taken to date," Warden Bill Spivey said in a news release. "We will work closely with our affected employees who wish to continue their careers with CCA to identify transfer opportunities at one of the company's other 63 facilities operated nationwide. "It is our sincere hope that the economic health of the state will improve such that these employees and the important programs and services they provide can be restored," Spivey said.

April 2, 2009 News-Herald
A prison corrections officer was arrested Thursday after she allegedly smuggled contraband in to an inmate she had established a relationship with. Sonja Ann Powell, of Bonifay, was arrested on charges of smuggling contraband into a correctional facility, according to Bay County Sheriff's Office officials. Authorities said Powell, 35, a corrections officer at the privately run Bay Correctional Facility, reportedly smuggled a cell phone to Francis Marshall and Frank Gomez, two inmates at Bay Correctional Facility. Officials said investigators discovered information indicating Powell and Marshall had become involved. "Messages that we were able to get from them would indicate they had a very strong friendship with an emotional attachment," Bay County Spokeswoman Ruth Corley said. Officials said Marshall and Gomez are members of a gang called the Latin Mafia and used the cell phone to talk with a former guard at the institution and a woman with whom Gomez had established a relationship. The phone was allegedly used to send nude photos of the inmates and to receive nude photos of others. Officials said Marshall will face an additional charge of possession of contraband in a state correctional facility. Gomez will face two counts of the same charge.

November 25, 2008 WMBB TV13
Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen announces the arrest of a prison guard, Kennedy Eugene Patterson, B/M, 08/14/1970, of 734 Redwood Avenue, Panama City; FL. Patterson was employed by Corrections Corporation of America. Investigators arrested Patterson today for Trafficking in Hydrocodone and Attempted Introduction of Contraband in a Correctional Facility. Also arrested was Patterson’s girlfriend, Latisha Lanetta Ward, B/F, 06/04/1979, 607 East 7th Street, Panama City, FL. Investigators received information from a CCA staff member that Patterson was involved in smuggling contraband into the prison to inmates. Investigators out of the Special Investigations Division were working in an undercover capacity. Along with an informant, they were able to set up a meeting with Patterson where he agreed to smuggle several ounces of Marijuana into an inmate along with Hydrocodone for an exchange of $800.00. Patterson and Ward were booked into the Bay County Jail today and will make first appearance on the charges tomorrow.



  • Guest
Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2009, 10:40:06 pm »
Published on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 in the Wall Street Journal
Going Backwards
Federal Government Saves Private Prisons As State Convict Population Levels Off
by Joseph T. Hallinan
CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. -- Like pioneers from an earlier time, Corrections Corp. of America nearly met its demise here in the Mojave Desert.

The private-prison operator spent $106 million in 1998 to build a giant prison in the sand, confident it would land a contract to house California prisoners. What CCA officials didn't anticipate, however, was a sudden stall in the growth of California's prison population and fierce opposition from unionized state prison guards worried about their jobs. The prison remained empty and helped push CCA, then struggling with management problems and mounting debt, to the brink of financial disaster.

The company's desperation should have presented an opportunity to Uncle Sam. While state prison populations appeared to be leveling off, the head counts in federal prisons were growing more rapidly than ever, fueled by tougher drug and immigration laws. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons needed more beds, and the empty prison here offered immediately available capacity. Presumably, the bureau could negotiate a fire-sale price.

Bonanza for CCA

As it turned out, the contract signed last year was a bonanza for CCA. The Bureau of Prisons agreed to pay above-market prices and, on top of that, big cash bonuses if the company achieved vaguely defined performance targets.

Most important, the Bureau of Prisons guaranteed CCA a 95% occupancy rate -- an arrangement almost never included in state private-prison contracts, which typically base payment on the number of beds actually filled. Here in California City, the federal government agreed to pay for 95% of the beds, whether it needs them or not. For now, the prison is full, but the guarantee provides important insurance if demand flags again.

The government didn't stop with CCA, which sparked the creation of the private-prison market nearly 20 years ago and now commands 52% of it. Of the five private prisons now operating under contract with the Bureau of Prisons, three belong to CCA and two to Wackenhut Corrections Corp., the industry's No. 2 player, which has had its own financial problems. All of the contracts are generous by conventional industry standards, as they include occupancy guarantees and long-term renewal options.

What's more, the Bureau of Prisons is expected in coming months to announce additional similarly structured private-prison deals, involving a total of 6,000 beds and more than $1 billion in potential revenue over time. The bureau's offer of occupancy guarantees is "the reason why we're so excited about the federal side," Steven Logan, chairman and chief executive of Cornell Cos., the No. 3 publicly traded prison company, told Wall Street analysts in June. Federal officials, he added, "cut you that check every month," whether or not the cells are full.

For more than three years, the private-prison business has been floundering. A decade-long prison-building boom among states has slowed markedly, while bad publicity about escapes and violence at certain for-profit lockups has raised questions about the companies' competence.

Now, even as the national economy slogs through a recession and a disaster-era federal budget tightens, Washington is effectively throwing the industry a life preserver.

The Bureau of Prisons says its purpose isn't to rescue CCA and the other companies. Bureau officials at first resisted the push for privatization during the mid-1990s by the Clinton administration and Congress. And bureau officials still disagree with the industry contention that outsourcing prisons saves taxpayers money.

In fact, the federal prison agency's ambivalence over privatization helps explain why it has been so generous to the prison companies. Forced by higher political authorities to do business with the industry, a proud and reluctant U.S. prison bureaucracy has embraced the idea that to replicate its own high standards, it has to pay the private sector a premium.

Expensive Experiment

If privatization at the federal level turns out to be an expensive experiment, the chances that Congress or the White House would push for broad-scale outsourcing of federal prisons would diminish. The public system would survive largely intact, and public employees would keep their jobs.

Bureau officials say privatization gives them more flexibility to deal with surges in particular inmate populations, such as illegal immigrants. "We don't sit around and strategize how we can make the contractors look bad or look more expensive," Michael Janus, the bureau's outsourcing chief, says.

Asked to explain the above-market contracts and bonuses, he responds that "price is way down on the list" of factors important to his agency. The federal government, he adds, wants the best prisons, not necessarily the cheapest.

It doesn't hurt relations between the companies and the federal government that CCA and Wackenhut have hired numerous former Bureau of Prisons officials, including those who now serve as wardens of all five of the federal prisons that have been privatized so far. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman says the hiring of former officials has no bearing on contracting decisions.

For their part, CCA officials say that at California City they are providing an almost-new facility and top-notch services that merit premium pay. Even with the recent addition of five private prisons to the federal government's 100 publicly owned and operated facilities, the federally run lockups still have more inmates overall than their stated capacity. "We think [the Bureau of Prisons] could probably use us more," says CCA's chief executive, John Ferguson.

Since CCA opened its pioneering private prison in Tennessee in 1984, government use of such facilities has been controversial. Critics argue that only officials accountable to the public should be trusted with the welfare of inmates.

But prisons cost a fortune -- $50 million and up, as a rule of thumb -- and private industry long had argued that it could house and manage prisoners less expensively than government. By 1997, CCA, based in Nashville, Tenn., had 47 prisons, healthy profits and a soaring stock price.

Encouraged by a national trend toward locking up more drug felons for longer periods of time, CCA built prisons based on speculation that states would rent space in them. In 1998, it acted "on spec" when it put up the one here in California City.

But then trouble struck. After California's prison population jumped by 22% from 1993 to 1996, the growth rate began to slow -- to 3.9% in 1998 and then to only 0.7% in 1999. That made the state a less-eager potential customer. Resistance from the politically potent prison-guard union, which feared privatization of public-sector jobs, ended any hope that state inmates would fill the California City facility.

And CCA was having difficulties elsewhere. A rash of inmate escapes and guard-brutality cases led to harsh media attention and contributed to jitters on Wall Street about prison companies' stock. In one of the most-notorious examples, two inmates were killed by other inmates and six escaped from a medium-security CCA prison in Ohio during separate incidents in 1998.

Privatization opponents pointed to such events as evidence that the industry was incompetent or negligent. CCA and its rivals countered that the incidents illustrated only isolated problems and that, on the whole, private prisons are on a par with public.

Meanwhile, CCA's financial management was faltering. Long-term debt taken on to finance its building boom climbed to $1.09 billion in 1999, from $127 million only two years earlier. The company began losing money -- $730 million in 2000. Its stock dropped to $4.50 a share in 1999, from nearly $45 in 1997. In 2000, it fell as low as 19 cents.

As states around the country began to ease the Draconian sentencing laws that helped the industry get established in the first place, the future looked bleak for CCA. The one ray of hope came from Washington.

Founded in 1930, the Bureau of Prisons remains in the shadow of its parent agency, the U.S. Justice Department. But the BOP, as it's known in Washington, prides itself on being the class operation in its field.

The BOP had resisted suggestions from the Clinton administration that the federal government privatize prisons. "The BOP was adamantly opposed to it," says a former career Justice Department official involved in internal discussions about privatization. "Although they would never say it," the official adds, "I think they were afraid of the camel's nose," meaning that even a small move toward privatization could lead to the eventual outsourcing of most federal prison work.

In a July 1999 "Message to All Bureau of Prisons Employees Regarding Privatization," the agency's director, Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, tried to reassure subordinates that they weren't going to lose their jobs to privatization. For one thing, she wrote, the prison companies hadn't "established an acceptable track record" for "the incarceration of medium- or high-security inmates."

Nevertheless Clinton administration officials intent on "reinventing" government did see privatization as a means of holding down the growth in the BOP's work force, which had nearly doubled during the 1980s, to 19,000 employees. In 1995, as part of his budget proposal to Congress for the next fiscal year, President Clinton said his administration planned to privatize the management and operations "of most future federal [prison] facilities under construction."

This proposal was enthusiastically received in Congress, where CCA, Wackenhut and Cornell were lobbying for broader privatization. From 1995 to 2000, the three companies made a total of more than $528,000 in federal campaign contributions -- much of it in "soft money" given to the political parties, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C.

The Justice Department, acting on behalf of the BOP, continued to raise safety concerns about privatization, but the momentum was too strong. A Republican-controlled Senate appropriations subcommittee put language in a spending bill in 1996, directing the BOP to launch its first privately operated prison, in Taft, Calif. A spokesman for Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the subcommittee chairman at the time, declines to comment.

The bureau had little choice but to comply. It hired Wackenhut for the job. Congress intervened again in 1997, ordering the BOP to take responsibility for certain inmates in Washington, D.C.'s corrections system.

The BOP didn't warm quickly to privatization. "We did not pursue this change in the Bureau's approach to private contracting," Dr. Sawyer, a BOP veteran who holds a doctorate in counseling and rehabilitation, wrote in her 1999 memorandum.

She noted that "private prison companies often seek business by promising to federal and state legislators that they can provide comparable services at a reduced cost." These industry claims "have not been proven," she stated. But "we cannot ignore them. Some legislators and other policymakers are convinced the cost savings are real."

The BOP opposed broad privatization but recognized that many in Congress viewed outsourcing as a thrifty strategy. Meanwhile, the federal-prison population was expanding rapidly.

By the end of the 1990s, declining rates of violent and property crime, combined with some easing of state sentencing laws, contributed to an apparent leveling off in state prison head counts. But the opposite was happening in the smaller federal system. Harsher federal drug-sentencing laws enacted in the 1980s kept tens of thousands of inmates in federal prisons for longer terms. And tough immigration legislation in 1996 led to sharp increases in the arrest and incarceration of so-called criminal aliens.

Last year, the federal inmate population expanded at a brisk 7.5% rate, to a total of 145,416. BOP officials say they had no choice but to go along with additional outsourcing to handle some of the growth.

But, Dr. Sawyer wrote in her 1999 memo, "we must be cost-competitive with the private-sector companies in order to argue against further congressional mandates for privatization." One way she has done that is cutting the BOP's own costs.

Another factor that has helped keep the BOP cost-competitive with the private sector is the relatively high cost of the bureau's private-prison contracts.

The BOP's approach to determining how much to pay prison contractors indicated a remarkable solicitousness toward the industry's financial concerns. The bureau's Mr. Janus says that the agency held two rounds of "interchange" meetings with industry representatives, the first in 1995 and the second about two years ago. The bureau organized the meetings, which were private and held with one company at a time, because it was "searching for ideas of mutual benefit to both the government and contracting community," he says.

Marvin H. Wiebe, senior vice president for government affairs with Cornell, says the meeting he attended in late 1998 or early 1999 at the BOP's Washington office, was "outstanding, phenomenal." He recalls that as many as 10 bureau officials listened as he outlined the contracting terms his company would like to see in federal-prison contracts. "We were asking for 100% occupancy" guaranteed, he says. "And they came back with what I thought was a very fair and creative plan, which is that they guaranteed 95% occupancy."

Louise Green, a spokeswoman for CCA, says employees currently with the company "didn't have any conversations" of this sort with the BOP, although ex-employees may have. Wackenhut employees attended meetings with bureau officials, says Margaret Pearson, a company spokeswoman. But the company declines to make those employees available or comment further.

BOP officials decline to discuss in detail why they went along with the industry's suggestion of occupancy guarantees, sometimes known as take-or-pay provisions. In a written statement responding to questions on the topic, the bureau says: "In formulating our approach, we solicited input from the corrections industry and other independent correctional experts. Based on our own data and feedback from the private-corrections industry, we determined that payment for 95% of designated capacity was appropriate."

Mr. Janus adds that paying for the exclusive use of an entire prison gives the federal government more leverage in determining how a facility is managed. That reasoning is roughly akin to that of a company that rents an entire hotel for a conference, instead of just the rooms its employees occupy -- an analogy that Mr. Janus accepts.

As an additional plum, the BOP promised companies substantial bonuses for "optimum performance" in three areas: overall work quality, responsiveness and management of "quality-control" programs.

The idea of awarding performance bonuses and agreeing to take-or-pay guarantees startles some state-prison officials, who otherwise generally express respect for their federal counterparts. Montana, for example, offers neither take-or-pay nor bonuses to CCA, which operates a 500-bed medium-security prison in the town of Shelby. "We expect them to do a good job," says Pat Smith, contracting chief for the Montana Department of Corrections. "If they don't, we fire them."

Asked whether any CCA customers, other than the federal government, provide bonus payments, company spokesman Steven M. Owen says, "I'm not aware of any that come to mind." None of Wackenhut's state contracts has bonus provisions, either, says Ms. Pearson.

Apart from financial considerations, the BOP didn't see the highly publicized incidents of violence or escapes at some private prisons as an obstacle to hiring the industry. The bureau's Mr. Janus says those kinds of events happen periodically in all prison systems, including the BOP.

Still, the bureau shares the view of many private-prison skeptics that the industry lacks sufficient competence to handle medium- and high-security inmates. That is why the BOP limited its private contracts to only the least-risky inmates, those classified as low- or minimum-security, Mr. Janus says. Most inmates in the bureau's growing population of criminal aliens fall into those categories.

In the fall of 1999, the BOP sought industry proposals for housing criminal-alien prisoners in the Southwest. CCA put in the winning proposal.

In June 2000, with CCA losing money and its California City facility sitting empty, the BOP awarded the company the biggest contract in private-prison history. Covering both California City and a second CCA facility in Cibola County, N.M., the deal promised the company a minimum of $68.7 million a year in revenue, the equivalent of 22% of CCA's total 2000 revenue. The deal, which spanned three years, with seven one-year options to renew, could be worth $760 million over the 10-year period. The day it was announced, CCA's stock rose 56%.

Almost all of the roughly 2,300 criminal aliens held at the California City prison have been convicted of one of three offenses: illegal entry into the country, illegal re-entry, or possession or trafficking of drugs. As low- and minimum-security inmates, they are less expensive to guard than more-dangerous prisoners, who require greater security.

Yet the BOP agreed to pay an annual average of $21,880 per inmate at California City, or slightly more than the $21,601 the agency spends, on average, throughout the entire federal system, including medium- and high-security inmates.

As a result of its occupancy guarantees, the BOP sometimes pays more than the $21,880 average. California City is fully occupied now. But as of Oct. 11, at its sister CCA prison in Cibola County, N.M., 877 of 961 beds under contract -- 91% -- were occupied. The cost of paying for the extra 4%, to fulfill its take-or-pay guarantee, has hiked the BOP's annualized per-prisoner cost at Cibola to $23,777 -- 10% higher than the average cost at BOP-run prisons overall.

The BOP has included the 95% guarantee in all five of its existing private prisons, three of which are operating below capacity. Future federal-prison contracts are also expected to include such guarantees.

The good news for CCA doesn't end there. In May, the company learned it would receive a $520,000 bonus for its successful operation of the prison at California City and a third facility it operates for the BOP, at Eloy, Ariz. For a company that had a loss of $5.3 million for the first quarter this year, that's a significant amount.

As set out in the written BOP contract, the objective of the bonus "is to afford the contractor an opportunity to earn [an] increased fee commensurate with the achievement of the optimum performance." Unofficially, says Mr. Janus, "it avoids the haggling that sometimes takes place in a contractual negotiation." Since privatization of federal prisons began in 1997, the BOP says it has paid a total of $2.3 million in bonuses to CCA and Wackenhut.

A look at what states pay private prisons makes CCA's federal contract look even richer. Here in California City, the company receives $57.48 per inmate a day at full occupancy. In Mississippi, by contrast, CCA gets just $28.29 a head a day. In Idaho, it gets $37.60; in Montana, $51.59.

"Do we pay a little bit more?" asks the BOP's Mr. Janus. "Probably. But I think we get a better service."

By service, Mr. Janus says, he means a range of things, from the recreational programs a prison offers inmates to how accommodating it is in meeting BOP requests. For instance, he says, the occupancy guarantees and bonuses ensure that when the BOP doubles to 80 from 40 the number of prisoners it delivers to California City during a particular week, CCA won't grumble. The government values another kind of flexibility, as well, he adds. Rather than financing construction of new prisons for criminal aliens, the BOP has committed itself to only three years of service at California City. After that, if illegal immigration eases or there is a move to legalize some of those who have entered the country unlawfully, the BOP can walk away from the private prison.

At the California City facility, 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Warden Percy Pitzer says that high on the list of services that warrant generous pay is inmate rehabilitation. In the hobby-craft room, for instance, inmates spend their days at plywood tables making elaborate jewelry boxes from toothpicks and Popsicle sticks. In an indication of how rarely violence is a problem here, the inmates are allowed to use razor-blade-equipped box cutters in their craft work.

Privatization of federal prisons will continue to expand, the BOP predicts. CCA's Mr. Ferguson says he very much looks forward to more federal contracts. "We treasure the Bureau," he says.

Copyright 2001 Wall Street Journal

Offline Volitzar

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Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2009, 12:23:40 am »
Privatizing of Prisons will lead to the end of unions and decent wages.

Offline jofortruth

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Re: Private prisons - Separate reference thread - CIA/Wackenhut (GEO Corp)
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2009, 09:01:58 pm »
AP Enterprise: Montana Jail Deal Raises Questions:

An attorney for American Police Force, Maziar Mafi, describes the Santa Ana, Calif., company as a fledgling spin-off of a major security firm founded in 1984.

Guess what major security firm was founded in 1984?

Another leading US firm in this rapidly developing market is Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, founded in 1984.[/color]
Don't believe me. Look it up yourself!