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This site contains over 2,000 news articles, legal briefs and publications related to for-profit companies that provide correctional services. Most of the content under the "Articles" tab below is from our Prison Legal News site. PLN, a monthly print publication, has been reporting on criminal justice-related issues, including prison privatization, since 1990. If you are seeking pleadings or court rulings in lawsuits and other legal proceedings involving private prison companies, search under the "Legal Briefs" tab. For reports, audits and other publications related to the private prison industry, search using the "Publications" tab.

For any type of search, click on the magnifying glass icon to enter one or more keywords, and you can refine your search criteria using "More search options." Note that searches for "CCA" and "Corrections Corporation of America" will return different results. 


Articles about Private Prisons

NaphCare: More Proof That Privatized Healthcare Deals Death and Misery to the Incarcerated to Enhance Profits

by David M. Reutter

A settlement approved by the federal court for the Eastern District of California on January 16, 2024, recalls an all-­too familiar jail story. A wheelchair-­bound detainee named Gregory Cantu was denied anti-­seizure medication after arriving at Kings County Jail in Hanford on a probation violation. Despite ...

Two Kansas Prison Guards Fired, Six Disciplined for Mocking Injured Prisoner and Refusing Her Help

On October 17, 2023, a month after a Topeka Correctional Facility prisoner fell and had to crawl back to her cell because guards refused to help her, the Kansas Department of Corrections (DOC) fired two high-­ranking guards at the prison and disciplined six others for neglecting her medical needs. No one disciplined was named.

The incident unfolded on September 7, 2023, when Elizabeth Wince fell on the sidewalk before 9 p.m. headcount, according to a fellow prisoner, who mentioned three guards by their last names—White, Crone, and Williams—and said they mocked Wince, calling her fat and lazy. Watching Wince crawl back to her cell, a journey which took a painful two hours, one guard allegedly patted her own knee and called out, “Come on, you can do it.”

Between her fall and that crawl, Wince had been denied treatment in the medical clinic. The following day, on September 8, 2023, she was hospitalized after her foot turned black. She then spent several weeks recovering from multiple broken bones in her foot. Meanwhile the guards reportedly attempted to justify their behavior by saying they thought Wince was faking her symptoms. After DOC fired or disciplined those involved, it characterized the guards’ ...

Third Circuit Unhappy with Federal Detainee’s Denied Marriage Request at Pennsylvania GEO Group Lockup

On September 19, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit revived a claim by Brian Davis, a Jamaican national held for four years at Pennsylvania’s Moshannon Valley Correctional Center (MVCC). The prison is privately operated by the Florida-­based GEO Group, Inc., primarily housing low security noncitizens for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

While there, Davis requested to wed his fiancée, Fredricka Beckford. But his requests were denied, although he had complied with MVCC’s marriage policy—one he contended was more restrictive than BOP’s; in fact, no prisoners had been allowed to marry there since GEO Group assumed operational control.

In 2016, after Davis was released and deported, he and Beckford filed suit against GEO Group, former MVCC Warden George C. Wigen, former BOP administrator Donna Mellendick and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Field Director David O’Neill, blaming them for preventing the marriage. Proceeding under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the couple raised claims under the Equal Protection Clause, as well as a federal tort claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, asking for a damage award against the federal government under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, (1971). They later ...

Missouri Expands Prison Mail Ban to Include Books Sent by Family, Friends

After banning state prisoners from receiving physical mail the year before, the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) extended the ban on September 25, 2023, to include books sent to prisoners from family or friends.

The rule change means the only way to send a book to a state prisoner is by depositing money in his trust account, which the prisoner can then use to purchase a book directly from an approved vendor. Dylan Pyles, who runs a book-­distributing nonprofit called Liberation Lit, said the idea that prisoners have enough money to buy books is “pretty ridiculous.”

Also ridiculous is this: Before the rule change, those outside prison ordered the same books to be shipped from the same vendors. Noted Missouri Prison Reform Executive Director Lori Curry, “[C]iting drugs as the reason for this new policy…makes no sense unless they’re accusing Amazon of, you know, doing drugs and books.”

DOC Communications Director Karen Pojmann defended the change, saying prisoners were receiving illegal drugs soaked into the pages of books smuggled inside packages cleverly mimicking those from legitimate vendors. But Curry pointed out that since DOC banned physical mail in July 2022, “overdoses have increased, [and] deaths from overdoses have increased,” as ...

Arizona Supreme Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Corizon Health in State Prisoner’s Death from Untreated Diabetes

by Matt Clarke

On October 11, 2023, the Supreme Court of Arizona reversed a grant of partial summary judgment to Corizon Health, the former private medical contractor for the state Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (DCRR), in a suit filed over a state prisoner’s death from allegedly untreated diabetes.

In its ruling, the Court agreed that Plaintiffs’ medical experts did not satisfy requirements for those testifying against a licensed health professional; under state law, ARS § 12-­2604, such testimony can be offered only by experts whose credentials and experience align with those of the provider being sued for malpractice. However, the Court said that “an institution cannot be a licensed health professional because an institution is not a natural person,” so those heightened requirements did not apply to Plaintiffs’ experts when testifying against Corizon Health.

Importantly, the Court also beat back a craven attempt by Corizon Health to say on the one hand that it was forced to let underqualified nurses provide care in the absence of more qualified doctors and then on the other hand argue that Plaintiffs’ expert was underqualified to critique the higher level of care that they tried to provide.

The case was filed on behalf ...

Unsealed Settlement Reveals PrimeCare Medical Paid $337,500 After Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Suicide

by David M. Reutter

On July 12, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania unsealed the settlement agreement between PrimeCare Medical and the Estate of Charles Freitag.

As PLN reported, Freitag, 57, committed suicide on August 25, 2018, at the Bucks County Correctional Facility (BCCF), one ...

“Unethical At Best”: Hawaii Budget Director Charged With Financing New Prison is Former CoreCivic Lobbyist

it would prefer not to run a new Hawaiian lockup, private prison giant CoreCivic is pushing instead to build and lease it—and the firm has a high-placed ally in state Budget and Finance Director Luis Salaveria: Until the end of 2022 he was a registered CoreCivic lobbyist.

In a meeting with the state Senate Ways and Means Committee on September 15, 2023, Salaveria outlined three proposals to finance a $900 million replacement for the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC). Two of those plans involve a “P3” public-private partnership, which CoreCivic has been pushing.

For his lobbying efforts, CoreCivic paid Salaveria $43,100 from 2019 to 2022. He denied consulting with the firm about OCCC financing alternatives—though after years on the other side of the table, he no doubt already knows what CoreCivic wants, as Common Cause Hawaii program manager Camron Hurt pointed out.

“[W]hen citizens say there is a corruption issue, and they say there is a transparency issue, and they say they do not trust the state government, you need not look any further than what you have right here,” he said.

Salaveria said his lobbying efforts focused on the state’s $33.6 million annual contract to hold 872 prisoners ...

Four Dead in One Month in San Bernardino County Jails, $3,232,500 in Settlements Paid So Far

by Douglas Ankney and Casey J. Bastian

A spate of jail deaths in California’s San Bernardino County dating back to 2017 has led to at least four legal settlements totaling $3,232,500. Two additional settlements netted another $35,000 for detainees allegedly beaten by guards. Meanwhile one of the most recent jail ...

$470,000 Settlement After Texas Jail Nurses Fabricate Vital Signs for Detainee Who Died

by Douglas Ankney

On September 14, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dealt a death blow to claims filed by the estate of a Texas jail detainee against the county that held him when he died. But all was not lost for the Estate of Savion ...

Seventh Circuit Says Lack of Expert Testimony Dooms Illinois Prisoner’s Medical Neglect Claim

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit offered an Illinois state prisoner a hard lesson on July 27, 2023, affirming dismissal of his medical neglect claim against prison contractor Wexford Health Sources, Inc., for lack of evidence that expert testimony could have provided.

While playing soccer at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (PCC) in June 2017, Mario Arce was kneed in the thigh. Eventually sent to a hospital, he was given a “strike test” by an orthopedic specialist to check for compartment syndrome, “a serious medical condition that occurs when there is increased pressure in a compartment of the body that results in insufficient blood supply to tissue,” the Court later recalled. Emergency surgery is required to relieve the pressure, which can otherwise “result in tissue death (necrosis) and permanent muscle damage.”

While the results of the strike test were not in the record, Arce contended that the orthopedic specialist said he “needed to be re-tested in two days to determine if he needed surgery.” But the treating physician’s notes indicated only that the orthopedist concluded Arce had a “right thigh contusion”—a bruise—and was “clear for discharge,” with instructions to follow up within two days with an ...