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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.

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Articles about Private Prisons

How a Private Prison Company’s Defamation Suit Against One of Its Critics Backfired

A judge finds that CoreCivic played a role in the family separation crisis.

by Madison Pauley, Mother Jones, December 11, 2020

he mother who would end the Trump administration’s family separation policy arrived at the US-Mexico border in November 2017 with her 6-year-old daughter in tow. Ms. L, as she is called in court documents, told the US border guards at the San Ysidro, California, port of entry that she and her daughter had fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo and were seeking asylum. They passed an initial screening and for a few nights were sent to a facility that seemed, to Ms. L, like a motel. Then, according to a legal complaint, officers put her and her daughter in separate rooms. Through the wall, she could hear her daughter screaming. The girl was sent to a shelter in Chicago. Ms. L was transferred to Otay Mesa Detention Center, a for-profit immigration lockup outside San Diego run by CoreCivic, a private prison company.

Over the following months, the forced separation of migrant families would become one of the greatest scandals of Donald Trump’s presidency, as his appointees implemented a plan to separate parents from their children as a deterrent ...

Federal Judge Slaps ICE, GEO Group Over “Abominable Performance” and Officials Who Lied During Testimony

This was the second preliminary injunction Judge Vince Chhabria had granted in the case. A June 2020 ruling had left it up to ICE and the GEO Group to develop their own plan to test newly arriving detainees at the facility for COVID-19 and to isolate those who tested positive. The judge said that his prior ‘‘decision to avoid being intrusive turned out to be a mistake.’’

The lawsuit that sparked these rulings was filed in April 2020 by immigrant detainees who accused ICE of unconstitutional indifference to their risk of contracting the coronavirus at the Mesa Verde facility. They were joined in the suit by a separate group of ICE detainees at another California facility, the Yuba County Jail, which is not privately operated.

Ruling for the ...

Private Prison Companies Face Stock Crash, Credit Crunch

At the close of trading the first week of 2021, both firms’ stocks were significantly off their 52-week highs achieved the previous winter, before the March 2020 market crash related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the broader market had largely recovered, shares of Florida-based GEO Group, the larger of the pair with nearly $2.5 billion in 2019 revenues, had lost over half their value, tumbling 53 percent to close at $8.68. Tennessee-based CoreCivic, which recorded just under $2 billion in 2019 revenues, had seen its stock price fall even farther — 63 percent — to close at $6.69.

As a result of its declining market value, CoreCivic was demoted in August 2020 from the S&P Midcap 400 to the S&P SmallCap 600, indexes used by investors ...

New Mexico Corrections Pays $1.4 Million to Settle Whistleblower Complaint Alleging Retaliation for Exposing Deficiencies in Corizon Medical Care

An October 15, 2020 report from the Santa Fe New Mexican revealed that in March 2020, the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) paid $1.4 million to settle a whistleblower complaint that exposed deficiencies of private health-care provider Corizon Correctional Health Care (Corizon) and the NMCD’s failure to ...

CoreCivic Sued Over Prisoner Who Committed Suicide in Tennessee Prison

The incident and subsequent cover-up attempts led to a futile referral for criminal prosecution, though two employees were dismissed by CoreCivic, the nation’s second-largest private prison operator with 2019 revenues of $1.981 billion.

According to a report by The Jackson Sun, CoreCivic’s four Tennessee prisons have a suicide rate nearly double that of prisons operated by the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC), accounting for 63 percent of the state’s prisoner suicides despite holding just 35 percent of the prisoner population.

Addison Smith, 27, was transferred to the South Tennessee Correctional Center in Clifton from the firm’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility in Hartsville on July 23, 2019. He was placed in administrative segregation because of suicide attempts and hallucinations dating back to his initial bipolar disorder diagnosis at age 10. He told a mental health counselor at the prison that he had been off his psychiatric ...

CoreCivic and Securus Technologies Agree to Pay $3.7 Million to Settle Suit for Illegally Recording Attorney-Client Conversations

Private Health Care Services in County Jails Comes at High Price

The 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that deliberate indifference to a jail detainee’s health care constituted “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,” violating the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment and opened the door for those in the jails’ care to file suit and hold the jails accountable. Subsequently, the 1980s saw the birth of the private health-care industry to help cover costs and shoulder this responsibility.

Next, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in the 2000s saw the closure of mental health hospitals and ensuing growth of county jail populations and therefore, the private health care industry. By 2010, 62% of the nation’s jails had privatized medical care.

But Reuters points out that utilization of the health care industry ...

$40,000 Settlement for Corizon’s Breach of Contract

Corizon Health paid $40,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging it beached a contract with Nursefinders.

The February 26, 2016, settlement resolved a lawsuit Nursefinders filed in a Virginia state court, but which was removed to a federal court, on March 20, 2015.

Nursefinders employs nurses and other health-care professionals for ...

NBA Owner Capitalizes on Mass Incarceration; Players Silent

NBPA members went on a three-day playoff strike in August 2020, triggered by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was left paralyzed, shot seven times as he leaned into a car. The strike resulted in an agreement between the league and players to establish a social-justice coalition and associated advertising with a focus on civic engagement, ballot access and reform of police and the criminal justice system. Franchises that own their own arenas pledged to “work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 election.”

Yet the players and league were strangely silent about one of the owners exploiting incarcerated individuals for profit.

As reported in The American Prospect, Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons NBA franchise, is a billionaire who founded Platinum Equity, a private ...

North Carolina Case Involving Death of Black Prisoner: “I Can’t Breathe,” Revisited

Just before Neville, 56, lapsed into a coma at FCDC on December 2, 2019, he managed to rasp to the sheriff’s deputies and jail nurse who had hogtied him, “I can’t breathe.” Two days later, on December 4, 2019, he died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center without ever having regained consciousness.

In the interim, Kimbrough’s office got O’Neill’s office to drop its charges against Neville. As a result, the death did not technically occur in custody, so the sheriff was relieved of any duty to report its details to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The death was not publicly reported for six months and then only under pressure from the Winston-Salem Journal.

It sounds like they rushed to get him out of custody so they would not have ...