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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

Sixth Circuit Upholds Prisoner’s 18 U.S.C. § 111 Conviction for Assaulting Federally Contracted Private Prison Guard

Federal prisoner Derrick Grant was awaiting sentencing for an armed robbery conviction at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, a privately owned and operated prison, when he decided to punch the next guard he saw. He walked up to a female guard and punched her in the face, which caused bruising on her neck and jaw. He was charged with assaulting a designated person under § 111, eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 months’ imprisonment consecutive to his robbery term. With the assistance of Cincinnati attorney Anna M. Greve of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, he appealed.

The Sixth Circuit noted that 18 U.S.C. §§ 111 and 1114 criminalize assaulting “any officer or employee of the United States … or any person assisting such an officer or employee in the performance of such duties.” It rejected Grant’s argument that the guard was not covered by § 111 ...

Ransomware Attack on GEO Group Exposes Sensitive Information

GEO said it was sending data-breach notification letters to all affected individuals, but the company was unaware of any fraud or misuse of the information.

GEO owns or operates 123 facilities with a total of around 93,000 beds and about 23,000 employees in the U.S., U.K. and South Africa.

In a ransomware attack, criminal hackers penetrate a computer system and encrypt vital data. The system’s user is then offered the encryption key in exchange for payment, generally using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.

The ransomware attack on GEO compromised data for prisoners at South Bay Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility in Florida, a Pennsylvania youth facility and a now-closed facility in California, as well as employee data on two corporate servers.

The data include medical treatment information, which is private under federal law, and information that could be used in identity theft such as name, date of birth, and Social Security number. GEO worked with law enforcement and ...

Vermont Prisoner’s Death Under Investigation: Did Implicit Bias Play Role?

A November 2020 report by Tristam Coffin of the Burlington-based law firm Downs Rachlin Martin, prepared at the request of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Smith, stated that Johnson repeatedly complained that he could not breathe but was nonetheless denied necessary medical attention, possibly due to his race. His findings closely mirrored a July 2020 report prepared by Matthew Valerio, defender general of the PRO.

Johnson had been admitted to the infirmary at NSCF in fall 2019, complaining of shortness of breath, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. The preliminary diagnosis was possible chronic obstructive lung disease. He was placed on steroids and scheduled to see a specialist.

On December 6, 2019, Johnson started showing signs of respiratory distress. He began complaining that he could not breathe and was dizzy. He fell on his way to the bathroom and had to be escorted back to ...

Biden to Phase Out Privately-Run Federal Prisons; Critics Say Plan Too Timid

Biden campaigned on a platform promising to address problems in the corrections system. He said he intended to crack down on police and prosecutorial misconduct, reduce prison population and increase probation efforts, improve immigration conditions, and stop profiting off of prison privatization. He said he would ‘‘make clear that the federal government should not use private facilities for any detention, including detention of undocumented immigrants.

He had a ‘‘Day One’’ agenda of eliminating the Migrant Protection Protocols or ‘‘Remain in Mexico’’ policy, defining citizenship procedures to assist asylum seekers, and create a task force to reunite separated families. Once in office, he signed the United States Citizenship Act of 2021, largely making good on his promises. He signed orders ending the Muslim ban, fortifying protections for DREAMers, stopping construction on the border wall, and putting a ...

Reuters Investigation: Lamentable Medical Care in Jails and Prisons Exposed During Pandemic

As this disease swept around the globe, the focus was on identifying and protecting “vulnerable populations,” including those in jails and prisons. COVID put the national spotlight on these populations and the need to prevent needless deaths in facilities where adequate health care is lacking in the best of times.

These preventative measures are urgently needed in America. No other single nation locks up more of its citizens. America has more than 3,000 jails housing over 745,200 prisoners; 480,000 are still presumed legally innocent. COVID has forced local and state governments to at least partly unwind the practice of mass incarceration. The release of thousands of people was an attempt to mitigate COVID’s devastating ...

Centurion Opts Out of Mississippi Prison Medical Contract

As PLN has reported, rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti created Team Roc, which is team of attorneys, to represent 227 prisoners held at the Mississippi State Prison at Parchman to sue MDOC and Centurion in the wake of seven prisoner deaths over 50 days. The deaths occurred after riots in January 2020 at Parchman and other prisons throughout the state. (See PLN, July 2020, p.1.)

In a July 7, 2020, letter to MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain, Centurion said, “We do not believe we can further improve the effectiveness of our level of care without additional investment from [MDOC] in correctional staffing and infrastructure along the lines of what we have already recommended.” The withdrawal of services became effective on October 5, 2020.

Team Roc attorney Marcy Croft said she hopes the letter gets the attention of Gov. Tate Reeves. “It’s time to invest in the health and well-being of ...

Audits Reveals Problems With Privatized Food Service at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Jail

by Jayson Hawkins

Two audits released July 20, 2020 revealed a series of shortcomings by a food service contractor tasked with providing meals to juvenile detainees and in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.

Florida-based contractor Trinity Services Group was paid $3.5 million to provide three meals a day to prisoners at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center and Allegheny County Jail. The audits were conducted by the County Controller’s office and covered the period of June 2018 to June 2019. Controller Chelsea Wagner’s audits noted what she called “several instances of noncompliance” with contract provisions.

Much of the audit’s 34 pages focused on flawed record-keeping and Trinity either over-charging for meals or failing to reimburse the county for commissions as stipulated in the contract. The Shuman Center overcharged the county by $8,413, including more than $6,000 for food donated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The jail overbilled the county more than $1,600.

There are also discrepancies concerning meals from a program called Trinity Take-Out, which allows prisoners to order specialty items like cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches at prices ranging from $12 to $20. Trinity’s contract with the county provides for the receipt of a 30% commission from Trinity Take-Out sales, but the ...

Private Medical Contractor Wellpath Pays $4.5 Million in Death of Mentally Ill Jail Detainee After Judge Finds It Destroyed Evidence

The family’s attorney, Edwin Budge, said that Marc Moreno “literally died of thirst,” in the jail’s infirmary.

At the time, the infirmary was run by Correct Care Solutions (CCS), the corporate predecessor of Wellpath, both Tennessee-based firms. One of the country’s largest private healthcare providers to prisons and jails, Wellpath reported 2017 revenues of $1.3 billion.

Making the tragedy of the 18-year-old’s death even worse, he wasn’t supposed to be at the jail at all. His family had called the county’s Crisis Response Unit (“CRU”) on March 3, 2016, when Moreno was experiencing a mental health crisis. He had long suffered from “mental illness characterized as bipolar or schizophrenic,” according to Budge.

At CRU, a counselor observed him talking to angels and hitting himself in the face, unable to understand basic questions. The counselor called the Kennewick Police Department to transport Moreno to the hospital. Instead, arriving officers arrested Moreno on outstanding misdemeanor warrants ...

Nearly Killed by Dehumanizing Culture of Indifference, Oregon Prisoner Sues for $975,000

After undergoing life-saving surgery that left him forced to use a colostomy bag for life, he filed suit on September 1, 2020, for $975,000 against the state Department of Corrections (DOC), its private contract healthcare provider, Correctional Health Partners (CHP), Drs. Reed Paulson and Karen Harris, as well as Nurse Practitioner (NP) Elizabeth Mills.

Spieler was convicted of attempted assault on two policemen after they arrived at his apartment complex in 2017 to arrest him on a felony warrant, and Spieler nearly struck both officers with his vehicle as he fled.

In June 2018, shortly after arriving at the state penitentiary, he began experiencing stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea and bloody stools. He weighed 178 pounds when NP Mills recommended a colonoscopy on July 5, 2018. CHP approved the procedure seven days later, but by July 20, 2018, it had not been conducted.

That was the date ...

CoreCivic Faces Liability for Wiretap Act Violations in Nevada Case

The court’s October 27, 2020, opinion was issued in an appeal brought by criminal defense attorney Kathleen Bliss. Her July 12, 2020, lawsuit alleged violations of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Nevada Wiretap Act (collectively the Wiretap Act or the Act).

Bliss was given discovery in a client’s case on June 27, 2016. She did not review the discovery until late September, at which time she learned that CoreCivic recorded calls between her and her client on June 18 and 19, 2020, and gave them to the government. She continued communicating with her client in June and July.

Bliss “pushed’’ by telling the government and court about CoreCivic’s interceptions. Believing the interceptions would stop, Bliss resumed communicating with her client by phone. CoreCivic continued to record attorney calls until at least February 2019.

After Bliss filed her lawsuit on July 12, 2018, CoreCivic moved for summary judgment. It argued ...