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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

Head of Nashville’s Correct Care Solutions arrested for DUI

by Rick Anderson

Jerry Boyle, CEO of Correct Care Solutions, was arrested for driving under the influence on June 16, 2015, after police found him in the parking lot of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

 According to a police report obtained by the Daily News Journal, officers were alerted by other drivers in the area who noticed Boyle allegedly driving erratically, almost hitting other cars and ending up smacking a concrete island.

 Boyle, co-founder of Correct Care Solutions, which provides health care to prisons, psychiatric hospitals and recovery centers, said he was coming from downtown Nashville and was trying to get home to nearby Brentwood.

 When police approached his car, they noticed the smell of an intoxicant, the report stated.

 After failing to complete a field sobriety test, Boyle was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He posted $1,500 and was released. The outcome of the case was not immediately available, a county circuit court spokeswoman said.

 Sources: Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro Police, Rutherford County Circuit Court.

 

Return from darkness, a road without a path. Lessons on humane and effective punishment from the Nordic Countries

by Pablo Sartorio* 

As a society, our decision to heap shame and contempt upon those who struggle and fail in a system designed to keep them locked up and locked out says far more about ourselves than it does about them.”

― Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Keywords: Incarceration, for profit, rehabilitation, recidivism, open prison

Introduction

As a defense attorney, it is not often I get the chance to represent someone I admire as much as Matthew Ripley. Matthew is one of our heroes in the Armed Forces who is part of a group that is less than 0.5 percent of Americans, volunteered to go overseas multiple times, defended our freedom and our way of life, so we can live comfortably stateside. Like me, Matthew signed that dotted line of a blank check payable to the United States Government up to his life. But unlike him, I have not gone through the traumatic experiences that Matthew has. This article focuses on how I was able to save Matthew’s life with compassion and wholeheartedly believing that nothing was to gain by sending him to prison for the rest of his ...

Florida Private Prisons Seek $4 Million for Employee Raises

by David M. Reutter

In a show of continued support for privately-operated prisons, the Florida legislature considered giving the state’s for-profit prison contractors a $4 million raise.

The GEO Group, MTC and CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, have had contracts to operate prisons in Florida since the 1990s. While state law requires a seven percent savings to comparable public prisons, that cost analysis is flawed and not given serious consideration. [See: PLN, Jan. 2018, p.52; March 2011, p.36].

The most important consideration is apparently campaign contributions. The GEO Group, which operates four facilities in Florida, is a major contributor to the Republican Party and state GOP candidates. In 2016 alone the company gave almost $2 million in political donations, including $40,000 to Senate President Joe Negron and $100,000 to the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee.

State Senator Jeff Brandes, who chairs the Criminal Justice Budget Committee, defended the increase in payments to for-profit prison firms as being a matter of fairness.

“The issue here is that a couple of years ago we raised salaries for correctional officers in our public facilities, but we never extended that pay increase to correctional officers in private facilities,” he ...

Florida: Suit Continues Against CoreCivic for Rape of Developmentally Disabled Child

by Monte McCoin

In November 2017, a U.S. District Court judge set a February 2019 trial date in a civil suit to resolve allegations that CoreCivic – formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America – failed to prevent the sexual assault of a teenage boy with developmental disabilities while he was housed at the Citrus County Detention Facility in Lecanto, Florida.

According to the complaint, the child, identified in court documents as C.W., was not properly screened for risk of sexual victimization during intake at the privately-operated jail on May 18, 2016. “Despite having the knowledge that [the boy] was mentally disabled and highly vulnerable to sexual assault, [the boy] was placed in an adult jail facility where other inmates were provided the opportunity to bully [him],” the complaint states.

The child’s mother, Lesley Butzer, who filed the suit on C.W.’s behalf, alleged that her son was raped by at least one male prisoner between October 3 and October 5, 2016, and that CoreCivic officials prohibited contact between the mother and son following the attack.

The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages. Neither the attorney for the plaintiff nor CoreCivic’s lawyers commented about ...

Correct Care Solutions Redux: Poor Medical Care Leads to More Deaths, Lawsuits

by Ed Lyon

Correct Care Solutions (CCS) is one of the nation’s largest for-profit healthcare providers for prisoners, with annual revenue exceeding $1 billion. The Nashville, Tennessee-based firm supplies medical and mental health services to more than 100 state and federal prisons and 330 jails in 38 states, plus immigration detention centers. It also has operations in Australia.

Over the years, CCS has acquired several other prison medical providers, including Correctional Healthcare Companies, ConMed, Physicians Network Association and the mental health care subsidiary of private prison company GEO Group.

According to October 2018 news reports, CCS has been named as a defendant in at least 1,395 federal lawsuits since 2003 – most of which were dismissed. There is no way to aggregate the number of suits filed in state courts nationwide. At least 28 medical-related deaths have occurred at facilities where CCS provides healthcare. [See: PLN, Sept. 2018, p.32].

A lawsuit over one of those deaths was filed by the mother of Kendra Nelson, who died at a jail in Portsmouth, Virginia in July 2016. Nelson began suffering from heroin withdrawal the morning after her arrest. A deputy documented her withdrawal symptoms, but CCS staff medically cleared her ...

Prison Systems Solve Bed Space Problems by Using Out-of-State Facilities

by Christopher Zoukis

Several state prison systems are facing a dilemma: too many prisoners and not enough beds. An increasingly popular solution to this problem is to transfer prisoners to facilities in other states, sometimes thousands of miles away, where there is surplus bed space available. That extra space is typically found in private, for-profit prisons.

In February 2018, Idaho announced the transfer of 250 men from medium- and high-security state prisons to the Karnes County Correctional Center in Texas. The 550-bed facility is operated by private prison firm GEO Group. Denise Tyler, founder of the Idaho Inmate Family Support Group, said her organization has received dozens of letters from prisoners protesting the move.

“They feel like they’re being punished and their overall morale has dropped because they have been ripped away from their family and support system,” Tyler stated.

According to the Idaho Department of Correction (DOC), the prisoners will remain at the Texas facility until the state executes a long-term contract to house up to 1,000 prisoners in out-of-state facilities. Henry Atencio, director of the DOC, said his department is out of better options.

“We wish we didn’t have to send inmates out of state; we ...

Lawsuit by Washington AG Against GEO Group for Wage Violations Proceeds, Granted Class-Action Status

by Christopher Zoukis

In December 2017, a federal judge denied a motion by GEO Group, the private operator of the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington, to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the state’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson. The suit alleges that GEO violated the state’s minimum wage law by paying NWDC detainees just $1.00 per day for their labor at the facility. Washington’s minimum wage is currently $11.50 per hour.

GEO Group, based in Boca Raton, Florida, provides detention services at NWDC under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The company had requested that the court either add ICE as a co-defendant or dismiss the case. The court rejected both options.

“This is an important step toward holding this multibillion dollar company accountable for exploiting its detainee workers in Washington by not following our minimum wage laws,” Ferguson stated.

With 141 prisons and detention centers in operation worldwide, GEO’s gross revenue exceeded $2.26 billion in 2017. It has owned the 1,575-bed NWDC since 2005, operating it for ICE under a contract valued at $57 million annually. The facility houses immigrant detainees awaiting resolution of deportation cases, which are civil rather than criminal ...

Florida District Court Allows Suit Against Prisoner Transport Companies to Proceed

by Dale Chappell

On July 30, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by Prisoner Transportation Services, LLC (PTS) and its subsidiary, U.S. Corrections, LLC (USC), in a lawsuit over inhumane conditions during the transport of more than 1,000 prisoners.

When Broward County, Florida filed charges against Jeffrey E. Groover, a federal prisoner housed at FCI Butner in North Carolina, the county contracted with USC to pick him up and extradite him to face the charges. During the 52-hour road trip, Groover was forced to sit in a “dog cage” as the van driver called it, which measured just 34 inches wide by 42 inches high. There was no air-conditioning and only one small vent. The van rarely stopped for breaks and Groover was allowed just one cup of water and some food every eight hours. After 24 hours into the trip, Groover suffered delusions and vomited. The driver gave him an extra cup of water. Due to the extreme heat, Groover had a heat stroke.

He filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in federal court against Broward ...

New Mexico Prisoners Suffer and Die Under Privatized Health Care

by Ed Lyon

Since it first contracted out prisoner medical care to a private company in 2004, the New Mexico Corrections Department (DOC) has been named along with its contractors in over 220 lawsuits filed by prisoners or their estates.

In 2007, the DOC switched from Wexford Health Sources, based in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Corizon Health, located in Brentwood, Tennessee. Corizon is the nation’s largest private prison and jail health care provider.

By 2016, New Mexico prisoners had filed 150 lawsuits over inadequate care by Corizon and the DOC’s failure to audit the company, which had been awarded another four-year, $151 million contract in 2012. [See: PLN, Sept. 2017, p.32].

The DOC was able to produce records for just 20 of nearly 160 audits it should have completed between 2012 and 2015.

Dr. Bianca McDermott, Corizon’s chief of behavioral health in New Mexico, filed a Fraud-Against-the-Taxpayers Act complaint in 2013, citing the company’s low staffing levels and the DOC’s failure to do anything about them. Her complaint was investigated by then-Attorney General Gary King, but no charges were filed. Instead, McDermott claims she was “retaliated against, harassed, and ultimately terminated.” She filed a whistle-blower suit ...

$7 Million Settlement for Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Suicide at Private Prison

A $7 million settlement was reached in the suicide death of a mentally ill prisoner at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility (GWHCF) in Thornton, Pennsylvania, operated at the time by private prison company Community Education Centers.

When she was in her late twenties, Janene Wallace was diagnosed with mental ...