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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

Securus Wipes Out Months of Washington Prisoners’ Writing—Again

Writers are intimately familiar with the effort it takes to organize ideas and direct them through a keyboard into text. Most have the comfort of knowing their draft work waits for them to take the next step. But incarcerated writers do not have that comfort.

In November 2023, Christopher Blackwell and other writers serving time at Washington Correctional Center lost their work for the third time that year because of a technical glitch by prison telecom giant Securus. While those on the outside can restore deleted files or easily consult information used to write a piece, the sole repository for the work of these incarcerated writers was the “drafts” folder on Securus tablets provided by the state Department of Corrections (DOC) that mysteriously and suddenly emptied itself.

Unlike typical computers, these tablets lack basic file-saving capabilities, forcing writers to rely on the platform’s limited features. The sudden deletion resulted in the loss of hundreds of hours of writing. Blackwell described the pain of losing entire drafts and starting over. Fellow prisoner Darrell Jackson lamented the emotional cost of rewriting pieces about sensitive topics like trauma and structural racism.

Securus offered two free e-stamps as compensation—a meager sum amounting to less ...

Third Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Pennsylvania Jail Guards and PrimeCare in Detainee’s Overdose Death

by David M. Reutter


On December 6, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed denial of qualified immunity (QI) to defendant officials with Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg Police Department (HPD) and the contracted medical provider for Dauphin County Booking Center (DCBC), PrimeCare Medical, in a suit accusing them of failing to treat a detainee who died in custody of a fatal fentanyl overdose. However, the Court affirmed denial of a claim that Defendants failed to intervene to prevent a violation of Terrelle Thomas’ right to medical care, finding no such right exists.

HPD Officer Daril Foose and Adult Probation Officer Dan Kisinger observed Thomas and another man exit a Harrisburg bar on December 14, 2019, getting in a vehicle and driving away. A traffic stop ensued, during which the cops saw that Thomas had ingested a white powdery substance. He explained that it was the remnants of a candy cigarette, but as he said this, the cops also allegedly saw rocks of cocaine fall from his pocket.

Despite this evidence of drug ingestion, no care was provided to Thomas after he was arrested to treat withdrawal or to assure he had not ingested a dangerous amount of ...

Tennessee DOC Faulted for High Staff Vacancy and Turnover, Inadequate Programs, PREA Violations

The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s Division of State Audit released a performance audit of the state Department of Correction (DOC) on December 12, 2023. Covering a four-year period ending the previous July 31, 2023, the audit found significant deficiencies at the DOC’s 10 state prisons, plus four more operated under contract by private prison giant CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corp. of America). The most serious problems identified related to understaffing, lack of sufficient rehabilitative programs and violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Regarding staffing, auditors found both DOC and CoreCivic facilities faced “an ongoing and deeply rooted challenge of attrition” of employees. Overall, DOC prisons averaged a 30% vacancy rate for security staff in 2023, while the rate for CoreCivic was even worse: 42%. State officials assessed $10.8 million in liquidated damages against CoreCivic from July 2020 to June 2022 for failing to meet required staffing levels.

Staff vacancies went hand-in-hand with employee turnover, averaging 37% for security staff at DOC facilities in 2023. CoreCivic lockups averaged an astounding 146% turnover rate; the highest rate at any state prison, 188% was recorded at the company’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC). The company’s contract with DOC sets its maximum ...

West Virginia Slammed for High Costs, Low Quality of Privatized Prison Food

Before food service in West Virginia’s prison system was taken over by Aramark Correctional Services, the nation’s largest for-profit food service provider in prisons and jails, all meals were prepared by prisoners, often using fresh vegetables grown in gardens and greenhouses as part of a culinary arts program.

But according to a report released by the state Center on Budget & Policy (CBP) on September 12, 2023, the institutional gardens were discontinued and fresh fruit and vegetables mostly disappeared from prison menus after Aramark assumed kitchen operations. At the Mt. Olive Corr. Center, for example, a 2022 menu included bread or pasta for “[n]early every meal.” There was a “rotation of sugary desserts, but no fruit.” Of 70 lunches and dinners in a five-week menu cycle, only 26 included a salad, and one-third of those weren’t “from fresh greens but potato salad, coleslaw, and pasta salad.”

State Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) Commissioner William Marshall testified before a legislative committee in April 2023 about “the poor quality food being served in DCR facilities” that house juveniles. As repeatedly reported in PLN, the problems with sub-par food from services like Aramark have been well-documented in numerous other prison systems and ...

CoreCivic Sued by Former Detainee Stabbed at Shuttered Kansas Jail

by David M. Reutter


In a suit filed in Kansas state court on July 31, 2023, former detainee Joshua Braddy accused private prison profiteer CoreCivic of negligence that resulted in his stabbing at Leavenworth Detention Center (LDC), a now-shuttered lockup formerly operated for the federal government.

Before it closed in December 2021, LDC was a hotbed for drugs and violence, the suit notes; change came only after the U.S. Marshals Service pulled out its detainees to comply with an executive order from Pres. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D) that barred its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), from renewing contracts with private prison operators like CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corp. of America (CCA).

A 2017 DOJ-issued report found understaffing at LDC affected its safety and security with closures of security posts, many in areas of the prison that CCA deemed “mandatory,” needing staff every shift to maintain secure operations. In those that didn’t close, guard vacancies left managerial staff in the posts.

Braddy’s complaint lodged claims against the detainees who stabbed him on July 25, 2021: Alan Sells, Stephan Lundemo and Joseph Uman. Sells and Uman are now held at the U.S. Penitentiary (USP) in Leavenworth, ...

Illinois Prisoner Awarded Over $822,000 For Hernia Care Denied by Wexford Health

by Douglas Ankney


On April 2, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois denied relief to Wexford Health Sources, Inc., the private healthcare contractor for the state Department of Corrections (DOC), from a $750,000 jury verdict for delayed surgery that left a state prisoner to ...

$2 Million Settlement in Death of Mentally Disabled Detainee Stripped of Anti-Seizure Device at Colorado Jail

by David M. Reutter


On May 1, 2023, following an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that reversed a grant of summary judgment to a guard at Colorado’s Mesa County Detention Facility (MCDF), a $2 million settlement was reached in a suit filed by ...

$4 Million Settlement in Class Action Challenging Unconstitutional Conditions at West Virginia Jail

by David M. Reutter


West Virginia Division of Corrections (WVDC) officials agreed to pay $4 million on November 8, 2023, to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging unconstitutional conditions at the Southern Regional Jail (SRJ) in Raleigh County. The settlement provided for a cash payment to current and former detainee ...

After Takeover from CoreCivic, Oklahoma Prison Even More Short-Staffed

Five days after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) took over a state prison from private operator CoreCivic on October 1, 2023, a ceremony was held to rename the former Davis Correctional Facility. On the same day, October 6, 2023, a prisoner stabbed a guard at the medium-security facility now known as Allen Gamble Correctional Center (AGCC)—in memory of another guard fatally stabbed at another DOC lockup—underscoring violence that continues to plague the prison and the 1,600 men incarcerated there.

CoreCivic failed to maintain sufficient guard staff, which dwindled to just 161 before the takeover. Since then, staffing is down even more to just 106 guards, DOC said. Some couldn’t pass the state background check, according to DOC spokeswoman Kay Thompson. But 28% of the prison’s staff opted to stay with CoreCivic and transfer to another of its lockups. CoreCivic’s hourly pay for guards starts at $22.10, significantly higher than the $20.46 rate offered by DOC.

Oklahoma Corrections Professionals director Bobby Cleveland called low staffing a “big mess” for his union members, with a dangerously low ratio of one guard for every 15 prisoners. By comparison, the Arkansas DOC’s ratio is just 1:8. DOC boosted guard pay 30% in 2022, ...

Texas Bankruptcy Court Rejects Proposed Settlement of Prisoner Claims Against Corizon Health

On April 11, 2024, a Texas bankruptcy court rejected a proposed $54 million settlement that would have paid just a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars owed to prisoners who won judgments or secured settlement agreements from Corizon Health. Citing concerns about timely access to court documents for incarcerated claimants—many proceeding pro se—Judge Christopher M. Lopez of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas chastised lawyers at both tables before his bench for not knowing whether affected prisoners were “even aware that there is a settlement.”

As PLN reported, Corizon Health executed a “Texas two-step”: It first spun off its profitable ongoing prison and jail healthcare contracts into a new firm called YesCare, and it then shunted its liabilities onto a separate company called Tehum Care Services, Inc., which promptly filed for bankruptcy protection. The ploy almost worked, too, before an inappropriate relationship was revealed between the settlement mediator and a lawyer working for Corizon Health. [See: PLN, Jan. 2024, p.29.]

One Arizona prisoner claimant who objected to the proposed settlement, Anant Kumar Tripati, 69, sent copies of prison mail logs showing that there was no way he could have attended at least ...