Skip navigation

News Articles

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

Prisoner Raped by Custodians

A federal woman prisoner being transported from the Danbury prison in Connecticut to one in Texas was sexually assaulted by the owner of Fugitive One Transport, Arnold Faulhaber, and a company guard, Joseph Jackson. Both suspects were arrested on October 8, 1994, and charged by Monmouth County, New Jersey , prosecutors with sexually assaulting someone in their custody and over whom they had supervisory power. Both were released on $50,000 bond.

The victim states that she was picked up in Danbury and driven to Faulhaber's office. Faulhahcr asked her to go to Atlantic City with him and party rather than spend the night in the Ocean County Jail. She refused and was taken to the jail by Jackson. En route to the jail, Jackson allegedly drove to a remote area and raped her. Jackson threatened to charge her with attempted escape if she reported the rape to law enforcement officials.

On September 24, 1994, Faulhaber took the victim to his Ocean 1 ownership home and raped her. Jackson raped her yet again before she was finally flown to Texas to face charges. Upon being incarcerated in Dallas she told her family about the rapes and they in turn reported ...

Breach of Contract Claim OK Against Medical Contractor

On December 22, 1992, Eddie Cherry began serving a 30 day sentence in the Polk county jail, Florida, for drunk driving. At the time of his incarceration he told jail staff that he drank approximately a case of beer a day. Over the next two days he repeatedly sought medical attention for symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. On December 25, Cherry's wife contacted jail staff and told them that her husband had a history of delirium tremens (DTs) during alcohol withdrawal and that he was in immediate need of a physician's attention. Cherry's cellmate and other prisoners repeatedly told jail staff that Cherry required medical attention because he was hallucinating and shaking violently. Cherry was taken to the jail infirmary where he was shackled to his bed. On December 26, still hallucinating and suffering from DT's, Cherry jumped or fell off the end of his bed. Due to the shackles Cherry struck his head on the concrete floor and died five days later as a result of his injuries.

Loretta Cherry, Cherry's wife, filed suit against jail officials and Prison Health Services (PHS), a Delaware corporation which was contracted to provide medical care and services ...

Medical Claims Standards Discussed

Ronald Brewer is an Iowa state prisoner. He suffers from coronary artery disease. Employees of Correctional Medical Services (CMS), a contractor with the Iowa DOC, prescribed medicine for Brewer's illness but the treating doctor made an error in the dosage. Brewer filed suit claiming that he was denied the correct dosage of medication in an effort by CMS to minimize it's costs. The district court dismissed the suit, holding that Brewer had failed to state a claim.

The district court gave an extensive overview of the history of the eighth amendment, the legal standards applying it to prison conditions in general and deliberate indifference to prisoner's serious medical needs in particular. It explains the subjective and objective components that a prisoner must prove in order to prevail on an eighth amendment claim. The court cited numerous cases from all circuits discussing all these aspects. This case should be read by anyone litigating an eighth amendment claim as it provides useful reference and a good starting point for further research.

In this case Brewer failed to state a claim because the error in prescription dosage was due to a misunderstanding by the treating physician rather than deliberate indifference ...

Detainees Have Right to be Vermin Free

Two federal pretrial detainees housed under contract in the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) in Pennsylvania sued jail officials for a wide variety of ailments affecting jail prisoners. Among the issues they filed suit on were: inadequate ventilation, extreme temperatures, excessive noise, use of chemicals and machines in the jail that gave off toxic fumes, unsanitary food preparation and inadequate medical care, among others. The district court dismissed the complaint on the defendants' combined motion for summary judgement and dismissal for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

The court of appeals for the third circuit affirmed in part, reversed part and remanded the case back to the district court. The appeals court covered numerous procedural issues before addressing the substantive issues of the detainees complaint. Readers should note that while the plaintiffs were federal detainees' they filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 rather than as a Bivens action because the defendants were state and county officials.

The appeals court held that some of the issues raised were time barred, ruling that the statute of limitations for § 1983 actions that arise in Pennsylvania is two years under 42 PA.Con.Stat.Ann. § 5524.

One of ...

Damages Awarded to Paraplegic Prisoner

Robert Hicks was a pretrial detainee in the Jefferson County jail in Kentucky. He attempted to escape by climbing out of a window, his rope broke and he was severely injured in the resulting fall. After a stay in the local hospital he was returned to the jail, bedridden and ...

Prison Privatization in England

The British government's "privatization program" for prisons and prison service is proceeding fast. After the contracting out of the Wolds prison in Humberside to Group 4 security, Blakehurst, a new prison in Worcestshire, has been tendered out to UK Detention Services. Meanwhile bids have just closed for the contract to run the rebuilt Strangeways prison. A new prison in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, will be contracted out later this year. In February parliament voted to extend the original plan which allowed only for new prisons to be "privatized," to mean that the running of existing prisons could be contracted out.

As usual, the private companies competing for the market in private prisons are linked very close to the Conservative Party and to ex-civil servants, ex top cops and ex army chiefs. For instance, Norman Fowler, an original member of the government team that recommended the privatization program after the 1986 inspection tour of US private prisons, is a non-executive director of Group 4 Remand Services. Ex metro police commissioner Peter Imbert is a non executive director of Securicor, who are to bid for the new Doncaster prison. UK Detention Services is partly owned by McAlpine and Son: Lord McAlpine is ...

US Marshals Liable for Beating

Fred Sandoval is a federal prisoner. While being transported to a court hearing the Marshals Service placed him in a private jail run by the Wackenhut corporation, contracted to the US government. A Wackenhut guard antagonized another prisoner who, thinking Sandoval was the culprit, attacked Sandoval breaking his nose, teeth and cheekbone. Sandoval filed suit against the Marshals Service under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) seeking damages for the violation of his right to personal safety.

The district court dismissed Sandoval's suit as being "frivolous" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (d), the In Forma Pauperis (IFP) statute. The district court held that the federal government is not liable for actions by its contractors (the Wackenhut employee). Because the assault was not committed by government employees, it was excluded from FTCA coverage.

The court of appeals for the fifth circuit vacated and remanded. The appeals court held that the FTCA's bar to assault claims (28 U.S.C. § 2680 (h)) does not apply in this case because the intentional tort that injured Sandoval was not perpetrated by a government employee thus S 2680 (h) does not apply.

The appeals court held that Sandoval had adequately alleged a ...

Minn. Prison Signs Contract for Puerto Rican Inmates

Minn. Prison signs Contract for Puerto Rican Inmates

St. Paul, Minn. - about 500 prisoners from Puerto Rico will come to Minnesota as early as this month under a deal that finally will fill a privately operated prison in Appleton built to create jobs.

Appleton officials said they had signed a multi-year contract to board prisoners from the commonwealth of Puerto Rico at the new Prairie Correctional Facility, the $28.5 million medium-security penitentiary that has been standing empty for four months.

Ninety-three Puerto Rican prisoners were flown to a prison in Florida, where they will be held while supervisors of the Appleton prison make final preparations, which include offering Spanish lessons to prison guards and arranging for a local cable-television company to bring Spanish-language television programming to the prisoners' cells. Officials will also hire 70 more workers for a payroll that already includes 85 people.

The Prison Privatization Debate

"Prisons are by their very nature coercive and oppressive institutions, designed to disempower and destroy the resistance of those confined within them, so any discussion of `reform' is largely meaningless and futile. Prisons, whether controlled and operated by the state or private companies, are weapons utilized by the powerful to keep the powerless in check, and to maintain an economic and social status quo beneficial to the former."

John Bowden
British Political Prisoner

When approaching any political question on the inside of the nation's prisons, it is important for us to start from a radical rather than a liberal or reformist perspective. This is just as true when considering the growing issue of prison privatization.

My starting point is that it is good and progressive to work to extend democracy, as the ultimate realization of that ideal will necessarily result in the complete abolition of prison slavery and the establishment of a social order in which economic justice is an integral element of what today's rulers cynically call freedom. In other words, struggling to extend democracy is a battle that will extend all the way to the gates of power.

The struggle to merely change prison conditions, on ...

Court Supports Supervisory Liability Claim

James Johnson, a prisoner at the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, appealed from the district court's dismissal of his §1983 complaint. The complaint alleged that Johnson suffered an inguinal hernia, which was diagnosed in January 1984. The prison doctor recommended surgery to repair the hernia, and said it should take place immediately. The private company providing medical services to the prison, Health Management Associates (HMA), repeatedly put off the surgery until August, creating serious health problems for Johnson.

In his complaint Johnson alleged that the supervisory authority of Warden Sargent and DOC Director Lockhart over the medical staff of the prison made them subject to liability for deliberate indifference to his and other inmates' serious medical needs. The magistrate recommended the dismissal of the complaint against Sargent and Lockhart, who the magistrate concluded could not be held responsible because "respondeat superior is not applicable to §1983 actions."

On appeal Johnson argued that because Sargent and Lockhart were charged with supervisory authority over the medical system of the Cummins Unit they therefore are directly liable under section 1983 for their failure to properly supervise, direct, and control the prison's medical system and staff.

The Court of ...