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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

Federal Judge Approves $25 Million Class Action Settlement Against Global Tel*Link

Under the terms of the settlement, individuals incarcerated in New Jersey prison and jails between 2006 and 2016 who used the GTL phone system, as well as individuals who received telephone calls through the company from New Jersey prisoners before June 2010 or in Essex County, N.J., before June 2011, would be able to file claims.

GTL also had been heavily criticized for requiring people receiving calls from a prisoner to make deposits into a company account and then keeping those deposits if the accounts became “inactive,” generally after the prisoner had been released. Plaintiffs had alleged in their initial complaint that, “Defendants fail(ed) to inform their customers that they will be charged a service or set-up fee ...

California Passes Bill Allowing ICE Detainees to Sue Private Contractors

In the latest in an ongoing battle between California leaders and ICE officials, state Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) authored AB 3228 to combat abuse and neglect inside private detention facilities. “For-profit private detention centers must be held accountable in the face of egregious human rights violations and harm to the health, safety and welfare of Californians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bonta said.

AB 3228 was an extension of Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), also proposed by Bonta. AB 32 was passed to end the practice of private-run prisons in California. State-run facilities were responsible for the health and welfare of ICE detainees. If abuses were present, detainees had recourse to hold the federal government accountable through the Federal Tort Claims Act.

But private prison companies, such as the GEO Group, CoreCivic and Management and Training Corp., were not governed by the Act. So, the Assembly adopted AB 32, which held ...

$177,500 Settlement in Lawsuit Over Five Louisiana Prisoners Pepper-Sprayed While Handcuffed

by Matt Clarke 

Thanks to a public records request by The Associated Press, news broke in March 2020 that Louisiana-based private prison firm LaSalle Management Company had settled for $177,500 a lawsuit over a 2016 incident in which five prisoners were pepper-sprayed while handcuffed and kneeling.

Adley T. Campbell, ...

Privatized Food Service Problems at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Jail

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 county was overcharged at the Shuman Center, for example, by $8,413, including more than $6,000 for food donated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the jail, the county was overbilled more than $1,600.

There also is a discrepancy 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 ...

Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Illinois Prisoner’s Lawsuit Alleging Dental Care Negligence

Illinois prisoner Aaron Murphy had a molar in his upper-left jaw extracted on May 4, 2016, by a dentist at his prison. Two days later, a Friday, Murphy went to the prison’s health-care unit with a “softball-sized” swelling in his cheek. Suspecting infection, the nurse spoke to Dr. Vipin Shah, who worked for the prison’s medical contractor, Wexford Health Services, Inc.

Shah prescribed penicillin by mouth twice a day for five days because it is “one of the most commonly chosen drugs for M.D.s for medical infection.” Murphy alleged he received one dose that morning, but he could not orally take further doses due to the swelling. The next day, Murphy reported twice to medical due to difficulty swallowing; he was unable to open his mouth wide enough for a nurse’s exam due to the swelling. He was given Benadryl. Shah was subsequently contacted and unconcerned because penicillin takes days to work, but he ordered a steroid injection.

Two days after that, Shah examined Murphy ...

Third Circuit Reinstates Claims by Immigration Detainee in GEO-Operated Prison Seeking to Marry U.S. Citizen

Brian A. Davis, an immigration detainee being held at a Pennsylvania private prison that houses foreign nationals awaiting deportation or deportation proceedings, sought permission to marry his U.S. citizen fiancée, Fredericka K. Bedford. They complied with the prison’s regulations, which exceeded the BOP’s, but permission was denied.

The couple filed a federal civil rights lawsuit pursuant to Bevins, 42 U.S.D. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985(3) and 2000d, and other state and federal laws, alleging they were denied their constitutional right to be married because of unlawful discrimination. The district court adopted without analysis a magistrate judge’s report recommending dismissal of all claims. The report reasoned that GEO employees were not federal actors and the two federal officials who were sued were not properly served.

On appeal, the Third Circuit held that the district court erred when it failed to undertake the required two-step process to determine whether ...

Whistleblower Claims Female Detainees at Privately Run Georgia ICE Facility Had Forced Hysterectomies

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) added her voice to the chorus calling for OIG to thoroughly investigate the allegations of the whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, a full-time nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia.

In the main part of her statement, Wooten alleged that medical staff at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility had responded maliciously to the coronavirus pandemic, refusing to test or treat immigrants showing signs of COVID-19, ignoring and shredding medical request forms and even falsifying medical records.

But she also made another startling allegation: Hysterectomies were performed on several female detainees without their informed consent. She said she and other employees were concerned that an outside doctor contracted by the facility “takes everybody’s stuff out.”

“That’s his specialty,” she said, referring to the doctor, an obstetrician and gynecologist later identified as Dr. Mahendra Amin. “He’s the uterus collector.”

If detainees complained, ...

Lives at Stake as Pennsylvania County De-privatizes Prison

Since it was built in 1996 – by Wackenhut Corrections Corp., which became GEO Group in 2004 – GWH has been privately managed. Providing the first private prison in Pennsylvania, the firm bragged of saving taxpayers $30 million in construction costs while providing services on par with those in publicly operated prisons. Instead, problems and scandal have plagued GWH.

During a six-year stretch under GEO Group’s management from 2002 to 2008, 12 prisoners died, spawning a number of wrongful death lawsuits that claimed rampant understaffing had created a dangerous environment for prisoners and guards. In 2008, Community Education Centers (CEC) took over the GWH contract.

“CEC was OK,” said a guard who requested anonymity out of fear of losing his job if he spoke openly. “They didn’t want to pay overtime, so ...

Two-Thirds of Nevada Prisoners Confined in Arizona Private Prison Test Positive for COVID-19

That’s what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada said in a July 2020 statement criticizing the “outrageous and disturbing” infection of 69.7 percent of Nevada prisoners confined within an Arizona prison operated by Tennessee-based CoreCivic, one of the largest private prison firms in the country.

The novel coronavirus that causes the disease ravaged Arizona like a wildfire in the summer of 2020, with one in five Arizonans testing positive. On a single day, July 18, 2020, the state reported 147 new deaths to COVID-19, versus just nine deaths in Nevada the same day. Arizona has no statewide mask mandate like Nevada’s to combat the pandemic.

Thanks, in part, to a comprehensive testing initiative, just 18 (less than 0.15%) of Nevada’s 12,000-plus state prisoners, as well as 54 guards, had tested positive for COVID-19 by July 2020. But a group of 99 prisoners that the Nevada Department of Corrections (NOOC) sent to CoreCivic’s 1,926-bed Saguaro Correctional Center, in Eloy, Arizona, was not so lucky.

As of July 16, 2020, four CoreCivic staff members and 69 ...

Private Prison Industry Ramped Up Campaign Contributions, Favoring Republicans

With a sitting president who has campaigned against illegal immigration and in favor of strict enforcement of immigration laws, the industry clearly wants to maintain its profit stream from facilities holding immigration detainees.

However, whether or not President Donald Trump is reelected, or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden prevails [Editor’s note: This story is being written shortly before the election], the private prison concerns will not likely be going out of business any time soon, for a reason that transcends party politics: There is insufficient space in federal prisons or immigration-holding facilities to house all detainees. There also is no support in Congress for increasing bed space.

In a little-reported development, the Department of Justice quietly transferred the last immigration detainees from its prisons in 2018.

As a result, DOJ and immigration officials were left with no other option but to use private facilities to house them. Both major companies made ...