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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

$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 ...

Aramark Gets Pennsylvania DOC Food Procurement Contract

In early 2017, Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections (PDOC) entered into an “innovative” agreement with private food service vendor Aramark. State officials claimed the $154 million contract would save taxpayers an estimated $16.6 million over its three-year term.

The contract is unique in that Aramark will not control staffing, meal service or menus in Pennsylvania’s 26 prisons. Instead the company shall provide food procurement, and use its purchasing power and technology to improve food service operations.

While the prison system will maintain operational control of its kitchens, Aramark will manage food purchasing, logistics and inventory. The company said it was “excited about this innovative public-private partnership that will help the DOC better manage quality and nutrition while delivering millions of dollars in savings to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth,” said Karen Cultes, an Aramark spokesperson.

The contract was somewhat surprising in light of Aramark’s history of overbilling when it provided the PDOC’s food service operations over a decade ago. [See: PLN, June 2006, p.25]. It was also disappointing to local food suppliers and dairies that previously had contracts with the prison system.

“A lot of companies in Pennsylvania relied on that,” said John Friedmann, president of Karetas ...

CCS Seeks to Hide Internal Review in Jail Detainee’s Death; $180,000 Settlement

by David Reutter and R. Bailey

Correct Care Solutions, a for-profit company that provides medical services at correctional facilities, contested the release of documents concerning the death of Dino Vann Nixon at the Forsyth County Jail (FCJ) in North Carolina.

Upon being booked into FCJ on drug trafficking charges on ...

On the Inside: The Chaos of Arizona Prison Health Care

by Jimmy Jenkins, KJZZ.org

The Arizona Department of Corrections contracts with privately owned correctional health care company Corizon Health to oversee all medical, mental and dental care at 10 state prisons. However, that care has come under scrutiny in federal court.

In 2015, prisoners settled a lawsuit with Arizona over poor health care conditions in state prisons. More than two years later, Arizona and its provider have failed to meet the more than 100 stipulations agreed to in the settlement and a federal judge is threatening to fine the state millions of dollars. [See note at the end of this article; the district court imposed $1.4 million in fines in June 2018 as part of a contempt ruling]. Prisoners have testified in the settlement process to long wait times for medicine, delayed chronic disease care and a lack of access to specialists. The voices in this series confirm those allegations and more, recounting their experiences with the Arizona prison health care system.

Lucinda Jordan hadn’t talked to her father, Walter Jordan, for several years. He was serving time in an Arizona prison and they had lost touch. Then, one day in August 2017, the phone rang.

“He ...

Kentucky Reluctantly Returns to Prison Privatization

Overcrowding in Kentucky’s corrections system has spurred renewed interest in private prisons. Despite abandoning privately-operated prisons five years ago due to a number of problems, including sexual abuse of female prisoners by private prison guards, Kentucky officials have returned to privatization to relieve the state’s overcrowded prisons.

“This is simply a move we are forced to make,” said Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley. “We hope this is a release valve.”

The state’s prison population exploded from 22,089 in November 2015 to 24,367 as of February 2018. The opioid epidemic has been blamed for the increase.

Kentucky turned to CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, for more prison beds. The company owns facilities in Lee, Floyd and Marion counties.

At one time, Kentucky housed prisoners at all three facilities; it pulled out of Lee County in 2010, Floyd County in 2012 and Marion County in 2013.

Governor Steve Beshear had ordered female prisoners removed from the CoreCivic-operated Otter Creek Correctional Center in 2010 following reports that guards were sexually abusing prisoners. [See: PLN, Sept. 2011, p.16; Oct. 2009, p.40]. The Lee Adjustment Center was the site of a 2004 riot.

For state officials, using the ...

Private Prison Company Pays to Play; Federal Election Commission Fails to Act

by Christopher Zoukis

GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest for-profit prison companies, donated $225,000 to the pro-Trump Super PAC Rebuilding America Now during the 2016 election cycle. Within a few months after President Trump’s inauguration, in April 2017, GEO was awarded a $110 million federal contract to build a 1,000-bed immigration detention facility.

The Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan public interest watchdog organization that monitors elections for violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), recognized the particular stench that accompanies improper political influence. So the group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), alleging GEO Group had violated the FECA by making donations to the PAC while holding federal contracts – which is prohibited. That was on November 1, 2016. Since then the FEC has utterly failed to act.

Therefore, on January 10, 2018, CLC filed suit against the FEC in federal court. The complaint seeks to require the agency to do its job, which is to enforce the FECA.

CLC’s lawsuit over GEO Group’s PAC donation is straightforward. Federal law prohibits a federal contractor, such as GEO, from “directly or indirectly ... mak[ing] any contribution of money or other thing of value ... to ...

The Big Business of Prisoner Care Packages: Inside the Booming Market for Food in Pouches

by Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge, The Marshall Project

Ed. Note: PLN’s August 2018 cover story examined prison food and commissary services. This article looks at prison and jail package services supplied by private vendors – some of which, like Keefe, also provide commissary services.

It’s the holiday season, but many incarcerated Americans won’t get presents directly from home.

To stop drugs and weapons from entering jails and prisons, many corrections agencies bar family members from mailing packages or bringing them during visits. Those who want to send food, clothing and other gifts to incarcerated relatives – at any time of year – often must go through private vendors.

Here’s how it works: Families shop from print and online catalogs supplied by care package companies. Every item is prison- and jail-approved. In some facilities, that can mean no glass or metal containers or no personal hygiene products containing alcohol. Items are often contraband-proof, from sealed food pouches to clear electronics to pocketless sweatpants.

For the holidays, families can choose from seasonal products; think red and green cream-filled Hostess cupcakes and peppermint Twinkies. The Los Angeles County jails’ contract for care packages includes annual “gift packs” that are given to prisoners for ...

CoreCivic’s Actions Against Sexual Harassment Compel Reversal of Jury Verdict

by David Reutter

 The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Georgia federal district court’s grant of judgment of law for Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic, in a lawsuit alleging it failed to take prompt remedial action against sexual harassment.

Felecia Wilcox worked for CCA’s federal prison, McRae Correctional Facility. She filed a formal complaint with CCA that alleged her co-worker, Larry Johnson, slapped her on the buttocks twice. CCA told Jackson not to associate with Wilcox or be anywhere around her.

In the days that followed that July 10, 2009, complaint, Jackson repeatedly rolled his eyes at Wilcox and once punched a machine in her presence to intimidate her. Wilcox filed a second complaint on July 23, reiterating the July 10 claim and stating she feared Jackson would touch her again, that he had touched her previously, and that he said he can touch her if he wanted to.

CCA brought in an outside investigator, who interviewed Wilcox. That investigator heard that two additional times Jackson had sexually harassed Wilcox and had made a sexually explicit remark on another occasion. The investigator also interviewed 16 other employees and learned that Jackson had sexually harassed several of ...

Solitary Instead of Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoner Costs New Mexico Jail $2 Million

by R. Bailey

New Mexico’s Otero County Board of County Commissioners agreed to pay a former Otero County Detention Center (OCDC) pretrial detainee $2 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit that alleged punishment without due process.

The suit claimed that OCDC had a policy or practice of placing mentally ...

Mother of Prisoner Who Died at Texarkana Jail Challenges $200,000 Settlement; Nurse Pleads Guilty

by Matthew Clarke

On November 11, 2017, notice of a $200,000 settlement was filed in a federal lawsuit over the death of a diabetic Texarkana jail prisoner who died after a nurse ignored her repeated requests for a blood sugar test. Soon thereafter the mother of the prisoner filed ...