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Private Corrections Industry News Bulletin 2.2

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Vol. 2 - No.2

Reporting on Prison Privatization and Related Issues

February 1999

Private Prison Operators Enter Medical Care Market
As criminals receive lengthier
sentences and serve a greater percentage of their prison tenns under
three-strikes, truth-in-sentencing and
mandatory minimum laws, the number of elderly inmates and prisoners
with health problems has increased
proportionally. Some consider this
trend to be the result of a misplaced
emphasis on incarceration as a solution to crime, while others view it as
a profit-making opportunity.
Several companies have developed a niche market of building and
operating private medical prisons to
treat ailing inmates. Last September
Just Care, Inc., an Alabama-based
corporation, opened the Columbia
Care Center in South Carolina. Advertising the facility as "an alternative resource for medically dependent inmates," the company hopes to
attract state, county and federal prisoners to fill the center's 326 beds. As
of last December the private medical
prison housed just two incarcerated
Just Care CEO Tull Gearreald,
who opened the Columbia facility
without advance contracts, is confi-

dent the low-cost medical services
his company offers will attract additional customers. "We feel pretty
good about our chances," he said.
According to promotional literature the Columbia Care Center, a
renovated state mental hospital, provides sub-acute, skilled, intennediate
and hospice care for ill and disabled
inmates, and claims savings of 2050% through reduced overhead and
flat-rate fees. Although the center
provides extensive medical services
Just Care notes that "security comes
first" at the facility, which is surrounded by a IS-foot, electronically
monitored fence topped with coils of
razor wire.
The Columbia Care Center also
provides rehabilitative services in
the fonn of "voluntary Christian
education programs." Rehabilitative
programs based on other religions
evidently are not offered.
Just Care isn't the only player
in the private medical prison market.
Corrections National Corp. of San
Antonio, Texas plans to open a 700bed facility in Clearfield County,
Pennsylvania next year that will offer

nursing, geriatric and hospice care
for prisoners. And CCA has operated
the Correctional Treatment Facility,
a Washington, D.C. prison for addicted and mentally ill inmates, since
March 1997 (see PCINB, Dec. 1998,
Corrections National Corp. and
Just Care plan to expand their operations, counting on steadily increasing numbers of elderly inmates
who tend to have more health problems. According to the Criminal Justice Institute the percentage of the
prison population age 50 and older
grew from 4.9% in 1990 to 6.8% at
the beginning of 1997.
The Council of State Governments estimates there arc over 4,000
prisoners age 50 or older in Florida
alone - including 200 over 70 years
old. The number of elderly inmates
in state and federal facilities nationwide is expected to reach 225,000 in
2005, representing a growing trend
toward prisons as retirement homes
for elderly convicts.
Further, inmates at all ages arc
more prone to have debilitating illnesses due to
[continued ¢]

© 1999 - p.e.l. News Bulletin, 3193-A Parthenon Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

P.C.I. News Bulletin

The P.C.I. News Bulletin (peINB) is
a monthly publication that reports on
prison privatization and related issues,
primarily within the United States.

PCINB is copyright © 1999. Non-profit
organizations and individuals acting on
their behalf are granted permission to
reprint or copy any materials included
in PCINB provided that source credit is
given and that such copies are for noncommercial purposes only - all other
pcrsons are required to obtain written
permission from pelNB before any reprints or copies Icgally can be mode.
PCINB will happily and enthusiastically
pursue legal action against copyright
violators, and will provide a reward to
persons who report copyright violations
that result in successful litigation or
settlements, as determined by pelNB.

p.e.l. News Bulletin. 3193-A Parthenon
Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203.

Legal Stuff
The information presented in this publication is not intended to supplant the
services I advice of legal or correctionsrelated professionals. The editors of and
contributors to pelNB disclaim any liability, loss or risk. personal or otherwise.
incurred as a direct or indirect consequence of the use and application ofany of
the contents of this newsletter. So there.

Articles, clippings and news reports
regarding the private corrections industJy - please include the source
and date of all materials submitted.


histories of substance abuse, poverty,
and poor health care and hygiene.
"It's mostly because of [their] abusive lifestyle," says Tish Smyer, a
professor at the South Dakota State
University College of Nursing who
is conducting a study on medical care
for elderly inmates. "These are highrisk people. Lots of hepatitis C, cardiac problems, diabetes, all the normal chronic ailments except for more
drug abuse and sexually transmitted
Just Care estimates that about
one in fifty inmates is medically dependent, requiring treabnent at an
average cost of over $300 a day. The
Florida Dept. of Corrections spends
more than $200 million a year on
medical services for prisoners.
And the more elderly, ill and
disabled inmates in the corrections
system, the greater profit potential
for private medical prison operators.
Norm Cox, founder and president of
Corrections National Corp., hopes to
open four 500 to I,OOO-bed secure
health care facilities in the next five
years; Just Care plans to open fifteen
medical prisons over the same period
of time.
Ken Faiver, a corrections consultant in Lansing, Michigan, acknowledged the existence of a market
for privately-operated medical prisons but cautioned that doesn't guarantee success. "There's a need out
there, no question about it," he said.
"But you could lose your shirt if you
go out and find there's not much
acceptance of your product. Need is
one thing, but will it be politically
acceptable?" 0
Sources: The Philadelphia Inquirer,
December 2, 1998; Florida Prison
Legal Perspectives, Nov.lDec. 1998;
Just Care, Inc. brochure.

February 1999

Proposed Private Prison
Faces Opposition
When Wackenhut Corrections
Corp. expressed interest in building
and operating a 1,200-bed prison in
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Mayor
Karl Steiner voiced his support. He
said the project would create 300
jobs and increase the city's tax base
by almost $35 million. After meeting
with Wackenhut representatives last
December, Steiner reported company
officials wanted the support of the
community, too. They didn't get it.
Prairie du Chien is already
home to a state-run prison, and local
residents objected to another correctional facility. City Council member
Dale Boldt said she had received
about 20 calls regarding the proposed
prison and all but one were negative.
"They just don't want to make this a
prison town.... And they don't like
the idea that it would be privately
run," she stated.
Councilman Mark Oehler said
he was upset that Mayor Steiner did
not confer with the council members
or include them in discussions with
Wackenhut Steiner had proposed
giving the company tax incremental
fmancing benefits to locate a facility
in Prairie du Chien.
The City Council noted that
the legislature had not authorized the
Dept. of Corrections to house inmates
at private prisons in Wisconsin.
State Rep. Scott Walker introduced a bill in 1998 to allow the
corrections deparbnent to contract
with in-state private prison operators
but it died at the end of the legislative session. He plans to introduce a
similar bill this year. 0
Sources: The LaCrosse Tribune (WI),
December 11,21,1998.

p.e.I. News Bulletin

Other Private Corrections
Industry Resources
Corrections and Criminal Justice
Coalition (CCJC), Route 2, Box
1144, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
(888) 315-8784;
A consortium of anti-privatization
corrections employees' unions.
Corrections USA (CUSA), P.O.
Box 394, Newton, NH 03858
(603) 382-9707;
A professional association of public corrections employees opposed
to prison privatization.
Prison Refonn Trust, 15 Northburgh Street, 2nd Floor, London,
EC 1V OJR England; phone: 01144-171-251-5070; e-mail: prt@ Publishes
the Prison PriVatisation Report Int'l
(PPRl), which covers news about
the private corrections industry in
the U.S. and abroad.
Private Corrections Project, Center
for Studies in Criminology and
Law, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville,
FL 32611 (352) 392-1025; web
site: web.crim.ufl.ed/pcp. Conducts
research into prison privatization.
Note that the Project receives funding from the private corrections industry; Prof. Charles W. Thomas,
director of the Project, is also a director of Prison Realty Corp.
Reason Foundation, 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #400, Los Angeles,
CA 90034 (310) 391-2245; www. A libertarian-oriented
think-tank that favors prison privatization. Note that the Foundation
receives funding from Wackenhut,
Securicor and U.S. Corrections.


February 1999

CUSA Decries Private
Prison Unionizing

Colorado City Protests
Private Prison Plan

Brian Dawe, the director of
operations for Corrections USA, a
professional organization of public
corrections employees, has condemned efforts by labor unions to recruit
staff members at private prisons, cnlling the practice "hypocritical."
Dawe noted that CUSA has a
zero tolerance policy on prison privatization. "How do you negotiate for
job security of your members today
and attempt to put their employers
out of business tomorrow?" he asked.
Dawe said the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees had vowed to "fight
like hell" against private prisons;
however, last August the union decided to consider representing workers
employed by private companies to reduce the incentive to contract out.
Dawe also noted that the AFLCIO, which supported an attempt by
CCA to privatize Tennessee's corrections system in 1997, owns about
$10 million worth of the company's
In a related conflict of interest
between public employees and the
private sector, Dawe said numerous
state and local government pension
funds arc invested in CCA, including
the Los Angeles County Employees
Retirement Association, Idaho Public
Employees Retirement System, New
Jersey Division of Investment, Florida
State Board of Administration, Minnesota State Board of Investments,
Milwaukee Employees Retirement
System, and California Public Employees Retirement System. The New
Yark State Common Retirement Fund
holds stock in Wackenhut. 0

Newly elected Colorado governor Bill Owens is considering privatizing a 2,445-bed prison being
built in Trinidad to speed up construction and reduce expenses. "The
governor is very much pro-private
prisons ... and he feels the key thing
is to get [the facility] built and operating the best way possible for the
people of Trinidad and the taxpayers
of Colorado," said Dick Wadhams, a
spokesman for Owens.
The city received start-up funds
for the state prison several years ago
but the project was halted in late '98
due to construction problems. Trinidad had been trying to attract a correctional facility for the last 16 years;
however, the city does not want it to
be privately operated.
City officials say they committed $1.6 million to construction of
the facility based on the project being
a public, not private, prison. "We
don't care who builds it, but we want
it to be a state-operated facility," said
Trinidad Mayor Harry Sayre. State
Senator Gigi Dennis and Rep. Ken
Kester, whose districts include Trinidad, also oppose privatization of the
City manager Jim Soltis noted
that entry-level state corrections officers earn $5,000 to $6,000 more than
most entry-level guards at privatelyoperated facilities, and that public
employees receive better insurance,
pensions and other benefits. "My
concern is essentially a matter of wage
scales," he said. 0

Source: PPRI, January 1999.

Sources: The Denver Post, Jan. 28,
1999; The Pueblo Chieftain, Jan. 16,

P.C.I. News Bulletin


Another CCA Escape

Cornell Facility Criticized

Convicted killer David Britt,
25, was captured February 2, three
days after he absconded from the
CCA-operated South Central Corr.
Center in Clifton, Tenncssee.
The Jan. 30 escape occurred
when CCA guard Christine McClain,
41, brought in an extra unifonn and
accompanied Britt, dressed as an officer, out of the prison at shift change.
She has since been charged with facilitating the escape. Tenn. Bureau of
Investigation spokesman Mark Gwyn
said McClain may have helped Britt
out of "sympathy."
Britt was serving a life sentence
for murdering the husband of a staff
member at a juvenile facility where
he had been incarcerated; he and the
female employee had had an affair.
While at South Central in 1994
Britt married CCA officer Debra
Sikes, who quit her job at the facility
shortly before they were wed. And
among Britt's disciplinary violations
at South Central was a charge of
"soliciting a personal relationship"
with a prison guard. CCA Warden
Kevin Myers declined to comment on
the solicitation incident.
Following his capture Britt was
transported to a maximum-security
facility in Nashville. Warden Myers
stated he wasn't sure if Britt would
return to the Clifton prison. "Elvis,"
he said, "has left the building."
Last October four inmates escaped from South Central by cutting
through the perimeter fences; all were
eventually caught (see pelNB, Nov.
1998,pg. 1; Jan. 1999,pg.2).D

Georgia's first private prison,
the 750-bed D. Ray James State
Prison in Charlton Co. operated by
Cornell Corrections, has been eited
for lax security and filthy conditions
in two state audits.
The audits were based on inspections of the privately-run facility
conducted by Dept. of Corrections
officials on Nov. 18-19 and Dec. 9.
The Cornell prison was criticized for
security lapses, poor record-keeping
and inadequate tracking of inmates;
on some days officers reportedly did
not know how many prisoners they
were supposed to be monitoring.
Cornell vice president Gary
Henman said the company has addressed the deficiencies cited in the
audits, which stemmed from start-up
problems. "We received inmates very
quickly, at our request," he said. "We
brought them in twice as fast as we
originally scheduled."
The private prison opened last
October, three months late due to
construction delays, and each day
without inmates was a day oflost income for the company. The facility
is expected to reach capacity by
mid-1999; Cornell charges the state
$45.13 per prisoner per diem.
Lowell Hudson, warden of the
Cornell facility, said he was being
transferred to a prison in California;
he emphasized the move was unrelated to the adverse audits. Unlike state
officials, some Georgia inmates at
the private prison have expressed
satisfaction with the amenities and
relaxed conditions at the facility (see
PCINB, Dec. 1998, pg. 2). 0

In the News
CCA has announced plans to build
a $45 million 1,000-bed prison in
Telfair County, Georgia although the
company lacks a fonnal agreement to
house state inmates at the facility.
CCA officials and House Appropriations Committee Chainnan Teny
Coleman say there is an "understanding" with the state, but Dept.
of Corrections Commissioner Wayne
Gamer denies that any negotiations
have taken place. Source: The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, Dec. 30, 1998.
The director of the Arkansas Division of Youth Services has announced
that the state is considering hiring a
private finn to operate the Alexander
Youth Services Center, a secure juvenile detention facility. Source: Commercial Appeal (TN), Jan. 30, 1999.
Lea County Commission Chainnan
Ken Batson is encouraging Wackcnhut Corrections to build a 1,250-bed
facility in Lovington, New Mexico.
Wackenhut already operates prisons
at Hobbs and Santa Rosa. Source:
U.S.A. Today, Feb. 3, 1999.
Correctional Medical Services, Inc.
(CMS), the nation's largest for-profit
prison health care provider, is being
sued by Janie Kushniruk, a registered
nurse employed by CMS at the
Macomb County Jail in Michigan.
Kushniruk claims she was suspended
without pay because she refused to
ehange her medical notes concerning
the December 5, 1998 death of inmate Lany Golson. CMS denies her
allegations. Source: PPRl, Jan. 1999.

February 1999

Sources: Commercial Appeal (TN),
February 3, 4, 1999; The Tennessean,
February 1,3, 1999.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 30, 1998.

p.e.I. News Bulletin

In the News
A federal court in New Jerscy has
held that Correctional Services Corp.,
its employees and INS officials arc not
exempt from a lawsuit filed by 19
former detainees at the Elizabeth
Immigration Detention Center. Correctional Services, then doing business as Esmore Correctional Services,
was operating the facility when a riot
broke out on June 18, 1995 due to
abusive conditions and mistreatment
by staff members. u.S. District Judge
Dickinson Debevoise ruled the defendants can proceed with their suit
under the federal Alien Tort Claims
Act. Source: PPRl, Januruy 1999.
According to New Mexico officials,
levels of violence at privately-run
prisons in the state are comparable to
those at publicly-operated facilities.
Source: US.A. Today, Feb. 3, 1999.

News Abroad
Privately-run prisons in the U.K. have
experienced a series of suicides. Two
inmates at Securicor's HM Prison
Pare, Delwyn Bishop-Price, 30, and
19-year-old Michael Rooke, hanged
themselves last December. Jonathan
Allan, 18, was found hanging at the
Group 4-run HM Prison Altcourse
on Dec. 14, and Wayne Thomas, 23,
hanged himself at HM Prison Doncaster, which is operated by Premier
Prison Services, Ltd. An inquest held
between Jan. 18 and 22 determined
that four other inmates who died at
Doncaster in 1998 all committed suicide. Source: PPRl, Januruy 1999.


February 1999

Rent-a-Jail Regulatory Bill Introduced in TN
On Februruy 2 the legislative the recommendations for regulating
Select Oversight Committee on Cor- private facilities made by Gov. Don
rections introduced a bill to regulate Sundquist in December (see PCINB,
prisons in Tennessee, both public Jan. 1999, pg. 3).
and private, that house out-of-state
State lawmakers are considerinmates. The legislation is largely ing including a provision that would
the result of a series of high-profile require states that export inmates
incidents at privately-run Tennessee to Tennessee to accept Tennessee
facilities - including inmate distur- convicts in return. "If another state
bances, assaults and escapes.
wants to use Tennessee as a dumping
The proposed legislation would ground for its prisoners, shouldn't
require private prison operators to it be logical for us to require the
obtain a state license to house in- other state to accept our prisoners?"
mates from other jurisdictions. They remarked Sen. Robert Rochelle.
State Sen. Pete Springer has
also would have to receive authorization from the local governing body, further proposed that private prisons
and would be barred from housing be required to release information
non-Tennessee prisoners classified as about escape attempts, employee mismaximum security, who have prior conduct and other criminal activities
records of escape, or who arc serving or face stiff fines. According to the
time for first-degree murder or sex- Dept. of Correction, CCA currently
is required to report such incidents
related offenses.
No Tennessee statute presently to the contracting state but not to
regulates private prisons holding out- Tennessee authorities.
As an indication of the need for
of-state inmates. "Right now, there's
nothing to prevent a company from a full disclosure policy, Sen. Springer
putting up ... a tent city with barbed said a guard was assaulted at CCA' s
wire around it for criminals," stated Whiteville Correctional Facility on
Rep. Phillip Pinion, vice chairman of Januruy 17, and less than two weeks
later six inmates climbed over one
the Select Oversight Committee.
Three privately-run facilities of two fences at the prison. CCA
in Tennessee, all operated by CCA, spokeswoman Hart confmned that a
house prisoners from other jurisdic- guard at the facility suffered a broken
tions. CCA spokeswoman Susan Hart jaw when a prisoner struck him with
said the company had not reviewed a table leg. Assistant Warden Mike
the legislation but is not opposed to Tweedy disputed the account of the
escape attempt, saying five inmates
regulatory measures.
The draft proposal of the bill got out of a locked building and made
also requires non-Tennessee inmates it to the first perimeter fence before
to be released in their state of origin, being stopped. 0
mandates criminal record checks of
employccs and proof of insurance by Sources: The Jackson Sun, Feb. 7,
private prison operators, and autho- 1999; The Tennessean, Feb. 3, 1999;
rizes state inspections of privately- U.S.A. Today, Feb. 3, 1999; Comrun prisons. The bill includes most of mercial Appeal (TN), Feb. 3,1999.

P.C.1. News Bulletin


February 1999

Report Critical of CCA, D.C. DOC
The Maryland-based Prison Realty
Corp., a real estate investment trust,
is the end result of the January 1999
merger ofCCA and the Prison Realty
Trust (see peINB, Dec. 1998, pg. 7).
Source: Tennessean, Jan. 27, 1999.
A Correctional Services Corporation
operated Youth Development Center
in Pahokee, Florida accused of keepingtenjuveniles beyond their release
dates now faces additional problems
(see peINB, Jan. 1999, pg. I). Last
December the Florida chapter of the
ACLU filed a public records request
with Correctional Services for 18
documents, including records of
complaints by juvenile offenders
and a schedule of release dates. The
company refused to provide the
requested information, saying it
should not be in the public domain.
Also, on Dec. 2, 1998 forty
employees at the juvenile facility
staged a protest against a new
overtime policy. Correctional Services had instituted the mandatory
overtime policy to address state concerns about inadequate staffing
levels. Source: PPRI, January 1999.
David Dwight Walker, a former supervisor at the CCA-operated South
Central Corr. Center in Wayne Co.,
Tennessee, was arraigned Jan. 28 on
three counts of introducing contraband into the prison. The charges
stem from an investigation of the
Oct. 12 escape of four inmates from
South Central (see peINB, Nov.
1998, pg. I; Jan. 1999, pg. 2), which
was accomplished with bolt cutters
that Walker allegedly brought in.
Source: Tennessean, February I,

According to a report by the
U.S. Dept. of Justice, commissioned
by the U.S. Attorney General's
office, the D.C. Department of
Corrections "irresponsibly" sent
hundreds of high security inmates to
the CCA-operated Northeast Ohio
Correctional Center in Youngstown.
The failure to properly classify these
prisoners resulted in dozens of
assaults and a homicide that "should
never have happened" stated the
report, which was released December 4, 1998.
The Department of Justice report found that the CCA facility had
opened in May 1997 with no policies
or procedures in place and had lax
security, poorly trained and inexperienced employees, and few work or
educational programs for inmates.
The report noted "pivotal failures in
[the prison's] security and
operational management as a result
of seriously flawed decisions by
leaders of both CCA and [the D.C.
Department of Corrections]."
The report was based on the
findings of a four-month inspection
and review ofthe Youngstown prison
that was requested by Attorney Gen-

eral Janet Reno after Ohio Governor
George Voinovich announced his desire to close the privately-operated
facility following the July 25, 1998
escape of six inmates from the prison
(see peINB, Aug. 1998, pg. I).
Former D.C. Department of
Corrections officials were faulted for
rushing into a contract with CCA to
expedite the transfer of inmates from
the Lorton Correctional Complex in
Virginia. The Dept. of Justice report
determined the resulting $182
million contract was "at a somewhat
inflated price, with weak
requirements on the contractor and
minimal provisions for
CCA was criticized for accepting prisoners at the mediumsecurity Youngstown faci Iity despite
knowing they were not medium
security "under any reasonable correctional standards." The report also
found that CCA officials failed to
provide a safe environment, noting
that 44 assaults and two murders had
occurred at the prison. 0
Source: The Washington Post, Dec.
5, 1998.

Thomas Faces Another Ethics Complaint
A second ethics complaint has
been filed against Prof. Charles W.
Thomas, director of the Private Corrections Project at the University of
Florida, concerning his business connections with private prison firms
(see peINB, Dec. 1998, pg. 6).
The Florida Police Benevolent
Assoc., a union representing state
corrections employees that filed the
initial ethics complaint, contends a

contlict of interest exists because
Thomas is being paid $3 million for
providing consultancy services in
connection with the merger of CCA
and the Prison Realty Trust.
A hearing on the initial complaint, in regard to Thomas' investments in private prison companies,
is scheduled for May 19, 1999.0
Source: PPRI, January 1999.