A. B. S. R. A. Kid's Boot Camp
America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association
October 11, 2007 Arizona Republic
A Phoenix man and other parents whose children died at boot camps for troubled youths gave wrenching testimony before Congress on Wednesday, urging other families to avoid enrolling teens in such programs until there is more oversight of them. Bob Bacon of Phoenix recounted how his 16-year-old son, Aaron, died at a wilderness camp in Utah in the 1990s. "We were conned by their (the camp's) fraudulent claims and will go to our graves regretting our gullibility," Bacon told members of a House committee. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, also announced it has identified thousands of allegations of abuse, some involving death, at boot camps since the early 1990s. It cataloged 1,619 incidents of abuse in 33 states in 2005. "Buyer, beware," said Greg Kutz, who led the GAO investigation. "You really don't know what you're getting." Kutz said the GAO closely examined 10 closed cases where juveniles died at residential treatment camps. In half of those cases, the teens died of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Other factors were untrained staff, inadequate food or reckless operations, the GAO said. Five of the 10 camps are still operating, some in different locations or under new names. "Ineffective program management played a key role in most of these deaths," Kutz testified before the House Education and Labor Committee. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who chairs the committee and requested the investigation, has sponsored a bill designed to encourage states to enact regulations. "This nightmare has remained an open secret for years," Miller said in a statement. "Congress must act, and it must act swiftly." The death of Bacon's son was one of the 10 cases studied by the GAO, but not the only one with an Arizona connection. The sample cases did not include names, but some were identifiable through news reports. One was the death of Anthony Haynes, 14, at the American Buffalo Soldiers boot camp in Arizona in 2001. One of the state's most high-profile camp deaths was that of Nicholas Contreraz, a 16-year-old Sacramento youth who died in 1998 while being subjected to discipline at the Arizona Boys Ranch near Queen Creek. Bob Bacon's account was among those Wednesday that outraged House committee members. Bacon said Aaron was sent to the camp because of minor drug use and poor grades. The father said he was fooled by the owners of the Utah facility into believing his son would be well cared for. Instead, Aaron was forced to hike eight to 10 miles a day with inadequate nutrition and was not given protective gear to withstand freezing temperatures, Bacon said. When Aaron complained of severe stomach pains and asked for a doctor, his pleas were ignored even though he had dramatically lost weight and suffered from other serious symptoms, Bacon testified. According to court documents, the boy's condition was ignored for 20 days, until he collapsed. The autopsy showed he died of an acute infection related to a perforated ulcer. Five camp employees pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, and another was convicted of child abuse. All were sentenced to probation and community service. Kutz testified that camp employees studied by the GAO were often poorly trained. He said kids weren't properly fed and were exposed to dangerous conditions, their cries for medical assistance ignored. He said that in only one of the 10 sample cases was anyone found criminally liable and sentenced to prison. The residential programs, designed to instill discipline and character, can be privately run or state-sponsored programs and sometimes include an educational or school-like component. They are loosely regulated by states. There are no federal laws that define and regulate them. The programs are marketed to parents who are at a loss as to how to help emotionally troubled teens, Kutz said. Jan Moss, executive director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, a trade group, said many kids have been helped by the treatment programs. She said the industry is taking steps to improve, but she added, "Clearly we still have a very long way to go." Kutz said there is no comprehensive nationwide data on deaths and injuries in residential treatment programs. Auditors found thousands of allegations in lawsuits, Web sites and state records. "Examples of abuse include youth being forced to eat their own vomit, denied adequate food, being forced to lie in urine or feces, being kicked, beaten and thrown to the ground," Kutz said, adding that one teen was reportedly "forced to use a toothbrush to clean a toilet, then forced to use that toothbrush on their own teeth." At the boot camp where Anthony Haynes died, children were fed an apple for breakfast, a carrot for lunch and a bowl of beans for dinner, the GAO said. Haynes became dehydrated in 113-degree heat and vomited dirt, according to witnesses. The program closed, and the director, Charles Long, was sentenced in 2005 to six years in prison for manslaughter. The autopsy on Nicholas Contreraz showed that after Boys Ranch staffers punished and humiliated the teen for days, he suffered from a severe infection in the lining of his lungs. Five employees were charged criminally, but all counts were dropped. The ranch now operates under the name Canyon State Academy. Julie Vega, Contreraz's mother, recently told The Arizona Republic, "I feel like he was sacrificed, and some good things changed for the better because of him. But nobody really paid a price for his death."
May 24, 2005 AP
The director of a boot camp where a teenage boy died in 2001 was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison. Charles Long, director of the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association boot camp, could have been sentenced to up to 27 years in prison, but Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Ronald Reinstein sentenced him to six years. During the hearing Tuesday, Long apologized to the family members of Anthony Haynes, the youth who died at the "tough love" camp in July 2001. Prosecutors accused Long of abusing his power.
January 4, 2005 Arizona Republic
Charles Long, who operated a tough-love boot camp in the desert near Buckeye, was convicted Monday of reckless manslaughter in the 2001 death of a 14-year-old camper. Long also was found guilty of aggravated assault for threatening another youth with a knife. The jury deadlocked on eight counts of child abuse related to other campers who were reportedly forced to sit in the sun without adequate water as discipline. Melanie Hudson, the mother of Anthony Haynes, who died while in Long's care at the camp, broke down in tears when the verdicts were read. Afterward, Hudson said she was pleased with the jury's verdict. "It's a difficult thing to do," she said. "It won't bring Tony back." Long wore the military-style uniform of the organization he founded, America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association, as he anxiously awaited the verdict in the hallway of Maricopa County Superior Court. "There was never any doubt as to the guilt on count one," said Myrna Lee, the only juror who would comment. "It was the level of guilt." The jury believed testimony that Long held a knife to the chest of a camper named Nicholas Conner and threatened to "gut him like a fish."
November 5, 2004 Arizona Republic
A distraught mother told a Maricopa County Superior Court jury Thursday how her son's emotional problems drove her to seek help from a tough-love boot camp where he later died. Melanie Hudson testified in the trial of Charles Long, who is charged with second-degree murder in the 2001 death of Hudson's 14-year-old son, Anthony Haynes. "With the medicines he was taking, he needed water," Hudson said, "lots of water."
October 20, 2004 Arizona Republic
An adult who attended the tough-love boot camp where a teen died in 2001, painted a grim picture of the boy's death for the jury in the murder trial of Charles Long. Long, 59, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Anthony Haynes, 14, a camper attending Long's America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactor's Association "summer endurance camp" near Buckeye in June and July 2001. Troy Hutty pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in Haynes' death, and was promised a sentence of probation if he testified in Long's trial. On July 1, 2001, Hutty said, Haynes began acting erratic while sitting in the sun in a "drop on request" or DOR line, because he wanted to leave the camp. Hutty claimed that Haynes ate dirt and refused to drink or wash out his mouth with water. "He had dirt in his mouth and dirt in his teeth," Hutty said. "I tried to give him water to rinse it out." Then Haynes ran around the campsite "screaming and making a bunch of crazy sounds" and doing what Hutty called "Three Stooges antics," striking others, hitting himself in the face and smearing dirt on himself. When Haynes later appeared to go into convulsions, Hutty claimed he went to put a pen in the child's mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue. According to Hutty, Long then told Hutty to take Haynes and four other boys to a nearby hotel to shower. They carried Haynes to a pickup truck and placed him in the bed, then carried him up to the room. He was now unresponsive and started vomiting dirt and stones in the room. Hutty and the boys undressed him and placed him in the shower. When Hutty checked on him, the shower drain had clogged with the vomit, though he claimed that Haynes' face was above water. Then he said he used his foot to put pressure on the boy's stomach to force out more dirt and stones. Hutty said that he didn't call police because, as a Black man from Philadelphia, he didn't trust them. Instead he called Long, who told him to bring the boy back to camp. When he got there, Haynes' pupils were dilated, and Hutty and Long began performing CPR, but Haynes died.
October 9, 2004 Arizona Republic
For breakfast, campers got an apple. For lunch, a carrot, and for dinner, a bowl of beans. In between, they were put through "physical training" in the desert scrub southwest of Buckeye. On the fifth day, some - those who wanted to leave - were forced to sit in the sun, maybe for hours. Did I mention it was July? Did I mention that they were wearing black sweat suits? Did I mention that these campers were kids and that one of them died? What went on at the summer endurance camp run by Chuck Long during the summer of 2001 was an outrage. It's shocking that Long had those kids out there in the desert in July - and that parents allowed it. It's a full-out tragedy that a 14-year-old boy died. But was it really murder? Anthony Haynes had troubles, as kids sometimes do. His mother was looking for help. Unfortunately, she found Chuck Long. The ex-Marine ran boot camps. On July 1, nine kids, kids who wanted out, were forced to sit in the sun. Anthony was one of them. No one really knows how long they endured it. There were reports that Anthony was denied water. Eventually, he collapsed and was taken to a motel to cool off, at Long's direction. The staffer who drove him, caring soul that he was, dumped the boy in the tub and proceeded to watch TV. By the time he checked on Anthony, the boy was drowning. The staffer, Troy Hutty, called Long to complain that Anthony was faking and Long ordered them to return. By the time they arrived, Anthony Haynes was dead. Now, Long is on trial, charged with second-degree murder and child abuse. And who wouldn't want to see this guy punished? Maybe even dressed in black sweats and dumped out there in the desert. But I've got to ask: Was it really murder? Negligence, sure. Manslaughter, maybe. But murder? Hutty - the man who put the boy in a tub and left him - was allowed to plead guilty to negligent homicide in exchange for testifying against Long. As a reward, he'll get probation.
October 8, 2004 Arizona Republic
Charles Long went on trial Thursday in the 2001 death of a 14-year-old boy at the tough-love boot camp he ran in the desert west of Buckeye. Long, who said he has been to court 47 times over the case to date, said during a break in the trial that "my bottom line right now is I'm ready for the truth to be told." Long, 59, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Anthony Haynes. He also faces eight counts of child abuse and one count of aggravated assault stemming from the weeklong, military-style boot camp run by Long's America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association. Deputy County Attorney Mark Barry detailed the events of July 1, 2001. Haynes was among several kids who stood on a "Drop on Request" line in 112-degree heat to get permission to leave the program. Barry could not say how long they were in the line - 30 minutes or several hours. According to Barry, Long had said, "Kids who slash their mothers' tires don't deserve any water," a reference to some of the trouble the youth had gotten into before being placed in Long's care. Haynes, who weighed 205 pounds, reportedly started acting erratically, eating dirt, refusing to drink water and eventually collapsing in convulsions. According to Barry's account, Long ordered that the boy be taken to a nearby hotel, where he had rented a room so that the campers could bathe. Troy Hutty, the father of two campers who also was acting as a camp staff member, took Haynes and other youths to the hotel. They carried Haynes to the second floor, allowing his head to strike the steps, undressed him, placed him in the bathtub, turned on the shower and left him there unsupervised, Barry said. Some time later, they discovered the boy facedown in the water; the tub drain was plugged with dirt or other debris. They then took the lifeless boy back to camp and called 911.
March 27, 2002
Lawmakers are moving closer to a crackdown on unregulated boot camps that dish out "tough-love" discipline to wayward teens. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would force boot camp owners to get state certification. Calls for regulation started last summer after 14-year-old Tony Haynes died while participating in an unregulated boot camp run by the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association. Rep. Deb Gullett, who sponsored House Bill 2610, said boot camps and wilderness programs have become a multibillion-dollar industry around the nation, with quality and price varying wildly. "Some of these programs are wonderful," said Gullett, R-Phoenix. "But many are outright frauds. We want to make sure our state doesn't become a haven for unscrupulous operators who are preying on desperate parents." Gullett said one camp that has been kicked out of Ohio and California has relocated to Arizona and charges $25,000 to treat a troubled teen. (The Arizona Republic)
February 23, 2002
An innocent plea was entered Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court for the director of a tough-love boot camp who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of a 14-year-old boy. Charles Long, who was arrested last week and also is accused of child abuse and aggravated assault, said he couldn't afford a lawyer and requested a public defender. The request was granted. Tony Haynes died July 1 at a Buffalo Soldiers summer camp after being forced to stand for hours in 111-degree heat in the desert camp near Buckeye and nearly drowning in a motel bathtub 10 miles away, according to Maricopa County sheriff's detectives. Two other supervisors at the same camp were arrested and accused of abusing children. One has pleaded guilty. (azcentral)
February 21, 2002
A former corporal at a tough-love boot camp pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of negligent homicide in the death of a 14-year-old Phoenix boy last summer. Troy A. Hutty, 29, also agreed to cooperate with authorities in the prosecution of other camp leaders, including Charles Long II, the director of the Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association. Long was arrested last week on second-degree murder and other charges relating to his administration of the boot-camp program. (azcentral)
July 15, 2001
The boot camp near Buckeye where 14-year-old Anthony Haynes died July 1 is Arizona's fourth such program to be shut down in three years, the second following the death of a child. Across the country, at least 18 children in such programs have died. Five of those deaths occurred in Arizona. Boot camps in at least eight other states have been closed or overhauled after allegations of abuse. Oregon lawmakers have ordered regulations for youth programs, following the death last year of Eddie Lee, 15, at a privately run boot camp. The boot camp where Anthony Haynes ate dirt and stood in the sun for hours was not licensed by the state. The Arizona Department of Economic Security, which regulates some rehabilitation programs for children, does not license boot camps or any program that uses corporal punishment. Anthony was in a program run by Charles Long of the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association. Its handout calls the boot camp "A NO NON-SENSE - IN YOUR FACE - TOUGH LOVE operation." The California Department of Corrections closed its boot camp in 1997. Georgia overhauled its boot camp after a 1998 investigation found it overcrowded and dangerous. In December 1999, Maryland closed two boot camps after reports of staff members punching teens. Also in 1999, Alabama briefly closed a boot camp after reports of abuse. In Arizona, the boot camp where Haynes died has been closed, through perhaps only temporarily. The Arizona Boys Ranch in Oracle was closed in 1998 after Nicholaus Contreraz, 16, died of a lung infection there after being forced to exercise. Another boy drowned while trying to escape in 1994. "If you don't monitor them closely, it is easy for an abusive situation to occur," said Steve Meissner, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. In 1998, after two years, his agency shut its boot camp at the Black Canyon Detention Center north of Phoenix. (The Arizona Republic)
Aire Filter Products, Arizona
September 1, 2004
Federal agents arrested nine Mexican nationals Tuesday and accused them of working illegally at a Mesa plant that manufactures military helicopters. The workers, whose names were not released, were contract employees of Aramark and Aire Filter Products, subcontractors at the Boeing plant. (The Arizona Republic)
Arizona Department of Corrections
August 21, 2007 Indianapolis Star
One-third of the Arizona inmates transferred to serve their sentences in an Indiana prison are violent criminals, including 25 who were convicted of murder, according to new data from state prison officials. Prison officials said inmates were chosen based on their behavior in prison, not their criminal records. But an advocate for prisoners' rights was surprised by the news, saying officials had left the impression with the public that violent offenders would not be included among those moved to the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group. "That's not what they said they were going to send," said Celia Sweet, former president of the Indiana chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. "You know, live up to your word. Don't go trying to hoodwink the public just to make some money off the backs of these prisoners. That's not right. It's immoral." The state never misled anyone, said Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue. Indiana's deal with Arizona allows medium-security prisoners and bans only sex offenders, prisoners with discipline problems and recognized gang members, he said. Medium security, Donahue said, does not preclude those convicted of violent crimes. The majority of inmates in Indiana prisons are housed in medium-security areas, he said. In all, 203 of the 611 Arizona inmates are serving terms for violent crimes, including men convicted of assault, kidnapping and attempted homicide.
March 16, 2007 Business Week
Efforts to relieve Arizona's shortage of prison space were dealt a setback when procurement officials canceled a competition between the state Department of Corrections and three private prison companies to provide up to 3,000 new beds. None of the proposals met a requirement to open 1,000 of the beds by April, 2008, the State Procurement Office said in a formal notice canceling the state's request for proposals. The notice was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday. The three companies submitting proposals were GEO Group Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla.; Management & Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, and Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America. It's now up to the Legislature to decide what to do about the 2006 law that directed the Department of Administration to seek proposals and set the deadline for opening 1,000 beds, department spokesman Alan Ecker said. Corrections Department spokeswoman Katie Decker said the prison agency was beginning to consider its options. "We're regrouping," she said. Decker also said the Corrections Department was prepared to meet the required timeline. "I don't know if there was confusion ... but our understanding was that we would have been able to do that."
July 15, 2005 Tucson Citizen
Arizona legislators have made their philosophical point. And it is costing you $11,000 a day. It was in 2003, when Arizona prisons were badly crowded, that the Legislature decided to act. Called into a special session to appropriate money for building cells for 4,200 inmates, the Legislature said it would do so only if at least 1,000 of the new beds were in private prisons. Gov. Janet Napolitano and Corrections Director Dora Schriro objected, saying there was no proof it would be cheaper to send inmates to private facilities. But state Sen. Bob Burns, R-Peoria and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, couldn't resist the private prison siren song: "To pass up the opportunity of the private upfront money for construction to me is not responsible fiscal management," he said back in 2003. Well, now it's 2005 and that siren song has gone flat. Under legislative mandate, the Department of Corrections contracted with Correctional Services Corp. to build a 1,000-bed prison in Florence for sex offenders. But here's the kicker: CSC will charge the state $61 a day to house each inmate. The state could do it for $50 a day in a state facility. The CSC bill works out to an extra $11,000 a day for Arizona taxpayers - and an extra $4.1 million a year. So where is the "responsible fiscal management" of which legislators boasted? CSC explains its higher cost by saying it will have an "innovative rehabilitation program." We'll see. Because the vast majority of inmates eventually are released back into society, rehabilitation is an important part of operating a prison. Paying more for effective rehabilitation may be worth it in the long run. But sex offenders are among the most challenging inmates to rehabilitate. So CSC faces a substantial challenge. Protecting the public from harm is one of the major responsibilities of government. But have legislators done that when they turn over the responsibility of incarcerating dangerous inmates to a private, profit-driven company? Private prisons make money by hiring fewer correctional officers and paying lower wages. Private prisons also can fail to adequately meet inmates' needs, setting the stage for escapes or disturbances inside prisons, while leaving the state with little authority to correct mismanagement. At a CSC facility in Texas, inmates rioted in January 2003 because, they said, they were underfed. Arizona has a responsibility not only to its law-abiding citizens, but also to its inmates to ensure they are properly, safely and humanely cared for. And it has a responsibility to do so at the most reasonable price. Instead of dictating the use of private prisons, legislators should leave those decisions to the corrections professionals.
July 8, 2005 The Arizona Republic
The state Department of Corrections will contract with Correctional Services Corp. to build a 1,000-bed private prison facility for sex offenders in Florence. But instead of saving taxpayers money, officials say, the new facility actually will cost about $11,000 per day more to operate. In CSC's winning bid, the company said it could operate the new prison for $61 a day per inmate, said Bart Graves, spokesman for the Corrections Department. The average cost to house an Arizona sex offender in a state-run prison is about $50 a day. Even though Corrections Director Dora Schriro repeatedly warned the Legislature that the per diem rates of both bidders were "excessively high," her hands were tied by legislation, passed during a special session in 2003, that required the state to contract out 1,000 new prison beds to ease overcrowding, Graves said. Bids could be considered from only the three private prison companies already operating in Arizona, and the Legislature waived a state law requiring corrections officials to pick the lowest bidder. Private prisons have been hotly contested in Arizona, with supporters saying they save money and detractors arguing that state-run prisons are more reliable and cost-effective. Many private prison firms have faced allegations about problems in their facilities, including abuses of inmates and improper care. In January 2003, inmates at CSC's Newton facility rioted because they said they were underfed. Nearly 4,400 Arizona inmates are housed in seven private prisons in Arizona and out-of-state, according to the Department of Corrections. When the new facility is opened in late 2006, CSC will be able to house 2,800 Arizona inmates. The contract with CSC is for 20 years, which includes an initial base period of 10 years, with two five-year renewal options. CSC officials estimate the contract will generate about $22 million in revenues during its first year of operation. The new prison will provide specialized programs for medium-risk male sex offenders, including treatment, behavioral modification, education and institutional work programs.
October 27, 2004 KTOK
The company which runs a private prison in Watonga is slapped with more than a dozen lawsuits stemming from a riot at the prison earlier this year.
May 26, 2004
Despite several large fights and riots at two out-of-state private prisons in the last several weeks, state officials say they have no plans to reverse course and bring home any of the 2,000 inmates in Texas and Oklahoma. On Saturday, more than 40 inmates in a Pecos, Texas, prison owned by the Geo Group created a disturbance, damaging the prison. Earlier this month, about 70 inmates were injured in a fracas at Corrections Corporation of America's Watonga, Okla., prison. The two recent events are in addition to a hunger strike and large fight in the Pecos prison and problems in 2002 at another private Texas prison, which included several inmate escapes while a state review found an unacceptable quality of service from the company. About 240 inmates participated in a fight in the Watonga prison yard, with at least 70 suffering injuries. (AP)
May 2, 2004
Groups of Arizona prisoners transferred to a Texas private prison staged fights and hunger strikes to either improve conditions or earn transfers back to Arizona. The incident report from Wackenhut Corp.'s Pecos, Texas, prison officials recommends eight inmates be sent back to Arizona because they are security problems. The report details a fight between two groups of prisoners, with at least 14 taking part in the late-night April 10 fight. The subsequent investigation showed that some inmates from each group were conspiring to get back to Arizona. The decision last year by the Arizona Legislature to ship about 2,000 inmates to out-of-state prisons angered some inmate family members, mainly because contact with inmates will be limited by the financial ability to travel to either Texas or another prison in Oklahoma. (Arizona Daily Star)
April 29, 2004
A Corrections employee lost his job last week, more than a month after he sent 8,000 e-mails to prison officials around the country eliciting support for Terry Stewart's bid to lead a private, national correctional organization. Stewart, who led the state prison system from 1995 to 2002, is running for president-elect of the American Correctional Association. (Arizona Daily Star)
December 8, 2003
Key elements of the new prison proposal include: -- Providing $12.8 million of federal and state dollars for 2,100 new temporary beds, probably at private prisons outside Arizona, for the rest of the current fiscal year. Arizona already houses approximately 600 inmates in a Texas private prison and about 1,700 inmates in three private prisons in Arizona. -- Having the administration try to negotiate a new deal with a private prison company previously picked to build and operate a 1,400-bed facility near Kingman in Mohave County. That project stalled because of financing problems and, according to legislators, stalling by the administration. -- Providing $5 million to maintain recruitment and retention bonuses for correction officers at prisons in Perryville and Florence. -- Requiring that an existing legislative oversight committee review both the state's request for proposals for new or expanded prisons - public or private - and the competing proposals that come back. However, a decision on which proposal to accept would still be made by the executive branch, though by the Department of Administration instead of the Corrections Department. (Zwire)
November 26, 2003
NEWTON, Texas - Cleveland Palmer, 54, formerly of Casa Grande, who died Nov. 19 in a private prison, had entered a plea with his wife in the killing of a child they were adopting. No cause of death has been released pending an investigation, said Jim Robideau, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Palmer had been sent to the private prison under contract with DOC to "adjust the prison population in Arizona." DOC has been short of prison space. (Casa Grande Dispatch)
November 20, 2003
A private Mainland prison company that houses hundreds of Hawai'i inmates has proposed to build and operate a new prison for Hawai'i in Arizona, Gov. Linda Lingle's staff confirmed yesterday. The facility would be constructed in Eloy, a community of about 10,000 residents in Pinal County where Corrections Corporation of America runs a 1,500-bed prison that houses federal prisoners and immigration detainees. Such a deal could also guarantee CCA a steady income stream and alleviate the risk that Hawai'i will build space for all its inmates and stop sending them to the Mainland. But Hawai'i prisoner advocates have opposed using Mainland facilities because inmates are cut off from their families and exposed to the Mainland prison gang culture. (Advertiser)
October 21, 2003
Kingman's state legislator predicted Friday that a private prison 17 miles southwest of the city will not be finished. Republican Rep. Joe Hart said he bases his belief upon what he and other legislators were told by Dora Schriro, the new director of the state Department of Corrections, during a recent meeting at the Capitol. "The new director flat said there will be no new contracts awarded" for prisons, Hart said. Jim Hunter, executive vice president of Dominion Venture Group L.L.C. of Oklahoma, which owns the land upon which the prison is being built, recently told the Miner that four of 10 planned buildings at the company's 200-acre site are nearly complete. The original plan was for the prison to house 450 DUI prisoners after the first phase of is complete. Dominion would then have another eight months in which to build an additional six buildings to serve an additional 950 inmates, for a total inmate population of 1,400. The prison would then be managed by a Utah company under contract with the Department of Corrections. "I don't think this prison is going to fly," Hart said. "I think there's going to be lawsuits. The state will just say, 'Sue us.' They don’t care. "If they (Dominion) want to build on speculation, that's their business," said Hart, who added that he's no fan of privatizing the state's prisons. "The governor wants to do away with private prisons unless the contract has already been signed," he said. Hart said he's "sort of read between the lines" and believes Napolitano is "bowing to labor unions." (Kingman Daily Miner)
October 8, 2003
Gov. Janet Napolitano's call for a special session of the Arizona Legislature Oct. 20 to address the state's prison crisis will have significant implications for the Marana area, where the Arizona Department of Corrections was considering placing the nation's largest privatized women's prison. Proponents of building the 3,200-bed prison pointed to the more than 500 jobs the project could potentially bring to the Marana area and the millions of dollars that would be pumped into the local economy. Opponents called the scheme dangerous, profit-driven and beneficial only to whichever of the three private prison contractors prevailed in the bidding for the prison, which was expected to cost more than $150 million to build and operate. Napolitano's opposition to further privatization of the state's prison system as a remedy to overcrowding has left the future of the project uncertain and may also cause complications for Marana's only existing prison. The special session is expected to consider sentencing reforms proposed by a group of 10 legislators which could affect the existing private prison in Marana, which houses only DUI and low-level drug offenders. Members of the governor's staff and corrections officials say the privately operated women's prison is a dead issue, but some legislators and representatives of the companies looking to build the facility say plans for the prison may still prevail in the political give and take expected during the session. "The private women's prison is pretty much dead," said Pati Urias, a spokeswoman for the governor. "It's a situation where the governor would be the one to move the project forward in terms of funding and direction" for issuing the bid for the prison. The governor is instead proposing to expand existing facilities and programs. In calling for the special session during a speech Oct. 1, Napolitano proposed spending $700 million, primarily funded by public bond sales, to add 9,134 beds to seven existing state prisons. The governor's plan would expand the existing women's prison in Perryville by 1,500 beds rather than create a new private prison for the state's female offenders. Corrections officials say they have a shortage of 4,150 beds statewide. The overcrowding is expected to mushroom and the prison system could be as much as 11,661 beds short by 2007 if nothing is done. Jim Robideau, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections, also said the prison which was to be placed in either two locations north of Marana or at a site south of Phoenix, more than likely will not be built. "In light of the governor's statements, yes, it seems to be a dead issue," Robideau said. The Department of Corrections was expected to announce last month which of the three companies had won the bid to construct the prison. Contacted by the Northwest EXPLORER last month, Robideau said the department had asked for changes in the bids by the three companies hoping to operate the private prison - Utah-based Management & Training Corporation, Correctional Services Corporation, which is headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., and Cornell Companies of Houston. Robideau declined to detail the changes in the bid, but a spokesman for Cornell said last week the private sector prison contractors had been asked to guarantee their prices for the project until late November when the special session is expected to wrap up. "They asked us to confirm the costs submitted on the bid until Thanksgiving, so there may still be some hope that things get worked out in the Legislature. The Legislature has been very supportive of the 3,200-bed prison and we and our competitors have already spent a significant amount of money and time on the proposal," said Paul Doucette, communications director for Cornell. Carl Stuart, a spokesman for Management & Training which operates the 450-bed Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility, 12610 W. Silverbell Road, said his company was also pinning its hopes on the special session. "We already operate a prison in Marana and we're very proud of our reputation there, so we hope that there is some way that we can continue to serve the state. But after the governor's statements, we're kind of in a reassessment of our position," Stuart said. "We hope it may still move forward in the legislative process." Representatives from Correctional Services Corporation did not return calls seeking comment. Rep. Jennifer Burns, a Republican whose District 25 includes Marana, said she was unsure if the women's prison would survive the special session. She also expressed concern that Napolitano, who said during the regular session that all options would be considered to try and balance the state's budget, now seemed reluctant to look at privatization as a viable approach to controlling the state's spending. "It's interesting that when the governor discussed the budget she said everything was on the table, but now that we're dealing with prisons, prisons are off the table. I think we need to look at all options and not just throw more money at the problem. There may be some potential that a private prison could save money," Burns said. Rep. Ted Downing, a Democrat from Tucson and one of the most vocal critics of the women's prison, said he believed the privatization issue will be raised during the special session, but doubted it would get far. "By the governor not having it as a priority, it certainly makes it a great deal more difficult to pass it in the Legislature. My hope is that it's finished. My feeling is that it wasn't bringing the kind of high paying jobs to Marana and Tucson as was being represented," said Downing, who is advocating sentencing reform as a way to reduce the prison population. During a public hearing held in Marana in July, Management and Training estimated the prison would generate 500 to 600 corrections jobs that would on average pay a starting wage of more than $24,000 a year plus benefits. Some legislators and lobbyists said they expected the privatization issue to become a political dog fight during the special session, but asked for anonymity out of fear of angering the governor or the house leadership. "The Legislature may still try and compel the governor to do a private prison," said one Phoenix insider familiar with the debate over privatization. "They could refuse to fund any other beds in any other manner. While they can't force her to do it, they can put her in a position that makes it hard for her not to do it. But then the question becomes - who loses the most politically if they try that kind of strong arm tactic?" House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert, a proponent of privatization who will more than likely lead the Republicans who favor the 3,200 bed prison, did not return calls seeking comment. A sentencing reform proposal being pushed by 10 members of the House could also reverberate in Marana, where the private minimum security prison is required by agreements with the state to house only DUIs and low risk drug offenders. Rep. Bill Konopnicki, a Republican from Safford who chairs the sentencing reform group, said changes such as replacing jail time with higher fines for DUI convictions, changing felony classifications for some crimes deemed to be victimless and revising the state's mandatory sentencing would help reduce the prison population. "What's driving the proposal is the alarmingly increasing rate of incarceration in Arizona. We're incarcerating 513 people per 100,000 of our population, the highest rate in the western United States. We have to look at what's causing the problem, we have to look at sentencing. "I know that, economically, it's a significant thing to Marana, and I wish I could say absolutely that it would affect the population of the prison, but the fact of the matter is, we haven't been able to put even a dent in the number of DUIs or drug offenses so far. We're just trying to find a way to slow them down," Konopnicki said. Gil Lewis, warden of the Marana facility, said only a small percent of the inmates in Marana are serving time for DUIs, and it's unclear how the proposed sentencing reform would affect the other minimum security inmates in his prison or the future of his company's contract with the state. "We've been here a long time and are proud of our role in Marana. I believe any change in classifications or sentence structure would hurt the Marana community," Lewis said. Napolitano, who served as the state's attorney general before becoming governor, may also oppose some of the sentencing reform being proposed by Konopnicki's group. "I just don't believe you balance the budget by changing your criminal code. Should sentencing be examined from time to time? Absolutely, but it should be in the context of what's the right thing to do, not balancing your budget," Napolitano said in an interview with the Associated Press on Oct. 1. Marana Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat said the town is taking a "wait and see attitude" and did not plan to lobby the Legislature - either for or against the women's prison. "Our position throughout has been to just sit back and see what shakes out, and that's the same thing we'll do during the special session," Reuwsaat said. Caroline Isaacs, a spokeswoman for the Tucson Chapter of the American Friends Service Committee which has been at the forefront of grassroots opposition to the women's prison, said she doubts the private facility will make much headway in the special session. "I think the prison is dead," Isaacs said. "Nothing is a done deal, but I think the governor's statements certainly indicated that she was not in favor of privatization and that the state can do it better. There's going to be some support for the prison in the Legislature among the die-hards, but the very vocal public opposition makes it such a political hot potato that I can't really seeing anyone taking it too far." (Northwest Explorer)
August 14, 2003
Petite and soft-spoken, Dora Schriro brings a thoughtful approach to the crisis in Arizona prisons. Now, she faces an even bigger challenge: dealing with the prisons in Arizona, where the shortage of beds grows every month, where costs rise by the millions each year, and where hundreds of inmates have been shipped off to Texas to avoid even more overcrowding. Arizona has 4,130 more prisoners than it has prison beds. In a move of last resort, Arizona sent 624 inmates to a private county jail in Texas. That initially backfired after underfed inmates rioted in January, flooding dormitories, tearing up mattresses and breaking windows. Corrections officials gave the jail a clean bill of health in June. But just last week, two prisoners briefly escaped from the jail. The overcrowding has thrown Schriro another curveball. She will have to decide whether to build the largest private women's prison in the nation. The 3,200-bed facility, which would probably be built in Pima County, has stirred protests because the three bidders have less-than-stellar track records, critics say. (AZ Central)
July 25, 2003
An Oklahoma company is going ahead with construction of a 1,400-bed prison in Arizona even though that state's Department of Corrections has not given its official approval. Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Mike Arra said the lack of a formal "notice to proceed" is because Dora Schriro has only recently been appointed to head the department. Schriro has been traveling across Arizona to see the prisons she is to manage, he said. "She just has not gotten around to signing the notice to proceed yet," Arra said. "At this point it does not mean that anything (being built) was stopped." Although the notice may be a paperwork issue, it is preventing companies involved in the project from issuing about $60 million in bonds to pay for construction, said Jim Hunter, a vice president with The Dominion. Dominion Correctional Services LLC is building the jail. Its parent company is The Dominion, of Edmond. Despite the financial complication, Hunter said construction is going forward and the prison should be ready to accept the first group of inmates in November. The prison is being built on 196 acres near Interstate 40. Once finished, it will be managed by Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah. It will eventually house about 1,400 male inmates convicted of felony driving under the influence. (AP)
June 5, 2003
Missouri is considering but has no immediate plans to accept prisoners from Arizona to relieve prison crowding there, a Missouri Corrections Department official said. Last week, an adviser for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano suggested that Missouri is one of the states being considered for a potential prisoner transfer. Arizona has 30,700 prisoners - about 4,000 more than the prison system's capacity. Dennis Burke, a senior adviser to Napolitano who mentioned Missouri as possible destination for Arizona prisoners, agreed that the plans were preliminary. "Our governor would rather have inmates in a public facility as opposed to a private prison," Burke said. "We said Missouri looks like an option. That's how preliminary it is." (AP)
May 31, 2003
Arizona may try to house more prisoners in other states, using both public and private facilities, to cope with the burgeoning inmate population, a state official said. At least two other states, Missouri and Michigan, reportedly have 1,000 or more beds available in their prisons that Arizona might be able to use, said Dennis Burke, Gov. Janet Napolitano's chief of staff for policy. While some legislators have been pushing to increase the state's use of private prisons, Napolitano has said she would prefer to house prisoners in public facilities. Arizona will get 1,400 new beds in the next year as a private facility for male DUI offenders in Mohave County south of Kingman. The state also is seeking proposals for a 3,200-bed private prison in Pinal County for female inmates. (AP)
May 29, 2003
The operator of a county jail in Texas housing 600 Arizona inmates said Wednesday that his privately run company eventually will save the state nearly $800,000. But Arizona prison officials disputed that figure and called the strategy of sending inmates to Texas a "troubled experiment." Jim Slattery, president of the Florida-based Correctional Services Corp., conceded that putting Arizona inmates in a Texas jail has been challenging. But he said CSC has made "extraordinary efforts" to help ease prison overcrowding in Arizona by housing those prisoners. On Tuesday, George Weisz, a special assistant for corrections to Gov. Janet Napolitano, had called the Texas experiment "a financial disaster." State Department of Corrections documents pointed to a number of problems at the Texas facility, including a prison disturbance in January. DOC officials said the Newton County Jail has improved only after constant prodding. And they maintain that the experiment has ended up costing the state money because of soaring costs for monitoring. "There is a list of about 20 things that they are still fixing," Weisz said. "It's not what we expected. It took constant prodding from our monitors to get things done. Why did we have to complain about all this to get it done?" (The Arizona Republic)
May 29, 2003
A move to ease prison overcrowding in Arizona by sending hundreds of inmates to a private county jail in Texas has backfired, angering Department of Corrections officials and adding to the state's budget crisis. The state had counted on saving $400,000 by shipping inmates to the Newton County Jail in eastern Texas. But the potential savings evaporated when costs soared. Meanwhile, underfed inmates rioted in January, flooding dormitories, tearing up mattresses and breaking windows, according to documents from the DOC. "This proved to be a financial disaster," said George Weisz, a special assistant for corrections to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. The Texas facility houses about 600 Arizona prisoners. In a letter to Arizona prison officials, administrators at the Newton County Jail said they have fixed problems at the facility. The letter lists 17 areas of concern that have been addressed, including repairs to a broken fence and disciplinary actions for negligent staff members. The state had thought it would save money by going with a private contractor, which promised to house and feed inmates at a lower cost than a public facility. But corrections officials said that additional monitoring costs and other inefficiencies ended up costing more money. (Tucson Citizen)
May 9, 2003
A cost-overrun in sending prisoners out of state has Arizona leaders wondering whether contracting with private operations will save the state money and solve prison overcrowding. A jail uprising by Arizona prisoners at Texas' Newton County Corrections Center earlier this year delayed busing of additional inmates and cost taxpayers $415,939, according to an analysis of state records by The East Valley Tribune. It has also raised red flags among state leaders, who question whether the push toward privatization will solve the worst prison-bed shortage in state history, said George Weisz, Gov. Janet Napolitano's special assistant for corrections. "That (contract in Newton County) has been a financial disaster. It's tough, and the governor has definite concerns about privatization," Weisz told the paper for Thursday's editions. Arizona prisons now exceed their capacity by 4,200 inmates and some lawmakers say hiring private companies will solve the problem. "We have some alternatives with private prisons. They are successful," said Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Members of the Arizona Department of Corrections investigated the Jan. 2 jail uprising which happened less than a month after the first 96 prisoners arrived in Texas. Investigators said that the jail and its staff were ill-prepared to accept the new arrivals and gave the company a month to correct problems. The deadline resulted in a terse response from its leaders, in correspondence obtained by the Tribune. "We have gone over and above compliance for this short-term, seven-month contract," wrote Thomas Rapone, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer. Attempts to reach company officials on Wednesday were unsuccessful. Although busing resumed in February, Arizona prisoners continued to rebel. Incidents included escapes, peaceful protests, group demonstrations and hunger strikes. A state monitor wrote to his supervisor that the inmates wanted to return to Arizona so their families could visit them. More than 600 Arizona prisoners are now at the Texas jail. On June 30, the state will determine whether to renew its contract with Correctional Services Corp. Officials said the deficiencies found by monitors are a concern, but with prison space likely to run out this fall, the state may be forced to renew it. "The problem is our back is against the wall," Weisz said. "Whether it's private or public, we just have to find places to put these inmates." (AP)
April 11, 2003
The state spends too much money to send Hispanics to prison and not enough to help them get a college diploma, according to a study released Wednesday by an education advocacy group. "Borrowing Against the Future: The Impact of Prison Expansion on Arizona Families, Schools and Communities" argues against two proposed state prisons the group says could cost the state up to $100 million a year. Funding for prisons has continued to increase in the past two decades, while the percentage of the state budget spent on higher education is going down. "Arizona now spends more money to incarcerate its Latino population than it does to educate them," Foster said. The state has put out a request for proposals for two private prisons, one that would house 1,400 males and another for 3,200 females, said Department of Corrections spokesman Jim Robideau. (Tribune)
January 5, 2003
The Arizona Department of corrections has suspended transfers of inmates to a Texas private prison after 82 prisoners already transferred were involved in a disturbance last week. Prison staff fired pepper gas into the dormitories to quell the disturbance Thursday night at the Newton County Correctional Facility, but no inmates were injured, the department said. The inmates flooded dormitories, tore up mattresses, destroyed television sets and broken windows and light textures, with damage estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, the department said. Transfers will be halted until the completion of an investigation by the department and Correctional Services Corp., the Sarasota, Fla.-based company which runs the facility, into the cause of the disturbance, the department said. The department had transferred 346 inmates since November under a contract to house 636 inmates at the Newton County Facility. (AP)
December 19, 2002
A legislative oversight committee on Thursday gave the Department of Corrections the go-ahead to add more space by seeking a private prison to house nearly all of the state's female inmates. Under the plan endorsed by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the state is seeking proposals for a new prison that would be privately built and operated. (AP)
September 25, 2002
If the Arizona Department of Corrections awards a contract to Dominion Correctional Facilities, Inc., Mohave County could have a prison near Kingman by next year. According to Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Public Information Officer Jim Robideau, requests for proposals are currently open for four new private prisons in the state with a filing deadline of Sept. 30. To have their ducks in a row, should they get a nod from ADC, Dominion sought and received support from the Mohave County's Industrial Department Authority (IDA) Tuesday in the way of a "preliminary resolution" for $60 million in bonds to finance the project. "Mohave County holds no liability for this project whether it goes or not," said IDA Chairman Dan Hargrove. "This gives them (Dominion) the opportunity to go forward." With IDA approval, the Oklahoma-based developer can now have their tax-free municipal bonds rated and prepared for sale. Hargrove said. If ADC accepts their proposal, the next step will be a "final resolution" from IDA which must then be approved by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors. "They will have people standing by ready to buy the bonds," he said. The prison will be managed by Management and Training Corporation (MTC) and offer 230 jobs, Hunter said, ranging from entry-level correctional facility officers, for which training would be provided by MTC, and teaching and counseling positions requiring college degrees. The financial impact on local law enforcement, in the event they are called out to the facility to assist prison staff with hostile inmates or an escape, Hunter said, should be minimal as they would be "fully reimbursed by the state" for their services. Dominion had sought a contract for a federal facility, he said, but that project was later canceled. "If we don't get this one, we'll keep trying," Hunter said. (Tri-State Online)
February 1, 2008 Arizona Republic
Brandishing a fake gun and using ladders stolen from a maintenance building, two convicted killers climbed onto the roof and over the walls of a private prison in Florence in September. They navigated through several lines of razor wire and outmaneuvered security patrols, escaping to freedom, an investigative report on the incident says. One was caught within hours. It was nearly a month before the other was caught, hundreds of miles away in his home state of Washington. Now, in response, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano wants to tighten up rules for the state's growing private-prison industry, which is virtually unregulated by the state. A legislative proposal drafted by the Governor's Office and introduced by Republican Sen. Robert Blendu of Litchfield Park would bar private prisons from importing murderers, rapists and some other dangerous or seriously ill felons to Arizona. It would also require the companies to share security and inmate information with state officials. "It is a matter of public safety," said Dennis Burke, Napolitano's chief of staff. "(Other states) are exporting their worst criminals to Arizona, and we can't even know what they are doing and what steps they are taking to protect Arizonans." But private-prison officials and other industry supporters say the bill could threaten the industry, which is the largest employer in Pinal County. "We were welcomed to the state 15 years ago. We answered the call to help with economic development in Pinal County," said Tony Grande, a senior vice president for Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private-prison firm in the nation. The firm runs five Arizona prisons, including the one in Florence where the escape took place in September. He said the company has a good track record and doesn't do business in states with tight restrictions. "If you change the rules of the game midstream, we are going to resist it because we invested based on the current rules," he said. No current restrictions -- The private-prison industry has grown rapidly in Arizona since the first such prison opened here in 1994, bringing jobs and thousands of out-of-state inmates to Pinal County. Now, more than 9,000 felons from Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and other states and the federal government are housed in six of 11 privately run prisons in Arizona. Most of the out-of-state inmates are in CCA facilities in Pinal County, according to information collected by the Arizona Department of Corrections. But unlike other states, Arizona has no restrictions on the kind of out-of-state inmates that can be brought here. And private-prison companies in Arizona are not required to share detailed information on inmates, staffing and security measures or have their facility designs approved by state officials. Such requirements are in place in other states with significant private prisons. Some states ban private prisons altogether or, like California, don't allow them to house prisoners from out of state. Of the 15 states that expressly authorize private prisons, Arizona is one of the least restrictive, said Dora Schriro, director of the state prison system. Arizona laws require companies to carry insurance to cover law-enforcement costs in cases of escape, notify state officials when they bring new prisoners into the state and return prisoners to their home states to be released. But, Schriro notes, there are no penalties if the companies don't comply and no way to check on releases. That's a concern shared by Attorney General Terry Goddard. Goddard said he was surprised after talking to attorneys general in other states that Arizona's laws lagged so far behind. "I really think it is about time we had some record keeping ... and Arizona takes a stand on what kind of prisoners from other states we are willing to accept," Goddard said. Sending felons home -- Blendu's bill would bring together several restrictions found in other states and give the state the ability to assess fines if the private companies don't comply. To Blendu, who has been a private-prison supporter, a key piece of the bill is strengthening requirements to send the felons back home. He said he supports private prisons, but he also worries that Arizona's laws have not kept up. "We cannot become the private-prison attraction for the child molesters of our country," he said. His proposal is not the first time the state has attempted to pass more restrictions on private prisons. Escapes and other major incidents have been rare, supporters say. But the escape of three murderers and three other inmates from a private prison in 1996 and another escape of a murderer and a sex offender in 1997 led lawmakers to pass the current law requiring the reimbursement of law-enforcement costs.
April 26, 2007 KTAR
Tuesday's riot by Arizona inmates at an Indiana private prison prompts a caution from Democrat Ed Ableser. "We need to be very careful about a private industry that actually makes money off of the amount of criminals we produce in this society," he said. But, Republican Russell Pearce said the riot wasn't caused by private prisons, but by a non-cooperative department of corrections which won't spend available money. "They refuse to build or provide access to 3,000 beds in this state," said Pearce. The philosophical dispute has left the state thousands of prison beds short.
March 19, 2006 Arizona Star
The Arizona Legislature, which has never been shy about enacting laws that enlarge the prison population, should provide adequate funding this year to ensure the safety of the officers and inmates in those institutions. The inmate population, which stands at 33,887, declined slightly last spring but has risen steadily since the summer. As the prison population increased, the number of correctional officers decreased. More prisoners and fewer officers equals danger. Arizona Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro notes that on some overnight shifts, there is only one officer for 150 inmates. That should be a matter of concern for everyone. Two legislators crucial to solving the corrections problems are Sen. Robert "Bob" Burns, R-Peoria, and Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, chairmen, respectively, of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Both lawmakers believe the state can save money by moving more inmates into private prisons, a belief disproved by a report issued last month by MAXIMUS Inc., a national consulting firm. The consultants compared costs of operating low- and medium-security private prisons with the same level of state prisons and found that the state's costs were 8.5 percent to 13.5 percent less than those of the private prisons. Lawmakers should not allow pre-conceived ideas about privatization to cloud their judgment when examining these numbers. More importantly, they should not turn the debate over privatization into an excuse to ignore the serious pay problems within the Corrections Department.
March 1, 2006 Arizona Daily Sun
Gov. Janet Napolitano wants Congress to fund a federal regional prison where Arizona and other Western states can send inmates who are in this country illegally. The governor said Wednesday she has asked for funding in the budget for Federal Bureau of Prisons to build and operate a facility to house people convicted of state crimes but who also are illegal immigrants. Construction of a federal facility also would help blunt calls by some Republican legislators to construct a private prison in Mexico to house state inmates who are not legal residents of this country.
February 23, 2006 Arizona Daily Star
State senators voted Wednesday to ask voters to approve a referendum that would prevent their cities and counties from accepting Mexican consular identification cards. And the House Appropriations Committee voted 9-4 to construct a private prison in Mexico to house criminals convicted of violating Arizona laws who are not citizens of this country. Backers of HB 2761 argue that it is cheaper to house foreign nationals outside the country and that many would prefer to be closer to relatives.
November 28, 2005 Arizona Capitol Times
The labor union that represents the state's corrections officers is meeting individually with lawmakers to push its legislative plan for next session, which includes higher wages, higher retirement contributions from the state and scrutinizing private prisons. The one-on-one meetings are being conducted to educate legislators about what exactly corrections officers do for a living and the role they play in keeping Arizona citizens safe. So far, says the future head of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, results have been positive. Several lawmakers who have historically been opposed to increased spending on corrections have responded favorably to the meetings. "A lot of times, the reason they say 'no' to things is because they have no knowledge," said Tixoc Munoz, executive-president-elect of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association. Chuck Foy, a representative of the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS), a sort of "mother union" that oversees dozens of public safety organizations and represents more than 6,300 officers statewide, said getting lawmakers as much information as possible is key. The unions are also setting their sights on the private prison industry. Arizona law allows the state to contract with private penitentiaries - both in- and out-of state - to house the state's criminals. The unions have long opposed the notion of private prisons, saying they are not as cost-effective as the state-run corrections system. Mr. Foy said seeing just how cost-ineffective the prisons are, though, is extremely difficult because the companies have no obligation under the state's public records law to divulge any information beyond what is included on the company's yearly financial report. The groups will push for legislation that would open the financial records of these for-profit prisons. "Let's level the playing field and see where the chips fall," he said. "If the corporates don't want to open the books, what are they hiding?" Opening the books, he says, will allow a clear comparison of the private industry with its state-run brethren. "We believe that once everybody has all of the information, the best decision will be made for the taxpayers," Mr. Foy said.
February 11, 2004
If legislative leaders are looking for a scapegoat in the wake of the nation's longest prison hostage siege, any mirror would be a logical starting point. But some lawmakers seem determined to score political points by blaming the hostage crisis on the state prisons director, who has been on the job barely six months. Blaming her would be unfair and wrong. Arizona is notorious for falling short when it comes to meeting all kinds of state needs - and prisons are no exception. Although few details have been released about last month's 15-day hostage incident at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis near Buckeye, it appears that inexperienced staff was a contributing factor, if not a key element. The breakdown in security that allowed two inmates to get into the prison watchtower will be a key focus of an investigation into the incident. The fact that the hostages and inmates were released alive is a testament to the skills of negotiators and prison officials who kept the tension under control. Corrections officers were inexperienced One potential problem already is apparent: Each of the two corrections officers who were taken hostage by two inmates had been on the job less than six months. Sgt. Joe Masella, president of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, estimates that 70 percent of state correctional officers have been on the job 18 months or less. He cites low pay as the cause of high turnover that leaves the state with inexperienced staff. Since the Legislature sets the Department of Corrections budget, lawmakers should own up to their own role in setting the stage for the hostage siege. Instead, some seem more intent on finding a scapegoat. Legislative leaders plan to delay Senate confirmation of state prison Director Dora Schriro until a probe is completed into her handling of the incident. Schriro was hired in June. It is likely some of the problems that led to the hostage crisis predated her. Legislators also would be wise to scrutinize the motives of ex-state prison chief Terry Stewart, who, according to the Arizona Republic, called Senate leaders to "express concerns" about Schriro's handling of the crisis. Stewart has a conflict of interest. He runs a private prison firm at a time when legislators have been pushing to privatize more of Arizona's prisons. Lawmakers must ask whether undermining Schriro is one of Stewart's business strategies. More focus on rehab needed here Schriro devised a successful rehabilitation program in Missouri that earned her a reputation as one of the top corrections directors in the nation. It's no surprise her progressive ideas are eyed with suspicion here. Nor would it be surprising if conservative Republican lawmakers were to use the hostage crisis as an excuse to oust the Democratic governor's nominee. If that's how the hostage drama plays out politically, it would be a loss for the entire state. Arizona's prison population is growing at an alarming rate. A key strategy to reducing it is rehabilitation. Schriro has the skills to do that in a system that now does little more than warehouse criminals. A complete and thorough investigation of the hostage crisis must be conducted to determine what went wrong and how it can be prevented in the future. But it would be patently unfair to make Schriro a scapegoat in a political struggle. (Tuscon Citizen)
December 4, 2003
Paul Senseman, who has served on the House majority staff under three speakers, announced he will resign at the end of the current special session to become principle lobbyist for Policy Development Group, a government/public relations firm. Most recently, he has been chief of staff for House Speaker Jake Flake and has also served as director of communications, press secretary and special assistant to the majority. I have seen that one of Policy Development Group’s clients is Corrections Corp. of America, a private prison company. We seem to have an on-going debate on the value of private prisons versus public or state-run prisons. It appears that you’re going to be thrust into that. It’s possible. Right now, I’ve taken myself out of it. Two or three weeks ago, I put a letter to the speaker and Norm Moore, the chief clerk, removing myself from that issue. When I became aware of the fact that with my future employer I would be involved in that, I took myself completely out of the corrections issue so there would be no questions about it. (Arizona Capitol Times)
December 3, 2003
A bipartisan Senate agreement could pave the way for a major step forward in the lengthy legislative special session. Republican and Democratic leaders promoted a compromise agreement Monday that would send 2,100 Arizona inmates to temporary cells out of state while allowing the Department of Corrections to bid against private companies to build new prisons. The bill also would raise drunken driving fines by $500 for a first offense, $1,250 for a second offense and $1,500 for a subsequent conviction. Minor driving scofflaws, for instance those driving on a suspended license, would face a $250 additional fine. The money would be used to relieve crowding in the state's prison system. The fines could produce about $15 million a year. The state would send about 140 inmates to county jails at a cost of $2.1 million. "It looks promising," said Sen. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson. Dealing with prison crowding and reforming Child Protective Services are the two primary subjects of the special session. However, during the first six weeks there has been little agreement on either issue. Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, is expected to decide today whether to give her blessing to the prisons agreement. One of the hang-ups is the creation of an independent committee to design and assess requests for new prisons. The final decision would remain with the executive branch. The committee, with appointees from the Senate president, the House speaker and the governor, would create the requests so that the Department of Corrections, a potential bidder against private companies, would not have an unfair advantage. (Arizona Daily Star)
November 25, 2003
The debate over whether the use of private prisons is the answer to the state’s overcrowding problem will spill over into the regular session, a senator predicts. Proposed legislation may bring a temporary solution, but Sen. Bob Burns, R-Dist. 9, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a proponent of private prisons, says he thinks the debate “will go on for a while.” Mr. Burns says Governor Napolitano’s office is trying to kill privatization and may tarnish the state’s reputation so badly that private companies will not want to do business with the state. At the end of a Nov. 18 committee meeting, Mr. Burns challenged the governor to meet with committee members to show why private prisons are not a solution. A day earlier, Ms. Napolitano said during her weekly press briefing that legislators pushing private prisons do not have the facts. “I know that down at the Legislature every private prison company in America seems to have a lobbyist or two working the halls,” she said. “They are providing information that is contrary to the facts.” The major inaccuracy, she said, was that private prisons “are cheaper over time. I see no data that suggests that.” (Arizona Capitol Times)
November 25, 2003
Some Arizona legislators are concerned that a Florida prison company hoping to land millions of dollars in state contracts paid a $300,000 fine this year for failing to report numerous gifts to New York lawmakers. Correctional Services Corp. wants to expand two prisons in Arizona in exchange for long-term contracts. However, even some backers of private prisons question the company's gift-giving. "That concerns me," said House Appropriations Chairman Russell Pearce, R-Mesa. "If these allegations are true, then I would have a problem." In February, the company agreed to pay $300,000 to the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying to settle an investigation into the company's activities. The commission's executive director, David Grandeau, said the company failed to properly account for gifts given to lawmakers. "This was a pattern of conduct that existed for a long time," Grandeau said in a phone interview. "They found it politically helpful to them." One New York lawmaker pleaded guilty earlier this year to taking bribes in an unrelated matter but also admitted to accepting free rides from New York City to the state capital in Albany from the company. The commission's investigation went back only to 2000, but former Assemblywoman Gloria Davis, a Bronx Democrat, admitted accepting company rides beginning in 1998. New York law forbids lawmakers from accepting gifts worth more than $75. The trips, as well as at least four or five gift baskets, meals and an airplane ticket given to various lawmakers, exceeded the limit, Grandeau said. The company signed a settlement agreement in February. It notes that the company's filing with the commission contained errors and omissions. Grandeau said the practice began under a company vice president who was fired for unrelated activities. Grandeau said his successor, Jack Brown, admitted continuing the gift-giving practice. Under Arizona law, lobbyists are allowed to buy meals and offer gifts worth less $10. Expenditure reports for Arizona's current special legislative session are due to the secretary of state in January. Previous expenditure reports on meals and gifts show little or no activity from the Correctional Services Corp. lobbyist. Company Vice President Russell Rau denied any wrongdoing, saying the troubles were just filing errors. "It was incorrectly filling out forms," Rau said. "Campaign reporting laws are very complex. Ask any elected official. A fee was paid because the mistake was made." Rau said he has not given any gifts to Arizona lawmakers. Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro said she is keeping tabs on the company's New York troubles but is not going to pull any contracts now. In addition to two Arizona facilities, the firm houses more than 600 inmates in a Texas facility. "This kind of issue underscores some of the concerns I have expressed recently about privatizing a core government function," Schriro said. "We will continue to monitor closely the criminal investigation and anything that ensues from it." While the original House bill on prisons featured a passage that would have virtually guaranteed that the company receive more state business, questions arose both about the constitutionality of the bill and the firm's overall performance. In the Senate, Sen. Bill Brotherton, D-Phoenix, wants to ban any contractor that has been found to have offered a bribe from receiving a private prison contract. "If we are going to be dealing with private companies doing a law enforcement job, they should be as clean as possible," Brotherton said. (Arizona Daily Star)
November 19, 2003
Lobbyists descended on the Capitol this month to convince legislators that private prisons are the best option for a cash-strapped state facing an inmate overcrowding crisis and are the cheapest deal for taxpayers. "Just like sharks that smell blood in the water, the lobbyists sense that there's support in the Legislature for private prisons," said Sen. Pete Rios, D-Hayden. "That's why they are coming out in full force." A bill muscling its way through the Legislature calls for 3,000 private beds: 1,600 permanent beds at private facilities and 1,400 temporary beds at an out-of-state private prison. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly Monday and is expected to go to a vote of the full Senate today. "Private companies have demonstrated we can save money on building and operating these facilities," said Russell Rau, vice president of Correctional Services Corporation, which houses 1,825 Arizona inmates, including 625 in Texas. "Privatization has been a good partner for Arizona." Opponents, led by Gov. Janet Napolitano, say they are not convinced the cost savings exist. Napolitano's proposal called for expanding some state prisons. (The Arizona Republic)
November 18, 2003
The House on Monday overwhelmingly approved a Republican bill to provide 3,000 new private prison beds, in Arizona and elsewhere, to help relieve crowding in the corrections system. The GOP-led House's 37-17 vote by party lines sent the bill (HB2019) to the Senate where similar legislation already has been endorsed by one committee and awaits action by another. However, Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano has said she has "grave concerns" about the bill, which would rely more on private prisons than she wants and provide a smaller midyear spending increase to the Department of Corrections. The bill approved by the House would add 1,600 additional permanent beds at private prisons and send 1,400 inmates at least temporarily to private prisons outside Arizona. It also would impose a mandatory new $1,000 "assessment" on DUI offenders to help pay for prison expansion. The state now has approximately 2,315 inmates in private prisons in Arizona and Texas, or about 7 percent of the total 31,146 prisoners in the state system. The state currently has a shortfall of approximately 4,000 permanent beds, forcing the Department of Corrections to take such steps as putting inmates' beds in converted dayrooms. Napolitano proposed adding 1,600 temporary beds, mostly at private prisons, and 1,200 permanent beds by expanding state-run prisons in Florence, Perryville and Yuma. Republicans favor more use of private prisons, contending private facilities can provide beds at a competitive cost and be available quickly to help solve the bed shortage. Napolitano administration officials dismiss the Republicans' plan as providing too few beds and not enough money, committing the state to expanding private prisons with inadequate sites and tying the Department of Corrections' hands in dealings with private-prison operators. Napolitano has been cool toward private prisons, contending prisons are a core government function. However, she included additional temporary private beds in her plan for lack of alternatives. Napolitano's bill would appropriate $26.4 million for the department. The Republican bill would provide $8.9 million. It also reduces by $3.1 million the amount the department must pay for employees' health insurance. No Republicans defended the bill as House Democrats rose to denounce it. Rep. Tom Prezelski, D-Tucson, said it's a mistake for the state to rely on money from the new assessments to pay for prison projects. "I don't know if the money's going to exist to actually fund this scheme," he said. The bill has too many unanswered questions, said Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix. "This bill is begging to be vetoed." (Privateer News)
November 13, 2003
A Republican plan to require the state to contract for more private prison space is unconstitutional and likely to be vetoed, two top aides to Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday. Tim Nelson, the governor's legal counsel, said lawmakers cannot mandate that the state give money to Correctional Services Corp. to expand its existing private prisons in Phoenix and Florence. He said the state Constitution specifically prohibits the Legislature from directing that taxpayer dollars go to a particular company.
(Arizona Daily Sun)
October 21, 2003
Lawmakers are looking at reviving the idea of sending Mexican nationals locked up in Arizona prisons south of the border to serve the remainder of their sentences. And it could come into play as the Legislature goes into a special session today on prison spending and crowding. Caroline Isaacs, with the Tucson branch of the prison reform group American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization, said the idea is fraught with problems, including who is accountable for the prisoners. Former prison chief Terry Stewart had been shopping an idea for a private prison in Mexico to house nationals. Stewart could not be reached for comment. Dora Schrirro, head of the Arizona Department of Corrections, said she will take a look at the proposal. "It's an interesting idea," Schrirro said. "Everything ought to be given some consideration. The question is whether there is authority." Her boss isn't exactly thrilled with the idea, however. "It's not something the governor is in favor of pursuing," said Napolitano's spokesman, Paul Allvin. "These will be wards of the state in Mexico. If they escape or hurt themselves or commit crimes, there is a huge liability issue for Arizona." (Arizona Daily Star)
May 5, 2003
Poor planning has fueled an overcrowding crisis in Arizons's prison system and state leaders are scrambling to find a solution. "We're trying everything we can," said George Weisz, Gov. Janet Napolitano's special assistant for corrections. Meanwhile, the department is coping by building tents at its prison complexes in Goodyear, Tucson, Douglas and Yuma, and having inmates double-bunk in some units. Three years ago, the state had a solution, when a $196 million prison was planned in Tucson that would have added 4,400 beds. Since plans for the Tucson complex were canceled, lawmakers have focused on privatization to handle growth. Last November, the department contracted with Correctional Services Corp. to place up to 645 male inmates in the Newton County Correctional Center in Texas. (AP)
April 10, 2003
Legislators are being urged to consider a broad array of state properties for sales or other transactions beyond the handful of sites proposed by Gov. Janet Napolitano to help balance the budget. Gov. Janet Napolitano has suggested that the State Compensation Fund buy either the state mental hospital, the Department of Safety headquarters or the Perryville prison in exchange for $50 million needed to help balance the current fiscal year's budget. (Tucson Citizen)
March 8, 2003
State lawmakers on Friday turned down a proposal to build a prison in Mexico for more than 3,000 undocumented immigrants behind bars in Arizona. On a 7-6 vote, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee denied allowing the state to seek a private contractor to build and operate a prison in Sonora, the Mexican state that borders Arizona. "It would be a good business for Arizona and Mexico," argued Terry Stewart, former Arizona corrections director, who now has a consulting firm, Advanced Correctional Management. "It would solve language and cultural issues." But some senators questioned the legality of repatriating undocumented inmates to Mexico without their consent and the state's responsibility of overseeing a prison in another country. Further, there is no guarantee that the Mexican government would agree to such a proposal, said Sen. Pete Rios. (The Arizona Republic)
February 2, 2003
As state leaders search for creative ways to fix a $1.3 billion deficit, they are turning to the sale of state buildings and equipment and money-making enterprises to fill the gap. And while the state has buildings with a replacement value of at least $2.3 billion to offer on the open market, critics are beginning to question the long-term positive impacts of such moves. "It's borrowing off the future. You have an asset that is almost paid for and now it's sold and in someone else's hand," said Bruce Wheeler, a former Tucson City Councilman who opposed some similar ideas in the past. "I don't think it's a responsible way for making up for deficits." " Sale of assets is not a strategy that has been widely used," said Tim Blake, an analyst with the credit rating firm Moody's. "What we look for them to do is to get back through recurring measures, not just through one-time fixes. Either of the sale of assets and borrowing are one-time fixes. They just set themselves up for looking for other one-time fixes." That could hurt the state's limping credit rating. Blake said Moody's outlook for Arizona is negative, and more debt would not help the situation. A low credit rating makes borrowing more expensive as investors seek higher return in exchange for taking on possibly higher-risk sellers. Republicans propose an outright sale of buildings and equipment, seeking to raise about $350 million. The state may rent the buildings back or, in the case of prisons, contract with private operators that would run them. Dormitories could also be sold and privatized. Here are the replacement values for state owned buildings that legislators will consider selling: Department of Corrections: $774.8 million. Juvenile Corrections Department: $63.8 million. (Arizona Daily Star)
January 28, 2003
Republican legislators are proposing to sell state fair grounds, Arizona Highways magazine and other state property to help balance the budget while eying a possible private prison in Mexico to house inmates from that country for future savings. Other assets were no specified in the package of bills introduced by Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Burns. Burns and other lawmakers also introduced a bill to have the state seek proposals from private prison operators to build and operate a prison in the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora. The prison would house some or all of the approximately 3,000 Mexican nationals that now compromise approximately 10 percent of the state's prison inmates. The state still would have to have a presence at the prison in Mexico to monitor conditions and guarantee a standard of care, Burns said. "Arizona would be in control because there would be our prisoners, our responsibility," he said. (AP)
January 26, 2003
A small coalition of University of Arizona faculty and students yesterday called for Gov. Janet Napolitano an the Legislature to use money earmarked for private prisons to fund higher education. The group, Education Not Incarceration Campaign, number four or five faculty members and about 10 students, said Caroline Issacs, a member of the group. The state must authorize construction of two private prisons that would handle a total of 5,400 nonviolent offenders, the group claimed. It said one prison is for convicted drunken drives and the other for female inmates. In the past 20 years, Arizona's spending on education dropped 11 percent while spending on prisons increased 140 percent, the coalition said. (Tuscon Citizen)
January 22, 2003
A small coalition of University of Arizona faculty and students called today for Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Legislature to use money set aside for private prisons to fund higher education. The group, Education not Incarceration Campaign, numbers four or five faculty members and about 10 students, according to member Caroline Isaacs. The state must authorize construction of two private prisons that would handle a total of 5,400 nonviolent offenders, the group claimed. One prison it said is for convicted drunken drivers, the other for female inmates. Coalition members told an audience of about 25 people that if the state put those prisoners in treatment and counseling programs instead of prison, Arizonan could save the $33.4 million it will pay in operating costs. In the last 20 years, Arizona's spending on education dropped 11 percent while spending on prisons increased 140 percent, the coalition said. (Tucson)
January 16, 2003
Arizona's $1.3 billion budget deficit would vanish in a cloud of property sell-offs accounting maneuvers and relatively small cuts in services under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Janet Napolitano. She hopes to succeed where governors elsewhere have failed: to offset a huge state deficit without raising taxes or slashing money for schools, children's services and prisons. Napolitano's top budget aide, George Cunningham, said the team benefited from consulting with other states. That's where aides learned that New York and New Jersey had programs where they sold state assets and leased them back from the private owners. Napolitano's plan includes the sale and leaseback of $250 million in assets, including several prison facilities. (The Arizona Republic)
January 13, 2003
The battle begins Monday to solve a budget crisis so ingrained in Arizona government that firing all state workers wouldn't solve it an closing all 67 state agencies would fix only half of it. The prisons budget, nearly $600 million a year and growing, is not technically protected from cuts and could be a source pf trims. One possible solution would be to sell prisons to private companies that would hire their own workers to operate the facilities. A second would be to release some prisoners early. (The Arizona Republic)
November 16, 2002
Some of Yuma's prison inmates may end up crossing state lines, but with the government's permission, of course. In an effort to ease crowding in Arizona prisons, the state Legislature is allowing 645 inmates statewide to be transferred to a private prison in Newton, Texas, said Jim Robideau, a spokesman with the Arizona Department of Corrections. The Newton County Correctional Center, also called the Fillyaw Correctional Facility, is a private prison run by Correctional Services Corp. It is near the Louisiana state line. (Yuma sun.com0
April 10, 2002
Before the House took a vote Monday to rein in tough-love boot camps for wayward teens, Melanie Hudson was confident that her son did not die in vain. She was nearly wrong. Hudson, whose 14-year-old son, Tony Haynes, died after strenuous exercise at a boot camp last summer, sent a message to lawmakers who assumed the bill would pass. After a close call on Monday, the House gave new life Tuesday to a bill that would close the loophole allowing boot camps in Arizona without a license or trained staff. Behind the strength of several members who were absent Monday, it passed 33-15. It now moves on to the Senate, which passed a similar measure last month. (azcentral.com)
Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis
March 3, 2004
The prison where two corrections officers were held hostage is plagued by unprofessionalism and complacency among officers, a panel reviewing the hostage standoff said Tuesday. Procedures in the kitchen where the Jan. 18 incident began should also be reviewed. The two inmates, Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy, were armed with shanks and were able to overcome the only officer on duty there. In the future, the kitchen office should be locked and two officers should be on duty, panelists concluded. The panel said the department should also assess whether to continue to employ civilian contract workers in the kitchen. One such worker was raped during the incident. Another failed to show up for work that day, and is being investigated for a possible involvement. That investigation should continue, the panel recommended. The kitchen worker, who did not show up Jan. 18 and has since been fired by food service company Canteen, has refused to cooperate with investigators. The Arizona Republic is not identifying the man because he has not been named as a suspect or charged with a crime. Attempts to locate him for comment have been unsuccessful. Representatives with Canteen did not return calls seeking comment. (The Arizona Republic)
March 2, 2004
Investigators are looking into whether a civilian food-service worker is linked to a botched escape attempt that led to a 15-day hostage siege at the state prison in Buckeye. The unidentified man reportedly was one of two food-service workers assigned to the Morey Unit kitchen area at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis on Jan. 18, when inmates Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy overpowered the other worker and two corrections guard. "There were only the two employees scheduled for duty morning and when he didn't show up, inmate Ricky Wassenaar began asking in particular where he was," former Arizona Att General Grant Woods, co-chairman of an investigative panel reviewing the hostage situation, said Monday. "There is cert suspicious circumstances surrounding this employee." Authorities said the employee in question left the food service company assigned to the prison shortly after the standoff began and thus far has refused to cooperate in the subsequent investigation. (KVOA.com)
Canyon State Academy
Quenn Creek, Arizona
February 24, 2003
Phoenix police are investigating allegations that a female employee at the Canyon State Academy had an affair with a 16-year-old resident of the boot camp for delinquent boys. Formerly known as Arizona Boys Ranch, the non-profit academy in Queen Creek has struggled in the past with allegations of misconduct by employees toward students, mostly involving alleged physical and emotional abuse. According to Phoenix police, the youth's mother lodged a complaint Feb. 16, saying an adult instructor had a sexual relationship with her son. (AzCentral.com)
Central Arizona Detention Center
February 23, 2007 The Arizona Republic
The parent company of the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence has agreed to pay more than $400,000 to settle findings of hiring discrimination. U.S. Department of Labor investigators said the privately run prison's selection process disproportionately rejected non-Hispanic job applicants who applied to be correctional officers during a two-year period that ended in March 2005. The prison has agreed to pay 464 former applicants an equal share of $438,626, or $945.32 each, which includes back pay and interest. The prison will also hire 16 previously rejected applicants. The Corrections Corporation of America, which manages the prison, said the settlement doesn't mean it violated federal affirmative action law. "Although we continue to disagree with the position taken by (the Labor Department), we have agreed to take certain steps to resolve this matter," a company statement said. The investigation was the result of routine audits that the Labor Department conducts with companies contracting with the federal government. "We'll go in and we'll look at the job applicant pool for more than one position, and we look at who applied for the jobs and who was hired," spokeswoman Deanne Amaden said. "In this case, what we found was a high disproportionate number of Hispanics were being hired. The result was that the non-Hispanics were not getting that job opportunity." Corrections Corporation of America has also agreed to immediately stop discriminatory practices and undergo self-monitoring measures to ensure legal hiring practices, according to the Labor Department.
November 11, 2006 Arizona Daily Star
A lockdown at the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence has suspended visitation as authorities conduct a routine search for contraband, said Gilbert Carmona, assistant warden. "This is a yearly shakedown," he said Friday, but declined to say if anything has been found. The detention center has about 3,000 inmates, Carmona said. The lockdown is expected to last about a week, he said. Visitation will be resumed when the lockdown is lifted, he added. The privately-run facility is owned by Corrections Corporation of America.
September 29, 2005 Casa Grande Valley News
Several employees at Central Arizona Detention Center used their mid- day break last Thursday to have a piece of cake and congratulate a colleague on his birthday. Harry J. Larson celebrated his 80th birthday while on the job as a correctional officer. CADC Warden Bruno Stolc presented a plaque to Larson, who has been with the private prison in Florence since June 2001. The warden recalled in front of about 25 people assembled, how Larson recently helped pull an aggressive inmate off another officer. "So Mr. Larson is not just filling a spot. Mr. Larson is a correctional officer, and we're dang proud to have him," Stolc said. Warden Stolc said while Larson is the oldest CADC employee, he is not the oldest employee in CCA. Frank Deloria, an officer at the company's Eden, Texas, prison is 83. The company also has a part- time registered nurse who is 87, Stolc said.
December 7, 2004 Metropolitan News-Enterprise
A federal magistrate judge in Arizona should have appointed a lawyer to represent an incarcerated immigrant suing a private jailer over his treatment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. It was an abuse of discretion not to name counsel under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(e)(1) for Emmanuel Senyo Agyeman in his civil rights suit, Senior Judge John T. Noonan said. He was held at a variety of correctional facilities, included one operated by a private contractor, Corrections Corporation of America. In his lawsuit, he contended he was shackled, bound and beaten by CCA employees while being transported for medical treatment in 1998. After a trial at which he represented himself, a jury rejected his claims. The Ninth Circuit appointed a lawyer to represented him in his appeal and yesterday vacated the judgment resulting from the trial. Agyeman, Noonan explained, was under the misconception that he could proceed against the individual CCA corrections officers under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 as if they were state employees, while in fact their liability could only be predicated on Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The corporation itself, however, could not be subjected to liability under Bivens, as Agyeman sought to do, Noonan said; instead, Agyeman should have sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act and sought to join CCA as a defendant. The plaintiff never succeeded in gaining access to the federal regulations which, on appeal, CCA argued governed his treatment at the time of the alleged incident, Noonan added. Without gaining access to the federal prison regulations, Agyeman could not establish that the treatment he alleged that he received was or was not contrary to what was required by the United States as to noncriminal detainees. Without a lawyer, Agyeman not only did not think of obtaining this information but did not advance any coherent theory for subjecting Corrections Corporation to liability.” In addition to ascertaining a viable basis for liablility, a lawyer might have been able to exploit the “anomaly of incarcerating a person on noncriminal charges and confining him for seven years,” Noonan suggested. He elaborated: “Such incarceration may be a cruel necessity of our immigration policy; but if it must be done, the greatest care must be observed in not treating the innocent like a dangerous criminal. Is there any warrant for shackling the feet and binding the chest of an innocent detainee? It requires legal skill to frame this issue and distinguish Agyeman’s case from that of the ordinary transferee—.”
Dolan Springs, Arizona
February 19, 2008 The Daily News
A proposed private prison near Dolan Springs was denied Tuesday by the Mohave County supervisors. The supervisors denied a change to the county's general plan and the Dolan Springs Area Plan for the prison. They also denied rezoning the property from agricultural residential to general manufacturing. In December, the planning and zoning commission also denied changing the general plan and the area plan for the private prison as well as denying the rezoning the property. Like at prior supervisor and planning and zoning commission meetings, dozens of speakers, mostly Dolan Springs residents, opposed the prison. They cited the amount of water a prison would use as the main issue. John Ford, who is running for District 1 supervisor, said the will of most of the people in the community, located about 45 miles north of Kingman, said no to the prison. The prison could use up to 300,000 gallons a day, he said. Others spoke of how putting a prison near a residential area would not be compatible with the surrounding properties. Others questioned the prison builder's, Corrections Corporation of America, record including the number of escapes, assaults and riots at CCA's other prisons located in other states. Others did not want out-of-state prisoners transferred to Mohave County. Bob Holsinger of Golden Valley said that inmates are often dropped off and released nearby with a ticket back to their jurisdiction. He also said the owners of a prison near Yucca promised the prison would house low-risk inmates but it now houses higher-risk inmates. Kathy Tackett- Hicks, who represents CCA, said the prison would have developed its own water system. However, the firm would not guarantee a $250,000 contract with Mt. Tipton Water Company.
Eloy Detention Center
May 11, 2008 Washington Post
Neil Sampson, who ran the DIHS as interim director most of last year, left that job with serious questions about the government's commitment. Sampson said in an interview that ICE treated detainee health care "as an afterthought," reflecting what he called a failure of leadership and management at the Homeland Security Department. "They do not have a clear idea or philosophy of their approach to health care [for detainees]," he said. "It's a system failure, not a failure of individuals." A new director for health services arrived six months ago, following a stretch when the agency was run first by Sampson and then by a second interim director. The new boss is LaMont W. Flanagan, who brought with him the credential of having been fired in 2003 by the state of Maryland for bad management and spending practices supervising detention and pretrial services. An audit found that Flanagan had signed off on payments of $145,000 for employee entertainment and other ill-advised expenditures. His reputation was such that the District of Columbia would not hire him for a juvenile-justice position. "Another death that needs to be added to the roster," Diane Aker, the DIHS chief health administrator, tapped out in an e-mail to a records clerk at headquarters on Aug. 14, 2007. Juan Guevara-Lorano, 21, was dead. Guevara, an unemployed legal U.S. resident with a young son, was arrested in El Paso for driving illegal border-crossers farther into the city. He was paid $50. An entry-level emergency medical technician, with barely any training, had done Guevara's intake screening and physical assessment at the Otero County immigration compound in New Mexico. Under DIHS rules, those tasks are supposed to be done by a nurse. After two difficult months in detention, Guevara had decided not to appeal his case. He would go back to Mexico with his family. But on Aug. 4, he came down with a splitting headache, what he called a nine on a pain scale of 10, his medical records show. The rookie medical technician prescribed Tylenol and referred Guevara to the compound's physician "due to severity of headache ... and dizziness," according to medical records. But Guevara never saw a doctor. Eight days after the first incident, he vomited in his cell. The same junior technician came to help but was unable to insert a nasal airway tube. Guevara was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined an aneurism in his brain had burst. His wife, pregnant at the time with their second child, recalled that she rushed to the hospital but ICE guards would not let her inside, until the Mexican Consulate interceded. Guevara's mother waited five hours before they let her in. By then he was brain-dead. "My son is not coming back," sobbed Ana Celia Lozano months later, sitting in Guevara's small mobile home as her grandson played on the floor. "I want to know how he lived and died, nothing more." What appears to be the most incriminating document in Guevara's case has been partially blacked out. Still, what is left shows that he did not receive adequate care. "The detainee was not seen or evaluated by an RN, midlevel or physician. . . . At the time of the incident on 8/12/2007, the detainee was seen and examined by EMTs." Each immigration facility is allotted a different number of positions, and a shortage of doctors and nurses is not unusual at centers across the country. Records from February show that about 30 percent of all DIHS positions in the field were unfilled. ICE officials said last week that the current vacancy rate is 21 percent. Concern about the vacancies is voiced repeatedly at clinical directors' meetings. "How do we state our concerns so that we can be heard? . . . this is a CRITICAL condition. . . . We have bitten off more than we can chew," a physician wrote in the minutes of one meeting last summer. In some prisons, the staffing shortages are acute. The Willacy County detention center in South Texas -- the largest compound, with 2,018 detainees -- has no clinical director, no pharmacist and only a part-time psychiatrist. Nearly 50 percent of the nursing positions were unfilled at the 1,500-detainee Eloy, Ariz., prison in February. At the newly opened 744-bed Jena., La., compound, nurses run the place. It has no clinical director, no staff physician, no psychiatrist and no professional dental staff. Last August, Sampson, who was then DIHS interim director, warned his superiors at ICE that critical personnel shortages were making it impossible to staff the Jena facility adequately. In a vociferous e-mail to Gary Mead, the ICE deputy director in charge of detention centers, he wrote: "With the Jena request we have been re-examining our capabilities to meet health care needs at a new site when we are facing critical staffing shortages at most every other DIHS site. While we developed, executed and achieved major successes in our recruitment efforts we have been unable to meet the demand." The slow ICE security-clearance process forced many job applicants to go elsewhere, Sampson wrote. Of the 312 people who applied for new positions over the past year, 200 withdrew, he wrote, because they found other jobs during the 250 days it took ICE, on average, to conduct the required background investigations. Last week, ICE officials said the average wait had decreased recently to 37 days. These shortages have burdened the remaining staff. In July 2007, a year after Osman's death in Otay Mesa, medical director Hui strongly complained to headquarters about workload stress. "The level of burnout . . . is high and rising," she wrote in an e-mail. "I know that I have been averaging approximately 2-6 hrs of overtime daily for the past 2 months. I will no longer be able to sustain this pace and will be decreasing the number of hours that I work overtime. This being said, more will be left undone because we simply do NOT have the staff." The overcrowding has created a petri dish for the spread of diseases. One mission of the Public Health Service is to detect infectious diseases and contain them before they spread, but last summer, the gigantic Willacy center was hit by a chicken pox outbreak. The illness spread because the facility did not have enough available isolation rooms and its large pods share recycled air, but also because security officers "lack education about the disease and keep moving around detainees from different units without taking into consideration if the unit has been isolated due to heavy exposure," noted the DIHS's top specialist on infectious diseases, Carlos Duchesne. The staff was forced to vaccinate the entire population in mid-July. In one 2007 death, memos and confidential notes show how medical staff missed an infectious disease, meningitis, in their midst. Victor Alfonso Arellano, 23, a transgender Mexican detainee with AIDS, died in custody at the San Pedro center. The first three pages of Duchesne's internal review of the death leave the impression that Arellano's care was proper. But the last page, under the heading "Off the record observations and recommendations," takes a decidedly critical tone: "The clinical staff at all levels fails to recognize early signs and symptoms of meningitis. . . . Pt was evaluated multiple times and an effort to rule out those infections was not even mentioned." Arellano was given a "completely useless" antibiotic, Duchesne wrote. Lab work that should have been performed immediately took 22 days because San Pedro's clinical director had ordered staff members to withhold lab work for new detainees until they had been in detention there "for more than 30 days," a violation of agency rules. "I am sure that there must be a reason why this was mandated but that practice is particularly dangerous with chronic care cases and specially is particularly dangerous with . . . HIV/AIDS patients," Duchesne wrote. "Labs for AIDS patients . . . must be performed ASAP to know their immune status and where you are standing in reference to disease control and meds." Given the frequency with which ICE moves people within the detention network, keeping track of detainees is critical to stopping the spread of infectious illnesses. The purchase of an electronic records system named CaseTrakker in 2004 was supposed to help. But according to internal documents and interviews, CaseTrakker is so riddled with problems that facilities often revert to handwritten records. A study at one site found that it took one-third more time to use CaseTrakker than to use paper. Thousands of patient files are missing. Recorded data often cannot be retrieved. Day-long outages are common. When detainees are transferred from one facility to another, their records, if they follow them, are often misleading. Some show medications with no medical diagnoses, or "lots of diagnoses but no meds," according to Elizabeth Fleming, a former clinical director at one compound in Arizona. After Yusif Osman's death and the discovery of the problem with his computerized records, the DIHS ordered a review of all charts at the Otay Mesa center. During the review, auditors also found that 260 physical exams were never completed as required. The nurse responsible for the error in Osman's case was reprimanded, but the computer problem was not fixed. The CaseTrakker system "has failed and must be replaced," Sampson, the DIHS interim director, wrote to his ICE supervisors in August. In January 2008, medical director Shack told colleagues that CaseTrakker "is more of a liability than the use of paper medical record system," according to the minutes of a meeting. It "puts patients at risk." ICE officials said last week that they are not satisfied with CaseTrakker and are working to replace it. Along with being at the mercy of computer glitches, detainees suffer from human errors that deny or delay their care. And with few advocates on the outside, they are left alone to plead their cases in the most desperate ways, in hand-scribbled notes to doctors they rarely see. "I need medicine for pain. All my bones hurt. Thank you," wrote Mexico native Roberto Ledesma Guerrero, 72, three weeks before he died inside the Otay Mesa compound. Delays persist throughout the system. In January, the detention center in Pearsall, Tex., an hour from San Antonio, had a backlog of 2,097 appointments. Luis Dubegel-Paez, a 60-year-old Cuban, had filled out many sick call requests before he died on March 14. Detained at the Rolling Plains Detention Facility in the West Texas town of Haskell, he wrote on New Year's Day: "need to see doctor for Heart medication; and having chest pains for the past three days. Can't stand pain." Ten days later he went to the clinic and became upset when he wasn't seen. He slugged the window, yelled, pointed at his wristwatch. He was escorted back to his cell. Another of his sick call requests said: "Need to see a doctor. I have a lot of symptoms of sickness ... as soon as possible!" The next was more urgent: "I have a emergency to see the doctor about my heart problems ... for the last couple days and I been getting dizzy a lot." The next day, Dubegel-Paez collapsed and died. His medical records do not show that he ever saw a doctor for his chest pains.
May 5, 2008 New York Times
The four sons of Maya Nand, 56, are still haunted by the last collect call he made to them from an immigration detention center in Eloy, Ariz. “This was the first time we ever heard our dad cry,” said one, Jay Ashis Nand, 25. “He said, ‘Son, if you don’t get me out of here today, I’m going to die.’ ” Mr. Nand, a legal immigrant from Fiji who was diabetic, had been calling his family with mounting desperation over a 10-day period, the sons said. Already ailing when he was abruptly taken into custody at the family’s home in Sacramento early in the morning of Jan. 13, 2005, he had deteriorated after a week at the Arizona detention center, which is run for the federal government by Corrections Corporation of America, a publicly traded prison company. “He felt a lot of pain in his heart,” Jay Ashis said. “He would stand up all night because he couldn’t breathe.” The sons, all naturalized American citizens, said their father told them that the medical staff at Eloy did not take his condition seriously, and that when he could barely walk, guards would tell him to stop faking. The sons kept calling the center to plead for medical attention, they said, but could get through only to an answering machine. They said they hired a lawyer to reach the warden, but nothing changed. And in their father’s last call, it seemed his life was hanging in the balance. That he was being detained at all was hard for the family to understand. Mr. Nand, whose forefathers were brought to Fiji from India as slaves by the British, had waited 10 years so he could move the family legally to the United States, in November 1998. A former civil servant, he struggled to find work as an architectural draftsman, and eventually applied for United States citizenship. It was the rejection of his citizenship application, because of a 2002 misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, that apparently prompted his arrest. The misdemeanor was the lone blot on his record, his sons said, and had been resolved to the court’s satisfaction with a year of anger management classes. But immigration authorities considered it grounds for deportation. And instead of summoning him by letter to immigration court, where he could have fought to stay in the United States, immigration agents arrested him without warning and shipped him to detention in another state. On Jan. 25, 2005, the day after Mr. Nand’s last call from Eloy, about midway between Phoenix and Tucson, he was found slumped in the lobby of the detention center’s clinic suffering cardiac arrest, said his second son, Jay Pranawnip Nand, 27. Then he was taken by ambulance to an emergency room in Casa Grande, Ariz., where, according to a letter to the family from an immigration official, doctors diagnosed congestive heart failure and later a heart attack. He was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson, on life support. After driving 12 hours to get to the hospital, the sons and their mother, Malti, said they watched helplessly as Mr. Nand’s damaged heart failed. He died Feb. 2, shackled to the bed. Asked about Mr. Nand’s treatment, Corrections Corporation officials said in a written statement that he had been medically screened when he arrived at the Eloy center, seen and treated “multiple times” by its medical staff, and taken to a hospital. According to a government list of deaths in immigration custody, Mr. Nand was one of five detainees to die at Eloy within a 26-month period; none of the deaths have previously been brought to public attention. “After the funeral, I was like, ‘I want to sue the hell out of them,’ ” Jay Pranawnip said. “I don’t want money. I just want them to realize what they have done and change the policy, because there are people dying.” But he said an inexperienced lawyer who took the case dropped it a year later without having filed anything. After hunting fruitlessly for a replacement, the family gave up. “Just talking about it now, I’ve got goose bumps,” he added. “I’ve got rage and anger and sorrow at the same time.”
May 5, 2008 New York Times
Word spread quickly inside the windowless walls of the Elizabeth Detention Center, an immigration jail in New Jersey: A detainee had fallen, injured his head and become incoherent. Guards had put him in solitary confinement, and late that night, an ambulance had taken him away more dead than alive. But outside, for five days, no official notified the family of the detainee, Boubacar Bah, a 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who had overstayed a tourist visa. When frantic relatives located him at University Hospital in Newark on Feb. 5, 2007, he was in a coma after emergency surgery for a skull fracture and multiple brain hemorrhages. He died there four months later without ever waking up, leaving family members on two continents trying to find out why. Mr. Bah’s name is one of 66 on a government list of deaths that occurred in immigration custody from January 2004 to November 2007, when nearly a million people passed through. The list, compiled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after Congress demanded the information, and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, is the fullest accounting to date of deaths in immigration detention, a patchwork of federal centers, county jails and privately run prisons that has become the nation’s fastest-growing form of incarceration. The list has few details, and they are often unreliable, but it serves as a rough road map to previously unreported cases like Mr. Bah’s. And it reflects a reality that haunts grieving families like his: the difficulty of getting information about the fate of people taken into immigration custody, even when they die. Mr. Bah’s relatives never saw the internal records labeled “proprietary information — not for distribution” by the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the New Jersey detention center for the federal government. The documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth. Mr. Bah had lived in New York for a decade, surrounded by a large circle of friends and relatives. The extravagant gowns he sewed to support his wife and children in West Africa were on display in a Manhattan boutique. But he died in a sequestered system where questions about what had happened to him, or even his whereabouts, were met with silence. As the country debates stricter enforcement of immigration laws, thousands of people who are not American citizens are being locked up for days, months or years while the government decides whether to deport them. Some have no valid visa; some are legal residents, but have past criminal convictions; others are seeking asylum from persecution. Death is a reality in any jail, and the medical neglect of inmates is a perennial issue. But far more than in the criminal justice system, immigration detainees and their families lack basic ways to get answers when things go wrong. No government body is required to keep track of deaths and publicly report them. No independent inquiry is mandated. And often relatives who try to investigate the treatment of those who died say they are stymied by fear of immigration authorities, lack of access to lawyers, or sheer distance. Federal officials say deaths are reviewed internally by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which reports them to its inspector general and decides which ones warrant investigation. Officials say they notify the detainee’s next of kin or consulate, and report the deaths to local medical authorities, who may conduct autopsies. In Mr. Bah’s case, a review before his death found no evidence of foul play, an immigration spokesman said, though after later inquiries from The Times, he said a full review of the death was under way. But critics, including many in Congress, say this piecemeal process leaves too much to the agency’s discretion, allowing some deaths to be swept under the rug while potential witnesses are transferred or deported. They say it also obscures underlying complaints about medical care, abusive conditions or inadequate suicide prevention. In January, the House passed a bill that would require states that receive certain federal money to report deaths in custody to their attorneys general. But the bill is stalled in the Senate, and it does not cover federal facilities. The only tangible result of Congressional concern has been the list of 66 deaths, which names Mr. Bah and many other detainees for the first time, but raises as many questions as it answers. For Mr. Bah’s survivors, the mystery of his death is hard to bear. In Guinea, his first wife, Dalanda, wept as she spoke about the contradictory accounts that had reached her and her two teenage sons through other detainees, including some who speculated that Mr. Bah had been beaten. In New York, a cousin who is an American citizen, Khadidiatou Bah, 38, said she was unable to bring a lawsuit, in part because other relatives were afraid of antagonizing the authorities. “They don’t want to push the case, or maybe they will be sent home,” she said. “This guy was killed, and we don’t know what happened.” Lingering Questions -- The list of deaths where Mr. Bah’s name surfaced is often cryptic. Along with 13 deaths cited as suicides and 14 as the result of cardiac ailments, it offers such causes as “undetermined” and “unwitnessed arrest, epilepsy.” No one’s nationality is given, some places of detention are omitted, and some names and birth dates seem garbled. As a result, many families could not be tracked down for this article. But when they could be, they posed more disturbing questions. In California, relatives of Walter Rodriguez-Castro, 28, said they were rebuffed when they tried to find out why his calls had stopped coming from the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield in April 2006. Then in June, his wife went to his scheduled hearing in San Francisco’s immigration court and learned that he had been dead for many weeks, his body unclaimed in the county morgue. The coroner found that Mr. Rodriguez-Castro, a mover from El Salvador in the country illegally, had died of undiagnosed meningitis and H.I.V., after days complaining of fever, stiff neck and vomiting. The cause of death on the government’s list: “unresponsive.” Immigration authorities said on Friday that the case was now under review, but would not answer questions about it or other deaths on the list. Sgt. Ed Komin, a spokesman for the jail, said the death had been promptly reported to immigration officials, who were responsible for notifying families. Four sons in another family, in Sacramento, described trying for days to get medical care for their father, Maya Nand, a 56-year-old legal immigrant from Fiji, at a detention center run by the Corrections Corporation in Eloy, Ariz. Mr. Nand, an architectural draftsman, had been ailing when he was taken into custody on Jan. 13, 2005, apparently because his application for citizenship had been rejected, based on an earlier conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence. In collect calls, the sons said, he told them that despite his chest pains and breathing problems, doctors at the detention center did not take his condition seriously. The Corrections Corporation said he had been seen and treated “multiple times.” But a letter to the family from an immigration official said his treatment was for a respiratory infection. The letter said that Mr. Nand was taken to an emergency room on Jan. 25, where congestive heart failure was diagnosed, and that he “suffered an apparent heart attack while at the hospital.” He died on Feb. 2, 2005, shackled to a hospital bed in Tucson. Boubacar Bah had more going for him than many detainees. He had a lawyer and many friends and relatives in the United States, and his detention center in New Jersey was one of the few frequented by immigrant advocates. But three days after he suffered a head injury in detention last year, no one in his New York circle knew that he was lying comatose in a Newark hospital, where he had already been identified as a possible organ donor. “Thank you for the referral,” an organ-sharing network wrote on Feb. 3, 2007, according to hospital records. “This patient is a potential candidate for organ donation once brain death criteria is met.” Four days after the fall, tipped off by a detainee who called Mr. Bah’s roommate in Brooklyn, relatives rushed to the detention center to ask Corrections Corporation employees where he was. “They wouldn’t give us any information,” said Lamine Dieng, an American citizen who teaches physics at Bronx Community College and is married to Mr. Bah’s cousin Khadidiatou. On the fifth day, they said, a detention official called them with the name of the hospital. There they found Mr. Bah on life support, still in custody, with a detention guard around the clock. “There was one guard who knew Boubacar,” Ms. Bah said. “He told me on the down-low: ‘This guy, you have to fight for him. This guy was neglected.’ ” Within the week, word of the case reached a reporter at The Times, through an immigration lawyer who had received separate calls from two detainees; they were upset about a badly injured man — named “something like Aboubakar” — left in an isolation cell and later found near death. But advocacy groups said they were unaware of the case. And Michael Gilhooly, the spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that without the man’s full name and eight-digit alien registration number, he could not check the information. For those who knew Mr. Bah, it was hard to understand how such a man could lie dying without explanations. “Everybody liked Boubacar,” said Sadio Diallo, 48, who has a tailor shop in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he and Mr. Bah had shared an apartment with fellow immigrants since arriving in 1998. “He’s a very, very, very good man.” For six years, Mr. Bah had worked for L’Impasse, a clothing store in the West Village, sewing dresses that sold for up to $2,000 with what a former manager, Abdul Sall, called his “magic hands.” Mr. Bah often spent Sundays at the Bronx townhouse his cousins had inherited from the family’s first American citizen, a seaman who arrived in 1943. In Africa, Mr. Bah’s earnings not only supported his first wife, sons and ailing mother, but in Guinean tradition, allowed him to wed a second wife, long distance. It was his longing to see them all again after eight years that landed him in detention. When he returned from a three-month visit to Guinea in May 2006, immigration authorities at Kennedy Airport told him that his green card application had been denied while he was away, automatically revoking his permission to re-enter the United States. An immigration lawyer hired by his friends was unable to reopen the application while Mr. Bah waited for nine months in detention, records showed. Mr. Bah died on May 30, 2007, after four months in a coma. His lawyer, Theodore Vialet, requested detention reports and hospital records under the Freedom of Information Act. But by the time the records arrived last autumn, the idea of a lawsuit had been dropped. So Mr. Vialet just filed the records away — until a reporter’s call about a name on the list of dead detainees prompted him to dig them out. After the Fall -- There are 57 pages of documents, some neatly typed by medics, some scrawled by guards. Some quote detainees who said Mr. Bah was ailing for two days before his fall on Feb. 1, and asked in vain to see a doctor. The records leave unclear exactly when or how Mr. Bah was injured in detention. But they leave no doubt that guards, supervisors, government medical employees and federal immigration officers played a role in leaving him untreated, hour after hour, as he lapsed into a stupor. It began about 8 a.m., according to the earliest report. Guards called a medical emergency after a detainee saw Mr. Bah collapse near a toilet, hitting the back of his head on the floor. When he regained consciousness, Mr. Bah was taken to the medical unit, which is run by the federal Public Health Service. He became incoherent and agitated, reports said, pulling away from the doctor and grabbing at the unit staff. Physicians consulted later by The Times called this a textbook symptom of intracranial bleeding, but apparently no one recognized that at the time. He was handcuffed and placed in leg restraints on the floor with medical approval, “to prevent injury,” a guard reported. “While on the floor the detainee began to yell in a foreign language and turn from side to side,” the guard wrote, and the medical staff deemed that “the screaming and resisting is behavior problems.” Mr. Bah was ordered to calm down. Instead, he kept crying out, then “began to regurgitate on the floor of medical,” the report said. So Mr. Bah was written up for disobeying orders. And with the approval of a physician assistant, Michael Chuley, who wrote that Mr. Bah’s fall was unwitnessed and “questionable,” the tailor was taken in shackles to a solitary confinement cell with instructions that he be monitored. Under detention protocols, an officer videotaped Mr. Bah as he lay vomiting in the medical unit, but the camera’s battery failed, guards wrote, when they tried to tape his trip to cell No. 7. Inside the cell, a supervisor removed Mr. Bah’s restraints. He was unresponsive to questions asked by the Public Health Service officer on duty, a report said, adding: “The detainee set up in his bed and moan and he fell to his left side and hit his head on the bed rail.” About 9 a.m., with the approval of the health officer and a federal immigration agent, the cell was locked. The watching began. As guards checked hourly, Mr. Bah appeared to be asleep on the concrete floor, snoring. But he could not be roused to eat lunch or dinner, and at 7:10 p.m., “he began to breathe heavily and started foaming slightly at the mouth,” a guard wrote. “I notified medical at this time.” However, the nurse on duty rejected the guard’s request to come check, according to reports. And at 8 p.m., when the warden went to the medical unit to describe Mr. Bah’s condition, the nurse, Raymund Dela Pena, was not alarmed. “Detainee is likely exhibiting the same behavior as earlier in the day,” he wrote, adding that Mr. Bah would get a mental health exam in the morning. About 10:30 p.m., more than 14 hours after Mr. Bah’s fall, the same nurse, on rounds, recognized the gravity of his condition: “unresponsive on the floor incontinent with foamy brown vomitus noted around mouth.” Smelling salts were tried. Mr. Bah was carried back to the medical unit on a stretcher. Just before 11, someone at the jail called 911. When an ambulance left Mr. Bah at the hospital, brain scans showed he had a fractured skull and hemorrhages at all sides of his swelling brain. He was rushed to surgery, and the detention center was informed of the findings. But in a report to their supervisors the next day, immigration officials at the center described Mr. Bah’s ailment as “brain aneurysms” — a diagnosis they corrected a week later to “hemorrhages,” without mentioning the skull fracture. After Mr. Bah’s death, they wrote that his hospitalization was “subsequent to a fall in the shower.” The nurse, Mr. Dela Pena, and the physician assistant, Mr. Chuley, said that only their superiors could discuss the case. The Public Health Service did not respond to questions, and the Corrections Corporation said medical decisions were the responsibility of the Public Health Service. Mr. Bah’s cousins demanded an autopsy, but the Union County medical examiner’s confidential report was not completed until Dec. 6. It was sent to the county prosecutor’s office only as a matter of routine, because the matter had been classified as an “unattended accident resulting in death.” Prosecutors said they did not investigate. “According to the report, Bah suffered a fall in the shower,” Eileen Walsh, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors, said in an e-mail message. “We are not privy to any other bits of information.” In the home movies Mr. Bah made of his last journey home, he is only a fleeting presence: a slim man with a shy smile. But without his support, relatives in Africa say they have little money for food and none for his sons’ schooling. His body went back to Guinea in a sealed coffin. “I stayed here seven years, waiting for him,” his second wife, Mariama, said in French, recalling their long separation and the brief reunion that led to the birth of their son, now a toddler, while Mr. Bah was in detention. “I wanted them to open the casket,” she added, “to know if it was him inside. Until today, I cry for him.”
April 29, 2008 Casa Grande Valley News
Specimens tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory on April 24 have confirmed norovirus as the cause of an outbreak currently occurring at the Eloy Detention Center. Over 300 detainees have become ill so far with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Pinal County Public Health and Environmental Health officials are working with officials at the Eloy Detention Center to manage spread of the infection in the facility. At this point no cases have had serious illness or needed to be hospitalized. Norovirus, which causes what is commonly referred to as "stomach flu" or "winter vomiting disease" typically causes symptoms such as low grade fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually resolve in 1-3 days. Norovirus is spread through the fecal-oral route from person to person, often involving contaminated environmental surfaces such as door or sink handles. Health officials are still investigating the source of the norovirus outbreak. While norovirus is more common during the colder months, it is found year round in Arizona and is a common cause of outbreaks associated with institutional settings, schools, daycares, cruise ships, and other environments where people are in close proximity to one another.
April 25, 2008 East Valley Tribune
Specimens tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory Thursday have confirmed norovirus, known as the “winter vomiting disease,” as the cause of an outbreak at a private Eloy Detention Center owned by Corrections Corporation of America. Pinal County is reporting that more than 300 detainees have become ill with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Pinal County Public Health and Environmental Health officials are working with detention center staff to manage spread of the infection. County officials said no one has been hospitalized. The virus is spread through fecal-oral contact and is usually cleared up in one to three days. It can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces such as door and sink handles. The best way to protect yourself from infection is to practice good hygiene including washing hands multiple times a day, health officials said.
November 22, 2006 Eloy Enterprise
Police dispatched to the CCA Federal Detention Center in reference to found narcotics. Officers retrieved a golf ball sized bag of green-leafy substance. The substance later tested positive for marijuana.
November 2, 2006 CBS5
Welcome to the Eloy Detention Center, smack in the middle of the Arizona desert, overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or "I.C.E." -- but run almost in secret by a private, for-profit company, the Corrections Corporation of America, or “C.C.A.” And for Apollinar Estrada-Campos, a permanent resident of the U.S. and a green card holder, Eloy is now home. Estrada-Campos has lived here for 30 years, mostly in California picking wine grapes. “At harvest time I picked 3 tons a day myself,” he told us. But earlier this year, he was arrested for picking up some copper wire along a railroad track. Charged with a misdemeanor, he served 3 months in jail for minor theft. But under their rules, immigration calls that misdemeanor an "aggravated felony" and says it's enough for him to be held at Eloy until it's determined whether he'll be deported. “I spent already 4 months, I don't want to stay here no more, no.” he says. Roughly 1,400 people are in Eloy, some 70% of them are from California. Some are permanent residents of the U.S. like Estrada-Campos who have committed crimes and long since paid their penalty. Many committed no crimes at all, but they're stuck here with no right to a public defender and no time limit on how long they can be held. “They are detained for incredibly long periods of time, typically without counsel, without the opportunity to present their cases, and throughout they are treated as if they are hardened criminals,” says Lucas Guttentag, who teaches immigration issues at Berkeley and Stanford. “I’ve been to Eloy, I know what it's like. It's a prison in every sense of the word.” Or worse, according to a man who we'll call Allen. “Basically, we do not have any rights,” he told us. Allen spent more than a year at Eloy before it was determined that he could stay in the U.S. He asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “They do not give you anything,” he told us. “What kinds of medication did detainees need and not get?” we asked. “Heart medication, blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication.” And if a detainee complains too much he says, there's the "shu", or Segregated Housing Unit. There are two of those units at Eloy, where even outside in the heat, they're hidden behind black cloth. “There are people in the shu that actually got beaten up,” Allen told us. And he says filing a grievance does little good. “You do not have no evidence. It's their word against yours. If you grieve it they're going to tell you officer said that you are lying. And actually there is no proof.” “There are always two sides to the story, there's the detainee's side that I wasn't getting this service and then there is the contractor's side,” says John “Kip” Crowther, who oversees the Eloy facility for I.C.E. “So the detainee would file their grievance and that grievance goes where?” we asked. “It goes to the contractor,” Crowther told us. That's C.C.A., the same private contractor that's running Eloy for a profit. “Of course it's a problem if the private company is supposed to be monitoring itself,” says Guttentag. Especially because unlike regular prisons, immigration detention centers are largely unregulated. There's no requirement for outside review. “Do you think there should be an independent reviewer in the grievance process?” we asked Crowther. His response: no. And why not? “Because I think the system is showing that we are handling the grievances appropriately,” he told us. “If you weren't, how would anybody know?” we asked. His response: “You're asking me to prove a negative and I can't do that.” “There's no way to know, and there's no one who does know, other than the very person who’s administering it who has no incentive to allow anyone to see what’s going on,” says Guttentag, and I.C.E. would only let us speak with one detainee. “If there is nothing to hide, make the information available. And that is something that both the government and the detention companies have refused to do consistently.” With guards standing over him, Estrada-Campos hesitated to give us any details on the conditions at Eloy. All he would say was…“terrible.”
February 24, 2006 KOLD
Eloy, Arizona, a city that few Arizonans get to know, depends on a service that most try to avoid: prisons. "It's a good source of income for the people who work here,” said Eloy resident Rosa Winemiller. So when the Bureau of Prisons did not renew its contract to use Corrections Corporation of America's Eloy Detention Center, 425 jobs—about a quarter of them in Eloy—were in jeopardy. Even during Eloy's mayoral election, both mayor Byron Jackson and challenger Manuel Salas agree that the city needs the prison. "I encourage the powers at be to do what they can to keep them. We need it,” Salas said. "People had to pass background checks and credit checks, and now under this contract they won't have to go through that,” Jackson said. One employee who will lose their job said that the possibility of a transfer to Florence or Central Arizona, which existed last month, is no longer available. The employee said that about 600 jobs nationwide have been cut, and 75 of those were at those two facilities.
February 16, 2006 Eloy Enterprise
Pay cut for many still a possibility .The Eloy City Council didn't let time drag on when it came to stopping job loss at the prison. At Monday's council meeting an agreement was approved that will smooth the way between the Eloy Detention Center owners, Corrections Corporation of America and the federal Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.The contract approved Monday, also known as an intergovernmental agreement, now awaits approval from ICE. As of deadline the city had not received word. The city council also approved the accompanying contract with CCA, which has already signed on the dotted line. Warden Tom Long and former Eloy warden John Gluch, now CCA managing director, western division, were both at the meeting. A handful of CCA employees and family were in the audience. They sat and listened but did not speak publicly. A current correction's officer, "Mr. Ray" said he did not want to give his name as the atmosphere at the detention center was still unsettling. He said the contract was helpful, but may still not help many current employees. He said because the contract had moved away from being a direct federal contract, there was a risk of a pay cut in the $4 to $5 range. Mayor Byron Jackson, himself a corrections officer for about a year in 2002, addressed another rumor he had heard often, relating to the role of the city in hiring CCA employees. He said the city assumes no extra duties or responsibilities with the agreement. "The city from this point on has no employer bearing on employment or pay scale or things of that nature," Jackson said. "The contract merely gives the vehicle for us to provide you (CCA) the service. ...Legal, operations and service responsibilities are 100 percent with CCA." Mr. Ray said 126 people have already been laid off, including 89 correction's officers. Because the new contract is an IGA rather than a federal Service Contract Act, which sets salary at a higher average, the pay cut is "a very real possibility." "There's a strong uncertainty of not knowing what our future is," Mr. Ray said. "I've been there 12 years and they're doing cuts by seniority. But if there are pay cuts your senior officers are going to be looking for work elsewhere. .. A lot of people are leaving now."
February 2, 2006 Z-Wire
The attempt to stem job loss at the Eloy Detention Center has already started. Tuesday afternoon CCA officials, the city and its legal representatives went into a closed-door executive session to discuss a proposed agreement between the federal government and the city of Eloy. After the public announcement last month that the facility had lost its federal Bureau of Prisons contract due to budget tightening in Washington D.C., employees were left not knowing what to do. Though various options are clearly available in Arizona and beyond, few are solid and remain only options for the 425 employees. Corrections Corporation of America, which owns the facility, has said they would help employees find new jobs before the Feb. 28 deadline. The next step for employees is still unknown. Other prisons nearby are being contacted to see if they need more help. The CCA Red Rock facility to house state prisoners is set to open within months just next door to the Eloy Detention Center. But there is no guarantee in place. CCA employees in Eloy have now been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, designed to limit their conversation with reporters and others.
January 19, 2006 KVOA
Corrections Corporation of American says it's been told by the feds that its contract to operate a private prison near Eloy won't be renewed. That means 400 jobs could be lost. The contract ends February 28th. In a memo to employees, C-C-A says the fed's decision is outside their control making it necessary to reduce the work force at Eloy. A C-C-A spokesman in Nashville says the company felt it the right thing to do give employees advanced notice so they could begin making preparations.
January 12, 2006 Yahoo.com
Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today that it received notification from the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") of its intent not to exercise its renewal option at the Company's 1,500-bed Eloy Detention Center, located in Eloy, Arizona. At December 31, 2005, the Eloy facility housed approximately 500 inmates from the BOP and approximately 800 detainees from the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), pursuant to a subcontract between the BOP and ICE. The Company anticipates that the BOP will complete the transfer of the approximately 500 BOP inmates from the Eloy facility to other BOP facilities by February 28, 2006.
Florence Correctional Center
December 22, 2007 East Valley Tribune
Arizona for the first time is using a state law that allows police agencies to recover costs in capturing people who escape from private prisons. The tab is $25,000 for the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s part in the capture of two murderers who escaped from the Florence Correctional Center in September, according to Phil Case, DPS budget officer. Case said he has asked other agencies, including the Florence and Casa Grande police departments, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Corrections, to figure out what their costs were. “We’re fully aware of the statutory requirements,” said Steve Owen, spokesman for Correctional Corporation of America, a company based in Nashville, Tenn., that runs the Florence prison. “We certainly very much appreciated the assistance.” The company has five prisons in Pinal County housing about 9,200 men, and another is planned. Owen said there have only been two other escapes from Correctional Corporation of America prisons in Pinal County since 1997, and each was captured within minutes. A Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy caught Kollin Folsom, 24, within hours after he and Roy Townsend, 37, overpowered a correctional officer as they worked on a cleaning crew at the prison. They then used a ladder to get over the razor wire fence. Deputy U.S. Marshals found Townsend near Spokane, Wash., about a month later. Both men were from Washington, where state prisons are overcrowded. States often send inmates to private prisons in other states when their prisons are over capacity. There are more than 1,700 prisoners from California, Washington, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement housed at the Florence Center. When Folsom and Townsend got out, dozens of officers set up roadblocks and went door-to-door. Dogs tried to sniff out the escapees, and helicopters searched from the air. When the initial manhunt ended, detectives continued to search for Townsend. State law requires private prisons to pay either $10,000 per escaped prisoner or the “actual capture costs per escapee, whichever is more.”
October 17, 2007 Arizona Republic
A convicted murderer who escaped a Florence prison last month has been reportedly caught in his home state of Washington. Detective Walt Hunter of the Florence Police Department said in an e-mail Wednesday morning that Roy Townsend, 37, who escaped with Kollin Folsom, 24, from Florence Correctional Center on Sept. 17, had been apprehended in Spokane. In the e-mail, Hunter said he has few details other than Townsend was captured. Townsend and Folsom escaped Sept. 17 after overpowering a correctional officer as they worked on an evening cleaning crew at the Florence Correctional Center, then used ladders to scale razor wire-topped fencing. Folsom, also a convicted murderer, was apprehended several hours after the two men escaped. Townsend was convicted of arson, theft and murder in Mason County, Washington, and had nearly 50 years still to serve. He was among 506 Washington inmates at Florence.
October 10, 2007 KOMO TV
A family here wants an explanation from the state as to why their son's killer sent to a private, out of state prison in Arizona? Eleven years ago, Gerald Harkins was shot twice, killed and left in the woods. He was just 18. A few miles from Shelton in the family's living room, there are old newspaper clippings, including one that says: "Killer Gets 66 Years in Prison." But three weeks ago, Roy Townsend and another killer puts ladders against a prison fence in Arizona. One was recaptured, but Townsend, convicted of killing Gerald Harkins is still at large. "To me, it's like being right back where we were 10 years ago," said Gerald's father, Larry. "Waiting and hunting." Audrey and Larry Harkins had just begun to heal. Some of the pictures and poems still bring tears. Two years ago, Audrey started putting together a photo album as a memory book. She never expected a prison break and fear. "He needs to be behind bars to protect every young adult," she said. "You don't know what would make him turn." To them, their son's killer is more than a wanted poster. He's a nightmare returned. And they can't understand why the State of Washington moved a murderer into a medium security private prison. "I don't understand it," Larry Harkins said. "To me, when he was convicted in the state, a judge gave him a penalty and the state of Washington was supposed to carry that penalty out. He was put in their care, and, you know what, they blew it." The Harkins say they have a meeting Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen to talk about their son and a prison break. The Harkins may worry, but police in Shelton and Mason County say a fugitive would have to be crazy to come back. After all, they say everybody knows everybody and everything that's going on. In the meantime, Larry and Audrey say they want two things: Townsend's arrest and changes in the state's prison practices.
September 21, 2007 AP
A convicted murderer who escaped from a private prison in Florence earlier this week is still on the loose. Pinal County sheriff's spokesman Mike Minter says a nationwide law enforcement alert is out for 37-year-old Roy Townsend, but so far he's eluded capture. Townsend escaped Monday from the Florence Correctional Center with another inmate, who was captured hours later. Townsend was convicted of arson, theft and murder in Mason County, Washington and had nearly 50 years still to serve. He was among 506 Washington inmates at Florence. Minter says sheriff's investigators plan to meet with U.S. Marshals officials to try to come up with ideas on how to track down Townsend.
September 18, 2007 Arizona Republic
Authorities issued a statewide alert but scaled back their search Tuesday for a convicted murderer who escaped from a privately run prison in Florence. Florence Police Detective Walt Hunter said there have been reported sightings of 37-year-old Roy Townsend. Townsend and 24-year-old Kollin Folsom escaped from the Florence Correctional Center by overpowering a correctional officer as they worked on an evening cleaning crew. They escaped about early Monday by climbing ladders over razor wire-topped fencing about 14 feet high. Folsom was caught several hours later. Hunter said the search for Townsend has been cut back to agencies in the immediate area but a statewide "attempt to locate" alert has gone to law enforcement agencies. "We're working with several other agencies, even out of state agencies," Hunter said Tuesday, "and we're following up on a bunch of leads and tips today." Authorities searched across the town and nearby desert areas Monday. "Police officers are going door to door. We have roving patrols. We have air surveillance. We have dog units," Hunter said Monday. "There's just so many locations he could have gone, you can't really pinpoint one direction. We're just doing an exhaustive search of the whole area," Hunter said. "Wherever (Townsend) is at, hopefully we're going to catch him." Townsend and Folsom were working as part of an evening cleaning crew when they attacked a guard and tied him down, according to a release from the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the prison.
September 18, 2007 Arizona Republic
Two convicted murderers serving time at a private prison in Florence overcame a guard and then used ladders to slip over prison fences early Monday, authorities said. One of them, Kollin Folsom, 24, was caught by Pinal County authorities at 7:23 a.m. Monday morning. The other, Roy Townsend, 37, is still on the loose. About 1 a.m., Folsom and Townsend escaped from the Florence Correctional Center. Detective Walt Hunter of the Florence Police Department said the inmates took ladders, climbed on the prison roof and scaled two fences. Television footage of the prison showed at least one of the ladders leaning against a fence. Folsom was captured in a two-story building about three miles south of the prison, Hunter said. Hunter said both inmates were serving homicide sentences and were from Washington state. Both inmates were on night cleaning duty when they escaped. They overtook and tied down a male correctional officer before they gained access to the ladders from the maintenance room, officials said. The prison is on lock down, officials said. A “full-scale” search by the Pinal County Sheriff's Department and Florence Police Department, including K-9 tracking dogs, is still underway. The U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies are also assisting in the search, Hunter said. “We're just doing an exhaustive search of the whole area,” he said. “Wherever (Townsend) is at, hopefully we're going to catch him.” Towsend is described as a White male, with black hair and brown eyes, 5 feet 11 inches, and weighing about 160 pounds. He is said to be wearing dark blue pants and a white t-shirt or dark blue top, officials said. Authorities warn anyone who might see Towsend not to approach him, but to call 911. Folsom was convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing of Clinton Williams, his girlfriend's father, in November 1999 in Washougal, Wash. Townsend, 37, was convicted of arson, theft and murder in the shooting of Gerald Harkins in Mason County, Wash. Townsend's release date is Sept. 5, 2054.
September 17, 2007 East Valley Tribune
Two convicted murderers working on the night cleaning crew overtook and tied up a correctional officer, and escaped from Florence Correctional Center early Monday. Kollin Folsom, 24, and Roy Townsend, 37, are prisoners from Washington who have been serving time in the private prison for two and three years, respectively. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and Florence Police Department are looking for the men, who escaped about 1 a.m. Folsom is white, 5 feet, 9 inches, 160 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes with no identifiable physical marks. Townsend is white, 5 feet, 11 inches, 160 pounds, black hair, brown eyes, with no identifiable physical marks, according to a press release.
July 11, 2006 Honolulu Advertiser
Hawai'i inmates who worked in the kitchen of an Arizona prison have been disciplined for allegedly smuggling methamphetamine and marijuana into the facility. Shari Kimoto, administrator of the Mainland branch of the Hawai'i Department of Public Safety, said prison operator Corrections Corp. of America began investigating the alleged drug ring at the Florence Correctional Center after a number of inmates tested positive for drug use. The kitchen supervisor and several truck drivers with a food service company that makes deliveries to the prison in Florence, Ariz., were fired in connection with the case, and one or two corrections officers also may have been involved, Kimoto said. She said she expects to learn more when CCA officials file additional reports about the investigation.
February 10, 2005 Anchorage Daily News
The governor is asking lawmakers for $116 million to cover this year's rising costs of public services, including medical care for the poor and elderly, fuel for state ferries and buildings, and fighting last summer's wildfires. An increase in the contract rate for housing state inmates at a private prison in Arizona means the Department of Corrections needs $2.3 million to cover its higher costs this year, Frasca said. The daily rate went up 8 percent, from $52.93 to $57.15 per inmate, said Richard Schmitz, spokesman for the department. Alaska pays to house about 750 inmates at the prison, he said.
April 17, 2003
The family of a Hawaii inmate who died in an Arizona prison alleges in a lawsuit that he died after packets of drugs he was smuggling for a prison gang burst in his stomach. According to the suit filed yesterday in Circuit Court, Iulai Amani, then 24, died of a heart attack on April 15, 2001, at the Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Ariz. The lawsuit attributes the heart attack to "a drug overdose, the mechanism of which was inconsistent with recreational use but consistent with drug smuggling under the direction" of a Hawaii gang that controlled the prison. As a result of overcrowding in its prisons, the state contracted with private mainland prisons to take inmates. Hawaii contracted with the Florence facility, which is managed by Corrections Corp. of America, a publicly traded prison company based in Nashville, Tenn. The Florence prison is a medium-security facility with about 1,600 beds which houses both men and women. As a private prison, it is not subject to regulations governing other Arizona prisons. It also takes some of the toughest and most violent Hawaii prisoners. Last week, another inmate, Victoriano Ortiz, sued the state and CCA alleging failure to protect him from being beaten up by USO members in a prison yard fight involving 23 inmates. (Star Bulletin)
April 15, 2003
Victoriano Ortiz was 24 years old when he beat his wife to death in the abandoned bus the two shared as a home. He broke her jaw and several ribs before he wrapped her body in a blanket, loaded it into a shopping cart and dumped it into the stream next to River Street in downtown Honolulu. Last week, Ortiz sued the state of Hawaii and the owners of the Arizona prison where he was held, alleging failure to protect him from being beaten up by a gang of Hawaii inmates that controlled the prison to the point that guards smuggled drugs to gang members in return for protection. Ortiz's federal lawsuit and other documents obtained by the Star-Bulletin give a glimpse into a rough era in the recent history of the Florence Correctional Center, a privately run prison in Florence, Ariz., managed by Corrections Corp. of America, a publicly traded company based in Nashville, Tenn. Ortiz's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, names members of USO, the state of Hawaii, CCA and others as defendants. He alleges reckless or gross negligence and "a callous disregard" for his safety. Ortiz alleges in his complaint that Pablo Sedillo, then warden of the Florence prison, "told the USOs that they could do whatever they wanted as long as they don't hurt the guards." Ortiz alleges that "in doing so Sedillo made the USOs ... managers of the facility, jeopardizing the safety of all non-USO-affiliated residents." (Star Bulletin)
April 14, 2003
The state of Hawaii is among the defendants in a lawsuit filed by an inmate at Florence Correctional Center who claims he was badly beaten by a prison gang that was given unprecedented privileges by the warden and guards. In a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Victoriano Ortiz said correctional officers smuggled drugs to members of the so-called United Samoan Organization and allowed them to assault nonmembers without interference. Ortiz, who was convicted of second-degree murder 15 years ago, claims he was attacked by members of the gang in April 2001. The Honolulu native alleges that the prison warden told members of the gang "they could do whatever they wanted as long as they don't hurt the guards." A spokesman for the Florence Correctional Center couldn't be reached for comment. Ortiz's lawsuit names Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the private facility, along with two alleged gang leaders and the state of Hawaii, which has a contract to send inmates to the prison. Ortiz requests damages for cruelty, negligence, failure to protect and other civil rights violations. (AP)
March 21, 2003
A 74-year-old Gold Canyon man was killed yesterday in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. Layton Mowrey was driving a van for Correctional Services Corp., eastbound on I-10 about two miles west of the Trico-Marana Road exit when he lost control at 11:30 a.m., said officer David Kleinman of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. CSC runs a prison for the state in Florence. (Tucson Citizen)
September 4, 2001
For years, Hawaii's prisons have been free of the violent gangs that plague many Mainland facilities, but inmates returning from prisons on the Mainland are showing more signs of gang involvement, according to the head of the state prison system. Among the convicts returned to Hawaii to finish their sentences, prison officials are seeing more gang tattoos, gang "code words" and inmates who acknowledge other prisoners with gang affiliation as leaders, said Ted Sakai, director of the state Department of Public Safety. Prison officials earlier this year demanded that the Mainland operators of the Florence Correctional Center in Arizona stage a crackdown on a Hawaii prison gang. One Hawaii investigator said the gang is "Hawaii's first bona fide prison gang." About 1,200 Hawaii convicts are now held in prisons in Arizona and Oklahoma because there is no room for them in facilities here. (The Honolulu Advertiser)
September 3, 2001
In the business of privately operated prisons, some states are exporters, and some are importers. That is, some states send their convicted criminals out of state, while others bring them in. And some states, especially those on the receiving end, are getting squeamish about the transfers. One after another, states have imposed restrictions on the kinds of out-of-state inmates that private prison operators can import. And states that don't limit the types of inmates that can be imported worry that they will become "dumping grounds" for the worst convicts from other states. The tighter laws can be an easy sell politically because even some corrections experts question the wisdom of importing particularly vicious convicts or sex offenders from other states. As Terry L. Stewart, director of the ARIZONA Dept. of Corrections put it, "We have our own maximum custody inmates. They are dangerous inmates. Why in the world would we want maximum custody inmates from anywhere else?" (State Net Capitol Journal)
August 7, 2001
About an hour's drive from Tucson sits a ticking time bomb waiting to go off - a private prison in such chaos it has effectively been taken over by the criminals. Gang members mixed booze-laced beverages in a five-gallon pail in the prison kitchen at the Florence Correctional Facility. Inmates wandered the corridors with little supervision and had sex with female immigration detainees. One guard said he even resorted to bringing marijuana to work to give to certain prisoners so that they would protect him from other prisoners. Yet Arizona's state prison regulators can do nothing about such problems. Unlike many other states, Arizona's Legislature has given free reign to corporate operators of private prisons like the one in Florence, allowing them to set up shop here with almost no rules in place to monitor their operations. "Right now you can build a prison anywhere in Arizona, and the only thing you have to meet is the local building code," said Terry Stewart, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. It doesn't take a degree in corrections to know this is absurd public policy. The Florence facility is run by Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, the largest private prison firm in the nation. It's what is known in the industry as a "speculative" prison - one built outside the purview of the normal regulatory system, with no guarantee that there will be prisoners available to fill it. (Arizona Daily Star)
August 5, 2001
The state's prison director wants lawmakers to give him more control over private prisons following reports that a Hawaii gang had effectively taken over a Florence prison. Hawaii auditors determined in late April that a gang called United Samoan Organization was essentially running the Florence Correctional Facility, which houses 550 of that state's inmates -- 300 of whom are sex offenders. The prison, operated by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America -- or CCA -- is about an hour outside both Tucson and Phoenix. After the deaths of two inmates, six inmate assaults and a riot that left one officer with six stitches - all of which happened in April -- Hawaii dispatched four auditors to inspect the prison, which opened in 2000. Two female auditors were not allowed to tour the facility because of fears for their safety. Auditors determined that gang members were having sex with female Immigration and Naturalization Service inmates. Gang members were using drugs and making an alcoholic drink called "swipe," which the monitoring team found in a five-gallon bucket in the kitchen. Staff, who reportedly had been calling the Hawaiians "beach niggas," were taking cultural training. If Arizona cracks down, Hawaii officials have few options. Their inmates were moved out of Texas because of tighter restrictions there. Oklahoma does not accept sex offenders. California and many other states don't allow any out-of-state prisoners. Red flags started waving for Sen. Pete Rios, a Hayden Democrat, on primary election night last September. While he was awaiting election returns in the Pinal County seat, police vehicles suddenly blocked the major highways out of Florence. Someone at CCA's prison had called 911, saying there was a hostage situation, but, when law enforcement responded, CCA refused to provide information. In the end, three guards were injured after inmates smashed windows, computers, televisions and food carts during a 90-minute riot that started in a dispute over how rice was cooked. (The Arizona Daily Star)
July 29, 2001
Hawaii may be forced to build a new prison because other states are imposing restrictions on the kinds of out-of-state inmates they will accept, according to state Public Safety director Ted Sakai. Officials in Arizona are considering limiting the types of out-of-state inmates Arizona will accept. They were prompted by escalating violence and gang activity by Hawaii inmates serving time in one Arizona prison. Hawaii officials who inspected the Florence prison reported that they found a "facility in turmoil," with a gang of Hawaii inmates involved in drug smuggling and assaults against prisoners and corrections officers. Terry L. Stewart, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, said he will ask the Arizona Legislature for new authority over companies such as Corrections Corporation of America. (AP)
July 21, 2001
Medical officials in Arizona say a prison inmate from Hawaii died in April from an accidental overdose of methamphetamine and that another Hawaii inmate died a few days later of natural causes. (AP)
July 1, 2001
A team sent to check on conditions at an Arizona prison that holds more than 560 Hawaii inmates conducted only a limited inspection because of the "hostile environment," including the potential for violence, according to state reports obtained by The Advertiser. The desert prison, where two Hawaii inmates have died in recent months, was described in the April 30 report as "a facility in turmoil," and officials described lax security conditions, reports of widespread drug use and domination by members of a prison gang. The reports by the monitoring team highlight problems with an inexperienced prison staff and refer to "widespread" drug smuggling into the facility by prison staff. One prison official admitted to the Hawaii inspectors that he smuggled marijuana into the prison because he was afraid of gang members incarcerated there, according to the reports. Sgt. Patrick Kawai, a Hawaii gang intelligence officer who was sent to inspect the Florence facility, reported in April that "I never once while at FCC observed an officer frisk search or strip search an inmate. I never once observed an officer go through any inmate's property, or search anything an inmate was carrying." That lack of "simple security measures" allows inmates to move weapons and other contraband, Kawai said in his report. The Advertiser has been seeking reports about the Florence inspections for some time but state officials have been reluctant to provide them. When the April report was first released, most of it was blacked out by officials citing security concerns. After further requests from the newspaper and intervention by the governor's office, the reports were released. The monitoring reports also reveal that a year after the Hawaii prisoners were sent to Florence, the prison still does not offer educational and rehabilitation programs to inmates that are required by CCA's contract with state. When asked if CCA is now providing the programs required by the contract, Sakai replied: "I don't think so, but again we understand it's going to take some time. ...For example, they've committed to starting the substance abuse treatment program. They're going to have to get the staff together. I don't know if they have it yet, and then it takes time to build these programs up." Inmates have complained about the lack of educational, sex offender and drug treatment programs at Florence, in part because parole often depends on whether inmates complete required programs. Sakai acknowledged virtually no inmate programs were available for the 100 inmates who were shipped to Florence about a year ago. The June report also quotes a Florence prison official as admitting the prison medical unit is "grossly understand." (The Honolulu Advertiser)
May 25, 2001
More than three dozen Hawaii inmates have been transferred from an Arizona prison to one in New Mexico. State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said at least some of the inmates who were transferred were part of a prison gang. Last month the state sent an inspection team to review the operations of Florence, and state officials expressed concerns about problems there. CCA replaced the warden at Florence earlier this month, and asked Hawaii officials if they could temporarily move about 40 disruptive inmates to a New Mexico prison "to get Florence settled down," Sakai said. (AP)
May 11, 2001
The Florence Correctional Center in Arizona, where two Hawaii inmates died last month and three others were severely beaten, has named a new warden. Frank Luna, 38, moves over from Corrections Corporation of America's Huerfano County Correctional Center in Colorado where he had been warden of the medium-security prison since August 1999. Louise Green, vice president of marketing and communications for CCA, said the previous warden at Florence, Pablo Sedillo, is on administrative leave. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
May 9, 2001
Complaints from Hawaii corrections officials have led to the replacement of the warden at a privately run Arizona prison. The Hawaii officials said that management problems at the facility were jeopardizing the safety of Hawaii inmates serving time there. State Public Safety director Ted Sakai said the warden of Florence Correctional Center was replaced late last week or early this week. Incidents at Florence include inmate gangs, serious beatings of several inmates, a riot last September and the death of a Hawaii inmate on April 16th from what prison officials suspect was a drug-induced heart attack. CCA now holds about 1,100 male inmates from Hawaii, including about 550 at Florence. The state will pay the company about $17 million this year to house the 1,100 prisoners and provide educational and other programs. (AP)
May 3, 2001
Two deaths in a private prison in Florence led to a lockdown and search for contraband. In one instance, Steve Owen spokesperson for Corrections Corporation of America said, Iulai Amani, 23, died April 16 while being taken to a hospital after he began coughing up blood in his cell at the Florence Correctional Center. Cause of death had yet to be determined Wednesday, but officials said he may have overdosed on cocaine or methamphetamine. Amani's knuckles reportedly were bloody at the time of his death, suggesting he may have been in a fight. And on April 25, John Kia, an inmate with a history of health problems died from a bacterial infection, Owen said. (AP)
April 27, 2001
State corrections officials have sent a team to investigate the recent deaths of two Hawaii inmates held at a private prison in Florence, Arizona. "There's no evidence at all that there was any physical altercation that led to the deaths, so that's been ruled out," Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said Thursday. Sakai has been told John Kia, 41, died of a heart attack Wednesday at the Florence Correctional Center, while Iulai Amani, 23, died of either a heart attack or asphyxiation April 15. "We know that two inmates died, and we also know that we had several (Hawaii) inmates who were assaulted by other inmates at the same facility," Sakai said. "I understand that there were a couple of inmates who were beaten up pretty bad, bad enough that they had to be rushed to the emergency room." (AP)
Florence West Correctional Facility
May 18, 2006 AP
Authorities found an escaped convict after he slammed his car into three other vehicles late Saturday afternoon in Phoenix. Christopher Breiland's capture was a joint effort by the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Phoenix and Scottsdale Police Departments. Breiland, 36, was discovered missing from the privately-operated Florence West prison on May 4 after prison-issued orange pants and blood were found on the perimeter fence. On Saturday, Breiland fled police as they tried to pull him over. Police stopped the chase after Breiland began driving recklessly. But Breiland still ran into three vehicles, injuring himself and four others. All were examined at a hospital and were expected to be OK. Breiland was serving sentences for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. He was due to be released Dec. 30, but now faces new charges. Florence West is a private prison owned by the GEO Group Inc. and by operated Correctional Services Corporation. As provided by state law, all costs associated with Breiland's apprehension will be charged to GEO Group.
May 14, 2006 KPHO
Authorities have found an inmate who escaped from a private prison in Florence May 4th. Thirty-six-year-old Christopher Breiland went missing from Florence West after prison-issued orange pants and blood were found on the perimeter fence. Breiland has been in prison since 1997, when he was sentenced to six and a half years for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery. He was due to be released next December 30th. Breiland was apprehended by Phoenix Police Department at 5:05 p-m today. His capture was a joint effort between the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Phoenix and Scottsdale Police Departments.
May 5, 2006 Arizona Daily Star
A state prisoner escaped Thursday from a private prison in Florence, officials said. Christopher Breiland, 36, escaped from the Florence West facility sometime before 8 a.m., when the staff noticed prison-issued orange pants and blood on a fence, authorities said. The prison was locked down and a count was taken, confirming that someone escaped. Search teams and tracking dogs were deployed, and Arizona Department of Corrections investigators were at the Florence facility, but Breiland had not been found by 7 p.m. Thursday. Breiland was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in 1997 after convictions on three felony counts: theft, weapons misconduct and forgery. He was due for release on Dec. 30. He was also convicted of a separate theft count, which netted him a nine-year sentence that was to begin in 1998, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections Web site. This was not the first time Breiland had escaped, according to the DOC Web site. He also fled last Dec. 24. He is white, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, and has brown eyes and brown hair. He has a cross tattooed on his left shoulder.
May 4, 2006 The Arizona Republic
Schools were locked down for hours Thursday as law enforcement and prison officials searched south of town for an inmate who escaped from a private prison. As of late Thursday afternoon, he had still not been found. Christopher Breiland, 36, was discovered missing from Florence West, owned by Boca Raton, Fla.-based Geo Group Inc., at about 8 a.m., according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. Orange prison pants and blood were found on a perimeter fence. Florence Police, Pinal County sheriff's deputies, corrections officers, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and K-9 units are looking for Breiland. He's described as 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. He has a cross tattooed on his left shoulder. Breiland had been considered a low-security inmate because he was in for a non-violent offense and was set to be released in December, said Pablo Paez, a Geo Group spokesman. Breiland was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in 1997 for felony convictions for theft, misconduct involving a weapon and forgery, according to the Corrections Department. "(But) when someone escapes from prison, you have to proceed with caution," Paez said. Florence High School was locked down from 9:14 a.m. until 1:15 p.m., said Lt. Walt Hunter, with the Florence Police Department. Florence Elementary School and the town's Head Start program were also locked down.
Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation
Management and Training Corporation
August 4, 2004
Led by local veterinarian Paula Tyler, many San Pedro Valley residents spoke out against proposed construction of a $25 million Benson Rehabilitation/Detention Center Thursday night. Nearly 150 residents attended the standing-room only meeting at the Benson Public Library. Some were forced to stand outside and listen to the information presented by members of the newly created Committee for Responsible Economic Growth, with Tyler as the president. Patricia Cooper, a former attorney for the Arizona Corporation Commission, said companies that manage private prisons are "undercapitalized, understaffed and will eventually fail." "They look for rural communities that are desperate to grow," she said. "It is the responsibility of our city leaders to get the information and make an informed decision." Besides the City Council moving swiftly to create the new corporation set to fund the detention center, Cooper said residents should be concerned over the legality. "As a lawyer, I found 17 major problems with this resolution," Cooper said. "For one thing, the resolution was drafted by the developer's attorney. This resolution doesn't limit what they can build, expand, the money they can spend or the money they can borrow. "It doesn't limit what kind of prisoners (the detention center) can take. These are all common limits set with other private agencies. In this resolution, the developer has no liability bonds, no training standards and no way to end the operator's contract. "It gives the city officers all the authority to make this happen with no limits. No wonder the city attorney (Ann Roberts) wouldn't sign it." Roberts refused to sign the resolution after the City Council approved it in a 6-1 vote on July 5. Councilman Toney King voted against the measure, citing a lack of information. The resolution established Mark Kartchner, David DiPeso, Councilman Ted Amox, Beverly Stepp and Mike Montroy as members of the new corporation. None of the corporation members attended Thursday's community meeting. Cooper said she is concerned about the members the council charged with funding the new economic venture because several of them have admitted to a conflict of interest. Cooper said Amox has admitted to doing land surveying at the State Route 80 location and DiPeso admitted he may receive a referral fee for helping the developers find the land. Cooper also took on the City Council's continued claims the new detention center will bring more business to Benson. "We have heard so much about how it's going to bring business here," Cooper said. "Florence has five prisons, two of them private and that city has lost so many people because of it. Florence doesn't even have a supermarket anymore. What are we going to become?" (Benson News-Sun)
August 4, 2004
Admitting to handling the process badly, the City Council Monday night halted plans to build the Benson Rehabilitation/Detention Center on State Route 80, voting to dissolve the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation and start over. Tensions ran high during the two-hour meeting, with citizens taking advantage of the lengthy call to the public portion, which lasted nearly 90 minutes. Most speakers expressed opposition to the proposed detention center and the City Council's handling of the situation. Local attorney LaNita Plummer said the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation, created on July 7 to borrow funding for the $25 million facility, is "null and void on its face." Blaming actions taken by City Manager Boyd Kraemer, Plummer said the manager proceeded to file paperwork with the Arizona Corporation Commission on June 25, and signed as the incorporator on July 7, without official consent from the City Council. Following Plummer's advice, Councilman Toney King, who brought the matter before the council, immediately moved to rescind the resolution approving the organization of the nonprofit corporation known as the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation. Councilwoman Kathy Suagee seconded the motion. "I am embarrassed and ashamed of not doing this in a more open way," Suagee said. "This was the council's decision. Don't blame the city manager, he is just learning the laws of the land." (Benson News-Sun)
July 28, 2004
Moving forward on funding a $25 million detention center, the Greater Benson Economic Development Corporation has elected its officers and created bylaws. The group drew a lot of controversy when it was created by the City Council on July 7. Leading the new corporation is David DiPeso, unanimously selected as president. Councilman Ted Amox, is five president; Beverly Stepp, is secretary; Mike Montroy is the treasurer. Serving as second vice president will be Dr. Mark Kartchner. "They want to build this thing as soon as possible so that's the reason for this hurry," Amox said. "I think Cochise County is the most likely candidate in the United States for a facility like this." City Manager Boyd Kraemer said the city of Benson can't borrow the money to fund the facility without voter approval, which is where the corporation comes in. The plan is for the group to borrow $25 million through revenue bonds, which will supposedly be paid for over the next 22 years, through profits from detainees being held at the facility anywhere from three to nine months. Once the debt is paid, the City will own the facility. The benefit of this plan, Kraemer said, is that the city is in no way liable and taxes won't increase to pay for the facility. Kevin Pranis, a criminal justice policy analyst for Justice Strategies in New York City, said he's been studying privately owned detention centers for the last two years and to say there is going to be no risk to the city is "laughable." "If bonds go into default the investor is never the one to get hurt," Pranis said. "This may be successful, but if it's not, someone is going to have to pay and the city will be right in the middle of it. The investors have the money to file the lawsuits and fight it. The city doesn't, and will probably end up paying for it. The city isn't an expert in bond laws or with the detention-center market. There are no guarantees." Neither the city nor Matador has contacted the U.S. Marshals office about using the Benson facility. Brian Nernex, assistant chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals office in Tucson, said he found out about the proposed facility through the San Pedro Valley News-Sun article on July 14 and the office has not committed to using it. Pranis said its common for privately owned facilities to not only leave the public out of the process, but also the law-enforcement agencies that are said to be behind the project. Besides the Marshals office not being contracted, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has also been left out of the loop. "I have not been talked to directly," Dever said. "With something as big as this it does surprise me that they haven't even talked to the Marshals office." (News-Sun)
Great Plains Correctional Facility
May 4, 2007 KOLD TV
A private prison in Oklahoma will reopen later this summer after getting a contract to keep two-thousand inmates from Arizona. Houston-based Cornell Companies owns the Great Plains Correctional Facility and has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Department of Corrections with four one-year options to follow. The prison in Hinton, Oklahoma was shut down and nearly 200 workers laid off earlier this year after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections pulled out the last of its more than 800 inmates. The prison is currently equipped with 812 beds and the contract calls for it to open with 916 beds. The prison is to expand to hold the two- thousand inmates by the fourth quarter of next year. The first inmates are expected in August or September.
US Extradition Services
August 20, 2007 Arizona Star
Authorities Sunday night caught the second of two convicted sex offenders who escaped in the afternoon from a private interstate prisoner transport van near I-10 and Cortaro Road, a Marana Police Department spokesman said. The escape happened when the driver stopped at a Circle K, 5600 N. Cortaro Road, about 3 p.m. so a female prisoner could use the toilet, according to Sgt. Tim Brunenkant, of the Marana Police Department. Brunenkant said the driver told investigators that when he and the woman prisoner returned to the van, he found that the two male prisoners were gone. The two male prisoners were wearing handcuffs and leg irons shackled by chains to a belt, "but were able to get out of them," he said. The restraints were found in the van, Brunenkant said. Jose Montenegro Ramirez avoided apprehension until about 10:30 p.m. Police said a resident called 911 after Ramirez showed up at his home near West Massingale Road and I-10 looking for help. The resident recognized Ramirez from earlier news reports of the escape. He ran from the home, but police already in the area searching for Ramirez tracked him down soon after the 911 call. A canine unit helped apprehend Ramirez, police said. The 26-year-old was being returned on a California warrant for parole violation, with a sex offense as the original charge. The second inmate who escaped, Luis Angel Torres, 25, was found on the I-10 frontage road between the Cortaro and Ina road exits about 5:30 p.m.. Torres was being held on a warrant for failure to register as a convicted sex offender, Brunenkant said. Torres was taken to a hospital after capture. Torres had a pre-existing abdominal condition that required attention, Brunenkant said. No information was available on which hospital he was taken to. The three prisoners, being transported by U.S. Extradition Service of Austin, Texas, were being taken to California, said Gordon Brooks, director of operations for the service. Brooks said the company's rule of having one driver-guard watch over three prisoners is well within federal guidelines, which he said call for one employee per six prisoners. He said other employees of the company were on the way to Arizona as of Sunday evening. The prisoners are unlikely to be turned back over to the company, and other arrangements would be made for their transport, Brunenkant said. Escape charges are likely to be sought against Torres.
Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility
Management and Training Corporation
June 21, 2004
The chief of security for the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility was fired June 1 and a sergeant resigned May 26 over allegations the sergeant had prisoners do pushups in lieu of written discipline. Company spokesman Carl Stuart would not comment on why Capt. Ken Anderson was fired or why Sgt. Ben Rumbo resigned, saying the company does not comment on personnel matters. The Utah-based Management and Training Corporation operates the Marana prison and a prison in Kingman for the Arizona Department of Corrections and nine other private prisons in five states. Anderson, who was the company's Correctional Officer of the Year in 1999, said he was shocked and outraged over his firing. In a four-page written appeal he filed with the company June 7, Anderson called the termination notice he received, "nothing more than a fabrication of half-truths and outright falsehoods, sprinkled with occasional facts." He said he believed he handled the allegation of prisoners being made to do pushups properly based on the information he had at the time. Since his forced leave and termination, Anderson said he has learned of allegations about other prison guards making prisoners do pushups, possibly since January, yet no other guards have been fired or suspended, or apparently even interviewed by state investigators. Stuart said the company doesn't know how long or how often prisoners have been made to do disciplinary pushups at the prison. (Explorer News)
January 5, 2004
Next time you file your income tax forms, you may want to remember the case of U.S. vs. Daniel Johnson.
Johnson obtained $378,000 in federal income tax refunds while living in a Tucson jail, according to a federal indictment released Thursday in Phoenix. Indicted on five counts of fraud, Johnson is accused of filing tax returns that claimed he earned more than $3.8 million during the two years he was incarcerated at the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility. (The Arizona Republic)
Maricopa County Jail
Correctional Health Services
August 15, 2005 Arizona Republic
Maricopa County is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow it to withhold a medical report from the parents of a mentally retarded drug user who died after being restrained as he was being booked into jail. Four years after the death of Charles Agster III, and three years after his parents filed a lawsuit, the case has yet to go to trial. The county argues that all reports and evidence that are public records, including a videotape of the encounter, have been provided to the plaintiffs, but a follow-up "peer review" by medical personnel on whether the incident was handled properly should be kept confidential. In their lawsuit, parents Carol Ann and Charles Agster Jr. accuse jail and health care officials of falsely claiming that they summoned paramedics three minutes after their struggling son, buckled into a restraint chair, stopped breathing. Most states, including Arizona, exempt medical peer reviews from disclosure, reasoning that health care personnel won't be frank if they know their reports could be used against the people and institutions they're evaluating. But federal law has no such exemption, the District Court in Phoenix ruled. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in April, noting that it was at the county's request that the lawsuit was moved from state to federal court. In a petition filed July 28 for Supreme Court review, Phoenix attorney Michael Wolver argued on behalf of the county and its Correctional Health Service that courts had been inconsistent on the issue and the high court should sort it out.
December 5, 2004 Arizona Republic
A Phoenix murder defendant whose father is a political rival to Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he's being housed in isolation as a psychiatric patient at a Maricopa County jail even though he's not mentally ill. In letters and phone interviews from Madison Street Jail, Patrick Bearup said sheriff's officials singled him out for political retribution, even ordering the light in his cell to remain on 24 hours a day. Medical records obtained by The Arizona Republic seem to confirm that allegation. In August, Dr. Pamela Drapeau of Correctional Health Services made this notation in Bearup's chart: "He remains on 6-3 (psychiatric ward) per order of MCSO because his father was running as an opponent to Sheriff Arpaio. . . . He has no psychiatric problems." Correctional Health Services is not under Arpaio's authority, although it is housed inside Madison Street Jail and detention officers provide security. Notations in Bearup's medical chart indicate he is sequestered "as a courtesy hold for MCSO" because he is a "high-profile case." Correctional Health Services records indicate that Bearup repeatedly filed grievances seeking placement in the regular inmate population but was refused.
May 2, 2005 AP
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a proposal Monday for the state to contract to have a private prison built in Mexico to house illegal immigrants now jailed in Arizona. Supporters say the proposal would reduced the state's heavy costs for imprisoning the 3,600 to 4,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona prisons who have been convicted of crimes. Opponents questioned whether this approach would have saved money, whether the state had the legal authority to move the foreign prisoners to Mexico and whether Mexico would have welcomed the prison. "It will not reduce the number of criminal aliens Arizona must incarcerate, nor will it automatically reduce the per capita cost of incarcerating them," Napolitano wrote in her veto letter. The Mexico prison idea was proposed in the 1990s but shelved, partly due to legal concerns. It was revived in 2003 to help cover budget shortfalls but was rejected by a key legislative committee.
December 10, 2002
Former Arizona Corrections director Terry Stewart wants the state to build a private prison in Mexico for Arizona's Mexican-national prisoners - an idea that could benefit him personally. Stewart pitched the idea to a group of Mexican congressmen who toured private prisons in Arizona on Oct.31, eight days before he left office. Now Stewart is pursuing the proposal for his consulting business, Advanced Correctional Management, which is trying to form a private-prison company. "At this point, I have no connection to any deal that's going on," Stewart said. But, he said, "I will try to develop one." Gov.-elect Janet Napolitano said her office looked into the legality of the idea when she was a attorney general. "To house somebody outside the territory of the US was found to be very problematic. If we can't do it legally, why waste time on it?" Napolitano said. Whether or not such a prison is legal, it should be rejected on principle, said Caroline Isaacs, the criminal justice program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee's Arizona branch in Tucson. Isaacs said segregating inmates on a basis of nationality is wrong, and a prison in Mexico would compound problems with private prisons. Isaacs also criticized what she views as Stewart's use of his public office for private gain. "This is business decision for Stewart. He's sensing there is a market out there to profit off of," Isaacs said. (Arizona Daily Star)
June 18, 2002
With the prison population growing at a rate of 162 inmates a month while resources dwindle, the Arizona Corrections Department faces a major challenge in finding ways to house convicts, says Charles Ryan, deputy director for prison operations. In the fiscal 2003 budget approved in May by legislators, DOC has $2.6 million to contract with out-of-state private prisons for 650 inmates. (Arizona Capitol Times)
May 16, 2002
Some Arizona inmates will be shipped out of state and local community colleges will get more power under the terms of the budget deal worked out Wednesday among legislative leaders and Gov. Jane Hull. The last-minute changes agreed to by [Ruth Solomon] and Rep. Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe, her House counterpart, delete all provisions that would have allowed state Corrections Director Terry Stewart to place inmates into a "house arrest" program to deal with prison crowding. Hull had threatened to veto the entire budget over that issue. Instead, lawmakers have agreed to come up with some additional cast to contract with private prisons in other states to house some inmates for about $30 a day. That is more expensive than the $13 a day per inmate that a home-arrest program costs but less than the $50 a day it costs in state-run facilities, not counting the cost of building prisons. (The Arizona Daily Star)
Mohave County Prison
Mohave County, Arizona
Dominion, Management & Training Corporation
March 29, 2007 The Daily News
Mohave County supervisors will decide on whether to end a contract with an Oklahoma firm that built the county's only prison. Mohave County Manager Ron Walker is asking supervisors to terminate a September 1999 contract between Mohave Correctional Services LLC and the county to build and operate the state prison, which opened in August 2004 and is located about 15 miles southwest of Kingman. The contract states that MCS would pay Mohave County $3,000 a month in administration costs and provide housing for about 50 county inmates. The county has tried to make arrangements to house overflow county inmates but MCS has not complied. Walker also said MCS has not paid the county any of the administration costs in the contract, calling it a breach of contract. “We don't want to partner with anyone who hasn't lived up to the first piece of this contract,” Walker said. “Who are we dealing with here anyway?” Walker said if the supervisors approve, in 30 days if the money is not paid. the county will look at a contractual lawsuit for monetary default. The contract also provides for a 60-day notice to correct any non-monetary defaults, for example, transferring the contract to the prison's current operator without permission from the county. Utah-based Management & Training Corp. currently operates the prison, which houses about 1,500 inmates. The prison houses male inmates sentenced throughout Arizona on charges of drug possession and driving under the influence. Walker said the contract issue was brought up after MTC officials recently spoke to the board about partnering with the county to build a federal prison in the county. Jim Hunter, former vice president of MCS, said from Oklahoma that the contract was never validated when MCS sold the land to Mohave Prison LLC in April 2004. The Tucson firm holds the title and leases the land and the prison to the state for 10 years at which time the state will own the facility. Hunter also said MCS, which built the prison, does not exist anymore. He does not recall if MCS transferred the contract to another firm. The 1999 contract states that the contract is binding to the respective parties meaning the county and MCS' successors. Mike Murphy, vice president of corrections marketing for MTC, said at the previous supervisor meeting that MTC does not have a contract to provide housing for overflow county inmates or to pay the county any administration costs. The first 500 inmates arrived at the prison on Aug. 9, 2004, and were housed in two units. The second phase opened in April 2005 with permanent support buildings units and housing for an additional 1,000 inmates.
January 24, 2003
Delays, inaction and possible postponement by Arizona’s new governor cast a cloud of uncertainty over a private prison project possibly destined for Mohave County. The Department of Corrections fielded just two bids for the 1,400-bed prison last year. Dominion Correctional Services and Management and Training Corp. submitted a bid to build and operate the prison 13 miles south of Kingman near the Griffith Energy plant. Correctional Services Corp. submitted a competing bid for another site in Holbrook. State officials made a confidential decision regarding contract award and location in November and prepared a contract to be reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office. The bidders had hoped for an announcement before Christmas because the agreement required completion of 400 beds to be ready for use in March. Jim Hunter, an executive with Dominion, said too much time has elapsed and that there’s no way his company could, if issued the contract, complete the initial beds on time as required. Officials for the Department of Corrections and Attorney General’s Office have not been able to explain the delay involving contract review Whether a contract will be awarded is uncertain because the project is postponed under Gov. Janet Napolitano’s proposed budget. “It shows a one- to two-year delay in the 1,400-bed prison project,” Hunter said. (Today's New Herald)
November 4, 2002
Residents who attended a public meeting about a proposed private prison here were largely divided in their support or opposition by how close they live to the site. "People in Golden Valley are opposed. Water is a main concern. Even the native cactus are dying from the current drought," said Golden Valley resident Robert Holsinger at a meeting Friday. Dominion Correctional Services wants to build the 1,400-bed prison near Kingman to house men convicted on driving under the influence charges. The prison would be run by Management and Training Cooperation of Centerville Utah, but would follow guidelines set by the state Department of Corrections. A site near Holbrook is also being considered for the private prison. (AP)
New Castle Correctional Facility
New Castle, Indiana
April 10, 2008 The Star Press
Arizona inmates held in the New Castle Correctional Facility will be moved out of Indiana beginning this month. George Zoley, chairman and chief executive officer for The GEO Group, the private company that manages the New Castle prison, said inmates will be moved out of New Castle, 100 at a time, until all are moved elsewhere. Zoley made the comment during the company’s quarterly earnings report last month, not earlier this week as reported earlier today on The Star Press Web site, www.thestarpress.com. A transcript of the report was published this week. According to the transcript, Zoley said, “We expect to transfer approximately 100 Arizona inmates out of the New Castle facility every two weeks beginning in the first week of April, while simultaneously filling these vacant beds with additional Indiana inmates reaching an initial total of over 2,000 Indiana inmates.” As of Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Corrections listed its Indiana inmate population at 629 offenders. None of the inmates have been moved as of yet, said Trina Randall, spokeswoman for the New Castle prison. The Indiana Department of Correction and ADOC reached a deal in March 2007 to house Arizona offenders at the underused prison in New Castle. A month later Arizona inmates led a riot inside the facility, and ultimately 28 inmates, all but one of them from Arizona, were charged as a result of the riot. The two states ultimately called off their deal, and Indiana said it would use the space inside the 2,416 bed prison for its own inmates.
October 26, 2007 AP
Indiana prison officials have returned to Arizona four inmates who were charged in the April riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The inmates, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor rioting and battery charges, were sent back because they are "no longer suitable for dormitory-style" medium-security prisons like New Castle, said Karen Cantou Grubbs, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction. A contract between the states calls for Indiana to house inmates from Arizona, where prisons are overcrowded. The agreement also allows the rotation of some inmates every month. Cantou Grubbs declined to say how the prisoners are moved between states. Indiana returned 60 inmates to Arizona earlier this week and received 79 medium-security prisoners in return. The four inmates involved in the April 24 riot have been replaced with new inmates, said Al Parke, southern regional director for the Department of Correction. The prisoner rotations, which have happened three times, keep Indiana's inmate population from Arizona at about 630. The contract, which the states announced in March, originally called for Indiana to house 1,260 inmates, with Arizona paying $64 a day per inmate. But prison space has since been filling up in Indiana, too. "Indiana is telling us they've got a shortage of beds, so we're capped," said Nolberto Machiche, a spokesman for Arizona's corrections department. Eight inmates and two New Castle staff members were injured during the April 24 riot. A total of 27 Arizona inmates were charged with a mix of felonies and misdemeanors afterward. "I'm very confident that those inmates that have been transferred back to Arizona will not adversely affect our ability to prosecute the remaining inmates," Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane said. The states rotate inmates for several reasons. Some prisoners return to Arizona because bad behavior makes them unsuitable for a medium-security prison. Others are sent back because they have an upcoming court or release date, Parke said. Some also return as a reward for good behavior. Having a rotation gives inmates "a light at the end of the tunnel," telling them that if they behave well they will return, Machiche said. Indiana was housing some Arizona inmates at New Castle and Wabash Valley, a maximum security prison in Western Indiana. The Wabash inmates were moved several weeks ago. All Arizona prisoners are now at New Castle, which is managed by a private company, GEO Group Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla. "No one will go to any other (Indiana) institution unless there were emergency conditions," Parke said.
September 10, 2007 The Star Press
A former New Castle Correctional Facility inmate who said he was beaten by two other prisoners has sued the state of Indiana and the Department of Correction, among other parties, for not protecting him after he reported illegal activity to prison security last year. Gabriel Leach, who according to computerized DOC records was incarcerated on theft charges from Jefferson County until May, filed suit last month. He listed the state, DOC, The GEO Group (the private company that manages the prison), two prison guards and inmates Harrison Baker and "Cowboy" Harrison as defendants. According to Leach's claim, at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2006, the 30-year-old man was called to the security office from his bunk in Unit C over the public address system. During that conversation with officers, Leach reported illegal activity that was happening inside the prison and said he was in "danger of death or serious bodily harm." He was returned to Unit C and on Dec. 29 two of his fellow inmates, Baker and Harrison, allegedly beat Leach for about 15 minutes. According to court documents, he suffered fractured ribs, a fractured jaw, broken nose and chipped teeth. Leach also claims he was taken to solitary confinement before he was provided medical treatment. In the state's response, filed Tuesday, Indianapolis attorney Paul O. Mullin wrote that Leach "was careless and negligent with regard to his own safety and well being," which contributed to the inmate's injuries.
August 25, 2007 AP
The New Castle Correctional Facility likely has seen the last transfer of inmates from Arizona, according to Gov. Mitch Daniels and a state prison spokesman. A rising inmate population, the closing of one prison and unexpected renovations at another leave Indiana officials focused on using available beds for their inmates, state Department of Correction spokesman Randy Koester said. "We don't plan on opening up any additional housing units for Arizona," he said. The April 24 riot at New Castle that involved Arizona inmates did not have a "direct" impact on the decision, Koester said. Daniels was asked about the prison transfers during a news conference yesterday. He said he did not expect to see "any more prisoners accepted anytime soon" at the medium-security prison.
August 21, 2007 Indianapolis Star
One-third of the Arizona inmates transferred to serve their sentences in an Indiana prison are violent criminals, including 25 who were convicted of murder, according to new data from state prison officials. Prison officials said inmates were chosen based on their behavior in prison, not their criminal records. But an advocate for prisoners' rights was surprised by the news, saying officials had left the impression with the public that violent offenders would not be included among those moved to the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group. "That's not what they said they were going to send," said Celia Sweet, former president of the Indiana chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. "You know, live up to your word. Don't go trying to hoodwink the public just to make some money off the backs of these prisoners. That's not right. It's immoral." The state never misled anyone, said Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue. Indiana's deal with Arizona allows medium-security prisoners and bans only sex offenders, prisoners with discipline problems and recognized gang members, he said. Medium security, Donahue said, does not preclude those convicted of violent crimes. The majority of inmates in Indiana prisons are housed in medium-security areas, he said. In all, 203 of the 611 Arizona inmates are serving terms for violent crimes, including men convicted of assault, kidnapping and attempted homicide.
August 14, 2007 AP
More than two dozen inmates face charges stemming from an April riot that broke out after hundreds of out-of-state prisoners were transferred to a privately run prison. A total of 28 inmates _ all but one of them from Arizona _ appeared Tuesday in a temporary court set up at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The charges included rioting, criminal confinement, intimidation and battery by bodily waste. About 500 prisoners from Arizona and Indiana burned mattresses and broke windows during the disturbance at the medium-security prison April 24. Eight prisoners, a guard and a counselor were injured, none seriously. The riot happened six weeks after the first of some 600 Arizona inmates began joining 1,050 Indiana prisoners. The New Castle prison, about 45 miles east of Indianapolis, is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.- based GEO Group. A state report issued in May acknowledged the Department of Correction transferred the out-of-state inmates too quickly, had used inexperienced guards and failed to have equal meal and recreation schedules for the two groups of inmates.
May 15, 2007 Journal-Gazette
For-profit prisons not good for state: I want to thank The Journal Gazette for raising important questions regarding the recent riot by Arizona inmates at GEO’s New Castle correctional facility in the editorial, “Prisons and Privatization,” (April 28). What Hoosiers are coming to realize is that prisons-for-profit are just that: They’re profits makers for shareholders and corporate execs. While all the editorial’s questions are on point, I predict nothing will be done because this issue is pure politics (let’s see, your Department of Correction chief is a former executive for U.S. Corrections Corp.). GEO and the other for-profit private prison companies depend on low wages, no benefits, high turnover and political contributions so that corporate executives can bring in the big bucks (GEO’s George Zoley lives in an $8 million mansion with a 150-foot dock for his yacht). All of this corporate profit should have been reinvested into the criminal justice system to maybe have a positive influence on the system. But hey, they’re just smart businessmen – they know that nothing will be done to cancel the contract. The fix is in, folks; you bought the con (no pun intended). KEN KOPCZYNSKI, Executive Director, Private Corrections Institute, Tallahassee, Fla.
May 9, 2007 AP
Two weeks after about 500 rioting prisoners burned mattresses and broke windows at a privately run state prison, state officials are expected to complete their investigation by Friday into what sparked the melee. The findings will be reviewed by state prisons chief J. David Donahue, who could make them public by next week, said Evan Hawkins, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Correction. “It’s a very large net that’s been cast, where pretty much everything that could have happened is going to be investigated,” Hawkins said Wednesday. “We’re trying to move as fast as possible. And we’re hoping the report will be out next week.” Whether or not Donahue will suggest any changes to prison policy depends on what the “post-event analysis report” of the riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility shows, Hawkins said. After the April 24 riot, prison officials said it apparently began when about 40 inmates who recently transferred from Arizona refused to return to their living area after having lunch. The conflict spread to Indiana inmates and led prisoners to set mattresses and paper on fire in the courtyard, break out windows and damage sinks and toilets. By the time the prison was secured, nine people — including two staff members — suffered minor injuries.
May 5, 2007 WISH TV
New e-mails show how concerned prison officials in Arizona were before and after last week's prison riot in New Castle. While the Indiana Department of Correction continues to investigate what went wrong, I-Team 8 is conducting its own investigation. On April 24th, Chopper 8 showed you inmates setting fires and breaking windows within the New Castle Correctional Facility, Indiana's only privatized prison, run by the Geo Group. The apparent clash between Indiana and Arizona prisoners left 2 guards and a handful of inmates hurt. Late Friday afternoon, I-Team 8 obtained the following emails from high-ranking prison officials in Arizona. One came from the director of Arizona's Department of Correction to Indiana DOC Commissioner David Donahue. It was dated the day before the riot. It stated, "Basic security practices are lacking, like counts and inmate discipline. Simple modifications that were proposed last week haven't been implemented. " There was another email, this time from the man sent here from Arizona to investigate after the riot. Ivan Bartos wrote, "I'm sick of being okey doked about some things and have had to breathe and bite my tongue to avoid being very confrontational about things. They still don't have accountability for their radios, we believe that at least one cell phone is in control of our inmates and they are not counting inmates correctly. My visit with Geo heavy hitters yesterday made me realize that regardless of what is being said, efforts to assign blame are underway." And in an update by Mr. Bartos, he expresses concern about fires, because the alarm system and virtually all fire extinguishers were destroyed in the riot. He reports keys still missing, and no clear picture of what tools might be gone. Late Friday night, I-Team 8 received a response from the Indiana Department of Correction. It said that even before Arizona inmates arrived in New Castle, there was concern that the prison there would not be ready to accommodate so many prisoners so quickly. The State Department of Correction says to expect a complete report on the riot next week.
April 29, 2007 The Tribune-Star
Like license plates, shivs and pruno, there’s money to be made in prison. Just ask investors in GEO Group (GEO), who’ve seen their stakes in the private jailer more than triple in value in the past year. — SmartMoney.com, Feb. 26. Among the seven specific “risks and uncertainties that could materially affect” future earnings estimates, The GEO Group Inc. does not mention “prison riots” in its online 2007 Financial Guidance Update. Apparently, incidents such as Tuesday’s uprising by hundreds of inmates in the GEO-operated New Castle Correctional Facility fall under risk-and-uncertainty No. 8 — “other factors.” Those are outlined in the Florida company’s annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings. This relegation to the small print of GEO’s big international world sums up what is — and is not — of importance to GEO and Wall Street. Indeed, within two days of what New Castle’s mayor proclaimed “a full-scale riot,” GEO Group’s stock had regained most of the 2.2-percent loss caused by the destructive protests. By week’s end, GEO had more than rebounded, closing at $51.20 — a healthy $1.30 over its pre-riot price. The United States may account for less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but we have more than 25 percent of the globe’s prisoners. You’d think that fact would give pause to those who boast incessantly of this nation’s Christian values, but that seems not to be the case. Incarceration in America is a major growth industry. About 2.2 million men and women are locked up in U.S. correctional institutions — compared to 500,000 in 1980 — with another 4.8 million on parole or probation. Industry projections call for a 13-percent increase in our prison population within the next four years. Only 6 to 7 percent of U.S. prisons are operated by private-sector companies like the GEO Group, but it isn’t because public officials are hesitant to hand over the reins. Demand simply outstrips supply. Competition among states for contracts is fierce, which spells a rosy future for corporations. In other words, it will take more than a few burned mattresses and seven minor injuries in one short-lived rebellion to derail the privatized prison express. Especially in Indiana. In 2005, Gov. Mitch Daniels awarded a four-year, $53-million contract for New Castle prison to the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest prison management company. Listed on the NYSE since 1996, GEO operates 58 prisons in the United States, Australia and South Africa and is building some of its own. The company also runs a few mental-health facilities, including the Florida Civil Commitment Center, where sex offenders who have served out their prison sentences are kept locked up, ostensibly to receive rehabilitative treatment mandated by Florida law. Last year, Daniels began to try to snag some of the millions of bucks floating around the prison industry and get them back into Indiana’s coffers. A deal to house California inmates, where correctional institutions are bursting at the seams, went south in December, but the governor then struck a one-year agreement with Arizona: $6.1 million to house about 1,200 of its inmates at New Castle. As we now know, thanks to the uprising, about a week before the free-for-all, Dora Schriro, Arizona’s prisons chief, came to Indiana to see how things were progressing for the first 630 transferees. The number of New Castle guards and the inexperience of some inspired her to delay moving any more Arizona inmates here. Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for Schriro, explained to the Associated Press: “They were pulling staff from other areas around the state to put them into these [security] positions, and we needed to be sure there was a permanent professional crew on site. It wasn’t just a quantity issue, it also was quality and the level of experience.” Tuesday’s violent protest, primarily by the medium-security Arizona inmates who’d had no say-so in their hasty 1,500-mile move to Indiana, confirmed Schriro’s worries. In the aftermath, when some folks criticized Gov. Daniels for busing in hundreds of seething Arizona prisoners before New Castle had an adequately trained staff to handle them, he said his intentions were for the welfare of Indiana workers. “We were looking for a way to get some Hoosiers hired at New Castle,” he told the Indianapolis Star. Also, it was a chance to “have them well-trained on somebody else’s nickel.” Of the uprising, Daniels assumed his characteristic corporate executive stance and reminded everyone that “corrections is a high-risk business managing high-risk offenders.” True, and the return is also very high. SmartMoney.com’s bullish story on the GEO Group noted that expected increases in the prison population mean “construction of new prison beds will cost as much as $12.5 billion. That kind of burden will likely force states and the federal government to outsource even more.” Patrick Swindle, a Tennessee investment analyst, told SmartMoney that states build prison beds for $75,000 to $80,000 per bed and the federal government “at north of $100,000 per bed.” Meanwhile, the private sector does it for about $60,000 per bed. That sort of economizing comes at a cost — to someone. Indy Star staff writer Erika D. Smith interviewed Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Institute, a non-profit organization that researches and reports on the problems of privatized prisons. According to Kopczynski, the employee turnover rate in privately run prisons is about 50 percent. In public correctional institutions it’s in the 15-percent range. “They answer to the shareholders so they make cuts whenever possible,” he said. The off-set, of course, is the dependability of the consumer base for prison services; the “customers” just keep on coming. Plus, they’re recession-proof. As Jamie Cuellar, a manager of the Brazos Micro Cap fund, explained to SmartMoney.com: “When times are bad, more people tend to go to jail. It’s awful but true.” And if those people don’t like the accommodations, what are they going to do? They can take their business elsewhere, but the only way to do that is to bust up the joint, shove some security guards around, set some mattresses on fire and get thrown into a place that’s even worse.
April 29, 2007 The Star-Press
WIDE DISPARITY EXISTS between the assessment of Indiana's top corrections official and that of eyewitness accounts regarding staffing and security conditions at New Castle Correctional Facility. Because of this contradiction, state officials should not lock themselves into a position that Indiana must push ahead on accepting more Arizona inmates. That position of optimism was articulated on Wednesday, only hours after the prison riot at New Castle, by J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction. Donahue told The Indianapolis Star that he had not changed his mind about housing prisoners from outside Indiana and saw no reason to pull back from accepting more Arizona inmates once 132 new correctional workers completed their training at the prison. "We have a facility that we need to use and a community that needs jobs, and Arizona has a critical shortage of prison space," he said in an interview with The Star. ALL OF THOSE POINTS ARE TRUE, BUT the statement ignores many aspects of what happened on Tuesday at New Castle, what led up to the disturbance and the possible risk of continuing the "Arizona experiment" without significant changes and upgrades in the security plan. While adding more workers at New Castle is logical, that might not cure certain disturbing elements of the situation. Witnesses and others who commented to Star Press reporters about Tuesday's disturbance seem to paint a different picture than the one Donahue is seeing or assumes is there. For instance, Aamir Shabazz of Muncie, who works as a volunteer chaplain for Muslim inmates and has been at the prison three times a week, suggests that New Castle was unprepared for the Arizona inmates, who brought a more "hard-core" prison culture with them. "They don't have enough guards to make them (Arizona prisoners) change," Shabazz said. This prompts the question: Will there be enough "muscle" and experience in the added workforce, as seen by Donahue, to make the Arizona plan work? Jamin Vaughn, who worked at New Castle through last June, described the workforce at the privately operated prison as under-trained, underpaid and under-manned. He said the GEO Group, which operates the facility, cut costs by supervisory staff when it took over. The strongest denunciation of New Castle security came from Muncie's Kara Scott, who last month began training to work there. Although she declined to return after only one day of training, it is apparent that Scott's powers of observation were keen. In a Star Press interview, Scott noted she badly needed a job but quickly saw that New Castle was not a safe place to work. She said she spotted several danger signs: inmates unsupervised, some in prison areas marked for staff only; guards lacking proper security apparatus (including sprays and other devices to help maintain order); guards advised that, in case they were attacked, not to go to a co-worker's rescue but instead stay put and ask for additional security; guards being advised there would be times, perhaps during a shift change, that they might be working alone; and trainees advised to take self-defense and Spanish classes on their own, in anticipation of the influx of Arizona inmates. ASSUMING THAT SCOTT'S OBSERVATIONS and recall are accurate, it indicates that GEO supervisors and Indiana officials must be willing to make huge changes before even thinking about allowing more Arizona inmates to come to New Castle. What happened at the prison on Tuesday is eerily reminiscent of this country's incursion into Iraq four years ago. There was the same stubbornness of purpose (despite the warning flags of dealing with a different kind of population), the same over-reliance on faulty information, the same lack of effective and long-range plan for handling the aftermath of a situation, and the same imprecision on how to permanently resolve an unstable and risk-filled situation that erupted after troops/prisoners were on the ground. Officials in charge at New Castle must make a complete, fact-filled and unbiased investigation and assessment. Until then, they should avoid such overly optimistic advice that merely adding more bodies to the staff will resolve all problems in an alien and volatile prison population.
April 27, 2007 WISH TV
Three days after the riot at New Castle Correctional Facility, questions still remain. Insiders claim the Department of Correction and Geo Group are not telling the truth about what really happened. A New Castle correctional officer, who did not want to be identified because he didn't want to lose his job, emailed: "These (Arizona) offenders are apparently violent and have been since day one. GEO Group and the Arizona Department of Corrections are telling the media that these individuals are not murderers or sex offenders. This is not a true statement." An inmate's mother, who says her son told her on Sunday the Arizona inmates were going to riot, said: "What upsets me is they knew this was going to happen. They could have avoided this." A spokesman for the Department of Correction told I-Team 8 they had no advance information or knowledge of the riot. When asked if Geo Group knew about the riot beforehand, a spokeswoman based at the facility told I-Team 8, "Absolutely not." And this from a former inmate: "The control room should have locked everything down completely! It sounds to me that they lost control before the riot even started." DOC confirms the facility was locked when the riot started, but told I-Team 8 offenders were able to override the system and manually unlock housing unit doors. How did that happen? This from a member of one of the prison emergency response teams: "It is apparent that the facility is understaffed and is not as safe of an environment as it potentially could be. Is this safe for staff and the surrounding community? I think not." The DOC continues to say that staffing is adequate and that public safety is number one. And, finally, a mother whose son was one of the first responders, emailed I-Team 8: "They had taken a few officers for hostage purposes. If the facility had been at full capacity, we would have been a community in mourning instead of giving a sigh of relief." The DOC spokesman maintains that there were no hostages at any time. Since Tuesday, I-Team 8 has been asking Indiana, Arizona and Geo Group that manages New Castle for a list of the Arizona inmates to find their crimes and sentences. Already I-Team has found a man serving time for murder. Repeated requests for information and interviews have been denied. While Indiana still has not released the list, late Friday afternoon Arizona did. I-Team 8 team is looking at every name to see what 630 inmates were shipped here and if the list abides by the agreement that there would be no violent criminals such as killers or sex offenders.
April 26, 2007 KTAR
Tuesday's riot by Arizona inmates at an Indiana private prison prompts a caution from Democrat Ed Ableser. "We need to be very careful about a private industry that actually makes money off of the amount of criminals we produce in this society," he said. But, Republican Russell Pearce said the riot wasn't caused by private prisons, but by a non-cooperative department of corrections which won't spend available money. "They refuse to build or provide access to 3,000 beds in this state," said Pearce. The philosophical dispute has left the state thousands of prison beds short.
April 25, 2007 AP
Indiana's contract with a Florida-based company that runs prisons across the nation requires it to reimburse the state for the costs police incurred subduing Tuesday's riot at an eastern Indiana prison it manages. State prisons chief J. David Donahue said Wednesday that staff at the New Castle Correctional Facility are assessing the emergency response costs and damage to the prison following the riot, which slightly injured two staff members and seven prisoners. Donahue, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said "it would be total speculation" to estimate the riot's costs at this time. Trina Randall, a spokeswoman for GEO Group Inc., said it could take a few days to assess the expense of sending emergency squads, county police and Indiana State Police to the prison to end the fracas, which involved about 500 inmates from Arizona and Indiana. "They're going from housing unit to housing unit today doing that estimate. We're responsible for the costs of the riot, and I'm assuming that includes overtime," she said. During Tuesday's riot, prisoners from Arizona and some from Indiana set mattresses and paper afire in a prison courtyard, destroyed furniture and broke windows, officials said. Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group assumed management of the medium- security prison about 45 miles east of Indianapolis in January 2006 under the terms of an earlier contract. Last month, the Indiana DOC and GEO Group signed a contract specifying how the company would handle inmates Indiana had agreed to accept from Arizona. As of Wednesday, about 630 Arizona inmates had been moved to the prison. The remaining transfers to the prison, which already houses 1,050 Indiana prisoners, have been temporarily halted. Under that deal, Indiana agreed to pay GEO Group at least $314,212 per week for housing up to 1,200 inmates from the Western state. Last month, Indiana signed a contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections under which Arizona agreed to send up to 1,260 inmates to Indiana. Arizona officials agreed to pay their Indiana counterparts at least $536,256 per week for housing up to about 1,200 Arizona inmates. Indiana House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said Wednesday that the state should cancel that contract. He said Arizona officials knew the arrangement was problematic before the riot and were aware that Indiana bans smoking in prisons, while Arizona permits it. Randall has said many prisoners were upset by the policy, which might have contributed to the disturbance. "They're not our prisoners; they're Arizona's prisoners. They ought to be sent back," Bauer said. Earl Goode, the chief of staff for Gov. Mitch Daniels, released a statement urging Bauer to stay focused on working to complete a new state budget before the current legislative session ends Sunday. "It would be best for all Hoosiers if the Speaker stayed on task and let Commissioner Donahue continue to run the Department of Correction," Goode said in his statement. Indiana's contract with GEO Group states that it has the right to terminate that agreement "whenever, for any reason, the agency determines that such termination is in the best interest of the State of Indiana." The contract between Indiana and Arizona's corrections agencies covers one year but can be renewed for up to three one-year terms if the parties agree. Arizona can end the contract any time after that one-year period ends, while Indiana can end it at any point if Arizona "fails to make timely payments" specified under the agreement.
April 25, 2007 The Star Press
Capt. Ron Deaton, a 22-year corrections veteran, was one of two guards injured Tuesday in a riot inside the New Castle Correctional Facility. A second prison employee was treated and released from Henry County Hospital on Tuesday. His name wasn't released. Deaton's wife, Twilla, said her 53-year-old husband was beaten by inmates and "has a lot of abrasions and bruises" on his face, arms and legs. Twilla gathered with other members of her family in a waiting room at Henry County Hospital while doctors took her husband for X-rays. For years, Twilla said she didn't question or worry uncontrollably about her husband's safety at work. But she also knows that guards inside the prison have become increasingly nervous about conditions recently. "I'll be honest. They all have concerns. (Ron's) always worried about his officers," she said. "They have been understaffed." In the past six weeks, the prison has added 630 inmates to its population, thanks to an agreement with the Arizona Department of Corrections. As soon as that agreement was signed, the prison began an aggressive campaign to increase its staff. Twilla said she knows things aren't always rosy behind bars, but she said for the most part, her husband doesn't talk about work at home. And even despite Tuesday's riot and his minor injuries, she doesn't expect that to change. She didn't expect to get a full riot report once the two were reunited. Ron Deaton has worked at the prison in New Castle since it opened in 2002. Before that, he worked at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, his wife said.
April 25, 2007 The Indianapolis Star
Visibly shaken after barricading himself from rioting prisoners at the New Castle Correctional Facility, officer Larry Savage said he felt outnumbered Tuesday and feared for his life. We're just understaffed right now. . . .We're lucky to get out of there," he said as he left the prison. Savage isn't the only one concerned about staffing. Arizona officials -- who last month began sending the first of more than 1,200 prisoners slated for the facility -- raised concerns about that issue after officials visited New Castle last week. Dora Schriro, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, told the operators of the New Castle prison that she was going to halt the transfer of inmates until staffing issues were resolved, said Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for the department. "There were serious security concerns," Decker said. Decker said only 37 correctional officers were assigned to the 630 Arizona inmates at New Castle on Thursday. Decker could not say what that number should have been but said 131 officers would have been required if all 1,260 Arizona inmates had been transferred. She declined to comment on whether those staffing levels could have contributed to the riot but said officials are re-evaluating their agreement with Indiana. "Is the facility going to be capable of housing the inmates we have there? Are the things that caused this going to be addressed? There's a variety of things we're going to be looking into and saying, 'Where do we go from here?' " J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said Tuesday the state facility, which is operated by a private contractor, GEO Group of Florida, is not understaffed. He declined to elaborate. About 270 corrections officers oversee about 1,668 inmates, including those from Arizona. Donahue acknowledged hearing of Arizona's concerns about staffing. But he said it was a mutual decision not to take additional prisoners from Arizona while both sides evaluate the arrangement. Nevertheless, Donahue said he saw no reason to end the relationship. Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday the troublemakers should be sent back to Arizona. While pledging to review the out-of-state arrangement, he also warned against a rush to judgment. Savage, meanwhile, described a chaotic scene inside the prison, where for a time guards and other prison workers had to barricade themselves in a staff room to keep inmates from entering. "They beat up one of our captains and took his keys," said Savage, who has worked at the prison about eight weeks. Savage said the riot began because some Arizona inmates took off their shirts and were not dressed properly in the food line. He said the Arizona inmates had been threatening some sort of action for several weeks, but he's not sure what set them off Tuesday. "They did not really have any demands," he said. "They were just trying to get a point across that they could take the facility over, and that's what they did."
April 25, 2007 The Star Press
More than $37 billion is spent on incarcerating inmates in the country's jails and prisons each year, and critics of the private prison industry said Tuesday that riots like the one at the New Castle Correctional Facility are often sparked by cost-cutting measures. "You get what you pay for," said Kent Kopczynski, director of the Private Corrections Institute, a group critical of the private prison industry and the privatization of prisons. Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative agreed. "As a general matter, private prisons cut corners," Wagner said. "Private prisons cost as much as public prisons, so the only way they can make a profit is to cut corners." Inmates at the New Castle facility rioted Tuesday, causing injuries to two guards and damage to the facility. The prison is run by the GEO Group. Under the name Wackenhut, the company considered locating a facility in Delaware County in the late 1990s. When guards call in sick, services or recreation programs can be cut, Wagner noted, causing unrest among inmates. Officials on Tuesday cited the role of inmates from Arizona in the riot. More than 600 Arizona inmates -- housed at New Castle after an arrangement among the two states and GEO Group, which operates the privatized state facility -- were housed at the facility this week. As many as 1,260 Arizona inmates were to have been housed in the prison, which has a capacity of 2,400 beds. The prison also housed 1,050 Indiana inmates as of Tuesday. Kopczynski said importing inmates from another state -- such as the Arizona inmates at the New Castle prison -- can also increase the possibility of disturbances. "It's run like a hotel," he said. "They've got to fill the beds. If they can't fill the beds with Indiana natives, they've got to bring them in from elsewhere. You bring in inmates from out of state, and you have a blow-up between inmates." The prison industry in the United States is a big one. CNNMoney reported in March that $37 billion is spent on corrections each year in an effort to keep more than 2 million inmates incarcerated. Kopczynski said the problem of "understaffed and underpaid employees" was common in private prisons. "In a public facility, the staff is reasonably paid, you have health insurance, retirement," he said. "The privateers don't have that. At one GEO facility when the company was still Wackenhut, less than 10 percent of employees participated in the retirement plan because the company paid so much less than they did."
April 24, 2007 Indianapolis Star
State officials will temporarily halt the transfer of Arizona prisoners to the New Castle Correctional Facility after a riot Tuesday that prompted calls for an end to housing another state's inmates in Indiana. Department of Correction officials said nine people -- two prison employees and seven inmates -- suffered minor injuries in separate disturbances involving Arizona and Indiana prisoners during a two-hour period Tuesday afternoon at the facility 50 miles east of Indianapolis. Commissioner J. David Donahue said the Arizona prisoners may have been upset because Indiana prisons have different rules, including a ban on smoking and limits on personal items inmates can have in their cells. The Arizona prisoners are kept separate from Indiana inmates. Tuesday's disturbance is the latest example of riots led by prisoners shipped to other states for incarceration. At least two other uprisings since 2003 involved Arizona inmates held in out-of-state prisons. The riot also prompted a key legislative leader to call for the state to cancel the Arizona deal. "The idea of bringing in people from another state who bring along their gangs, allegiances and different alliances immediately was a mixture that was bound to bring trouble," said House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend. Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday night the inmates specifically involved in the incident "need to go home" and that he will review the entire out-of-state arrangement today with Donahue. But even before Tuesday's riot, Arizona officials had decided to stop sending inmates to the New Castle prison because a recent visit raised "serious security concerns." Dora Schriro, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, visited the New Castle Correctional Facility on Thursday and found insufficient staffing for her state's 630 inmates, said Katie Decker, a spokeswoman with the department. Schriro also was concerned about where officers were stationed. "She advised the operators of that prison that she was going to halt the transfer of inmates until these issues were resolved," Decker said. "There were serious security concerns." Decker said only 37 correctional officers were assigned to the Arizona inmates Thursday. She could not say what that number should have been but said 131 officers would have been required if all 1,260 Arizona inmates had already been transferred. She declined to comment on whether those staffing levels could have contributed to the riot. Arizona is paying Indiana $6.1 million to house its inmates. Daniels and others supported the deal in part because the prison was only about half full. The New Castle prison is state-owned, but Indiana contracts with GEO Group of Florida to operate it. The first 104 prisoners arrived March 12. Decker, the Arizona corrections spokeswoman, said Arizona would prefer to keep its prisoners in-state but can't accommodate the growing inmate population. Arizona also sends some inmates to a prison in Oklahoma. It had sent about 1,500 to private prisons in Texas, but those contracts were canceled late last year. Decker said the future of the contract with Indiana is in question. "Is the facility going to be capable of housing the inmates we have there? Are the things that caused this going to be addressed? " While the riot raised concerns about the deal with Arizona, it also prompted questions about the state's contract with a private firm to manage the facility. The state signed a contract with GEO Group in September 2005 to run the prison for four years with an option for three two-year extensions. Officials with the company declined comment Tuesday. Daniels said the fact that the prison is privately managed did not have anything to do with the riot, and his office released a history of disturbances at Indiana correctional facilities to help support his point. "In fact, the management there responded beautifully, as did the public authorities," said Daniels, who has sought to privatize parts of state government. But Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker disagreed and said privatization of the prison likely contributed. "What happened today is a tragedy. I think it all ties back to the fact that (the governor) has privatized essential government services," Parker said. House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, cautioned people not to rush to judgment. "It's too early to make any rash judgments about what happened in New Castle," he said. "I think we need to find out exactly what happened, who is responsible and how prison officials reacted. This is not the first prison riot in national history, nor is it the last." Tuesday's trouble began about 2 p.m. as a group of Arizona inmates became defiant as they were being moved from a dining hall to their cellblocks, said Donahue, the DOC commissioner. Donahue said many of the inmates began removing their shirts, apparently in a show of solidarity for the "noncompliance," and one guard was either knocked or pushed to the ground. A group of Indiana inmates -- who do not mingle with the Arizona prisoners and are kept separate by fences -- became aware of the disturbance, and about 500 of the prison's 1,668 inmates became involved, he said. Rioters broke scores of windows and set several fires in outdoor recreation areas before guards used a chemical agent to quell the disturbance after about two hours. Guards first isolated the areas of disruption, giving inmates time to decide who was going to participate and who was going to be bystanders rather than rushing in, Donahue said. "We don't rush to judgment," he said. "We don't want to put additional folks at risk. We didn't have anyone in harm's way." It's not unusual for tensions to flare up at a prison that's privately run and has prisoners from different states, said Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the watchdog Private Corrections Institute. For one, prisoners often end up far away from their relatives and friends, making visits difficult. "How do you expect the family to stay in touch," he said, "when they're in Arizona and they have to fly all the way to Indiana?" In addition, companies such as GEO Group subject prisoners to different rules, based on the contracts they have with different states. For example, prisoners from one state can have food more times per day or access to reading materials or better medical care than prisoners from another state. Guards did keep the prison populations apart, as all management companies are required to do, but that rarely stops the flow of information, Kopczynski said. Once one group finds out the guards are treating another group better, prisoners can become resentful, angry and violent. That kind of unequal treatment doesn't usually happen in public prisons, because the prisoners are from the same state. But transferring prisoners from state to state is becoming more and more common as states run out of beds and decide it's cheaper to ship prisoners to other states, rather than build a prison of their own. Prisoners' rights' advocates said that the arrangement is a recipe for disaster from the start. Donna Leone Hamm, director of Middle Ground Prison Reform, an Arizona-based nonprofit inmate advocacy group, said she is not surprised that violence broke out at the prison. She said her organization has been contacted by inmates and their family members who said prisoners were shipped off to Indiana against their will and with little notice, including some who said they were roused from their beds in the middle of the night and told to pack. Because Arizona transports prisoners deemed least likely to cause trouble, well-behaved inmates felt they were being punished for playing by the rules, Hamm said. In addition, some couldn't bring along personal property, including televisions, she said.
April 24, 2007 WISH TV
Indiana State Police have confirmed a disturbance at the New Castle Correctional Facility. Troopers have been dispatched to the scene. New Castle Mayor Tom Nipp calls the disturbance a "full scale riot." According to Indiana State Police there was some sort of argument between the inmates from Indiana and the prisoners from Arizona that the facility has been housing since early March. The facility has confirmed two staff members have been injured and one of those staff members is in the emergency room at Henry County Memorial Hospital. So far reports are cell houses D, I, or J were involved in the incident. The riot erupted around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. Local law enforcement arrived by 2:15 p.m. Chopper 8 flew over the scene and witnessed at least three burning fires set around the facility. "Prisoners were trying to tear down some fence," said Nipp. "The exterior fence is electrical wire. The police department has been fully mobilized." A perimeter has been established around the facility to ensure that if anyone did manage to get over the fence, measures are being taken to ensure the public's safety. Facility staff and personnel say they are managing the situation professionally and applying procedures including tear gas to return the facility to stable conditions. "New Castle is quite secure. All due precautions are in place to maintain that security," said Nipp. GEO Group manages and operates New Castle Correctional Facility. In a phone interview with GEO Group Spokesman Pablo Paez, he said they are working to bring the situation under control. Paez said there are over 1,000 inmates from Indiana currently at the facility and they are in the process of taking in inmates from Arizona. There are currently 630 inmates from Arizona at the facility. That process stared at the beginning of March. Katie Decker of the Arizona Department of Correction confirmed that 630 inmates from Arizona have been transferred to the facility so far. Transfer of additional prisoners is on hold for right now.
Pima County Jail
Correctional Medical Service (formerly run by First Correctional Medical)
October 16, 2007 Arizona Daily Star
An employee working at the Pima County jail has been accused of sexually abusing female inmates while on the job, according to court documents. Christopher Erin Johnston was charged with five counts of sexual abuse and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct, according to an indictment in Pima County Superior Court. The indictment says Johnston, 34, had sexual contact with three female inmates without their consent between July 30 and Aug. 5. On three occasions, Johnston touched the women's breasts and in one of the incidents he rubbed his genitals on a woman's back and forced her to touch them, according to the indictment. When the incidents occurred, Johnston was working for Correctional Medical Services, a company hired by the Pima County Sheriff's Department to provide health care to inmates, said Sgt. James Ogden, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. Ogden said he did not know what kind of work Johnston performed at the jail, 1270 W. Silverlake Road. He said Johnston did not work directly for the county and that he is no longer employed at the jail.
April 5, 2006 Arizona Star
Health care at the Pima County jail soon will be the responsibility of one of the nation's largest private providers of medical care in jails and prisons. The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an $18.5 million, two-year contract Tuesday with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services. The company will replace First Correctional Medical, the Tucson-based company that has provided medical care at the jail since 2002, at the end of April. The contract represents an average 18.5 percent increase in the yearly cost of providing care at the jail. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the increased cost was driven by several factors, including medical costs rising 7.5 percent a year, the jail population increasing 7 percent to 9 percent a year and the addition of seven full-time employees over the previous contract. Supervisor Richard Elias voted no after raising concerns about aspects of the contract. For example, the contract calls for medications to be distributed two times a day instead of three, a change that will save the county $300,000. Elias wondered what would happen to inmates with chronic conditions if they needed medication three or four times a day. "I just want to make sure we're not creating more liability by creating a situation where people aren't getting their meds," Elias said. Elias said later he also was worried about accountability and records transfers when dealing with an out-of-state company. "I have a lot of concerns about Correctional Medical Services," Elias said. "In the end, I would have been a lot more comfortable with a local provider." Correctional Medical Services runs 320 facilities with 250,000 inmates in 25 states. Former inmates and family members have accused the company of providing inadequate care and cutting corners to save money. Karen Russo, president of the Wrongful Death Institute, has served as a clearinghouse for those accusations. She said the company has a "facade" of providing health care. A 2000 audit by the South Carolina Legislature found problems with distribution of medicine, lack of planning for discharge of mentally ill patients and workers who did not have the right qualifications. Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical, said many of the allegations were years old and false.
April 29, 2005 Tucson Citizen
The woman who hanged herself Sunday at the Pima County Jail was showing psychotic symptoms, a jail official said, and told a jail nurse that she had been taking prescription drugs for chronic pain and depression. Vickie Logan never saw a doctor in the jail who could have prescribed the medications for her, even though that is standard jail procedure, a jail official said. She also never saw a psychiatrist in the jail, even though inmates sent to the jail's mental health unit - as Logan was - routinely see a psychiatrist for a follow-up screening, the official said. Instead Logan, 42, was put in isolation - in a cell where she had contact only with jail staff and where her meals were delivered. She also was not put on suicide watch, even though she was "hearing voices and talking to people who were not there," said jail supervisor Capt. Judy Hendrickson. After 61 hours of isolation, Logan hanged herself Sunday and died Monday. The county jail's medical and mental health services are provided by First Correctional Medical Inc., a local private contractor. The nurse ordered Logan into isolation because she was "hearing voices and talking to people who were not there," Hendrickson said. The nurse who interviewed her didn't think she needed close supervision and so did not put her on suicide watch, which would have required jail personnel to check on her every five minutes, instead of every 15 minutes. Hendrickson said.
March 26, 2004
A woman whose son died when she went into premature labor and gave birth at the Pima County jail has begun the process of filing a million-dollar lawsuit against the county and the company that provides medical care at the jail. An attorney for Valerie Lopez, 23, began sending notices of claim, legally required before a lawsuit can be filed, Wednesday to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, whose department runs the jail; the county, including the Board of Supervisors; First Correctional Medical and the various nurses and corrections officers involved in the September 2003 incident. The $1.75 million claim says Lopez's rights were violated by inadequate medical care and that she suffered serious injuries and emotional trauma when officials ignored her complaints of pain for 10 hours. They finally took her to the medical unit, where she pulled down her pants and gave birth on a table with only two Tylenol to ease her pain. (Arizona Daily Star)
October 19, 2003
Valerie Lopez says she had problems convincing authorities at the jail that she was in labor. Changes are being made. Valerie Lopez lay on her bunk at the Pima County jail. Nearly six months pregnant and just arrested for fighting with her brother, the 23-year-old didn't want to be in labor. She called for help, the third time that night. But instead of being taken to a hospital, Lopez says she was moved to another cell because she was disturbing her cellmate, told to calm down and stay off her feet, and given only an aspirin for the pain. Fifteen minutes later, she felt her son coming into the world. She cried out again and says corrections officers and nurses finally believed her. They took her to the medical unit, where she says she pulled down her pants and gave birth after 10 hours of labor. And, there, Juan Carlitos Long, a boy with perfect fingernails and a tiny, beautiful heartbeat, died. Jail officials say the Sept. 29-30 incident should have been handled better; that mix-ups helped cause it and they've made changes. They'll even ask the County Attorney's Office if criminal charges are merited. But most of the decisions were made by nurses with the private company that cares for inmates under a contract with the county, a company with no major problems since taking over jail care in March 2002, amid allegations of improper care by previous workers. Officials at First Correctional Medical defend their standards of care and point to a recent new accreditation the local operation received to show it provides a high level of care here. Still, Lopez wants to know why she wasn't taken to a hospital and why instead of the birthday parties she'd envisioned for her son, she had to plan a funeral. (Yahoo News)
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Management & Training Corporation
October 18, 2007 The Daily Courier
The town council will not support plans by a Utah-based company to consider the outskirts of town for a private prison. Overwhelming vocal opposition to a 2,000-bed, minimum-security prison for nonviolent male inmates apparently persuaded the council Thursday against proceeding with endorsing the prison. Opponents expressed concerns to the council about Prescott Valley having the label of "prison town," and facing declining property values and other negative effects. The council met Oct. 4 with representatives of Management and Training Corp., a Centerville, Utah-based company that proposed a 100-acre site a mile north of Highway 69 and parallel to Old Fain Road. The council did not take any formal action during the work/study meeting Thursday, but Town Manager Larry Tarkowski indicated he would not put a letter of support on the agenda for next Thursday. The sole support for the prison on the council came from Mary Baker, who cited the benefit of 500 jobs. Opponents in excess of 10 people dominated a packed council chamber. Council members also indicated that prison opponents bombarded them with e-mails and phone calls. "We had so many people who said 'no,' and I have to go with that," Mayor Harvey Skoog said after five people spoke out against the prison. Two people spoke in favor of the prison. "I am not worried about the prisoners that are escaping, but I am worried about the factor of the money you would lose on your house," opponent Frank Shank, a retired diesel mechanic and Teamster union representative from Detroit, said after the meeting. He said that he lost $50,000 on a house in Jackson, Mich., a number of years ago because of the presence of a prison. Prison supporter Linda Shimmin, a retired restaurant owner, faulted the review process for killing the prison plans. "I think the (council) decision is fine," she said after the meeting. "It's the process that concerned me. Management and Training was not here tonight. I think the visceral reactions might have been mitigated had Management and Training been allowed to make a presentation." Shimmin drew some applause - and a number of boos - when she pleaded her case for the prison during the council meeting. Audience members also applauded opponents who spoke at the podium and when the council members indicated that they would go with the will of the public. The council had scheduled the meeting in the first place to review the costs for water and other infrastructure for the prison.
Red Rock Correctional Facility
February 22, 2008 Honolulu Advertiser
Hawai'i inmates at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona have been locked down for 10 days during a top-to-bottom shakedown of the prison prompted by two recent drug overdoses of Alaska inmates, according to the Hawai'i Department of Public Safety. About 65 Hawai'i inmates are housed at the private prison, but are kept separate from the Alaska prisoners, said Public Safety Deputy Director Tommy Johnson. Teams provided by prison owner Corrections Corporation of America used drug dogs as part of the search of all staff, program, recreational, medical, kitchen and living areas. Investigators discovered three grams of black tar heroin and a list detailing prices within the prison for cigarettes, marijuana and other drugs, Johnson said. The drugs were found in a part of the prison occupied by Alaska prisoners, and no Hawaii inmates were involved in any illegal drug activity, he said. Three Alaska inmates were placed in disciplinary segregation for introducing contraband. Johnson said CCA investigators suspect the drugs were being smuggled into the 1,596-bed prison via the mail, and have tightened up on mail room procedures. The prison is expected to return to normal operations Monday.
September 23, 2007 Daily News-Miner
The Eloy Police Department has ruled out natural causes as the cause of death of an Alaskan inmate found unresponsive in his cell at the Red Rock Correctional Center 25 miles south of Phoenix, said Capt. Shane Blakeman. Results from toxicology tests on 36-year-old Rusty Hightower of Fairbanks are weeks away, said Blakeman, whose agency is leading the death investigation. Hightower was serving a life sentence for murder for shooting and killing cab driver Dale Baurick, 23, during a robbery April 1, 1988, near McGrath Road, according to the Alaska Department of Corrections and News-Miner stories from the late 1980s. Hightower’s cell mate found him dead in their room after coming back from dinner Monday night, according to Eloy police. Hightower’s body showed no signs of trauma, Blakeman said. An autopsy last week confirmed that Hightower suffered no physical trauma, Blakeman said in an e-mail. James West, who was in regular telephone contact with Hightower, his brother, said he knew of nothing unusual going on with the inmate. “That kid was healthier than crap,” said West, who saw his brother last year. The Corrections Corp. of America, owner of the newly-built Red Rock facility, is keeping quiet on the matter until Hightower’s cause of death is determined. “Pending some resolution as to the cause of death, we feel it would be premature and inappropriate to comment on these matters at this time,” company spokesman Steven Owen wrote in an e-mail. The Alaska Department of Corrections has sent an official to Arizona to monitor the probe and to make sure the Corrections Corp. of America is adhering to its contract with the state, said Richard Schmitz, corrections department spokesman.
September 19, 2007 AP
A Fairbanks man in prison for killing a cabdriver 19 years ago was found dead in his cell at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona. It is not yet known how Rusty Hightower, 36, died, said Capt. Shane Blakeman of the Eloy Police Department, the agency investigating the death. According to authorities, Hightower’s cell mate found the body Monday evening after returning to the cell from dinner. Efforts to revive him failed, police spokeswoman Amanda Villescaz said Wednesday. “There was no sign of a struggle or anything,” Blakeman said. “We’re waiting for the autopsy report to tell us what exactly he died from.” Villescaz said an autopsy was expected to be completed by Thursday.
July 22, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser
The private prison company that holds Hawai'i convicts on the Mainland acknowledged that multiple cell doors accidentally opened on four occasions at one of the company's new Arizona prisons, including one incident where alleged prison gang members used the opportunity to attack a Hawai'i inmate. The state's highest prison official said he's troubled that Corrections Corporation of America did not immediately notify the state about the incidents. The statement released by CCA announced that "appropriate disciplinary action was taken on officers in regard to four separate inadvertent cell door openings" at the Red Rock Correctional Center. The statement did not offer any specifics, and a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail that CCA would not provide additional details. Hawai'i Department of Public Safety interim director Clayton Frank said CCA did not tell Hawai'i prison authorities about some of the incidents until Wednesday night, after The Advertiser published complaints from inmates about repeated cases where doors opened unexpectedly and improperly, leaving protective custody prisoners vulnerable to attacks by prison gangs. Frank said he is "troubled" that CCA did not tell Hawai'i about some of the incidents. The company explained it did not immediately report some cases where doors opened because those incidents did not involve attacks on Hawai'i inmates, Frank said. "Right now, I have some serious concerns and doubt of whether they are providing us with everything," he said. "If it involves our inmates, I want to make sure that what they're giving us is true and accurate. "I want something to go directly to corporate office up there that says you guys have got to be candid when we ask questions." The state pays about $50 million a year to house 2,100 convicts in Mainland CCA prisons because there is no room for them in Hawai'i facilities. INMATE STABBED In the most serious of the incidents at Red Rock, Hawai'i inmate John Kupa was stabbed with a homemade knife on June 26 after more than half of the cell doors abruptly opened in his housing unit. That incident is being blamed on an error by a corrections officer. Protective custody inmates are housed in that prison pod along with general population inmates. That mix requires that prisoners there be separated constantly, and the doors there are never supposed to open simultaneously, prison officials said. Hawai'i Public Safety officials say that when the doors opened, Kupa and a 44-year-old inmate allegedly attacked Hawai'i convict Sidney Tafokitau. During the struggle, prison officials say Tafokitau allegedly stabbed Kupa. Tafokitau, a protective custody inmate, has said he acted in self-defense, and said he got the knife by taking it away from one of his attackers. Kupa, 36, was stabbed in the lower left back, and was treated and released from an Arizona hospital. The Red Rock stabbing marks the second time in two years a Hawai'i inmate has been injured when cell doors unexpectedly opened in a CCA prison living unit where inmates were supposed to be locked down. In the earlier case, 20 cell doors in a disciplinary unit of the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Mississippi suddenly opened at 2:48 a.m. on July 17, 2005, releasing about three dozen Hawai'i convicts from their cells. Inmates then attacked Hawai'i inmate Ronnie Lonoaea, who was beaten so badly he suffered brain damage, and is now confined to a wheelchair. Hawai'i prison officials this week revealed the doors opened in Mississippi in that 2005 disturbance because a corrections officer had been "compromised" by a prison gang. Lawyer Myles Breiner, who is suing the state and CCA on behalf of Lonoaea and his family, said Lonoaea will need extensive medical care for the rest of his life, care that is expected to "easily" cost $10 million to $11 million. Breiner said he is also gathering information about attacks triggered by doors that improperly opened at Red Rock, and is considering filing suit on behalf of inmates that were attacked or injured in those cases. DELIBERATE ERROR? "Their doors are opening, and the only people responsible for the management and security is CCA," Breiner said. He said some of the lapses at Red Rock seem to be caused by human error or problems with the equipment, while the inmates suspect some of the other incidents have been deliberate. "Whether it's corruption or construction, CCA is still responsible," Breiner said. The statement from CCA said the company has taken corrective measures. "We stand by our reputation as a provider of quality corrections management services, and will continue to assess our operational activities to further refine and improve our safety processes," the company said.
July 18, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser
For the second time in two years, improper actions by a corrections worker caused cell doors to unexpectedly open in a Mainland prison where Hawai'i inmates were supposed to be kept separated, triggering violence that injured a Hawai'i convict, prison officials said. In the first incident at a Mississippi prison in 2005, Hawai'i convict Ronnie Lonoaea, 34, was beaten so severely that he suffered brain damage and is now confined to a wheelchair. Lonoaea's family sued the Hawai'i prison system and Corrections Corp. of America last week in connection with the case. In a second incident last month at Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona, an error by a prison staffer caused cell doors to abruptly open, prison officials said. Hawai'i inmate John Kupa, 36, was stabbed in the left lower back, according to a police report. The two incidents raise concerns about the treatment of Hawai'i inmates in Mainland prisons run by a private company, said an expert on prisons and a state legislator. In the Arizona case, cell doors abruptly opened on June 26 in a prison pod where protective custody inmates are housed in some cells and general population inmates including gang members are held in other cells. Kupa was stabbed with a homemade knife after the doors opened at about 6 p.m., according to a report from the Eloy, Ariz., police department. The injured inmate was treated and released at a local hospital, according to a prison spokeswoman. In the Mississippi prison incident, 20 cell doors suddenly opened at 2:48 a.m. on July 17, 2005. About three dozen Hawai'i inmates were released from their cells when the doors opened, touching off a melee that lasted for 90 minutes in a disciplinary pod in the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility. Corrections officers finally used tear gas grenades to regain control of the pod. Hawai'i Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy said an internal investigation of the Mississippi case found the doors opened because a corrections sergeant had been "compromised" by prison gang members. Corrections Corp. of America, which owns both the Mississippi and the Arizona prison, terminated the sergeant, McCoy said in a written response to questions. Steve Owen, director of marketing for CCA, declined to discuss the specifics of the June 26 incident and also declined comment on the lawsuit over the Tallahatchie incident. PRIVATE VS. PUBLIC Byron E. Price, assistant professor of public policy and administration at Rutgers University and author of a book on the private prison industry, said Hawai'i has reason to be concerned about the incidents at Tallahatchie and Red Rock. Private prison operators make money by holding down costs, which is often accomplished by reducing labor costs, said Price. The companies tend to rely heavily on technology as a way to keep the officer-to-inmate ratios down, Price said. Private prison staff members are typically inexperienced, he added. "By cutting labor costs, you get a less qualified individual, and there's high turnover rate in the private prisons, and they conduct less training for their corrections officers" compared with publicly run prisons, said Price, who is author of "Merchandizing Prisoners: Who Really Pays for Prison Privatization?" Corrections Yearbook statistics show the staff turnover at private prisons averages 52 percent a year, while the turnover at public prisons is about 16 percent, he said. Hawai'i spends more than $50 million a year to house inmates in CCA prisons on the Mainland, and Senate Public Safety Committee Chairman Will Espero said he is concerned about reports of security problems "that appear to be similar, and that haven't been resolved." "Considering the millions of dollars that we are spending on the Mainland, we would expect to get excellent service, excellent facilities, and ... I would expect that with their experience, they should be able to minimize any problems," he said of CCA. LIFETIME CARE NEEDED When the cell doors opened in Mississippi, prisoners attacked Lonoaea. His attackers tore or cut off his lips and broke bones in his face, said Honolulu lawyer Michael Green, who is suing CCA and the Hawai'i prison system on behalf of Lonoaea's family. Green said Lonoaea, who is approaching the end of his prison sentence, will need intensive healthcare for the rest of his life that will likely cost $10 million to $11 million. The lawsuit alleges Hawai'i prison officials were negligent for failing to properly oversee the prison, and alleges CCA failed to properly train or supervise TCCF staff. Inmates at Red Rock who were interviewed by The Advertiser complain that multiple cell doors there have repeatedly opened without warning at times when prisoners are supposed to be locked down, leaving protective custody inmates open to danger. Officials at the privately owned Red Rock facility have disarmed the fuses in the electrical systems that operate the doors to some cells in the facility since the June 26 incident, and corrections officers at Red Rock have been manually opening the doors with keys, said McCoy of the Hawai'i Department of Public Safety. In a written response to questions, McCoy confirmed inmate accounts of the attack in Echo-Delta pod, a housing unit where inmates are supposed to remain separated from each other at all times. After the doors opened, Kupa and a 44-year-old inmate allegedly attacked Sidney Tafokitau, 28. During the fight that followed, Tafokitau allegedly stabbed Kupa with a homemade knife. Tafokitau said in a telephone interview this is the second time his cell door at Red Rock has opened without warning. Tafokitau said he acted in self-defense on June 26 and said he obtained the homemade knife by seizing it from one of his attackers during the fight. Tafokitau also alleged that corrections officers initially fled from the fight instead of intervening to break it up and only returned later with pepper spray after Tafokitau's attackers had thrown him to the ground and were beating him. "I telling you, this ... place is sloppy, cuz," said Tafokitau, who is serving a life sentence for robbery. "They make so much mistakes ... it's just a matter of time before another mistake. I telling you right now, somebody gonna get killed, brah." Tafokitau said he was in the pod because he was involuntarily placed in protective custody after he clashed with a prison gang. EARLIER INCIDENTS Hawai'i inmates at Red Rock claim multiple cell doors have opened simultaneously and unexpectedly before. Inmate Chris Wilmer, 29, recounted an incident on Feb. 2 when all of the doors in Echo-Delta unit again opened, releasing general population inmates into a dayroom occupied by protective custody inmates. Wilmer, who also said he was involuntarily placed in protective custody because of conflicts with gang members, said he immediately became involved in a fight with two alleged members of a prison gang who were released into the dayroom. Wilmer said a Hawai'i prison official was notified of that incident and spoke to Wilmer about it. Wilmer said he also witnessed a similar incident where the doors opened in Echo-Bravo pod at about 6:30 p.m. on April 7, and Wilmer and another inmate both alleged there was another example of doors opening unexpectedly between June 21 and June 23 in the Echo-Bravo pod. The growing sense of insecurity in the pods encourages inmates to try to obtain weapons, and Hawai'i needs to pressure CCA to fix the problem, said Wilmer, who is serving prison terms for robbery, attempted murder and other offenses. "For here and now, something needs to be said and done," he said. "They don't have room for that kind of mistakes." The officer who erred in the June 26 incident meant to open doors in another pod used by Alaska inmates and instead opened the doors to Hawai'i inmates' cells, McCoy said. She said the officer has been disciplined. A female corrections officer who made a similar mistake by opening multiple doors in a living unit elsewhere in the prison earlier this year also was disciplined, McCoy said. McCoy could not immediately confirm the other inmate reports of other cases where multiple cell doors opened unexpectedly in February, April and June. RE-EVALUATING UNIT Part of the problem on June 26 was that the pod involved was not designed to operate with "serious violent offenders" who are locked in their cells for 23 hours each day, but those kinds of offenders ended up there because they couldn't be held in Oklahoma or Mississippi, McCoy said. Those inmates are now awaiting transfer to the newly opened Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona, which has a segregation unit designed to house them, she said. CCA responded to the June 26 incident by re-evaluating the staffing patterns for the unit that included the pod, and adding more experienced officers, McCoy said. The prison operator also had the door system manufacturer update the control panel software to add an extra safeguard to the system and is providing more intensive training for all staff assigned to the units, McCoy said. Hawai'i was holding more than 600 inmates last month at Red Rock, which opened last year. In all, the state houses more than 2,100 men and women convicts in CCA prisons on the Mainland because there is no room for them in prisons in Hawai'i.
June 29, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser
A Hawai'i inmate at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz. was stabbed in an altercation Tuesday, according to a corrections spokeswoman. Three Hawai'i inmates were involved in the incident, which is still under investigation, said Louise Kim McCoy, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety. McCoy said the inmates were separated after the incident, and the injured inmate was treated and released at a local hospital. McCoy would not say what sort of weapon was involved, how the inmates came into contact with each other, or where in the prison the assault occurred.
April 5, 2007 Eloy Enterprise
Justin Michael Borden, 28, was arrested for possession of 1.8 grams of marijuana and promoting prison contraband as an employee at the Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) Red Rock Facility located at 1750 E. Arica Road. There was still an outstanding valid warrant for Borden out of Tucson for failure to appear for arraignment.
Saguaro Correctional Center
April 3, 2008 Honolulu Advertiser
State lawmakers have tentatively approved a bill to audit a privately run Arizona prison that holds more than 1,800 Hawai'i convicts. House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro said state Auditor Marion Higa likely would need to contract with a Mainland auditing firm to conduct the performance audit of Saguaro Correctional Center, a new 1,896-bed prison in Eloy, Ariz., that houses only male prisoners from Hawai'i. The audit is expected to cost $150,000 or more, but Oshiro said it will be "money well spent" to scrutinize the Saguaro operation and the state contract with Corrections Corporation of America. Hawai'i pays CCA more than $50 million a year to house more than 2,000 male and female convicts from Hawai'i in private prisons in Arizona and Kentucky. Hawai'i first began sending prisoners to the Mainland in 1995 as a temporary measure to relieve in-state prison overcrowding. About half of the state's prison population is now held in out-of-state facilities. According to Senate Bill 2342, "there has never been an audit of the private Mainland prisons that Hawai'i has contracted with to house the state's inmates, despite the fact that deaths and serious injuries have occurred at several of the contract prisons on the Mainland." Oshiro said, "I think it's prudent to spend some monies for the audit and review to make sure that we're getting the best services for our money." The bill goes to the full House for a floor vote, and if approved will be sent to a House-Senate conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The Senate proposed auditing both Saguaro and the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Kentucky, where about 175 Hawai'i inmates are being held. However, Oshiro said supporters of the bill told him the Saguaro audit was more important because more inmates are there, so the audit of Otter Creek was dropped from the House draft of the bill. Clayton Frank, director of the state Department of Public Safety, has opposed the bill because state prison officials already conduct quarterly audits of the Mainland prisons that check up on programs, food service, medical service and security, among other areas. "The department already has the expertise in place and is currently providing a thorough and ongoing auditing process to ensure contract compliance is being met," the department said in a written statement Monday. For situations that require immediate attention, "we have dispatched appropriate senior staff and Internal Affairs investigators to the facilities," the statement said. The bill for an audit is advancing after recent Mainland media reports cited a former CCA manager who said he was required to produce misleading reports about incidents in CCA prisons. Time magazine interviewed former CCA senior quality assurance manager Ronald T. Jones, who said CCA General Counsel Gus Puryear IV ordered staff to classify sometimes violent incidents such as inmate disturbances or escapes as if they were less serious events to make the company performance appear to be better than it was. Jones alleged more detailed reports about the prison incidents were prepared for internal CCA use, and were not released to clients. CCA denied the allegations, which Time published as Puryear is being considered for a post as a federal judge. Oshiro said he is aware of those reports. "There's questions being raised right now, given what you read about nationally about the CCA organization maybe having two sets of books, and I think it causes some concerns, especially since we don't get to observe and watch or communicate with our inmates being that they are way out there in the Mainland," Oshiro said. The statement Monday from Department of Public Safety noted that the department "does not solely rely on CCA reports or internal audits. As the customer, we feel it's not only our right, but also our responsibility to Hawai'i offenders housed in CCA facilities, to send our own staff to the Arizona and Kentucky facilities."
March 31, 2008 Honolulu Advertiser
State lawmakers today will consider ordering an audit of two Corrections Corporation of America facilities in the wake of national media accounts alleging that the huge private prison company misrepresented statistical data to make it appear that CCA facilities had fewer violent acts and other problems than was actually the case. Hawai'i pays CCA more than $50 million a year to house more than 2,000 men and women convicts in CCA prisons in Arizona and Kentucky. Senate Bill 2342 calls for the State Auditor to conduct performance audits of two of the three Mainland prisons that house Hawai'i inmates, including reviews of the food, medical, drug treatment, vocational and other services provided to Hawai'i inmates. The audit also would scrutinize the way the state Department of Public Safety oversees the private prisons and enforces the terms of the state's contracts with CCA. According to the bill, "there has never been an audit of the private Mainland prisons that Hawai'i has contracted with to house the state's inmates, despite the fact that deaths and serious injuries have occurred at several of the contract prisons on the Mainland." Clayton Frank, director of the state Department of Public Safety, testified against the proposed audits in Senate hearings last month, calling the audits "unnecessary and repetitive" because his department already conducts quarterly audits to make sure CCA is complying with its contracts with the state. Frank also suggested his department was being singled out, arguing that if lawmakers want performance audits to provide more accountability and transparency to the public, "then it should apply to all state contracts and not be limited to just the Department of Public Safety." Critics of the Mainland prison contracts contend the audits are needed because the private prisons are for-profit ventures designed to keep costs as low as possible. During the decade that Hawai'i has housed inmates on the Mainland, the state itself has criticized private prison operators when the companies failed to provide Hawai'i inmates with programs that were required under the contract. Now, supporters of the audit bill say an independent review is necessary to scrutinize what is one of the state's largest ongoing contracts of any kind with a private vendor. "Are we getting what we pay for? We'd like to know," testified Jeanne Y. Ohta, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i. The audit would cover the 1,896-bed Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., which houses only male prisoners from Hawai'i, and the 656-bed Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky., which holds about 175 Hawai'i women inmates. The House Finance Committee hearing on the bill today comes in the wake of Mainland media reports citing a former CCA manager who said he was required to produce misleading reports about incidents in CCA prisons. The company operates about 65 prisons with about 75,000 inmates. Time magazine interviewed former CCA senior quality assurance manager Ronald T. Jones, who said CCA General Counsel Gus Puryear IV ordered staff to classify sometimes violent incidents such as inmate disturbances, escapes and sexual assaults as if they were less serious events to make the company performance appear to be better than it was. Jones said more detailed reports about the prison incidents were prepared for internal CCA use, and were not released to clients. CCA denied the allegations, which Time published as Puryear is being considered for a post as a federal judge. The Private Corrections Institute Inc., an organization opposed to private prisons, wrote to Hawai'i prison officials urging them to investigate CCA's reporting procedures in the wake of the Time report. Alex Friedmann, vice president of the institute, said most state monitors who are overseeing CCA prisons "largely rely on information and data provided by CCA; further, the accuracy of incident reports is entirely dependent on whether those incidents are documented by the company's employees." Hawai'i Public Safety officials did not respond to requests for comment on the allegations in the Time article.
December 27, 2007 Casa Grande Valley News
As of the last City Council meeting on Dec. 17, it looked like the city of Eloy and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) were finally settling on the construction tax dispute for the Saguaro Prison after a year's worth of negotiations. In 2005, the city of Eloy had increased its construction tax rate from three percent to 4.5 percent, which would affect all agreements made after Oct. 1. The additional 1.5 percent anticipated from construction in the area officials had 'earmarked' to go to roads and other public works projects. At the time, CCA had been in the midst of constructing Red Rock, its 1896-bed prison facility on Arica Road. While building Red Rock, plans were coming down the pipe for their third correctional facility in Eloy, Saguaro, which just opened this past June. Just before the Oct. 1 deadline for the new tax rate, CCA had requested a change order to the Red Rock agreement with their contractor out of Florida, Moss & Associates, on Sept. 29. The change order basically booked Moss's services for the next facility as well. The changes were made in Tennessee at a CCA charity golf tournament. Though almost a mirror image of Red Rock, Saguaro was going to be more expensive to construct. Red Rock cost $90 million, while Saguaro cost $95 million when all was said and done. CCA paid the expected formerly agreed upon tax rate for Saguaro of three percent to the city of Eloy while city officials maintained that they were owed the remaining 1.5 percent - totaling $764,416.34. City officials and CCA had been butting heads for a year since then over whether the October change order was a valid addition to the Red Rock agreement originally drawn up in February of that year, or a separate contract altogether, and therefore subject to the new tax rate. "The argument we had with CCA and vice versa was they said it was a valid change order to the Red Rock contract, and we said it's a separate stand-alone contract for a new stand-alone correctional facility, and that they did this as a change order to avoid paying the increase in the construction sales tax," City Attorney Stephen Cooper says. According to city officials, the money that went unpaid from the agreement had severely impacted public works projects such as roads and parks. The city had already factored that anticipated revenue into the year's budget. When it went unpaid, some of those projects had to be set aside. Several lawyer-to-lawyer mediations between the two entities still could not bring about a resolution. City officials were considering the need to take CCA to court over the matter. "If they're right, they're right," Cooper said regarding the case between the city and CCA, had they had to resort to the court's legal system. "But if they're wrong, then we couldn't let them walk away without paying what the residents were owed." "This bartering has gone on for better than a year now and I believe it's publicly embarrassing for both entities," Mayor Byron Jackson told the Enterprise last week. "For us to threaten lawsuit to go after monies that's rightfully ours is absurd. But to have mediated for anything less would have done a disservice to the public taxpayers who depend on those allocated revenues for infrastructure improvements." Recently, the use of lawyers was suspended and the city and CCA representatives sat down for what Cooper terms a 'heart-to-heart' on the issue. Since going into detail about how their detaining these funds have affected the city's ability to provide services to taxpayers, negotiations seemed to have taken a smoother turn. Attorney Cooper equates the situation to a "lover's quarrel" between the two entities. "And now we've kissed and made up. They've got a lot invested in Eloy, and we've got a lot invested in them." At the last Council meeting, Jackson and council members approved a resolution agreement that CCA will pay the remaining taxes owed, about $675,000, by Dec. 31. But another kink has since delayed the payment, and some last minute number crunching and revising of the language in the agreement is required. The item will again go before Council, once and for all, for approval on Jan. 8. "Obviously we value our relationship with the city," CCA spokesman Steve Own commented on the ongoing discussions, "and we're all working in good faith to finalize that settlement." Cooper estimates the final resolution of the yearlong conflict to be wrapped up by Jan. 15, at the latest.
August 12, 2007 Star Bulletin
The heads of the education and addiction-treatment programs at a private Arizona prison holding Hawaii inmates abruptly quit their jobs complaining of poor management, inadequate facilities and lack of staffing. Their resignations came just days before an Aug. 3 incident in which the staff at Saguaro Correctional Facility inadvertently opened security doors, releasing Hawaii inmates from their cells. Seven inmates left their cells when the doors opened, one was injured in a fight with another inmate and a third inmate had to be subdued for refusing to return to his cell, Hawaii Department of Public Safety officials said. Rich Stokes was the principal at Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy. Michael VanSlyke was the facility's addiction treatment manager. "They essentially walked out," said Steve Owen, spokesman for the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the Saguaro facility. "Their leaving was not expected." Stokes and VanSlyke did not explain their departures to CCA officials but instead sent e-mails to Shari Kimoto, state Department of Public Safety mainland branch administrator. In the e-mails, Stokes said upper management at the facility spies on staff, controls all communication with the outside, and devalues and degrades inmates and programs for them. He said water runs into cells when inmates take showers because the drains are higher than the surrounding floors, the air-conditioning system experiences frequent failure and staff are often locked in or out of their units because doors cannot be opened. Gates and doors are opened when they should be closed and closed when they should be open because there are not enough correctional officers, Stokes said, adding that the officers who are there are overworked and undertrained. VanSlyke's e-mail said Saguaro does not have adequate facilities to treat inmates and will never qualify for inpatient licensing as required by CCA's contract with Hawaii. He also said the qualifications required of counselors made it impossible for him to hire an adequately sized staff in time to start an addiction treatment program. Owen said Saguaro already has over half the staff it needs to run the education and addiction treatment programs and expects to have them running by Oct. 1. Owen said Stokes and VanSlyke filed no formal complaints about conditions before resigning. CCA hires people with no prior experience working in corrections, like Stokes and VanSlyke, for their subject-area expertise, Owen said. "Its just one of those things where it didn't work out," he said. Hawaii's Department of Public Safety is sending an inspection team to Saguaro following the Aug. 3 incident. An audit team was already scheduled to be in Arizona last week, said Louise Kim McCoy, state Public Safety spokeswoman. Deputy Director for Corrections Tommy Johnson is also in Arizona for the audit team's visit, she said. McCoy said Johnson will be checking the programs at Saguaro, employee training records, staffing and security features of the facility.
January 25, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser
Eloy Mayor Byron Jackson's employment at CCA as a prison guard has sparked the interest of the Hawaiian Attorney General's Office. The office is looking into whether Jackson's signature on some of the contracts between the city of Eloy and the state of Hawaii might damage their validity. Their government-to-government contracts allow no-bid contracts, in this case with the private prison operator, Corrections Corporation of America. "It doesn't certainly, present well," Hawaii Deputy Attorney General Diane Taira said to the Honolulu Advertiser in a Jan. 21 article. "At worst - and I'm not saying it is at the worst because our inquiry is ongoing - at the worst, perhaps it is a voidable contract, but it does not necessarily make the contract automatically void." Because Hawaii procurement law does not seem to cover this circumstance, the issue may come down to whether Jackson violated Arizona ethics law, Taira told the Advertiser. In a Jan. 11 Eloy Enterprise article about possible conflicts of interest Jackson said the conflict had been discussed and discounted by the city attorney as having any bearing. Jackson said then that he does not receive any financial interest, and the city's attorney looked into the matter. However, the mayor stepped back from recent closed-door discussions on an issue the city has with CCA not paying construction sales tax city officials think the city is due.
January 21, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser
An Arizona mayor who signed off on part of a multi-million dollar government contract to house Hawai'i inmates in prisons on the Mainland also is an employee of Corrections Corp. of America, the company that holds Hawai'i inmates at the privately owned Arizona prisons. The contract was not let out for bid because it was a government-to-government transaction between the state of Hawai'i and Eloy, Ariz., that is exempt from competitive bidding. Hawai'i officials say the "highly unusual" situation involving Eloy Mayor Byron K. Jackson isn't covered by the Hawai'i state procurement law, but does raise questions about the contract. "I think on the surface, the appearance is poor," said Hawai'i Chief Procurement Officer Aaron Fujioka. Jackson works as a corrections officer at the Red Rock Correctional Center, where the Hawai'i inmates are housed. He said he discussed his employment with the Eloy city attorney, who concluded Jackson has no conflict of interest because Jackson does not gain anything personally through the government-to-government contract.
January 11, 2007 Eloy Enterprise
With the city getting more deeply embroiled in an issue that could cost it millions, where the mayor is employed could become an important factor. The city claims Corrections Corporation of America did some sleight of hand maneuvering in its building contracts to avoid paying about $1.5 million in construction sales tax. CCA is now building Saguaro Correctional Center, which is scheduled to house inmates from Hawaii's prison system. Last year it completed the Red Rock Correctional Center, which sits right next door. Eloy Mayor Byron Jackson, since May 31, 2006, has worked at Red Rock as a corrections officer in the transportation division. As CCA continues to not want to pay what the city thinks it is owed, he said he has no doubt where his loyalties rest in such a dispute. "(At CCA) I'm not in a critical, decision-making role. I draw my paycheck, do my eight hours a day and go home," Jackson said. "At the end of the day it's the city that matters to me. I need a job like anybody." He said he's unhappy with CCA's financial offers so far, but declined to say what they were. Jackson said CCA is "a fantastic company to work for" but that the dispute with the city is one element where, as mayor, he disagrees with their stance. "(City manager) Jim McFellin has been in contact with CCA on this," Jackson said. "I don't think it's in CCA's interest to approach me one way or the other as their employee on this. ..... I'm a man of ethics and I would expect CCA to be the same. I'd be disappointed if they approached me in any kind of way in any other aspect than to do my job." "I don't think my position as a corrections officer has any bearing on the (city's) decision unless I'm out there advocating for them to accept a much lower amount." Jackson said there have not been many actions from the city in regard to CCA. The two items the council has acted on are an intergovernmental agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement so it could start bringing in prisoners and detainees to the Eloy Detention Center. They were needed by CCA to replace federal Bureau of Prisons inmates who were pulled out when the Bureau of Prisons ended its contract at the end of February 2006 for financial reasons. In the contract, the city essentially acts as a go-between so the federal agency can say its working with another government entity to hold prisoners. The move meant about 300 people kept their jobs, though at different pay scales. The city benefits in receives a small amount per inmate, as is typical. The prisoners, too, count in the city's population figures which gain Eloy more state shared revenues. Jackson said that had a positive impact all around, and he saw no conflict, so he signed it. Since Jackson has been employed at CCA, the other contract signed was the one to build Saguaro. CCA requires each new facility to have its own contract. The multimillion-dollar dispute that has arisen from that is whether the exact language of previous contracts carries over or whether the new contract must comply with a 1.5 percent increase in the city's construction sales tax. CCA signed the contract days before the new sales tax went into effect, but after the council had passed it. The city argues they told CCA management of the increase, and it applied to the Saguaro contract. Jackson said this contract for Saguaro had vice mayor Frank Acuna's signature on it, by deliberate choice, because it was an action. If the contract had been in dispute at the time, "I would probably have abstained from then on." As it was, the disagreement arose later, when CCA's sales tax payments started to come in. In regard to the city's dealings with CCA, Jackson makes a personal distinction between following what's happening and actions the council and the city may take. In 2002, before he was the city's mayor, Jackson worked at the Florence Correctional Center, while a member of the Eloy City Council.
December 21, 2006 Casa Grande Dispatch
City officials are unhappy with the amount of money they are getting for the prisons being built. Corrections Corporation of America is about halfway done with the 1,896-bed Saguaro Correctional Center, the third of its prisons inside a square mile, and the second to be built within the last two years in Eloy. The point of contention is construction sales tax. CCA, just before it started Saguaro, agreed to the city's 3 percent sales tax on construction. City Manager Jim McFellin said the company also agreed to any future rate changes the city put forward. That change occurred in October 2005 when the rate went up from 3 to 4.5 percent. The city thinks CCA was trying to be too clever at the last possible moment in order to avoid the extra tax levied. "CCA instigated a 'change order' to facilitate construction of a new prison (Saguaro) on Sept. 29, 2005," McFellin wrote in an e-mail. "We feel that a change order from an existing contract does not ensure the benefit of the 3 percent. The contract to build a new prison is not a change order or an existing contract. The contractor owes us the 4.5 percent." The general contractor for both Red Rock and Saguaro is Moss & Associates of Florida. The architect of record for Saguaro is DLR Group of Nebraska. McFellin, speaking at a recent City Council meeting, said the city should be prepared for a lawsuit if it comes to that. At least $4.5 million is expected in sales tax for an expected $100 million construction cost. Therefore the difference in percentage from 4.5 down to 3 percent represents about a $1.5 million loss for the city. However, going to court is not the first option, McFellin said, and the matter is still being discussed. Company spokesman Steve Owen confirmed a problem but said Nashville-based CCA prefers to work through issues like this outside media scrutiny. "It's productive to discuss it directly with the party involved," Owen said. "In this case, city officials." He said the company is treating the matter seriously and is looking at the timeline of what happened. Red Rock Correctional Center opened in mid-July after a rapid construction schedule that saw a few delays. Construction for RRCC began in February 2005 and was completed in June this year. Saguaro is expected to be finished about July of 2007. The city, knowing Red Rock and Saguaro were going to be built, anticipated a steady income from construction sales tax. Red Rock cost $83 million to build, to house 1,596 inmates, which yielded about $3.7 million in tax revenue for the city over the completion time. In October, city Finance Director Brian Wright said construction tax from Saguaro and Robson Ranch homes totaled about $150,000 a month. At the same council meeting the discussion of a possible fourth prison was revealed, with Mayor Byron Jackson saying the likelihood of one seemed more remote. Since soon after it opened, Jackson has been employed at Red Rock as a corrections officer by CCA. Owen would not confirm that CCA was looking at a fourth prison in Eloy. He said to refer to previous company news releases. "CCA is a publicly traded company (CXW) so there are issues of how and when things are announced," Owen said.
September 29, 2006 Honolulu Advertiser
Hawai'i prison inmates have been moved into a new prison in Eloy, Ariz., as part of an effort to consolidate nearly 2,000 Hawai'i convicts now held in four Mainland states. The state plans to eventually place almost all of the Hawai'i inmates housed on the Mainland in three privately run Arizona prisons. On Sept. 16, corrections officials moved the first 157 Hawai'i prisoners from the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Miss., and the Diamondback Correctional Facility in Watonga, Okla., to the newly opened Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy. Another 30 Hawai'i inmates were transferred to Red Rock from the Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Ariz. The state has agreed to rent 450 beds in Red Rock from prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, and Hawai'i Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy said more Hawai'i inmates will be moved into those Red Rock beds over the next year. The $82.5 million Red Rock prison opened in June, and can hold up to 1,596 inmates. Alaska officials have a contract to house about 1,000 convicts there. CCA began construction in May on the 1,896-bed Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, which will house both men and women inmates from Hawai'i when Saguaro opens next year. When those transfers are complete, almost all of the Hawai'i inmates housed on the Mainland will be held at Red Rock, Saguaro and Florence. The state now pays about $40 million a year to hold about 1,950 convicted Hawai'i felons in CCA prisons in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky because there is no room to hold the inmates in prisons here. State lawmakers this year set aside an additional $12 million to transfer 676 more inmates to the Mainland. When those transfers are complete, the state will have more inmates serving their sentences on the Mainland than in Hawai'i prisons.
San Luis, Arizona
December 2, 2006 Yuma Sun
A new $27-million federal detention center east of San Luis, Ariz., is months away from opening — and months away from providing jobs, revenue and other benefits for this border city, officials said. The 87,324 square-foot facility, which is being constructed on 55 acres of land near Avenue D and County 23rd Street, will have 450 beds that will likely hold short-term detainees from countries other than Mexico by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said City Attorney Glen Gimbut. Virginia Kice, a regional spokeswoman for I.C.E, said that the agency is assessing its future detention needs and determining whether the facility will be expedient and efficient enough to house detainees. While Kice could not say definitively whether a contract was in the works, she added that there is a need in the region. "Arizona is one of the biggest users of prison space because of the high volume of illegal border traffic," Kice said. "Arizona as a whole is one of the biggest corridors where we need robust detention capability." It took a lot of public meetings to persuade the community to allow another prison within the city, and the fact that the facility would mainly house Hispanic illegal immigrant detainees rubbed people the wrong way because of the city's largely Hispanic and pro-immigration culture, Gimbut said. "But the opinion came down at the end of the day that we need jobs in the community," Gimbut said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to have a good job, with good pay and benefits, for the young folks of our community," Gimbut said. Gimbut said the first detainees may pass through the barbed-wire fences and concrete walls as early as Feb. 1. Peter Argeropulos, chief operations officer for Civigenics Inc., the private company that will manage the prison, said there are negotiations with state and federal authorities for contracts to house inmates. The list of interested parties include the Arizona Department of Corrections, U.S. Marshals and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Currently, there are no housing agreements with the federal government, and a team will inspect the facility to see if it meets certain needs, Argeropulos said. "We're very confident that it does," Argeropulos said. "The facility was designed to support expansion upon demand." A warden has been hired, and there was a job fair in San Luis Nov. 4 to talk to prospective applicants for security, administrative and other positions. The company is in the process of conducting interviews for those positions, and Argeropulos said the plan is to have an "activation team" begin training in 30 days. Because immigration patterns are continuously fluctuating, so too do the agency's detention needs. Agency-wide, across the nation, the average daily detention population is about 26,000, Kice said, but the population at various detention centers will vary on a daily basis. So one of the things I.C.E looks for is flexibility, Kice said. "We deport people every day and we take more in custody every day," Kice said. "Our office tries to ensure we build in flexibility to accommodate that fluctuation. We can see sudden surges and we could see periods where we see decreases in detentions. We don't want to paint ourselves in a corner where we're wasting tax payer money." Gimbut said that beginning in 2001 the federal government was looking to build seven detention facilities in the country, and San Luis was second on that list. The issue went before several planning boards and commissions, and then the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 tabled funding for the deal. Work got started again in 2005 with a new angle. The consulting group Innovative Government Strategies approached the city saying the federal government was looking for a short-term facility to house what the immigrations officials call "Other Than Mexican" detainees. San Luis was looked upon as an ideal location for several reasons, including proximity to the border and a major airport that would be able to fly detainees to airports in Phoenix for deportation, Gimbut said. If the contract with I.C.E. goes through, the average housing time a detainee would spend in the prison would be less than 10 days. The project is being paid for by a revenue-based bond issues previously passed in the city, and Gimbut said the way the bonds are written, the city faces almost no liability. Part of the deal allowed for the construction of a potable water system and waste water treatment plant to connect to the prison. City Administrator Lee Maness said that stage of the project, known as the East Mesa project, is scheduled for Jan. 22. Besides well-paying jobs for San Luis residents, several other benefits for the city of San Luis were negotiated into the agreement, Gimbut said. With the East Mesa project, for example, the prison complex will be a paying customer for water and wastewater services. "The revenue from this facility alone pays for the complete debt service for the wastewater plant," Gimbut said. Besides that, the city will receive $3 dollars a day, per bed if the facility is at full capacity, and the city will receive money even if it is below capacity. Also, the facility will purchase food and other supplies from regional vendors, and the population of the prison will count toward the city's overall population for tax purposes, which will add another $700,000 to the general fund, Gimbut said. Argeropulos said all these incentives were intended to make the project attractive to the community as a benefit, not a detriment. "It's a very good project for the community," he said.
Students Against Sweatshops
University of Arizona
February 6, 2003
The group that tackled the connection between Nike, sweatshops and University of Arizona clothing a few years ago has launched a campaign to publicize UA's relationship with the private prison industry. Students Against Sweatshops sent a letter to UA President Peter Likins on Jan. 28 urging him to cut ties with Lehman Brothers, a bond-underwriting company that the group says has financed many of UA's building projects, unless the company stops financing private prison companies. "Attacking bond underwriters isn't sexy, but Lehman Brothers has a track record that rivals Nike in its willingness to put profits above human rights concerns," said Mark Rivera, a member of Students Against Sweatshops. "No one knew Nike was so bad when we first started our apparel campaigns, but now it's common knowledge. Our job is to bring that attention to Lehman Brothers." (Tucson Citizen)
February 15, 2002
Willcox remains a prime site for building a federal prison that would house 1,500 inmates. Cornell Companies, Inc. the private operator for a proposed Federal Bureau of Prisons facility, extended an option to buy on 17 acres of land adjacent to the facility. City Manager Larry Rains said the City of Willcox is currently working with legislators to keep a bill introduced into the State House of Representatives from "slipping through." House Bill 2473 is designed to require cities and counties to receive state approval prior to contracting or constructing a security correctional facility in their city or county, Rains said. (Arizona Range News)
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