Due Diligence: Why NO For-Profit Prison Corp Deserves an Arizona Contract

stop flushing arizonas futureOur enthusiasm for the Governor’s claims about adding more transparency and accountability to the prison contracting process in Arizona is beginning to wane. While we were pleased to hear that he was requiring that the assignment of a new contract for the Kingman prison be subject to a more open search process, our bubble was quickly burst.

The deadline for “expressions of interest” is today, September 4, 2015, just days after Ducey’s announcement. Oh, and the Friday before the long Labor Day weekend.

But we’re going to take seriously the announcement from the Department of Corrections:

This process will include the rigorous evaluation and thorough analysis of the qualifications of all operators who submit an expression of interest in assuming these contractual duties and responsibilities. 

Therefore, AFSC has taken it upon ourselves to provide the Governor and the Department of Corrections with some additional information regarding the various for-profit prison operators that are likely to express interest in the Kingman Contract.

We have taken the liberty of compiling a comprehensive listing of the serious and persistent problems evidenced in for-profit prisons across the country. These are just the last 3 years of problems. We have older lists.

As we have oft pointed out, problems like understaffing, prisoner abuse, medical neglect, and mismanagement are inherent in the business model of private prisons. Their need to cut corners in order to both be the lowest bidder and still make a profit lead to dangerous conditions and poor contract performance.

A review of these issues—dating back to the inception of prison privatization and continuing today—makes it clear that these are not isolated incidents or the result of a few bad actors. If the Department is serious about doing the due diligence in awarding a contract, the inevitable conclusion is that none of these companies are qualified or deserving of the contract for Kingman.

Consider the following:

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)

National:

“The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About 30 Years of Corrections Corporation of America,” Grassroots Leadership, June 2013.

http://grassrootsleadership.org/sites/default/files/uploads/GRL_Dirty_Thirty_formatted_for_web.pdf

“The Operators of America’s Largest Immigrant Detention Center Have A History of Inmate Abuse,” Newsweek, 12/20/14 http://www.newsweek.com/operators-americas-largest-immigrant-detention-center-have-history-inmate-293632

“Corrections Corp. of America pays $8M in back wages,” Associated Press, 8/20/14, http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2014/08/20/corrections-corp-america-pays-m-back-wages/14354703/

“The payments came after an investigation found that the federal prison subcontractor underpaid 362 employees at the California City Correctional Center under the terms of its contract, where pay rates are established by law, according to federal officials.”

Arizona:

“Death of Hawaii Inmate in Arizona Prison Is Ruled a Homicide,” Civil Beat, 8/14/15 http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/08/death-of-hawaii-inmate-in-arizona-prison-is-ruled-a-homicide/

“Eloy Detention Center: Why so many suicides?,” Arizona Republic, 7/28/15 http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/investigations/2015/07/28/eloy-detention-center-immigrant-suicides/30760545/

“200 Men Launch Hunger Strike At ICE Detention Center Following Detainee’s Death,” Colorlines, 6/15/15 http://www.colorlines.com/articles/200-men-launch-hunger-strike-ice-detention-center-following-detainee%E2%80%99s-death

“Fracas in Arizona Prison Leads to Lockdown for Vermont Inmates,” Seven Days, 10/1/14 http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/fracas-in-arizona-prison-leads-to-lockdown-for-vermont-inmates/Content?oid=2449326

“Transgender immigrant woman raped at private prison in Arizona, activists say,” Reuters, 8/1/15 http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/01/transgender-immigrant-woman-raped-at-private-prison-in-arizona-activists-say/

“Inmate killed in fight at private prison in Florence,” AZFamily, 11/16/13 http://www.azfamily.com/news/Inmate-killed-in-fight-at-private-prison-232209321.html

Florida:

“Lake City corrections officer fired, accused of covering up attack on inmate,” Associated Press, 7/29/15 http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/21cff2a9ad13470788b1fda2a69ad0c5/FL–Corrections-Officer-Charged

Idaho:

“Idaho to take over privately-run state prison,” USA Today, 1/3/14 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/03/idaho-prison/4304689/

Idaho’s governor says the corrections department will take over operation of the largest privately-run prison in the state after more than a decade of mismanagement and other problems at the facility.”

Kentucky

“Vermont official: Ky. prison monitored inmates before fight,” Associated Press, 8/12/15 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/12/vermont-lawmakers-to-hear-about-death-of-inmate-in/

Mississippi:

Another inmate pleads guilty to murder in Adams Co. prison riot,” Clarion Ledger, 2/9/15 http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/02/09/another-inmate-pleads-guilty-to-murder-in-adams-co-prison-riot/23143107/

Montana:

“Dead inmate’s wife accuses Shelby prison staff of refusing medical treatment to sick husband” Associated Press, 6/10/15 http://www.tribtown.com/view/story/a783c19bf06349f492c8735ad3924daf/MT–Inmate-Death-Lawsuit

“Complaints Bring Legislative Scrutiny For Shelby Private Prison,” 3/24/15 Montana Public Radio, http://mtpr.org/post/complaints-bring-legislative-scrutiny-shelby-private-prison

Ohio:

Three people, including two corrections officers, face meth charges,” News Herald, 4/10/15 http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20150410/three-people-including-two-corrections-officers-face-meth-charges

Oklahoma

“Two Cushing prison inmates charged with assaulting guards,” Stillwater News Press, 8/6/15 http://www.corrections.com/news/article/40671-two-cushing-prison-inmates-charged-with-assaulting-guards

“Inmate apparently stabbed to death at Holdenville private prison,” Tulsa World, 8/6/15 http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/inmate-apparently-stabbed-to-death-at-holdenville-private-prison/article_14a5db6f-6df3-572e-985a-65f3e75adbbf.html

“Cushing prison remains locked down seven days after brawl,” Stillwater News Press, 6/17/15 http://www.stwnewspress.com/cushing-prison-remains-locked-down-seven-days-after-brawl/article_eb72be38-14aa-11e5-bb98-ab4486097774.html

Tennessee:

“Inmates Say They Worked for Free for Jail Officials,” ABC News, 8/16/15 http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/inmates-worked-free-jail-officials-33117679?singlePage=true

“Makeshift knife attack during Silverdale inmate brawl sends one to hospital,” Times Free Press, 4/23/15 http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/apr/23/makeshift-knife-attack-during-silverdale-inmate-brawl-sends-one-hospital/300478/

Texas:

“CCA Guard Accused of 8 Sexual Assaults,” Courthouse News, 4/15/15 http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/04/15/cca-guard-accused-of-8-sexual-assaults.htm

Washington DC

“New Report Deems Conditions At D.C. Jail ‘Alarming’,” dcist.com, 6/11/15 http://dcist.com/2015/06/dc_jail_needs_to_go.php

GEO GROUP

National:

 “The GEO Group Must Address Workplace Violence Hazards as a Result of Settlement with US DOL,” Workerscompensation.com, 2/28/14 http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/news/18404-the-geo-group-must-address-workplace-violence-hazards-as-a-result-of-settlement-with-us-dol.html

Alaska:

In wake of Fairbanks standoff, Department of Corrections says escapees nothing new,” 9/11/14, Alaska Dispatch News http://www.adn.com/article/20140911/wake-fairbanks-standoff-department-corrections-says-escapees-nothing-new

California:

“Immigration detainees denied attorney access, groups say,” 8/25/15 Victorville Daily Press, http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20150825/NEWS/150829812

“Prison overseer says inmate medical care lacking in private lockups,” LA Times, 6/1/15 http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-prison-overseer-says-inmate-medical-care-lacking-in-private-lockups-20150601-story.html

“GEO Group Whistleblower Exposes First Amendment Violations, Lack of Officer Training, and Poor Conditions at the Adelanto Detention Center,” Huffington Post, 5/19/15 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-fialho/geo-group-whistleblower-e_b_7309916.html?utm_hp_ref=los-angeles&ir=Los+Angeles

Colorado:

“Lawsuit: Immigrants Got $1 a Day for Work at Private Prison,” Associated Press, 7/10/15 http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/lawsuit-immigrants-day-work-private-prison-32350023?singlePage=true

Florida:

“How Florida’s prison system became so dysfunctional,” Miami Herald, 2/28/15 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article11533064.html

“Former prison officer jailed on allegations of misconduct,” Jackson County Floridian, 6/16/15 http://www.jcfloridan.com/news/article_60db86d0-f58c-11e3-a58c-0017a43b2370.html

“Private Prisons: Profits, Politics, Pain,” 5-part series in the Palm Beach Post, October, 2013 http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/privateprisons/

Michigan:

“Vermont inmates unhappy after move from Kentucky to Michigan prisons,” Associated Press, 7/30/15 http://www.tribtown.com/view/story/8430d90021074943ad23df501bc3bc2a/VT–Vermont-Michigan-Prison-Conditions

“Private prisons face suits, federal probes,” Clarion Ledger, 10/14/15 http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2014/10/11/private-prisons-face-suits-federal-probes/17122977/

Texas:

“Prison bust spreads across rural Texas,” San Antonio Express News, 8/22/15 http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Prison-bust-spreads-across-rural-Texas-6460174.php

“The True Story of a Texas Prison Riot,” The Nation, 6/23/15 http://www.thenation.com/article/210449/true-story-texas-prison-riot

“World’s Largest For-Profit Prison Blasted in Federal Audit,” Texas Observer, 4/23/15 http://www.texasobserver.org/worlds-largest-for-profit-prison-blasted-in-federal-audit/

“Three Sentenced in Big Spring Correctional Contraband Smuggling Ring,” KYFO, 4/17/15 http://kfyo.com/big-spring-correctional-contraband-smuggling/

“Women refuse food to protest detainment,” Houston Chronicle, 3/31/15 http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Hunger-strike-reported-at-immigrant-detention-6171607.php

“Paralegal Blocked from Karnes Detention Center After Observer Story,” Texas Observer, 3/27/15 http://www.texasobserver.org/paralegal-denied-access-to-karnes/

“Alleged Hunger Strike, Solitary Confinement Result of Reeves County Inmates Seeking Legal Action,” News West 9, 3/4/15 http://www.newswest9.com/story/28264962/alleged-hunger-strike-solitary-confinement-result-of-reeves-co-inmates-seeking-legal-action

“Sex offenders new home lacking in security; 100 parolees have fled since 2010,” Houston Chronicle, 4/11/15 http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Sex-offenders-new-home-isn-t-secure-5396669.php

Virginia:

“Two Corrections Officers Suspended After Drug Conspiracy Indictments,” Associated Press, 5/1/15 http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Two-Corrections-Officers-Suspended-After-Drug-Conspiracy-Indictments-302172051.html

Washington:

“After Lawsuit, ICE Releases Hunger Strikers From Solitary Confinement,” The Nation, 4/4/14 http://www.thenation.com/blog/179189/after-lawsuit-ice-releases-hunger-strikers-solitary-confinement

“Rep. Adam Smith Slams “Shocking” Conditions at Immigrant Detention Center,” 3/25/14, The Stranger http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/03/25/rep-adam-smith-slams-shocking-conditions-at-immigrant-detention-center

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