It's morally wrong for anyone to earn a profit from human incarceration.
Private prisons put inmates, prison staff and communities at risk.
Don't let Corrections Corporation of America gain a foothold in Minnesota.
Minnesota-based community, faith, labor and civil rights organizations have come together to oppose the public lease of a long-shuttered correctional facility in Appleton, MN, owned by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private prison corporation. Our mission is to raise awareness about CCA’s track record of cutting corners for the sake of profit. CCA’s history, summarized in a new issue brief released by In the Public Interest, a national non-profit resource and policy center, includes deadly riots, prisoner deaths, lawsuits, accidental releases, and high correctional officer turnover.
The privately owned prison in Appleton, MN has been vacant for over six years and is located three and half hours by car west of the Twin Cities. Private prison operators often send prisoners to facilities far away from their homes. For example, in 1998, when it was operational, Prairie Correctional Facility only held 70 prisoners from Minnesota—the rest were shipped in from Colorado, Hawaii, and North Dakota.
CCA's Track Record
CCA facilities have been plagued with violence, sexual assault and medical neglect - putting inmates, prison staff and our communities in danger.
Privately-run prison facilities typically have more incidents of violence than their public counterparts. The Bureau of Justice Assistance found that private corrections facilities experience 65 percent more prisoner-to-prisoner assaults and 49 percent more assaults on staff than public facilities. CCA’s track record around violence in its facilities is no exception.
CCA’s prisons in Tennessee experience more prisoner-on-prisoner assaults, prisoner-on-staff assaults, and other incidents of violence than the state’s prisons, despite the fact that CCA mainly houses minimum- and medium-security prisoners.
In 2011, 2012, and 2013, CCA’s facilities recorded 16%, 23%, and 16% more violence, respectively.
In 2010, CCA prisoners claimed that understaffing and mismanagement made the Idaho Correctional Center so violent it was nicknamed the “Gladiator School.” The rate of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults at the facility was four times that of the other seven prisons in Idaho combined (source). The company relinquished control of the facility to gangs to save money on employee wages, severely endangering prisoners and the few correctional officers on staff (source). CCA was later held in contempt of the court in 2013 for failing to fix the staffing shortage that created these violent conditions. CCA admitted its employees had filed reports that falsely showed 4,800 hours of vacant security posts as being staffed during the night shift alone from April to October 2012 (source).
In 2000, correctional officers at CCA-managed Columbia Training Center in South Carolina physically abused a 14-year old boy (source). The abuse, which included macing and hog-tying, came from corporate policies of using excessive force, and many other juveniles in that facility reported similar treatment (source). A jury reached a verdict against CCA for $3 million in punitive damages after finding that the facility had a policy or practice of abusing kids. Only a year into CCA’s operation of the facility, South Carolina ended its contract with CCA, citing numerous problems and continued dissatisfaction (source).
In 2012, only a year into CCA’s control of the Lake Erie facility in Ohio, state audits found staff mismanagement, widespread violence, delays in medical treatment and “unacceptable living conditions,” including a lack of access to toilet facilities.
The audit also detailed how staff failed to follow proper procedures for chronically ill prisoners, medical appointments were severely delayed, and prisoners were often triple-bunked or forced to sleep on mattresses on cell floors. A shortage of qualified staff has allowed violence to plague the prison. Investigators found that between 2010 and 2012 (before and after the prison was privatized), prisoner-on-prisoner assaults increased 188%, and prisoner-on-staff assaults increased 306%.17 CCA’s employees used unnecessary physical force and failed to sanction prisoners for misconduct. In addition, prisoner complaints about gangs, assaults, and other problems doubled after CCA began managing the facility. CCA has been fined over $500,000 by the state for these violations (source).
In 2009, Hawaii removed 168 prisoners from the CCA-operated Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, KY, after discovering that at least five facility officials had been charged with having sex with prisoners. The Kentucky Department of Corrections investigated 23 accusations of sexual assault at the Otter Creek facility between 2006 to 2009.
In addition to the sexual abuse, other problems including inadequate medical care and security lapses were also prevalent at the facility.
In 2011, three immigrant prisoners at CCA’s T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, sued CCA for allowing a correctional officer to sexually assault them and others during transport. CCA ignored Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy by allowing Dunn to transport the women alone, without a female guard accompanying them (source).
CCA-run Eloy Federal Contract Facility in Arizona has the highest number of known deaths of any detention facility, including at least six suicides since 2003. Eloy is also the source of frequent reports of sexual assault, and the subject of a recent investigation initiated by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) in June 2015 (source).
CCA failed to provide proper medical care at Texas’s Dawson State Jail, killing numerous prisoners between 2008 and 2012, including two deaths from pneumonia that occurred because the prisoners were denied medical attention and one death that occurred from a failure to provide appropriate diabetes medication.
One prisoner gave birth to a baby at just 26 weeks when correctional officers ignored her insistence that she was pregnant. The baby died shortly afterward.
In March 2009, an immigrant held at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia died from a treatable heart infection when facility officials waited three days after he complained of symptoms to treat him. Additionally, numerous inmates reported rashes and lesions that developed as a result of parasites or insects in their bedding for which they had received no medical care. Georgia Detention Watch found that CCA routinely denied prisoners necessary medication and care at this facility (source).
The medical staff at CCA-owned and operated South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX, which houses mothers and children fleeing violence seeking asylum in US, prescribed drinking water for serious medical issues, including broken fingers, a dislocated shoulder, and post-surgery care (source). 250 children were given adult doses of a Hepatitis-A vaccine in July 2015 (source). Despite conditions that experts believe are psychologically damaging to resident children, this treatment continues (source).