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Anti-prison rape shareholder resolution to be heard at CCA annual meeting

Prison Legal News, Jan. 1, 2012.
Press release - Anti-prison rape shareholder resolution to be heard at CCA annual meeting 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Human Rights Defense Center
For Immediate Release

May 7, 2012

Groundbreaking Anti-Prison Rape Shareholder Resolution to be Presented at Annual Meeting of Corrections Corp. of America

Women’s rights, criminal justice and sexual abuse prevention organizations support resolution to hold CCA accountable for reducing rape and sexual abuse of prisoners at the company’s for-profit detention facilities.

Nashville, TN – On May 10, Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW), the nation’s largest private prison firm, will consider a groundbreaking shareholder resolution at its annual meeting that would require the company to report on its efforts to reduce incidents of prisoner rape and sexual abuse at CCA facilities.

The resolution, introduced by Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner who was incarcerated at a CCA-operated facility in the 1990s, also would require the company to report statistical data concerning incidents involving sexual abuse at all CCA prisons during each reporting period. Friedmann is employed as the associate editor of Prison Legal News, a publication of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center, and also serves as president of the Private Corrections Institute, which opposes the privatization of correctional services.

"The requested reports will provide transparency and accountability to CCA’s efforts to reduce prison rape and sexual abuse," said Friedmann, who purchased CCA stock so he would be able to introduce the resolution. "CCA claims it has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse. This is an opportunity for them to prove it. Further, ongoing reports will help shareholders determine whether CCA’s efforts are effectual in preventing rape and sexual assault of prisoners, which poses a risk to the company in terms of liability, loss of business and negative publicity."

One of the nation’s two largest proxy advisory services, ISS Governance, recommended that stockholders vote in favor of the shareholder resolution, as did another proxy advisory service, ProxyTell. CCA’s board of directors, which includes Thurgood Marshall, Jr., who served as Cabinet Secretary under President Clinton, and former Arizona U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini, recommended that shareholders vote against the shareholder resolution. Marshall also serves on the board of the National Women’s Law Center.

CCA formally objected to the shareholder resolution and petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to exclude the resolution from its proxy materials. The SEC rejected the company’s request in February 2012. Although CCA offered to produce its own reports on rape and sexual abuse, the company only suggested issuing annual reports based on data from some but not all of its prisons, and was not responsive to further negotiations to resolve this issue.

"It’s a sad commentary when the nation’s leading private prison company, which routinely brags about being the fifth-largest corrections system in the country, strongly opposes a resolution that would require reporting on its efforts to reduce prison rape and sexual abuse," said Paul Wright, director of the Human Rights Defense Center. "Who could be against this common-sense effort to require reports on what CCA is doing to prevent sexual assaults? CCA, apparently, which is indicative of the true priorities of both the company and its board members."

In a letter to CCA’s board of directors filed with the SEC, Friedmann wrote, "My resolution could not be filed with any other company outside the private prison industry because in no other industry do a company’s employees consistently engage in rape and sexual abuse. The fact that CCA employees do so, and that CCA is unable or unwilling to prevent such incidents, says a great deal about the company that you serve through your membership on its Board."

The resolution’s supporting statement notes that the U.S. Department of Justice found in a 2008 report that a CCA-operated facility had the highest rate of sexual victimization among all the jails surveyed. Two states, Kentucky and Hawaii, removed their female prisoners from CCA’s Otter Creek facility in Kentucky following a sex scandal involving at least six CCA employees. Further, the ACLU of Texas has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that immigrant detainees were sexually assaulted by a CCA employee at the company’s T. Don. Hutto facility.

A number of national groups have expressed support for the shareholder resolution, including Just Detention International, the nation’s leading organization working to stop prison rape and sexual abuse. Other supporting organizations include the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence; National Organization for Women; Justice Policy Institute; National Council of Women’s Organizations; National Center for Transgender Equality; Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE); Justice Fellowship; National Lawyers Guild; Detention Watch Network; Partnership for Safety and Justice; and Enlace – an alliance of worker centers, unions and community organizations that works against corporate abuses.

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The Human Rights Defense Center, founded in 1990 with offices in Brattleboro, Vermont, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights in U.S. detention facilities. HRDC publishes Prison Legal News, a monthly magazine that includes reports, reviews and analysis of court rulings and news related to prisoners’ rights and criminal justice issues. PLN has approximately 7,000 subscribers nationwide and operates a website (www.prisonlegalnews.org) that includes a comprehensive database of prison and jail-related articles, news reports, court rulings, verdicts, settlements and related documents.

For further information, please contact:

Alex Friedmann
Associate Editor, PLN
Nashville, Tennessee
(615) 495-6568
afriedmann@prisonlegalnews.org

Paul Wright
Director, Human Rights Defense Center
Brattleboro, Vermont
(802) 257-1342
pwright@prisonlegalnews.org


 


 

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