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PLN assoc. editor's CCA shareholder resolution, ACLU letter discussed

Tennessean, Jan. 1, 2012.
PLN assoc. editor's CCA shareholder resolution, ACLU letter discussed - Tennessean 2012

CCA fights sex abuse reporting proposals

More disclosure sought; firm says it's awaiting rules

11:56 PM, May. 10, 2012

The debate over private prisons spilled into Corrections Corporation of America’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, with critics urging greater transparency by the Nashville-based prison owner and operator.

The company rebuffed the parallel efforts, one led by the American Civil Liberties Union and the other by an activist shareholder.

Stockholders rejected a proposal that would have required CCA to file twice-annual reports on the number of rapes and sexual assaults occurring within its facilities, and show steps the company was taking to combat the problem.

The proposal was filed by Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner who now leads the Private Corrections Institute, an advocacy group that opposes prison privatization. He served part of a 10-year sentence in the 1990s for attempted murder and armed robbery in a CCA prison in Clifton, Tenn.

The company fought the proposal, asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to kill it. The company argued it already planned to make such information available annually and that Friedmann’s proposal was part of a personal vendetta.

The SEC declined to strike the resolution, so the company included a lengthy rebuttal in proxy materials urging shareholders to vote against it.

CCA prefers to wait until industry-wide reporting standards are set, spokesman Steve Owen said. "Our company is deeply committed to the prevention of inmate sexual abuse, and we take a forward-looking, best-practice approach to ensuring prisoner safety in this critical area," Owen said.

Also, the ACLU delivered a letter to CCA asking Damon Hininger, the company’s chief executive officer, to a public debate on the merits of privatizing prisons.

"We believe that the taxpayers who finance private prisons; the families whose mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters are incarcerated in these facilities; and the communities where for-profit prisons are situated deserve more than sound bites," the ACLU’s letter to Hininger reads.

"They deserve a full, fair and public examination of for-profit incarceration."

The letter was the latest salvo in the group’s broader push against for-profit prisons. It released a report last year that said CCA and other private prison companies used extensive lobbying, large campaign contributions and information-control methods to win more prison contracts without any real benefits to the public.



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