On Jan. 22, the News Sentinel ran an oped by Harley Lappin, vice president of Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest for-profit prison company, which recently rebranded itself as “CoreCivic” – presumably because its CCA brand was associated with riots, deaths, lawsuits and other unpleasantness.
Lappin’s remarks extolling the virtues of CCA would carry more weight if he didn’t receive around $1.6 million in compensation. While lauding the firm that pays his salary and gives him lucrative stock benefits, Lappin failed to mention a few things.
For example, CCA employees fraudulently reported staffing hours to Idaho prison officials. The company was held in contempt and paid $1 million in compensation, and the state declined to renew CCA’s contract to run the Idaho Correctional Center, which had extremely high rates of violence.
In Chattanooga, an 18-year-old female prisoner at a CCA-run jail went into early labor. CCA employees delayed sending her to a hospital and left her alone in a cell, bleeding and pleading for help, for hours. She lost her baby and filed suit. The court held CCA in contempt and the company settled the case for $690,000.
Last August, the U.S. Department of Justice decided to phase out its use of private prisons, finding they “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and ... they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.”
And while Lappin cited CCA’s newest Tennessee prison, the Trousdale Turner facility, he didn’t mention that state officials stopped sending prisoners there last year due to operational problems, or that CCA has hired G4S security guards – rent-a-cops – to man the prison due to staffing deficiencies.
Bottom line, Lappin is paid to say only good things about CCA while ignoring his employer’s many shortcomings.