Alex Friedmann is a prisoner and a journalist. Until recently he also warmed a for-profit bunk at the Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee. That is, until his corporate warders decided that Alex Friedmann presented a threat to the security of their stock performance.
Alex has written numerous articles for PLN and other publications, mostly about prison privatization in general and CCA in particular [See the cover articles of the Nov '97 and Feb '98 PLN s]. He was also interviewed by Eric Bates, who quoted Alex in the article "Private Prisons" [ The Nation , January 5, 1998].
Initially, CCA/South Central employees refused to allow copies of The Nation article into the prison, claiming it would "incite disobedience to law enforcement officials or prison staff." This blatant censorship was subsequently overturned on appeal to TN DOC officials.
Shortly thereafter, PLN received a letter from Alex: "As indicated by my address change, I'm no longer at CCA/South Central...." He had been transferred to a TN state prison "in the far northwest corner of the state, about as far away from anywhere as you can possibly get."
Prison activists and writers have always faced transfer and other retaliatory acts by their captors. What makes this one "newsworthy" is the brazen and deliberate wording of CCA's reclassification and transfer order:
"Transfer justification is inmate Friedmann continues to create and disseminate information concerning negative incidents experienced by CCA in the past. Inmate Friedmann solicits outside support in his cause to disrupt the operations of this facility. Inmate Friedmann disrupts the normal day to day operation of this facility by soliciting other inmates to join him in his efforts to degrade CCA with negative articles and outside sources," says the transfer papers signed by CCA corporate employees.
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