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Riots at CCA Prisons Reveal Weaknesses in Out-of-State Imprisonment Policies

By Matthew T. Clarke

States, strapped by tight budgets and pressed by swelling prison populations, are faced with the Hobson's choice of releasing prisoners early to ease overcrowding or building prisons they can ill afford to construct and staff. Private prison corporations seem to offer a third choice: They claim to be able to house excess prisoners without the substantial outlay of capital required to build prisons, and at a lower cost of incarceration than the government can manage.[1]

How do private prison corporations achieve this miracle of modern capitalism? By running a much more efficient operation than is possible with moribund state bureaucracies, say private prison proponents.[2] Opponents of private prisons reply that the savings are achieved by locating prisons in distant states with distressed labor markets and cutting the number of employees, slashing employee salaries and benefits, discouraging unionization, and reducing the quality and/or quantity of food, medical care and programs offered to prisoners, as well as by plain, old-fashioned cooking the books.[3]

Regardless of the quality of programs and services offered, relocating prisoners to distant states traumatizes both them and their families, making communication and visitation difficult and expensive, if not impossible, and reducing one of the most valuable aids to rehabilitation ? maintaining strong family ties.[4]

"These transfers are very problematic for a number of reasons," said David Fathi, with the ACLU's National Prison Project. "Visitation is all but impossible, and visitations are very important to prisoner mental health. [Visits] are usually correlated with positive prison adjustment behavior as well as decreased recidivism rates."[5]

CCA, the 800-Pound Private Prison Gorilla

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tennessee, is the largest private prison operator in the United States and the world. The company runs 65 prisons and jails, owning 40 of them, and is responsible for 70,000 prisoners located in 19 states and the District of Columbia.[6] This makes CCA the fifth-largest prison system in the United States behind the federal Bureau of Prisons and three state Departments of Correction (DOCs). The company controls more than half of the private prison market.[7]

Despite its formidable market position, CCA has a history of scandal. From 1999 to 2000 the company's stock dropped 93% to less than a dollar a share after mismanagement and a questionable corporate restructuring, and shareholders filed state and federal lawsuits.[8] CCA settled the state suits by distributing over 310,000 shares of common stock and $3 million in cash to stockholders, and issuing $2.9 million in promissory notes that guaranteed a minimum stock price.[9] The company paid $27 million in cash and distributed 2.8 million shares of stock to settle the federal class action suits. CCA shelled out another $17 million in cash and 1.6 million shares to the stockholders' attorneys. All of the lawsuits were settled by May 20, 2003.[10]

The company faced another financial crisis in 2004, this one caused by a drop in CCA stock due to multiple riots at CCA prisons.[11] Stockholders apparently were unwilling to take the word of CCA CEO John Ferguson that neither the riots, nor other incidents at CCA prisons, nor resulting lawsuits filed against the company, would affect the company's bottom line. Nor were they mollified by a CCA spokesperson who said damages resulting from the riots were expected to be "mitigated by insurance."[12]

CCA's profits were down $4.8 million to $15.4 million in the second quarter of 2004 compared to the second quarter of 2003.[13] The company's net income for all of 2004 was less than half that of the previous year.[14]

On August 10, 2004, James A. Seaton abruptly resigned as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CCA.[15] His responsibilities were taken over by Ferguson and J. Michael Quinlan, CCA's senior vice president, former COO and former director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons during the first Bush Administration.[16] Mr. Quinlan also has a history of sexually harassing one of his male subordinates.[17]

CCA gave no reason for Seaton's resignation. Richard Crane, CCA's former general counsel, who now provides private prison consultant services, stated the resignation might indicate that Seaton's background in management of the Marriott hotel chain was inadequate for running a prison system. "It's just so hard to understand that environment," said Crane. "It's not like running a hotel. I'm sorry. Your hotel guests rarely riot."[18]

Specific Contracts for Out-of-State Imprisonment

As of July 1, 2005, at least seven states housed prisoners in out-of-state private prisons.[19] Alabama imprisons 1,162 male and female prisoners at private prisons in Louisiana.[20] Alaska pays to house about 750 prisoners at a CCA-run facility in Arizona[21], while in 2004 Arizona sent 2,000 prisoners to private prisons in Texas and Oklahoma.[22] As of July 2006, Hawaii had transferred 1,844 male and female prisoners to private prisons in Oklahoma, Arizona, Mississippi and Kentucky.[23] In 2003, Indiana sent around 650 men to a CCA prison in Kentucky while 1,800 beds sat empty in the Indiana state prison system; the prisoners were returned to Indiana in mid-2005.[24] Vermont shifted 400 of its prisoners to a CCA prison in Kentucky,[25] while Washington has transferred 956 prisoners to CCA prisons in Minnesota and Arizona.[26]

At one point in 2000, Wisconsin had the most prisoners housed in out-of-state private prisons: over 4,500.[27] By August 2004, however, that number had dropped to less than 500 prisoners.[28] Wyoming imprisoned several hundred men in two Colorado CCA prisons in mid-2004, and now has a contract to house up to 600 prisoners at a CCA prison in Sayre, Oklahoma.[29]

According to an Associated Press survey, it was reported in early 2004 that about 8,700 prisoners were held in out-of-state prisons, both public and private, including 6,000 in CCA-operated facilities.[30]

More recently, in October 2006, California proposed shipping thousands of prisoners to four other states to relieve its severely overcrowded prison system.[31] Other states, such as Vermont, are presently seeking to house more of their prisoners in private prisons located outside their borders.[32]

Not all states that "outsource" their prisoners rely on privatized facilities, however. Connecticut transferred around 460 of its prisoners to Virginia state prisons in 1999 and early 2000, only to have them returned in 2004 following two deaths, three injuries and allegations of mistreatment.[33] The District of Columbia, which has no prisons of its own, spreads its sentenced felony prisoners across the country in federally-supervised prisons.[34]

Long Distance Suffering

Not taken into account by the prison profiteers is the misery that long-distance incarceration causes prisoners and their families. Vera Leblond, the mother of a Vermont prisoner imprisoned in Virginia, knows this all too well. Her son's transfer virtually eliminated the possibility of family visits. "It's horrifying; driving that distance would exhaust me," noted Ms. Leblond.[35]

State officials often turn a deaf ear to the protests of prisoners and their families. [36]

"The public doesn't have a lot of sympathy for prisoners," said Robert Farr, ranking Republican on the Connecticut House Judiciary Committee. "Someone committed a murder and says, 'Gee, I want to be closer to home.' What about the family of the person they murdered?"[37]

Of course, most of the transferred prisoners were not convicted of murder and members of the public haven't been given an opportunity to voice their opinion, as there has been no referendum or other opportunity to do so.

Farr also noted that the out-of-state transfers saved up to $10,000 per prisoner and relieved severe overcrowding. This, he claimed, was more important than inconveniencing prisoners' families.[38]

Stacy Smith, spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Corrections, claimed that the transfers were not punitive and that a cross-section of prisoners had been moved.

"The attitude of the families, initially, there is a shock, and then they acclimate," said Smith.[39]

Whereas prisoners and families may be able to adjust to fewer visits when the prisoner is moved a few hundred miles away to a nearby state, it is difficult to imagine how Alaskan prisoners imprisoned in Arizona or Hawaiian prisoners incarcerated in Oklahoma can easily adjust to their new circumstances.[40]

"Kids are great motivators for parents in prison to get their act together," said Kat Brady, coordinator of the Honolulu-based Community Alliance on Prisons. "You take away the possibility of kids' visits, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy: 'See, these people can't be rehabilitated.'"[41]

Brady noted that almost none of the families of Hawaiian prisoners in Oklahoma could afford to visit them.[42] Furthermore, outlandish telephone rates prevented even that diluted contact with families.[43] "The cost per bed may be cheaper, but not when you include the cost of broken families," she said.[44]

Indeed, when Vermont contracted in 2004 to incarcerate prisoners at CCA's Marion Adjustment Center in Kentucky, in addition to CCA prisons in Tennessee and Arizona, state officials took into account the distance from Vermont when rejecting bids from Emerald Correction Management to use a Texas prison and CiviGenics to use a prison in Louisiana.[45] However, the consideration was not to reduce the burden on prisoners and their families.

"The cost for transport to Kentucky, when it was on our nickel, is a lot less than when it's to Texas and Louisiana," said Vermont Department of Corrections Commissioner Steve Gold.[46]

Although CCA's provision of medical care to Vermont's prisoners was one of the most extensively negotiated portions of the contract, CCA refused to accept Vermont prisoners with AIDS, Hepatitis C, renal dialysis and certain mental health disorders. Therefore, one has to wonder whether CCA's winning bid of $42.00 per prisoner per day for housing Vermont's healthiest prisoners was really such a good deal.[47]

In Indiana, the 2003 decision to increase by several hundred the 650 Indiana prisoners imprisoned in CCA prisons in Kentucky met with controversy in light of the fact that the Indiana prison system had over 1,800 unused prison beds.[48]

"It's incomprehensible," said Indiana Representative Dennis Avery, D-Evansville. "To open up those prisons so the prisoners can stay in the state of Indiana, to me it makes sense. Otherwise, it is a waste of tax dollars for [prison] construction."[49]

Furthermore, Avery questioned claims by private prison proponents that it was cheaper to incarcerate Indiana prisoners in Kentucky prisons than to open and operate the already-built prisons in Indiana. He stated that the prisoners selected for the Kentucky transfer were the "cream of the crop," whose cost of incarceration was less than the prison system average used in the calculations.[50]

Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon claimed the state budget left the prison system with no choice by providing no money to open and operate the Miami and New Castle prisons. State Budget Agency Deputy Director Mike Landwer said that internal transfer of prison funds was a common practice and could be done; however, the General Assembly made its intentions clear when it explicitly stated that the budget did not include money to increase prison bed capacity.[51]

"They do not want to increase the number of beds being used," said Landwer. "If that means double-bunking, so be it. If that means continuing to use contract beds, that's the preferred approach."[52]

"We wanted to make the Department of Corrections very much aware of the fact that we want a focus on community corrections and alternative sentences," said State Senator Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville. "We learned a lesson from other states: You can't build yourself out of a corrections problem. For a while we took the advice of the DOC and built many more beds. But at this point in time, we're saying: 'We want to put pressure on you, the department, to do as much as you can to build community resources and alternative sentences and rehabilitate people so we don't have this continuous growth in prison population and continuous recidivism.'"[53]

The prison population in state and federal prisons has increased from an estimated 487,500 at year-end 1985 to 1.44 million at year-end 2005.[54] As of Dec. 31, 2005, prison systems in 23 states and the federal Bureau of Prisons were operating at or above their rated capacity.[55] But rather than release prisoners or change their sentencing policies when prison capacity is reached, government officials have contracted the warehousing of their prisoners to the private for-profit prison industry, thus ensuring continued imprisonment growth.

The reliance on out-of-state private prisons, however, has proved to be problematic.

A Prelude: Arizona Prisoners Rebel at Oklahoma CCA Prison

On May 14, 2004, almost 400 of 1,200 Arizona prisoners housed at the CCA Diamondback Correctional Facility (DCF) in Watonga, Oklahoma rioted.[56] Arizona DOC Director Dora Schriro attributed the riot to "poor management of the population by the facility."[57] She noted that there had been a "precipitating event" the day before the riot. This and other warning signs, such as staffing problems, were ignored by the DCF administration.

Furthermore, when the riot began, CCA officials failed to activate their emergency response or notify the Arizona DOC's monitors. This made containment of the disturbance difficult. DCF was also understaffed, with CCA double-counting some of the staff to come up with sufficient numbers on paper.[58]

Arizona subsequently moved about 400 medium-security prisoners who did not take part in the riot back to Arizona.[59] Prisoners who rioted, however, were not moved back. "We don't want to reward inmates who have had bad behavior by letting them come back to Arizona because they didn't want to be there," said Arizona DOC spokesperson Cam Hunter.[60]

A signal of impending trouble came the day before, on May 13, when a small fight took place between Mexican national and Mexican-American prisoners.[61] The riot broke out the next day at 8:00 p.m. with fighting between groups of Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans, but blacks and whites soon joined in.[62] Prisoners used construction material left on the recreation yard, baseball bats, canned goods and boards both as weapons and tools to damage the prison by smashing windows and walls.[63] Some prisoners broke out of their housing units using metal shower rods as battering rams to defeat fire escape door locks and join the melee. The section of the prison in which the riot took place housed 360 Arizona prisoners and 783 Hawaiians.[64]

Ninety-one prisoners were injured in the riot, which lasted more than four hours. Two were evacuated by helicopter to Oklahoma University Medical Center in "extremely critical condition." No staff was reported injured.[65]

The Arizona Department of Corrections criticized CCA for failing to notice warning signs such as the fight the day before the riot and the fact that prisoners had turned out on the recreation yard in greater-than-usual numbers, then segregated themselves by race and ethnic group. The signs were duly noted by guards, who pointed them out to supervisors. The supervisors did nothing.[66]

The Arizona DOC report on the incident further criticized CCA officials for ignoring DOC advice at two critical junctures. The first was the day of the fight, when Arizona DOC monitors, noting longstanding volatility between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans, advised CCA to lock down the Mexican national unit. The recommendation was ignored. On the morning of the riot, Arizona DOC officials again advised a partial lockdown and were again ignored. Once the rioting started, the report stated that CCA never got its Incident Management Team operational and the Arizona monitoring team had to give directions to the CCA staff.[67]

CCA agreed to increase staffing levels at the prison and make other changes, such as building an extra guard tower and moving the armory outside the perimeter fence. Despite the mismanagement at the facility, Arizona renewed its contract with CCA to house 1,200 prisoners at DCF.[68]

Washington State Prisoners Riot at Colorado CCA Prison

Washington State legislators were faced with a dilemma in late 2003: a huge budget deficit caused in part by a growing prison population. Apparently, they had expected reductions in prisoner counts when they approved a so-called "half-time" law that actually had the effect of releasing around 900 non-violent prisoners a few months early while lengthening sentences for thousands more. Instead, the state was faced with hundreds of new prisoners being shoved into an already overcrowded state prison system, and a supervised release program growing by thousands.[69]

Lawmakers ignored the findings of the Legislature's nonpartisan research unit, which noted that 70% of sex offenders were in low-risk, low-recidivism categories and could be diverted from prison sentences without endangering public safety.[70] Instead, they came up with the not-so-novel idea of contracting with CCA to incarcerate prisoners out-of-state.

The initial one-year contract, announced on July 1, 2004, called for 300 Washington prisoners to be sent to CCA's 1,222-bed Crowley County Correctional Facility (CCCF) located 35 miles east of Pueblo in Olney Springs, Colorado. CCCF is a medium-security prison.[71]

Washington prisoners were not unfamiliar with CCCF. It had been built in 1998 for Dominion Management, Inc. and run by Correctional Services Corporation (CSC), another for-profit prison operator.[72] On March 3, 1999, Washington state prisoners were sent to CCCF. Two days later they rioted, resulting in $10,000 in property damage and five injuries. The disturbance was put down with tear gas and rubber bullets. The cause of the riot, according to Colorado State prison officials, was poorly trained guards; allegations of abuse were also raised.[73]

CCA purchased the facility in January 2003.[74] Following the transfer of 198 Washington state prisoners to CCCF in July 2004, another riot broke out. The more recent riot had several causes. Washington prisoners were angered at having been shipped about 1,400 miles from their homes only to find that the quality had been squeezed out of the food by penny-pinching prison profiteers. Colorado prisoners were upset that the Washington contract called for prisoners who worked to be paid $3.00 per day when Colorado prisoners received only 60 cents for a day's work. Prisoners were also perturbed by a lack of access to prison officials and the guards' beating of a prisoner who had refused to go to work earlier in the day.[75]

Descriptions of the food indicated that it was indeed abysmal. Prisoner Fredrick Morris, 47, said that he quit his job after three years as a cook due to the prison's poor food preparation. According to Morris, they were ordered to grind hot dogs for spaghetti sauces, use muffin mix in meatloaf, mix instant potatoes with pinto beans for burritos, and spike the Jewish prisoners' soup with pork. He complained to CCA supervisors over three months before the riot, but nothing happened except the food got worse.[76] Another former CCCF prisoner, Chris Richards, stated, "I lost 28 pounds in three months. Then I got into seg, and they were serving rotten food there: rotten peas, rotten lettuce, no meat, no protein. When you got stew, it was all fat."[77]

CCA claimed that it received no formal grievances from prisoners about food quality.[78]

CCCF prisoner Robert Horn witnessed the beating of the prisoner that sparked the protest. According to Horn, the prisoner was jerked to the ground after a struggle with guards taking him to a disciplinary cell for refusing to go to work. After he was subdued, "These other guards started pummeling him and kicking him," said Horn. "We'd just had enough, you know? To treat someone like an animal is not going to fly anymore."[79]

The riot began as a peaceful protest when Washington prisoners refused to return to their cells from the recreation yard at around 7 p.m. on July 20, 2004. Guards ignored prisoners' requests to speak with the warden and apparently did little to quell the demonstration initially. Colorado prisoners then joined the disturbance, which swelled to include 400-500 prisoners. The demonstration became an uprising within an hour when prisoners began to destroy property by smashing furniture and setting fire to cellblocks and the greenhouse. They also used steel weights and dumbbells from the exercise yard to smash doors, windows and walls.[80]

After 5½ hours, order was restored by over 150 Colorado state prison guards using tear gas and rubber bullets.[81] Two of the prison's five housing units were uninhabitable, two others were damaged and the greenhouse was totally destroyed.[82] Damage was expected to exceed $1 million.[83] Conflicting reports indicated that between 13 and 19 prisoners were injured, one of them was evacuated by helicopter with serious stab wounds.[84]

Prisoners reported that the guards ran at the first sign of trouble. "They ran," said Horn. "They just abandoned the place."[85]

"They just took off running, and they left the female employees behind," added CCCF prisoner William Morris.[86]

Of course the CCCF guards didn't just abandon the female employees, they also abandoned the prisoners they were charged to protect, with predictable results. As many as 15 prisoners were reported to have used the riot as cover to attack sex offenders and real or suspected snitches.[87]

Prisoner Rudy Lujan, 32, who was beaten, stabbed, thrown off the second tier run and then assaulted with a microwave oven as he lay limp on the floor during the riot, had called his sister after the first fires were set. He told her he feared for his life and asked her to call police.[88]

"He said a riot was going on, and all the guards were so scared they went on the roof," said Lujan's sister. "The prisoners had already taken control. He was scared. He told me, 'If anything happens to me, tell everybody that I love them.'"[89]

According to Lujan, he was attacked because he refused gang members' attempts to recruit him.[90] He survived and later filed a lawsuit against CCA, which was settled under confidential terms on November 15, 2006.[91]

Slow decision making and a lack of communication hampered CCA's response to the riot, according to a Colorado Department of Corrections review of the incident.[92] One senior DOC official said that CCA had failed to respond promptly and with sufficient force, ignored an attempt to negotiate, and failed to account for missing staff.[93]

According to Colorado Director of Prisons Nolin Renfrow, CCA officials were told to use chemical agents as soon as the demonstration became unruly to keep prisoners away from housing units and break up the riot. Company officials replied that they needed approval from their Nashville headquarters to deploy chemical agents.[94] CCA denied any requirement for approval from headquarters and claimed that "chemical agents had already been disbursed by facility staff at approximately 8:20 p.m." That was earlier than Renfrow said he had asked for the use of chemical agents.[95]

During the ordeal, prison librarian Linda Lyons remained in the library along with 37 prisoners in her charge, forgotten by her CCA colleagues even though she had radioed them her location. At one point she ordered the prisoners to return to their cells, but they begged her not to force them out into the nascent riot. The riot came within one building of the library. However, Lyons maintained a calm atmosphere within the library throughout the ordeal.[96] Two other CCA employees were reportedly abandoned by their co-workers, and hid in a segregation unit.[97]

Equally shocking was that CCCF officials apparently knew that prisoner unrest was imminent before the riot.

"I was told about it," said one CCA guard who asked not to be named. "They said it wasn't going to be more than two months. It wasn't even that long. I was told this by several different inmates."[98]

According to Frank Smith, a Kansas criminal justice reform advocate, prisoners had warned CCCF employees about a possible uprising a week before the riot. Smith said the information was passed on to Colorado DOC officials, but "nothing was done." Smith began receiving information from CCCF staffers after he spoke on a Pueblo radio station and gave out his e-mail address. Smith's reports were later borne out by the official Colorado DOC report on the uprising.[99]

"In fact, one [prisoner] gave me information [in May, 2004] that the situation was getting very tense in Olney Springs, that the staff was concerned that the Washington prisoners would get there, and that there were things like rebar laying around the place from construction that nobody bothered to pick up, nobody recognized as weapons," said Smith.[100]

According to Smith's CCCF sources, rioting prisoners freed prisoners in administrative segregation while prison employees "locked themselves in." However, it was never a prisoner-against-guard or attempted escape type of situation.[101]

"It wasn't a thing of, 'We're going to capture all these guards and blow our way out of there.' But, they almost got out; they were two doors away from getting out," said Smith.[102]

Smith further explained the riot had resulted from CCA's "terrible wages, terrible training, fraudulent record keeping, manufacturing of records (to meet standards), hiring people that were clearly inappropriate, gang-connected people, stuff like that." Smith opposes private prisons because they treat both prisoners and their own employees poorly, and corrupt municipalities and state governments with campaign contributions or, as he put it, "outright bribery."[103]

"They lobby at arm's length for longer sentences. It's more market share and more market [for them]," said Smith.[104]

Smith isn't the only one who has questioned the wisdom of using private prisons. Colorado Representative Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, said she had repeatedly requested information on the true costs for housing prisoners in private prisons, without success.[105]

"It is consistently argued that these facilities are cheaper for the taxpayer, but safety should be the utmost concern when evaluating incarceration. This is the second riot at this prison since 1999, although there were different owners then. The question is, are we risking the safety of the public and is it really cheaper?" McFayden asked.[106]

McFayden, whose district includes eight state-run prisons, called for a fiscal analysis of housing prisoners in private prisons and the cost of using Colorado state resources to quell private prison riots. She noted that the private prisons were located in rural areas where there was little local law enforcement to help out, and that private prison employees may be poorly trained and equipped.[107]

Colorado State Senator Abel D. Tapia, D-Pueblo, was also concerned that the state not foot the bill for riot control at CCA prisons.[108] Company officials said they would reimburse the state for the cost of responding to the riot.[109]

Brian Dawe, Executive Director of Corrections USA, a non-profit prison guard association, argued strongly against using private prisons. He noted that they have a widespread climate of substandard training and wages that causes a huge turnover rate which in turn results in a lack of staff mentoring. He also said that they put shareholder profits ahead of prisoner and public safety.[110]

"They say they're better. Yet, they won't open their books. If I was better, I wouldn't be afraid to open my books," said Dawe.[111]

Dawe quoted statistics showing that private prisons are much more violent and have more escapes than state-run prisons; additionally, they have a negative effect on nearby land value and industries.[112] The private prison industry's claim that land values increase when a private prison opens is laughable, he said.

"When you're looking for a house, is one of the questions you ask, 'Is there a private prison nearby?'" asked Dawe.[113]

Following the riot at CCCF, 300 prisoners were moved to a newly-constructed housing unit at CCCF; 300 more were transferred to Colorado state prisons.[114] Thirty-seven CCA employees, including Warden Brent Crouse, were fired or reassigned.[115]

A subsequent 179-page report issued by the Colorado DOC on Oct. 12, 2004 blasted CCA for missteps both before and during the CCCF meltdown.[116] It was reported that just 33 CCA guards were watching over 1,122 prisoners at the time of the riot, a ratio 1/7 that at state prisons.[117] Some CCA staff had literally been "on the job for two days or less."[118] According to the DOC report, "basic prison operational procedures" were not maintained at CCCF, the prison did not follow DOC menu guidelines, and CCA staff did not have an emergency response plan.[119]

The report also noted that CCA guards at CCCF made an average salary of $1,818 per month, compared with starting pay for state prison guards of $2,774 a month.[120] "It is a challenge in trying to make salaries competitive with what is paid by the state," acknowledged CCA spokesman Steve Owen.[121] Consequently, the facility had a 45% staff turnover rate.[122] A separate Legislative Audit Committee report released in June 2005 faulted the DOC for lax oversight and failing to act on known problems at privately-operated prisons.[123]

While disagreeing with some aspects of the DOC report, CCA agreed to implement reforms at CCCF and three of the company's other prisons in Colorado. [124] In Sept. 2005, CCA signed new contracts with the state that included increased staffing levels, more medical and mental health services, better food standards, and improved staff training and emergency planning.[125] The company was also required to pay Colorado officials $385,000 for expenses incurred in quelling the CCCF riot.[126]

Eighty-four prisoners who were injured in the riot, represented by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and the law firm of Trine & Metcalf, filed suit against CCA on July 19, 2005.[127] The lawsuit alleged that CCA employees intentionally abused prisoners who didn't participate in the riot by tightly handcuffing them; dragging them through broken glass, blood and raw sewage; forcing them to urinate and defecate in their clothes; and withholding water and medications.[128]

"We think the lawsuit is the best mechanism for holding CCA accountable and preventing future riots," said TLPJ staff attorney Adele Kimmel.[129] A second suit, on behalf of 150 more prisoners who didn't take part in the riot, was filed on March 7, 2006.[130] The lawsuits are pending.

Tutwiler Uprising, aka CCCF Uprising Part Two

One day after the July 20, 2004 CCCF rebellion, 28 Colorado prisoners housed at the 1,400-bed CCA-run Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility (TCCF) in Tutwiler, Mississippi staged another riot. The prisoners had been sent to TCCF in May 2004 after they allegedly participated in six riots within three months in Colorado state prisons.[131] When a guard left the Colorado prisoners unsupervised at 6:20 p.m., they broke the low-quality locks and chains on their recreation cages and rioted, breaking windows and setting fire to their mattresses, clothing and a portable toilet.[132]

"They started with the mattresses, and then they started taking off their shirts and burning those, too," according to Terry Tyler, a Tutwiler fireman who arrived at the prison at 7:00 p.m. "Finally they got a hold of a Port-a-Potty and burned that."[133]

The Coahoma County sheriff's department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Tutwiler fire department, Tallahatchie County sheriff's and fire departments, and Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman sent assistance to the CCA prison.[134] According to company officials, the riot was put down within an hour with no reported injuries; other reports stated four prisoners had been hurt.[135] Tear gas was used to get the prisoners under control.[136] At the time of the riot the facility held 850 prisoners: 120 from Colorado, 690 from Hawaii and 40 from Tallahatchie County.[137] Local governments had to pay their own expenses in responding to the TCCF riot.[138]

The only known indication of why the prisoners rioted was a letter mailed by a Colorado prisoner to the Clarksdale Press Register the week of the riot. In the letter, prisoner Harrell King, Jr. III alleged that more than 100 TCCF prisoners had been participating in a hunger strike for over five days to call attention to the abuse of prisoners. He accused guards of "brutality and mistreatment," denying prisoners access to toilets and keeping them in 24-hour-a-day lockdown, and claimed such treatment had driven some prisoners to attempt suicide.[139]

Local residents complained about a lack of notification that there was a problem at the prison; during the riot and ensuing lockdown and communications blackout, residents had spread rumors about escapes.[140]

CCA initially refused to implement an alert system, requested by community members to provide notification in case of future prison disturbances, but later agreed to keep local residents informed.[141] Following the riot, TCCF Warden James Cooke stated the prison planned to hire 37 additional staff, 25 of them guards. However, he said this was not a reaction to the riot but was rather to keep up with a growing prison population. Total staff with the new hires would be 302, about 65% of them guards.[142]

The prison is the largest employer in the county, with a $3.5 million annual payroll.[143] The Mississippi Legislature had passed a bill in 2004 that allowed TCCF to accept other out-of-state prisoners in an effort to save jobs at the CCA prison, after Alabama withdrew its state prisoners from the facility in mid-March 2004.[144]

Riot Redux: Disturbance at CCA Prison in Kentucky

Less than two months after the CCCF and TCCF riots, another major disturbance broke out at the CCA-run Lee Adjustment Center in Beatyville, Kentucky.

On Sept. 14, 2004, up to two dozen Vermont prisoners housed at the Kentucky facility tore down a guard tower on the recreation yard and then used pieces of wood to break into a commissary room. Kentucky prisoners joined in the fray and several buildings were set on fire; order was restored hours later by a special operations (SORT) team.[145] "Are we surprised that something like this happened and we're involved in it? Yes we are," said Vermont DOC Director of Classification Ray Flum.[146]

The causes of the disturbance were varied but mainly related to CCA's oppressive operating policies, as well as complaints about the food and Vermont prisoners' discontent at being housed so far from home. "Different corrections officers have different rules. Officers make up the rules as they please,'' said Vermont prisoner Scott Amidon. Another prisoner, David Rivers, accused CCA guards of filing false disciplinary charges against prisoners they felt were troublemakers. "This was one of the many straws that broke the camel's back before the riot," he said.[147]

Neither Vermont nor Kentucky had prison monitors on-site at the facility at the time of the riot. "With private contracts, the key is oversight and monitoring. You have to hold their feet to the fire," said former Kentucky DOC commissioner Doug Sapp.[148]

Following the riot, CCA Warden Randy Eckman was replaced and 23 prisoners were indicted on charges including arson, assault and criminal mischief.[149]

Kentucky DOC commissioner John D. Rees, who formerly served as a CCA vice president, initially lauded the company for its quick response to the riot.[150] However, after a state report on the incident was released in October 2004, Rees recommended that CCA pay a $10,000 fine due to insufficient staffing. At the time of the disturbance only 7 response team members were on duty instead of the 20 that were required. CCA agreed to pay the fine.[151]

The report also found that CCA had restricted prisoners' recreation time and access to education programs, had improperly installed containment fences, and had imposed mass punishments for minor infractions. The DOC was criticized for failing to adequately monitor the private prison.[152]

Other Private Prison SNAFUs

In addition to four major riots in 2004, CCA had to contend with a number of other disturbances not involving out-of-state prisoners.

Three prisoners were injured in a jailhouse melee at the CCA-run Bay County Jail in Panama City, Florida on July 19, 2004. The fight was reportedly motivated by "racial prejudice" and involved six men attacking two others using fists and a padlock in a sock. One of the six also attacked a man who tried to stop the fight. Six prisoners were charged with felonies relating to the brawl.[153]

On Sept. 5, 2004 a more serious incident occurred at the Bay County Jail, when four prisoners overpowered the lone CCA guard on their floor and took three nurses and the guard hostage.[154]

Three of the hostages were released during a 12-hour stand-off. The incident ended after the prisoners threatened to kill the remaining hostage and Bay County SWAT team members opened fire, shooting two of the prisoners and a CCA nurse. There were no fatalities.[155] According to the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, the prisoners said they had staged the takeover to "draw attention to the physical conditions of the jail operations and to see them improved."[156] Such complaints included inadequate medical care, abuse by guards and poor food.[157]

The jail's warden and a guard were fired. A review of the incident by the county's contract monitor found numerous problems at the facility, including falsified shift logs, policy violations, and a faulty cell door lock that had not been repaired for two weeks before the hostage-taking.[158]

Yet another major riot broke out at the CCA-run Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma on March 22, 2005, leaving 15 prisoners injured and one dead. The fight, which was reportedly motivated by race and prison gangs, involved 40 black and 20 white prisoners in a recreation area. Baseball bats, iron horseshoes and other weapons were used; prisoner Adam Gene Lippert, 32, was stabbed to death.[159]

According to CCA officials, the disturbance was under control within ten minutes. Company spokesperson Linda Hurst stated prisoners had broken into a recreation room where softball bats were stored, even though that area was supposed to be secure.[160]

Following the riot, the prison was locked down for several weeks as state officials investigated the incident. "The problematic thing is the sheer magnitude of it, the number of people involved," said Payne County District Attorney Rob Hudson. All of the prisoners involved were from Oklahoma.[161]

The previous year, in January 2004, the Cimarron prison was locked down after prisoners voiced complaints about the quality of food at the facility. "As a precautionary measure, we locked them down to investigate if there was anything more serious than a boycott," Hurst said at the time.[162]

The Lowdown: Private Prison Profiteers Care Only About Making Money

Clearly critics have a point when they note that private prison corporations seem willing to compromise prisoner and public safety to enhance their bottom lines.[163]

Former Davidson County, Tennessee Sheriff Hank Hillin said it well. "With me it's a moral issue. I don't think people should make money off the discomfort of others and locking them up." He also noted that private prisons are inefficient, politically connected, and focus on the bottom line. Hillin lost his reelection bid in 1995 to a private prison advocate.[164]

A 2003 report by Grassroots Leadership, funded by the Open Society Institute, noted that CCA faced "numerous lawsuits and scandals" due to alleged systematic failures to provide adequate medical care, control violence, and prevent criminal activity by employees in its prisons. The report cited "self-defeating labor practices" such as low pay, understaffing, insufficient pension plans and poor training, which led to a high turnover rate at CCA prisons. It also questioned academic studies that have favorable conclusions about CCA's record of safety and efficiency, because such studies were funded by CCA.[165]

Ken Kopczynski, Executive Director of the Private Corrections Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization opposed to private prisons, commenting on the July 5, 2004 death of prisoner Estelle Richardson at the Metro Davidson Co. Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, noted that "almost half of the employees in the facility" where Richardson died "had no experience whatsoever."[166] Two of the four guards who were later indicted on homicide charges in connection with Richardson's beating death were working double shifts due to staff shortages.[167]

Let's review. Private companies take a selection of healthy and usually well-behaved prisoners, incarcerate them in prisons far from their home states, and understaff the prisons with poorly-paid, ill-trained, inexperienced guards. The companies then tout how much more efficient they are than state prisons that have to deal with prisoners in all custody classes and levels of health.

The private prisons often cut additional corners on food, medical services and programs. They become violent places where ill-treated prisoners react with foreseeable violence to the abusive and stressful environment. The result is dehabilitation, not rehabilitation. After all, prisoners who survive their private prison ordeals will eventually be returned to the general public, complete with physical and psychological scars.

Hopefully the public will soon understand that prison privatization is an idea whose time has gone. Until the early 1900's, many prisons and jails were privately operated; the practice ceased after widespread abuse and corruption became public knowledge and reform ensued.[168] That remained the situation until 1983 when CCA was founded.[169]

How often must history repeat itself before its lessons are clear?

NOTE: This is an updated version of "Riots at CCA Prisons Reveal Weaknesses in Out-of-State Imprisonment Policies" by Matthew T. Clarke, which was previously published in PLN. This version was updated for 2006 and includes revised statistics and additional information. -- PLN associate editor Alex Friedmann



[1] Such claims are made by for-profit private prison companies themselves (e.g.,; by privatization advocacy groups such as the Reason Foundation (, which has accepted funding from private prison companies; by the industry's trade organization, APCTO (; and by disgraced former University of Florida Prof. Charles W. Thomas, who was fined $20,000 by the Florida Commission on Ethics for profiting from private prison companies while providing academic research that promoted prison privatization. See: article, May 9, 2000 (

[2] Ibid.

[3] Organizations opposed to prison privatization include the Private Corrections Institute (; Citizens Against Private Prisons (; Corrections USA, an advocacy group for public prison guards (; and various labor unions, including AFSCME (

[4] See, e.g., "Investing in Family Ties," NPC Research Insight, Oct. 2005 (; also see an October 21, 2003 presentation to the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Conference, with citations ( Transferring prisoners to distant prisons was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 75 L.Ed.2d 813 (1983).

[5] In These Times, May 10, 2006. But see: "Comparison of Recidivism Rates of and Risk Factors Between Mainland Transfers and Non-Transferred Inmates," Hawaii Dept. of Public Safety, Dec. 2002 (, which found that recidivism rates between transferred and non-transferred prisoners were not "statistically significant."


[7]; Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Prisoners in 2005" ( Texas, Florida and California have larger prison populations.

[8] Tennessean, May 23, 2003; "The CCA & Prison Realty Trust Story," undated (; CCA's Form 10-Q filed on May 15, 2000 (; CCA press release, May 20, 2003.

[9] CCA press release, May 20, 2003.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Following riots at CCA prisons in Colorado and Mississippi in July 2004, the company's stock dropped approximately 12% over the next seven weeks. See: Google Finance, stock report for CXW, July-Sept. 2004; Henry Herald, July 23, 2004; Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[12] CCA press release, July 23, 2004.

[13] CCA's quarterly report (Form 10-Q), filed Aug. 6, 2004.

[14] CCA's annual report (Form 10-K) for fiscal year 2004, filed March 7, 2005. CCA's net income in 2004 was $62.5 million before distributions to preferred shareholders, compared with net income of $141.7 million in 2003.

[15] Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[16] CCA press release, Aug. 10, 2004.

[17] Prison Legal News, June 2000, p.20.

[18] Tennessean, August 11, 2004 (;

[19] NIC publication, "Interstate Transfer of Prison Inmates in the United States," Feb. 2006 ( The seven states included Alaska, Alabama, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Hawaii, which didn't respond to the survey, also houses prisoners in private contract facilities on the mainland.

[20] Alabama DOC news release, Jan. 5, 2007 (

[21] Anchorage Daily News, Feb. 10, 2005. Alaska plans to increase out-of-state transfers to 1,250 prisoners (

[22] Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 7, 2007;

[23] Star Bulletin, July 14, 2006 (; In These Times, May 10, 2006.

[24] Courier-Journal, June 26, 2003; Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, May 20, 2005; Business Wire, Feb. 28, 2005 (

[25] Rutland Herald, Sept. 21, 2004; Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[26]; Washington DOC brochure, Nov. 30, 2006 (


[28] The Milwaukee Channel, August 4, 2004; Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2004 (

[29] Nashville Business Journal, June 19, 2006.

[30] Star Bulletin, Jan. 18, 2004 ( As of January 16, 2007, CCA facilities housed out-of-state prisoners from nine states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. E-mail from Steve Owen, CCA's Director of Marketing, Jan. 16, 2007.

[31] Press release, California Office of the Governor, Oct. 4, 2006; AP article, Oct. 21, 2006; Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 7, 2007.

[32] Vermont DOC Request for Proposal, December 2006 (

[33] Amnesty International report, undated ( 56B8CBC55DBF80256A40004766C7!Open);The Virginian-Pilot, August 21, 2000; Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 21, 2004 (; OLR Research Report, Sept. 27, 2000 (


[35] Star Bulletin, Jan. 18, 2004 (

[36] Some states, however, are recognizing the problems that result from out-of-state prisoner transfers and are bringing their prisoners home. See: Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 21, 2004 (

[37] AP article, Jan. 18, 2004 ( 008827.html).

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] See: In These Times, May 10, 2006.

[41] Star Bulletin, Jan. 18, 2004 (

[42] Ibid.

[43] In These Times, May 10, 2006. Long-distance phone rates for calls made from prisons are exorbitantly high ? over $1.00 per minute in some cases. See for more information on this topic.

[44] Haleakala Times, Nov. 8, 2006 (

[45] Burlington Free Press, Feb. 14, 2004.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Courier-Journal, June 26, 2003 (

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Prisoners in 2005" (NCJ 215092, Nov. 2006) and "Prisoner and Jail Inmates, 1995" (NCJ 161132, Aug. 1996). These figures do not include jail prisoners.

[55] Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Prisoners in 2005" (NCJ 215092, Nov. 2006).

[56] Arizona Republic, Aug. 8, 2004.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid.

[60] The Oklahoman, July 8, 2004.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.; AP, July 3, 2004.

[64] The Oklahoman, July 8, 2004.

[65] Ibid. CCA had originally downplayed the riot, calling it a "brawl" and reporting only 43 injuries.

[66] Ibid.; Arizona Republic, Aug. 8, 2004.

[67] The Oklahoman, July 8, 2004.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Seattle Times, Dec. 13, 2003; Prison Legal News, Sept. 2003; New York Times, Nov. 10, 2003;, April 18, 2003; Revised Code of Washington (RCW), § 9.94A.728(1)(b).

[70] Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Doc. No. 04-07-1201, July 2004. The report is available at:

[71] CCA Press Release, July 1, 2004;

[72] Prison Privatisation Report International #29, April/May 1999.

[73] Prison Legal News, June 1999, p.10; Prison Privatisation Report International #29, April/May 1999; AP State & Local Wire, November 23, 2000.

[74] Correct Perspectives, March 1, 2003 (

[75] Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off"); Denver Post, August 8, 2004; Colorado Springs Independent, July 29-Aug. 4, 2004.

[76] Denver Post, August 8, 2004.

[77] Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off").

[78] Denver Post, August 8, 2004.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Ibid.; Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off"); Rocky Mountain News, July 22, 2004.

[81] Rocky Mountain News, July 22, 2004.

[82] Pueblo Chieftain, July 22, 2004; Rocky Mountain News, November 12, 2005; Colorado Springs Independent, July 29-August 4, 2004.

[83] Denver Post, August 8, 2004.

[84] Rocky Mountain News, July 22, 2004; Denver Post, Jan. 11, 2006; Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off").

[85] Denver Post, August 8, 2004.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Ibid.

[88] Ibid.; Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off").

[89] Denver Post, Jan. 11, 2006.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid.; Pueblo Chieftain, Nov. 7, 2006. See: Lujan v. Corrections Corporation of America, et al., USDC CO, Case No. 1:06-cv-00054-REB-CBS; communication with William Trine, the attorney representing Rudy Lujan, Jan. 17, 2007.

[92] Rocky Mountain News, October 13, 2004.

[93] Ibid.; Denver Post, Aug. 8, 2004.

[94] Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off"); Pueblo Chieftain, Oct. 13, 2004; Denver Post, Aug. 8, 2004.

[95] Denver Post, August 8, 2004.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off"); Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 13, 2004.

[98] Denver Post, August 8, 2004.

[99] Pueblo Chieftain, July 22, 2004 ("Criminal justice activist says Crowley riot wasn't a surprise").

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Ibid.

[105] Pueblo Chieftain, July 22, 2004 ("Riot displaces 600 prisoners").

[106] Ibid.

[107] Ibid.; Pueblo Chieftain, Feb. 25 and June 14, 2005; Rocky Mountain News, July 22, 2004.

[108] Pueblo Chieftain, July 23, 2004.

[109] Colorado Springs Independent, July 29-Aug. 4, 2004.

[110] Pueblo Chieftain, July 23, 2004.

[111] Ibid.

[112] Ibid.

[113] Ibid.

[114] Rocky Mountain News, July 22, 2004.

[115] Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004; Westword, Dec. 23, 2004 ("Going Off").

[116] Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 13, 2004; Pueblo Chieftain, Oct. 13, 2004. The report is available at:

[117] AP article, June 28, 2006; Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 12, 2005; Pueblo Chieftain, Sept. 21, 2004.

[118] Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 13, 2004.

[119] Ibid.; Pueblo Chieftain, Oct. 13, 2004.

[120] Colorado Springs Independent, July 29-Aug. 4, 2004; Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 13, 2004; Pueblo Chieftain, Sept. 21, 2004.

[121] Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 12, 2005.

[122] Pueblo Chieftain, Sept. 22, 2004.

[123] Pueblo Chieftain, June 14 and Oct. 13, 2005. The audit is available at:$FILE/1676%20Private%20Prisons%20Perf%20April%202005.pdf

[124] Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[125] Pueblo Chieftain, June 14 and Oct. 13, 2005; Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 12, 2005 and March 6, 2006.

[126] Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 13, 2004; Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[127] Trial Lawyers for Public Justice press release, Aug. 25, 2005 ( See: Adams, et al. v. CCA, et al., Crowley County District Court (CO), Case No. 2005cv60.

[128] Pueblo Chieftain, Aug. 23, 2005; Westword, Aug. 25, 2005 ("Slow Burn"); Rocky Mountain News, Aug. 24 and 25, 2005.

[129] Westword, Aug. 25, 2005 ("Slow Burn").

[130] Rocky Mountain News, March 30, 2006; Trial Lawyers for Public Justice press release, undated ( See: Abrahamson, et al. v. CCA, et al., Crowley County District Court (CO), Case No. 2006cv8.

[131] Z-wire, July 23, 2004; Sun Herald, July 22, 2004.

[132] Ibid.; Sun Herald, August 13, 2004.

[133] Sun Herald, July 22, 2004.

[134] Clarion Ledger, July 26, 2004.

[135] Sun Herald, July 22, 2004.

[136] Colorado Springs Independent, Jan. 13-19, 2005 (

[137] Honolulu Advertiser, Aug. 3, 2004.

[138] Clarion Ledger, July 26, 2004.

[139] Z-wire, July 23, 2004; Colorado Springs Independent, Jan. 13-19, 2005 (

[140] Clarion Ledger, July 23, 2004; Sun Herald, Aug. 13, 2004.

[141] Clarion Ledger, Aug. 2, 2004; Sun Herald, Aug. 13, 2004.

[142] Clarion Ledger, Aug. 2, 2004; Honolulu Advertiser, Aug. 3, 2004.

[143] Clarion Ledger, July 26, 2004.

[144] Colorado Springs Independent, Jan. 13-19, 2005 (

[145] Times Argus, Sept. 17 and Oct. 28, 2004; Herald-Leader, Sept. 16, 2004.

[146] AP article, Sept. 17, 2004.

[147] Ibid.; WCAX, Sept. 24, 2004; Times Argus, Sept. 17 and 25, 2004; Rutland Herald, Sept. 21, 2004.

[148] Courier-Journal, Sept. 29, 2004.

[149] Lexington Herald Leader, Nov. 20, 2004; WKYT, Oct. 27. 2004; Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[150] Lexington Herald Leader, Sept. 21, 2004.

[151] Lexington Herald Leader, Nov. 20 and 30, 2004; Courier-Journal, Nov. 24, 2004.

[152] Ibid.

[153] Times News, July 22, 2004.

[154] News Herald, Sept. 7 and 8, 2004, Nov. 22, 2004 and Jan. 1 and 24, 2005; Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004; Prison Legal News, July 2006, p.1.

[155] News Herald, Sept. 9 and Dec. 8, 2004.

[156] Nashville Scene, Dec. 16, 2004.

[157] News Herald, Dec. 19, 2004.

[158] News Herald, Dec. 8, 9, 29 and 30, 2004. A copy of the county monitor's review is available at: (

[159] KTEN, Aug. 11, 2006; Cushing Daily Citizen, June 6, 2006; The Oklahoman, April 22 and July 13, 2005; Tulsa World, March 24, 2005.

[160] The Oklahoman, March 24, 2005.

[161] Tulsa World, March 20, 2005.

[162] Reuters, Jan 7, 2004.

[163] E.g., as stated by Colorado Rep. Buffie McFadyen, "It's clear that the for-profit prison industry has no desire to follow their contracts, and it is costing taxpayers money every day. This year, the state could've spent $ 1.1 million on health care, job creation or tourism. Instead, we had to spend that money to watch over private prison facilities that aren't doing their jobs and putting the public safety at risk." Pueblo Chieftain, June 14, 2005.

[164] Nashville Scene, July 15-21, 2004.

[165] Ibid. See: "Corrections Corporation of America: A Critical Look at its First 20 Years," Dec. 2003. The report is available at: publications/cca_20_years_20031201/CCA_Report.pdf

[166] Henry Herald, July 23, 2004.

[167] Nashville Scene, July 15-21, 2004 and Dec. 16, 2004; Prison Legal News, April 2005 and May 2006. Richardson's family filed a lawsuit against CCA, which was settled on Feb. 22, 2006 for an undisclosed amount [it has since been revealed that the settlement was for $2 million]. See: Vilella, et al. v. Corrections Corp, et al., USDC MD TN, Case No. 3:04-cv-00661.

[168] See, e.g., "Prison Privatization: Past and Present," by Matthew Zito, December 8, 2003 (; "Private Prisons," John Howard Society of Alberta, 2002 (; "Convict Lease System," The New Georgia Encyclopedia (


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