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Ohio quietly recommends new contract with troubled private food contractor Aramark

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) has recommended the state sign a new two-year contract with the for-profit food vendor, Aramark. The ODRC did not announce the recommendation, which was actually completed last year. The Associated Press got wind of it only after “a records request said the prisons department was satisfied with Aramark’s performance and wanted to renew despite issues with the contract.” Those “issues” refer to the [Continue reading]

Corizon Health Services could (and should) lose its $1.2 billion contract with Florida

Florida’s new corrections secretary, Julie Jones, is threatening to toss out Corizon Health Services’ $1.2 billion contract with the state if they refuse to negotiate a new deal “with an eye to enhancing prescription drug delivery, mental health services and nursing care [including] requiring more registered nurses to be on hand rather than less-skilled staffers.” The nation’s largest for-profit healthcare provider in prisons was also recently accused of [Continue reading]

In New York City, ending youth solitary confinement comes with a complicated price tag

Under Mayor de Blasio’s new preliminary budget, 282 correction officers would be brought on to oversee New York City’s juvenile prisoners as funding for staff and alternative programming doubles to $25.3 million in 2016 — the year NYC is scheduled to end solitary confinement for 18-21 year olds. The mayor’s proposal, which arrives amid a federal lawsuit and several bombshell investigations concerning conditions in the city’s jails, also includes: Funding [Continue reading]

Conflict of interest brewing as Ohio confronts prison overcrowding

Ohio’s prison system is facing a severe overcrowding crisis. With facilities hovering around 130% capacity, prison chief Gary Mohr considered declaring an overcrowding emergency for the first time in the state’s history. This would have granted early release to prisoners nearing the end of their sentences, but those plans were inexplicably scuttled less than a month ago. It was unclear what the alternative strategy would be until Governor John Kasich released his budget [Continue reading]

Report: Corizon’s “flagrantly inadequate, substandard and dangerous” care killed Rikers inmate Bradley Ballard

The New York State Commission on Correction released a new report this week, detailing the findings from its investigation into the horrific and preventable death of mentally ill black inmate, Bradley Ballard. Ballard was left in his cell for six days straight in September, 2013. Guards shut the water off to his cell for over four days, and not once during that time was he treated for his schizophrenia and diabetes. On the rare occasion that he was seen by a medical worker, their talks [Continue reading]

Emergency early release taken off table as Ohio considers options for prison overcrowding

As prisoners, advocates and journalists warned of deteriorating conditions in Ohio’s prisons over the past year, the inmate population slowly crept back up to around 30% over capacity. During that time, prisoners in the buckeye state were fed spoiled, inedible meals by the food contractor Aramark, sometimes tainted with maggots. They also suffered abuse and abysmal conditions at private prisons operated by Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), bad enough to inspire a 14-hour peaceful [Continue reading]

NYC’s new rules for solitary are not the reforms we’ve been looking for

Would NYC’s new rules for solitary confinement have saved the life of 19-year-old Andy Henriquez? Henriquez was brought to Rikers Island when he was only 16. Three years later, he was still awaiting trial when he was placed in isolation. Henriquez had complained of chest pains for seven months before being thrown in ‘the bing,’ but no one at the prison took him seriously. Health and correction staff ignored Henriquez’ increasingly-dire calls for help, to the [Continue reading]

UPDATED: NYC Board of Corrections Approves New Rules for Solitary Confinement, ESHU

This post is being updated throughout the day. Please check back later for more updates. Update 8:07, 1/14/15: Here is a copy of the final rules approved by the BOC yesterday. I’ll have more to say on this in the next day or two when I have time to put together a full post, but I would be very cautious of reports and official statements touting Rikers as a new ‘model for reform’ given its proposed restrictions on solitary for juvenile offenders. Not only because there are so [Continue reading]

NYC Doubles Down on Solitary Confinement with Latest Rikers “Reforms”

The AP reports that the NYC Board of Correction (BOC) will vote this coming Tuesday on changes to solitary confinement on Rikers Island, including a new Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU) for the prison’s “most dangerous” inmates and policies that seek to limit punitive segregation for other inmates, particularly the mentally ill and juveniles aged 16-21. The proposed BOC rules also include: Ending isolation for ‘owed time‘ Ending isolation for [Continue reading]

Bureau of Prisons and CCA Remain Silent on Evaluation After Canceling Youngstown Prison Contract

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has finally told officials at Corrections Corp. of America why they cancelled their contract at the private prison in Youngstown, Ohio. According to Youngstown Mayor John McNally, “CCA has learned that a Florida based company scored higher on a list of criteria and was awarded the next contract.” CCA and the BOP have not disclosed any details on the evaluation upon which that decision was reportedly made, angering people on both sides of the issue. [Continue reading]
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