Corrections Corp. of America reaches settlement in Idaho sexual harassment lawsuit

On February 23rd, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) settled a lawsuit brought by a former nurse at the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) named Michelle Pierce, who claimed she had been fired in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and abuse by her colleagues. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Pierce’s disturbing story is one of several to have come out in the wake of Idaho’s decision to take back control of the facility last year. Under CCA’s watch, ICC [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]

Laughably Bad Security Allows Rikers Staff to Make Thousands of Dollars Selling Drugs, Alcohol and Weapons to Inmates

A new report by New York City’s Department of Investigation found rampant security violations on Rikers Island that allowed corrections officers and staff to sell contraband such as weapons, alcohol and narcotics to inmates for a sizable profit. DOI has been investigating the Department of Corrections since early January and plans to release a full report by the end of the year. Security is so lax and inconsistent at Rikers facilities that a high schooler could get through the [Continue reading]

New York City Jails Need More than Resignations and Reforms

There has been a flurry of activity surrounding the NYC Department of Corrections and Rikers Island after a series of horrendous reports exposing subhuman conditions, abuse and corruption at the city’s largest jail. But I am unconvinced that the situation is moving in the right direction. The top uniformed official at the Department of Corrections, William Clemons, resigned at the end of October. Clemons was one of two men to have been promoted by DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte [Continue reading]

CCA is on Both Sides of the Arizona Attorney General Race

I knew Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) had a strong presence in Arizona, but until last night’s Attorney General debate, I didn’t know the extent to which it was involved in this year’s election: The candidates also sparred over [Republican Mark] Brnovich’s lobbying on behalf of private prisons. [Democrat Felicia] Rotellini cited his efforts to kill legislation that would ban companies from bringing violent criminals into Arizona from other states. “Mr. [Continue reading]

Prison Guard Resigns After Dousing Inmates’ Pizza in Pepper Spray, Sending One to Hospital

While some Missouri cops were busy killing an unarmed black teenager, brutalizing community members and threatening journalists in Ferguson, a deputy police officer on the other side of the state was feeding pizzas laced with pepper spray to prisoners at the Franklin County Jail. The deputy, who has not been named, was originally placed on paid leave but then abruptly resigned pending a disciplinary hearing after four inmates accused him of offering them the pizza, which caused them to vomit, [Continue reading]

Did a New Mexico County Commissioner Make House Arrest Inmates Do His Yard Work?

Back in July, New Mexico’s KRQE News reported that officials in Bernalillo County were “scrambling to resurrect a long-dormant investigation into why a group of jail inmates on house arrest was sent to the upscale South Valley homes of Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz and some of his friends with weed whackers, rakes and hedge trimmers to do some clean-up work.” Bernalillo officials were also supposed to examine why this ‘clean team’ spent so much time [Continue reading]