Transparency

New solitary confinement unit plagued by old problems on Rikers Island

At the beginning of March, New York City’s Board of Correction released a preliminary report on Rikers Island’s controversial new isolation facility, the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU). The $14.8 million ESHU was proposed to house 250 of Rikers’ so-called “most dangerous” inmates– a small minority of the prison population that officials claim is responsible for the majority of inmate violence. Amid federal, state and municipal investigations and a [Continue reading]

Thousands of immigrant prisoners moved to undisclosed locations after protesting conditions

Nearly three thousand immigrant prisoners are being transferred to undisclosed federal facilities after a two-day demonstration against indecent living conditions and medical care left the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in need of repairs. Willacy is a private prison operated by the Management and Training Corporation (MTC), where thousands of inmates are housed in khaki-colored Kevlar domes. Located less than an hour north of the Mexico border in the town of Raymondville, Texas, [Continue reading]

Montana legislature debuts bill prohibiting solitary confinement for minors, seriously mentally ill

A bill introduced in the Montana House of Representatives this week would curb the use of isolation in state prisons. The Montana Solitary Confinement Reform Act (or House Bill 490) was introduced by Democrat Jenny Eck and would ban solitary confinement for people under the age of 18 and those with severe mental illness. It would also introduce due process and appeal measures for inmates facing solitary and require weekly mental health evaluations for isolated inmates. Over much of the past [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]

Peaceful Inmate Protest Highlights Dysfunction and Disservice of CCA’s Ohio Private Immigrant Prison

There is rightful anger at Correction Corp. of America’s failures in response to a 14-hour, 250-inmate protest at their for-profit Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Ohio. But any critique that does not discuss the actual protest and its context is missing the point. Inmates appear to have reached a breaking point in their tolerance for poor living conditions at NEOCC, and given CCA’s alarming track record at the facility, we should be paying close attention: CCA first [Continue reading]

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Shuts Press and Public Out of Aramark Prison Food Controversy

In both Michigan and Ohio, Aramark stands accused of unsanitary food service conditions and meal shortages. Ohio announced it is developing plans to invite health inspectors into its prison kitchens to evaluate “cleanliness and food safety, just like restaurants” — a much-needed buffer of oversight for the prison food supply in that state. But Michigan is moving in the totally opposite direction. The Detroit Free Press reports that Governor Snyder is taking oversight of [Continue reading]

CCA Settles Overtime Lawsuit in Kentucky; Pays $260,000 to Shift Supervisors

Before we begin, let me say I love Prison Legal News. They have excellent news reporting AND tireless, intelligent activism that undermines the secrecy surrounding the prison industrial complex. You can imagine my delight when I came across this report that PLN got a US District judge to unseal a $260,000 settlement between CCA and a group of shift supervisors in Kentucky who were denied overtime, arguing it was in the public interest. The details are as follows: Corrections Corporation [Continue reading]

MuckRock’s “Private Prison Project” and the Need for Transparency

MuckRock announces “Private Prison Project.” Here’s why it’s so badly needed. Last week, Muckrock.com announced it was launching the Private Prison Project: a long-term investigation of the use of for-profit prison companies to accommodate America’s exploding incarceration rate. According to the website, which helps the public through the process of filing records requests to government agencies, the first step of the Private Prison Project will be to focus on [Continue reading]