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Florida Announces ‘Sweeping Changes’ After Mentally Ill Inmate Burned to Death in Shower by Prison Guards

NBC Miami is reporting that the Florida Department of Corrections has announced ‘sweeping changes’ to the state’s treatment of mentally ill prisoners. The reforms come after the horrific murder of Darren Rainey: a developmentally disabled man who died after prison guards locked him in a scalding hot shower. Among the changes are: expanded training for officers to deal with emergencies; specific centers where inmates can get specialized counseling for life after incarceration; [Continue reading]

CCA’s $8 Million Overtime Settlement Highlights Problems Facing Private Prison Employees

The Department of Labor has ordered private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America to pay $8 million in back wages and benefits to employees at its California City Corrections Center (CCCC) — a federal detention center in California City, CA. CCA agreed to make the payment — in which many employees will see as much as $30,000 in restitution — but disputed allegations that it had broken the law or violated an agreement with the government and its employees. This comes [Continue reading]

Vermont Spent $50,000 This Year Sending Prison Officials to Visit Inmates in Private Facilities Out-of-State

It turns out that transferring prisoners to private institutions in other states doesn’t just enrich the industry and interfere with rehabilitation. Vermont’s Burlington Free Press reports that private transfers — a policy meant to save the state money and reduce prison overcrowding — are costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a year so corrections staff can attempt to do their jobs from 3,000 miles [Continue reading]

Private Probation: How a $300 Fine Becomes a $9,000 Ransom

Al Jazeera has a must-read report on the rise of for-profit probation companies — an often under-reported sector of the prison industrial complex. Private probation services exist in a dozen states across the nation, and thousands of people are subject to their forced patronage each year. According to a report from Human Rights Watch: Every year, US courts sentence several hundred thousand people to probation and place them under the supervision of for-profit companies for months or [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]

Did CCA Try to Cover Up the Inmate Protest at Youngstown’s Private Prison?

Update: WYTV reports “State Representative Bob Hagan said he is calling for a full review of the facility by the Ohio Corrections Institute Inspection Committee after he was denied access Wednesday to the prison to meet with inmates to hear their grievances.” When I first read that CCA’s private prison in Youngstown, Ohio was on lockdown last night, the few news outlets that reported the story had specifically deemed the situation there a ‘riot.’ I [Continue reading]

The Weak Pursuit of Accountability for Rikers Island’s ‘Culture of Brutality’

The New York Times’ reporting work on Rikers Island is starting to make some government officials squirm. But at the end of the day, emerging punishments and accountability measures seem to fall painfully short of addressing the devolving health and safety situation there. The Times first covered the rise in assaults on civilian employees working at the facility back in May, and then followed up in July with a brutal portrayal of life for its prisoners. Now the Occupational Safety and [Continue reading]

CCA’s Private Immigrant Prison in Ohio on Lockdown After Protests Over Prison Conditions

There was a prisoner protest at CCA’s private immigrant prison in Youngstown, Ohio today. WYTV reports that, “a woman who identified herself as the aunt of an inmate at the prison told WKBN that her nephew and fellow inmates were protesting the prison’s food and the way the guards treat them.” NEOCC is on lock-down and there are “Between 20 and 30 prisoners […] in the recreation area and the Warden is talking with them to try and end the [Continue reading]
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