Friday, January 30, 2009

Escape from New Castle; Failures of Correctional Privatization Mount

Another success of correctional privatization:

Guard Charged with Aiding Prison Escape

That was sarcasm. The GEO Group is a private corrections company that runs the prison at New Castle.

Here locally Marion County Jail #2 is run by Corrections Corporation of America. Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson, which contracts with CCA to run the facility, has been notified of safety problems at the facility: radios not working, TV monitors and cameras not working, razor blades left in open waste baskets where they are fished out and made into weapons, nurses required to escort inmates throughout the facility and to go see inmates in their without security. Even though it is a hostage situation made to order, Sheriff Anderson, refuses to even look at the situation much less order changes.

Sheriff Anderson has not audited Jail #2 since at least 2005 and gave CCA a new ten year contract in 2007 even though several inmates died at the facility in 2006. In late 2008, Sheriff Anderson convinced the City-County Council to allow him to pay CCA nearly a quarter of a million dollars for inmate meals at Jail #2 and for an inflation adjustment CCA chose to take on the contract. Only throuble is that, per the CCA-Sheriff contract, inmate meals are, in fact, paid by CCA, not the Sheriff, and the inflation adjustment is automatic at the start of the year.

I requested that CCA produce legal invoices to see if that taxpayer money from the Sheriff was, contrary to the representation made to the City-County Council, being diverted to pay for the legal fees of CCA. (CCA has had 13 lawsuits filed against it for its operation of Jail #2 since 2005.) Even though the public access counselor has several times ruled that these legal invoices to companies with privatization contracts are open records, CCA refuses to provide them. Ironically, the Sheriff-CCA contract has an indemnity provision which requires CCA to pay the Sheriff's legal fees and judgments should they get pulled into lawsuits because of CCA's actions or negligence. Yet taxpayer money appears to be going into the other direction...landing in the pockets of a private company and/or its law firm.

If government is unwilling to monitor private companies providing a public service pursuant to a contract, the whole idea of privatization is doomed to failure.

See also: Did Sheriff Anderson Mislead the Council into Giving Private Jail Company Nearly a Quarter of a Million Dollars It Was Not Entitled to Receive (12/15/2008)


Leslie Sourwine said...

The violations of these private corporations never end, do they Paul. It really doesn't matter what name the corporation bears the violations that occur are taking place in all of them. I have a bone to pick with the New Castle Prison who has a duty to protect inmates from other violent inmates. According to the complaints I've received the IA department grants protective custody to inmates only if they have juicy information to share concerning drug activity at the prison. The problem is that once IA pulls in the inmates those who are breaking the laws know that someone may have talked. After IA has determined inmates do not have any more information to share they try to force the inmate back into general population where at least one inmate was attacked. Because the inmates fear for their lives and safety many are refusing to return to GP. These guys in New Castle are having their good time taken way causing them to serve longer sentences or they are forced to take a chance that they will be attacked and killed once they return to GP. Of course this private facility whose profits depend on how many bodies they maintain at the prison benefits from the inmates losing good time. The Geo Group doesn’t have to worry about new inmates coming in they just hang on to the ones they already have guaranteeing they maintain the present inmate level, thus maintaining their profits. New Castle also avoids giving medical care by transferring those inmates who may have serious health issues to state run facilities. Or in the case of one inmate who was in the group losing their good time whom New Castle released on time in spite of his refusal to return to GP because they didn’t want to provide him with surgery for an injury he received inside the facility. The injury happened close to 9 months before his release and doctor’s at Wishard recommended surgery but New Castle never provided that surgery. At the time of this man’s release he was not in a position to return to the job market because of his injury. If not for friends who took him in he would have been on the streets trying to survive. Corrections Corporation of America and The Geo Group along with other smaller corporations take taxpayer money while failing to provide the service they contract for. The complaints you and I have received from Marion County Jail II are duplicated in the complaints I am receiving from New Castle. The only difference is the name of the facility. The violations are all the same. With both facilities government, the corporations CEO’s, wardens and Buss at the DOC are all aware of the violations because they all receive copies of the complaints as they are filed.

Leslie Sourwine says taxpayer money sure travels through the pockets of many before it reaches it's final destination

Diana Vice said...

Let me guess. Are the attorneys involved from THAT law firm?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Diana, yes the law firm is Barnes & Thornburg. Who else?

I have little doubt that taxpayer money was intended to end up in that law firm's coffers.

Burlington, the problem with GEO and CCA is that elected officials do not do their due diligence in monitoring their privatization contracts. They simply hand those companies a long term contract and walk away. Their silence is often bought with campaign contributions and other benefits. It's been reported that these private jail companies will hand out stock or hire relatives of elected officials. It's all part of the political game.

Leslie Sourwine said...

Well Paul out of sight out of mind isn't working anymore. These same private intuitions helped to change the tort laws concerning inmate law suits to make it hard for them to file suit. What makes me really mad is that criminals are expected to acknowledge their crimes and pay society for the damage they've caused. While elected officials and CEO's refuse to even admit they've done anything wrong. There are many problems at the GEO facility namely drugs being smuggled in there to the inmates. CCA has the same problem with the drugs and the inmate on inmate violence. There is a reason the videos and radios do not work inside CCA. If it's not seen or heard then officials can say incidents didn't happen and the inmate was injured or died at his own hand. If government claims crimes are up it's no wonder when you have criminals rehabilitating criminals. When our complaints go in I make sure everyone including CEO's and the Commissioner of the DOC receive the complaint. Any lawsuits that may be filed for the violations and denial of critical medical care places the responsibility on all the heads who have the authority to order changes. I’ve waited months for the good time issue to be settled but it doesn’t look like prison officials are interested in doing the job they were contracted to do. There’s no other choice but to file a complaint against everyone who is involved in the problems. That would include Daniels on down. As for CCA they are still giving the wrong meds to the wrong inmates and someone is going to die from it. In that event nothing short of murder charges should be filed and those responsible persecuted. Anderson and Ballard may very well eliminate their own jobs because of their failure to supervise and enforce the contract CCA signed with the city.

Leslie Sourwine says there is a very thin layer between convicted criminals and elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Sooooo, once again, the problem is really with GOVERNMENT and their inability to regulate. It's right in front of your nose, Paul. Why can't you see it?

bstar (a.k.a. anon)