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Was CCA letter sent to Governor's office attempt to lessen worries about cell phones at Mineral Wells?

For years, a steady stream of reports have plagued Corrections Corporation of America's Mineral Wells Pre-parole Transfer Center.  They have included prisoner injuries requiring hospitalization to reports of inappropriate sexual behavior between guards and prisoners, excessive use of force (including chemical spray) by guards, and at least one prisoner uprising.

By far the most common report coming out of the facility was the introduction of contraband - specifically cell phones - being thrown over the prison gates.  In fact, in 2008 alone, we reported four separate arrests of individuals throwing cell phones into the prison.  Mineral Wells was floated as a possible facility closure back in 2010, but avoided the ax and in fact was awarded a new contract in August of this year.

We've now received documents (attached) that show that CCA contacted the Governor's office in an attempt to assuage concerns about cell phone smuggling, and to push a piece of national legislation that would give states more power to block cell phone signals near prisons. 

According to CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger's cover letter (accompanied by pages of company propoganda):

"Cell phones are quickly surpassing tobacco and drugs as the number one contraband item in our nation's prison and jail system today.  We need to look no further than the several recent examples of how contraband cell phones have played roles in serious criminal activity.  These include threats to judicial and government officials, escape incidents and the furtherance of gang related crime, both inside and outside correctional facilities.  Unfortunately, even the best operational security protocols within correctional facilities have been unable to deter 100 percent of this cell phone contraband.

As a leading correctional provider, CCA fully supports national efforts to combat prison cell phone contraband.  In that regard, we wanted you to be aware that we are encouraging elected officials to support the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009 (S. 251), authored by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  This legislation would enable correctional agencies to utilize existing technology to block cell phone signals within prisons, jails, and detention centers."

The full documents are certainly worth a thumb through to see what kind of materials CCA is sending elected officials in Texas. 

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PDF icon CCA Perry docs.pdf3.67 MB
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