Why o why o why o did CCA think it could make stuff up in Ohio

Corrections Corporation of America’s (CCA) letter offering to purchase state and local prisons/jails in return for a 20-year deal and 90% guaranteed occupancy rate (probably making the hotel lobby very jealous) continues to gather press.  Last week, an AP story (Corrections firm offers states cash for prisons, Greg Bluestein, Associated Press) about the facility was picked up by a number of newspapers around the country. 

 In defense of the deal, CCA continues to point to its “successful” purchase of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ohio.  Did CCA think no one would check to verify this claim? Unfortunately for CCA, the ACLU of Ohio did.  Quoting Mark Twain, they wrote "’[t]here are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.’ A recent letter sent out by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to 48 governors offering to buy state prisons included a little of each.”

 Here are some highlights from the ACLU of Ohio’s blog:

 · “While CCA claims it will save Ohioans $3 million per year, a recent report analyzing the state's contract shows that taxpayers will actually lose money over the next 20 years.  Of course, this is not earth-shattering news, as other fiscal analyses in Ohio and Arizona have produced similar results.”

· “CCA also leads readers to believe there was no drama behind the transition to private ownership, but the people of Conneaut may disagree.  As CCA took the reins of the Lake Erie facility, Conneaut city officials were informed that it would be the duty of local police officers to investigate crimes at the private prison.  Typically, the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) handles all investigations at state prisons, but private properties are under the jurisdiction of local police forces.  This could cost the city of Conneaut taxpayer dollars it just doesn't have.”

· “CCA also points out that 93 percent of the previous staff from the Lake Erie facility was retained in the ownership transfer — the implication being that governors shouldn't worry about privatization because most state corrections officers will be hired back.  What it does not explain is that Lake Erie has been a privately operated facility for over a decade.  … Certainly, if the facility had employed state corrections officers, many of those workers could not afford to continue working there.  It's no secret that private prisons pay employees far less than state workers and provide few benefits, leaving doubt that privatization of a state facility would be as ‘seamless’ as CCA describes in its letter.”

On the bright side, I imagine CCA’s management and shareholders made out quite well.  Stay tuned to Texas Prison Bid’ness for more on this story. 

Comments

CCA at Lake Erie

I see all the concerns are about taxpayers, but no one is considering the actual prison and the deplorable changes that have taken place.  If a guy wants to have a blanket or clothing of any kind, or towels and washclothes, they must be purchased through their two approved vendors - at an enormous price - which most of the prisoners' families cannot afford.  Everything they do in the prison, costs the families money.  Visits - yes they have vending machines - but the cost 4-5 times more than anything on the outside.  

They also no longer care to control the inmates.  The beatings and deaths that happen at that prison are awful.  The gangs run that prison and CCA has no control over what's going on inside.  Yes they are good at keeping them in, but at what cost?

They also promise programs to help retrain prisoners.  That's actually not true - the one or two programs they have, you can't get into unless you have progressed to a life long criminal who will not learn from their programs and who will be right back in there a few months after they get out.  

They need someone to give them a brain to really think about what they are doing.  

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.