“What happens if you privatize prisons is that you have a large industry with a vested interest in building ever-more prisons.” -- Molly Ivins, 2003

'I can't breathe': Father begged for help before dying in private jail

Video from a private prison on the Texas-Arkansas-Louisana border showed the distrubing circumstances around the death of a 35-year old man that occurred last July, reported Carbonated.TV. The prison, Bi-State Jail, is privately run by LaSalle Southwest Corrections

Video of Michael Sabbie begging for help. Source: Huffington Post

Michael Sabbie, a father of four, was found dead in his cell three days after his arrest. When he had arrived in court earlier, he said that he was spitting blood and needed to go to the hospital. The video, released by Huffington Post last Wednesday, shows prison guards violently subduing Mr. Sabbie.

The guards flung him to the ground, piled on top of him, and then pepper-sprayed him in the face. A sixth guard joined in and accused him of resisting the other guards, and ignored Mr. Sabbie as he begged "I can't breathe. Please, please, I got pneumonia." He then continued to beg for water as he was examined by a facility nurse, who said his symptoms were normal for someone who had just been hit with pepper spray. He died three days later of 'natural' causes. 

Welcoming new Texas Prison Bid'ness blogger, Jake Crowther

Jake Crowther is the Young Adult Volunteer at Grassroots Leadership and our newest Texas Prison Bid'ness blogger. Originally from Clemson South Carolina, Jake studied Spanish and International Health at Clemson University. During this time, he gained a great appreciation for community development, and the desire to work with individuals who have been marginalized by our society. While at Clemson, he began to explore and learn more of the pain and issues that U.S. policy had caused both in Latin America and among Latino communities in the U.S.

Before coming to Austin, Jake spent a year interning in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. While living on the border, he worked with Frontera de Cristo, a bi-national border ministry.  Their hope is to educate people about U.S. border/immigration policy, its impacts, and the many ways that we can respond to help those directly impacted by these policies. While there, Jake delved deeper into the connection between a broken immigration system and the private prison industry. 

He comes to Grassroots hoping to continue his education, so that he may go out and let others know about these systems that are focusing on making a profit off of human beings. He also hopes to be able to learn ways to use direct action as a mode of helping others wake up and become aware of the issues that are happening in our own backyard.

Stay tuned for more updates from Jake. 

CCA to cut costs amid criticisms

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is set to lay off staff and cut costs as criticism of private prisons continue, reported MarketWatch

On Tuesday, CCA announced a plan to cut costs at their headquarters, while Chief Executive Damon Hininger said he would forfeit $2 million worth of restricted stock that he received in February. He then went on to request the company not reward him any equity-based compensation in 2017. 

CCA shares were falling steadily in after-hours trading and shares have fallen more than 45% since the Dept. of Justice announced they would no longer be using private prisons.

Jail company to work on courthouse in West Texas

Ector County commissioners instructed building maintenance employees to seek help from Community Education Centers Inc. (CEC) on repairs to the sewage system in the courthouse, reported the Odessa American Online. This issue was first reported in March of 2016, when water and raw sewage began leaking from the ceilings underneath the county jail. This put many official documents at risk and created a very unpleasant work environment. 

CEC is the for-profit, private prison company that operates the jail  located in the Ector County courthouse. There is a smell of sewage in the county offices located underneath the jail that CEC operates. The plan to repair the sewage pipes would involve putting smoke inside the pipes and having CEC employees and building maintenance see where the smoke leaked so they could go about repairing the pipes.

CEC said they were willing to spend $15,000 on the project, which is estimated to cost between $3 and $4 million. This would include repairing the pipes and bringing the building up to American with Disabilities Act compliance.  


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