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Cafeteria company divests of stock in American private prisons

Activists declare victory, vow to keep challenging Sodexho Marriott Services on foreign prison holdings
By Ariel Troster

MONTREAL: Student activists and cafeteria consumers are declaring victory after North America's largest institutional food service provider announced that it has sold its holdings in an American private prison company. French multinational Sodexho Alliance, which recently bought out food service company

Sodexho Marriott Services, sold off its 8 percent stake in Corrections Corporation of America on May 30. Chairman Pierre Bellon said in a company press release that "we have now determined that our CCA investment is no longer in line with our strategic objectives and is in conflict with our policy."

The Prison Moratorium Project spearheaded a North American cafeteria boycott campaign aimed at pressuring Sodexho Alliance into divesting of its CCA shares. The campaign spread to over 60 colleges and universities, including The University of Toronto and Concordia University in Montreal. He places the credit for the company's decision squarely on the shoulders of the students who spoke out.

Read the full story on Straight Goods.

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Each of the six 192-inmate pods of the jail features a secured visitation area, above, where prisoners communicate with their visitors through thick plastic walls via telephone.

Inmates are required to shower in stalls like this. There are two in each day room.

Each living unit contains 16 cells (eight upstairs and eight down) that accommodates two inmates.

The 7 by 14-foot cells feature a bunk bed, one toilet/sink unit and a small shelf table that protrudes out from the wall with two stools that are bolted down.

Each living unit contains 16 cells (eight upstairs and eight down) that accommodates two inmates.

The 7 by 14-foot cells feature a bunk bed, one toilet/sink unit and a small shelf table that protrudes out from the wall with two stools that are bolted down.

"I'm particularly happy with their focus on decreasing recidivism rates," said Corrections Minister Rob Sampson. "The more we can drive the reoffending rate down, the less people we'll have returning to our institutions and that will save tax payers money."

Although there has never been a formalized and efficient way for the province to track recidivism rates, Sampson said the ministry is in the process of developing such a system.

"The reoffending statistics will be taken off police records systems so that we can find out who has reoffended and we can match that to those who have left our system," he said.

"So, the systems are there. We're piecing them together now so they can tell us the results."

With an annual budget of about $34 million, MTC will employ more than 300 people and have an annual payroll in excess of $15 million.

Management & Training Corporation, the new operator of the super jail, will draw on its expertise as rehabilitators and trainers to turn the lives of inmates around, according to MTC president and CEO, Scott Marquardt.

"Although public safety is our number one priority, the area that we can distinguish ourselves is in the programming area," Marquardt told a group of reporters assembled inside the jail last Thursday. "MTC's commitment to corrections is to provide programs and opportunities to inmates to turn their lives around and successfully integrate into society. Not every one of them will take advantage of this opportunity but our past experience has shown us that a substantial number will."

Programming that includes life skills, anger management, substance abuse counselling, crisis intervention and cognitive skills will be part of every inmate's routine while incarcerated at the 1,184-bed facility. Group and individual counselling will also be available to the inmates who are serving sentences up to two years less a day.

"We plan on being active participants in the community. We will look for ways to give back. We will also make it a priority to keep the community informed on what is happening at the Central North Correctional Centre," he said.

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Opposition accuses Ontario premier of lying over 'half-hearted' apology


Opposition leaders called the Ontario premier a liar for a half-hearted apology made after he allegedly called a critic an "asshole" in the legislature this week.

While Premier Mike Harris wouldn't say whether or not he used the profanity in the legislature, and he insisted any comment that infuriated the opposition was made during a private conversation.

"I was having a private conversation with (Municipal Affairs Minister) Chris Hodgson and if any member thought they heard something that they take offence to obviously I apologize," Harris told reporters Wednesday.

"But I was not speaking to anybody in the legislature."

The premier then joked about the situation before entering a cabinet meeting.

"I respect the legislature and I don't know why you're making such a big hassle out of this."

During a brief statement later in the legislature, Harris apologized if any member found his "off-the-record" comment offensive.

But the man to whom Harris allegedly directed his scorn, says the premier wasn't engaged in any conversation when the comment was made.

"I guarantee you he looked right at me and said it with anger in his eyes exactly what he now acknowledges he said that he said in a private conversation," Gerry Phillips, the Liberal native affairs critic, said in an interview.

Several politicians said they heard Harris utter the words "and you are an asshole" after Phillips asked the government a question about the 1995 shooting of aboriginal protester Dudley George.

Instead of admitting he made a mistake during a moment of anger, Phillips said Harris's reaction is typical of his style.

"His first tack is always to bully you, to discredit you, to try and personally attack you. If that doesn't work he'll frankly lie about it.

"Whenever there are two roads to take, a high road and a low road you can bet that he'll take the low road."

The NDP says the premier's behaviour raises questions about his truthfulness on other issues, including whether he ordered provincial police to remove George from Ipperwash provincial police before he was killed.

"If he's prepared to outright lie about something so minor, why should we trust in his integrity on matters of much greater import," Frances Lankin said outside the legislature.

The accusation came on the same day Harris was called to testify at an inquiry into deaths caused by water contamination in Walkerton, Ont.

Hillary Stauth, the premier's aide, declined an opportunity to respond to questions about his integrity.

The premier's response mirrors George W. Bush's reaction during last year's presidential campaign after an open microphone caught him calling a New York Times reporter "a major league asshole."

Bush responded by saying he regretted that "the private comments made it to the public airwaves."

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Waterloo and Wellington Closing

Detention centres in Cambridge and Guelph will close their doors in less than 30 days.

The closing of the two jails was announced four years ago, but now that the doors are finally shutting, about 70 staff in Guelph and 60 in Cambridge face an uncertain future.

"The real impact on people is they don't know whether they will have a job," said union executive member Don Haines in Guelph.

Haines said many questions remain unanswered.

"People are sort of left in the dark. It's been four years and we still don't have answers."

The closings also mean prisoners appearing in Waterloo Region and Guelph courts will have to be transported from the new Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton.

The Correctional Services Ministry is going to issue "surplus notices" to employees shortly.

They will have to decide whether to stay with the ministry in hopes of work at a nearby jail, or take a severance package, said Haines, treasurer of Local 255 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

The ministry let staff at the Wellington Detention Centre on Stone Road in Guelph as well as the Waterloo Detention Centre on Hespeler Road in Cambridge know Wednesday that a 30-day decommissioning process is beginning, and both facilities will be closed by July 6.

The detention centres are maximum-security facilities and mainly house prisoners awaiting trial. Inmates will be transferred gradually to Maplehurst, the new superjail in Milton.

Julia Noonan, spokeswoman for the ministry, could not say how many jobs will be available to the staff from the Guelph and Cambridge centres.

"There will be some positions at Maplehurst," she said, stressing that the future of employees will be decided by the collective agreement the government has with the union

Maplehurst is the first facility in Ontario's correctional system to feature a new design with "pods.'' The pods are self-contained, 192-bed units where inmates spend their days. The new design is expected to improve sight lines, restrict inmate movement and save money.

At 1,500 beds, Maplehurst is the largest correctional facility in Canada.

The Wellington Detention Centre has a capacity for 120 beds, compared to 90 at the Cambridge facility. They are among many jails slated for closing in Ontario as the province restructures the corrections system.

The Guelph Correctional Centre on York Road is also set to close. Decommissioning at the facility, which is much larger than the detention centres, is likely to come in the fall, said Noonan.

Haines said the community would be foolish to think it will be unscathed by the closings, especially at the correctional centre.

"There is going to be some kind of economic impact," he said.

What must be really frustrating to the staff at Wellington is the fact that their institution is set for closure and then the government is going to turn right around and reopen it calling it a different name - it will house GATU, a special training unit. This new unit will house inmates with mental problems until a new facility in Brockville is ready in late 2002.

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Workers told to expect layoff notices later this month

Brantford Jail employees now know the axe is about to fall. The question is when?

Fifty staff members found out at a meeting with the jail's human resources department Wednesday that they'll receive layoff notices later this month, but they're still not sure when the facility will cease operations. Ministry officials say that it could happen some time this fall.

While employees have expected the news for some time - the Ministry said in 1997 the jail would close - the reality of the end of the jail finally began hitting home with some.

"There's a lot of people probably walking around with a numb feeling," Jim Fraser, a union steward with local 247 of OPSEU, which represents Brantford Jail employees, said in an interview Wednesday. "Today is the beginning of reality".

When official notice is given later this month they'll face some tough decisions in that they have five days to respond to the employer. They can transfer to another institution chosen for them by the employer should they have sufficient seniority; choose a buyout package; or simply move on to other jobs.

"Staff have been kept in the dark since 1997 and they still don't know four years later where they will be working when all is said and done."

Union representatives say the closure will mean the loss of $20 million from the local economy.

The decommissioning will commence in Brantford once the Waterloo and Wellington facilities have closed down later this month.

Fraser said the date of the jail's closure depends on the ability of facilities in Hamilton and Milton to take in inmates from Brantford.

Since 1995, as part of its get-tough-on-crime approach, the Harris government has pushed for the privatization of jails and sought to warehouse criminals in U.S. style super jails. That's meant the closure of smaller jails and correctional facilities across the province.

Fraser, a seventeen year veteran, said he is concerned with the government's lack of focus with rehabilitation. "I can say with confidence that when you invest in a rehabilitation program now, you save money later."

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Mentally ill inmates 'a powder keg': Dave Levac MPP

Cites case of Hamilton teen kept in solitary since last October

A critic of the province's corrections services says a mentally disabled youth languishing in a cell and unable to get needed treatment and therapy represents "a powder keg that's going to explode.''

Dave Levac, Brant MPP and the Liberal party's critic for correctional services, is certain there are many others like the Hamilton teen stuck in Ontario's detention centres and not receiving help.

"This is not an isolated case - I believe it is a systemic problem. By their own figures about 15-20 per cent of inmates need mental health services and the front-line workers tell me it's even higher than that,'' Levac said.

Levac also pointed out that the problem of mentally ill inmates and poorly-trained and equipped correctional services staff had been identified by the provincial auditor in 1993 and again last year, but spending estimates released by the province this week show they are cutting staff training, not increasing it.

"We're sitting on a powder keg that's going to explode,'' he said.

Levac was responding to the disclosure this week that a 17-year-old brain-damaged boy has spent the better part of the past eight months in solitary confinement at Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Center while awaiting trial for sexual involvement with an 11-year-old girl.

The youth is locked up for 23 hours a day, and the only real diversion offered him is a television set outside a window in his cell door.

Correctional Services have no way of knowing if there are other mentally disabled young offenders stuck in jail and unable to access needed treatments and therapy because of staffing problems.

"No, I don't know,'' Ontario Correctional Services spokeswoman Julia Noonan admitted yesterday, saying there was no specific system in place to alert the ministry when regional detention centers find themselves unable to deliver vital counselling or treatment programs to young offenders. Instead, Noonan said, they would expect the youth to bring the failure to their attention directly or via the provincial Child Advocate.

The issue highlights a core contradiction in our young offenders prison system: are we trying to punish, or rehabilitate, youth who commit crimes?

And if treatment can diminish the chance of a mentally ill youth re-offending, is it truly cost-effective to fail to fund that treatment?

The teen, whose identity is protected by the Young Offenders Act, suffered severe brain damage in an automobile collision three years ago which increased his impulsive and aggressive acts while impairing his judgement, his lawyer Robert Wasserman told the court last week. Under the care of a local brain injury program the boy had been making progress, Wasserman said, but his arrest and imprisonment put an end to that.

Attempts to integrate the youth into general treatment programs for young offenders at the Barton Street facility failed because there were insufficient staff and facilities there, court documents show.

Yesterday Noonan refused to comment on any aspect of the youth's case, citing the restrictive disclosure provisions of the Young Offenders Act. But she did say that all youth brought into custody are assessed to see if they need counselling, medical treatment or therapy.

"All I can say is (those services) are provided to the best of staff's abilities.''

The teen, who pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual interference last week, requires speech therapy, physiotherapy and psychological counselling, but was receiving none of those until about six weeks ago when arrangements were finally made to bring in help from an outside agency. On May 29 The judge in the case asked that the youth be moved to the Sprucedale Youth Centre in Simcoe for a full assessment and treatment prior to his sentencing on Aug. 31.

That still hasn't happened and yesterday Wasserman said if correctional staff have not transferred the youth by next week, he'll take the unusual step of asking the court to waive the pre-sentencing reports and have his client sentenced immediately so he can get the treatment he needs.

"There's no point in waiting for an assessment or report if it's just going to hold up his treatment,'' Wasserman said.

Noonan said that on average it takes anywhere from "a couple of days to a couple of weeks'' for youth to move from sentencing to placement, depending on the complexity of the case and the beds and programs available.

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Bill to halt prison privatization reintroduced in Congress

June 08, 2001

Corrections workers across the country, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, are applauding the reintroduction of the Public Safety Act in Congress.

Sen. Russ Feingold, and Reps. Ted Strickland, John Sweeney, Tim Holden and Steve Horn were praised for reintroducing the Act in April.

AFSCME Corrections United, the nation's largest corrections union, said it fully supports the lawmakers' persistence in trying to halt the proliferation of for-profit prisons by introducing the Public Safety Act.

The bill's passage would prohibit federal private prisons and deny grants for correctional facilities to states and localities that operate private correctional facilities. By keeping prison operations a public function, the bill would protect taxpayers by avoiding hidden costs and financial and legal liabilities, union officials said.

AFSCME represents 60,000 corrections officers and 20,000 corrections employees in maximum-security facilities, state prisons and county jails.

The union says public safety has taken a back seat to corporate profit in private prisons across the country. They say turning a profit often means cutting corners, hiring unqualified and poorly trained corrections personnel, and understaffing facilities.

"Incarcerating criminals is one of the most fundamental government responsibilities," Strickland said as he reintroduced the bill. "It is crucial that this responsibility stays in the hands of public safety officers and elected officials."

The bottom line for sworn state and local correctional officers, AFSCME officials say, is to protect communities from those behind bars. AFSCME Corrections United says the bill is the best protection.

Source: AFSCME and staff reports.

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Police seeking advice on whether to arrest
ex-CCA employee on drug complaint

The Associated Press - June 13, 2001
TULSA, Okla.

Tulsa police will conduct lab tests before deciding whether to ask prosecutors about arresting a former Tulsa Jail employee on a drug complaint.

Ted Roosevelt Crisp resigned from his job at the facility after jail personnel found Valium in his sock during an employee shakedown last Thursday, said Chris Howard, a spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the facility.

Crisp had been employed by CCA since Oct. 23.

A CCA assistant shift supervisor told police in the jail's booking area that he had found a plastic bag containing 10 blue pills in one of the guards' sock. The CCA supervisor told police that the pills were later identified as 10-milligram tablets of Valium, records show.

No arrest have been made. Tulsa Police Officer Lucky Lamons said Tuesday that the department will test the pills and get an opinion from prosecutors on whether to proceed with an arrest on a complaint of possession of a controlled drug with the intent to distribute and carrying a controlled substance into the jail.

CCA routinely pats down all employees, Howard said. This is one of the first times an employee has been caught with what was alleged to be drugs, he said.

"Each shift gets it at least once a week," Howard said. "We hope that it would be a deterrent for bringing in contraband, not just drugs, but tobacco, lighters."

Employees empty their pockets and can be asked to take off their shoes. Howard said he once came in with a Coca-Cola during a shakedown and had to pour it out.

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Ontario Tories return to policy roots

The Canadian Press - Jun 15, 2001
TORONTO (CP) -- Break out the picket signs and pepper spray -- it's going to be a hot, angry summer in Ontario.

Activists are mobilizing as the Conservative government shakes up public policy in an attempt to recapture the spirit of 1995's Common Sense Revolution campaign.

A recent series of controversial Tory policy decisions, most notably a proposed tax credit for families with kids in private school, is fanning the already growing flames of protest, observers warn.

"People are becoming activated again," said Henry Jacek, a political science professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.

Having spent most of their patented tax-cut magic, the Tories are anxious to woo their core supporters before the next election, and are using a course of more "extreme" right-wing policy to do it, Jacek said.

As a result, their long-standing opponents -- unions, anti-poverty activists, teachers -- are losing their cool.

"You're going to start to see the poverty people going berserk. The teachers are going to go berserk. There's a lot of people starting to say, 'I'm just so sick of this government, I'm ready to explode,"' Jacek said.

"It's already been quite a summer, but we may very well have a very explosive autumn."

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Mike Harris - looking for a raise

Looking to Ottawa with envy, Ontario politicians paved the way yesterday for a pay hike of their own, a raise many suspect will be hefty

But the MPPs have chosen to go about the issue in a way that will allow them to skirt the political pain that inevitably comes with voting themselves a raise.

With the spring Legislative session winding down, the Conservative government introduced a bill that would give the province's integrity commissioner the job of setting MPP salaries.

The decision by the commissioner, former justice Gregory Evans, would be final and binding.

Only a week after their federal counterparts in Ottawa faced intense scrutiny for approving a 20 per cent pay hike for themselves, Ontario's MPPs say they are in a conflict of interest on the issue and should not have a say in their pay.

While no dollar figures have been mentioned, the most recent independent review of what MPPs should earn, conducted more than a year ago, called for a 33 per cent increase.

The pay bill, introduced by House Leader Janet Ecker, would give Evans the authority to make any pay hikes retroactive.

MPPs now earn a base salary of $78,007; cabinet ministers earn $111,000.

``. . . The proposal that is before Members of the Legislature is for a process that takes a decision away from politicians. There's a self-interest here. They shouldn't be the ones making the decision about their pay,'' Ecker told reporters.

All on the Tory benches voted in favour of the move on first reading, as did the Liberal bench, with the exception of Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale-High Park).

Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty was not present for the vote but told reporters he supports the bill and would recommend that Evans look at awarding MPPs a raise in keeping with the 2 per cent or 3 per cent increases awarded to the broader public service.

But all six New Democrats present for the vote opposed the move, including leader Howard Hampton.
``For something as contentious as this, that is handing over the spending power to someone who is not accountable, I think in fact there should be public hearings,'' the NDP leader said.

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Prison can't secure city's salvation

The Fresno Bee - June 19, 2001

It's not likely Orange Cove will get the federal prison that it's competing against Mendota for, but that won't stop Mayor Victor Lopez. He's courting private prison builders just in case.

Lopez is convinced that a prison would mean salvation for one of California's poorest cities, bringing high-paying jobs, more tax dollars and spin-off development.

Many of the would-be prison's neighbors are equally convinced it will be the city's ruination, draining water from its lifeblood industry, agriculture, putting more high-speed commuters on two-lane roads and scaring off potential development with higher crime.

At last week's emotional public hearing on the issue, the two sides faced off -- the mostly Anglo, established farmers and business owners against the Hispanic, new immigrant laborers and blue-collar workers who want permanent, full-time jobs.

Ironically neither side's predictions are likely to be fulfilled. According to the few experts who have studied how prisons affect small towns, prisons rarely bring economic boom or more crime and crowding.

Orange Cove's leaders would do well to look to places such as Avenal, Delano or Corcoran that still are struggling with soaring unemployment despite the prisons they host. The San Joaquin Valley, with its plethora of struggling rural towns, has become a prison mecca with no real measurable benefits.

A 1990 state study of Avenal found that there was little financial boost from the state lockup because prison employees were willing to commute long distances rather than relocate to a city they deemed too small, isolated and without amenities. Avenal's 16% unemployment rate is the same as before the prison was built.

Orange Cove might find itself in the same position.

Mayor Lopez insists his town will be different because he'll make sure residents are trained and ready for prison guard jobs. He points to how the town took 27 perpetual welfare mothers and turned them into certified day-care workers for the town's new child-care center: "If I can do that, sure as heck I can get some security guards ready."

Cathy Ramirez says there already are people ready for those jobs. The college-educated Ramirez commutes 45 minutes because she can't get a job in her hometown. She has three college friends just like her who don't have the money to relocate for work and have resorted to picking peaches here.

"It's frustrating," Ramirez says. "It's time to let the city grow."

Orange Cove certainly needs something. Unemployment is 34%, and 69% of residents get some type of welfare. With a per capita income of $4,300, it ranks as California's poorest city. Any time there's a big freeze, it gets worse.

Manuel Ferreira, the city parks director, doesn't necessarily want a prison, but he doesn't see any better options: "We desperately need diversification. We need something besides oranges ... We're going to dry up and blow away as a town otherwise."

He's right.

Too bad Orange Cove's opposing factions can't work together to bring in something with real, demonstrated benefits -- like maybe a call center or a food-processing plant.

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Legislators approve settlement over abandoned private prison plans

The Associated Press June 21, 2001
Legislators have endorsed a $1.5 million settlement to avoid being sued by a private corrections company over the state's abandonment of plans for a private prison in Tooele County.

"We warned lawmakers," said Steve Erickson, co-founder of Utah Citizens Education Project. "Heading down the private prison path was buying a pig in a poke. Turns out it was all pig and no pokey."

Before agreeing Wednesday to settle, House Majority Leader Kevin Garn criticized the Department of Corrections for mishandling negotiations with Cornell prior to the Legislature withdrawing its financial support last year.

Sen. Ed Mayne, D-West Valley City, feared the settlement would set a bad precedent and encourage other contractors to sue the state for work completed without an agreement. "This contract was never signed."

Although neither side committed to a contract, Corrections has acknowledged the department made statements and issued instructions that led Cornell to believe it was authorized to proceed with the work, Sen. David Gladwell, R-Ogden, said.

The $1.5 million figure is roughly $2 million less than Cornell and its subcontractors, VCBO Architects and Hogan Construction, said they were owed. For its money, Utah will receive architectural plans that are three-quarters complete, but in all probability worthless, Erickson said.

The state also paid $97,765 to Grantsville for a water line that was enlarged and extended across a residential development to serve the proposed prison. However, as homes and businesses hook to the line, the state will receive connection fees until the amount is repaid.

Cornell's bid proposal was accepted in June 1999.

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Inmate's family sues prison firm, state officials

The Associated Press - SANTA FE
June 19, 2001

The family of an Albuquerque man who was killed two years ago inside a privately run prison in southern New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against state officials and the company in charge of the lockup.

Richard Garcia's relatives claim prison officials knowingly created dangerous conditions that led to his death.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, names Wackenhut Corrections Corp., a Florida-based company that owns and operates the Lea County Correctional Facility; Gov. Gary Johnson; Corrections Secretary Rob Perry; and several prison officials.

Santa Fe attorneys Mark Donatelli and Robert Rothstein, who are representing the Garcia family, are seeking unspecified damages.

State and Wackenhut officials said Monday they could not comment on the pending lawsuit.

Garcia, 47, was in an isolation cell in June 1999 when a guard opened the door, allegedly allowing two inmates to enter and stab Garcia 50 times.

Inmates Paul Payne, 27, and John Price, 29, were charged with capital murder in Garcia's death.

Price pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Payne's trial is set for November.

According to the lawsuit, state and Wackenhut officials knew Payne and Price were violent offenders with a history of armed attacks on other prisoners.

Despite their histories, the lawsuit says the two inmates were appointed as trustees in the administrative segregation unit where Garcia was housed.

Garcia, who had been serving a term for aggravated battery, was to have been released this year.

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Another escape from Cornell!

Albuquerque - June 19, 2001
Teen Scales 'Unclimbable Fence'

A 17-year-old prisoner escaped from the Santa Fe County juvenile detention center around 6:40 p.m. Monday by climbing over a 20-foot-high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's deputies apprehended Orlando Haws, 17, of Santa Fe without incident about three hours later, Undersheriff Benjie Montano said. Haws was found walking at 9:30 p.m. along the road at Siringo Road and Camino Carlos Rey, Montano said.

Montano said Haws apparently climbed the fence in an outdoor area of the detention center known as a "bullpen" when the guards weren't looking.

"When the staff turned its back he climbed over the top and took off," Montano said.

Paul Doucette, a spokesman for Cornell Cos., a Texas-based company that runs the juvenile jail, said the fence manufacturer touts the fence as "unclimbable" and claims a university climbing team could not scale it.

An unspecified number of guards at the facility attempted to chase Haws over the fence but could not climb it, Doucette added.

Haws said that in addition to the barbed wire, the fence curves inward to deter climbers.

"He climbed what is reputed to be an unclimbable fence," Doucette said.

Doucette said Haws escaped from a recreation area, and other prisoners and several guards were present at the time.

Haws was in custody on a probation violation, Montano said. He did not have information on his underlying charge or charges.

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Youth Jail Security To Be Assessed

Albuquerque Journal
June 20, 2001

A security consultant will visit the Santa Fe County juvenile detention center to assess Monday's escape by a 17-year-old, who climbed over a 20-foot, barbed wire-topped fence, a jail official said Tuesday.

Gary Miller, senior division director for Cornell Companies, said Tuesday that the security consultant will determine whether the juvenile jail needs to be made more secure, or whether Monday night's escape is an aberration.

Houston-based Cornell Companies operates both the Santa Fe County juvenile jail and the adult jail.

Miller said the consultant, who is employed by Cornell, may visit as soon as next week. In the meantime, the recreation area at the juvenile jail known as the "bullpen," from which Orlando Haws of Santa Fe escaped, is closed to prisoners, Miller said.

The area will remain closed until the consultant gives jail officials a security assessment, he said.

While much of the recreation area is lined by a fence made by a company that touts its product as "unclimbable" because it curves over the enclosed area, Haws scaled a small section of a different type, Miller said.

"This one section was not part of that newer fence that was put in," he said.

Miller added that it's still quite a feat that Miller was able to get over the fence and then scale another, smaller fence outside and escape on foot.

About 11 detainees, including Haws, and two jail staff members were participating in a horticulture class in the courtyard when Haws escaped, Miller said.

Haws was apprehended without incident about three hours after his 6:40 p.m. escape, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department.

At the time of his escape, Haws was in custody on a probation violation, Santa Fe County Undersheriff Benjie Montano has said. Jail officials would not say Tuesday what charge or charges led to Haws' probation.

Haws was back in custody "under more intensive or close supervision" Tuesday, Miller said.

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