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There was a public outcry in January after a member of the Toronto Police Force had his family threatened and his personal vehicle was torched - the story was covered in all the media.

Seeing the need for protection of personal information of police officers and other members of the justice community, MPP David Levac introduced a bill to ensure such privacy.

The bill passed second reading in the house on June 7th, but later in committee hearing June 26th the Tory government killed Levac's bill citing it is too much red tape and too hard to read.

Corrections cancels contract; Webb jail fails exam

Webb County Commissioners received notice Monday of failure of inspection at the Webb County jail from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

The news, along with another bit of information that the Corrections Corporation of America near Rio Bravo was cancelling its contract, came to commissioners during their regular Webb Commissioners Court meeting Monday morning.

County Judge Mercurio Martinez Jr. read the two communications at the beginning of the commissioners court meeting.

The failure of inspection letter from the jail standards commission, dated June 13, said the Webb County jail 96-bed retrofit did not meet minimum jail standards and directed that Webb County "not occupy any part of the new addition until accomplishing resolution of all discrepancies." Jail standards staff members based the conclusion on an inspection on June 12.

Discrepancies listed included bar grating not reinforced, shower floors not properly pitched to drain, mirrors located on a wrong lavatory, plumbing access door not equipped with maximum security lock, non-secured electrical and telephone junction boxes, and smoke and fume removal system not equipped with manual activation means.

Brandon Wood, director of Facility Planning, signed the report.

The jail standards commission said it was available to re-inspect the facility as corrective action was taken.

CCA said it was exercising an option to cancel the contract with Webb County, which allowed the county to use up to 96 beds at the facility, effective June 30.

The contract was to expire anyway effective July 31, County Attorney Homero Ramirez said.

The CCA letter referenced a coordination meeting between Martinez and CCA officials on May 17 and added that they understood that Webb County had "retrofitted jail space in lieu of the 96 (CCA) beds."

Also, the CCA letter said that CCA was currently in the process of competing for federal contracts that would dedicate their facility exclusively for federal use.

CCA noted, as has the county auditor's jail reports, that the county has not used its 96-bed option for several months.

Conversation moved to Commissioner Felix Velasquez asking if there was not a provision in the contract with CCA that they pay Webb County $2 per day per inmate, that he thought was to have begun in January 2001.

County Attorney Homero Ramirez said he remembered something on that, but that he would have to research it and report back, noting that the contract went through several amendments in the process of turning the facility over to CCA.

Last week the commissioners court heard proposals from three jail builders for a new 700-bed jail in Webb County.

Commissioner Mike Urdiales followed, asking, "Why are we talking 700 beds while CCA is there and a competitor?"

Commissioner Judith Gutierrez said that from the days of the old detention center that had to be abandoned because of a fire, and more recently, housing federal prisoners has offset a lot of exprunning the jail.

"We need to look at all resources because there are few available to the county," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez maintained that the county needs to look at the numbers, even to the benefit of a jail opening up jobs.

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Private company turns two units over to state prison system

NEWPORT, Ark. - AP - June 30, 2001

Two prisons here managed by a private company under contract to the state were scheduled to become state operations early Sunday.

Wackenhut Correction Corp. announced in February that it had opted not to renew the contract under which it had operated the Grimes Unit for men and the McPherson Unit for women since they opened on Jan. 15, 1998.

Uniform colors will change, from Wackenhut's brown to the blue worn by state Correction Department guards, according to Dina Tyler, spokeswoman for the prison system. But many of the personnel won't change, as 157 of the two unit's approximately 250 employees were hired from Wackenhut.

Wackenhut's management of the prisons had drawn fire from the state since late last year over issues that included inmate idleness and the facilities' cleanliness, and from employees who accused Wackenhut of inmate abuse and security breaches.

"The (state prison) board decided it would be in the best interest of the state, based on the director's recommendations, to take control of the management responsibilities," Tyler said, rather than seek bids on contracts for another private company to run the units.

The prisons house more than 1,200 inmates, returning Warden John Maples said - about evenly divided between men 18 to 26 years old in the Grimes Unit and women in the McPherson Unit.

A new wing under construction at the Grimes unit is expected to accommodate another 400 male prisoners, state prison chief Larry Norris said.

"That will allow us to increase inmate population to 1,000 at Grimes," Norris said. "We should be completed with that construction about this time next year."

In addition to the new prison wing, which was built with inmate labor supervised by "free-world" contractors, several new homes and other buildings are under construction on prison property.

"Those are quarters for wardens, support staff and emergency teams," he said. "The state requires wardens to live on prison grounds to respond to emergencies on a 24-hour basis."

Maples and Larry May, the prison systems operations director, confirmed Friday that the state plans to initiate new inmate work programs. May said a furniture refurbishing facility is planned.

"The prison industry will employ 80 to 100 inmates," May said. "They will be paid in (time off for good behavior), not wages."

Maples and Norris said the two units would begin operating under state policies, rather than those Wackenhut had used.

"There won't be a lot of huge changes," Norris said. "Warden Maples will work from a state policy book rather than from a Wackenhut policy book."

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Six CCA guards plead guilty to federal bribery charges

The Washington Post - June 29, 2001
Washington, DC:
Six former D.C. corrections officers pleaded guilty this week to federal bribery charges after an FBI sting operation in which they accepted money in return for smuggling cash and pagers to inmates, prosecutors announced yesterday.

The six men were indicted in U.S. District Court last month on charges that they brought cash and pagers to inmates at the District's Correctional Treatment Facility after accepting hundreds of dollars from a man who said he was acting on behalf of inmates. The man turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, prosecutors said.

Pleading guilty were Henry Hayes, 58, of Capitol Heights; Aric R. Mack, 29, of Capitol Heights; Jonathan Mason, 31, of Oxon Hill; Anthony L. McLeod, 42, of Temple Hills; Kenneth Moore, 44, of Southeast Washington; and Cory Williams, 31, of Laurel. All have either resigned or been fired from the Corrections Corp. of America, the private contractor that operates the jail facility in Southeast Washington.

Four other corrections officers still face trial on bribery charges.

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Another private prison escape:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: June 28, 2001

Escaped convict considered armed

BASILE - Authorities are saying the inmate who escaped from the Basile Correctional Facility on Sunday night is considered armed and dangerous.

Gerald Matte of Eunice escaped from the private prison Sunday night by overpowering a prison guard and later stole a truck, which he abandoned near Mamou Monday morning. An all-day search by more than 30 law enforcement officials in the wooded area near where the truck was found turned up nothing.

Detective Joe Demoruelle of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department said Matte is suspected of being involved in at least one of three burglaries in the Eunice area Tuesday night. A cellphone and a gun were taken in one of the house burglaries, he said. A review of the calls made from the stolen phone showed that one of the calls was made to the fugitive's sister.

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County not immune from workers' compensation claim by contracted CO

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that a county prison board does not qualify for immunity under the workers' compensation act for corrections officers hired by private prison contractors. That leaves the county open for a lawsuit.

Background: John Peck was a corrections officer employed by Wackenhut Corrections Corporation when he slipped in a puddle of water and fell while attempting to close a heavy prison door near a slop sink.

As a result of the fall, he suffered injuries to his left shoulder requiring two surgeries. Subsequently, he filed a claim against Wackenhut. He has been receiving workers' compensation benefits for about three years.

Peck sought to supplement his compensation by suing the Delaware County Board of Prison Inspectors, alleging it was negligent in the care, custody and control of the prison premises, and the negligence resulted in his injuries.

The prison board said it was Peck's statutory employer and as such, it had immunity from such tort actions. Under that premise, the board filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 9, 1999.

Peck appealed.

Ruling: The Commonwealth Court ruled that the prison board is not the statutory employer in this case because Peck's employer, Wackenhut, was an independent contractor. In Simonton v. Morton, 275 Pa. 562, 568, 199 A. 732, 734 (1923) the Supreme Court established the benchmark for the determination of independent contractor status.

"When a contract is let for work to be done by another in which the contractee reserves no control over the means of its accomplishment, but merely as to the result, the employment is an independent one, establishing the relation of a contractee and contractor and not that of master and servant."

In Peck's case, Wackenhut had the authority to hire, fire, discipline and direct its employees in the actual performance of their work and the facility's day-to-day operations. The company also determined wages, hours and conditions of employment. The prison board had no say over any of these things. The court, therefore, concluded that the Court of Common Pleas erred in granting summary judgment for the prison board.

The court sent the matter back to the Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings consistent with its ruling.

Peck v. Delaware County Board of Prison Inspectors, No. 97-15878, (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jan. 22, 2001.)

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Jail operator opens its doors

June 29, 2001
Kim Goggins: The Mirror
Without the fanfare many were expecting, Management & Training Corporation opened the doors to its Penetanguishene office on June 20.

With little more than three months to go until the super jail is scheduled to open for business, MTC has opened a tiny office - its Canadian headquarters - at 4 Robert St. W.

To Citizens Against Private Prisons chair, Sharon Dion, the size of the office shows the Utah-based company's lack of commitment to the local community.

"Have you seen their tiny office? I was hoping someone in town would benefit from them renting a large space," she said. "The government gave us the impression they would have a big downtown headquarters."

Dion suspects the company will either locate their main offices at the jail or in Toronto - neither of which will benefit local town coffers.

Regardless of its size, several people lined up Monday morning, waiting for the doors to open.

John W., an applicant who didn't want his full name used, said he would welcome a job closer to his Lafontaine home.

He currently lives part-time in Toronto, where he is employed. "I'll see what they're looking for," he said, adding that the 1,184-bed facility is good for the area. "It will bring business to this town."

However small the office is, it's acting like a beacon, drawing in jobseekers with resumes from all over. A desk drawer full of completed applications demonstrates the significant interest that has been raised in the community, said office assistant, Vicki Robertson.

Mike May, MTC's director of corrections, agreed that the response has been excellent.

"We've had quite a number of resumes sent to us at our corporate head office," he told The Mirror in a telephone interview. "Even the people doing work on the facility have sent us resumes that people have dropped off there."

A job fair at the prison will be held on Thursday, July 5, from noon to 8 p.m. and on July 6, from 7 a.m. to noon.

Although position descriptions and salaries have not been finalized, jobs will be available in the following areas: finance, information systems, human resources, maintenance, security, inmate records. academic education, vocational training, counselling, recreation and social services.

The company has also advertised positions for a human resources manager and facility administrator.

According to May, of the 300 or so positions available, the majority will be for correctional officers.

When initially offered a position with the new private jail, only 37 out of a possible 400 OPSEU correctional officers accepted positions with MTC - citing safety concerns. But recently, some members of OPSEU have shown more of an interest in at least listening to what MTC has to say.

Those interested in forwarding a resume must also complete an application form to ensure consideration by MTC.

MTC Canada applications can be picked up at the Robert Street West office and the Penetanguishene and Midland Employment Resource Centres. Applications can also be printed from the company's website at

MTC got its start as the education and training division of a large American company in the 1960s.

In 1980, the Utah-based company - Management & Training Corporation (MTC) - was formed as a training company and today, it is the U.S. Department of Labour's largest contractor.

The family-owned business is said to be the third-largest operator of private adult correctional facilities worldwide. Although it operates 14 correctional facilities (Penetanguishene will be its 15) and 23 Job Corps Centres in the United States, Australia and the Marshall Islands, the company is also known for its job placement, vocational training and counselling.
Full Story

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Victor Cullen Academy employees fired amid "Fight Club" allegations

The Associated Press - July 3, 2001

Two Victor Cullen Academy employees have been fired amid a broadening state investigation into allegations that they staged fights between teen-age inmates.

The employees, who were not identified, were dismissed about two weeks ago, said Woodie Harper, a vice president for Correctional Services Corp., the parent company of the contractor that runs the school.

A third employee at Victor Cullen resigned, state officials said.

An administrator at the school said last week when the allegations were made public that two employees had been suspended.

A report by the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Social Services is expected to be completed by the end of the week, Juvenile Justice spokesman Lee Towers said.

"The investigations are under way, and we should have more to say about it shortly," Towers said. He would not give details of the investigations.

State police have conducted a preliminary investigation and are awaiting the other reports before determining whether to launch a criminal probe, Maj. Greg Shipley, a department spokesman, said.

Victor Cullen staff said last week that the fights involved boys from the academy's Silver Charm cottage, for teens with drug and alcohol problems. The counselors allegedly took the boys to secluded parts of campus and let them fight out their differences.

Glenn Stoudemire, who oversees Victor Cullen for Correctional Services, said the counselors were not organizing the fights. He said they failed to intervene in the teens' physical conflicts, violating company policy.

The school is operated by Youth Services International, an Owings Mills-based division of Correctional Services Corp. of Sarasota, Fla.

State auditors recommended fining YSI after state audit released last November said the 225-bed facility was severely understaffed and fell short of requirements for mental health care.

The audit was ordered after at least four inmates escaped in 18 months. Several escapes have been reported since.

The American Correctional Association visited the academy last week. Accreditation by the group could be a factor in whether the state renews YSI's contract next year.

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Arizona: CCA prison in turmoil.

A team sent to check on conditions at an Arizona prison that holds more than 560 Hawai'i inmates conducted only a limited inspection because of the "hostile environment," including the potential for violence, according to state reports obtained by The Advertiser.

The desert prison, where two Hawai'i inmates have died in recent months, was described in the April 30 report as "a facility in turmoil," and other officials described lax security conditions, reports of widespread drug use and domination by members of a prison gang.

The Florence, Ariz., prison is operated by Corrections Corporation of America. Hawai'i pays CCA about $17 million a year to house about 1,100 state inmates on the Mainland, including the prisoners at Florence.

The state contract with CCA expired yesterday, and the state is preparing to sign a new contract with the company despite the problems at the Florence prison. CCA will charge the state more per inmate under the new agreement, but state Public Safety Director Ted Sakai declined to release details about the new contract until it is finished.

Sakai acknowledged the problems in Florence but said the state should continue to contract with CCA.

"I think it's working out generally with the company," he said. "I think this facility wasn't well managed, but you have to consider that for the most part of our contract, the large majority of our inmates were in other facilities which have been operating satisfactorily."

Sakai said a follow-up visit to the Florence prison in early June suggested the facility is calmer, and that more inmate educational and rehabilitation programs are operating. But the June reports also cite nearly a dozen areas where CCA apparently is not meeting the terms of its contract with the state.

The reports by the monitoring team highlight problems with an inexperienced prison staff and refer to "widespread" drug smuggling into the facility by prison staff. One prison official admitted to the Hawai'i inspectors that he smuggled marijuana into the prison because he was afraid of gang members incarcerated there, according to the reports.

The officer, who is not named in the reports, told the monitors he "traded drugs for protection." Sakai said that officer no longer works at the Florence prison.

Sgt. Patrick Kawai, a Hawai'i gang intelligence officer who was sent to inspect the Florence facility, reported in April that "I never once while at FCC observed an officer frisk search or strip search an inmate. I never once observed an officer go through any inmate's property, or search anything an inmate was carrying."

That lack of "simple security measures" allows inmates to move weapons and other contraband, Kawai said in his report.

According to the April report by the team that visited Florence, tours of the inmate housing units, recreational areas, prison industries facilities, inmate work programs, library, visitation area and chaplain's area were not conducted "due to the hostile environment" in the prison.

Sakai said that meant the team did not conduct the usual, complete inspections of the prison. But he said at least some members of the Hawai'i inspection team visited much of the facility.

"There were two men and two women on the team. Because of the gang activity and what they perceived to be dangers to staff and inmates, the women did not look at the entire facility. I think the two men, the captain and the sergeant, inspected most of the facility," he said.

Among the warning signs that triggered concern in Hawai'i were six reported assaults on inmates at the facility in April, and an April 11 riot in a recreation yard that involved 23 inmates. Two prison officials were injured and an inmate was seriously injured in the prison yard melee, according to the prison reports.

After the April visit, Sakai complained to CCA of an "unacceptable level of violence" at Florence. He demanded changes, and CCA responded with an eight-day lockdown at the prison while corrections officials searched the facility for contraband.

A total of 41 inmates suspected of gang involvement were later shipped to another CCA facility in New Mexico. Two of those prisoners have since been moved again to a "supermax" prison in Colorado, and the rest are still in New Mexico, Sakai said.

CCA sent its own management team to Florence and removed Warden Pablo Sedillo, who was replaced by Frank Luna.

In a telephone interview last week, Luna declined to comment on the contents of the reports because he hasn't read them. But he said there have not been any significant incidents at the prison since he took over six weeks ago.

The Advertiser has been seeking reports about the Florence inspections for some time but state officials have been reluctant to provide them. When the April report was first released, most of it was blacked out by officials citing security concerns. After further requests from the newspaper and intervention by the governor's office, the reports were released.

The reports filed by Hawai'i corrections officials describe efforts to gather information about a prison gang known as United Samoan Organization or "USO Family," which prison officials described in reports as "Hawai'i's first bona-fide prison gang" in nearly 20 years.

The gang included about 95 inmates from Hawai'i who were serving time at Florence. Members were allegedly involved in attacks on inmates and prison staff, drug trafficking, and having sex with female detainees who were placed at the Florence facility by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, according to the state reports.

"The gang problem takes a long time to solve, but we think we've got the key people isolated so they won't contaminate the rest of the population and intimidate the staff. And I think Frank Luna's going to be much tougher with the gangs," Sakai said.

Two Hawai'i inmates died at Florence in April, including one alleged gang member who prison officials said died after swallowing a package of drugs in an attempt to smuggle them into the facility. Preliminary reports are that inmate Iulani Amani, 23, died of a drug-induced heart attack April 16.

Inmate John Kia, 41, also died at Florence on April 25. His death was ruled to be from natural causes.

The monitoring reports also reveal that a year after the first Hawai'i prisoners were sent to Florence, the prison still does not offer educational and rehabilitation programs to inmates that are required by CCA's contract with the state.

The contract with CCA calls for programs for all qualified general population inmates to participate in "meaningful" vocational, educational, drug treatment or other treatment and counseling programs. The cost of those programs is included in the $42 per day the state pays CCA to house Hawai'i inmates.

Asked about shortcomings in inmate programs, warden Luna replied: "We've instituted some programs here. I'll leave it at that."

Luna said the prison, located about 45 miles southeast of Phoenix, is setting up woodworking operations and a computer lab, and has created a new substance abuse program the has 40 inmates enrolled.

When asked if CCA is now providing the programs required by the contract, Sakai replied: "I don't think so, but again we understand it's going to take some time. ... For example, they've committed to starting the substance abuse treatment program. They're going to have to get the staff together. I don't know if they have it yet, and then it takes time to build these programs up."

According to the April report by the monitors, Florence initially offered inmates only a basic mental health course. CCA recently added anger management and some classes related to substance abuse. Educational programs were added last March, more than a year after Hawai'i inmates first arrived at the facility, according to the report.

According to the April monitor's report, of the more than 560 inmates at Florence at the time, 33 were assigned to educational programs, a dozen were in substance abuse treatment and 15 were in a hobby craft program.

Inmates have complained about the lack of educational, sex offender and drug treatment programs at Florence, in part because parole often depends on whether inmates complete required programs.

Sakai acknowledged virtually no inmate programs were available for the first 100 inmates who were shipped to Florence about a year ago.

"We realize that, but we had been talking to (CCA) about getting more inmates to Arizona because we understood their position that with 100 inmates they aren't going to provide the full range of programs," Sakai said. "We just didn't have enough inmates to justify, for example, creating a whole module for substance abuse treatment."

The June report also said Florence is failing to conduct random urinalysis of inmates, which would give an indication of the scope of any drug smuggling into the facility. A testing program is required under the CCA contract with the state, and Luna said he has agreed to establish such testing.

The June report also quotes a Florence prison official as admitting the prison medical unit is "grossly understaffed."

Hawai'i has been sending prison inmates to privately run Mainland correctional facilities since 1995. The state initially placed inmates in Texas facilities run by the Bobby Ross Group, and in 1998 began moving inmates into CCA prisons in Minnesota, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma and Minnesota won't accept some Hawai'i inmates because of the kinds of crimes they committed or their security classifications. The first hundred Hawai'i prisoners were moved to Arizona because Arizona would accept them, and CCA had an empty facility there, Sakai said.

"We didn't have too many alternatives," Sakai said. "We know these were problem inmates."

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Tallulah prison owners may be asked to explain millions in profits

Louisiana: July 1, 2001

The three politically connected owners of the juvenile prison at Tallulah may find themselves hauled before a state Senate committee to explain how they reaped millions of dollars in fees and profits from the prison.

The prison owners received more than $8.7 million in dividends and salaries since 1995, at a time when mismanagement led to the eventual state takeover of the prison, according to a May 16 state Legislative Auditor's report.

"I was absolutely sickened to see the profiteering that took place at the state's expense," said Sen. Jay Dardenne, a member of the Senate Judiciary B Committee that oversees corrections issues.

Committee Chairman Donald Cravins said he will convene the committee in the coming weeks to examine the contract with Trans-American Development Associates Inc.

Cravins said he plans to subpoena Trans-American owners George A. Fischer of Metairie, James R. Brown of Tallulah and Verdi Adam of Baton Rouge to appear before the committee.

Fischer served as chief of staff, campaign manager and state highway department chief for former Gov. Edwin Edwards and as health department secretary for former Gov. Dave Treen.

Brown is the son of the late Sen. Charles Brown of Tallulah.

Adam is a former state highway engineer.

The audit report also reveals that the day after Trans-American refinanced its debt for an additional $7.6 million in 1997, the company paid the three owners $2 million in dividends.

"It's the sweetest deal that money can buy," said Cravins, an Arnaudville Democrat.

The contract is a cooperative endeavor agreement in which the state contracted with the City of Tallulah for a juvenile prison, which the city contracted with Trans-American to build and run.

Here's what various officials told legislative auditors about the birth of that agreement:

State Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder said former Tallulah Mayor Donald Walker chose the Fischer-Brown-Adam firm.

Walker said Brown approached him with the idea, but Brown negotiated the contract with Stalder.

Brown said Walker went with him to discuss the proposal with Stalder.

Fischer said he spoke with then Gov. Edwin Edwards because if Edwards objected, the prison would not have been built.

Edwards said he was not involved in the selection of Trans-American, but he did ask Stalder to meet with Fischer and Brown. He said he left the Stalder.

Edwards "allowed it to happen and his allies got very rich, very quick with very little risk," said Dardenne, a Baton Rouge Republican who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

Cravins said the committee may need the advice of an attorney versed in corporate law to extricate the state from the cooperative endeavor agreement.

Stalder insists the state can do it simply by voting to end the annual appropriations for the prison.

The legislative auditors, however, claim a 1997 contract amendment stipulates the state cannot cancel the contract as long as the private debt for the prison remains outstanding.

The Legislature this session slashed $1 million from the $4.3 million Stalder requested for the prison lease. That should leave enough to pay the prison debt without generating profits and fees to Trans-American.

Cravins and Dardenne said they have yet to hear from Trans-American about the cut.

Brown, Fischer and Adam did not return telephone calls from The Advocate seeking comment.

The City of Tallulah filed suit against Trans-American in 6th Judicial District Court in June seeking $225,000 - the amount the city claims the company refused to pay after the state seized control of the prison.

The money is supposed to cover the city's expenses in providing municipal services for the prison.

Louisiana's experiment with for-profit juvenile prisons - at the small, isolated north Louisiana cities of Tallulah and Jena - has been a failure that Gov. Mike Foster promised not to repeat.

The state began the experiment in 1992 when a lack of prison space created a backlog of 400 juvenile offenders waiting to be incarcerated.

Various parishes either sued or threatened to sue the state, according to Stalder.

The state entered cooperative endeavor agreements with the City of Tallulah for the Tallulah prison and with the LaSalle Hospital Service District for the Jena prison, developed by different owners.

Riots erupted at both prisons, both within the first month of operations, in 1994 at the 700-bed Tallulah prison and in 1998 at the 276-bed Jena prison.

Like the Tallulah prison, the birth of the Jena prison was mired in political controversy.

The Jena prison figured in a federal investigation of Edwards, whose associate, Eunice cattleman Cecil Brown, 56, was sentenced to four years and three months for his role in an extortion scheme involving the prison.

Former Houston Mayor Fred Hofheinz is serving probation for failing to report the extortion attempt. Edwards was not charged in the case and has denied any wrongdoing. Prosecutors described him as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Wackenhut Corrections Corp., a publicly traded company based in Florida, purchased the rights to the Jena prison project and completed it.

Management problems led to a state takeover of the prison and Wackenhut's decision to close it.

At Tallulah, the state made a series of seizures before the last permanent one on Sept. 21, 1999.

"Tallulah's never worked. It's had three riots since 1994 and almost a dozen wardens," said Derwyn Bunton, a senior attorney for the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana.

Bunton said the state should close the Tallulah prison.

"That money would best be spent for alternatives in the communities where these kids come from."

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Arkansas: State takes over privateers

By Michael Haddigan
June 29, 2001

The state is set to take over two Arkansas prisons from the private company that built and operated the units at Newport since 1998, prison officials say.

Dina Tyler, spokesman for the state Correction Department, said officials expect few problems July 1 when the private Wackenhut Corporation transfers to the state responsibility for the units, which house 1,285 inmates. "Everything is going well," Tyler said. "The transition is smooth."

Wackenhut decided not to seek a new contract with the state after state Correction Board members and department officials sharply criticized the company for unsanitary conditions and inmate idleness at the separate men's and women's prisons.

The company, which is based in Palm Gardens, Fla., cited higher-than-expected inmate medical costs and a tight labor market as the basis for its decision to leave Arkansas.

The FBI is investigating allegations that Wackenhut guards threatened, gassed and beat handcuffed male inmates at the Newport prison. Tyler said she had no word on the status of the probe.

The medium-security Scott Grimes Correctional Facility houses 600 males aged 16 to 24. The adjacent Ronald McPherson Correctional Facility is currently Arkansas's only women's prison, with 685 inmates. Each unit holds about 600 inmates.

Tyler said the Correction Department has been interviewing Wackenhut correctional officers since February. "The last word I had was that the state had hired 157 employees that will come to work for the state on July 1," she said. Tyler said the remaining 43 positions would likely be filled soon.. The change will mean a pay raise for the Wackenhut guards. The company paid entry-level officers about $16,000 a year. The state's base pay for beginning correctional officers had been about $19,000 a year. But Tyler said that on July 1 annual salaries for entry-level officers will go to $23,098 at the Grimes Unit and $21,775 for McPherson unit guards. The raises are meant to reduce chronic high turnover among the Newport guards, she said.

The Grimes officers will get more money because "we tried to put the money where the worst problems are," she said.

As Wackenhut leaves the state, another private correctional company is preparing to take over the troubled Alexander Youth Services Center. Cornell Companies Inc. signed a contract with the state Human Services Department on June 14 and is to take over the center in September.

Cornell has promised to offer better programs at a lower cost. Wackenhut made similar promises when it won the contract to build and operate the two Newport prisons. The state legislature in 1995 appropriated $20.5 million to hire a private company to build and operate the prison units. Wackenhut won the contract a year later. In January 1998, women inmates who had previously been housed at the Tucker Unit moved to McPherson. The young male inmates moved to Grimes from the Varner Unit.

Documents obtained by the Arkansas Times last year showed that the units were plagued by security equipment breakdowns and inadequate staffing almost from the beginning. John Maples, who was senior warden over both units under Wackenhut, has signed on with the state and will remain as warden over both units. "He has years and years of experience. We were impressed with the job he did when he came to Newport and with the improvements he made to both units," Tyler said.

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Inmates riot at private prison at Wheelwright

07/06/2001 - Associated Press Newswires

WHEELWRIGHT, Ky. (AP) - Authorities said inmates at the Otter Creek Correctional Center rioted for about nine hours Thursday night before calm was restored.

No injuries were reported. Kentucky State Police said troopers were sent from Pikeville, Morehead and Hazard to assist guards in calming 300 unruly inmates.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections said Otter Creek is a private facility that houses only Indiana offenders.

Kentucky: More on CCA riot.

Otter Creek prison under lock down after riot

WHEELWRIGHT, Ky. (AP) - Rioting inmates surrendered Friday morning after taking control of four dormitories Thursday evening at the medium-security Otter Creek Correctional Center in Floyd County.

"They destroyed everything they could get their hands on, but no one was seriously injured," said Don Burke, spokesman for the private prison owned by Corrections Corp. of America in Nashville, Tenn.

The eastern Kentucky prison, which opened in 1993, holds 600 inmates. Burke said 377 were in the dormitories. Not all of them were willing participants in the riot, he said.

Burke said negotiators were able to convince the inmates to give up peaceably after about nine hours. They held no hostages and made no demands in their talks with special operations and response teams called in to quell the riot.

"We were blessed," he said.

The inmates, all of whom are from the Indiana prison system, will be interviewed individually today to try to determine the cause of the riot.

"I have no idea what keyed it off," Burke said. "It's just one of those things that happen. We never even got a clue that it was going to happen."

The prison, originally designated for minimum security inmates, switched to medium security last year.
Kentucky State Police said troopers were sent from Pikeville, Morehead and Hazard to surround the outside of the prison to help guard against escapes.

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Prison escapee capitalized on opportunities

BROOKSVILLE -- Authorities aren't sure how long John Devane had been planning his escape, or if events simply conspired in his favor.

But officials were nonetheless chagrined Thursday as they recalled how the Hernando County inmate, who is still at large, managed to outwit guards.

First, they said, he fished a low-security inmate bracelet out of a jail garbage can during his cleaning duties. Different inmates wear different bracelets, which mark what privileges they are allowed. Apparently, a former inmate had thrown his away when he was released. Sometime later, Devane switched armbands, convincing guards that he was allowed out of the jail as long as he was supervised by an officer, a sheriff's report said.

And finally, while going to take out the trash on jail property, Devane told another inmate to go tell a guard he would be a while because he was taking "a leak" behind a trash bin.

By the time the officer went to see what was taking so long, Devane was gone.

"Our officers are here eight hours a day. But the inmates, of course, have 24-7 to figure out how to get out of here," said warden Kevin Watson. "We have a great security team here, but this is just one of those things that happens."

The last time it happened was in March 1999, when a work release inmate who was assigned to wash trucks found a set of keys in one of those trucks. He started up the pickup and headed for his parents' house in Lacoochee, where deputies rearrested him hours later.

In that case, the escapee had been facing one charge of writing bad checks. Devan in contrast, has spent most of his life in prison on burglary and theft convictions. In 1984, he was sentenced to one year after escaping authorities in Hillsborough County. Last month, he was sentenced to four years for armed burglary.

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Arizona: Death at private boot camp

July 5, 2001 New York Times
Accounts Put Darker Cloud Over Camp

MOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz., July 4 As the investigation continued today into the death of a 14-year-old boy at a desert boot camp for troubled youth, other campers told of abusive treatment they said they had suffered at the hands of counselors who were not much older than the children they were supervising.

Children at the camp west of Phoenix said they were punched, kicked, handcuffed and forced to swallow mud. They said they were allowed to wear only black sweat pants and sweatshirts in temperatures that regularly exceeded 100 degrees and were physically abused for asking for food, water or medical attention.

The autopsy report on the teenager who died on Sunday, Tony Haynes, is not expected to be made public for several weeks. But Justin Hurff, 12, and his brother, Michael, 9, who watched him as artificial respiration failed to revive him, said Tony was dehydrated and delirious before help arrived. Other witnesses said Tony vomited after he was forced to eat mud.

"We all cried and cried and cried," Michael Hurff said in an hourlong interview in which he and Justin recounted their experiences at the camp run by America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association, which describes itself as a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping troubled youth.

The camp, 15 miles south of Buckeye, Ariz., was shut down on Monday by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the boy's death and the litany of accusations from parents that the camp operators had abused their children. The sheriff's department said about 40 boys and girls, ages 7 to 17, had been attending.

Tony Haynes is the latest child to die in a series of incidents in recent years at so-called wilderness therapy camps for young people in which rugged conditions and tough discipline are used to break antisocial and, in many cases, criminal habits. Many of the camps are in Western states, like Arizona, that do not regulate them.

Capt. Tim Dorn, the commander of investigations for the Maricopa Sheriff's Department, said today that much of what the Hurff boys said had been corroborated by others and that investigators were putting together a case to present to the county attorney for prosecution. When asked if he believed the accusations rose to the level of criminal offenses, Captain Dorn said, "There certainly is that possibility."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that when investigators came to the camp this week they noticed bruises on some children.

The camp is run by Charles F. Long, 56, who calls himself Colonel. Captain Dorn said Mr. Long had refused to speak to investigators. Mr. Long did not return telephone messages seeking comment today or Tuesday.

The Hurff boys said much of the abuse occurred when Mr. Long was absent, leaving all supervision in the hands of three people known to the campers as "sergeants." Justin said one was about the same age as Mr. Long and two others were 17 or 18. Captain Dorn said the three had been interviewed by investigators.

The Hurff brothers, who had enrolled for a five-week program, said beatings and other abuses began several days after they arrived last week. Once, they said, all the campers were told to lie on their backs alongside one another after which the sergeants, wearing boots, ran across their chests. Michael said younger campers were often made to ingest dirt that turned to mud after the sergeants poured water into their mouths.

Complaints, the boys said, were answered with physical punishment.

"They'd make you stand up at attention, and if you moved they'd punch you down," Michael said.

In one exercise, they said, campers were made to place rocks along a trail.

"But if you didn't do it right, they stomped on your arms," Justin said. "They could do anything they wanted because Colonel Long wasn't there."

But the boys said they were frightened of Mr. Long as well. They said he once held a knife to the throat of an older boy who wanted to quit the program. "I saw that," Justin said.

The Hurff boys said they believed that of all the children, none were abused more than Tony Haynes, whose troubled past included slashing the tires on his mother's car. Justin Hurff said the sergeants once handcuffed and shackled Tony before they pulled down his pants and "beat his butt with a boot."

"He was screaming, `I want to go home,' but they just put mud in his mouth and kicked him some more," Michael said.

By Sunday, the Hurff boys said, Tony was hallucinating, insisting that Indians were chasing him. At one point, they said, he passed out, prompting the sergeants to douse him with water. When that did not appear to help, he was taken by pickup truck to a hotel in Buckeye where they said Mr. Long was staying, only to be returned a short time later. At that time, Justin said, the sergeants dragged him from the truck and placed him in a sleeping bag to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

"He looked blue to me and he was foaming at the mouth," Justin said.

Someone called 911, and Tony was taken to a hospital in Buckeye, where he was pronounced dead hours later.

In many cases, parents said they relied on word-of-mouth endorsements before sending their children to the camp, and heard of abuses only after the boy died. Chris Hanner, whose son Brandon, 14, described similar episodes of abuse in a separate interview, said Brandon's mother, from whom he is divorced, had been assured by a friend that the camp had proved helpful to the friend's daughter.

"She is his mom; I respected her decision," Mr. Hanner said. "Then my child comes home with a boot-print bruise on his body. It almost makes me sick."

Doreen Hurff said that after her sons attended another of Mr. Long's camps last summer and a Saturday program for five months this year, with no problems, she did not hesitate to send them back this year. But the difference, she discovered, was that Mr. Long was not at the camp at all times this year, as she said he had told parents he would be.

"Sure, I signed a form that said I understood corporal punishment would be used," Ms. Hurff said. "But I thought corporal punishment would mean a swat on the rear end. I never thought it meant anything like this."

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New Mexico County inmate found dead

The Santa Fe New Mexican - July 04, 2001

Officials suspect heroin overdose killed Santiago Martinez, 19, inside jail's segregation unit

A 19-year-old inmate at the Santa Fe County jail died Tuesday of a suspected overdose of heroin inside a segregation unit of the privately run facility, a jail spokesman said.

The inmate, Santiago Martinez, of Chimayo, received the drugs when he went to Santa Fe's state district court for a hearing, said Steve Gonzales, spokesman for the Houston-based Cornell Companies Inc. -- the private contractor that runs the problem-riddled jail.

Martinez's mother, Tessie Martinez, said her son had told her he had been in the segregation unit for about 20 days for an incident involving a food tray that had been blamed on him.

Gonzales said Tuesday he didn't know why or how long Santiago Martinez had been in segregation.

Inmates in segregation are locked down in a cell for 23 hours a day and are only let out for an hour, officials have said.

Santiago Martinez died inside the cell about 2:30 p.m., Gonzales said.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Ray Sisneros said Tuesday that Santiago Martinez smuggled the heroin and a syringe into the jail inside a "body cavity."

Santiago Martinez had appeared before District Court Judge Michael Vigil on Monday to schedule dates for an upcoming trial on charges of trafficking a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia, court records indicate.

The teen also was at the jail on three counts of receiving or transferring stolen property, court records show.

Santiago Martinez had been in the jail since September, Sisneros said.

Tessie Martinez said she saw her son Monday in court. "I just waved to him and asked him, 'How you doing mi hijito?"' and he nodded his head."

"He gave us a really beautiful smile from afar, and his eyes shined," she said.

Santiago Martinez had been living with his parents in Chimayo before his arrest, and they had just bought him a trailer so he could move onto the property after he got out of jail, she said.

Tessie Martinez said her son has six brothers and two sisters. "We're a very united family," she said. "When one's in trouble, we're all in trouble."

Santiago Martinez was scheduled to go to trial later this month on the drug charges. His brother, Carlos Martinez, was his co-defendant, court records show.

The last inmate to have died at the jail was convicted murderer Ricky Roybal, 34. He hanged himself with a bedsheet Dec. 28 inside a segregation unit of the jail as he awaited trial for murder.

In addition, a former jail guard, Kevin Gallegos, 20, of Las Vegas, N.M., was charged earlier this year with bringing marijuana to an inmate and was fired.

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