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Anchorage Alaska

October 11, 2001


Government should begin to realize that we don't want private prisons

It may be time for the governor and the Alaska State Legislature (especially Mr. Ward and Mr. Mulder) to understand something. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, "How many times does something have to happen to you before something occurs to you?" We, the real people of this state (not just big money), do not want any private prisons. None, nada, zilch, period. I think this has been voiced and voted on enough, thank you. Now please quit beating that dead horse and move on to the avenues that are necessary to help solve this prison crisis we are facing. Expand existing facilities, establish additional work camps, and look at some alternative sentencing. They should find it just a little embarrassing that another state has our prisoners and millions of our dollars going into their economy. -- J.D. Karsten Palmer

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Albuquerque Journal - October 11, 2001

CCA costs New Mexico city $$$

Property Tax Rate Increased

Torrance County property owners will pay higher property taxes for the 2001 tax year because of a bond issue voters approved last year.
Voters passed the $2.5 million general obligation bond in November to pay for construction of a new county judicial complex in Estancia. At the time, county commissioners and the county manager said property taxes would not be increased to pay off the bonds. The bonds were essentially taking the place of older bonds that were set to be paid off, the officials said.
But at a special meeting of the Torrance County Commission on Oct. 3, County Treasurer Dorothy Sandoval said taxes for 2001 would have to increase to make payments on the debt from the new bonds.
"The debt service went up," Sandoval said. "We have no choice but to raise the (property tax) rate."
The new rate was approved by the commission and will increase taxes by about $2 for each $1,000 of assessed value of a property. The increase will mean the owner of a $100,000 home assessed at 1/3 the market value would pay about $66 more in property tax.
"A lot of people aren't going to be very happy about this," said Commission Chairman Bill Williams. "But we really have no other choice."
County Manager Bob Ayre, however, said after the meeting that the county is losing tax revenue because it doesn't stand firm on its valuations of property.
The county has to make a payment of about $110,000 on general obligation bond debts during fiscal 2001-02, which ends June 30. According to the county's budget, the county expects to collect about $2.3 million in property taxes this year to cover all its expenses, including debts.
County Assessor Chris Pohl said several factors led to the need for an increase in the tax rate.
The most important, Pohl said, is that no new industries have moved into the county in the past several years. Industrial businesses increase the value of property where they operate, he said, so more taxes are generated and the debt is spread out over more payers.
"We haven't seen that many conversions (from lower-valued property to higher-valued property) on the rolls," Pohl said.
In addition, new home construction in the county has slowed. According to U.S. Census figures, Torrance County experienced a 64 percent increase in population from 1990 to 2000. But over the past few years, the number of new homes built has leveled off.
Pohl added that property values also have leveled off in the past couple of years. All those factors mean the amount of money coming to the county through property taxes has remained about the same over the past three years, he said.
Ayre added another reason after the meeting. Pohl, he said, does not stand up for assessments when property owners protest, causing the county to lose money.
Pohl said protests are handled according to state guidelines and no protest has resulted in a change that wasn't appropriate. Property tax assessments on businesses which generate the most taxes take into account several factors including market value, the amount of money the business generates and the original cost of construction of the business, Pohl said.
Protests are handled by the assessor, and property owners can negotiate for lower assessments. But Pohl said property owners must be able to prove a valuation is wrong before he will change it.
Ayre said one example of the county losing income is the Torrance County Detention Facility, owned by Corrections Corporation of America of Tennessee.
The prison had been valued at $30 million, Ayre said, but under a protest it wanted the valuation reduced to $15 million. Pohl said the negotiated valuation was set at $25 million. Ayre said that resulted in a loss of about $30,000 in tax revenue to the county.
Pohl said it is a fair settlement. But Ayre complained the assessor has too much power to determine valuation and that has caused the county to lose money.
"It's not right," Ayre said. "It astounds me to know that the assessor can go behind closed doors and make a deal."
If such protests were denied, Ayre said, property taxes would be lower because everyone would be paying their fair share.
Property owners pay taxes for each tax year in two installments. The first is due in November and the second is due in April, after the tax year has ended.

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The Associated Press - October 11, 2001

Nevada Gov backs state takeover of troubled youth prison

CARSON CITY, Nev.- Gov. Kenny Guinn says plans for the state to operate the troubled Summit View Youth Correction Center in North Las Vegas are moving ahead.
But Guinn said the center's current private operator, Youth Services International, will first have to make some repairs before it pulls out.
"They've got to clean up the place and leave it like it was," Guinn said. "It has not been taken care of."
YSI in September gave six months' notice that it was pulling out of the operation, which has had a number of problems. The state had the option of finding another private company to run the facility, which opened in July 2000, or allowing the state to assume control, as is the case with youth correction facilities in Elko and Caliente.
The governor said he hasn't talked with Mike Willden, director of the State Division of Human Resources, for several days. Willden has been preparing a plan for the state to take over the facility.
Willden said Wednesday details involving the change were still being ironed out.
A formal announcement as to whether the state will be taking over the facility is expected sometime after the completion of a Friday meeting, Willden said.
Willie Smith, deputy administrator of the state Division of Child and Family Services, said the state will conduct an inventory of the center and decide what repairs must be made, sans normal wear and tear.
"I don't think there is anything that is totally broken," said Smith, who is in charge of youth correction programs. She added the contract is "pretty detailed," so that everything must be in good repair when the private company leaves.

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Crime & Courts News - October 10, 2001

Driver gets jail time for raping prisoner

HOUSTON - A jury has sentenced a former driver of a company that transports Harris County Jail inmates to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a female prisoner he was delivering two years ago.
Michael Jerome Edwards, 37, of Bastrop was also fined $5,000 last week for assaulting a 41-year-old inmate on Oct. 20, 1999, while transporting her to the Harris County Jail from Corpus Christi.
The woman had pleaded guilty to jewelry theft, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The prisoner testified she was assaulted while Edwards and David Jackson, another employee for Nashville, Tenn.-based TransCor America, were driving her and other inmates from Corpus Christi to Houston.
The trip, which should have taken four to five hours, took six days as Edwards and Jackson took the van to West Texas. Prosecutors said the two also left the prisoners at a jail in Sierra Blanca and made a side trip to Mexico.
"This was more of a rowdy road trip than prisoner transport," prosecutor Tommy Lafon told the jury.

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The Haileybury Jail

What a deal, buy a 36 bed jail for $59,500, land and governor's house included. Walk out the front door and look straight down Main Street into the rising sun over the ripples of Lake Temiskaming.
How did the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) do it, don't know but maybe PC Party MPP Chris Hodgson (Lindsay area) can, he was in charge of the ORC, as Minister of the Management Board.
Anyway, some guy from Thunder Bay bought it, wonder who he is. The place remains empty, up for lease, and the $2,000,000 addition, administration offices, built in 1992, to this old facility is also empty.
The facility was closed in 1998 along with the Cobourg Jail, and the L'Orignal Jail.

Reorganization of the Ontario Corrections system EH!

The Cobourg Jail was snapped up and is now a Restaurant and Inn. The L'Orignal Jail is being added to the existing court house building. Just by the way, the economic loss to the Town of Haileybury was estimated at $3,000,000 annually, big money for a small northern town.
Keep an eye on the jail in your neighbourhood for the deal of the century.

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Harris Tories won't invest in private jails for Kingston

The City of Kingston is off the province's list of sites for future correctional investments.

City council endorsed a union resolution several weeks ago criticizing the Ontario government for plans to privatize jails.

Corrections minister Rob Sampson - a Kingstonian - replied promptly to the city, guaranteeing to take Kingston off the list of communities where future investments may occur.

``They asked me to absolutely guarantee there would never be a privately-operated jail in their jurisdiction,'' Sampson told The Whig-Standard Thursday. ``This is the only way I can guarantee that.''

Sampson has come under heavy fire for his innovative use of the private sector in building and operating provincial facilities.

Along with a number of other municipal councils, Kingston supported a resolution of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union condemning private jails.

The province has no facilities in Kingston. The closest jail is Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee.

The ministry provides local funding for facilities, treatment and programs. Most, if not all, of those services are delivered by the private sector, Sampson said.

``My guess is that somewhere in Kingston, private or not-for-profits are providing services to one or more of the federal institutions as well.''

Though unions have been vocal in their opposition to Sampson's use of the private sector, the minister insists he is not breaking any new ground in the field of privatization.

Councillor Steve Garrison was infuriated by a letter from the minister received by the city this week.

``Our government can certainly respect the local wish. I will take steps to make your determination of this issue a matter of record, and ensure that no planning for future correctional institutional investments in the City of Kingston will occur,'' Sampson wrote.

Garrison said he was ``absolutely appalled'' by what he called ``democratic blackmail.''

Councillor Leonore Foster - the only one who voted against endorsing the OPSEU resolution - said the city simply got what it asked for. Sampson should not be criticized for doing exactly as requested, Foster said.

``It's to be expected. We voiced an opinion,'' she said.

The government is often in trouble for its failure to respond to municipal motions. ``Then they're in trouble when we don't like the reply,'' Foster added, ``and that's what has happened here. We didn't like the reply.''

In some cases, endorsing blanket resolutions is appropriate, Foster said, pointing to a council motion to support laid-off Ministry of Transportation workers who live in the community.

The city ran the risk of drawing the minister's ire when it criticized a ministry that has almost nothing to do with Kingston, Foster added.

``There was no apparent reason for endorsing the resolution, apart from objecting to another level of government's actions that didn't concern us.''

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MTC staff are guards, Ontario's sworn civil service are Corrections Officers. Peace Officers have powers of arrest and use-of-force. Non-peace officers do not and are liable to criminal and civil prosecution. Unfortunately for residents of Penetanguishene, of Ontario, and employees of MTC, scenarios must be played out before these facts become reality.


Wackenhut security guards to be replaced by sworn officers?

The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)

October 14, 2001

Utah's Department of Public Safety wants to replace private security officers patrolling the Utah Transit Authority's light rail lines with certified law enforcement officers from the state of Utah.
Although nothing is in writing yet, UTA and the Department of Public Safety began discussing that possibility about three months ago.
"We made a proposal to TRAX to take over (light-rail security) and we haven't heard anything back from them," Public Safety Commissioner Robert Flowers told the Deseret News. "It's a mass transit system, and you need to have sworn officers on those trains." UTA General Manager John Inglish said UTA is still considering the possibility of replacing private security officers with fully sworn law enforcement officers from the state. UTA currently contracts with Wackenhut Corp. for private security on its TRAX lines. The officers, however, do not have arrest or investigative authority.
"What we've had are some discussions on how it possibly might work," Inglish said. "We will continue to discuss it with them. Somewhere down the road we'll work something out with them."
News of the proposal comes as two high-ranking officials involved in TRAX security both left UTA last Friday.
UTA security administrator Dave Lamph, who oversaw the contract with Wackenhut, resigned from his post last Friday, UTA spokesman Kris McBride confirmed.
McBride said it was company policy not to disclose details surrounding personnel issues. When contacted at his home in Provo, Lamph said his resignation is "nothing I want to talk about."
Wackenhut also confirmed Lt. Jeff Gruendell was no longer working for the company as of Oct. 5, but spokesman Pat Cannan said he could not make any further comments on why Gruendell left.
The personnel moves came on the heels of a recent series of embarrassing events for UTA's TRAX light-rail security and Wackenhut.
In August, the Utah Office of Hispanic Affairs opened an investigation into whether UTA's security force was encouraged to class-profile when asking for tickets.
In July, UTA received heavy criticism after Gruendell and another high-ranking officer allegedly used company letterhead to buy an AR-15 assault rifle. The other officer involved left the force shortly after the purchase was discovered.
The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office also discovered transit officers were storing confiscated drugs in an evidence room at a TRAX station in Midvale. Transit officers do not have the authority to arrest or to confiscate drugs, and neither Wackenhut nor UTA is authorized to have an evidence locker.
Inglish said Utah has made a number of "administrative changes" to deal with those problems.
"I think we're comfortable that we're addressing those issues," Inglish said.
But Flowers isn't resting so easy.
"I am a little bit concerned if they're having a large turnover there right now," Flowers said.
Inglish said UTA is aware of the advantages of having sworn officers patrol TRAX but also said the costs of doing that might be prohibitive.
Flowers acknowledged the costs but said using sworn state officers is the best for public safety.
"Private security can only do so much," Flower said. "They're like witnesses. They can't make arrests. I think that it's really ineffective to operate that way, and I don't know that it's in the best interest of the public to do so."

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From Canadian Press

Ontario Premier Mike Harris refused to confirm or deny news reports Monday that he is resigning.

"I don't know where you guys get this from," Harris told reporters at the legislature late Monday.
Toronto's CTV station, CFTO, was first to report that Harris was considering his future as premier and CBC-TV News took it a step farther saying he was on the verge of resigning.
The CBC, citing a source close to Harris, said the premier will quit for personal reasons.
Harris said in late September he was trying to reconcile with his estranged wife Janet, who moved back to North Bay.
They separated in August 1999, after 25 years of marriage.
CFTO News, quoting a "highly reliable source", said Harris was considering his future.
A spokesman for Harris contacted by CFTO called the report an ``unsubstantiated rumour" but refused to either confirm or deny the story.
Both news reports said Harris would likely make an announcement on his future on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tory backbenchers Bill Murdoch and John O'Toole said they had been told there would be a special announcement at Tuesday's caucus meeting, but added there was no indication that the premier was stepping down.
"(We were told) there's an announcement tomorrow in caucus and that who knows, I mean you've heard the same rumours as we've heard.
"I don't know - I was surprised, I heard from the media. I hadn't heard anything before and I wasn't even expecting it.
Harris, who has been premier since 1995, was to meet with his caucus Tuesday morning before flying to New York to visit the ruins of the World Trade Center and meet with New York Gov. George Pataki.
As recently as August, the premier was insisting he would run in the next election. There were news reports of squabbles in the Tory government earlier this summer but Harris dismissed rumours he might be stepping down.
"There's been a lot of speculation in the media," Harris said at the time during a caucus retreat.
"I wanted to put those stories to rest."
Harris said at the time he was "proud" to have "ambitious people" in caucus but said they could demonstrate those ambitions under his leadership.
Education Minister Janet Ecker and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have been touted as possible successors along with Environment Minister Elizabeth Witmer and Municipal Affairs Minister Chris Hodgson.
Harris's Tories have been taking a beating in public opinion polls. An Ipsos-Reid poll released at the end of June showed the Tories with 33 per cent support compared to the Liberals' 53 per cent, with the NDP at 12 per cent.

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Budget ax may fall on 3 prisons

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Dispatch Statehouse Reporter

Ohio's prison system, once considered recession-proof, is no longer immune to economic bad times.

As many as three prisons, possibly including a privately operated state facility in Lorain County, will be closed because of the state budget crunch, prisons chief Reginald A. Wilkinson said yesterday.

In addition, housing units at between eight and 10 other prisons will be shut down, and up to 800 employees -- as many as half of them corrections officers -- are expected to be laid off.

"Everything right now is on the table, including the private prisons,'' Wilkinson said yesterday. "This isn't going to be easy.''

Prisoners will be transferred to other institutions, and staff members with enough union seniority can bump other staffers elsewhere, officials explained.

The closures are the result of another wave of budget cuts mandated by Gov. Bob Taft.

He ordered the reductions -- coupled with proposed minor tax increases, the use of tobacco money and an expanded Ohio Lottery -- to plug a $1.5 billion deficit projected by mid-2003.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction was initially told to plan for a 3 percent, $38 million cut, but negotiated that figure down to a 1.5 percent, $19 million cut.

Wilkinson said a decision on specific closures won't be made until next week. He acknowledged, however, that the private North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility, a minimum-security prison for nonviolent drug and alcohol offenders in Grafton, may be more of a target than the Lake Erie Correctional Institution, the other private prison in Conneaut in Ashtabula County.

North Coast has a $10.8 million budget, a staff of 160 and 552 inmates.

The private prisons are operated by Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah.

Closing them would be easier for the state because the contracts can be terminated with a 30-day notice. The state would not be responsible for handling layoffs, transferring employees or paying unemployment.

State officials also might consider closing the state-run Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center in Dayton, sources said. It has an $11 million annual budget and a staff of 173, and it houses 346 inmates. The center's per-inmate operating cost of $36,436 per year -- $99.82 a day -- is second highest among the 34 state lockups, according to department statistics for fiscal year 2000.

The Ohio State Penitentiary, the supermax prison in Youngstown, was most costly at $40,586 annually per inmate, or $111.20 per day. It is not on the chopping block.

Wilkinson said operating efficiency, ease of transferring prisons and staff members, and the future mission of each institution will be considered when deciding which prisons to close.

Four facilities are exempt from closing: the supermax, the Corrections Medical Center in Columbus, the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville and the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.

The closures will be discussed and possibly negotiated with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, the union representing corrections officers and a majority of other state employees. Layoff notices could go out about Nov. 1, 90 days in advance of a closing.

Tim Shafer, head of the union's corrections unit, insisted the state should close the private prisons first.

"If the state of Ohio is in a budget crisis . . . they should not be shipping money to Utah,'' Shafer said.

"Nothing good can come from this. People in this department have invested years and years of service to the state of Ohio. They're trained professionals.''

The cuts proposed by Wilkinson will "take us back to the pre-Lucasville era,'' Shafer said, referring to the deadly 1993 riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. The closures will subject corrections officers to stress and danger, he said.

Joel Campbell, spokesman for the private prison company, said the two Ohio facilities are very efficient and together save the state $3.5 million annually.

"It seems to me the reason the legislature and officials decided to go to privatization are even better now,'' Campbell said. "There are continued savings for taxpayers.''

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Friday, October 19, 2001
Subject: Fw: Poll on Labour legislation changes in BC

----- Original Message -----

To: Ontario Activists
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001
Subject: Poll on Labour legislation changes in BC

----- Original Message -----

Hey Everyone,
Lets give the BC Federation a little help to tip the scales on this one. Don't let another province have a free ride on changing labour legislation. Backwards for us is forward for them. Click the Url at the bottom of the page and locate the poll on the left hand side of the screen and vote no to these changes. Only if you don't have a '.on' in your email address. Thanks.

Subject: ****** Urgent Action Request ******

Anyone who doesn't have a provincial identifier such as 'mb' or 'on' in their e-mail address may want to help out the BC Fed on this.

-----Original Message-----

From: BC Federation of Labour

Today, the Province newspaper is conducting an online poll asking the question:

"Do you agree with the government's plan to ease restrictions on part-time and overtime work?"

While the poll is unscientific, the question is misleading, and workers most likely to be affected are also those least likely to have internet access and take part in the poll, we urge you to visit the Province website: and vote NO to this question (scan down a bit-the poll is on the left side of the page).

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----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001
Subject: CUSA Information Update

With three months to go in 2001 CUSA is thrilled with some of the more recent events surrounding our fight against prison privatization:

1) Victory in Rhode Island - after a nearly six year battle public safety won out in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers successfully fought off the Governor and two Department of Corrections Directors and stopped privatized community corrections from coming to Rhode Island. CUSA members provided much of the information used in that battle and has been given a lot of credit for the Rhode Island victory. We appreciate it but its the men and women in the trenches and the union leadership that deserve the biggest accolades.

2) Victory in Nebraska - CUSA worked with a citizens group from Rushville to defeat a speculative private prison from being built there. Our fight drew the attention of the Nebraska legislature. The legislature just passed a new law that virtually ends any possibility of private prisons in Nebraska. CUSA is again being credited with providing the majority of information used in the Nebraska effort and with providing expert guest speakers for radio shows and newspaper publications.

3) Alaska - one of the biggest fight of the year came to a successful close last week when the public voted 74% -26% AGAINST privatization in the Kenia Peninsula This is the second major defeat for privatization in that state in the last three years. The Public Safety Employees Association of Alaska led the charge. The PSEA are organizational members of CUSA and also credit us with providing the majority of information they used to beat back Cornell Corrections. Also a very loud message was sent to aspiring politicians in that state - DO NOT BACK PRIVATE PRISONS. In the elections that pitted candidates for and against the private prison, virtually ever candidate supporting privatization LOST, whether they were the incumbent or challenger.
Cornell and their supporters, including the Teamsters, outspent the anti-privatization groups 3:1, spending an estimated $200,000 on this effort. Yet once again we see that when we can get the information in the public's hands we slam dunk this industry no matter how much they spend, and the PSEA and other anti-privatization groups did just that.
To get a little perspective, Cornell spent more on that one campaign then CUSA raised in all of last year! The threat of private prisons would be over if we had the funding to go toe to toe in every jurisdiction. As it stands now we have to chose our fights. Every nail in the coffin of this industry is a good one.

4) CUSA cosponsored legislation with the CCPOA in California barring private prisons from housing federal inmates in that state.

5) We produced two more prison privatization updates, number 5 & 6 and two compendiums - one on CCA the other on Cornell with a Wackenhut compendium in the works. Our legislative department also issued two reports; one state laws regarding private prisons and the other on juvenile privatization. If you wonder where your membership dues are spent, there are five great examples.


.   Texas with 23,600 Correctional Officers has over 2,800 vacancies
.   Of inmates entering prison last year 3.4% of all females were HIV positive
.   2.1% of all males were HIV
.   The US Department of Justice reports that there are 191,000 mentally ill inmates in our correctional institutions - 16% . Of those only 1/5th or 38,000 are receiving any treatment
.   30% of state correctional facilities do NOT even screen for mental illness.

Conference Update:

Corrections USA and the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers joint conference will be held November 30-December 1, 2001 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick Rhode Island. Reservations can be made at 1-401-732-6000. Rooms are $119.00 per night double or single occupancy. The Crowne Plaza is only 3.5 miles from TF Green airport in Providence. Located just 10 minutes south of Providence, 20 minutes from scenic Newport and only 50 minutes from Boston, it is a great location. Make your reservations today. We will be posting the conference agenda next week.
Watch for the newsletter which should be in your mailboxes this week. California members the first order of jackets, hats and pullovers are expected at the office on Monday. We will begin to ship them out next week. The order will be coming to CUSA in three separate deliveries and we will get them out to you ASAP. Thanks for your patience.

Stay safe and congratulations to our Alaskan friends. The media dubbed the Alaska private prison battle as David v. Goliath, David spanked the giant, great work.

Brian Dawe

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From the OPSEU web page - LockTalk

October 19, 2001

Members keep Millbrook safe
Union action prevents possible uprising

A potential bomb was defused at Millbrook Correctional Centre last week when union officials forced management to lock down the institution and search for weapons and drugs in Ontario’s only maximum-security correctional facility.

A health and safety work refusal on the morning of Thurs., Oct. 11 triggered the searches, after union officers learned that management had information indicating that inmates were planning to take over the facility. It is alleged that the employer had been in possession of the information many days prior to informing union officials.

On Wed., Oct. 10, management finally revealed to union officials that they had learned of the inmate plans. Incredibly, the union was asked not to reveal anything to the members. The union refused to withhold the news, and health and safety refusals were initiated the next day.

After a few hitches with the Ministry of Labour, searches began by 3 p.m. Thursday. Searches of the institution uncovered sharpened weapons and a few drugs. In the main yard, at least 15 “shanks” were discovered. Officers also seized large hoards of tobacco, attributed to the fact that Millbrook goes smoke-free on November 2.

Also aggravating the situation at Millbrook is the inclusion of remanded inmates from the Peterborough Jail. As a result, inmates who were previously housed in separate cells are now sharing bunk space.

Pete Wright, chief steward of Local 341, was flabbergasted that management withheld the information as long as they did.

“The safety of our members, the inmates and the institution is our only priority,” Wright said. “There are no secrets between the local executive and the members who elect us, especially when it comes to their safety. Our members stood solidly together, and got the job done.”

Wright also blames a lack of official standing orders and policies at the jail for the unrest.

“We still do not have any firm procedures to deal with remanded offenders,” Wright said. “This facility was never designed for remands, and the confusion isn’t helping the situation.”

It is our firm belief that action by union members at Millbrook C.C. averted what could have been a very dangerous situation. Hats off to the members who made the stand.

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Melee rocks city's jail

No one hurt in 'tense situation'

By Doug Williamson and Chris Hornsey Star Staff Reporters - Windsor Star

Corrections staff at the Windsor Jail are assessing the damage after rampaging inmates took control of a section of the Brock Street lockup Saturday night.

About 25 inmates managed to breach the security door of a cell block shortly before 10 p.m., holding correctional staff and elite tactical officers at bay for several hours while they trashed prisoner areas, including cells and other rooms. Police are still investigating and cannot say what caused the disturbance.

But damage to the jail was sufficient enough that "several" prisoners had to be transferred, Staff Sgt. Neal Jessop said Sunday.

"I'm not calling it a riot," Jessop said. "There's a considerable amount of damage. Obviously it was a very tense situation."

Some prisoners awaiting court appearances today were transferred to holding cells at police headquarters and others transferred to facilities out of town.

No one was injured in the incident and no charges have been laid, Jessop said.

Police set up a perimeter around the jail Saturday night in case the violence spilled outside the prison gates.

Four ambulances were parked outside in case they were needed.

An officer at the scene said the inmates were contained in one section of the jail and not a threat to escape.

"We're just here if we're needed," he said. "It's being handled by corrections people."

At 11:45 p.m., elite correctional service security personnel arrived at the jail from out of town, including negotiators and members of the Ontario Correctional Services Institutional Crisis Intervention Team (ICIT). Dressed in tactical gear and carrying weapons, batons, riot shields and helmets, about 12 of these officers entered the building shortly after midnight.

The situation inside the prison was defused without injury early Sunday morning.

Windsor Jail and Ontario Corrections officials remain tight-lipped about the incident, refusing to answer questions about the rampage.

Jessop said he didn't know how long it will take to repair the damage.

Inside sources attribute the overcrowding of the jail and the government's decision to eliminate tobacco as the cause of the disturbance.
Inmates are down to one package of cigarettes a week and in a short period of time that will be eliminated completely.
The government has instructed their ICIT teams to be ready for the Nov. 1st target date when tobacco is deemed contraband.
CAPP expects there will be problems province-wide.

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Subsidizing of private prisons questioned in report

'May not provide much bang for the buck'

By Gina Holland

October 22, 2001

WASHINGTON -- Politicians have invested heavily in private prisons, but their communities are not necessarily seeing an economic payoff, a new report shows.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington-based research center, is urging leaders to end subsidies for prisons.

Over the past 15 years, privately run prisons have popped up around the country, as officials looked for alternatives to crowded government facilities.

The institute's Good Jobs First project found that most of the prisons were built with incentive packages that included things such as property tax breaks, government financing, training grants and construction help.

"Given the relatively low wages paid by the industry and its limited ripple effect on the larger economy, subsidizing private prisons may not provide much bang for the buck," said the report, which was released today.

About three-quarters of the large private prisons had government subsidies, the report found. The study involved 60 private prisons with 500 beds or more in 19 states. Subsidies were given in 17 of the 19 states.

California, which had 24 private prisons as of 1999, is second to Texas, which had 43.

The institute said $628 million in tax-free bonds and other government-issued securities financed some of those private prisons. Voters should have been permitted to decide whether to allow those bonds -- and should be consulted about any future financial help, the institute said.

In the Mississippi Delta, state Sen. David Jordan said a subsidized 1,000-bed state prison has created jobs and brought inmate labor for community projects.

Philip Mattera, an author of the study, said poor communities were frequently chosen for prison sites.

"It's not as if they had a choice between a prison and a factory or a Wal-Mart distribution center. Their only choice may have been a prison or a toxic waste dump, and a prison looked pretty good," he said.

The study focused on incentives, but when the institute contacted officials in most of the areas with private prisons, none had data that showed a prison helped the area's economy, Mattera said.

"A lot of small struggling communities have spent a significant amount of money to bring these prisons into existence," he said. "There's no evidence there's been any payoff for them."

Mattera said 78 percent of the facilities built by Corrections Corporation of America and 69 percent constructed by Wackenhut Corrections Corp. were subsidized.

The same companies that got government assistance on the front end are now being paid by states and the federal government for housing inmates.

Many of the financing packages came from state and local governments. But federal agencies such as the Commerce Department, the Agriculture Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development gave help for some projects, the report said.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Politics intruding on prison closings
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
By: Alan Johnson
Dispatch Statehouse Reporter

Closing a state prison isn't as simple as moving the bad guys and shutting off the lights.

Political and union considerations are playing a role in the decision to mothball two state prisons because of the budget crunch.

The political circle involves Gov. Bob Taft, the union representing prison workers, and conservatives in the Ohio General Assembly.

State prisons chief Reginald A. Wilkinson announced Oct. 17 that budget cuts ordered by Taft will force the state to close up to three prisons. Two possible choices: the North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility, a private prison for nonviolent drug and alcohol offenders in Grafton in Lorain County, and the Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center in Dayton.

Other prisons are on Wilkinson's list for possible closing, as well as housing units at eight to 10 other prisons. Up to 800 employees may be laid off.

Some layoffs already are under way.

Notices went out Friday to 48 people at the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction central office and the corrections training academy in Orient.

However, a month after Wilkinson's announcement the closing decisions remain in limbo.

"We have to make a very efficient decision,'' said prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean. "Once we make it, we can't go back.''

Prisoners will be transferred to other institutions, and staff members with enough seniority can bump others elsewhere.

Taft has authorized Wilkinson to make the closing decision, but the governor wants the union to share the pain by making financial concessions.

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association is digging in its heels, insisting the state should close North Coast and the state's other private prison, the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut in Ashtabula County.

The union, which represents the majority of state workers, including prison employees, has fought the private lockups since they were proposed.

Union spokesman Peter Wray said a meeting yesterday between Wilkinson and union officials about the budget situation ended in stalemate.

"We reiterated that going back and taking away benefits . . . is not something we're willing to negotiate.''

Prison officials have suggested several belt-tightening ideas, including eliminating "roll-call pay.'' That is pay prison employees receive for reporting for duty daily before going to their assigned posts.

Although it amounts to minutes a day per employee, it adds up to millions of dollars a year in payroll costs.

The union countered with some of its own money-saving ideas, including reducing the number of accreditation inspections, limiting hot meals for prisoners to one per day, cutting the number of state cars used by prison administrators, and analyzing the use of mandatory overtime.

Meanwhile, conservative Republicans in the General Assembly question closing either of the private prisons, which they contend are saving the state money.

"We all realize a facility is going to close,'' said Sen. Kevin J. Coughlin, R-Cuyahoga Falls, an early supporter of private prisons.

"My preference would be it not be one of the two pilot (private) projects. Those facilities are designed to save money.''

Rep. James P. Trakas said private prisons were written into state law by the legislature.

"If all things are equal, and they are saving money, they should not be on the block,'' the Independence Republican said.

A spokesman for the Utah company that operates the prisons said the two facilities save the state $3.5 million annually compared with state operation of similar institutions. The Columbus Dispatch

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November 29, 2001 - Associated Press

Administrators of troubled juvenile jails resign

BALTIMORE-Top administrators at two state juvenile jails have resigned amid allegations of continuing abuse and public outcry concerning youth detention.
Donald Brooks became the third director this year to leave Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County when he announced his resignation Wednesday, said Laura Townsend, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice.
Brooks took over the top job at Hickey in July.
Townsend said Richard Daugherty, the clinical director of Victor Cullen Academy in Frederick County, also resigned Wednesday. Daughtery was responsible for administering the substance abuse program at Victor Cullen.
A coalition of 50 juvenile justice advocacy groups demanded reform, including the closing of Cullen, at a forum on Wednesday.
Townsend said the state was equally disturbed by reports of abuses at the facilities.
"We're concerned," Townsend said. "For us it's just another concern added on top of all the others."
Late Thursday afternoon, Juvenile Justice Secretary Bishop L. Robinson issued a two-page statement refuting some findings of an investigation by The (Baltimore) Sun reported in the newspaper's Sunday edition.
He said that contrary to the Sun's report that "abuse persists" in the juvenile jails, the article used reports of incidents the department uncovered in 2000 and addressed under Robinson's leadership. He formally took over in April 2000 after leading an investigation of abuses reported by The Sun in December 1999.
"The Department of Juvenile Justice that exists today is very different from the department that existed two years ago," Robinson said. "Major reform efforts have been under way, and will continue, creating new opportunities for juvenile offenders to put their lives back on track and become productive citizens."
High turnover of staff was one of the deficiencies the state cited in an audit of Florida-based Youth Services International, the private agency which has a contract to run Cullen until 2002 and Hickey until 2004, Townsend said.
Calls to Youth Services International by The Associated Press were not immediately returned on Thursday.
The firm paid a $600,000 penalty in August after auditors concluded Cullen was severely understaffed and fell far short of requirements for mental health care, education and financial controls. The state ordered the audit after at least four inmates escaped in 18 months. Several other escapes have been reported since.
In July, two Cullen employees were fired and another resigned amid allegations they staged fights between teen-age inmates.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said earlier this month that the state soon may close Cullen altogether, because of continuing shortages in security staff, teachers and food service and recreation workers despite a promise by the YSI to correct the deficiencies.
The lieutenant governor said she was "sickened" by reports that abuses are continuing at the state's three largest juvenile jails - Hickey, Cullen and the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County. Incident reports at the detention facilities indicate guards have assaulted teen-agers dozens of times.
The lieutenant governor has instructed the Department of Juvenile Justice to develop an action plan for the juvenile jails by Dec. 31. The department is considering trying to get out of its contract with YSI, Laura Townsend said.

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