Prison News

Beware of the Smart Justice Alliance

The Alliance was created by Florida Tax Watch, “A private, non-profit, non-partisan research institute devoted to protecting and promoting the political and economic freedoms of Floridians”; Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) that “has represented the principles of prosperity and free enterprise before the three branches of state government since 1920”  and the Collins Center for Public Policy.

The Alliance is an advocate for privatizing prisons. For example, last week, they urged Florida lawmakers to divert nonviolent felons into privately operated prisons for substance abuse and mental health treatment to cut costs and help prevent them from returning to crime when they are released.

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Profiting from Pain

In February, the Florida Senate rejected what would have become the largest private prison system in the United States. Chasity Owens hopes she played some small roll in that setback to the private prison industry.

“I actually wrote the Senate a letter,” she said. “Hopefully, my letter had an impact on them.”

Owens has particularly strong feelings about private prisons. Her brother was killed in one.  Read more

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Auditors uncover problems at private prisons in Ohio

COLUMBUS — During the past year, unsafe and unsanitary conditions were documented by state monitors at one of Ohio’s privately-run prisons forcing the new operator to make major changes less than one year after taking control of the facility. Read the complete article here.

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Conflict of Interest – the case against for-profit prisons

In early 2012 the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison operator in the United States, sent a letter to officials in 48 states announcing its $250-million business plan to purchase and manage local, state and federal prisons. Of course, there are strings attached. The minimum contract term is 20 years; facilities must have at least 1,000 beds; and these beds must remain at least 90 percent occupied for the entire term of the contract.

Read more from the National Catholic Review article here.

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Tell Me More About P3’s

A p3 is a rebranding of privatization. The phrase purposefully evokes a win-win scenario involving equal “partners” working toward a common goal. Government leaders have been sold this new kind of privatization as a solution to declining tax revenues and borrowing capacity, while private companies claim to be offering their expertise and capital in a spirit of public service.  There’s an excellent article in Dollars and Sense that helps unravel the mystery of the P3.  Read it here.

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Private Prison Companies Profit Off Laws that Define Immigrants as Criminals

The U.S. locks up the highest percentage of its population in the world—730 per 100,000, nearly two and a half million people. Although it has only 5% of the population, 25% of the world’s prison population is behind bars in the U.S.  Read the full article here.

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Concord Monitor Editorial Suggests Lease-back Is Good Option

In an editorial published Sunday, December 9, the Concord Monitor focused on the idea of the state entering a Public-Private Partnership (P3) to build a new prison. We disagree with the editorial’s suggestion and believe that such a partnership would be taking NH down a very slippery slope.  What do you think?

You can read the editorial here.

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Privatizing N.H. Prisons in for a Cooler Reception

Incoming governor Maggie Hassan opposes putting inmate care in private hands, as does a majority of the next Executive Council. And Democrats, who have taken control of the House, haven’t shared their Republican counterparts’ appetite for privatization.

But partial privatization – allowing a private company to build a prison the state would run – may have support in at least the corner office.  Read more.

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Exec Council Extends Contract with Consultant on Private Prison Bids

The proposal to extend MGT’s contract to the end of February was approved after a short discussion this morning at New Hampshire’s regularly scheduled Governor and Council Meeting. If/when it is eventually completed, the MGT report will provide data on matters such as the cost of a new women’s prison, cost of replacing the men’s prison in Concord, and data that will enable comparison of private vs. public operations. We will continue to provide updates on this developing situation.

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‘House’ in need of corrections

GOFFSTOWN — Twenty-three years ago, the state of New Hampshire entered into a temporary agreement to lease the former Hillsborough County jail for use as a women’s prison.

The lease agreement continues today for a building where roof leaks now drip into plastic buckets, inmate showers don’t ventilate, vintage linoleum floors are cracked, pipes leak, and medical records are kept on paper and stored on an unsecured bookcase. A mystery odor fills the prison, from the small gym and library, to a former day room that now houses 22 double-bunked female prisoners.  (Read more)

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