Medical issues at McRae warrant closing CCA private prison —ACLU

Azadeh Shahshahani wrote for Huffpost 18 August 2011, License to Abuse? Time for Bureau of Prisons to Sever Ties With CCA
Last week, the ACLU of Georgia submitted comments to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to ask that the agency not renew its contract with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) for operation of the McRae Correctional Facility.

McRae is located in Telfair County, Georgia. The prison is owned by CCA, which purchased it in 2000. McRae currently houses a population of low security, adult male, primarily non-citizen prisoners. The contract between CCA and the BOP is set to expire in November 2012.

Why? Lack of medical treatment for prisoners, among other reasons. For example:
According to another prisoner, after a birthday celebration held at the facility, all the prisoners who consumed the meal suffered food poisoning. Because of the low medical capacity of the facility, most of
“Prison walls do not form a barrier separating prison prisoners from the protections of the Constitution.” — U.S. Supreme Court
the prisoners suffering from severe diarrhea, dehydration, and stomach cramps did not receive medical care for almost a week.
Add to that sloppy procedures in general:
McRae also has a record of abusive disciplinary practices that violate BOP standards.

One prisoner was placed in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) on February 5, 2010, but did not receive the required notice until March 26, 2010. He was segregated for a total of 97 days, but the disciplinary hearing at which he had a chance to explain his actions only took place on April 12, days before his release into the general population. Documents prepared by McRae employees themselves, such as the incident report, confirm the dates for the various stages of the proceeding which deviate from the Program Statement requirements and reveal other inconsistencies in data entry that may variably suggest carelessness or falsification of records. Another prisoner’s experience of placement in the SHU is similarly replete with McRae employees’ failure to follow the applicable standards, including 5 months of SHU placement without the required notices to the prisoner, periodic reviews, or hearings.

And it seems like this sloppiness does not occur randomly:
Perhaps most disturbing is the pattern of McRae employees’ possibly retaliatory conduct that begins to emerge from these accounts. The prisoners subjected to discipline were all active in exercising their right to pursue legal activities as provided for in federal regulations and BOP policy. They had either previously filed grievance reports against the facility, provided legal assistance to other prisoners, or both. And they were all placed at the SHU for prolonged periods of time without the observance of procedural safeguards such as the periodic review process.
CCA is the same company that owns Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin andWheeler County Correctional Facility in Alamo; an inmate died in each of those in 2009.

CCA is the same company that wants to build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. We don’t need that prison. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.