Do we want a Gladiator School prison in Lowndes County?

Remember FBI investigating CCA “Gladiator School”, the CCA-run private prison in Idaho the FBI was investigating last year? Well, it hasn’t improved much. Cutting corners for private profit endangers prisoner safety and public safety. Is that what we want in Lowndes County, Georgia?

The same reporter, Rebecca Boone, wrote again for AP Sunday, almost a year later, CCA-run prison remains Idaho’s most violent lockup

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — In the last four years, Idaho’s largest privately run prison has faced federal lawsuits, widespread public scrutiny, increased state oversight, changes in upper management and even an ongoing FBI investigation.

Yet the Corrections Corp. of America-run Idaho Correctional Center remains the most violent lockup in Idaho.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show that while the assault rate improved somewhat in the four-year period examined, ICC inmates are still more than twice as likely to be assaulted as those at other Idaho prisons.

Between September 2007 and September 2008, both ICC and the state-run Idaho State Correctional Institution were medium-security prisons with roughly 1,500 inmates each. But during that 12-month span, ICC had 132 inmate-on-inmate assaults, compared to just 42 at ISCI. In 2008, ICC had more assaults than all other Idaho prisons combined.

By 2010, both prisons had grown with 2,080 inmates at ICC and 1,688 inmates at ISCI. Records collected by the AP showed that there were 118 inmate-on-inmate assaults at ICC compared to 38 at ISCI. And again last year, ICC had more assaults than all the other prisons combined.

What improvement there has been is because multiple inmates filed lawsuits.

Even so, Idaho renewed and even increased its contract with CCA. With one small improvement:

Cluney said the state’s new contract with CCA, which went into effect in 2009, really helped the Idaho Department of Correction by requiring that CCA follow more IDOC policies. That gave IDOC authority to more closely monitor events at the lockup.
If the state has to do the work for the private prison company, what advantage is there to the taxpaying public in privatizing prisons? I don’t mean the profit advantage to the private prison executives and shareholders; I mean what advantage is there for the taxpayers who are footing the bill?

Remember how the VDT hasn’t gotten hardly anything out of Valdosta State Prison about inmate violence in years of trying? Now imagine how much harder that would be for a private prison that didn’t have to follow any state or federal open records or FOIA laws.

That Idaho “Gladiator School” contractor is the same CCA that wants to build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. The Industrial Authority refers to it as Project Excel, and has been promoting it since at least March 2010. That was, by the way, five months before the VDT let the cat out of the bag in August 2010 as to what Project Excel was.

We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia, compromising public safety, doing nothing to reduce unemployment, and renting out prisoners to compete with private labor. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.