Tag Archives: injustice

USA #1 in youth detention

The U.S. locks up far more juveniles per capita than any other country, and our country and our state cannot afford that any longer: not economically, and not in the cost of incarceration turning children into criminals.

Pete Brook wrote for Wired 11 April 2012, Uncompromising Photos Expose Juvenile Detention in America,

States have turned away from punishing acts such as truancy and delinquency with detention; acts that are not criminal for an adult but have in the past siphoned youths into the court system. Less detention has been accompanied by less violent crime among youth.

“It may seem counter intuitive, but if you look at the types of offenses for which we’re no longer detaining youth, it is not,” says Sarah Jane Forman, assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and director of the Youth Justice Clinic which provides legal counsel to indigent youth. “The kids who have committed serious violent crimes; they remain locked up.”

Not only is being locked up ineffective as a deterrent in youths who have not reached full cognitive development and don’t understand the consequences of their actions, it can actually make a criminal out of a potentially law-abiding kid.

The U.S. has far more juveniles per capita locked up than any other country, according to Cross-national comparison of youth justice, by Neal Hazel, 2008, www.yjb.gov.uk.

And Georgia has a large proportion of those locked-up youth. On this map of prisons in Georgia, Continue reading

ALEC, Trayvon Martin, CCA’s private prisons, and charter schools?

What’s the connection between the Florida law that’s letting the killer of Trayvon Martin hide, the private prisons CCA runs in Georgia and other states, and HB 797, the Georgia charter schools bill that’s on the floor today for Senate debate today? ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Paul Krugman wrote yesterday for the NYTimes, Lobbyists, Guns and Money,

ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

Same as private prisons. The only real benefit goes to private prison company executives and shareholders.
Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail in 1963:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
And today we have an organized threat to justice everywhere. That threat is called ALEC.


CCA really doesn’t like community opposition, so apparently it works

Private prison company CCA, which in conjunction with ALEC promotes laws in dozens of states and nationally that lock up more people for CCA’s private profit at taxpayer expense, really doesn’t like community opposition to siting private prisons in their communities. Hm, why would CCA hate community opposition so much, unless it works?

Not quite rolling his eyes when she mentions visiting communities, CCA’s video pair disparage community opposition to private prisons on their own web page, When Corrections Meets Communities:

Question: There are Web sites and blogs that are adamantly opposed to your company and industry, and they provide negative information about you. Why?
Hm, you mean like some of the material on this blog?
Answer: CCA and all corrections companies recognize the ongoing efforts of local, loosely formed grassroots groups and national, well-funded associations that jointly oppose the establishment of partnership prisons, many for self-serving reasons. Such groups go to great lengths to attack, criticize and misrepresent the entire industry. They make false allegations and often rely on hearsay and unreliable sources. Regrettably, these biased groups often resort to misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric to turn isolated incidents into broad generalizations about the corrections industry as a whole.
Well-funded? Har! OK, not this blog. That plus we provide evidence, like Continue reading

Judge privatizes justice, eventually gets caught

Reported even in the VDT, 12 August 2011, AP, Pa. judge gets 28 years in ‘kids for cash’ case
A northeastern Pennsylvania judge was ordered Thursday to spend nearly three decades in prison for his role in a massive bribery scandal that prompted the state’s high court to toss thousands of juvenile convictions and left lasting scars on the children who appeared in his courtroom and their hapless families.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for taking a $1 million bribe from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as “kids for cash.”

Now that’s privatization of justice! Looks a lot like no justice at all. Makes you wonder how many other people are in prison who shouldn’t be.

We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend that tax money on rehabilitation and education.


PS: Had to go to the Guardian for the picture, though.

Private prison operations have been rife with abuse —WV Council of Churches

Another Sunday, another church group against private prisons; this time, a group of churches.

Dan Heyman wrote 12 January 2010 for Public News Service – WV, Churches: No Private Prison For Immigrants In WV,

CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia’s largest church group has asked U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd and the rest of the state’s congressional delegation to oppose funding a private prison for undocumented immigrants in Pendleton County near the Virginia border. The Council of Churches is one of several groups discussing immigration reform ahead of expected congressional action on the issue. The Council has asked federal lawmakers’ help in the effort, arguing private prison operations have been rife with abuse. GSI Professional Corrections is seeking county commission approval to build the detention center near Sugar Grove to house 1,000 nonviolent immigrant detainees awaiting possible deportation.

Rev. Dennis Sparks, the Council’s executive director, complains private prisons operate outside the mainstream legal

Continue reading

CCA and The GEO Group have been accused of human rights abuses —United Methodist Church

Methodists lobby private prison companies CCA and GEO as shareholders about human rights issues. Seems like this doesn’t help with the 2008 United Methodist Church Resolution 3281, Welcoming the Migrant to the US, which advocated the “elimination of privately-operated detention centers,” but at least they’re doing something. I expect what they’ll accomplish by such lobbying is to demonstrate that private prison companies have no intention of addressing human rights issues, because that would cut into their profits.

Published by General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church July 2011, Faith-Based Investors Take a Closer Look at Private Prisons,

In 2011, members of the United Methodist Interagency Task Force on Immigration approached the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (General Board) with concerns about two private prison companies in the General Board’s investment portfolio: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and The GEO Group, Inc. The United Methodist Interagency Task Force on Immigration was created following the General Conference of 2004. Membership includes representatives from the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), the General Commission on Religion and Race, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), Methodists Associated to Represent the Cause of Hispanic Americans (MARCHA) and two bishops. In addition, GBCS has shared its concern that CCA and The GEO Group have been accused of human rights abuses of young people, immigrants and people of color.

CCA and The GEO Group are the two largest private prison companies in the U.S., operating and/or owning, respectively, 111 and 118 correctional, detention and/or residential treatment facilities. In 2010, CCA earned nearly $1.7 billion; The GEO Group, $1.3 billion.

Investor Engagement with Private Prisons

Continue reading

“a conflict of interest at its core” —church group on private prisons

Another Sunday, another church group against private prisons. This time, it includes ex-prisoners, and it went to the lion’s den: a CCA shareholder meeting.

Marian Wright Edelman wrote 13 December 2010, Strength to Love: A Challenge to the Private Prison Industry:

A few months ago a group of earnest and determined stockholders traveled together by bus from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend a shareholders’ meeting for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company in the country. The group included ex-offenders who now each hold one share of stock in the same prison company that once held them captive, and they attended the meeting in the hopes of sharing their perspective on how the privatized prison industry can better serve society by rehabilitating inmates, rather than just serving its own profits by perpetuating the prison cycle.

The group, part of Washington, D.C.’s Church of the Saviour, is named Strength to Love, after the title of one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon collections. Members explain their mission this way:

Continue reading