Tag Archives: prison

Cook County schools furloughing teachers

Cook county schools have a budget shortfall problem, and they think they can solve it only by furloughing teachers. Remind me again why we're wasting $1 billion a year on prisons, including private prisons for the profit of private prison shareholders and executives (like CCA CEO Damon Hininger's $3 million a year) and we're furloughing teachers instead?

Greg Gullberg wrote for WCTV 10 May 2012, Teachers in Cook County Face Furloughs,

The Cook County School System is facing a $472,352 deficit. Superintendent Lance Heard tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that the only way out may be to initiate system-wide furlough days and cutting jobs.

"We've done everything we can to maintain the level of education for the students that we've always had and we think we've been able to do that," said Superintendent Heard.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but 488 teachers, staff and administrators, may be facing furlough days next school year. Superintendent Heard hopes to limit them to three to five per employee.

"I would like to say also that when we do take furlough days, they are always none instructional days. The students do not miss any school," said Superintendent Heard.

Yet. Keep on in this direction and the students will be missing school. As it is, they just get less-prepared teachers, for less-effective teaching. But this is not Supt. Heard's fault.

Do we in Georgia want to prepare students for jail, or to succeed in life? Prisons cost we the taxpayers lots of money. Successful young people help pay for everything. Maybe we should choose successful young people, starting with education.


Let’s Be Blunt: It’s Time to End the Drug War

Don’t believe Latin American presidents (former and current) or a global commission including captains of industry or historic statesmen such as Jimmy Carter or major newspapers or Judge Napolitano or law enforcement professionals like Frank Serpico? Ask an economist who spells it out: the War on Drugs is an economic, public safety, and civil rights disaster, and legalization is needed right now.

Economist Art Carden wrote for Forbes yesterday, Let’s Be Blunt: It’s Time to End the Drug War,

April 20 is the counter-culture “holiday” on which lots and lots of people come together to advocate marijuana legalization (or just get high). Should drugs—especially marijuana—be legal? The answer is “yes.” Immediately. Without hesitation. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 seized in a civil asset forfeiture. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure. It’s high time to end prohibition. Even if you aren’t willing to go whole-hog and legalize all drugs, at the very least we should legalize marijuana.

OK, why?

Continue reading

Good thing we didn’t buy a “jail to nowhere”

Still more evidence that private prisons are bad business. If the Industrial Authority won't do due diligence before buying into boondoggles like biomass and private prisons, we'll have to do it for them.

Kirsten Bokenkamp wrote for ACLU Texas 4 April 2012, Nobody wants a “Jail to Nowhere”,

…a number of Texas counties and towns ( the article points to Anson, Littlefield, and Angelina, Newton, Dickens and Falls Counties as a few examples) were sold on the idea that mass incarceration was in Texas to stay. According to the article, most of the privately operated county jails sit less than half full, and guess who is left holding the bill? (Hint – it is not the for-profit prison company).

Meanwhile, we can look askance at anything else that is pushed by ALEC, like private prisons and charter schools are.



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.


Sentencing reform passed joint committee in Georgia

Remember the Georgia legislature was considering sentencing reform? Now it's passed the Special Joint Committee on Georgia Criminal Justice Reform.

Bill Rankin wrote for the AJC Tuesday, Sweeping changes to state sentencing laws passes committee,

A key legislative committee on Tuesday approved sweeping changes to Georgia's criminal justice system in a sentencing reform package intended to control prison spending and ensure costly prison beds are reserved for the state's most dangerous criminals.

Well, that sounds good!

But wait, this is cautious Georgia:

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VLCIA executive session on real estate transactions last Thursday noon

According to the VLCIA website, they had a special called meeting last Thursday, including apparently an executive session to discuss real estate transactions. One big real estate transaction with a deadline of today (13 March 2012) is the CCA private prison.

This is on the front page of the VLCIA website:

Notice:The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority will hold a Special Called Meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at noon, for the purpose of reviewing bids and awarding a contract for the Miller Business Park Landscape/Irrigation Project and discuss real estate transactions.
Here’s the agenda. I congratulate the Industrial Authority for posting agendas!

Note the executive session. The agenda doesn’t say what the executive session is for (isn’t it supposed to, according to Georgia sunshine laws?). We can guess it’s for real estate transactions, as in the notice on the VLCIA front page.

Hm, what real estate transactions could that be? A contract for a landscaping and irrigation project isn’t a real estate transaction. Let me think… oh, the CCA private prison is a real estate transaction! Could that be what they were discussing?

The rest of VLCIA’s website is pretty thoroughly broken right now, as in

Warning: Parameter 3 to showItem() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/industri/public_html/includes/Cache/Lite/Function.php on line 100
None of the other links seem to work.


Special Called Meeting of the
Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority
Thursday, March 8, 2012, 12 noon
Valdosta Lowndes County Industrial Authority
Conference Room
Valdosta, Georgia
  • Call to Order Special Called Meeting

  • Invocation
  • Welcome Guests

  • Westside Business Park

    • Reviewing bids and awarding a contract for the Miller Business Park Landscape and Irrigation Project
  • Adjourn Special Called Meeting into Executive Session
  • Adjourn Executive Session/Call to Order Special Called Meeting
  • Adjourn Special Called Meeting

Marching at the Industrial Authority 2012-03-06

After starting up at the prison site and heading out, we honking at the Valdosta City Council, we marched at the Industrial Authority office. Drive Away CCA!

Here’s Part 1 of 3:

Marching at the Industrial Authority 2012 Part 1 of 3:
No private prison in Lowndes County,
Motorcade against Corrections Corporation of America, Drive Away CCA,
CCA, VLCIA, Corrections Corporation of America, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority,
Valdosta City Council, Lowndes County Commission, incarceration, prison, private prison,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 6 March 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

They weren’t in, since they only meet once a month.

Here’s Part 2 of 3: Continue reading

Crony capitalism corruption, a non-partisan enemy —Barbara Stratton

Received yesterday on VSU Health Sciences: much better than a private prison. -jsq
You know my main argument against the private prison is I don’t like public/private partnerships and the sweetheart deals they encourage. Also, when I requested CCA to provide me with information that supports private prisons so I could research both sides they did not respond. This led me to believe they have no concern for community opinion even when citizens are open minded and seeking honest information. They seem to prefer back room deals with local politicians that escape community detection unless citizens are aggressively observant like LAKE members.

However, we are not on the same page about what I consider simplistic solutions for reducing the prison population. Education and good drug treatment programs are definitely positives, but they are not the silver bullet liberals proclaim them to be. Criminals evolve from complex heredity and environmental mediums that don’t magically dissolve via education or intervention protocols. Certainly these are to be encouraged because they do help some, but they will never totally replace the need for legal intervention and penal institutions. In addition to educational and medical institutions not being a magical replacement solution for crime, these very institutions often encourage crony capitalism corruption, which we agree to be a non-partisan enemy.

In summary, I support our criminal justice system which includes prisons, but I do not support any mixing of government and business. Public/private partnerships are crony capitalism playgrounds that undermine free enterprise and citizen control. Unfortunately our trusted elected legislators have already filled our GA Codes and State Constitution with government consolidation and multi county regional partnership initiatives. At present, they are pushing SB 284, already passed by the senate, and in the house, which will further enhance Land Bank Authority powers and partnerships. As citizens we all need to remember that increasing unelected bureaucratic authorities equals minimized citizen control. We also need to ask our local, state and federal elected representatives why they are listening to special interest groups that encourage authorities and public/private partnerships instead of protecting their constituents.

-Barbara Stratton Commenter

We don’t have to agree on every point to oppose (private prison) or support (government transparency) the same things. Indeed, there will always be criminals, but we don’t need to lock up more than any other country on the planet. The big change in the environment that has produced seven times more criminals now than in the 1960s is the War on Drugs. Time to end that failed experiment in prohibition. Meanwhile, indeed crony capitalism corruption is our non-partisan enemy.


A few questions I have… —Etta Mims

Received Monday. -jsq
John –

You have my permission to post this – these are the questions I have regarding the private prisons:

I believe research is one of my best friends! Thank you Wikipedia and Google!

I researched private prisons over the weekend, and here are some of my questions and “aha” statements:

  1. Please note: these Private Prisons are also called “For Profit Prison” – that right there should cause fear and trembling.
  2. If we as tax payers are funding these “Private/For Profit Prisons” are we allowed a percentage of the profits?
  3. “Private/For Profit Prisons” typically enter into contractual agreements with governments – again – fear and trembling.
  4. Why build a private prison? Why not add on to the current prison located to the west of I-75?
  5. If you look online, there are many Private/For Profit Prisons closing due to the recession:
  6. There are inadequately staffed Private/For Profit Prisons http://www.ccpoa.org/news/tags/tag/private+prisons This will lead to an increase in prisoners escaping.
  7. Prison employees typically live outside the county they work in, so how will this help our local economy?
I haven’t completed my research. I will continue to look into these questions and “ahas” until I understand the pros and cons completely.

Until then — I think March 13 is the deadline? Scary.

Heading out Drive Away CCA 2012 03 06

Yes, we drove about that slow the whole way: that was in the plan. We honked at Valdosta City Hall: the City Council could hear us inside.

They have Citizens to be Heard at their regular meeting tonight.

Here’s the video:

Heading out Drive Away CCA 2012 03 06
No private prison in Lowndes County,
Motorcade against Corrections Corporation of America, Drive Away CCA,
CCA, VLCIA, Corrections Corporation of America, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority,
Valdosta City Council, Lowndes County Commission, incarceration, prison, private prison,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 6 March 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.