Tag Archives: Project Excel

News about CCA’s private prison Project Excel expected at Thursday’s VLCIA board meeting

Thursday’s Industrial Authority retreat and board meeting are both open meetings, which the public can attend. And at the 2PM board meeting apparently there will be news about Project Excel, CCA’s private prison.

VLCIA Executive Director Andrea Schruijer clarified on the telephone just now that Thursday’s 9AM-2PM board retreat is an open meeting; the public can attend. She said the agenda was made by the facilitator, and she had not seen it. The purpose of the retreat is for board members to talk about their experiences and roles as board members. The retreat is not for discussing specific projects.

Regarding the 2PM board meeting Thursday, she said she thought the agenda was on VLCIA’s web pages. When we looked and found it wasn’t there, she said apparently there was some confusion due to the rescheduling of the meeting, and the agenda would be there soon.

I asked her whether the Project Excel Project Excel, the CCA private prison, she said the Preliminary Specifications ( see section 1.6.1) had been received. She said they had been received, and they were simply a site diagram, a copy of which was hanging on VLCIA’s office wall. From discussion with her, it appears to be this site plan: Continue reading

CCA charges inmates five days’ pay for one telephone minute

That’s $1 a day in pay and $5 a telephone minute. While CCA is collecting as much as $200 a day per inmate in your tax dollars and CCA’s CEO is compensated $3,266,387 from your tax dollars.

Amanda Peterson Beadle wrote for ThinkProgress 16 November 2011, Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 a Minute for Phone Calls While They Work for $1 a Day

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

They charge for food, too.

And remember, CCA profits from anti-immigration laws, at taxpayer expense:

Recent anti-immigration laws in Alabama (HB56) and Georgia (HB87) guarantee that neighbor facilities will have an influx of “product.” In the past few years, CCA has spent $14.8 million lobbying for anti-immigration laws to ensure they have continuous access to fresh inmates and keep their money racket going. In 2010 CCA CEO Damon T. Hininger received $3,266,387 in total compensation.
Private CEO profit for public injustice. Does that seem right to you?

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


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: Continue reading

Georgia is CCA’s model partner

“Primary site?” Really?

The initial writeup in the VDT quoted CCA as being all coy about if a need arose from the state they would be ready to deploy the private prison in Lowndes County:

“This is (for) a future need that we don’t even know what it’ll be yet,” Frank Betancourt, CCA’s vice president of real estate development said. “There’s no ground breaking to announce. When the need (for a facility) does arrive, we can be the first ones to offer (our services).”
Yet if you look on CCA’s own website under partnering:
CCA has been a great partner with us for nearly a decade now. Coffee Correctional Facility and Wheeler Correctional Facility certainly meet the standards of the Georgia Department of Corrections. I particularly appreciate CCA maintaining exemplary accreditation status with both the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. I look forward to a continued long relationship with them.”
—Commissioner James E. Donald, Georgia Department of Corrections
And over in Decatur County people actually asked about this, and were told Continue reading

CCA for Lowndes County in GeorgiaTrend

Ed Lightsey writes in GeorgiaTrend for March 2011, Valdosta/Lowndes County: Taking Off about many good developments in Lowndes County. But among them is this:
About two years ago, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) began looking for sites on which to build a prison, and after an 18-month search chose Lowndes County, a decision that promises 400 to 600 new jobs. “It’s a $150-million investment,” Lofton says. “That’s the second largest investment in the history of the county. And of those promised jobs, about 120 will require post secondary education; they are nurses, physician assistants, dieticians and vocational rehab folks.”

CCA is the fifth largest penal system in the country, behind Florida, Califor-nia, Texas and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to Lofton. “They have about 20,000 employees across the country,” he says.

So why do we need them here? Continue reading

Competition for CCA’s private prison? –Roy Copeland

Roy Copeland had a question about Project Excel, the private prison that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to build in Lowndes County, at the 15 March 2011 VLCIA board meeting.

Q: He wanted to know if there are other communities competing for the project, and whether they had also paid a second extension.

A: Col. Ricketts answered that there is another community competing, but he did not know whether they had made that payment: Continue reading

CCA has made second payment towards private prison –Col. Ricketts

Regarding the private prison that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to build in Lowndes County, at the 15 March 2011 VLCIA board meeting, Col. Ricketts gave an update, saying CCA had made a second payment as stipulated in the purchase and development agreement:

Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Brad Lofton Executive Director, Allan Ricketts Program Manager,
15 March 2011
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

The story continues in later posts.


Private prison “a major impact on the community” –Brad Lofton

Previously we asked if public objections caused VLCIA to change its tune about letting CCA build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. OK, that was a rhetorical question: of course not!

Speaking at the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, 28 January 2011, Brad Lofton praised the private prison project:

“…we hope will be under construction in the next 18 months. It will be about $150 million dollar project; anywhere from 4 to 600 new jobs. A lot of communities in Georgia are built around state prisons. A hundred of those 400 will be post-secondary, nutritionalists, physicians, nurses, vocational rehab, so we’re proud of that project. You’ll start to hear a little bit more about that. There will be about 300 construction jobs over about a 24 month period, which will have a major impact on the community.”

Brad Lofton, Executive Director,
Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
speaking at the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce annual dinner,
Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, 28 January 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

That was part of Lofton’s famous “jobs, jobs, jobs” speech. Lofton is gone now, but apparently VLCIA still plans the prison.

The story continues in later posts.


CCA private prison in Lowndes County?

What’s Project Excel? A private prison for Lowndes County, proposed by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Back in August 2010 when the VDT first brought this story to light, I pointed out that CCA is the same company that lobbied heavily for Arizona’s new immigration law so CCA could get more customers. And I wondered what VLCIA thought about this? Silly question: of course they’re all for it! It’s “jobs, jobs, jobs” with them.

As of 21 December 2010, apparently things were still pretty tentative when Brad Lofton gave an update to the VLCIA board, claiming the CCA private prison would bring 600 jobs to Lowndes County, Georgia:

Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Gary Minchew, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Brad Lofton Executive Director, Allan Ricketts Program Manager,
21 December 2010
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Some public objection had surfaced by 20 January 2010, when Dr. Mark George remarked to the Valdosta City Council:

“I think we can do better than a generator that burns human waste. I think we can do better than a private prison and those are two things that we seem to be excited about as a community.”
Next, we’ll see if objections had any effect on the Industrial Authority.


Industrial Authority Projects

Kara Ramos writes in the VDT today about Building industry: A look at current Industrial Authority projects. The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority has quite a few interesting projects projected. It will be interesting to see which of them pan out.
Members were in agreement that while there are many students graduating from area colleges, they are moving to other cities to find higher paying jobs. Some board members agreed the local workforce needs improvement to enhance the work of current employees, improve the skills of unemployed individuals, and create more job openings.
Can’t argue with that.

The controversial aspects of the Wiregrass Power, LLC biomass project are not discussed in the article. Instead, the tiny accompanying solar plant gets some press: Continue reading