Thursday, October 11, 2012

1st privately owned prison: dangerous, dirty, well below state standards

We are not surprised.

ThinkProgress reports the first privately owned U.S. prison, which is in Ohio, violated state standards 47 times on food quality, sanitation, hygiene and safety.

We are also not surprised that Corrections Corporation of America bought the prison.

CityBeat reports a recent audit disclosed:
... safety concerns due to low staffing numbers and not having enough coverage. Other staff stated that there is increased confusion due to all the staffing transitions.” 
The report says “there has been a big staff turnover,” and only one staff person was properly trained to meet Ohio Risk Assessment System standards. The audit found that a workplace violence liaison wasn’t appointed or trained. Inmates complained they felt unsafe and that staff “had their hands tied’” and “had little control over some situations.” 
The local fire plan had no specific steps to release inmates from locked areas in case of emergency, and local employees said “they had no idea what they should do” in case of a fire emergency. 
The audit also found all housing units provided less than the required 25 square feet on unencumbered space per occupant. It found single watch cells held two prisoners with some sleeping on the floor, and some triple-bunked cells had a third inmate sleeping on a mattress on the floor. 
Cells weren't cleaned, the food sucked, sick patients were allowed to languish and searches weren't conducted often enough -- or properly.

There was a bright spot, though: The staff was friendly and helpful during the audit and the prisoners wore their ID badges!

Here's what else won't surprise you: CCA has close ties to corporate stooge Gov. John Kasich. ThinkProgress tells us:
  • One of Kasich's first appointments was Gary Mohr to be the state Director of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Prior to his appointment, Mohr worked as managing director for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
  • The CCA’s Ohio lobbyist, Don Thibaut, “served as Kasich’s chief of staff when he was in Congress.” The CCA has retained the services of Thibaut’s firm, The Credo Company, which also employed Mohr as a consultant for five years.
You try to be cynical but you just can't keep up.