Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.


Friday, July 06, 2007

GEO Private Prison Profits While Prisoners Suffer

In Colorado, GEO has recently lost two prison contracts that they had been awarded.


BOISE, Idaho - After months alone in his cell, Scot Noble Payne finished 20 pages of letters, describing to loved ones the decrepit conditions of the prison where he was serving time for molesting a child.

Then Payne used a razor blade to slice two 3-inch gashes in his throat. Guards found his body in the cell’s shower, with the water still running.

“Try to comfort my mum too and try to get her to see that I am truly happy again,” he wrote his uncle. “I tell you, it sure beats having water on the floor 24/7, a smelly pillow case, sheets with blood stains on them and a stinky towel that hasn’t been changed since they caught me.”

Payne’s suicide on March 4 came seven months after he was sent to the squalid privately run Texas prison by Idaho authorities trying to ease inmate overcrowding in their own state. His death exposed what had been Idaho’s standard practice for dealing with inmates sent to out-of-state prisons: Out of sight, out of mind.

It also raised questions about a company hired to operate prisons in 15 states, despite reports of abusive guards and terrible sanitation.

'They cut corners'
Hundreds of pages of documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request show Idaho did little monitoring of out-of-state inmates, despite repeated complaints from prisoners, their families and a prison inspector.

More than 140,000 U.S. prison beds are in private hands, and inmates’ rights groups allege many such penitentiaries tolerate deplorable conditions and skimp on services to increase profits.

“They cut corners because the bottom line is making money,” said Caylor Rolling, prison program director at Partnership for Safety and Justice in Portland, Ore., a group that promotes prison alternatives.

Payne, 43, was placed in solitary confinement because he escaped from the prison in December by scaling a fence and eluding capture for a week.

He was among Idaho inmates sent to the prison in Spur, Texas, run by a Florida-based company called the GEO Group. The business operates more than 50 prisons across the United States as well as in Australia and South Africa.

'A major contributing factor'
Soon after Payne’s suicide, the Idaho Department of Correction’s health care director inspected the prison and declared it the worst facility he had ever seen. Don Stockman called Payne’s cell unacceptable and the rest of the Dickens County Correctional Center “beyond repair.”

“The physical environment ... would have only enhanced the inmate’s depression that could have been a major contributing factor in his suicide,” he wrote in a report on Payne’s death.

Stockman said the warden at Dickens ruled “based on verbal and physical intimidation” and that guards showed no concern for the living conditions.

After Idaho’s complaints, GEO reassigned warden Ron Alford, who told the AP he was later fired. He insisted GEO did not provide enough money to make necessary improvements.

“They denied me everything. To buy a pencil with GEO, it took three signatures. They’re cheap,” Alford said in an interview. He disputes Stockman’s findings on his treatment of Idaho inmates.

GEO spokesman Pablo Paez declined to comment on Alford’s performance and would say only that the company had been working to address Idaho officials’ concerns. But on Thursday, the state announced plans to move 125 inmates from Dickens to other facilities, citing the poor living conditions.

Booming business
The private prison business has been booming as the federal government seeks space to house more criminals and illegal immigrants.

“Sometimes it may be a better situation for the inmates, and sometimes it’s not,” said prison consultant Douglas Lansing, a former warden at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, N.J. “Monitoring is a vital component. You can’t just move them out of town and forget them.”

That appears to be largely what happened with Idaho’s inmates.

The prisoners were sent to Dickens in August from another GEO-run Texas prison after complaints about abuse by guards.

Regrets
But in the following seven months, Idaho sent an inspector to Texas only once. That inspection found major problems, including virtually no substance-abuse treatment, and a complete lack of Idaho-sanctioned anger-management classes and pre-release programs.

There’s no evidence the inspector’s recommendations were followed. And no one from Idaho visited the prison again until after Payne’s suicide.

Most of the time, the Idaho prison employee responsible for monitoring the GEO contract used only the telephone and e-mail to handle grievances, which also included complaints about inadequate church services, poor food and limited recreation time.

Each time, Alford insisted everything was under control, according to correspondence reviewed by the AP.

The new director of the Idaho prison system concedes his department did not adequately review the inmates’ treatment when he took office in January.

“If I had to do it over again, I would have,” Director Brent Reinke said.

Former Director Vaughn Killeen said he couldn’t afford more aggressive monitoring during his term that ended in December.

“We weren’t happy about the things that were going on down there,” Killeen said. “We didn’t have that level of budget to accommodate full-time monitors.”

Some other states are more vigilant. Washington state, for instance, has 1,000 inmates in Arizona and Minnesota and places full-time inspectors at the prisons. A superintendent visits every six weeks.

Widespread issue
Problems with GEO prisons are not limited to Dickens.

Elsewhere in Texas, a female inmate’s family sued GEO in 2006 after she committed suicide at the Val Verde County Jail near the Mexican border. LeTisha Tapia alleged she was raped by another inmate and sexually humiliated by a GEO guard after reporting to the warden that guards allowed male and female inmates to have sex.

In March, an investigation into sex abuse allegations at another GEO-run Texas prison led to the firing of a guard who was a convicted sex offender.

And at GEO prisons in Illinois and Indiana, hundreds of inmates rioted this past spring.

The complaints have not hurt the company’s balance sheet. It reported profits of $30 million in 2006, four times the amount reported in 2005.

Improving conditions
Inmates at Dickens say conditions have improved since Payne’s suicide.

Hot and cold water problems have been fixed, and cleanliness was judged “adequate,” according to a May 31 report by a new Idaho contract monitor.

But prisoners still complain about sewage from adjacent cells, poor medical and dental care, and a lack of educational programs. Inmates like Robert Coulter, who was convicted of robbery, say authorities should have acted sooner.

“They basically put us down here and just dumped us,” he said

.

2 comments:

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Do you have any more information about the Colorado contracts w/ Geo that they lost?

I wrote a little more about Geo here after the TX incident with the Idaho prisoner:

AG should investigate possible Geo Group fraud

Meet the Geo Group: Texas' largest private prison contractor

Suicide aftermath reveals squalor at private rural Texas prison

Best,

Anonymous said...

1
秋天賞楓何處去酒店經紀,安排韓國旅遊有獨到心得的旅行社表示 酒店打工,秋遊韓國的重點就是美食、溫泉、還有雪嶽山美麗秋景。位於江原道 酒店兼差束草、襄陽、麟蹄一帶的雪嶽山,是韓國最早楓葉轉紅的地方,也由於雪嶽山一年四季都有奇岩絕璧 酒店兼職、溪谷瀑布等美景,吸引了許多觀光客前來旅遊。一到 酒店工作秋天,以雪嶽山的最高峰~大青峰酒店上班
(1,708公尺)為首,雪嶽山各主要登山路線沿途的楓葉把山染 酒店上班成一片紅色的圖畫,美不勝收。


標榜「全程無自費」,相當受旅客歡 寒假打工迎,而且價格相當平易近人,只要14500元即可成行。另外還有全程五星酒店、海陸空版的「戀戀秋濟^海陸空濟州4日」 暑假打工,同樣獨家全程無自費!緊張刺激360度噴射快艇(價值韓幣25000元)、飛天熱氣球(價值韓幣25000元) 酒店PT、海水溫泉汗蒸幕(價值韓幣8000元) 禮服酒店等,海、陸、空讓您玩的盡興也只要13900元!現在就去體驗韓國秋天的美景吧~


驚險摩托車秀HAPPY TOWN 兼差價值韓幣12000元):表演者以機車為主,靈活的玩弄, 打工全世界只有兩組特技人員能做的高難度表演,在一個小時的演出中還有空中飛人﹑民俗雜技和大車輪 台北酒店經紀等表演,保證讓您大呼過隱,不虛此行喝酒 特技令人嘖嘖稱奇。而享譽全球的國寶級亂打秀(價值韓幣45000元),是韓國人獨創的敲擊樂表演,故事的場景是發生在廚房中,因此所謂的樂器就是就地以鍋碗等廚房交際應酬 用具敲 打出澎湃的節奏。在沒有冷場的過程裡,不需要語言您就可以清楚知道劇情粉味的發展,台上演員還會與台下觀眾互動演出,整場歡笑不斷。酒店工作



去過的旅客都津津樂道的酒店喝酒韓文化生活體驗營」,讓您親手體驗泡菜製作,穿著傳統韓服更能體驗韓國婦女的優雅!另外,精緻好吃的韓國美食當然也不能 酒店不嚐:鮑魚太極人蔘雞、長壽麵、、黑毛豬烤肉、還有獨家特色餐「?花魚定食+五花肉+鐵板馬肉+?料」「生猛海鮮大餐」等等讓人食指大動。酒店經紀酒店經紀酒店兼差酒店打工酒店上班酒店經紀酒店小姐酒店打工酒店兼差 酒店工作 彩妝酒店經紀酒店酒店領檯 酒店公關酒店小姐 酒店兼差合法酒店經紀