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, February 09, 2007

CCA Continues to Post Profits

Corrections Corp. of America, which operates prisons and detention facilities, said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit climbed 37 percent, as inmate populations rose and new contracts went into effect. They profit at the expense of the human beings that are being held under their care. The allegations that follow CCA's misdeeds and malfunctions are too numerous to list but read how they make money here and still they continue to make money off the imprisonment of people.

In 1995, there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are at least 100, with some 62,000 inmates. That number is expected to hit 360,000 within a decade.

The two largest private prison corporations in the US, Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), are transnationals, managing prisons and detention centers in at least 13 states, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. A top performer on the New York Stock Exchange, CCA called California its “new frontier,” and boasts of investors such as Wal-Mart, Exxon, General Motors, Ford, Chevrolet, Texaco, Hewlett-Packard, Verizon, and UPS.

Employers don’t have to pay health or unemployment insurance, vacation time, sick leave or overtime. They can hire, fire or reassign inmates as they so desire, and can pay the workers as little as 21 cents an hour. The inmates cannot respond with a strike, file a grievance, or threaten to leave and get a better job.

Mass roundups of immigrants and non-citizens, currently about half of all federal prisoners, and dragnets in low-income ‘hoods have increased the prison population to unprecedented levels. Andrea Hornbein points out in Profit Motive: “The majority of these arrests are for low level offenses or outstanding warrants, and impact the taxpayer far more than the offense. For example, a $300 robbery resulting in a 5 year sentence, at the Massachusetts average of $43,000 per year, will cost $215,000. That doesn’t even include law enforcement and court costs.”

Nearly 75% of all prisoners are drug war captives. A criminal record today practically forces an ex-con into illegal employment since they don’t qualify for legitimate jobs or subsidized housing. Minor parole violations, unaffordable bail, parole denials, longer mandatory sentencing and three strikes laws, slashing of welfare rolls, overburdened court systems, shortage of public defenders, massive closings of mental hospitals, and high unemployment (about 50% for Black men) -- all contribute to the high rates of incarceration and recidivism. Thus, the slave labor pool continues to expand.

“In order to please shareholders, corporations must achieve growth. Empty cells do not generate profits.”

At the state level, revenue increased 9 percent to $168.5 million in the quarter, as inmate populations rose in Colorado, Minnesota, Hawaii, Wyoming and Washington.

Read the article here


Anonymous said...

My name I Annie. I see first hand on a weekly basis how CCA mistreats the inmates in a Colorado facility. How they have taken away and continue to take away programs that used to help the inmates do their time in a posititve manner. I truly believe that CCA wants to increase the recidivism rate. They are profitiable because they get these people back. I think there needs to be more done to help these people prepare to go back to the outside and have a chance at a good and productive life. Instead they mistreat the inmates to a point where they push back. It is very sad to see this going on. These men (in this case) were sentenced to serve time not to be tortured in the matter they are.......Something has to be done.

Anonymous said...

This weekend I visited my husband who was moved from the Crowley County Correctional Facility to a CCA Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma. I was upset to find that there was no set procedure for the visitation or processing of visitors. When I arrived, I was told that my mother in law was not on the visiting list, when I had seen them pass her name. I advised them that they had passed her name and I had seen her listed. The officer then looked again and found her name. I was baffled by the lack of intelligence on the staff's part and how unprepared they were to deal with 7 visitors. Yesterday, we sat at our own tables and the visit went fine. Today when we arrived, the tables had all been pushed together and set in a straight line. Chairs for the inmates were set on one side and chairs for the family on the other. My mother-in-law and I inquired as to why the setting was different. We were informed that this was the normal procedure and that they had not been following correct procedure in the past. We asked to speak to the captain, since this change was his decision. We were told that we could not speak with him. After about an hour of disagreements, the tables were moved away from eachother, to where they were the day before. It also took an hour for my husband to be brought out of his cell to the visiting room. He informed us that this time they strip searched him on the way in, which they did not do at the last visit. I was also informed that the staff had no previous correctional facility training, that anyone could walk in and apply for a position and get hired. This troubles me terribly, that my husband is under the care of people with no previous correctional facility experience.

On another note, I was told 2 weeks ago that I could not go and visit with my husband last weekend because I had already visited one time that month. In Colorado, there were no restrictions on the visits. My husband contacted the Colorado Contractor and inquired on this restriction. The contractor said that it was rediculous and that he would figure out why they are restricting the visits. The warden then said that I could come and visit multiple times a month, but to call ahead. I was under the impression that visiting from the family's was encouraged and that it is part of the process of rehabilitating the inmates. Why would they restrict our visits to 8 hours a month? Im driving 430 miles one way, I think I deserve a little more time than that with my husband. I hope that this uphill battle with the CCA and their "policies" is something that gets solved soon. Im not expecting anything overnight, but I will fight for my husbands rights and the rights of other inmates as long as it takes to make a change.

Thank you for your time,
Concerned Inmate Wife