This fact sheet was prepared by the organizers of the Stop the American Correctional Association (ACA) Conference in Philadelphia, PA in August 2001.
American Correctional Association Trade Show:
Fact Sheet on Some of The Companies Involved
The American Correctional Association
The American Correctional Association is the self-proclaimed umbrella organization for all areas of corrections, including federal, state and military correctional facilities and prisons, as well as county jails and detention centers. With over 20,000 members, the ACA is the largest organization in the corrections profession. The tradeshow (which the ACA has dubbed their "Congress of Corrections") brings thousands of companies wishing to make a profit off any sort of incarceration together with thousands of corrections professionals with purchasing power for their facilities. The ACA calls it "a great opportunity for companies to increase business and establish national and international industry contacts" and boast that 81 percent of corrections industry sales are made at trade shows. By selling booth space on their convention floor, the ACA pays for its annual convention, and representatives of these companies play a key role in developing the policies which corrections officials use to govern themselves.
Four Companies Represented this Years "Congress of Corrections"
1. The Correctional Services Corporation of America & Youth Services International "Physical and psychological conditions [of youth detention] bordered upon child abuse."
Background: The CSC, located in Sarasota, Florida, is a powerful developer and manager of privatized correctional facilities, providing services to governmental agencies on every level. The CSC owns 13 facilities nationwide, and Youth Services International, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CSC, is the largest private-for-profit company in the juvenile corrections field. YSI owns 33 juvenile facilities that house 4200 juveniles. The CSC brought in $210.8 million in revenues in 2000.1
CSCs Record: Facilities run by CSC have records of mistreating youth under their care.
a) Pahokee, Florida: Youth detained beyond release date to rack-up profits.
The CSC was awarded a $8.5 million contract in 1996 to run a detention center housing 350 nonviolent teenagers in Pahokee, Florida. Less than three years later, in October 1999, the CSC pulled out of its contract after failing its government inspection.2 The inspection showed:
- Teens at the facility had been physically abused and had not been allowed to use the child-abuse hotline, as state law required.
- That CSC failed to meet the educational needs of the students: the teachers, inadequate in number, were often forced to spend their own money on supplies.
- There was a four month old backlog of over 200 repair orders, to fix problems such as peeling paint, graffiti, and puddles in some rooms, among other things.3
- Ten teenagers were kept in the facility by the CSC beyond their designated release dates so they would be included in a quarterly head count that determines how much money the state gives to the CSC.4
"physical and psychological conditions bordered upon child abuse."5
b) Victor Cullen Center, Sabillasville, Maryland: Understaffed, guards force youth to attack each other in "fight clubs" at ACA accredited facility.
- Thomas Petersen, a former Florida juvenile court judge, stated that, at the Pahokee facility,
- In November of 2000, an audit by the state of Maryland of this Youth Services International facility showed it was well understaffed, with inadequate mental health services and poor training for the staff.
- The audit stated that "Referrals for individual psychotherapy appear to be done on a haphazard basis."6
- Similar problems were still evident to justice officials in July of 2001, when two guards were fired after allegedly running a "fight club" that pitted teens with drug and alcohol problems against one another in fist fights. The officials found at this time that the facility was still understaffed and that the employees were still not properly trained.7
2. The Corrections Corporation of America"deceitful and dishonest."
Background: The CCA is the nations largest provider of privatized correction management, with control over 65 facilities housing 55,000 inmates and 310 million dollars in revenues in 1999. CCAs services include design, construction, ownership, renovation, and management of prisons, jails and treatment centers. CCA are sponsors of this years ACA banquet profiling the industries best practices.
CCA Record: Prisoners Killed, Escape, and Guards Say Private Prison Company Poorly staffed, poorly run.
a) Youngstown, Ohio PrisonACA Accredited: 40 inmates assaulted.
A prison operated by the CCA in Youngstown, Ohio, is currently in the stages of being shut down after numerous problems, including inmate deaths and escapes. The ACA found the Youngstown facility to be in 100 percent compliance with all mandatory standards and 99.5 percent in compliance with all non-mandatory standards.8
- During CCAs operation of Youngstown, two inmates have been killed, 40 have been assaulted, and six inmates escaped in 1998,9 nine days after the CCA reported that it had reclassified inmates and tightened security.10
- CCA had to pay 1.65 million dollars to its inmates to avoid a lawsuit claiming that the facility was unsafe.11 One study in late 1998 showed that 80 percent of the officers at Youngstown had no prior experience.12
b) Estancia, New MexicoGuards: CCA to blame for inmate riot.
On August 17, 1999, five guards were beaten unconscious by rioting inmates in a prison operated by the CCA in Estancia, New Mexico. The guards did not blame the inmates, but rather blamed the prison officials, who not only understaffed the prison and inadequately trained the guards, but also were said to have known of plans for a riot ahead of time.14
- George McKelvey, the mayor of Youngstown, said that the CCA was "as deceitful and dishonest as any [company] weve ever dealt with."13
3. The Maricopa County Jail Program
Background: Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix, Arizona and the rest of Maricopa County has billed himself nationally and internationally as Americas toughest sheriff (for details, see his website at www.mcso.org). There are over 6,000 jail inmates under Sheriff Arpaios control.
The Maricopa County Record: Inhumane Conditions of Confinement
From the beginning of Arpaios tenure to April of 1999, over 800 lawsuits were filed by inmates about the Maricopa county jail system.15 The Maricopa county jail has been under Justice Department investigation several times, and has been criticized by Amnesty International, and other international human rights agencies for inhumane conditions of confinement. A recent six-month investigation by a corrections consultant agreed upon by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the U.S. Justice Department reported the following about the use of force and conditions of confinement in the Maricopa County Jail16:
[Inmates entering the jail] have probably been subject to varieties of forcestun guns, pepper spray, billy clubs, hog-tying, fists, ect
There is also evidence which can be read to reveal the use of Stun Guns and OC Pepper Spray/Foam after restrain had been achieved, for no apparent justifiable reason
The inmate grievance system is dysfunctional
[S]taffing was below levels needed for safety and humane operations of the jails
[The intake facility is] a very unmanageable, dangerous environment
Use of Force was unprovoked, unnecessary, and, consequently, unjustified and excessive."
Other concerns raised about the Maricopia County jail program include:
- Some inmates were housed over six months without medical screenings, which greatly increases the possibility of spreading diseases throughout the prisons, and many inmates have been denied recreation time for dozens of days because the jails were so understaffed. Around this time, Arpaio spent a great deal of money on new offices, as well as hiring new employees to fight cat mutilations.17
- In March of 2001, 1,000 inmates refused to eat in protest of Arpaios decision to combine breakfast and lunch into one meal to save the system money.18 Meanwhile, Arpaio boasts on his website that his jails have "the cheapest meals in the country
under 45 cents"
- Most recently, an inmate rights group prepared a 1.3 billion dollar suit against Arpaio for setting up a "webcast" of the inside of one of his jails, which is currently available at his website.19
[A section from this historical document removed by the Prison Policy Initiative, June 2009]
The National Riffle Association
Smith & Wesson
Air Munitions North America
American Handcuff Company
ARAMARK Correctional Services, Inc.
Maximum Security Products Association
MK Ballistic Systems
Point Blank Body Armour
Orcutt Police Defensive Systems, Inc.
Northern Grumman Corporation
Proper Battle Tested
Federal Warning Systems
Extreme CCTV Surveillance
IDS-Intelligent Detector Systems
Wackenhutt Corrections Corporation.
- "Correctional Services Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2000 Financial Results." Business Wire, 3/12/01
- "Safety Takes a Loss." Palm Beach Post, 10/20/99
- Jennifer Peltz and Gary Kane. "Pahokee Youth Jail Fails State Inspection." Palm Beach Post, 7/15/99
- "Report: Youth center delayed release of teens for money." Associated Press, 11/23/98
- Jennifer Peltz. "Judge Rips Pahokee Youth Center, Says Its Cruel, Borders on Abusive." Palm Beach Post, 8-19-97
- Kate Shatzkin. "Cullen Audit Raises Concern." Baltimore Sun, 11/18/00
- Todd Richissin. " Fight Club Probed at Md. Jail for Juveniles." Baltimore Sun, 7/3/01
- "CCAs Northeast Ohio Correctional Center Receives ACA Accreditation." PR Newswire, 8/16/99
- Arthur Santana. "D.C. Scatters Inmates from Troubled Ohio Prison." Washington Post, 5/11/01
- Mark Tatge. "Judge to Rule on Youngstown Prison Security Issue." Plain Dealer, 7/17/98
- "Private Prison in Ohio Agrees to Pay Inmates Damages." The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), 3/3/99
- Nancy Zuckerbrod. "Report Criticizes Ohio Prison." Associated Press, 12/5/98
- Rita Price. "2 Escapees Still Sought; Anger Erupts in Youngstown Over Private Prison." Columbia Dispatch, 7/27/98
- Susie Gran. "Officials Knew of Planned Estancia Riot, Lawsuit Says." Albuquerque Tribune, 12/14/99
- Tony Ortega. "Detention Mounts." Phoenix New Times, 4/22/99
- For an extensive critique of the Maricopa County jail and the human rights abuses there, see Graham, Barry. "Star of Justice: On the Job With Americas Toughest Jail." Harpers Magazine, April 1, 2001.
- Tony Ortega. "Detention Mounts." Phoenix New Times, 4/22/99
- "Inmates Refuse to Eat to Protest Food Cutbacks." Associated Press, 3/16/01
- Larry Odell. "Board Keeps Controversial Program at Least Until September." Associated Press, 6/9/99
- "Inmate Rights Group Prepares 1.3 Billion Lawsuit Against Sheriff." Associated Press, 5/24/01
- Dan Hartzell. "Firm is Named in Death Lawsuit." The Morning Call (Allentown), 9/1/00
- Holly A. Heyser. "Medical Examiner: Suffocating Caused Teens Fatal Heart Attack." The Virginia Pilot (Norfolk), 7/23/99
- For a complete list of exhibitors, see the ACA website at www.corrections.com