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  • mottgrrl mottgrrl Mar 31, 2000 10:09 AM Flag

    Why is this share price so friggin low?

    Investing in this company is indicative of a
    hellacious lack of humanity. It also looks like you'll lose
    your ass.
    From todays NYTimes:
    T he Justice
    Department filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Wackenhut
    Corrections Corporation and the State of Louisiana charging
    that conditions at a private for-profit juvenile
    prison in central Louisiana
    run by Wackenhut are
    "dangerous and life threatening" and asking a federal judge
    take emergency action to protect the inmates.

    The lawsuit asked Judge Frank J. Polozola of
    Federal District Court in Baton Rouge to intervene to
    stop guards at the Wackenhut prison from beating the
    young boys, throwing gas grenades into their
    barracks,holding them for long periods in isolation and failing to
    provide the inmates with adequate mental health care and

    David Utter, director of the Juvenile
    Justice Project of Louisiana, a civil rights and advocacy
    group that represents some of the inmates, said the
    Justice Department action was highly unusual because it
    was done in the form of a request for a preliminary
    injunction for emergency relief, rather than as a regular
    "It is an extraordinary remedy for a
    horrendous situation," Mr. Utter said.
    A group of
    experts hired by the Justice Department who toured the
    prison, at Jena, reported that many of the 276 boys
    incarcerated there had no shoes or blankets and were
    constantly short of food. The experts also
    reported that
    many boys had tried to commit suicide or had
    deliberately injured themselves to get into the infirmary as a
    way to escape physical abuse by the guards.

    A New Orleans juvenile court judge, Mark Doherty,
    found conditions at Jena so bad he released six boys he
    had sent there after visiting the prison earlier this
    month. Judge Doherty, a Republican and former
    prosecutor, said Wackenhut had treated the boys no better
    than animals "on all fours."

    In response to
    the Justice Department lawsuit, Wackenhut released a
    written statement saying that the company "is providing a
    constitutionally sound, safe and secure facility" and that it is
    "working hard to continuously improve the operations
    through additional support from our corporate and
    regional staff."

    In addition, Wackenhut said it
    believed the Justice Department experts had been misled by
    "exaggerations and misstatements of facts" by inmates they had
    interviewed, and that the experts' findings "do not accurately
    reflect the condition of the facility today."

    Richard Stalder, the secretary of the Louisiana
    Department of Public Safety and Corrections was said to be
    out of town and other officials in his office did not
    return calls seeking comment.

    Wackenhut, based
    in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is the second largest
    private prison company in the United States and the
    largest internationally. It operates 39,308 beds in 56
    institutions in 13 states and 7 foreign countries, and its
    shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Justice Department officials have privately expressed
    both bafflement and anger at the conditions in Jena,
    since the Justice Department had reached an agreement
    with Wackenhut just before the prison opened
    December 1998 laying down guidelines for how the prison
    would be run.

    Bill Lann Lee, acting assistant
    attorney general for civil rights, said "We are taking
    this action on behalf of young people in this facility
    who cannot help or protect
    themselves." Mr. Lee
    added, "It is clear that, at this time, we need to
    involve the court to get some emergency relief."

33.55Jun 24 4:04 PMEDT