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  • leprkahn leprkahn Apr 6, 2000 8:59 PM Flag

    thanks mcprison

    unfortunately, I am relatively unable to
    contribute news items on Whackenhut since they have only one
    facility in my country, Canada, and that is on the other
    side of the continent, New Brinswick. I only read
    Canadian newspapers and so I only see major news items
    from the U.S., such as anti-trust case against
    Microsoft. I definately rely on this board and your posts
    for information. I have not read all 1159 posts on
    here, although I have read many of them, but was still
    anaware of Tallulah. Thanks again for the info that you
    posted and the reply to my question.

    SortNewest  |  Oldest  |  Most Replied Expand all replies
    • Louisiana takes over youth jail in Jena


      Privately run center defendant in abuse suit Inmates
      mutilate themselves to get protection, officials say

      By Steve Ritea
      Capital bureau/The
      Times-Picayune

      BATON ROUGE - The state took the first step Wednesday
      toward restoring order at the troubled Jena Juvenile
      Justice Center, assuming control of the privately run
      centerthat the U.S. Department of Justice has called
      intensely violent and inhumane.

      The step, which may
      be temporary, comes one week after the Justice
      Department added the center to an existing lawsuit that
      covers all juvenile jails in the state, saying it feared
      youths there were in danger.

      State officials and
      Wackenhut Corrections Corp., the company that runs Jena,
      reached a private agreement that allows Louisiana to
      assume control as forced negotiations continue among the
      federal government, the state and
      Wackenhut.

      Because of the ongoing negotiations, state Corrections
      Secretary Richard Stalder could not say whether the move is
      permanent or even how long the state would run the
      center.

      U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola directed the state
      to "assume interim operational control" Wednesday
      afternoon. But he rescinded the order several hours later
      after an objection from Justice Department officials.
      But Stalder called that ruling "a technical legal
      matter" and said "the state is now in charge of
      Jena."

      Jerry Goodwin, a former assistant warden at the Wade
      Correctional Center for adult prisoners, was named Jena warden
      on Wednesday.

      But the takeover -- the second
      of a juvenile prison in Louisiana in two years --
      does not end concerns among Justice Department
      officials about conditions.

      "We feel that much more
      needs to be done to improve conditions at Jena,"
      department spokeswoman Kara Peterman said.

      Wackenhut
      spokesman Patrick Cannan said the company is "continuing
      discussions with the state of Louisiana and will fully
      cooperate with the federal court and other parties to
      ensure that the Jena facility continues to operate in a
      safe and secure manner."

      On Friday, the Justice
      Department asked Polozola to intervene, claiming guards at
      the jail near Alexandria routinely abuse youths,
      steal their clothes, encourage them to fight one
      another and deny them proper medical care.

      • 1 Reply to mcprison
      • Critics of Jena said the agreement was a
        victory.

        "This is the best development that could have happened
        for the safety of these young people," said Orleans
        Parish Juvenile Court Judge Mark Doherty, who visited
        the center in January and subsequently relocated
        seven youths to other jails.

        "We hope that this
        takeover brings stability to the institution," said David
        Utter, a lawyer with the Juvenile Justice Project of
        Louisiana, which represents several Jena inmates. "I
        personally don't think that private prisons work in this
        state."

        Gov. Foster seems to agree. "We won't be having any
        more private prisons in Louisiana as long as I'm
        governor," he said Tuesday.

        In its court filing, the
        Justice Department alleged that Wackenhut has hired
        workers who have criminal backgrounds.

        If true,
        the state, while it is running the center, may be
        able to fire them.

        "The employees there are
        still employed by Wackenhut, but the state exercises
        discretion about who continues to work there," Stalder
        said.

        The Justice Department also said some youths at Jena
        repeatedly mutilate themselves so they will be transferred
        to the prison's medical unit and avoid being
        pressured for food or sex by other prisoners and abused by
        guards.

        "Some juveniles have felt so unsafe in the facility,
        that they have hoped to spend the rest of their time
        in lock-down without school or recreation in order
        to ensure their protection," federal officials wrote
        in a memorandum attached to the lawsuit.

        The
        takeover marks the second time in less than two years that
        state corrections officials have assumed management of
        a juvenile prison in Louisiana.

        In July
        1998, the Corrections Department took over the Tallulah
        Correctional Center for Youth following a spate of highly
        critical Justice Department reports on prison
        conditions.

        At the time, 35 Corrections Department employees
        were immediately assigned to the privately owned and
        operated prison to help guards maintain
        control.

        Stalder said it wasn't necessary to immediately send a
        similar contingent to Jena, but he wouldn't say
        why.

        The state's takeover of Tallulah became permanent in
        September after some of the prison's guards abandoned their
        posts and walked away from their jobs in an apparent
        protest over low pay.

        04/06/00
        The
        Times-Picayune.

 
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