I have worked at prisons as a volunteer for many years. Many public and private facilities are minimum security. Some don't even have fences. The people held there have only a short time to serve. However, they do walk away. Most are not dangerous - probably less dangerous to society as to themselves. Many have serious substance abuse problems. For what ever reason they "break out", they are usually caught in a few days and returned to the system for a much longer sentence. Breaking out of a medium or maximum security prison presents a very different problem, but the percentage of "escapes" is much higher in the minimum security systems.
Regarding getting sued, most private and all public prisons have an inhouse staff of lawyers. Prisoners sue every day, for just about anything they can imagine will be heard by a Judge. Probably one percent of the cases ever go to trial. In my judgement, PZN is at much less risk of paying out damages from being sued than OPCO. Our employees are not exposed to prisoners like guards and transporters, we are in the REAL ESTATE business. We are in the business of leasing space, not overseeing inmates. I don't believe that most stockholders realize that under the new setup, our liability has been reduced. Doc now has that risk and certainly he will be rewarded for it, but there will be enough crumbs that fall of the table to take care of PZN stockholders.
A good friend of my is on the Board of a NYSE firm. The firm provides him with personal liabilty insurance in the many million range in case HE is suited personally. The problem is this is not a small comapny and $15-20MM in personal liabilty insurance would not cover all the liability when the suits begin to fly. He is nervous all the time about his personal exposure to the company and it's finances. This is real life.
Seeing what my friend goes through gives me comfort about the conflicts perceived in this merger. No member WANTS to increase his or her personal liabilty to the company they serve unless there is a sound reason to do so, IMO.