Warden at private prison resigns post This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press June 27, 2000 By JENNIFER WOFFORD Valley Press Staff Writer
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CALIFORNIA CITY - After a three-year stint as warden of the Corrections Corporation of America private prison in California City, Dan Vasquez has resigned. Vasquez' resignation followed the announcement that the Federal Bureau of Prisons awarded a $530 million contract to CCA's Cal City facility earlier this month.
CCA officials have named Percy Pitzer as the facility's new warden, said Susan Hart, the company's vice president of communications.
Until recently, Pitzer was warden at Whiteville Correction Facility in Whiteville, Tenn. Pitzer joined CCA with more than 25 years of experience from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Pitzer also has served as warden at the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont, Texas.
Prior to Vasquez' resignation, Hart said, CCA offered the warden another job at a smaller, 1,500-bed company lockup in Tennessee. Vasquez declined the offer and resigned from Cal City's 2,304-bed facility.
Despite his resignation, Vasquez will remain with CCA in Cal City until Pitzer is settled in.
Hart said Vasquez was offered the job at the small prison in Tennessee after the Federal Bureau of Prisons requested a warden with more federal prison experience.
"We work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and (wanted) a warden in place familiar with bureau policy and procedures," Hart said. "Warden Pitzer has very good experience with the bureau and (is) well-known for community involvement. He's already met with the facility staff and is in the process of getting things for the bureau inmates."
Vasquez and Pitzer could not be reached for comment Monday.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons contract awarded to California City is for "the management and operation of contractor owned and operated secured correctional institutions for low-security, non-U.S. citizen criminal alien inmates."
A second contract was awarded to CCA's Milan, N.M., facility.
The potential term of each contract is 10 years - a three-year base contract with the option of seven one-year renewals.
California City's prison is expected to be paid nearly $530 million for its services and the New Mexico facility nearly $231 million.
CCA invested more than $100 million to build the 2,304-bed, maximum-security lockup, speculating on future convict contracts. Prior to building the California City facility, the company had successfully built prisons on speculation in other parts of the country.
Vasquez has nearly 34 years of corrections experience; 29 1/2 with the state of California and four with Santa Clara County.
He began his corrections career in February 1964 as a guard at Chino. He has held numerous positions with the state Department of Corrections, including that of supervising parole agent and internal affairs officer. In his last job at the state, he was the warden at San Quentin for 10 years.
He left the state corrections department four years ago to oversee jail operations for Santa Clara County, which has the third-largest jail system in the state.
In September 1999, CCA graduated 68 people from their training program. The graduates included prison guards, maintenance workers and warehouse supervisors as well as workers who will provide various other services at the prison.
Founded in 1983 in Nashville, Tenn., CCA manages prisons and other correctional institutions at all security classifications for governmental agencies.
The company manages 77 facilities totaling 62,000 beds throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia and the United Kingdom.