Billions in COLAs v. "legitimate cost of living increases"
What do you mean by this? Where are the billions in COLAs to which you refer?
So COLAs (Cost Of Living Adjustments) are bad, but "legitimate" cost-of-living increases are okay? I think any for-profit company should secure the best pay for its services.
Please explain (type slower and use the small words you know) please explain why it is okay for the company to secure rate increases for its employees and shareholders, but the public sector should not secure increases for its employees?
Doesn't a rising tide lift all boats? Increases in the public sector costs (salaries) should serve to benefit the private sector by making the private sector appear more efficicient, don't you agree?
HELENA -- A bill allowing Shelby's private prison to import out-of-state prisoners was approved by the House in a preliminary vote Wednesday, moving it one step closer to law.
Northcentral Montana civic leaders and legislators say the change is needed so the prison can remain open during what's expected to be a temporary lag in its use by state prisoners.
At the urging of sponsor Edith Clark, R-Sweet Grass, the House voted 63-37 to accept the Senate version that stripped off two House amendments that Shelby prison supporters disliked.
If the House confirms its action in a final vote today, House Bill 451 will be sent to Gov. Judy Martz, who has supported the idea.
One stripped amendment would have imposed a three-year "sunset" on the importing of prisoners. The other would have banned the importing of federal prisoners.
Clark said it would have been hard to put a contract in place with such a quick possible termination date.
She said there are as many as 3,000 Montana inmates in federal prisons and the Shelby prison wants to bring some back to Montana, especially Native American prisoners. They'd have a better chance at rehabilitation if they are close to families and take part in the prison's cultural and religious programs, Clark said.
Rep. Norman Ballantyne, D-Valier, said the Corrections Corporation of America has been a good neighbor, taxpayer and employer in an area "that needs jobs."
But Rep. Kathleen Galvin-Halcro, D-Great Falls, said a sunset date would allow the Legislature to check whether the program to import prisoners is working.
Rep. Steve Gallus, D-Butte, said private prison backers broke their 1997 promise that Montana would not import prisoners.
And Rep. Paul Clark, D-Trout Creek, said with the expanding trend the Shelby facility soon will be seeking "international terrorists" as inmates.
Watching the vote excitedly from the House gallery were Toole County Commissioner Allan Underdal and CCA Warden Jim MacDonald.
"I'm elated," said MacDonald, who expects to begin importing prisoners within three or four months.
The Shelby prison now has 299 inmates, well below its break-even point of 424.
"I hope that everything that the supporters were promising is true," said Scott Crichton, executive director of the Montana American Civil Liberties Union. "But we still think it is a mistake to use corrections for economic development, especially if it means expanding private prisons.'
As the general so aptly pointed out, you have failed to do your homework once again. You should stick to cheerleading, you know, pom-poms, short skirt, stuffed sweater and saddle shoes. I'm sure you're quire the sight - clearly being inaccurate does'nt stop you from expressing your opinion.
By the way (and once again) I am not a union employee nor a member of any union. However, I do enjoy watching you continually post your opinion which you so regularly state as fact.
Your buffoonery is quite comical.
Could you please post some photos of yourself in your cheerleader uniform so that we can all see how high you can jump when directed?
Thanks, in advance.
Lastly, Davis kept alive the five private prisons he announced he would close last year and then closed a public prison this year. Also, he did not attempt to close the private prisons this year either.
While I would agree that the union has secured many advantages from its political action, most "special interests do the same, to the bestof thier abilities.
CCA spent $250,000 in 1998 election cylce in CA. And CCA gave "Doofus" $25,000 in October of 1998, just weeks before the election.
Is that a bad thing? I don't think so, but I doubt CCA was giving him money because he was such a good friend to the company. CCA probably hoped to gain something from their contribution, just like everyone one else who contributes to campaigns around the country.
CCA, I believe, continues to make large campaign contributions around the country, mostly playing in areas where much less cash is required for a similar benefit. Thst does not make the company bad. I believe it makes good business sense. Surely you are not unhappy that the contributed to the RNC, GW, congressional members or numerous legislatures and local government officials.
Regarding taxpayers, doesn't this company have automatic pay increase (COLAs) loaded into many of its contracts? While not defending the union, do these increases amount to taxpayers getting the shaft as well?
Please correct me (with facts, please) where I'm wrong.
March 14, 2003
SECTION: Vol. 8, No. 12
LENGTH: 470 words
HEADLINE: Alleged Wackenhut whistleblower will get his day in court
The case of a man who said he was fired because he divulged illegal
activities at a Wackenhut Corrections Corp. facility survived summary judgment
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the man's disclosures were
protected under California statutes that protect whistleblowers.
Background: John P. Elliott worked at a facility owned and operated by
Wackenhut. While he was employed by Wackenhut, he sent several letters to
government officials complaining about mismanagement at the prison where he
His letters included information that Wackenhut covered up an inmate escape,
engaged in fraud, mishandled incident reports, allowed sexual and physical
assaults and drug use by inmates, allowed inmates to possess weapons, retaliated
against him for seeking various changes, failed to follow the agreement it had
reached with the government and allowed officers to carry weapons illicitly in
Elliott was subsequently suspended without pay and was never allowed to
return to work. Further, Elliott said Wackenhut did not notify him about the
status of his employment for many months.
Once he was notified of his termination, Elliott filed suit against
Wackenhut. He said his dismissal was because of the letters he sent and that the
letters included content protected under California Lab.Code 1102.5.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California said the
information was not protected and dismissed the case.
Ruling: The appeals court said it is clear that the alleged actions taken
against Elliott qualify as an adverse employment action under Section 1102.5.
Moreover, if Elliott's allegations are true, his employment with WCC was
permanently terminated. Section 1102.5 says an employer cannot retaliate against
an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement
agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information
discloses a violation of state or federal statute or regulation. The District
Court ruled that, even if Elliott was fired for sending the letters to
officials, the letters were not protected by Section 1102.5. The 9th Circuit
A jury could conclude Elliott might have had reasonable cause to believe that
his letters included information about violations of federal and state laws. A
jury could conclude that Elliott's disclosures were thus protected by 1102.5.
Further, the court said a question of fact also remained as to whether WCC's
actions against Elliott were in retaliation for protected disclosures.
"Because we hold that a jury could find that Elliott's letters included
content protected under Cal. Lab.Code 1102.5, we reverse and remand," the court
Elliott v. Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, No. 02-15049 (9th Cir.
March 3, 2003, 7:04AM
Armed robbery suspect escapes Southeast Texas jail
BEAUMONT - Southeast Texas law-enforcement officials were searching late Sunday for a Newton County jail escapee.
Investigators said 38-year-old James R. Duncan, a state of Arizona inmate being housed in the Newton County Correctional
Center, broke out about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Duncan is charged with armed robbery.
He was last seen wearing a two-piece orange jail uniform with the letters "ADC" in black on the back of the shirt. Duncan is
white, 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs 215 pounds and has bushy blond-brown hair and blue eyes. He had blue jeans and a black jacket
February 27, 2003
Officials mum about prison disturbance
By Marianne Todd
Special to The Clarion-Ledger
LOST GAP � Officials are not saying what caused a two-hour disturbance at the
East Mississippi Correctional Facility on Tuesday night where guards were forced
to use chemical agents to get 29 prisoners to return to their cells.
The 29 inmates were transported late Tuesday to the State Penitentiary at
Parchman after the situation was brought under control.
But officials from Wackenhut Corrections Corp., a private prison management
company that operates the 750-bed prison, would not say why the inmates caused
the disturbance and gave few details about it.
No one was seriously injured, but EMCF officials alerted the Lauderdale County
Sheriff's Department about the problem.
"We were notified they were having a problem, but they never requested law
enforcement assistance," said Lauderdale County Maj. Ward Calhoun. "They said
they would contact us if they needed our help."
Calhoun said his department acts in more of an investigative role, having looked
into two homicides and another death at the prison in 2002.
Since the inmates at the prison have special needs requiring medication to control
mental illnesses and disorders, Calhoun said his department likely could have
provided little help.
"We operate a county jail and there is a vast difference between jails and prisons,"
he said. "We're equipped to run our own jail. We're not equipped to go running out
to Wackenhut to solve their problems, but if we were called we would go."
� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � The Pueblo Chieftain
� � � � � � � � � � � � � February 12, 2003, Wednesday
LENGTH: 523 words
HEADLINE: Colorado Hopes to Contract with Private Prisons to Gain More Beds
BYLINE: By Tom McAvoy
�� DENVER--Prisons continue to be a growth industry in Colorado as the state,
strapped for cash, looks for ways to build and fill them without a big up-front
hit on the budget.
�� Department of Corrections officials said Tuesday that in addition to
financing a second state-owned and operated Colorado State Penitentiary of up to
948 high-security cells, they would like to contract with private prisons for an
additional 5,000 medium-security beds.
�� House Speaker Lola Spradley, R-Beulah, is sponsoring HB1256, the state
penitentiary construction bill, scheduled for a hearing this afternoon in the
�� Colorado law prohibits privatizing high-security prisons housing dangerous
criminals, and Gov. Bill Owens' policy is to cap lower-security private prisons
at no more than 30 percent of total beds statewide.
�� The other 70 percent, including a second penitentiary in Fremont County, must
be state-owned and operated.
�� The department briefed the legislative Capital Development Committee on
possibilities for the 30 percent of prison capacity that could be privatized.
�� Rich Schweigert, the department's director of finance and administration,
said all four existing private prisons in Colorado now are owned by Corrections
Corporation of America in Nashville, Tenn.
�� Colorado inmates currently fill 2,409 of CCA's prison beds -- 584 at the
724-bed Bent County facility, 616 of the 778-bed Huerfano County facility, 639
of the 1,185 beds at Crowley County and 570 of the 820 beds at Burlington in Kit
�� The remaining 1,000 beds are or soon could be available to Colorado, reported
CCA President John Ferguson. The state of Wyoming has inmates in 365 of CCA's
beds here and has been put on notice that they will have to move out if and when
Colorado decides to take them over.
�� It would take further negotiations, Schweigert said, but Colorado could ask
CCA or other private prison operators to build yet another 4,000 correctional
beds for Colorado.
�� The total then could hit 7,500 and still be within the governor's 30 percent
limit on private prisons, based on projections that Colorado's inmate
population, now approaching 18,000, will skyrocket to nearly 25,000 by the
second half of 2009.
�� Ferguson reported on what state officials already know: Private prison
companies can build and operate facilities cheaper than the government can.
�� "We do think we can construct something for less than the public sector,"
Ferguson said. "One reason is we can negotiate" with private contractors on
price and an expedited construction schedule.
�� According to Schweigert, private prisons pay employees an average of $ 8,000
less than state correctional officers' salaries.
�� While CCA is Colorado's sole private prison operator right now, the state has
accepted bids for two other 500-bed prisons submitted by CCA competitors. If
those contracts are completed, they would take care of 1,000 of the 5,000
additional private prison beds identified as needed by the state.
The Associated Press State & Local Wire
� � � � � � � � � �� February 12, 2003, Wednesday, BC cycle
SECTION: State and Regional
LENGTH: 582 words
HEADLINE: Mexican inmates get one of a kind education
BYLINE: By TOM PURDOM, Gallup Independent
DATELINE: MILAN, N.M.
�� What's happening in education at Cibola County Correctional Center is cutting
�� Inmates from Mexico with little or no education can go back home with
knowledge that equals the best elementary school education, the best middle
school and high school education and now the best junior college instruction. It
is an educational model in the 1,100 federal inmate prison in Milan.
�� "It's the last thing you'd expect to see at a small little prison in the
middle of nowhere," said Richard Trafton, educational director for Correction
Corporation of America's Cibola County Corrections Center.
�� Last month Alvaro Alvarez Barragan from the Colegio de Bachilleres in Mexico
City, along with members of the Mexican Consulate staff in Albuquerque, was at
the prison to celebrate the grand opening of the Mexican Preparatoria curriculum
program. It is the equivalent of a junior college education and eventually,
Trafton said, the prison will offer college education to other inmates as well.
�� A little more than three years ago, the facility was but a detention center
for foreign nationals caught breaking the law in the United States and sentenced
to prison time before being sent home. The vast majority came from Mexico, and
were being sent back to Mexico.
�� Mexican President Vicente Fox long recognized the one road to economic
recovery for Mexico was down the path of education. With a national average of a
third-grade education, the people of Mexico needed more education to break out
�� Fox also recognized that thousands of people who illegally crossed the border
between Mexico and the United States were going to the United States to find a
better way of life for them and their families. With education, those people
caught in the United States could come back to Mexico and have the
qualifications to find livable careers.
�� About two years ago CCCC and CCA initiated the Mexican primaria, or primary,
education for inmates confined to the facility, and then the Mexican secundaria,
or secondary, which amounts to the Mexican equivalent of the American GED.
�� CCA officials could have simply taught what is needed to pass the American
GED and called it quits, but an American GED in Mexico is not worth the paper on
which it is written. To get good-paying jobs in Mexico, workers need a minimum
of the Mexican GED.
�� It took hard work from the highest ranks of Mexico's education field and from
officials such as Trafton and Juan Solano, consuls of Mexico in Albuquerque, but
the job got done and the primaria and secundaria classes were started.
�� The job, though, was not over. To Trafton, the next logical step was the
Mexican prepatoria, which is Mexico's grades 10-12, but in reality is the
equivalent of the American junior college education.
�� "The program at the Cibola facility is the pilot program for the Mexican
Department of Education and the Colegio Bachilleras," Trafton said.
�� Joaquina Galindo, academic instruction coordinator for the Mexican Education
Program at the prison, said that with the introduction of the primaria and
secundaria programs, one of the major hurdles was put to rest. "We already had
the connections in Mexico City for this new program," she said.
�� Mexico pays for the education in the primaria and secundaria programs, but
students in the preparatoria program are obligated to buy their own books,
�� Trafton said 80 percent of the facility's inmates are involved in some s
St. Petersburg Times
February 7, 2003 Friday
SECTION: CITRUS TIMES; Pg. 3
LENGTH: 436 words
HEADLINE: New firm managing juvenile prison
BYLINE: CARRIE JOHNSON
Cypress Creek Academy, one of the state's toughest juvenile prisons, is under
Correctional Services Corp., the Sarasota-based private company that has run
the detention facility for more than five years, lost its contract with the
Department of Juvenile Justice when it came up for bid in December.
It has been replaced by Securicor New Century, which is based in Richmond,
Va., said Catherine Arnold, a spokeswoman for the department.
The academy, which houses up to 96 of the state's most hard-core juvenile
offenders, recently has been the subject of controversy. There were two
high-profile escapes in 2000 and 2001, including one incident involving a guard
who gave a key to an inmate.
Also, a female guard was charged in 2002 with having sex with three inmates
over the age of 18. Deritha Barth accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to
four years' probation.
Despite those problems, Correctional Services at the time was not removed by
"Our contracts routinely come up for bid," Arnold said. "Through the
competitive bidding process, Securicor won the contract."
The two companies were judged in several categories, including management
approach and organizational structure.
Securicor bested Correctional Services by 36 points out of a possible 648,
according to Department of Juvenile Justice documents.
Securicor will officially take over July 1. Eric Gallon, the administrator of
the facility under Correctional Services, said it's still too early to determine
how many of the current 104 staff members will remain.
He stressed that the facility's recent problems had nothing to do with the
shift in management.
"Those things aren't any different than what happens at any other facility
throughout the U.S. or Florida," Gallon said.
Correctional Services employees will continue to supervise the Lecanto
facility until Securicor takes control, he said.
Cypress Creek is one of the state's three Level 10 juvenile prisons, reserved
for the most hardened young offenders. It opened in 1995 and was run by Rebound
Corp., another private company, which lost the contract to Correctional Services
after two years.
Securicor had some recent troubles at a Florida facility. A guard at Sago
Palm Academy, which has been run by Securicor since 1999, was charged with child
abuse in March 2001, according to the Palm Beach Post.
However, a state review of the academy in June 2001 showed conditions at the
historically troubled facility were improving, the newspaper reported.
- Carrie Johnson can be reached at 860-7309 or email@example.com.
The previous month, Vanessa Salmeron told a staff member at the Thomas J.S.
Waxter Children's Center in Laurel that she wanted to kill herself, according to
a state investigation. The staffer wrote "Salmeron making suicidal threats" in
the center's logbook. But that person told no one, the investigation found.
A few hours later, another supervisor went to take Vanessa and her roommate
to their evening shower. As she entered their room, she told investigators, she
saw Vanessa sitting on the floor, her back to the door, her head resting on the
mattress of the lower bunk bed.
The roommate, who had been in the top bunk reading, told investigators that
she didn't hear or feel anything unusual.
Last month, Vanessa's family sued the state, claiming that the staff at
Waxter demonstrated a "conscious indifference and disregard for Vanessa's life,
safety and serious medical needs." Lee Towers, a spokesman for the Department of
Juvenile Justice, would not comment on the suit.
It has been about 10 months since Vanessa's death, and family members still
find themselves unable to shed their routine of grief: the daily trips to the
cemetery, the prayers before bedtime. Hilda Salmeron still washes her daughter's
clothes every week, folding them neatly and then putting them back in the
What Vanessa needed, they said, was help, not confinement.
According to her sister, Roxana Cruz, Vanessa was gang-raped at age 12 by
teenagers at a party in Northwest Washington. She had been drinking and fell
asleep on a couch. When she awoke, several boys were holding her down while
another raped her, Cruz said.
After that, Vanessa started drinking more. Sometimes she wouldn't come home,
and when she did, she was often drunk.
When she stole the family car, her mother called police. The judge ordered
Vanessa to stay at home except for school. But after missing curfew one night,
she was ordered to a detention center.
Beyond the individual instances of brutality, child advocates say, the
department needs broader systemic changes that won't come easily.
"The culture in the department has been so damnable for a very long time,"
said James P. McComb, a lobbyist with the Maryland Association of Resources for
Families and Youth. "It's a culture of low expectations. It's a culture of
acceptance of failure. It's a culture that defends the status quo and opposes
On its Web site, the department insists that it has been "actively
implementing comprehensive reforms at an incredible rate" over the past few
years. Those include expanded mental health services, more support for children
after their release, and the creation of an office of independent monitors to
survey treatment and conditions at state facilities.
But Ehrlich has insisted that those changes don't go far enough. And during
Montague's briefing to the House Judiciary Committee, he pledged to create a
"new paradigm" for the department and said he has Ehrlich's full support.
In his departmental budget, Ehrlich has allocated $ 500,000 to create an
office of the assistant secretary for minority justice services, which would
identify and remedy any racial bias in the system. One survey, in 1999, found
that 64 percent of the children in confinement were black, even though blacks
make up only 32 percent of the state's population.
He also plans to institute juvenile drug courts, which favor treatment
rather than confinement, and increase training for suicide prevention. A 2001
survey by the Maryland Mental Health Coalition found that 10 percent of those in
Maryland's juvenile justice system had attempted suicide at least once.
Jennifer McLarin tried to kill herself twice and threatened to do so another
time, according to a state report. But despite her depression, she was sent to a
group home in Wheaton that was "neither capable nor suited to provide a
therapeutic environment for children with severe mental illness," according to
an investigation into the 14-year-old's death.
Even though the group home pleaded with state social workers to move her to
a more suitable environment, McLarin was kept at the home. Last April, she went
into her room and hanged herself with a scarf.
The Washington Post
February 09, 2003, Sunday, Final Edition
SECTION: METRO; Pg. C07
LENGTH: 1124 words
HEADLINE: Juvenile System Awaits Rescue; Ehrlich's Promised Reforms Will Come
Too Late for 2 Teens
BYLINE: Christian Davenport, Washington Post Staff Writer
The wind blew cold and hard between the tombstones of the cemetery in Aspen
Hill, knocking over the pots of plastic flowers around Vanessa Salmeron's grave
and muffling the sobs of her mother and sister, who were there for their daily
It has been almost a year since Vanessa, a slender 15-year-old with amber
hair, hanged herself from her bunk bed at a juvenile detention center in Laurel.
Her death, one of two suicides last year at state-licensed centers for young
offenders, helped trigger Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign vow to overhaul
the Department of Juvenile Justice -- historically one of the state's most
Ehrlich (R) is promising what he calls "a new era of hope" for a system that
has "suffered failure after failure after failure." During a budget year in
which the state faces a $ 1.2 billion deficit, he has proposed an additional $
13.4 million for the department that serves more than 50,000 juveniles. Ehrlich
has also appointed former delegate Kenneth C. Montague Jr., who was one of the
House's strongest child advocates, as the department's new secretary. The
governor even wants to rename the agency the Department of Juvenile Services,
underscoring his contention that the state gives up on too many young people,
incarcerating them when what they really need is help.
But the optimism of some lawmakers, long dismayed at the sometimes squalid
and brutal conditions in some of the state's juvenile facilities, is tempered by
years of what Del. Carmen Amedori (R-Carroll) called "horror stories."
"You've inherited a terrible mess," she told Montague last month after he
briefed the House Judiciary Committee on the changes that are planned.
The mess has spurred a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Justice
Department, focusing on complaints about the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in
Baltimore County and the Cheltenham youth detention center in Prince George's
County, where there were reports of beatings and a teenager impregnated by a
A state investigation last year revealed a "Saturday morning fight club" at
the Victor Cullen Center in Frederick County, in which staff members promoted
brawls between juveniles. Investigations also found that several children had
been taken to the hospital with injuries caused by staff members. The center has
since been closed.
And in 2000, the state closed its juvenile boot camps after the Baltimore
Sun reported that guards routinely beat young inmates.
February 12, 2003, Wednesday 8:05 AM Eastern Time
SECTION: FINANCIAL NEWS
DISTRIBUTION: TO BUSINESS EDITOR
LENGTH: 570 words
HEADLINE: Wackenhut Corrections Corporation Receives Notice Of Intent To
Contract With State Of Colorado For The Construction & Operation Of 500-Bed
DATELINE: PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Feb. 11
Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (NYSE: WHC), has been notified by the
State of Colorado of the Colorado Department of Correction's intent to enter
into a contract for construction and operation of a 500-bed Pre-parole and
Parole Revocation Center to be located in Pueblo, Colorado. WCC anticipates
negotiations to commence in mid-February.
(Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010614/WCCLOGO )
The contract is expected to generate approximately $9.6 million in annual
revenues and approximately $48 million over its initial 5-year term (1 year,
plus 4 1-year options), not including annual contract adjustments. Additional
contract terms beyond the initial 5-year term require special permission of the
State Controller and/or Attorney General.
George C. Zoley, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of
Wackenhut Corrections, said, "We appreciate the confidence placed in our company
by the state of Colorado in making this selection. We will work diligently with
the DOC in the negotiations to ensure the most cost-effective solution possible
consistent with the Departments' budgetary and operating requirements. We look
forward to becoming a contributing member of the public-private partnership with
the DOC and the community in which we will operate."
New York: CSC sex suit.
Daily News (New York)
January 22, 2003
HEADLINE: MOLEST SUIT HITS PRIVATE JAIL FIRM
BYLINE: BY JOE MAHONEY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Correctional Services Corp., which is at the center of a mushrooming
state probe into its aggressive lobbying tactics, is being sued by four female
inmates who claim one of its workers sexually assaulted them at a halfway house on
Manhattan's East Side.
In a lawsuit brought in Manhattan Federal Court, the women claim that a
counselor at Le Marquis Community Correctional Center on E. 31st St.
"lured" them into his office on different occasions in late 1998 and assaulted
The company, based in Sarasota, Fla., unsuccessfully sought to get the
suit dismissed, contending that as a contractor with the federal government,
it should be immune from such claims. Corporation representatives did not
return calls for comment yesterday.
The firm is being scrutinized by the state Lobbying Commission and the
state Board of Elections after it provided free transportation to Albany for
ex-Assemblywoman Gloria Davis (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Roger Green
Davis pleaded guilty this month to taking a bribe, unrelated to the
Correctional Services Corp. gift. Both face an inquiry by a legislative
ethics panel into their dealings with the company, as well as into their travel expenses.
Warden to start life on outside
By DEBBY BADILLO, Californian correspondent
Saturday January 11, 2003, 10:28:43 PM
CALIFORNIA CITY -- With 29 years experience in corrections work for both the government and private sector, Warden Percy Pitzer is looking forward to hanging his hat Monday in the office of his own consulting company.
Pitzer's resignation as warden of the California City Correctional Center became effective Friday, his last day at the prison he has stood watch over since June 2000.
"I'm leaving on very good terms with (Corrections Corporation of America)," Pitzer said. "I want to do something on my own."
Corrections Corporation of America is the Nashville-based private company that owns and operates the California City prison, housing 2,600 inmates for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Most of the inmates are Mexican nationals with less than five years left to serve on their sentences before they are deported.
One of the highlights of Pitzer's term as warden is a program that confers a Mexican high school diploma to students who complete a high school program taught in Spanish and using a Mexican curriculum. Pitzer was instrumental in developing a partnership with the Mexican education department and the Mexican Chamber of Commerce to train teachers and obtain texts and other materials at no cost.
Pitzer said educating inmates reduces the rate of recidivism because if they are more likely to find work at home they are less likely to enter the United States illegally.
When the program was announced in October, with consulate and education officials from Mexico present, Pitzer said it was the first time a private prison had entered into a partnership with the Mexican government.
With teachers and materials already in place, he expects the program to continue after he leaves.
In 2000, the Federal Bureau of Prisons awarded CCA a 10-year contract worth $529 million to house inmates at the California City prison, which opened in October 1999. The contract brought the prison its first influx of prisoners. A breakdown was not available from CCA headquarters on Friday of the daily cost to house an inmate, but Pitzer said the education programs at the prison are completely absorbed by the original contract.
"We owe it to taxpayers to not only keep costs down, but keep inmates from returning to prison," Pitzer said.
On Monday, Warden Charles Gilkey, recently retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, begins his stint at the California City Correctional Center.
Also on Monday, Pitzer, who spent 25 years with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and four years with CCA, officially opens Creative Corrections in Las Vegas (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). He plans to provide consulting services with corrections departments throughout the West, and establish programs to educate inmates and reduce the cost of incarceration.
He knows it sounds almost liberal to talk about sending inmates back out to the world armed with job training or a high school education, but he insists he is just a realist.
"We're not locking them up and throwing away the key. They do get out," Pitzer said. "Let's utilize the time of incarceration."
Mr. Jenkins said drugs were smuggled into Silverdale by visitors, inmate road
crews and guards. And while most inmates caught with drugs were prosecuted, "the
key word there is 'most,'" he said.
The atmosphere at Silverdale affected staff morale, Mr. Jenkins said. He
trained in March with a group of four other new guards, and when he left in
November, only one guard in his class remained at the facility, he said.
"Morale took a severe nosedive to the point where everybody on my shift hated
working there," he said.
Mr. Owen said a number of changes have been made at Silverdale, beginning
with the return of former warden Tim Baltz, who has promised to make the
facility more accountable to county government and the residents of Hamilton
County. Following a corporate investigation of the escapes, Mr. Owen said an
"after-action" team discovered company policies regarding security and
maintenance of the facility were not being followed.
While he said he could not go into detail about the security enhancements,
Mr. Owen said administrators are reviewing how the facility is managed "position
by position." Mr. Owen said the changes should help curb drug activity, as well.
"It's two birds with one stone," he said. "It goes a long way toward
addressing those issues."
Mr. Camp said his research indicates a link between high staff turnover and
lower pay offered to employees in the private prison industry.
The link between higher pay and lower turnover rates fueled a drive two years
ago by Hamilton County Sheriff John Cupp to raise salaries for workers in the
Hamilton County Jail. In 1999, starting salary for jailers $16,827, and the
turnover rate from 1999 to 2000 was 28 percent.
Corrections officers at the jail now start at $24,500, and the jail lost only
17 percent of its staff from 2001 to 2002, according to Tennessee Corrections
Institute inspection reports and county records.
Mr. Camp said his study of guard turnover did not dig too deeply into the
financial structure of companies like CCA, but other studies show lower pay in
private prisons is common nationally.
"It's a really tough issue to address. It gets sticky for the federal
government to look into that. It's really probably none of our business," he
But, he said, "it's a legitimate question. Can private prisons operate
effectively with that kind of turnover?"
Pay for corrections officers at Silverdale is substantially lower than at the
Hamilton County Jail, where new hires are far less common.
According to CCA officials, corrections officers at Silverdale start at $9.29
per hour, or about $19,300 a year. In 2000, Silverdale reported 115 new hires
for a staff of 141 -- an 82 percent turnover rate. By 2002, Silverdale's work
force had dropped to 115 corrections officers, 65 percent of whom were hired
within the past year, according to TCI inspection reports.
CCA is the nation's largest private corrections company, housing 54 percent
of all inmates in private prisons, according to the Bureau of Prisons report.
Mr. Owen said the company is concerned about turnover, especially since it hits
CCA at its corporate bottom line.
By virtue of the company's contracts with local, state and national
jurisdictions, all security positions must be staffed at all times, even if that
means paying a smaller staff overtime to work extra shifts, Mr. Owen said.
"That ultimately comes out of the company's pocket, not the taxpayer's," he
said. "That's not necessarily the same for the public sector (jails)."
E-mail Chris Joyner at email@example.com
At South Central Correctional Facility, a state-level prison managed by CCA
in Clifton, Tenn., the average turnover rate for the same three-year period was
63 percent. And CCA-run Hardeman County Correctional Facility in Whiteville,
Tenn., had an average turnover of 83 percent over three years.
Scott Camp, senior research analyst for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said
national data shows privately managed prisons lose more employees than those run
by the government.
Mr. Camp said initial research indicates the higher turnover rate is tied to
more frequent escapes, inmate assaults and drug use inside private prisons.
However, while poor prison management and a consistently "green" staff of new
hires occur in the same facilities, it is too soon to draw definite conclusions,
Mr. Camp said.
"We're out on a limb here, but we're probably on a pretty solid limb," he
Mr. Camp and Bureau of Prisons Research Director Gerald Gaes released a
report in September tracking private prison management issues and comparing them
to staff turnover. The results show institutions with a more stable staff have
lower instances of escape, assault and drug use, according to the report
submitted to Congress.
The study showed random drug screenings of inmates in private prisons were
twice as likely to produce a "hit" than federal prisons managed by the Bureau of
According to the report, almost one in five private prisons reported 10
percent or more random tests came back positive for illegal drugs. In the more
than 100 federal prisons studied in the report, only one had 11 percent of its
screenings return positive for illegal drugs. The rest were all under 6 percent,
according to the report.
Escapes are statistically uncommon at both privately and publicly managed
facilities, but the Bureau of Prisons report shows 15 percent of privately
managed facilities had escapes between August 1998 and July 1999. During the
same period, 1.5 percent of federal prisons had an inmate escape.
Mr. Owen said the company's own research shows CCA facilities, which house
federal, state and local prisoners, compare favorably to national averages on
A comparison compiled by CCA officials using escape statistics from local,
state and federal facilities for 1998 through 2000 and comparing them with
escape information from CCA facilities for 1999 through 2001, shows 6.49 escapes
per 10,000 inmates in the "public sector" compared to 1.49 escapes for CCA.
Unlike the federal Bureau of Prisons report, which shows private prisons with
a higher escape rate than federally managed prisons, the CCA escape figures
factor in prisons and jails from all jurisdictions and security levels.
Dr. Casavant said the commissioners have been supportive of the county's
contract with CCA in the past. How the facility is managed is up to the company,
"It's not our situation to micromanage, but to look at overall results," he
Mr. Owen said company officials acknowledge some problems in its management
of the Silverdale Workhouse.
CCA replaced Silverdale Warden Alan Bargery last month after allegations of
drug use inside the jail and after two inmates escaped. Mr. Bargery was fired
after a team of CCA investigators discovered he and his security chief had
violated corporate policies, including proper handling of drug incidents inside
Former Silverdale guard Mr. Jenkins said drug use among the inmates was a
fact of life at the facility.
"I found crack pipes twice in one week," he said. "Every kind of drug on the
street you could find inside."
Chattanooga Times/Chattanooga Free Press
January 1, 2003 Wednesday
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A1
LENGTH: 1737 words
HEADLINE: Workhouse turnover
Silverdale losing average of two-thirds of employees annually
BYLINE: Chris Joyner Staff Writer
In the past three years more than 250 people walked away from the privately
run Silverdale Workhouse, but they were employees, not prisoners.
On average, about two-thirds of Silverdale's staff of 115 employees leaves
the facility annually, according to statistics from the Tennessee Corrections
Institute, a state regulatory agency that oversees local jails.
"That's not ideal for Silverdale or any correctional facility," said Steve
Owen, spokesman for Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, which
manages the facility.
Mr. Owen said high turnover is a challenge for any jail, public or private.
Figures from TCI inspections and the Tennessee Department of Correction show
that CCA jails have a higher turnover rate than the government-operated jails,
but Mr. Owen said a company reorganization is helping to retain more employees.
Last year, the company created a human resources department, he said.
"To not have a human resources department, for a company our size, is
surprising to some people," he said.
Hamilton County Executive Claude Ramsey said CCA employee turnover is not an
issue for the county government, which pays CCA to run the facility, as long as
the company is sticking to its contract to manage the jail with the appropriate
number of guards. CCA determines the manpower levels needed at its institutions,
but Mr. Owen said all shifts are always covered, even if that means employees
are required to work overtime.
'out on a limb'
Because of the nature of the work, many prison employees do not make it past
the first year, Mr. Owen said.
"The corrections industry is not for everybody. It's a very demanding
industry," he said. "Folks who make it through the first year generally stay."
Joshua Jenkins, 20, of Cleveland, Tenn., worked as a guard at Silverdale from
March to November of 2002 before quitting to return to work at a Hardee's
"It's not as glamorous as a corrections officer," he said. "But I feel like
I'm getting more respect for the job I'm doing than I was when I was at
Annual in-spections by the Tennessee Corrections Institute show Silverdale's
employee turn-over rate is much higher than at the Hamilton County Jail, other
state-run institutions and national jail averages.
In the past three years, Silverdale has averaged a 66 percent annual turnover
rate, according to TCI inspection reports. CCA has managed Silverdale since
1984. It was the company's first corrections contract nationally.
Hamilton County Commission Chairman Richard Casavant said he was not aware
that turnover was so high at Silverdale, but he said it is difficult to
determine what that means.
"Anytime you have high turnover in an area, you need to ask why," he said.
According to Tennessee Department of Correction figures, Brushy Mountain
Prison in Petros had an 8 percent turnover rate for its staff of 366 in the past
year and a 7 percent average turnover in the past three years. The state-run
Tennessee Prison for Women had a 70 percent turnover in 2002, but the rates for
2000 and 2001 were 6 percent and 38 percent, respectively, for a three-year
average of 38 percent.
� � � � � � � � � January 2, 2003 Thursday Final Home Edition
SECTION: NEWS; Tulsa; Crime; Pg. A1
LENGTH: 554 words
HEADLINE: Escapee arrested in store slaying
BYLINE: SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
�� The man is a suspect in the Christmas Eve killing of a convenience store
� � A Tulsa County inmate who escaped from the Riverside Intermediate Sanction
Unit in late November has been arrested in connection with the Christmas Eve
slaying of a convenience store owner.
�� Markis Daniels Rogers, 20, was taken into custody Monday night in Spavinaw on
complaints of murder and armed robbery.
�� Mohammad "James" Qureshi, 53, was found dead about 5:30 a.m. Dec. 24 behind
the counter of the 24-hour U-Stop, 2520 E. Mohawk Blvd. Family members said
Qureshi had been shot several times in the head.
�� Also arrested Monday night in connection with the robbery and slaying was
Kelvin L. Ford, 20.
�� Ford told police that he stayed outside the U-Stop and served as a lookout
for Rogers and 19-year-old Alvin Deanglo Elliott, who was arrested Friday in
connection with the crimes, records show.
�� Ford also said he saw Rogers shoot Qureshi while Elliott pulled cash from the
register, records show.
�� Elliott allegedly has admitted to stealing $2,000 in cash from Qureshi's
register and said he saw one of his partners shoot Qureshi with a "black-colored
�� Tulsa Police Sgt. Troy Rogers said a fourth suspect, a juvenile male, also
was arrested Friday.
�� Further arrests are not expected, he said.
�� Rogers was arrested at a Spavinaw residence after attempting to flee from
�� He had been at large for more than a month after escaping Nov. 24 from the
Riverside Intermediate Sanction Unit. He was able to make his way under and over
two 15- to 18-foot chain-link fences that were topped with barbed wire.
�� At the time, Avalon Correctional Services, which operates the Riverside
facility, allowed inmates into the exercise yard at night with no direct
�� Avalon stopped that practice after Richard Lee Bates, 25, escaped the day
after Rogers had. Bates also got past the fences in the exercise yard. Records
show that Bates, who was being held for failure to pay fines, is not back in
�� Rogers was originally being held on two counts of armed robbery stemming from
four home invasions in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, court records show.
�� The Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority is diverting inmates from the
Tulsa Jail to the Riverside facility because Avalon is offering a cheaper daily
rate to house them.
�� Inmates who are selected for transfer to the Riverside facility are supposed
to be nonviolent and serving time on municipal charges or for failing to pay
court costs or fines. Those sanctioned from Drug Court and serving community
sentences also can be transferred there.
�� Rogers was mistakenly sent to the Riverside facility by county officials who
believed that all of his armed robbery charges had been dismissed.
�� At the time of the escapes, Avalon administrator Donald Montgomery said, "Our
job is to keep them in, and we take full responsibility for this."
�� A warrant was issued for Rogers' arrest three days after his escape, but a
police spokesman could not say whether there had been a manhunt.
�� Records indicate that the U.S. Marshal's Northern Oklahoma Fugitive Squad
assisted Tulsa police officers in tracking and arresting Rogers.
� � Susan Hylton, World staff writer, can be reached at 581-8313 or via e-mail
Jury convicts halfway house inmate of
� By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
� 12/14/2002 � A Tulsa halfway house inmate who beat a fellow inmate to death with a TV set last spring was found
� guilty of first-degree murder Thursday night. � The jury recommended life without parole for Robert Spanglo, 47, who was convicted in the March
� 31 attack on Charles Bush, 34, at the Avalon Correctional Center, 302 W. Archer. � He will be sentenced Wednesday by Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers. � Spanglo and Bush were inmates at Avalon, where, during the early morning hours, Spanglo picked
� up a TV and bashed Bush on the head while Bush was in bed. � Spanglo, who was drunk at the time of the attack, had gotten into a fight with Bush the night before
� and was supposedly embarrassed because he had sustained a black eye. � Jurors could have chosen to convict Spanglo of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter or
� assault with a dangerous weapon instead of first-degree murder. � His public defender, Jane Ann Cobb, mounted a "voluntary intoxication" defense, maintaining that
� Spanglo couldn't form the intent to kill required for a first-degree murder conviction. Cobb urged the
� jury to choose one of the lesser crimes. � But prosecutors Bill Musseman and Sean Baker argued that the elements of the crime easily added
� up to first-degree murder. � "(Spanglo) intended everything he did," Musseman said. � Spanglo struck Bush at least once, possibly twice, the prosecutor said. "He only stopped when he
� was tackled to the floor by two other inmates." � What Spanglo said after that was telling, Musseman said. "He said, 'Why are you guys stopping me?
� You didn't stop him last night.' " � Bush, who suffered severe trauma to his head, lingered in a coma at St. John Medical Center until
� May 1, when he died. � He only had 45 days left to serve in the halfway house stemming from a 1998 Haskell County
� conviction on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, records show. Spanglo, of
� Lawton, was serving a four-year sentence for driving under the influence. � Brian Barber, World staff writer, can be reached at 581-8322 or via e-mail at