This youth prison has violent, abusive conditions But the company that runs it makes millions

From an email by Matt Nelson, ColorOfChange.org :
3 March 2011

This youth prison has violent, abusive conditions
But the company that runs it makes millions
Join us in calling on Mississippi officials to shut down this prison:

Teenagers and young men locked up at the youth prison in Walnut Grove, Mississippi live in a nightmarishly abusive and violent environment.

According to a lawsuit against the prison, guards have sold drugs to the youth there, engaged in sexual relationships with them, beaten them while they are handcuffed and defenseless, and looked the other way as some inmates are brutally attacked by others.1 The prison is privately-run, and its management has tried to increase their profits by cutting essential safety, health and educational services.

It’s sick. Mississippi shouldn’t be paying a private company to neglect and abuse youth prisoners. Will you join us in demanding that Mississippi officials cancel the state’s contract with the company that operates the prison? It takes just a moment: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/geo/

Two youths have lost their lives in the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility over the past three years and countless others endure daily threats to their safety. The violence at the prison was highlighted a year ago when a melee broke out in the prison, leaving multiple youth injured and 21-year-old Michael McIntosh with permanent brain damage.2

Ross Walton, who spent three years inside the Walnut Grove prison said this when he testified recently in front of the Miss. State Legislature:

“Walnut Grove treated us like we were nothing. Like we didn’t matter. Like our destiny was to spend the rest of our lives locked up, making more money for the private prison corporations and making our mothers cry….We have the potential to turn our lives around and make you proud. And we all deserve more than an abusive prison that cares more about profits than people.”

A for-profit youth prison, like Walnut Grove, has a strong financial incentive to imprison as many young people as possible on the cheap, and a financial disincentive to rehabilitate prisoners (which would reduce the demand for prison beds). This profit motive is a big part of why the Walnut Grove prison has such terrible conditions.

The prison is run by the GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut), the second largest for-profit prison company in the country. The company makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and has a long history of health and safety violations in their facilities.

A systemic problem

We’ve seen before how private prisons create openings for corruption and abuse. In the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a private juvenile prison company bribed two judges to fill their cells with youth who committed minor infractions. One of the judges, Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr., was recently convicted of accepting bribes and kickbacks for putting juveniles into detention centers. He and another judge, Michael Conahan, are said to have received $2.6 million for their scheme.3

In Boise Idaho, guards at a corporate prison watched, but did not intervene as a man was beaten unconscious by another inmate. This victim now lives with permanent brain damage and the company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), faces an FBI Civil Rights investigation.4

Ending the abuse at Walnut Grove

Some of the youth imprisoned at Walnut Grove have committed serious crimes, but 67% of them are there for non-violent offenses.5 But no matter what crime they’ve committed, children’s lives shouldn’t be at risk because corporations cut corners in order to increase their profits. Youth prisoners must be given safe and healthy conditions, and an opportunity to lead successful lives after their incarceration.

The abuse at Walnut Grove needs to end immediately and the youth there should be moved to facilities that can provide for their care and rehabilitation. Your voice can help make that happen. Please join us in calling on Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and the Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner, to cancel the state’s contract with the GEO Group. And please ask your friends and family to do the same. It just takes a minute:
http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/geo/

Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
March 2nd, 2011

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/205?akid=1923.157987.-12v27&t=6

References:

1. “Federal Lawsuit Reveals Inhumane Conditions at For-Profit Youth Prison,” SPLC, 11-16-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/759?akid=1923.157987.-12v27&t=8

2. “C.B., et al. v. Walnut Grove Correctional Authority, et al.” SPLC, 11-16-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/760?akid=1923.157987.-12v27&t=10

3. “The verdict’s in, let change begin,” The Times Leader, 2-20-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/765?akid=1923.157987.-12v27&t=12

4. “‘The public doesn’t know what goes on behind these walls,'” KBOI, 2-28-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/762?akid=1923.157987.-12v27&t=14

5. “Federal lawsuit seeks to end years of physical, sexual abuse of teenage inmates,” Better Mississippi Report, 12-20-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/763?akid=1923.157987.-12v27&t=16

Scott Watch: Mother and Child Reunions


An update from Sis Marpessa on the Scott Sisters. There’s something about love across generations that makes Hell hurt a little less. Blessings to Mrs. Rasco from Arizona – it’s going a little nuts in the streets here, but we’re still with you all. For everyone else, let’s get on all this before Monday – there are three concrete things listed that we can do right now to help.

Actually, skip the part below and head on over to the Free The Scott Sisters’ blog instead – there’s an awesome, soulful tune that comes up with the current page (hit the player to the left if it doesn’t start automatically). Listen to it as you read this update there, buy a t-shirt if you can, and put your brain to work again on how we’re going to get the State of Mississippi to free these women (and keep Jamie alive in the process).

Finally, if anyone out there is in or near Chicago in a couple of weeks we could use a hand – and a few good signs. I’m Peggy, and I’m posting this shout out all over the country – please contact us if you might be in a position to do an action there. My email is prisonabolitionist@gmail.com.

Enjoy the reunion…

—————————-

Greetings all,

Mrs. Rasco just returned from visiting with Jamie and Gladys and wanted everyone to have an update right away. Jamie no longer has evidence of infection and the boils that were on her body have cleared up. She is, however, still very weak and exhausted from her dialysis and at times during the visit was speaking while her eyes were closed. She told her mother that she wants and needs a kidney transplant.

Thanks to you supporters, Mrs. Rasco was able to get in to visit Gladys!

Mrs. Rasco said that Gladys was so happy to see her that she picked her up off of the ground and kissed her, to the delight of everyone in the visiting room! It was truly a beautiful moment. Gladys’ daughter, Courtney, was at first denied due to a claim that she was not on the visiting list. Thanks to the efforts of Sondra Humphrey, Director of MS CURE, Courtney was able to finally visit her mother the following day for one hour. Mrs. Rasco is very, very grateful for her
intervention.

The Scott Sisters are still in need of pro bono legal representation and we are asking for an individual, group or class to please help develop ideas for these women’s legal defense. This is incredibly their 16th year on this outrageous charge, the injury just grows each and every day that their lives are hijacked in that place and their children and grandchildren suffer without them.

1. Please purchase t-shirts to help with fund raising efforts!! We need folks to wear them to help raise awareness as we need everyone to begin talking about this case so that no one can say that they have not heard about it.

Visit http://www.radicaljack.com/scsit.html and get yours today!

2. Additionally, both women said that they have practically exhausted their commissary funds and anyone who wishes to donate to the women directly may send donations via http://www.inmatedeposits.com/ , register for Access Corrections and use each of their name and number to make your donation.

Jamie is #19197 and Gladys is #19142.

3. Ask Color of Change to feature the Scott Sisters at http://www.colorofchange.org/, and also copy and paste in an e-mail to: info@colorofchange.org.

Thank you! More updates will come soon!

==============

Please continue to advocate on behalf of Jamie and Gladys Scott, their children and families need for them to return home alive, the time is NOW!

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
HOTLINE: 202-353-1555
PHONE: 202-514-2000
202-307-6777 fax
AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Christopher Epps
601-359-5600
CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

Scott Watch: Mother and Child Reunions


An update from Sis Marpessa on the Scott Sisters. There’s something about love across generations that makes Hell hurt a little less. Blessings to Mrs. Rasco from Arizona – it’s going a little nuts in the streets here, but we’re still with you all. For everyone else, let’s get on all this before Monday – there are three concrete things listed that we can do right now to help.

Actually, skip the part below and head on over to the Free The Scott Sisters’ blog instead – there’s an awesome, soulful tune that comes up with the current page (hit the player to the left if it doesn’t start automatically). Listen to it as you read this update there, buy a t-shirt if you can, and put your brain to work again on how we’re going to get the State of Mississippi to free these women (and keep Jamie alive in the process).

Finally, if anyone out there is in or near Chicago in a couple of weeks we could use a hand – and a few good signs. I’m Peggy, and I’m posting this shout out all over the country – please contact us if you might be in a position to do an action there. My email is prisonabolitionist@gmail.com.

Enjoy the reunion…

—————————-

Greetings all,

Mrs. Rasco just returned from visiting with Jamie and Gladys and wanted everyone to have an update right away. Jamie no longer has evidence of infection and the boils that were on her body have cleared up. She is, however, still very weak and exhausted from her dialysis and at times during the visit was speaking while her eyes were closed. She told her mother that she wants and needs a kidney transplant.

Thanks to you supporters, Mrs. Rasco was able to get in to visit Gladys!

Mrs. Rasco said that Gladys was so happy to see her that she picked her up off of the ground and kissed her, to the delight of everyone in the visiting room! It was truly a beautiful moment. Gladys’ daughter, Courtney, was at first denied due to a claim that she was not on the visiting list. Thanks to the efforts of Sondra Humphrey, Director of MS CURE, Courtney was able to finally visit her mother the following day for one hour. Mrs. Rasco is very, very grateful for her
intervention.

The Scott Sisters are still in need of pro bono legal representation and we are asking for an individual, group or class to please help develop ideas for these women’s legal defense. This is incredibly their 16th year on this outrageous charge, the injury just grows each and every day that their lives are hijacked in that place and their children and grandchildren suffer without them.

1. Please purchase t-shirts to help with fund raising efforts!! We need folks to wear them to help raise awareness as we need everyone to begin talking about this case so that no one can say that they have not heard about it.

Visit http://www.radicaljack.com/scsit.html and get yours today!

2. Additionally, both women said that they have practically exhausted their commissary funds and anyone who wishes to donate to the women directly may send donations via http://www.inmatedeposits.com/ , register for Access Corrections and use each of their name and number to make your donation.

Jamie is #19197 and Gladys is #19142.

3. Ask Color of Change to feature the Scott Sisters at http://www.colorofchange.org/, and also copy and paste in an e-mail to: info@colorofchange.org.

Thank you! More updates will come soon!

==============

Please continue to advocate on behalf of Jamie and Gladys Scott, their children and families need for them to return home alive, the time is NOW!

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
HOTLINE: 202-353-1555
PHONE: 202-514-2000
202-307-6777 fax
AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Christopher Epps
601-359-5600
CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

Color of Change: Come to Mississippi.

——————–update from Free the Scott Sisters———————

Please go to the link below and request that Color of Change feature the Scott Sisters.

http://www.colorofchange.org/

Also copy and paste in an e-mail to:

info@colorofchange.org

Thank you!