CCA giving Sayre cops “the runaround” on prison riot

Interesting follow-up coverage from what appears to be the Oklahoman’s on-line edition, In addition to exploring the attempts of local police to investigate the riot, it goes into the distribution of California prisoners in for-profit facilities across the country. 


Cause of October prison riot in Sayre continues to be withheld

The cause of the Oct. 11 riot at a private prison in Sayre has yet to be released due to ongoing investigation by local authorities.


Published: December 10, 2011

— Nearly a month after a riot that injured inmates at a private prison in western Oklahoma, prison officials say they do not have a cause that they can release.

They will say that 16 of the inmates who were hospitalized after the riot have since been released, but they won’t say what types of injuries they suffered in the Oct. 11 melee.

Mike Machak, spokesman for Corrections Corp. of America, said it’s too early to release details on the riot at the North Fork Correctional Facility.

“While we are not aware of any criminal charges that have been filed, we do know that the Sayre Police Department‘s investigation is ongoing,” Machak said.

“To that end, we do not want to release details that might undermine those ongoing efforts.”

Sayre Police Chief Ronnie Harrold said he has yet to receive anything from the prison regarding the riot. He said he thinks something is close to happening, but that the prison corporation has “been giving us the runaround.”

“It’s coming close to the point where we would expect for them to turn it over to us,” Harrold said. “At some point, if they want charges filed, they’ll have to turn it over to us.”

Prison spokeswoman Michelle Deherrera said the riot erupted just before noon, and the help of local law enforcement agencies was required to subdue the prisoners.

In addition to the 16 inmates who required hospitalization, another 30 were treated at a medical facility at the prison, she said.

Deherrera said no prison staff members or assisting law enforcement officers were injured.

The more than 2,000 prisoners held at the private prison are from California. Machak said inmates from Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Vermont have been housed at the prison over the past 12 years.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website, the state has more than 9,588 inmates serving time in out-of-state prisons.

In addition to North Fork, Arizona has two prisons that house 4,596 inmates from California. A facility in Mississippi has custody of an additional 2,592 prisoners.

California began transferring prisoners to out-of-state facilities in 2007 to alleviate overcrowding and restore rehabilitation programs in its state-run lockups, according to the California department’s website.

The move to transfer the inmates was prompted by an executive order issued in October 2006 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and was expected to be a temporary measure to allow prison reform in California.


Eloy Red Rock Riot update: Christmas Eve

The latest word from Red Rock (in a news release via K-Gun in Tucson) is that 43 prisoners have been identified as being involved in the riot today and are in administrative segregation under investigation (isolated in detention units). According to them, seven prisoners were treated for injuries at a hospital, only one of whom was admitted (his injuries are reportedly non-life-threatening).

It still appears as if only California’s prisoners were involved.

(photo credit: TriValley Central)

Prison Talk has a thread going (that’s the link to the most current page, as of this evening) where family and friends of prisoners there are sharing info about which yard was involved, what’s happening with visitation, etc. I can’t figure out much more from that yet, but they usually know what’s going on before the media does – and will keep talking about it long after the media loses interest.

The families will be more current than I am, as well, so follow them if you’re really concerned about what’s going on and how other prisoners there are being affected. While rumors may sometimes fly in forums like Prison Talk, CCA’s news releases aren’t necessarily the whole truth. They don’t even have anything about the Red Rock Riot or the lawsuit at Saguaro up on their newsroom website, so don’t turn to CCA for “news” on their prisons.

My friend, Frank Smith from the Private Corrections Working Group (a private prison industry watchdog), dropped me a line today that he left the following remark about the Red Rock Riot on the TriValley Central website. Frank’s insight is often worth repeating:


“These prisons are chronically troubled.

Thanks to campaign support and contributions to Republicans there is virtually no oversight. Arizona officials have no clue as to whom they hold; what murderers, pedophiles, rapists, kidnappers have been imported from hundreds or thousands of miles away. The female staff is endlessly sexually harassed by management. Escapes and riots are as regular as rain in the tropics.

When charges are successfully brought against murderers from out of state, it is Arizona taxpayers who will pay to keep them for most or the rest of their lives.

This “minor” incident, as the for-profit prisons are careful to term them, overtaxed Pinal County emergency services. Who will be paying for the costs of the medivac choppers to Maricopa County? Who will be called to address a “major” incident?

In Colorado, there was a 1999 riot in a badly constructed prison built by the same outfit to which Mohave County sole-sourced the Kingman prison, thanks to promoters who are now hovering over Arizona communities like a flock of vultures. It took law enforcement from four states to put down that riot. In 2004 a CCA riot in the same prison cost the state about three quarters of a million to put down, but it only got $300,000 or so in reimbursement.

These ineptly run lockups have long since exhausted the potential labor pool in Pinal county and low-wage labor required to run them will come from Maricopa or Pima counties.

Despite the staggering incompetence of the for-profits, Coolidge officials have welcomed still another such mistake, this one to be run by MTC, the outfit that gave us riots in Pima and Mohave county this year, and the escapes of three murderers who killed a vacationing Oklahoma couple. MTC has had escapes, riots and murders in other states as well, including California, Texas, New Mexico and their home state of Utah. MTC was thrown out of Canada, where cooler legislative heads prevail and politics are not dominated by special interests.”

Muskegon (MI) Correctional Facility ready to begin accepting Pennsylvania prisoners

“The deal is expected to net Michigan an average daily “profit” of $2.15 for each inmate….”

Muskegon Correctional Facility ready to begin accepting Pennsylvania inmates
By John S. Hausman | Muskegon Chronicle
February 06, 2010
MUSKEGON — As recently as eight months ago, Muskegon Correctional Facility held more than 1,300 inmates.

Today, the count is zero.

The last Michigan inmates were bused out last week to other prisons in the state, making room for the arrival of 1,000 inmates from Pennsylvania.

Without the Pennsylvania deal, the 36-year-old facility would have closed in January, with the loss of up to 175 jobs.

As it is, all employees remain at work — even during the vacant interim, according to state Corrections Department spokesman John Cordell. Workers are making the prison “site ready” to meet Pennsylvania specifications, he said.

Cordell said the first Pennsylvania prisoners would arrive “in the next couple weeks” but declined to be more specific, citing security concerns. He said they would likely arrive at a rate of one busload or about 50 inmates per day, taking a month or so to reach the full complement.

“Pennsylvania and Michigan have worked very well together in this transition, and we look forward to supporting them as they transition into something new to their department, which is housing prisoners off site,” Cordell said.

For several years about a decade ago, Michigan exported some of its state prisoners to Virginia facilities to deal with overcrowding.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced Dec. 21 it would send 1,000 inmates to the Muskegon prison by February.

The inmates being selected for transfers are those who have less than three years to serve on their sentences, have no medical or mental health issues and have few or no visitors, according to Pennsylvania’s corrections department.

That’s enough to keep the prison open and save the 175 jobs that would have been eliminated by now. The 1,328-bed, medium-security prison was set to close in January as Michigan reduces its statewide prison population through earlier paroles and fewer prison returns for parole violators.

The deal isn’t for a set duration, but it’s expected to keep MCF operating at least through the end of 2013 and possibly longer.

Under the deal, Pennsylvania pays Michigan $62 per inmate per day to house its inmates, with the Michigan Department of Corrections running and staffing the prison. The deal is expected to net Michigan an average daily “profit” of $2.15 for each inmate at current operating costs because it costs the state only $59.85 per inmate per day to house an inmate.

The Michigan corrections department had said the prison’s closing would eliminate up to two-thirds of the 264 jobs at MCF, both corrections officers and other staff. Some of the expected layoffs would have been at Muskegon’s other two prisons — Earnest C. Brooks and West Shoreline — because MCF corrections officers have seniority-based “bumping” rights into those prisons.

California hints at sending prisoners to Mexico

California’s governor has suggested relocating an estimated 20,000 prison inmates to Mexico as the state’s overcrowded detention centers are adding to its financial problems amid an imminent bankruptcy.

Arnold Schwarzenegger maintains that by outsourcing prison care to Mexico, California can solve its prison crisis.

“I think that we can do so much better in the prison system alone if we can go and take inmates, for instance, the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here and get them to Mexico,” Schwarzenegger said, according to AFP.

The governor says the state would pay Mexico to build and maintain the prison, which he says would save the state approximately 1 billion dollars.

Jorge-Mario Cabrera Valladares, from the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights in Los Angeles, thinks differently, saying the state is not going to solve the prison crisis by sending inmates to Mexico.

“We’re not about to create a relationship where all of a sudden their society must now be worried about thousands of felons now in their backyard,” Cabrera told Press TV’s Ross Frasier.

California plans to release prisoners convicted of non-violent offenses.

According to Cabrera, a large number of the undocumented inmates fall under that category and should be released.

However, he maintains that it would be irresponsible of the state to send those inmates that have been arrested for violent crimes to another country.

“If there is a serious offense then they must pay the society where the offense took place. it should not be where we outsource even the caring of inmates,” he said.

California, the world’s eighth largest economy, is under a federal order to release 40,000 inmates over the next two years.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College in London, the United States has long had the world’s largest prison population, followed by China and Russia.

The US incarceration rate on December 31, 2008 was 754 inmates per 100,000 residents, which amount to more than two million prisoners.