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October 7, 2012

Private prison fares poorly in audit by Ohio officials

As reported in this local article, headlined "State audit rips private prison on health, security," Ohio officials were not too happy about what they found during an audit of private prison facilities. Here are the details:

Conditions at the privately owned and operated Lake Erie Correctional Institution are “ unacceptable” and “won’t be allowed to continue,” a state prison official said yesterday after the release of a critical audit.

An internal audit by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction found that the prison in Conneaut, Ohio, in Ashtabula County, met only two-thirds of state operating standards for prisons. It houses about 1,500 inmates. In addition to numerous health, sanitation and security problems, staff members and inmates at the private prison told auditors they had “safety concerns” and do not feel secure.

The state sold the Conneaut prison last year to Corrections Corp. of America of Nashville, Tenn., for $72.7 million. The state pays CCA $44.25 per inmate per day to house, feed and clothe them and provide programs, plus a $3.8 million annual fee for maintenance. The company is obligated to run the prison at a savings of $3 million per year compared with state operation....

State prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said the audit findings are “unacceptable, and CCA knows how strongly Ohio thinks that. It’s not unusual for management change to create issues that need refinement, but these results go beyond that and won’t be allowed to continue.” She said the state has put in place an improvement plan and expects to see results.

Steve Owen, spokesman for Corrections Corp. of America, said in a statement: “We have built our 30-year reputation on not just meeting but exceeding the expectations of our government partners, and we take it very seriously when we do not meet those expectations. ... CCA is taking concrete corrective steps to ensure that this facility meets not only the ODRC’s goals but our own high expectations for our facilities.”

Chris Mabe, head of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, said the audit confirms the union’s concerns about private-prison operations. The prison is not unionized. “There’s things they can’t do cost-effectively and they can’t do safely,” Mabe said. “When you incarcerate people to make money, it’s no-win at the end of the day.”

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October 7, 2012 at 09:40 PM | Permalink

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Comments

CCA has a long and sordid history, and this sort of thing typifies the problems seen in private prisons. The only way to make a profit on incarceration is to skimp on delivery of service, training, and staffing, leading to low morale amongst prisoners and guards alike, etc etc.

Posted by: Guy | Oct 8, 2012 1:27:14 PM

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