Would you trust Corrections Corporation of America to care for me?

Sorry, give me a second. BREATHE JANE. BREATHE…okay. Just a few more deep breaths.

Almost there.

So Corrections Corporation of America — the people who brought you immigrant abuse in their private Texas prisons — want to get into the animal shelter business. In Citrus County Florida.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH that CCA is understaffing their people prisons to cut corners, resulting in higher levels of inmate violence and death. Which they then overbill for. And you can’t FOIA how many sexual assaults are happening there because as a private company they’re not responsive to FOIA requests.

They’ve been sued for insufficiently treating inmates who have health problems because that costs money, then they pay academics from Temple University to run “astonishingly misleading” studies that say they “save money” because they don’t take into account health care costs. Which they don’t want to pay.

They also hire people to work in prisons who have, you know, murdered people.

Maybe you saw there was recently a murder in a CCA facility in Tennessee, where several prisoners say CCA guards heard the alleged killer — Jeffrey Sills — say that if anyone were put in a cell with him, he would kill them. Which is exactly what happened to prisoner Travis Best when he was put in a cell with Sills. Because CCA was unwilling to forgo the money they get from the state for the bed by keeping it empty?

The conditions in private prisons are deplorable, despite the fact that people who do time there can write letters, have contact with people on the outside, and complain about conditions.

Who is going to complain if an animal isn’t getting the heath care it needs because CCA wants to make a buck? Or if they’re being held in festering conditions, fed toxic food (or not at all), or just start “disappearing” so private prison contractors can secure their million dollar salaries?

We’ve been doing a lot of work here at FDL lately on the prison system, and particularly private prisons. I’ve been reading over the 10Ks of CCA and other private prison companies, and they’re all very worried that prison reform and marijuana legalization are going to have an impact on their bottom lines They state this very clearly.

So next profit center: start abusing animals like they do immigrants, because how are they going to complain?
Here’s my favorite part:

Jonathan Burns, CCA Spokesperson, says, “The CCA at many of it’s facilities has programs– rehabilitation or reentry programs that allow inmates to work with animals and animal shelters and actually working with them, training them, kind of preparing them to be ready to go home to an adoptive family and we found that’s a program that is very impactful for inmates, it’s really impactful for the animals, and it’s really impactful for the families that adopt those pets.”

I guess he means those “rehabilitation and reentry programs” that are available at BOP operated prisons, but according to the ACLU are in short supply at private prisons. Because, you know, they cost money.

CCA wants to shake down charge Citrus County $2.8 million for building a facility.

Seriously, Citrus County executives. Please look carefully at the big bag o’bullshit that private prison corporations have been using to fleece both federal and state governments with for years. You do not want to wind up with some big investigation with your photos running next to those of ANIMALS ABUSED IN YOUR SHELTER because CCA needs to meet their earnings estimates some quarter.

There’s a reason CCA lost four contracts in one month. You don’t have to be a genius to figure this one out.

Photo by Bull City Dogs under Creative Commons license


Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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