Vermonters: Help Us Stop Out of State Prison Transfers
Thirteen Vermont inmates at a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) private prison in Arizona were recently thrown into solitary confinement after refusing to return to their cells and damaging equipment in the facility.
CCA is calling it a “disturbance,” but it sounds more like a demonstration. The details are reminiscent of a protest last month when 400 Dominican inmates at CCA’s for-profit federal immigrant detention center in Youngstown, Ohio peacefully opposed their treatment and living conditions for 14 hours straight.
The Vermont prisoners similarly expressed frustration with CCA’s restrictive rules and with being sent out of state, beyond the reach of family and community.
These inmates are among 500 from Vermont who have been shipped to facilities in other states. With CCA’s contract due to expire in July, Firedoglake is teaming up with Grassroots Leadership to demand Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin bring these inmates home and end interstate transfers for good.
Vermont is one of four states that has adopted this ineffective and expensive band-aid to address prison overcrowding.
Out-of-state private prison transfers put an undue financial and emotional burden on prisoners’ families while sending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to for-profit prison corporations like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America. According to a report put out by Grassroots Leadership, interstate transfers actually increase prisoner isolation and lead to higher rates of recidivism.
The incident in Arizona isn’t the only one involving transferred Vermont prisoners. In January, the warden at the CCA-run Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky resigned after incidents of violence put 200 Vermont inmates on a three-week lockdown. The state of Kentucky has stopped sending inmates to Lee altogether — in part because correctional reforms have reduced its overall inmate population.
We need to urge the governor to join him and end this policy before he renews the contract to house 500 inmates out of state in the coming weeks.