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Consolidated County Jail
Marion County, Indiana

Mar 15, 2018
Council VP seeks to keep new justice center out of private-operator hands
Plans are already in place for Indianapolis’ new criminal justice center to be run by the Marion County sheriff’s department—not a private company—when it eventually opens. And a key member of the Indianapolis City-County Council wants to make assurances that it stays that way. Council Vice President Zach Adamson has proposed an ordinance that “requires the administration and operation of the county jail facilities be non-privatized beginning in 2023." He said he wants to “just codify in law that this will not be, nor in the future be, a for-profit, privately run jail facility.” “That doesn’t mean that could not change,” Adamson said. “That just means a future administration that decides to change that concept or the way they’re managing, they have to go through a public process to undo it.” The current County Jail II is privately run, but the Hogsett administration plans to dissolve the contract with the company when the new criminal justice center opens. Corrections Corp. of America, which recently rebranded itself as CoreCivic, has managed that facility since 1997, according to its website. The criminal justice center will replace not just Jail II, but also Jail I, the Arrestee Processing Center, and Hope Hall. Besides Jail II, the rest of those facilities are run by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. The new center is expected to have 2,700 general population beds, 300 specialty, mental-health focused beds, and education and job-training facilities. The Council in late January unanimously voted to spend $55 million to pay for initial construction costs on the $571 million center. In a March 2017 memo from the mayor’s corporation counsel, Andy Mallon, to the Indianapolis Criminal Justice Reform Task Force, Mallon states the recommendation that "the Consolidated County Jail not be operated by a private entity with private detention personnel, but rather that it be staffed by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.” “All we’re doing is codifying what has already been said would be the practice,” Adamson said. “Everyone has been supportive of that concept. There shouldn’t be a whole lot of difference." Adamson said he’s not worried about the Hogsett administration’s operation of the jail—but of future mayors who may want to pursue a private contract. Adamson said it’s also a social justice issue for him and that it “weighs heavy on my heart and a number of constituents.” “The larger issue that permeates this is the overarching disproportionate number of people of color who are in the correctional facilities, whether it be jails or prisons,” Adamson said. “In my district, which is about half African-American and other minorities, it’s a very serious concern.” The proposal is being co-sponsored by fellow Democrats LaKeisha Jackson and William “Duke” Oliver. It was introduced Monday and will require approval by both the council’s public safety and criminal justice committee and the full council. Adamson said Monday that he would be “making phone calls in the coming days” to try to drum up support from the rest of his caucus.

Correctional Industrial Facility

Pendleton, Indiana
Correctional Medical Services

December 4, 2007 The Herald Bulletin
A contractual employee at a Pendleton prison has resigned after she admitted to trafficking with an inmate. Tim Horan, public information officer for the Correctional Industrial Facility, said Margie Rickner resigned Friday after admitting to Indiana State Police investigators she brought in tobacco for an inmate. Rickner, a behavioral clinician employed by Correctional Medical Services, had been working at the prison since Dec. 3, 2006. Her job duties included counseling inmates. Rickner has not been charged with any crime, but Horan said ISP is pursuing charges against her. Trafficking in tobacco with an inmate is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. The $5,000 fine is mandatory if the person who committed the crime is a Indiana Department of Correction employee or is an employee of a penal facility, according to state law. CMS provides medical services for about 250,000 inmates in 24 states, according to the company’s Web site. The inmate’s name and the amount of tobacco brought into the prison weren’t released, Horan said, because the case remains under investigation. He could also not release when Rickner allegedly began bringing the contraband inside. Her age and city or residence were also unavailable from prison officials. “CIF staff are due all the credit,” Superintendent Tom Hanlon said in a news release. “Through their observations and communication, this trafficking incident was detected.”

Elkhart County Jail
Elkhart, Indiana
Correctional Medical Services

June 24, 2009 The Goshen News
It was good news all around this week for the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and other named defendants connected to a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of deceased county inmate Nicholas Rice. According to Nathaniel Jordan, an attorney at Yoder Ainlay Ulmer & Buckingham, Goshen, Judge Robert Miller of the Federal District Court in South Bend recently issued a decision in favor of the Elkhart County Sheriff and Sheriff’s Department officers named in the case of Estate of Nicholas Rice v. Correctional Medical Services, et al. “The decision also finds in favor of the other remaining defendants in the case, most of which, like Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, Inc., are located in Elkhart County,” Jordan said. “Certain defendants, such as Elkhart County, had been dismissed previously in this case.”

October 10, 2006  South Bend Tribune
The attorney for a Michiana family whose 22-year-old son reportedly starved to death while inside the Elkhart County Jail has filed a $24 million lawsuit against the county. Nicholas Rice was detained inside the jail for more than a year on an attempted bank robbery charge while doctors and court officials disputed whether he was competent to stand trial. The diagnosed schizophrenic inmate was found dead in his cell Dec. 18, 2004. Autopsy reports later listed malnourishment and dehydration as factors in Rice's death. The Tribune first reported on Nicholas Rice's case -- "Out of Sight: Mental illness and the criminal justice system" -- in a six-day series in February. Niles-based attorney Sean Drew filed the suit last week, alleging that Rice was "denied the ultimate liberty interest of life guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment" and "subjected to inhumane treatment amounting to torture and as a result died." Elkhart County sheriff officials did not return messages Friday and Monday seeking comment. A secretary referred all questions Monday to Elkhart County attorney Michael DeBoni. He had not returned a message or e-mail by late Monday. The negligence suit filed in federal court names multiple defendants, including the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, Oaklawn -- a Goshen mental health facility -- and Correctional Medical Services, a private company that provides medical services to the jail.

Gary Indiana
GEO Group
May 5, 2016
Gary kills GEO detention center plan
Plans for an $80 million immigration detention center collapsed Wednesday with a 9-0 City Council vote rejecting a pair of ordinances to rezone four parcels of property. The vote climaxed a raucous meeting fraught with audience outbursts, council confusion, and silence from representatives of the The GEO Group, a private Florida-based company that operates detention facilities and prisons across the country. GEO wanted to build an 800-bed detention center on 24 acres across from the Gary/Chicago International Airport. It had arranged, in a private agreement, to pay the Gary Economic Development Center a per-detainee fee of about $290,000 annually in addition to $100,000 in workforce training. GEO officials sat quietly during the boisterous meeting. Pablo Paez, vice president for corporate relations for The GEO Group, issued a statement following the meeting: "We are disappointed by tonight's vote. Our proposed facility would have been an $80 million investment in Gary, created hundreds of construction and full-time jobs, generated $1 million in new tax revenue without having to raise local property or business taxes, and created local contracting opportunities worth more than $1 million." It wasn't known if GEO is considering other sites in Northwest Indiana. Council President Ron Brewer, D-at-large, who hoped to defer the vote and hold a community forum, said the normal council hearing process was derailed by an April 19 vote. Typically, new ordinances are moved to a plan committee for review, but the motion to move them was defeated. Brewer said he hoped to hear GEO officials explain their project, citing the potential for economic benefits he said the city desperately needs. "We never heard from GEO," Brewer said. "Why should we let something like this pass when we have nothing to begin with." Councilman Herb Smith, D-at-large, whose actions provoked confusion when he moved to bring the ordinances back to Wednesday's meeting, pushed for the project to go forward. "I was willing to consider supporting this because of the lack of economic conditions," Smith said. He criticized employed people who dismissed the idea of a detention center that could have created jobs. "We don't have many opportunities," Smith said. "We need to seriously look at our city." Not all council members felt that way. LaVetta Sparks-Wade, D-6th, said she was pleased to see the proposal fail. She said a corrections-like facility would only further harm Gary's public image. "I disagree with the idea that we do not have the luxury of passing this up," she said, adding she thinks Gary can attract more worthy projects that would better benefit to the city. "I do not believe this is the best project that Gary can take up." Michael Protho, D-2nd, said he has heard from too many constituents opposed to the idea to think of supporting the idea himself. "The citizens (of Gary) should have their way." Of some two dozen people who addressed the council, only two were in favor of the idea. Most of the crowd that packed their way into City Hall opposed to the project. Roy Dominguez, the former Lake County sheriff, was among its critics, saying it would create a negative image for Gary and would not be a benefit to anyone. "Law enforcement in this country does not need GEO," he said. Gary/Chicago Airport board Chairman Stephen Mays said the proposed detention center would interfere with possible airport expansion. "We want to finish implementing the (airport development) plan now in place," he said. Sparks-Wade said she thinks there is a natural idea for economic development in Gary – the George Lucas museum of pop culture. She said the "Star Wars" creator could be seeking a new location due to a lawsuit filed over a Chicago lakefront site. "He's looking for a site, well we have one," she said.

Apr 30, 2016
GEO opponents critical of pact providing benefits for city
Before the GEO Group approached the Gary Board of Zoning Appeals in November, it forged a pact with the Gary Economic Development Corp. on Sept. 23 that listed benefits it agreed to provide if it won approval for an immigration detention facility across from the Gary/Chicago International Airport. That memorandum of understanding is now public, and it's drawing criticism from opponents of the detention center project. GEO is seeking a zoning variance from the city to build a $80 million, 800-bed immigration detention center on 24 acres just north of the Gary/Chicago International Airport. The construction is contingent on GEO winning approval from the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agency. The Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations released a statement Friday criticizing the memorandum. "The Federation and our 'NO GEO' allies object to the manner in which this MOU was created; in secret and with no public involvement about the immigrant detention center/prison," the statement said. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said Friday the memorandum was consistent with her prior support for the GEO project. She said she withdrew her support for the project and the MOU on Nov. 11. "There has been no effort by GEO to hold the Economic Development Corporation or the city to this MOU," she said. GEO spokesman Armando Saleh said the MOU was not with the city but rather the Gary Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit organization that promotes economic development and maintains an office at City Hall. The GEDC meetings aren't open to the public, according to Freeman-Wilson. "We're happy they chose to share it," he said of the document. GEO's request to rezone four parcels met with an angry outcry from opponents last November and it withdrew the petition before a vote. GEO returned to the Board of Zoning Appeals on April 12, and its variance request was rejected in a 3-1 nonbinding vote. Nonetheless, GEO leaders said it would follow the process and bring it to the City Council for consideration. It's expected to be discussed and possibly voted on during Wednesday's meeting at City Hall. The memorandum of understanding was signed Sept. 23 by Bo Kemp, director of the Gary Economic Development Corp., and David Venturella, vice president of business development for GEO. The agreement laid out the following terms:
• GEO agreed to fund a public safety and service support impact fee to the Gary Economic Development Corp. It would be $1 per day, per client, or an estimated $290,000 per year, based on a full occupancy of 800 beds.
• GEO agreed to contribute $100,000 for workforce and economic development programs to the Gary Economic Development Corp.
• The GEO Group agreed to provide a cash match for a grant to develop Airport Road if it won the contract to operate the detention center and if the Gary Economic Development Corp. received the grant.
• GEO committed to following the city's workforce and contracting guidelines "to the greatest degree possible" and would focus on a plan to engage local residents and companies in the project's construction.

Apr 21, 2016
'I was set up' in detention center vote: Gary councilman
The plan for a privately owned detention center in Gary may not get an up-or-down vote next month, after all. On Wednesday, Councilman Herb Smith, D-at large, said he's considering withdrawing a motion he made at Tuesday's Common Council meeting for a May 4 vote, which may leave the GEO Group's plan for a controversial detention center up in the air. A zoning variance for GEO's detention center, to be built on land adjacent to Gary/Chicago International Airport, was rejected by the Board of Zoning Appeals on April 12 and sent to the Common Council for consideration. Two rezoning ordinances on two adjoining parcels were introduced at Tuesday's council meeting. The council typically assigns such ordinances to its planning committee for review, but the motion to do so failed by one vote. The global auto industry’s transformation has far-reaching implications for how we move from point A to point B and affects carmakers, energy companies, insurers, health care, govt. funding, and more. Surprised by the motion's failure, Smith cited council rules allowing him to call the issue up for a final vote because it would not otherwise get a committee hearing. Smith said Wednesday he assumed GEO's rezoning request would go the planning committee. "I felt like I was set up. Councilman (LaVetta) Sparks-Wade instigated all this and she was the one who flipped and said it was a bad idea." Sparks-Wade, D-6th, expressed dismay Wednesday that Smith is blaming her for his confusion on the issue. "It is unfortunate that my colleague would say something like that," she said, adding that she has not said or done anything that should have given people an indication of her stance. "I told him as recently as last week I did not know how I would vote. I don't know if he has amnesia, but his accusation is ridiculous." She also said she does not know how the issue will be resolved. "This issue changes every day as people keep changing their minds," she said. "This issue has divided our community. I think people should let sleeping dogs lie." After Smith announced plans to withdraw his motion on a local radio show, he said he began getting calls from citizens who were against him withdrawing the motion. Florida-based GEO Group wants to build the detention center to hold immigration violation offenders from across the Midwest. It would be one of five such centers the federal government wants built across the nation. At Tuesday's meeting in a packed council chambers, Council President Ron Brewer said the final vote — along with any debate on the issue — would have to take place at the next council meeting on May 4 at City Hall. At that time, a simple majority vote of five votes will approve or deny the rezoning, officials said. None of the GEO plan's supporters spoke publicly on the issue Tuesday. Councilman Michael Protho, D-4th, said he has been receiving too many calls from his constituents opposed to the idea for him to be comfortable supporting it. Sparks-Wade still plans to host an April 29 community meeting with GEO officials, although they are no longer invited to speak. Tuesday's meeting attracted spectators from both sides of the issue. Before the meeting, they jammed into a hallway leading into the council chambers — and at one point were chanting against each other to see who could shout the loudest. The group calling itself Gary Action Now wore matching white T-shirts and carried signs touting the need in Gary for jobs created by a detention center, while the collection of black and Latino activists who have opposed the project in the past also were on hand. "They're trying to drown us out, but we're not going away that easily," said the Rev. Cheryl Rivera of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations.

Apr 13, 2016
Gary zoning board rejects GEO's variance bid
GEO Group Inc. officials said Tuesday they'll take their bid to build an immigration detention center to the Gary City Council after the Board of Zoning Appeals rejected its variance request, 3-1. The BZA vote came after two hours of emotional testimony against the detention center. One vocal group of protesters, who carried a large banner that read: "No borders. No cages," were escorted out by police for shouting and chanting as GEO attorney James Wieser spoke. Wieser said after the meeting the strident opposition, which included Diocese of Gary Bishop Donald Hying and former mayor Richard G. Hatcher, didn't surprise him. "There are a lot of emotions and concerns. It was a fair hearing," he said. "This is the first stop, but we have a long way to go." Officials from GEO say they will spend about $80 million to build an immigration detention center on 24 acres just north of the Gary/Chicago International Airport. GEO vice president David Venturella said the center would create about 200 jobs as well as "hundreds" of construction jobs over an 18- to 24-month period. The promises of jobs and tax money didn't soothe the vocal crowd that had to be silenced several times by BZA president Rinzer Williams. More than a dozen people spoke against the project. Attorney James Wieser, who represents GEO, shares details of the project with the Gary Zoning Board. (Jim Karczewski / Post-Tribune) Gary Airport Authority board chairman Stephen Mays said his board just approved plans for a master plan update and it didn't include a detention center. He said it could hurt economic development around the airport that's trying to attract a commercial passenger airline as well as international airlines. "Don't kill our economic engine," he told the board. Bishop Hying called GEO's detention plans "morally repugnant." He said there's no place in the community for a business that warehouses individuals who are already vulnerable. "They're in need of our help, not our rejection. The proposal doesn't make sense to us. Does Gary need jobs, yes. Does Gary need renovation, yes. But this is not the way to go about it," he said. GEO originally applied for the use variance in November, but withdrew its request in the wake of opposition. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who opposes the detention center, said GEO returned because City Council members wanted to learn more about it. GEO needs the use variance for the four parcels it has an option to purchase on Industrial Highway, just east of Cline Avenue. Jeffrey Ban, president of Crown Point-based Development Visions Group, that's working with GEO, said contamination at the site would have to be cleaned up before construction can begin. The Midco II Superfund site is east of the property. Ban said the closest residence is more than a mile away and that was one of GEO's considerations. Russell Cundiff, a member of the city's plan commission, said City Council members should be allowed to review the project. "They're able to see truths or untruths… We should at least give it consideration." Former Lake County sheriff Roy Dominguez said GEO would make a profit on the suffering of others. He called the prospective detention center "a field of screams." Hatcher said the detention center would diminish the potential of the airport that first developed under his administration. "I want to stand as solidly and firmly as I can with the mayor of this city, Karen Freeman-Wilson. She has taken a position against construction of this facility. Think very carefully." Before the BZA vote, Williams explained why he supported the project. "This body is charged not to legislate with emotion or morality, within the letter of the law. From a legal standpoint, there is nothing that has been presented to prevent it from going to the council with a favorable recommendation." BZA member Juanita Johnson drew cheers from the crowd as she summarized her opposition. She said she's concerned about unsafe and unsanitary conditions and inmate mistreatment. I don't know how you even have the nerve to come back," she said to GEO officials.

Nov 12, 2015
Gary mayor reverses course on proposal for immigrant detention center

GARY | Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said in a statement late Wednesday she is withdrawing her support for a controversial plan to build an immigrant detention center in Gary. The statement came after two days of protests by members of the Northwest Indiana Federation, Black Lives Matter NWI — Gary, city residents and others opposed to the plan. Freeman-Wilson said she initially signaled support for consideration of the facility on property near the Gary/Chicago International Airport because the development would increase the city's tax base and provide jobs for city residents. "I was comfortable making this request because I concluded that the benefits to our community outweighed the costs associated with public perception and philosophical opposition," Freeman-Wilson said. The plan called for a $65 million investment and the possibility of more than 200 jobs. The city estimated the facility could pay about $1 million annually in property taxes. Protesters at a Gary Airport Authority board meeting Monday and a Gary Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Tuesday vehemently opposed the proposal. Northwest Indiana Federation Executive Director Cheryl Rivera questioned why Gary officials wanted anything to do with the plan. "Why would Gary, a city that is 90 percent black, with its peoples' own history of slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and continuing systemic racism, choose to be any party to targeting, terrorizing and profiteering from detention, enslavement and deportation of brown and black immigrants in America?" Rivera said. Freeman-Wilson said Wednesday she was unable to square arguments the facility would generate property tax revenue and jobs with her personal experiences and convictions. "While it is my experience as an advocate for civil and human rights, my long history as a proponent of criminal justice reform, or even a staunch supporter of President (Barack) Obama's immigration reform policy, I could not align my record with my support of this project," she said. Freeman-Wilson said attracting development to Gary has been a "herculean task," but her administration has experienced successes and anticipates more. "For these reasons, I believe it is wholly appropriate to pass on the opportunity to partner with GEO and pursue other relationships that will be more suitable for the city and consistent with our collective values," she said.

Nov 11, 2015

Gary groups protest proposed immigrant detention center

GARY | Sustained shouts of “boo” and “shame on you” erupted during Tuesday’s Board of Zoning Appeals meeting when board members voted to defer a public hearing on a GEO Group Inc. detention center for undocumented immigrants proposed to be built across from the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Gary officials announced late Tuesday that a community forum on the issue has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 18 in council chambers at City Hall. The BZA hearing has been pushed back to 3 p.m. Nov. 23. More than 100 people representing faith organizations and human rights groups as well as residents from Indiana and Illinois opposed to the detention center filled the Gary council chambers for Tuesday's scheduled public hearing. Representatives of GEO Group Inc. asked for the public hearing to be rescheduled, which set off the protest. BZA member Chester Jones made the motion to defer the public hearing with Jamella Johnson and William Cook voting “yes.” The meeting was quickly gaveled to a close as protesters continued to shout their disapproval and vowed to keep up their fight. City officials said in a release that a representative from GEO will be on hand for the Nov. 18 forum to present the company's proposal and "discuss the community benefits of locating the facility in Gary." The proposed facility for undocumented immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be built and operated by the for-profit GEO Group. It could house nearly 800 detainees, including 192 high-security ones such as convicted felons. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson supports the plan, pointing to the $65 million investment and creation of possibly more than 200 jobs. Freeman-Wilson said the city estimated the facility could pay about $1 million annually in property taxes. In an open letter to Freeman-Wilson and the BZA circulated prior to the meeting, the Rev. Cheryl Rivera of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations said the GEO facility “is morally outrageous, reprehensible and unconscionable.” “Of course Gary wants jobs, but not these disgusting jobs in a racist for-profit immigration prison,” Rivera said. “Northwest Indiana was built by immigrant and minority workers.” Jose Bustos, manager of the Immigrant Support and Assistance Center in East Chicago, said he sees firsthand what happens to many Latino immigrants and their children, who were born here. “If this takes place, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will conduct raids in our neighborhoods,” Bustos said, adding that German and Irish immigrants faced discrimination when they arrived. “We live in an era when the wave of immigrants are from Central and South America.” The Rev. Charles R. Strielmeier, of Hobart’s Augustana Lutheran Church, said his community fought off the GEO detention center planned there. However, “GEO still owns the land,” he said. “We think it’s a toxic development.” After the $200 million spent extending the Gary airport runway, Strielmeier said the GEO detention facility “would drive other developers away." "(The company) battens on communities that are desperate for development," Strielmeier said. "There is a high turnover in jobs at other GEO facilities. A number of jobs are done by inmates who are paid $1 to $4 a day.” Concetta Smart, of Crete, and Bernie Kopera, of Orland Park, Ill., attended the public hearing to lend their support to protests. They were among Illinois residents who worked to keep detention facilities out of Joliet and Crete. “We worked together with a whole group of people. It took about a year,” Smart said of that effort. In addition, they helped Hobart residents organize their signage campaign to keep the facility out of that city. Members of MIGHT – Mass Incarceration and GEO Halt Team — also were represented at the BZA meeting. “I believe Gary needs to be rezoned as a sanctuary city — one that welcomes everyone,” said MIGHT co-founder Paulie Garcia, of East Chicago. “We’re working with Black Lives Matter of Northwest Indiana on this,” he said.

Nov 10, 2015

Gary groups protest proposed immigrant detention center

The Rev. Cheryl Rivera, executive director of the Northwest Indiana Federation, urges Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority members on Monday to reject the proposed GEO Group immigrant detention center that could be built across the road from the airport. Members of the Northwest Indiana Federation, Black Lives Matter NWI - Gary, and Gary residents likened the detention centers to "slave camps" and said the city of Gary should have nothing to do with it. They made their plea to the Gary airport authority board, which met at 11 a.m in the airport administration building. "Why would Gary, a city that is 90 percent black, with its peoples' own history of slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and continuing systemic racism, choose to be any party to targeting, terrorizing and profiteering from detention, enslavement and deportation of brown and black immigrants in America?" Northwest Indiana Federation Executive Director Cheryl Rivera asked authority board members. It was not only the Northwest Indiana Federation, a church group, and Black Lives Matter that were concerned Monday. The Gary Jet Center, an aircraft charter and maintenance facility at the airport, has concerns the detention center's location could block expansion of the airport's crosswind runway, which has been a long-term goal of the airport, according to Gary Jet Center Operations Manager Mike Partin. The proposed facility for undocumented immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement  would be built and operated by GEO Group under plans now taking shape. It could house nearly 800 detainees, including 192 high-security ones such as convicted felons. Protesters said their action Monday is just the first of many to come, including one planned for a Gary Zoning Board meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday. They point out GEO detention facilities have already been rejected in Joliet, Crete and now seemingly Hobart, where GEO was actively working on siting a facility. Airport Authority Chairman Stephen Mays told protesters the authority is a government entity and he understands the GEO Group immigrant detention center would be built on private land. He said the authority would take the comments under advisement. When questioned by a reporter later, both Mays and Airport Director Dan Vicari said the airport authority currently has no involvement with GEO Group's plans. The airport currently hosts weekly charter flights operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that take undocumented immigrant jail inmates to the southern border for deportation. In addition to asking for a zoning variance to use the land for a detention center, GEO Group would also have to respond and win the contract for such a center by responding to a request for proposals expected to be issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Indiana Department of Corrections

Aramark, Correctional Medical Services (formerly run by Prison Health Services, Universal Behavioral Services)
Jan 27, 2018
8 hurt when private prison-transport van collides with truck
Six prisoners and two officers were injured Thursday afternoon when their prisoner transport van collided with a truck at the intersection of Indiana 3 and Indiana 205 near LaOtto, the DeKalb County sheriff's department said today. In a statement, the sheriff's department said Pamela Connelly-Castle, 57, of Columbia City was driving south on Indiana 3 shortly before 3 p.m. when she failed to yield the right of way and turned left in front of a van driven north on Indiana 3 by Albert McDaniel, 46, of Florida. Connelly-Castle's truck spun and came to rest facing west in the intersection, police said. She was not injured. The van, which belonged to US Corrections LLC, a private transport company, went off the road, struck a utility pole and came to rest in a ditch, police said. They said the rear passengers were trapped inside the transport cage until firefighters could extricate them. McDaniel broke his leg, police said. Another officer, Luis Feliciano, 47, of Florida was flown by Samaritan helicopter to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne with broken ribs and a broken clavicle. One of the prisoners, Luis Guzman Calderon, 28, of Cleveland, broke his back, police said. The other five prisoners were treated for pain and lacerations. All the injured people were either released from the hospital or listed in stable condition, police said. Indiana State Police, Allen County and Garrett police, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, DeKalb and Huntertown EMS and Garrett, LaOtto and Huntertown firefighters also assisted.

Mar 11, 2017
Corrections health firm to lay off nearly 700 Indiana employees
The health care provider for the Indiana Department of Corrections has lost its contract with the state and plans to lay off nearly 700 employees by the end of the month. Corizon Health, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, filed notice of the layoffs with the state’s Department of Workforce Development on Monday. It said that it was made aware on Feb. 22 of the decision by the IDOC not to renew its contract. Corizon employs 699 workers in 22 locations across the state, according to the filing. Their employment will end on March 31. After a bidding process for the services, IDOC chose Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources Inc. for the contract, according to department spokesman Ike Randolph. Corizon’s three-year contract was worth nearly $300 million, according to the South Bend Tribune. Since Jan. 1, 2014, when the most recent three-year contract took effect, Corizon has provided not only basic health care for prisoners, but also mental health, vision, dental, pharmacy and rehabilitation services. In such a situation, it’s not unusual for the new contractor to hire employees of the former contractor, Corizon Human Resources Manager Christopher Heeg wrote in the notice to the state, “although there is no guarantee that it will do so.” Corizon, the largest correctional medical company in the country, was the subject of an investigative series by the Tribune last year titled “Profits over Prisoners?” It noted a spike in the number of inmate medical complaints, questions about oversight and allegations that profit often took priority over critical health services for inmates.

Jan 29, 2017  
Indiana prison medical chief works for private Illinois firm
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The chief medical officer for Indiana's prison system held an overlapping position with a for-profit Illinois company that provides health care to correctional facilities in more than a dozen states, according to a published report. Dr. Michael Mitcheff worked for Peoria, Illinois-based Advanced Correctional Healthcare while also overseeing Indiana's prison health care contract with a competing company in his $234,000 state job, the South Bend Tribune reported ( ). Mitcheff is listed as "corporate medical director" on the Illinois company's website. Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison acknowledged Mitcheff's overlapping jobs. He told the newspaper that dual employment is not prohibited and Mitcheff kept the department informed of his work with the competing vendor. "Advanced Correctional Healthcare (ACH) has not placed a bid for the (Indiana) inmate health care contract and is therefore not under consideration to be awarded such a contract," Garrison wrote in an emailed response to the newspaper's questions. Garrison said Mitcheff is no longer working full time for the state, having switched from full time to intermittent employment. As of Jan. 16, Mitcheff is now being paid by the hour, Garrison said. Mitcheff is assisting the department in a search for a full-time medical director. In December, Mitcheff resigned from his state post, then weeks later rescinded that resignation for personal reasons, the Tribune reported. Mitcheff worked in the private correctional health care sector prior to his work in Indiana government and, in his government position, has been overseeing a contract for a company for which he'd worked. Indiana contracts for inmate health care with Tennessee-based Corizon Health, Mitcheff's employer until 2014. Under Mitcheff, Indiana recently gave the company a three-month extension on a three-year $300 million contract. Mitcheff has been in his Indiana government position since July 2015, the newspaper reported. Mitcheff did not respond to the newspaper's request for comment. The newspaper reported in June that Mitcheff's medical license was suspended in 1998 for prescribing addictive painkillers for his personal use. After resolving his licensing issues by going through a monitoring program that included drug screening, he became a prison doctor. "It was a good transition back" to medicine, he told the Tribune in June, "and it worked out well. (Addiction) has given me the background to better understand the patient in the population I'm dealing with as well."

Jan 8, 2017
Questions surround Indiana's prison health care contract
Indiana officials signed a 90-day extension with Corizon Health, the Tennessee-based private company that has long provided medical care to the state’s prisoners, just a few days before its contract was set to expire last weekend. State officials aren’t saying what fueled the delay in a longer-term agreement or whether the state is still actively engaging in discussions with other correctional medicine companies. But the three-page extension includes substantial financial concessions not seen in previous contract documents. Corizon was the focus of a Tribune series in June. The company has faced mounting numbers of lawsuits across the country, and it denies accusations that profit motives result in inadequate medical care and unnecessary prisoner deaths. Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Mitcheff of Osceola, Indiana’s chief medical officer since July 2015 and a longtime Corizon employee before that, submitted his resignation with the Department of Correction on Dec. 6, effective Jan. 3, according to a DOC spokesman. But Mitcheff, who has ultimate state authority over prisoner medical care, rescinded his resignation Dec. 30 “for personal reasons.” DOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon retired in late November. Incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb will be sworn in on Monday, when his new DOC commissioner, Rob Carter, also takes office. Indiana’s DOC has been affiliated with Corizon for well over a decade, including under previous company names. Since Jan. 1, 2014, when the most recent three-year contract took effect, Corizon has provided not only basic health care for prisoners, but also mental health, vision, dental, pharmacy and rehabilitation services, for about $100 million a year. Previous contracts and amendments spell out the DOC’s expectations, standards of care and staffing levels. Payment is based on a daily rate for each prisoner, a “per diem.” Previous recent contracts have called for 1.5 percent increases in the per diem rate to account for inflation; an amendment filed in August, just before the state began its bid-seeking process, raised the per diem rate by 2.98 percent. The recent 90-day extension raises the rate 4.6 percent more. The pact also absolves Corizon of other financial requirements called for in earlier pacts: * Corizon is not required to provide a surety bond during this time. * It is not asked to reimburse savings in medical costs for prisoners who are enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare, which use state or federal money. * The extension states, “Corizon is relieved of its obligation to pay the IDOC for staffing paybacks related to staffing vacancies” after Dec. 31, when the original contract expired. “Corizon will make best efforts to continue to staff and fill open positions.” This alone could be a substantial amount: Corizon repaid more than $2 million for just seven months of staffing shortages in 2014, according to a contract document. A spokesman for the state Department of Administration, which oversees large contracts with state agencies, sent a written response from the DOC when asked whether the concessions could be interpreted that Indiana and Corizon have negotiated a buyout of sorts. “Any conclusion that Corizon does not have the opportunity to obtain a future long term contract with the IDOC is unreasonable,” the statement said. “To our knowledge, there is nothing stopping Corizon from participating in the current RFP which specifies a long term contract of three years.” The Tribune series in June documented various cases of inmates and their families accusing the state prison system of poor health care, sometimes with fatal consequences. Amanda Cole, a 31-year-old in the Indiana Women’s Prison, first noticed in February that her tongue was swollen and began moving on its own. The problem grew such that she couldn’t eat, she said, with more than 30 pounds dropping off her small frame within five months. Other symptoms began to pile on, including pain, migraines and forgetfulness, and blood in her urine. Then she noticed great pain whenever she tried to use the bathroom — and finally realized that her colon was painfully descending in a tight ball out of her rectum. Cole said in a recent interview that guards accused her of making things up and that she was disciplined at least five times, including being sent to solitary confinement for four days, for screaming in pain, begging for help and continuing to fill out health care request forms. She recalls that a few guards said, “This isn’t right, Amanda. They’re going to let you die.” When Cole finally did see a doctor and outside tests or specialist visits were ordered, “They just kept telling me, ‘Oh, it’s got to get approved, it’s got to get approved,’ “ she said. “I was praying for death,” she said, “because I just couldn’t take it no more.” In November, Cole reached out to The Tribune, writing in an email, “I’m scared. Please help me.” After the Tribune contacted DOC spokesman Doug Garrison, Cole was sent to a specialist. During emergency surgery to fix the prolapsed rectum, a ruptured cyst that had been filling her abdomen with blood was discovered on an ovary, according to recent tort claim documents. “If I live to make it out of here, there is no coming back,” Cole said of the drug addictions that led to her imprisonment. Despite the possibility of retribution for speaking out, she said, “somebody has to continue to let people know what’s happening here. I’ve never been so broken in my life.” Indianapolis civil rights attorney Michael Sutherlin filed a tort claim dated Dec. 13 on Cole’s behalf, against the DOC commissioner, the attorney general and the superintendent of Indiana Women’s Prison. The same day, he filed a tort claim on behalf of a prisoner in Rockville Correctional Facility, a women’s prison near Terre Haute. That prisoner, Tiffany Smith, described in a letter the events that began with excruciating pain, nausea, and a large knot that emerged on the right side of her abdomen, where her skin had turned black. The 35-year-old said even guards remarked on the lack of medical response to what turned out to be a ruptured appendix. After a first emergency surgery, Smith wrote, the surgeon said her body cavity was filled with the most infection he had ever seen. After several days in an ICU, she was dismissed back to the prison infirmary with prescriptions and strict instructions about wound care, which she alleges were not followed. Near death again, Smith and the tort claim allege, she was rushed back to a hospital for emergency surgery, where “the surgeon had to remove my organs, wash the infection off of them, and put them back.” The tort claim describes several instances in which guards and some medical staff insisted Smith be sent to a hospital but were overruled by a doctor — for a common condition that “is also easy to diagnose if the proper steps are taken.” Smith — like Cole — will have to remain in prison significantly longer because of so much time missed in programs in which they were enrolled. DOC and Corizon authorities have consistently declined comment on specific cases, citing privacy concerns and policy involving litigation. “I get depressed a lot,” Smith, a former alcoholic, wrote in an email. “I get worried when I go over to the infirmary for anything because of what they allowed to happen to me.”

Jun 12, 2016
Is Indiana putting profits over prisoners when it comes to health care?
A private company hired to provide medical treatment to Indiana's prisoners while saving taxpayer money has come under increasing scrutiny amid a spike in complaints, questions about oversight and allegations that profit often takes priority over critical health services for inmates. Corizon Health, based in Brentwood, Tenn., is the largest correctional medical company in the country. It provides health care services to jails and prisons in 25 states, including Indiana and Michigan. A spokesman for Indiana's Department of Correction defended the medical care provided to the state's approximately 26,000 prisoners, saying, “I am confident that our clinical metrics for chronic conditions are better than the free world.” Family of woman who died in shackles: 'Nobody wants to tell us the true story'. Rachel Wood, 24, died in an ambulance after her condition deteriorated for weeks. But in the last few years:
• The number of inmate medical complaints filed with the ombudsman for Indiana's DOC has spiked, from 153 in 2010 to 509 in 2015. The number of prisoner deaths, including suicides, also rose, reaching 86 in 2015.
• Prisoners or their families have filed at least 178 medical-related civil rights lawsuits in federal courts in Indiana against Corizon since 2011 — 46 of those in 2015 alone. The state has settled nearly three dozen of those cases, paying out more than $1.2 million.
The settlements range from $300 for a prisoner whose appeal relating to his cataracts was denied, to $400,000 to the mother of a prisoner who was murdered by a mentally ill cellmate. A spokesman for the state attorney general's office emphasized that settlements are not admissions of guilt but "avoid the uncertainties of further litigation where taxpayer dollars would be at stake."

• When asked about prescription drugs for inmates, state officials provided two different and varying sets of figures — both of which showed odd patterns.
One showed the number of drugs prescribed to inmates staying exactly the same for a 24-month stretch. This came despite the fact that the number of inmates overall in the state prison system fluctuates. The second set, meanwhile, showed an oddly consistent pattern of prescribing drugs for inmates that persisted for years. From 2012 to 2015, the numbers of prisoners prescribed drugs climbed steadily for the first half of the year before dipping in the final months, the figures showed.

• A group of federal judges in Indiana, worried about prisoners struggling without proper legal help with medical cases, have pushed to set up a system to recruit attorneys and possibly medical experts to help poor prisoners with those cases.
• Officials across the country, most recently in such states as Florida and New York, have accused Corizon of cutting corners to save money, resulting in inadequate care. Many of those states have ended their contracts with Corizon.
Michael Sutherlin, a civil rights attorney in Indianapolis, calls Corizon's philosophy “a profit model” rather than “a medical model.” Inmate dies after 37 days in Indiana prison Federal appeals court grants a rare re-hearing for the legal case of Nicholas Glisson
. Sutherlin and other attorneys accuse the company of being reluctant to prescribe certain medications or send offenders outside prison walls for specialized testing, diagnoses or treatment as ways to cut costs. The results, they say, are often unnecessary suffering and even deaths. Corizon's relationship with Indiana extends back to 2005, when it first won a contract with the state for health care under former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who was leading a charge to privatize various state services. The company has changed its name twice over the last several years after mergers, formerly operating as Prisoner Health Services and Correctional Medical Services. As it has done so, the company's contract renewals have expanded the range of services it provides in Indiana prisons, now including medical, mental health, rehab, dental and vision. The most recent, three-year contract, which expires at the end of this year, was worth nearly $300 million. As of April, 39 health care providers, including nurse practitioners, worked in 24 state corrections facilities. Corizon operates its own correctional pharmaceutical company and subcontracts with other companies for some services. But information about the company, and its work in Indiana, can be hard to find. Indiana's current deal with Corizon includes requirements for regular reports to the DOC, including staffing shortages and reviews of inmate deaths. But those reports are not made public, with a DOC attorney citing the confidentiality of inmate medical information. The Tribune was provided lists of prisons and their consistently high scores during inspections from 2011 to 2015. But they did not include details about the inspectors or what they may have found to be deficient. A 2011 directive laying out rules for the DOC's quality assurance program includes a paragraph deeming a "quality assurance product" to be strictly confidential, including "in discovery during lawsuits." The Human Rights Defense Center filed a lawsuit in March against Corizon and the state of New Mexico demanding a list of settlements in prison health care cases, after Freedom of Information Requests had been denied. “The reality of it is that generally Americans don't really care what's going on unless it personally and directly affects them,” said Paul Wright, the center's executive director. Yet “every penny (Corizon gets) is a taxpayer dollar.” Dr. Michael Mitcheff, of Osceola, chief medical officer for Indiana's DOC and a top Corizon official in Indiana for several years before that, agrees the company must make a profit. But he insists that profit does not take priority over health care for prisoners. “The question is, 'How do you make money in this industry and provide great service?' There is a way, and we did it in Indiana,” Mitcheff said. “That isn't by withholding care, because typically withholding care down the road is going to cost you more money. … The way to be cost-effective and make money in this industry is by providing great-quality preventive care.” Gov. Mike Pence and DOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon declined interviews about Corizon and prison health care, referring all questions to Mitcheff.

May 29, 2016
7th Circuit grants en banc hearing in Indiana prison death suit
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals set aside its ruling affirming summary judgment in favor of a medical services provider in an Indiana prison death lawsuit, ordering a review by the full panel of circuit judges. The court on Tuesday ordered en banc review of its Feb. 17 ruling in Alma Glisson, as personal representative of the estate of Nicholas L. Glisson v. Indiana Department of Corrections, 15-1419. The estate of Nicholas Glisson claimed his Eighth Amendment constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment were violated when Corizon, also known as Correctional Medical Services, failed to adequately treat him at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. He died from complications of laryngeal cancer and renal failure. The majority of a three-judge panel, Judges William Bauer and Diane Sykes, affirmed District Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Corizon defendants. The majority held claims that Corizon failed to implement a Department of Correction directive regarding a centralized care plan could not be proven to show deliberate indifference without evidence of a series of incidents or widespread practice against other inmates. Chief Judge Diane Wood dissented, writing she would reverse and send the case to trial. She held that “a rational jury could find that Corizon deliberately structured the delivery of medical care in a way that lacked critical oversight. That policy in Glisson’s case predictably had fatal results.” The order granting en banc review of the appeal said a date for oral argument will be announced in a separate order.

Feb 1, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — A lawyer on Tuesday blamed a culture of indifference for the death of a severely ill woman who was passed from one Indiana prison to another so often that the state Department of Correction lost track of her. Michael K. Sutherlin, the Indianapolis attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Rachel Wood's family, blames the prison agency and Corizon, the Tennessee-based company hired to provide health care at the prison. Corizon has been accused of providing poor care at prisons it serves in other states. "That is just the attitude of these guys, is saving money rather than providing health care," Sutherlin said. Wood, 26, was serving time for a first-time drug offense when she died in April 2012, court documents said. She had lupus and another immune system disorder, a blood clotting disorder and depression, the lawsuit filed Jan. 21 said. "Notwithstanding the duty of the prison medical staff to provide adequate medical care to Rachel and to treat her very serious life threatening conditions, prison medical staff willfully and callously disregarded her condition, and allowed Rachel to deteriorate and die," said the lawsuit, saying that Wood's treatment amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. "It's just an attitude of meanness," Sutherlin said. "They're not just insensitive, they're mean." "Our goal is to provide quality health care to all our patients, and our teams work hard every day to fulfill that mission," Corizon spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern said in a prepared statement, and declined further comment. Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the Indiana attorney general's office, said the office would defend the state prison agency and would address the lawsuit in court. Wood's father, Claude Wood, 57, of Carmel, said prison officials misled him about the severity of her illness despite his repeated phone calls inquiring about her well-being and shuffled his calls from one facility to another and back again. Documents claim that the Department of Correction lost track of Wood's whereabouts at one point and declared her an escapee while she remained in prison. "They lied. We felt they hid her from us. Every time we got close they hid her from us," Wood said. The lawsuit filed this month in a Marion County court alleges that Rachel Wood was moved between prisons in Rockville and Madison and the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis, as well as several hospitals, after one of her fellow inmates told her father she had been taken away in an ambulance, bleeding from her eyes and mouth. "She died a horrible death and she died alone," said her father. It isn't the first time the care Corizon provides for prisoners has drawn fire. Last October, Corizon made headlines when one of its nurses at an Arizona prison potentially exposed as many as 24 inmates to hepatitis and HIV by repeatedly using the same needles. Ten of the 24 were among a group of inmates who were involved in a similar scare at the same prison in August 2012. The same month, Corizon lost a bid to renew its contract with the Minnesota Department of Corrections following staff complaints of substandard care and legal action against the company. A 2012 Star Tribune investigation found that at least nine Minnesota inmates had died since 2000 due to denial or delay of care while Corizon was the state's prison medical contractor. More than 20 had suffered serious or critical injuries during that period, the newspaper's investigation found. The state's three-year contract with Corizon sets a per diem fee of $9.41 per prisoner, with a cap of about $293 million over the three-year period from January 2014 through the end of 2016. Privately held Corizon, whose website says it is the nation's largest health care provider for prisons in the United States, was formed in 2011 by the merger of PHS Correctional Healthcare and Correctional Medical Services, its predecessor in Indiana. The company, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, says it provides medical, dental, and mental health care to about 381,000 inmates in 28 states.

Jan 31, 2014

When prisoners in the segregation unit at Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana received their lunch trays last Tuesday, it was, for some of them, a small taste of victory. While “savory stroganoff with noodles, mixed vegetables, and enriched bread” might not seem like much, the prisoners say it was their first hot weekday lunch in months, except on holidays. For the previous week, dozens in the unit had been protesting what they saw as inadequate food by refusing the cold sack lunches provided by the prison, according to two inmates who spoke to In These Times on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal from the prison. “A lot of people didn't believe that we could win,” says “Jela,” (not his real name), one of the prisoners involved in the protest. “We proved them wrong.” Barring holidays, prisoners in the maximum security unit had been receiving sack lunches instead of the usual hot meal, five days a week for approximately seven months. Indiana Department of Corrections (DOC) Public Information Officer John Schrader says the switch to the sack lunch program was a response to requests from some prisoners, and was an effort to speed meal times and free up more time for recreation and showers. But “people were losing weight, people were not getting the proper nutrients and calories,” charges “Malik,” another prisoner in the unit, who also asked to be identified by a pseudonym. Each bag contained slices of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and a cookie—“not enough,” according to Malik and Jela. In response, say Jela and Malik, prisoners began making dozens of complaints about the program, which they say went unheeded. So more than 40 inmates took part in the protest, which was inspired by prisoner actions in California and Georgia, and organized by shouting between rec rooms. For their part, corrections officials say they had only heard “one or two” complaints about the food before this month. “There were a number of complaints we got all at once,” says Schrader, “and so we said: 'we'll change what we're doing.' ” The Department of Corrections would not confirm the number of prisoners who participated in the protest. Jela says that the food problem goes further back than the cold lunch program. He claims he has seen the food worsen in quality and amount since responsibility for the menu was handed over to a private company, Aramark, in 2005. Aramark, one of the country's largest foodservice providers, has a multimillion-dollar-a-year contract with the Indiana Department of Corrections that is up for renewal in 2015. The department claims that putting food services in the hands of a private company has saved the state millions of dollars each year. However, there have been repeated complaints from prisoners. Jela says he took part in another hunger strike to protest the portion cuts shortly after Aramark took over. “It’s all about profit and all about profit motives; it's not about nutrition or nothing,” he says. Jela believes the switch to the cold bag lunches was just the latest in a long line of attempts by the company to cut costs. The case highlighted the particular problems facing people in segregation units. Many of these prisoners are barred from buying additional food from the prison commissary to supplement their meals, and so rely entirely on food from the prison, Falk says. The ACLU's case was settled last year without going to trial. “There was never an admission that anything was wrong and there was never a finding anything was wrong,” says Falk, “but I think there was enough anecdotal concern that the DOC was willing to implement fairly mild review procedures.” Those “mild review procedures” involve random checks on portions by correctional staff. That hasn't stopped Aramark and the Department of Corrections from skimping on food in other prisons, at least not according to Jela, who says restoring hot lunches at Westville was a first step, but with the food still inadequate and its quality still poor, more needs to be done. John Schilling, the executive director for contract compliance at the Indiana DOC, insists that the switch to the sack lunches was not a cost-cutting measure. According to Schilling, the state pays Aramark $1.24 for each meal it provides. However, the amount of profit the company makes from each meal is secret. “Aramark's pricing is confidential. It's what they call proprietary information,” says Schilling. He added that Aramark had expressed concern that the lunch sacks would actually increase costs. Aramark did not respond to a request for comment from In These Times. Aramark, which provides a million meals to prisoners in the United States every day, has stood accused of skimping on food before. In 2004, prisoners in New Mexico organized a hunger strike to protest food the company was providing. In 2007 state auditors in Florida found Aramark had been charging for meals it hadn't provided, and in 2009, the poor quality of food supplied by the company was blamed for riots in Kentucky's Northpoint Training Center. Apart from weight loss, Jela charges that poor-quality food has caused mental-health problems for prisoners—a major concern in Indiana's segregation units, where, according to a federal judge’s ruling last year, prisoners with mental-health issues are disproportionately represented and do not receive adequate healthcare. “When you're in the Supermax, locked-down, you're already socially isolated,” says Jela. “You're in a refrigerated cell and they're not feeding you, so you take all of that on top of each other. A lot of guys can't take that.” Jela says when prisoners in the unit harm themselves “they're trying to get some relief, or trying to get moved to a less secure facility, or really crying out for some damn help." Prisoners in the units are usually locked in their cells for 23 hours a day, with time out for exercise or showers. Jela says in this environment, the lack of food has a debilitating effect. “You're not out researching the law, you're not out filing lawsuits, you're not filing complaints, you're not doing a lot of things, because you're too cold and too hungry—so it's a form of control,” he says. Asked for comment, Westville Public Information Officer John Schrader says that medical staff keep a close eye on prisoners’ weight: “If there's a medical issue... they can document it and see how much a guy gained or lost.” Department of Corrections staff also visit prisons at least twice every four months to check that Aramark is providing the contractually agreed amounts of food. The company is supposed to provide a minimum of 2,500 calories to each prisoner every day. Menus are designed by Aramark's dieticians and approved by Schilling. “For the most part we've not had any problems whatsoever with the contract, with the meals being provided, with the nutritional values, with the product,” he says. But according to Kenneth Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana, “Prisoners have an acute knowledge of how much they should be getting, and are fairly ingenious in setting up their own measurements to see if in fact they are getting the proper amount,” Falk says. He says prisoners in the segregation unit in another Indiana prison, Wabash Correctional, monitored and recorded portion sizes themselves, sometimes using makeshift measures made from polystyrene cups, and found the food wanting. Based on their complaints, the Indiana ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2011 against the state's Department of Corrections, claiming that prisoners in the Wabash segregation unit were not receiving adequate food, in violation of their Eighth Amendment rights. The lawsuit alleged that “prisoners are receiving significantly less food and calories [than] required by the contract between DOC and Aramark” and were “losing significant amounts of weight because of caloric and portion deficiencies.” According to the ACLU, complaints from prisoners were ignored, even though the department was aware of the issue.

Dec 5, 2013

A security guard who posed as a police officer to coerce sex from females he thought were prostitutes was convicted on 14 criminal counts Monday. A jury found Nicholas Houston, 32, Indianapolis, guilty of multiple counts of criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement, sexual battery, impersonation of a public servant and other charges following a two-day trial. Prosecutors said Houston — who testimony revealed called himself the “Night Lion” — flashed a badge after picking up women he believed were prostitutes, then threatened them with arrest if they did not comply with his request for oral sex. The incidents, involving his interactions with two females on separate occasions, occurred in July and August. At the time, Houston was a correctional officer employed by The Geo Group Inc., a private security firm that provided staffing for a Department of Correction facility in Plainfield. In one incident, Houston picked up a 16-year-old, an admitted prostitute, and took her back to his apartment. He forced her to have oral sex but refused to pay her, according to testimony and police reports, then dropped her off in the area where he had picked her up. In the other case, Houston picked up a woman and attempted to force her to perform oral sex. When she rejected his advance, he refused to let her out of his car. The woman finally jumped from the moving vehicle and was able to get the license plate number, which she reported to police. Houston testified Tuesday that he never engaged in sex acts with the two females because they could not work out a financial arrangement. He also denied portraying himself as a police officer during his interactions with them. In closing arguments, Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Jefferson said Houston targeted weak, young and vulnerable women. “In his own words,” she told the jury, “he said he stalked his prey. This wasn’t a consensual prostitution transaction.”

October 20, 2006 Herald-Tribune
The state's top auditor is calling for an overhaul of the state's contracting laws that exempt more than $1 billion of government contracts from strict oversight. The money spent at the Communities at Oakwood, the state's troubled home for the mentally handicapped, shows the need for reform, the report released yesterday concluded. State Auditor Crit Luallen, in the third and final report on the state's contracting laws, says the 1998 law regarding privatization of government services is ineffective. Under the law, agencies have to provide a cost-benefit analysis to show that a private vendor could deliver services cheaper than the state, before the deal is signed. Larger contracts must be annually reviewed, the law says. However, almost all contracts to private vendors are exempt from the law because of various loopholes, the audit said. The Department of Corrections pays Corrections Corp. of America about $18.2 million to operate three private prisons. Auditors found that the Department of Corrections used an average cost of three public prisons to determine whether the company could run the Marion Adjustment Center at 10 percent less than the state. But the cost for only one state-run prison was used to do the same calculations for the contract with Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville. Auditors recommended a standardized methodology to determine the 10 percent threshold. They are also recommending that a third party analyze those numbers. "Some of the things that they have recommend make sense," said John Rees, corrections commissioner. He said he is not opposed to creating a standardized methodology, as long as someone familiar with corrections is developing those standards. Rees said corrections is realizing a more than 10 percent savings on the three private prison contracts. In the case of Otter Creek, the privately run women's prison, the savings is almost 15 percent, he said.

August 7, 2006 Call 6 TV
Several prison mental health workers say they went unpaid when the subcontractor that employed them was dropped by a contractor, Call 6 for Help's Rafael Sanchez reported. Universal Behavioral Services was contracted by Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services to provide metal health services in Indiana Department of Correction facilities. UBS, based in Indianapolis, claims that CMS cancelled its contract with UBS without warning on July 19, and that CMS failed to pay UBS for services rendered in July. UBS said that because CMS failed to pay for July, UBS is unable to pay its employees for the corresponding pay periods. UBS said it is filing to the state a claim against CMS for $584,475. CMS told Call 6 that it parted ways with UBS in July. It said it met its financial obligations to UBS, and that it began employing and contracting with former UBS staff members to make sure that services were provided to the Department of Correction facilities. Since then, CMS has paid those workers, according to CMS. "It is absolutely incorrect to say that CMS is somehow responsible for UBS's obligations to its former employees," CMS wrote to Call 6 on Friday. The Department of Correction said it paid CMS last week for July services. The department said it would have more comment about the situation on Monday.

August 3, 2005 AP
The new health care provider for the Indiana Department of Correction has come under sharp criticism by prisoner rights’ advocates and faced lawsuits over the quality of health care it has provided inmates in other states. The department has signed a four-year contract with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc. to provide health care services to more than 23,000 adult and juvenile offenders beginning Sept. 1. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Correctional Medical in June over prison health care in Mississippi, and the company also has faced claims in the past nine months in Kentucky and Missouri after the deaths of inmates. In the Missouri case, the family of a 33-year-old female inmate sued after the woman died in 2003 of a ruptured brain aneurysm days after complaining of blinding headaches. That case and the death of a second inmate at the same prison led to an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The division closed the investigation this year without filing charges. Elizabeth Alexander, director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Correctional Medical routinely has failed to provide the minimal level of health care to prisoners required by law. Her criticisms included the company not providing sufficient access to medical care, timely referrals to specialists and appropriate care for chronic ailments, such as chemotherapy for cancer patients. In Michigan, where Correctional Medical also provides statewide inmate medical care, a federal court found the company’s delays in providing prisoners with referrals to outside specialists contributed to three deaths within 18 months, Alexander said. “They have a long record of not doing what they need to do in regard to health care,” Alexander said in a telephone interview Tuesday. Alexander also criticized the contractor that Correctional Medical is replacing. Prison Health Services Inc., whose contract runs through the end of this month, has provided Indiana health care since the state privatized it nearly eight years ago. Celia Sweet, executive director of the Indiana chapter of the prisoner advocacy group Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, or CURE, said the state is sacrificing prisoners’ health to save money. “You’ve got to realize these people, they’re a private corporation and they’re beholden to the stockholders, so they’re in it for the money,” Sweet said.

June 26, 2005 Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
A St. Louis-based company serving 300 prisons nationwide is the Indiana Department of Correction’s choice to take over health care services at 31 state prisons after the agency decided to drop the contractor that has provided them for eight years.  Brentwood, Tenn.-based America Service Group Inc., announced late Thursday that the agency had informed its Prison Health Services Inc. subsidiary that the agency would not renew a contract expiring Aug. 31 and worth $35 million per year. America Service said it had expected to earn $15.8 million from the Indiana contract over the final four months of the year.

June 24, 2005 America Service Group Inc.
America Service Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASGR - News) announced today that its subsidiary, Prison Health Services, Inc. (PHS), has been informed by the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) that, as a result of a rebid process, it has not been selected to enter negotiations for a new inmate healthcare contract scheduled to start September 1, 2005. PHS' current contract with the IDOC expires on August 31, 2005.

March 2, 2005 Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The Department of Correction’s ombudsman should investigate the performance of a private prison health care provider that receives $35 million annually to provide care in Indiana’s jails. Since the late 1990s, Public Health Services, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based organization, has provided health care for about 24,000 inmates in Indiana. Given that the current prison health care contract lapses at the end of July, investigating the company should be more of an imperative for Indiana Ombudsman Bureau. The bureau, housed in the state’s Department of Administration, has broad powers to investigate and attempt to resolve complaints concerning the Department of Correction. In Indiana, the company faces a lawsuit from one ex-employee, and the Indiana Civil Liberties Union has been critical of prison health care for a number of years. A Department of Correction spokesman would say only that Public Health Services has met its obligation to Indiana’s prisoners. It has not been the best week for Prison Health Services. The company is currently battling a reputation-battering series in the New York Times that focused on inmates who have died in New York state jails serviced by Prison Health Services. The company characterizes the Times investigation as a “blatantly unfair story” that contains many “mischaracterizations, exaggerations and  oversimplifications.” However, the story details plenty of damning evidence, including New York State Commission of Correction reports that faulted Prison Health Service’s “policies, or mistakes and misconduct by its employees” in 23 deaths in New York City and six other counties. Prison Health Services continues to dispute the commission’s analysis. Although nothing like what’s happening in New York has been documented in Indiana, Prison Health Services and the Department of Correction have had their fair share of trouble. In 2003, the ICLU sued on behalf of an inmate who suffered from a hernia since 1997. Although the lawsuit has not been settled, Prison Health Services has changed its policy on hernia operations, the ICLU’s Ken Falk says. The ICLU receives hundreds of letters annually from prisoners complaining about health care, Falk says. Then there’s the case of Barbara Logan, who, in April, filed a lawsuit against the correction department and Prison Health Services for wrongful termination. Logan complained about inmate care.

May 22, 2005 Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
It seems when the Indiana Department of Correction touted a new food-service contract for state prisoners last week they left a few details out. Although billed as a 10-year contract valued at $258 million, the deal is actually only four years – because that’s all state law allows. There are options for the state to sign on for additional years. But most importantly – despite the news conference promising $11.5 million in savings a year – the contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services hasn’t been finalized. In fact, when Political Notebook requested information on the other potential bidders, corrections officials said negotiations were still ongoing with Aramark. No information on other offers can be released until the deal is executed – perhaps June 1.  “We’re still in the blackout period,” said Jeff Underwood, deputy commissioner for the Indiana Department of Administration. That means the public doesn’t get to know quite yet whether a Hoosier company also bid on the contract, as rumored, and what the difference was in the potential savings. After all, a key piece of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ platform was for state government to use more Indiana companies to provide services and goods, and he even signed an executive order giving them a purchasing preference. But this $258 million contract would go outside Indiana with Aramark.

March 21, 2005 Indianapolis Star
Indiana's new prisons chief says he's looking at building the state's first private prison to help ride out a two-year budget freeze amid projections of a surge in inmates. Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue has dropped the previous Democratic administration's plans for a new state-run 1,800-bed prison for men and a juvenile prison dormitory in Plainfield. Along with related moves such as outsourcing nursing care and cooking, a private prison for Indiana's growing adult prison population appears likely. "I'll be looking at an opportunity for a private facility to be sited, financed, built and operated by private companies," said Donahue, a former vice president and chief operating officer for U.S. Corrections Corp., a private prison company. Any new prisons, he said, should not be paid for by taxpayers.
Gov. Mitch Daniels said he hasn't talked in detail with Donahue about building a private prison but acknowledged the possibility. Private prison companies such as Corrections Corp. and Prison Health Services Inc. have contributed a total of more than $50,000 to Democrats and Republicans in Indiana since 2000, with Daniels receiving about one-third of this money. Among those working with Daniels' new administration is Geoffrey Segal, director of government operations for the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps states privatize government operations.

Indiana Legislature
September 14, 2008 Indianapolis Star
Attorney Paul Ogden has been kicking some dirt lately about potential conflicts of interest involving the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg. Ogden's firm, Roberts & Bishop, has four lawsuits pending against Corrections Corporation of America, the company that manages the city's minimum-security jail. The suits evolve from allegations of inadequate medical care at the facility. Barnes & Thornburg represents CCA. Last week, Ogden wrote a letter to Democratic council members noting that the chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee is Ryan Vaughn, a Barnes & Thornburg attorney. Vaughn said he's open to scrutiny of the relationship. He said he's not a partner, so his salary does not change depending on the firm's revenues. He acknowledged there could be a situation where he would face a conflict in the future, such as if there were a proposal to privatize the maximum-security jail. "That's the nature of a representative legislature where the members have a full-time job," Vaughn sad. "Unless you're retired, most people will have a conflict at some level if you look hard enough." Vaughn said the solution is full disclosure and abstaining from any matters where the benefit for his firm would be obvious. Jackie Nytes, a Democratic council member, agreed. She said Vaughn will have to be careful because conflicts can arise. "The trouble with ethics legislation," Nytes said, "is that people have to work for a living."

Indiana State Prison
Michigan City, Michigan
Corizon (bought Correctional Medical Services), Aramark
March 23, 2012 WNDU
An employee with the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City has been arrested for trafficking drugs. 41-year-old Phyllis Ungerank, a practical nurse with Corizon Medical, was arrested for trying to traffic marijuana and for possessing marijuana. Officials say around 8 p.m. on March 18, a check-point officer found Ungerank trying to take a package of marijuana inside the jail with her. She was arrested and taken to the LaPorte County Jail.

October 27, 2009 The News-Dispatch
An Indiana State Prison offender reportedly didn't like the new heart-healthy menu recently implemented by the Indiana Department of Correction. The Michigan City prison has been on lockdown since last Tuesday, when a prisoner allegedly dropped his tray on the prison dining-room floor, according to Pam James, ISP administrative services secretary. "There was a commotion in the prison's dining room," James said, noting one person dropped his food tray on the floor. "He was peacefully making his point known. He was displeased with the quantity of the food." Although she said the complaint was about the quantity of the breakfast food, she also said the quality "wasn't that bad." But she couldn't remember the exact menu for the meal that sparked the protest. Carol Cogar went to the prison to visit her son last Thursday and learned of the lockdown. She knew it was about the food quality because she talked to her son about it earlier. "One day, he called and said it's really rank, not any good," Cogar said. James said 25 prisoners were in the dining hall during the "commotion," but she didn't elaborate on who was involved, saying only that just the one prisoner dropped a tray. According to Cogar, though, more than one person is behind the food protest. "Why would they lock the whole place down for one person?" she said. The lockdown will end, James said, when the prison is "safe and secure for the staff and offenders," but couldn't explain how that would be determined. The IDOC switched to a reduced-sodium, low-cholesterol diet Oct. 9, according to James. The new menu has 20 percent less sodium and more fruit in place of baked desserts. Five or more servings of fruits and vegetables are being served each day. The menu aims to reduce fat and cholesterol by eliminating fried foods and serving fewer high-fat menu items. The new menus were introduced this month in all 28 facilities statewide, and no other correctional facility has reported resistance from offenders, according to Doug Garrison, IDOC chief communications officer. Garrison said the revised diet should reduce the costs of treating offenders by helping prevent heart attacks and strokes. He also said lockdowns are not that unusual and are used for restoring a sense of order. "It gives people a chance to cool down," he said. "It's a relatively routine tool in corrections to reset the button." The IDOC contracts with Aramark to supply food for correctional facilities and has 10 full-time registered dietitians who review meal plans according to American Correctional Association nutritional guidelines, according to an official IDOC press release.

September 12, 2008 South Bend Tribune
A contractor was arrested Friday morning at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City for reportedly attempting to smuggle tobacco into the facility, according to a news release. During a routine search of contractors and prison employees, two bags of tobacco weighing a combined 8.8 ounces were found hidden in an Aramark food services employee’s shoes, the release stated. The employee was charged with suspicion of trafficking with an incarcerated offender, a Class A misdemeanor.

June 25, 2008 The News-Dispatch
A contractual food service employee was arrested for trafficking early Sunday morning at the Indiana State Prison when he allegedly brought marijuana into work. Thomas Fly, 25, was seen with marijuana, wrapped in plastic, falling out of his pants leg while reporting to work at 3 a.m., said Barry Nothstine, spokesman for the prison. Prison staff recovered the drug, which weighed two ounces. Indiana State Police took Fly to the La Porte County jail, where he was charged with attempting to traffic with an offender, a Class C felony, and possession of marijuana, a Class D felony. Nothstine said he did not know how long Fly had been assigned to the facility. He has been employed by ARAMARK Correctional Services since 2000. The prison has been contracted with ARAMARK for the past 18 to 24 months, he said. Nothstine said there is no indication so far as part of the investigation that Fly has brought drugs to the prison in the past. "The investigation report that I have seen does not indicate that," he said.

June 22, 2008 News-Dispatch
Richard Blake, 48, Niles, Mich., was arrested Friday at at 6:45 p.m. at the Indiana State Prison on a charge of attempted trafficking for allegedly bringing eight packages of cigarettes into the facility. Blake is a registered nurse employed by Correctional Medical Services since February, and was assigned to the prison. He was going through a routine search process when custody staff found cigarettes wrapped in aluminum foil inside a frozen TV dinner box in his lunch bag. An additional two cigarette packs were found covered with food inside a plastic bowl. All Indiana Department of Corrections facilities are smoke free and possession of tobacco is forbidden. Prison internal affairs investigators Charles Whelan and Corey McKinney were contacted by custody staff. Whelan called the Michigan City Police Department and officers arrested Blake in the prison parking lot. Blake had refused to make a statement without an attorney present and walked out of the facility. After the arrest, investigators Whelan and McKinney reviewed videotape of the prison search procedure and saw Blake twice had difficulty getting through the metal detector. He then left the search area and entered a restroom. A later search of the restroom turned up two packs of cigarettes in the trash can that were reported to be the same brand as the others found in Blake's possession.

Institute in Basic Life Principles
Indianapolis, Indiana
February 5, 2002 Indianapolis Star  
Child Protective Services is reviewing the treatment a 10-year-old girl received during a court-ordered stay at Indianapolis Training Center, a private counseling facility for troubled youths.   The girl's mother, Teresa Landis, contends her daughter was hit with a wooden paddle 14 times, restrained by teen-age "leaders" who sat on the girl and confined in near-isolation for periods of up to five days. Landis said that, at least once, the girl was prevented from using the bathroom, then forced to sit in her own urine.  The center, managed by a Chicago-based evangelical organization called Institute in Basic Life Principles, has operated for nearly a decade in the former Stouffer's Inn at 2820 N. Meridian St.  

K.L. Presnell Development
Greenwood, Indiana

April 16, 2002 Indianapolis Star
A company that wants to build a juvenile detention center in Lebanon has until Dec. 1 to secure its financing, address unresolved zoning matters and close on the project with county officials. Since K.L. Presnell Development of Greenwood signed a contract with the commissioners in December 2000, it has been plagued by a series of missteps and setbacks. For their part, commissioners said Presnell defaulted on its contract with the county by failing to submit earnest money in the required time. Eventually, it did pay the money. In addition, commissioners said the company has not kept them well-informed about the project's status. "I think this has been a comedy of errors, sir," Commissioner Jo Baldauf told Curry.

Lake County Jail
Lake County, Indiana

August 10, 2011 The Times
The president of a Hobart-based health care company is defending its job performance in the Lake County Jail following a critical report by the U.S. Department of Justice. "They put some of the blame on us and that was really uncalled for," Robert Malizzo, owner of Med-Staff Inc., said Tuesday. Malizzo is reacting to a U.S. Department of Justice report showing the 1,040-bed holding facility continues to lack adequate inmate services three years after federal authorities began investigating inmate suicides and lawsuits over inmate medical and mental health care. It was critical of MedStaff, indicating that "no one in the organization has experience in correctional medical care. ... The organization lacks leadership and direction." Malizzo insists fault doesn't lie with him or his employees, saying flawed new electronic medical records don't reflect the complete care being offered. "The Department of Justice made some incorrect statements in that report, although they may not have had the knowledge they should have had prior to writing their report," Malizzo said. "We have never been in charge of medical," he said, explaining his firm wasn't given the resources or authority by the Sheriff's Department. "The electronic medical records system is a complete disaster, because no one ever consulted with us as to the needs of the medical department," he said, adding the result of inmates' physicals and their medical histories are often lost in the system despite the best efforts of his employees. To this day, they are making corrections trying to get that system right for us to use," Malizzo said.

August 6, 2011 The Times
The Lake County Jail continues to lack adequate inmate services and leadership within its medical programs, according to a federal report released this week. The report is part of an ongoing review of the jail by the U.S. Department of Justice that was prompted by a 2008 investigation revealing numerous deficiencies in inmate care. The recent report, prepared in June and filed Thursday in Hammond federal court, continues to find the jail noncompliant in dozens of categories, including in leadership of its medical and mental health programs for inmates. In the first of nearly 100 categories listed, the report criticizes the jail's medical service vendor, MedStaff, indicating that "no one in the organization has experience in correctional medical care. ... The organization lacks leadership and direction." Officials for MedStaff, which has had the jail's medical contract since 2007, have defended its level of service, indicating the private vendor is doing all it can to comply with federal demands. But the report indicates MedStaff has no policy manual specific to the jail's needs — just a manual, dated 2009, that mimics standards of the National Commission of Correctional Health Care. "However, the manual does not reflect actual practice at the facility," the Thursday report states. Among other things not actually performed that are listed in the manual are quarterly administrative meetings and a quality improvement committee, according to the report. The report also indicates that none of the medical staff have a clear grasp of who is in charge, prompting personnel to come up with their own procedures. The report did find the jail compliant — or partially compliant — in several categories, including inmates' access to hygiene supplies and reviews of allegations of excessive force against inmates by jail staff.

Liberty Hall
Indianapolis, Indiana
Community Education Centers

March 7, 2011 Indianapolis Star
Sheriff John Layton is shaking up Marion County's privately run jails after staff at Liberty Hall two weeks ago let hours slip away before they called an ambulance for an inmate who later died from pregnancy complications. "The bottom line is it can't happen again, and we're going to make sure that it doesn't," Layton said. Layton pulled all pregnant inmates into the Marion County Jail; increased county supervision and control over Liberty Hall and the privately run Marion County Jail II; and ordered external evaluations of the facilities to be conducted by former sheriffs Frank Anderson and Jack Cottey. These steps are a reaction to the Feb. 20 death of Amber Redden, 27, who collapsed at Liberty Hall after suffering internal bleeding from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Meanwhile, officials at Liberty Hall fired an officer who was on duty that night and conducted their own investigation into Redden's death, said Murray Clark, an attorney for the facility. Liberty Hall's investigation determined that no policies or procedures were violated, and officials said they think Redden received the "legally acceptable standard of care," said Clark, who expressed sympathy to Redden's family. Clark did not give the name of the staff member who was fired or a specific reason for the firing. Sheriff's officials did not release details of an internal investigation into the death, but they confirmed that Redden began complaining of symptoms sometime before lunch was served. Chief Deputy Eva Talley-Sanders, who supervised the investigation, confirmed that staff took Redden to lunch in a wheelchair after she had complained of what the staff described as severe flu-like symptoms. "The employees who were there were not trained in the medical field," Layton said. "They thought she was having a terrible episode of the flu." It was a Sunday, and medical staff was not at the facility, but a nurse and doctor are always on call. Sheriff's officials said Liberty Hall officers phoned the nurse and gave Redden an over-the-counter painkiller. Redden sought the help of another inmate to get word of her pain to her mother. Lisa Nipper told The Indianapolis Star that she received a phone call about 5 p.m. Feb. 20 from a relative of an inmate who had been helping her daughter. Redden was overheated and having seizures, the caller told Nipper. Facility staff moved Redden to a cooler area. About 9 p.m., the same person called back and said Redden was not getting better and that staff had given her Tylenol. By about 10 p.m., the person called again to say Redden had collapsed in the bathroom and was foaming from the mouth. Officials could not say Friday exactly when the ambulance had been called, but Deputy Chief Michael Turner said Redden had been loaded into one and medics were working on her when he arrived at Liberty Hall about 11 p.m.

March 2, 2011 Fox59
The death of a pregnant inmate is spurring changes at the Marion County Jail before the results of the death investigation are complete. "I am concerned of course," said Marion County Sheriff John Layton. "We will act accordingly that's for sure." Sheriff John Layton's concern with the death of 27-year-old Amber Redden and her unborn child is magnified by the fact that she died in a contracted facility which is privately owned and operated. That's also why Layton didn't wait to transfer all 18 pregnant inmates to the main Marion County Jail. "I don't look at it as 18 women in a jail cell, I look at it as 36 human beings," Layton said. The death of Redden last week at Liberty Hall is what prompted Layton to move the pregnant inmates to the third floor of the main jail, which is staffed by the sheriff's department. The unit is just down the hall from the medical ward. Layton also said he's increasing the frequency of medical rounds for those inmates from once an hour to once every half hour. "Ultimately with the inmates in Marion County it comes back to my desk," Layton said. "The buck stops there. We'll take care of business as it comes up. If we see something that needs to be addressed we're going to address it." "I want to know why my daughter died," said Amber Redden's mother Lisa Nipper, the day following her daughter's death. "Why her and my baby is dead." The coroner determined that Amber suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Doctors told Fox59 a rupture like that can be considered a surgical emergency, but Lisa said her daughter was never taken to a hospital despite several seizures. "Something is not right," Nipper said. "Something has got to be done." Though the family is now considering a lawsuit, lawyer Adam Dulik said, for now, they are encouraged by the changes at the jail. "In this time of grieving, the family takes comfort knowing that other expecting mothers will not face a similar fate," Dulik said in a written statement. "At this time, they would like to express their heart-felt thanks for the outpouring of prayers and well wishes they have received from the community since the loss of Amber and her child, but make no further comment." Fox59 contacted Community Education Centers, which operates Liberty Hall, in order to ask about their reaction to the sheriff's decision to remove pregnant inmates. Company spokesperson Christopher Greeder released the following statement: "CEC and Liberty Hall are incredibly saddened by the tragic death of Ms. Redden and we extend our condolences to her family. The facility was at all times in compliance with all the provisions of its professional services contract with Marion County as well as all mandatory and non-mandatory standards of the American Correctional Association. The company continues to conduct its own internal review of the events."

February 22, 2011 Indianapolis Star
A pregnant Marion County jail inmate died from internal bleeding caused by an abnormal pregnancy, police said today. Amber Redden, 27, collapsed in a bathroom at Liberty Hall, at 675 E. Washington St., at 10 p.m. Sunday. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officials said Redden’s death was “natural” and caused by a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that led to hemorrhaging. According to the National Institutes of Health website, medlineplus, an ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs outside the womb and is always fatal to the fetus. The website said ectopic pregnancies occur in at least one in 100 pregnancies. Liberty Hall is a 250-bed private facility operated by Roseland, N.J.-based Community Education Centers across from Marion County Jail II. It is intended for incarcerating mothers and pregnant women. Redden was two months pregnant and was serving a 22-month sentence for theft. Her mother, Lisa Nipper, said Monday night that the death shocked her. “I don’t understand how they can take my daughter to jail and let her die,” Nipper had said. “It’s not right. I’ve got to have answers.” She said no law enforcement authorities had called her to inform her of her daughter’s death, though a chaplain did. Nipper could not be reached for comment Tuesday but IMPD spokeswoman Linda Jackson said police had contacted her. “It’s terrible,” Nipper said. “You're supposed to die before your children, and I’m still living and she’s dead.”

Marion County Jail
Marion, Indiana
Correctional Medical Services
Oct 6, 2021
Corrections company to cease services at Indy jail

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) - Tennessee-based CoreCivic Inc.

(NYSE: CXW) is planning to cease operations at Marion County Jail II in Indianapolis at the end of the year. In a notice to the state, the company, which provides corrections and detention management services, says the move will affect nearly 150 employees. CoreCivic Director of Public Affairs Ryan Gustin says the move is the result of the construction of the new Indianapolis-Marion County Criminal Justice Campus, to where the inmates of the current jail facility will be transferred. The affected employees will be laid off on December 31, though Gustin says CoreCivic is working with the Marion County Sheriff's Office and other facilities in its network to identify career opportunities for the employees. "For 24 years, CoreCivic has partnered with Marion County to provide safe housing and high-quality programming to the individuals at the Marion County Jail II (MCJII)," said Gustin. "When Marion County announced a few years back that a new criminal justice center would be constructed, CoreCivic committed to continue partnering with the county to manage MCJII until all inmates could be safely transitioned into the new facility. (CoreCivic does not own the MCJII building.) We're proud of the many years of service that our dedicated staff has provided at the MCJII and to the local community." The affected employees are not represented by a union and do not have bumping rights.

Oct 3, 2019

Deputies find Marion County Jail escapee

Police say a man who escaped from the Marion County Jail Tuesday is back in custody. Brian Wampner, 38, escaped a private jail through a window in the loading dock while on a work detail. Authorities say Wampner was injured during the escaped. Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies located Wampner at approximately 1:45 p.m. Wednesday at Emerson Avenue and Connection Avenue. Police say Wampner will face additional charges of escape. Wampner was in jail after being arrested in March for drug and weapon charges.

Oct 2, 2019
Police searching for Marion County inmate on the run
INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Police are looking for a man who escaped from a Marion County jail early Tuesday morning. Brian Wampner, 38, escaped a private jail through a window in the loading dock while on a work detail. Authorities say Wampner was injured during the escaped and believe he was bleeding. Marion County Sheriff's Office warrant teams, IMPD and other agencies are searching for Wampner. Wampner was in jail after being arrested in March for drug and weapon charges. Anyone with information about Wampner's location should call 911 immediately.

Jun 19, 2018
Lawsuit: Former Marion County Jail inmate says he was denied his cancer treatment
The inmate needed an expensive cancer drug. He says the Marion County Jail gave him ibuprofen. Laurence Parks, 69, of Indianapolis is suing Marion County, the Marion County sheriff and Correct Care Solutions, the county's for-profit contractor that provides medical care to inmates. He alleges that he didn't receive care for renal cell cancer for more than a month while he was in jail last year. An expert on health care for prisoners says the lawsuit highlights the predicament inmates can find themselves in. "People don’t like criminals," said Marc Stern, a University of Washington professor and consultant on correctional health care. "Unless you have a friend or family (who's in jail), unless you really get it, you’d rather put money into other things rather than make prisoners healthier.” CCS denied the allegation in court records. A lawyer for the sheriff and county declined comment on pending litigation. Stern said the law for inmate medical care is well established since a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976. "It’s actually simple," Stern said. "The standard of care is the community standard of care to the extent that something is medically necessary." The Marion County Sheriff's Office has a $10.2 million contract with CCS for 2018. The oral chemotherapy drug the inmate requested cost $20,000 for a four-week cycle. From a law-and-order standpoint, Parks is not a sympathetic figure. He went to Marion County jail after fleeing from an August auto accident. Police officers chased him, and according to their report, Parks didn't obey multiple commands from officers. They used a taser to subdue him and found that he was carrying nearly a gram of cocaine. He also had a pending case in Hamilton County on burglary and theft charges. Attorney Jeff Cardella, who practices constitutional and criminal law, happened to be in the courtroom when Parks told a judge he wasn't getting his cancer medication. Cardella said he approached the public defender and offered to help. "In our society, we do hold ourselves to a certain standard, and people who are incarcerated are entitled to medical treatment," Cardella said. "There was a part of me that really did think, this is a situation I have the ability to remedy. It’s hard for me to just walk away and say, 'Good luck to you.'" Another part of his motivation, Cardella said, is to send a message to the sheriff and CCS. "Litigation is important to make sure that it doesn’t happen again," Cardella said. "If they get the idea that things like this have no economic repercussions, it creates financial incentive to engage in similar behavior." Parks said his cancer was diagnosed in 2016 and he had a kidney and part of his liver removed. There were also spots on his lungs. Doctors monitored his lungs. Medicare covered the expenses. After going to jail, Parks made numerous requests for attention to his cancer, the lawsuit said. When a judge intervened, the jail doctor told him that Parks was "doing well regarding cancer" when in fact he had received no treatment, according to the lawsuit. By law, the jail doctor remains anonymous in the lawsuit until a medical review board hearing. Parks continued to ask for treatment and was taken to see a doctor at Eskenazi Hospital. The doctor diagnosed him with renal cell cancer and prescribed an oral chemotherapy drug called Sunitinib. The jail doctor noted that it was "very expensive." Days later, responding to one of Parks' inquiries about when he would get the medication, the jail doctor wrote to him, "When it and if it gets approved." "They were trying to stall," Parks said in an interview with IndyStar. "They thought, 'Oh, well, he'll probably get out soon.' I knew what they were talking about. I would hear them." Parks was given ibuprofen but continued to ask for the chemotherapy medicine. After a judge again contacted the sheriff, this time about Parks' prescribed medicine, the jail doctor said the inmate had been given the first dose that day, according to the lawsuit. But Parks says he hadn't yet received the medication. After Cardella got involved, Parks notified jail authorities that he would be filing a civil lawsuit. Four days later, he received Sunitinib, the lawsuit said. For 36 days, Parks didn't receive cancer treatment, exposing him to harm or "significant risk of harm," the lawsuit said. "When untreated — even for a short period of time — cancer worsens and/or reduces life expectancy," the lawsuit said. "Even a short loss in life expectancy has value." The lawsuit does not accuse CCS explicitly of denying the medication to make more money. IndyStar obtained the company's contract with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. It says CCS is responsible for up to $2 million in pharmacy and off-site care costs. If those costs are less than $1.75 million, the company and the county split the savings evenly. If it's more than $2 million, the county pays. Parks left jail after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and resisting law enforcement in October 2017. He was sentenced to time served and probation. He said he continued with four or five more cycles of Sunitinib after leaving jail. Medicare paid.

February 9, 2010 Indianapolis Star
A U.S. District Court judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit by the wife of an inmate who died inside Marion County Jail. The suit, which named private medical provider Correctional Medical Services and Sheriff Frank Anderson, alleged that James T. Bullock, 45, was denied heart medication for several days after he was jailed in October 2006 on a charge of possession of paraphernalia. He collapsed on the floor of a day room, and an autopsy determined the cause of death was a form of cardiovascular disease. Judge William T. Lawrence ruled in favor of CMS and Anderson on the lawsuit's federal claims because the plaintiff's attorneys failed to prove they had exercised deliberate indifference. The ruling allows claims based on state law, including wrongful death, to be pursued in Marion Superior Court.

October 25, 2008 Indianapolis Star
The wife of an inmate who died inside the Marion County Jail filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against the facility's private medical provider and the Marion County sheriff. The suit, which names Correctional Medical Services and Sheriff Frank Anderson, says James T. Bullock, 45, was denied heart medication for several days after he was jailed in October 2006 on a possession of paraphernalia charge. He collapsed on the floor of a day room, and an autopsy determined the cause of death was a form of cardiovascular disease. His wife, Diana L. Bullock, had earlier attempted to deliver his prescribed heart medications to the jail, the lawsuit says. Her offer was refused, it says, despite state law that requires jails to provide such medication to inmates. The lawsuit, filed in Marion Superior Court by Indianapolis attorney Paul Ogden, says the jail's medical care and policies amounted to negligence and deliberate indifference.

Marion County Jail II
Marion, Indiana
Mar 30, 2021

Officers assaulted at Marion County Jail II during partial power outage

INDIANAPOLIS — During this past weekend’s partial power outage at Marion County Jail II, two employees of CoreCivic, the private operator of the facility, were assaulted. However, the Marion County sheriff said those attacks were not related to the outage emergency. This past weekend’s power failure marked the second time in five weeks that electricity has gone out wholly or partially at the jail on East Washington Street. Three assaults were recorded in reports filed Sunday night, more than 24 hours after the alleged attacks occurred. In one assault, an inmate was named as a victim. In the other two cases, staff members — one male, one female — were assaulted, and one report was titled, “Aggravated Assault-Disarming an Officer Threatening/Using Weapon.” Neither CoreCivic or MCSO would provide any details into the assaults. MCSO said the address listed on the assault reports of 730 East Market Street — which is the former Arrestee Processing Center behind Jail II — was in error. A sheriff’s investigator wrote those reports. CoreCivic and MCSO both told FOX59 that inmates were not moved to the APC during the power outage which affected two housing units in the five-story Jail II, and that the inmates were back in their assigned units several hours later on Saturday night. There has been no explanation for Saturday’s power outage, only that it has been repaired. Last week, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal told City-County councilors that an internal report found CoreCivic was unprepared for a 90-minute-long total blackout that happened during the early morning hours of February 22 due to weather conditions and the failure of a backup generator. 28 inmates were injured either in accidents or assaults as corrections officers could enter the housing units in the dark. “They agreed this is something they should have prepared for,” Forestal told FOX59 on Friday, one day before the most recent power outage. “I think in the report the conclusion was additional staff may have helped that. Also they were not prepared to have flashlights. Even without the electronic kick-on, we actually brought our emergency flashlights from here to there. “It’s an obvious oversight on their part because they considered that the engineers said the generator will never fail. Well, we’ve had that, we’ve seen that, obviously that’s not true, so they needed to be prepared with the additional lights to put their people in that predicament.” As a result of the MCSO report, CoreCivic also agreed to install emergency lighting and provide batteries to operate cameras and monitors during a blackout. While rejecting a request for an on-camera interview Monday and access to observe the improvements undertaken at Jail II after the February power outage, CoreCivic referred once again to a top MCSO commander’s statement that the sheriffs office has “100% faith” in the jail’s private operator. MCSO refused a FOX59 request for an on-camera interview to confirm whether Sheriff Forestal still has 100% faith in CoreCivic, and instead passed on a request to the operator that it make a spokesperson available to answer questions about the latest power outage, the assaults and the improvements inside the facility.

Feb 24, 2021

28 inmates injured after power outage hits Indianapolis jail

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nearly 30 inmates were injured in falls or fights after a power outage plunged a privately operated jail in Indianapolis into darkness and a backup generator failed to kick on, officials said. Marion County Jail II, operated by private contractor CoreCivic, experienced a power outage and simultaneous back-up generator failure just before 3 a.m. Monday, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. Police and sheriff’s deputies established a perimeter around the jail, but the office said there was no security breach. Sheriff Kerry Forestal said that while radios and surveillance cameras, along with all interior lighting, were out during the outage, inmates remained locked in their dorm, where fights broke out. CoreCivic said 28 inmates were treated for injuries — 11 transported to a hospital and 17 treated by jail medical staff. Earlier Monday, officials had reported that the number of injured was 11 total. The sheriff's office initially reported that power was out at the jail for only 10 minutes, but Forestal said during a Monday afternoon news conference that it's believed the outage lasted an hour and 37 minutes. Indianapolis Power & Light said its crews responded to an emergency call from the sheriff’s office about the power loss after “frozen water on a conduit pulled wires on an IPL pole and caused the outage.” As the crews were making repairs “the jail’s backup generator initially failed causing it to turn on and off several times, which interrupted power at the jail,” utility spokeswoman Brandi Davis-Handy said in a statement. Forestal said the jail’s generator is checked weekly, but a switch was dirty and needed cleaning. The sheriff said 1,226 inmates were inside the jail, which is on the eastern edge of downtown Indianapolis. CoreCivic has a contract to house up to 1,233 inmates — all men. Unlike the Marion County Jail, which is in the middle of downtown Indianapolis and run by the sheriff’s office, the Marion County Jail II does not house women or juveniles, a spokeswoman said

Feb 23, 2021

Marion Sheriff reports more inmate injuries in the now more than 90-minute jail blackout

Further investigation into an early Monday morning blackout at Marion County Jail II has so far revealed the darkness lasted longer, and resulted in more injuries than originally thought. During a Monday afternoon news conference, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said law enforcement officials now believe the power outage lasted an hour and 37 minutes, after originally reporting the darkness only lasted 10 minutes. From start to finish, the blackout lasted from 2:56 a.m. through 4:33 a.m. — when power was fully restored from another source by Indianapolis Power & Light. During that time, the number of inmates injured from fights or accidents now stands at 28, up from 11 initially reported by the Sheriff’s Office. Most had “soft-tissue” injuries, Forestal said, and two had either a hip injury or broken leg from slipping on water.  The outage, which Sheriff’s officials originally said Monday morning started from IPL crews disconnecting a power in the line, stemmed from ice pulling a wire from an IPL pole. The private prison’s generator, which controls back-up lighting inside the facility, also failed to power on when the outage began. Despite the outage, Forestal said he maintains his trust with CoreCivic. “I can’t say the one incident is gonna drop our trust,” he said. “They’ve been long term partners with the county and the city.” The $18-million, decades-long partnership is up to end this year after Mayor Joe Hogsett ordered in 2018 to eliminate the private ownership to make way for a new criminal justice center. The Sheriff’s Office said Monday the generator is checked weekly, but the low coolant switch was dirty and needed cleaning. The facility’s radios and cameras were left nonfunctioning from the lack of power. Forestal said the facility’s doors do not solely rely on power, and require a key to manually open and close. No law enforcement officers or staff were injured, Forestal said, though dorm fights and fires to keep warm began to sprout up in the dark. At 3:45 a.m., a little more than 45 minutes into the blackout, the Sheriff’s Office notified IPL and power was restored at 4:33 a.m. by an alternative source. When the lights turned on, jail commanders said Monday that officers ordered inmates back to their bunks, while a few informed staff that they had been attacked. So far, 11 inmates were taken to Eskenazi Hospital and 17 treated by the jail’s medical staff. None reported critical injuries. Five of those taken to Eskenazi have since returned. Forestal said the office is in discussion with CoreCivic about surprise searches and extra security tonight to prevent retaliation.

Nov 2, 2018
Person working at Marion County Jail II charged with trafficking with inmate
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A person working at Marion County Jail II was arrested last week for trafficking with an inmate. A police report says 25-year-old Ayyub Muhammad was taken into custody at the jail in the 700 block of E. Washington St. last Thursday evening. The report says Muhammad is an employee of CoreCivic, a company that owns and manages private prisons and detention centers. According to the company’s website, it provides a “broad range of solutions to government partners that serve the public good through high-quality corrections and detention management, innovative and cost-saving real estate solutions, and a growing network of residential reentry centers to help address America’s recidivism crisis.” It’s unclear at this time what role Muhammad played at the jail or what was being trafficked.

Apr 11, 2018
Council votes to prohibit new jail from being privatized
The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night approved an ordinance that restricts the city’s new jail and criminal justice center from being run by a private operator once it eventually opens. The plan from Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration already calls for the Marion County sheriff’s department to run the proposed $571 million facility and to dissolve the contract with the company running the city’s current County Jail II. But council Vice President Zach Adamson said he wants to keep it that way in the future under a different mayor — or at least make sure that any plan to privatize the jail goes through a public process. “Future councilors can always repeal this,” said Adamsom. It's important that a "public process should also take place should we want to privatize in the future." The proposal was approved 18-4, with the no votes coming from Republican council members. Council member Marilyn Pfisterer said she voted against it because the council "might be tying the hands of future council members.” “Why not leave the future to the future?” Pfisterer said. Adamson previously said he wants to “just codify in law that this will not be, nor in the future be, a for-profit, privately run jail facility.” “That doesn’t mean that could not change,” Adamson previously told IBJ. “That just means a future administration that decides to change that concept or the way they’re managing, they have to go through a public process to undo it.” The current County Jail II is privately run, but the Hogsett administration plans to dissolve the contract with the company when the new criminal justice center opens. Corrections Corp. of America, which recently rebranded itself as CoreCivic, has managed that facility since 1997, according to its website. The criminal justice center will replace not just Jail II, but also Jail I, the Arrestee Processing Center, and Hope Hall. Besides Jail II, the rest of those facilities are run by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. The new center is expected to have 2,700 general population beds, 300 specialty, mental-health focused beds, and education and job-training facilities. The council on Monday also acted a second time to approve spending $55 million to pay for initial construction costs on the $571 million future justice center. The council voted again on the proposal it initially approved in January because of an administrative error — the notice of the proposal was advertised in one newspaper instead of two.

Dec 27, 2017
Hogsett‘s proposed jail would finish personal contract
Mayor Joe Hogsett is planning to cut ties with a private jail operator that has been facing scrutiny over its management of facilities across the U.S. The mayor‘s criminal justice reform task force has recommended that the Marion County Sheriff‘s Department take over all operations for the , 2950 Prospect St. That means the county would end a decades-long contract with CoreCivic, formerly called Corrections Corp. of America. Nashville-based CoreCivic receives $18 million a year to operate Marion County Jail II, according to the Sheriff‘s Department. The Hogsett administration estimates that eliminating the private contract would save $16.5 million a year — money that would help pay for the new criminal justice center . Beyond savings, the Hogsett administration wants to move away from a private operation model that has drawn fire from criminal justice reform advocates. “First and foremost, that‘s the job of our elected sheriff — to be responsible for the care and security of inmates,” said Andy Mallon, corporation counsel for the city. “That promotes accountability with public officials and transparency, whereas when you have a privately run jail, all of that gets transferred by a contract to a private, profit-driven company. We don‘t think at this point we should be providing profits for jailing (inmates).” CoreCivic did not respond to a request for comment. CoreCivic, then known as CCA, was the subject of a last year in which an undercover reporter wrote that the company violated prisoners‘ rights and created a dangerous environment for inmates and staff members. CoreCivic of the investigation. In Marion County, a  alleges that CoreCivic staff failed to prevent the Aug. 30 suicide of inmate Thomas Shane Miles. CoreCivic also has been criticized for  at the jail. The Marion County Sheriff‘s Department in January arrested four people, including three inmates, as part of a . The sheriff‘s department already operates portions of Marion County‘s sprawling criminal justice facilities, including the Arrestee Processing Center at 752 E. Market St. and the 1,135-bed Jail 1 at 40 S. Alabama St. CoreCivic operates the 1,233-bed Jail II at 730 E. Washington St. Both Hogsett and former Mayor Greg Ballard have estimated that a new criminal justice center would increase efficiency and enable the sheriff‘s department to operate the entire consolidated facility. The department has 573 deputies, 342 of whom staff Jail I. “There are many things we have to do in (Jail I) because it‘s cut up so poorly. It‘s antiquated,” said Col. Louis Dezelan, executive director of administration for the sheriff‘s department. Moving inmates who need medical attention, attend education programs or receive visitation is a complex process requiring many staff members, Dezelan said. “In the new facility, all that is contained in the unit,” he said. CoreCivic has operated Jail II since 1997. The company‘s contract is set to expire in December. While there‘s a slim possibility the sheriff‘s department could take over management of Jail II next year, Dezelan said the county is negotiating to keep the facility privately managed on a short-term basis until the new criminal justice center can be built. Officials for years have been touting potential savings that could be realized by ending the CoreCivic contract. The Ballard administration projected even greater cost-cutting than the Hogsett administration is expecting. Ballard‘s anticipated savings of $22.8 million per year between 2019 and 2024. Hogsett spokeswoman Taylor Schaffer called the $16.5 million-a-year savings “conservative,” adding that the Ballard administration anticipated the CoreCivic contract would increase by $600,000 per year. “Our savings assumptions, by contrast, do not count future contractual increases as actual money saved,” Schaffer wrote in an email. During a public hearing last week, Mallon said the Hogsett administration has agreed in concept with savings the Ballard administration expected to achieve in a new criminal justice center. “The way we propose to pay for it is very similar to the way the Ballard administration proposed to pay for their last one,” Mallon said during the March 28 Administration & Finance Committee meeting. “When you build and consolidate the jail, you create a ton of efficiencies.”

Aug 14, 2017
Inmate dies at Marion County Jail II in apparent overdose
INDIANAPOLIS -- An inmate overdosed at Marion County Jail II Sunday evening, Call 6 Investigates has learned. The person was transported to the hospital to be treated from the apparent overdose, law enforcement sources tell Call 6. Jail II is operated by a private contractor, Corrections Corporation of America. The jail came under fire last year after police raided cells and found drugs, money and cell phones throughout the jail. At the time, Sheriff John Layton called it a “sudden infestation.” "Somebody is going to go to jail over this," Layton said of the "infestation" in October. "We are determined to make sure someone comes to justice. This can’t go on.” No arrests have been made in connection with the raid and death of an inmate who was believed to have ingested drugs. Calls to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office were not returned Sunday night.

Apr 5, 2017
Hogsett's proposed jail would end private contract
Mayor Joe Hogsett is planning to cut ties with a private jail operator that has been facing scrutiny over its management of facilities across the U.S. The mayor's criminal justice reform task force has recommended that the Marion County Sheriff's Department take over all operations for the proposed jail at the site of the former Citizens Energy coke plan, 2950 Prospect St. That means the county would end a decades-long contract with CoreCivic, formerly called Corrections Corp. of America. Nashville-based CoreCivic receives $18 million a year to operate Marion County Jail II, according to the Sheriff's Department. The Hogsett administration estimates that eliminating the private contract would save $16.5 million a year — money that would help pay for the new criminal justice center projected to cost up to $575 million. Beyond savings, the Hogsett administration wants to move away from a private operation model that has drawn fire from criminal justice reform advocates. "First and foremost, that's the job of our elected sheriff — to be responsible for the care and security of inmates," said Andy Mallon, corporation counsel for the city. "That promotes accountability with public officials and transparency, whereas when you have a privately run jail, all of that gets transferred by a contract to a private, profit-driven company. We don't think at this point we should be providing profits for jailing (inmates)." CoreCivic did not respond to a request for comment. CoreCivic, then known as CCA, was the subject of a Mother Jones investigation last year in which an undercover reporter wrote that the company violated prisoners' rights and created a dangerous environment for inmates and staff members. CoreCivic has disputed the details and conclusions of the investigation. In Marion County, a lawsuit filed earlier this year alleges that CoreCivic staff failed to prevent the Aug. 30 suicide of inmate Thomas Shane Miles. CoreCivic also has been criticized for allowing drug trafficking at the jail. The Marion County Sheriff's Department in January arrested four people, including three inmates, as part of a drug trafficking investigation. The sheriff's department already operates portions of Marion County's sprawling criminal justice facilities, including the Arrestee Processing Center at 752 E. Market St. and the 139-bed Jail 1 at 40 S. Alabama St. CoreCivic operates the 1,233-bed Jail II at 730 E. Washington St. Both Hogsett and former Mayor Greg Ballard have estimated that a new criminal justice center would increase efficiency and enable the sheriff's department to operate the entire consolidated facility. The department has 573 deputies, 342 of whom staff Jail I. "There are many things we have to do in (Jail I) because it's cut up so poorly. It's antiquated," said Col. Louis Dezelan, executive director of administration for the sheriff's department. Moving inmates who need medical attention, attend education programs or receive visitation is a complex process requiring many staff members, Dezelan said. "In the new facility, all that is contained in the unit," he said. CoreCivic has operated Jail II since 1997. The company's contract is set to expire in December. While there's a slim possibility the sheriff's department could take over management of Jail II next year, Dezelan said the county is negotiating to keep the facility privately managed on a short-term basis until the new criminal justice center can be built. Officials for years have been touting potential savings that could be realized by ending the CoreCivic contract. The Ballard administration projected even greater cost-cutting than the Hogsett administration is expecting. Ballard's unsuccessful 2014 jail proposal anticipated savings of $22.8 million per year between 2019 and 2024. Hogsett spokeswoman Taylor Schaffer called the $16.5 million-a-year savings "conservative," adding that the Ballard administration anticipated the CoreCivic contract would increase by $600,000 per year. "Our savings assumptions, by contrast, do not count future contractual increases as actual money saved," Schaffer wrote in an email. During a public hearing last week, Mallon said the Hogsett administration has agreed in concept with savings the Ballard administration expected to achieve in a new criminal justice center. "The way we propose to pay for it is very similar to the way the Ballard administration proposed to pay for their last one," Mallon said during the March 28 Administration & Finance Committee meeting. "When you build and consolidate the jail, you create a ton of efficiencies."

Oct 18, 2016
CALL 6: Drugs, shanks, money found at Marion Co. Jail
INDIANAPOLIS -- A source tells Call 6 Investigates on Friday Marion County Sheriff's Office deputies uncovered drugs, shanks, and money while doing a search of Jail ll run by private contractor CCA. Deputies searched the facility for about 5 hours. A source tells Call 6 Investigates an inmate may have died by consuming an illegal substance he did not want deputies to discover. His death is under investigation. The Marion Co. Sheriff Office spokesperson would only confirm the inmate death to RTV6.

ct 16, 2016,
Jail inmate’s death under investigation
INDIANAPOLIS—A death investigation is underway at the Marion County Jail Two on east Washington Street after an inmate dies. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office confirms 27-year-old Nicholas Grant was found unresponsive Friday night inside his cell at Jail Two. Jail Two is a county jail facility privately managed by Community Corrections Corporation of America. Grant was declared dead a short time later. The death investigation is being conducted by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Marion County Cornorer. Grant was being held on charges of resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct and criminal confine

Jul 12, 2016
Private Indy jail seeks college students as guards
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As of 9 a.m. Monday, Marion County Sheriff John Layton was responsible for 2,593 inmates in the Marion County incarceration system. Nearly half of them are sitting in cells down East Washington Street from the Marion County Jail at the privately operated Jail II, owned by Corrections Corporation of America. CCA is on a hiring blitz, trying to find enough new employees to fill the approximately 10% vacancy rate of its 200 person staff. “Turnover rate is fairly high. It is in corrections everywhere,” said Warden Jeff Conway. “A lot of our staff will look at it and say, ‘This just isn’t something that I can do.’” CCA recently held a job fair at nearby Harrison College, seeking applicants primarily from among the school’s criminal justice majors looking for a way into their chosen profession. One recent Jail II employee told FOX59 he wanted out. Gabe Frost, 37, came home from a U.S. Army tour in Iraq and said he felt safer in a warzone than he did in the former car factory remodeled as a correction facility. “It’s just chaos in there. The staffing levels are so short, it’s so unorganized in my opinion that officers are facing a losing battle,” said Frost. “I was severely outnumbered when I was on post. Being by myself with in excess of 140 inmates alone and trying to control them, I wasn’t able to do that.” Conway said, according to industry standards, the inmate to staff ratio is much smaller. “5.3 to one was the last figuration on it but that was based on a 1030 population because our contract with the city is actually for 1,030 beds and we’re over that population right now,” said Conway, whose jail holds 1,228 inmates, thereby increasing the ratio of offenders to staff. Conway needs to fill several vacancies among his 140-person correction staff. Frost said without counting supervisors, office staff, nurses and maintenance personnel, CCA’s correction officers are severely outnumbered by inmates. “As far as inmate behavior, it is pretty much what I expected,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to be that short-staffed. I knew the staffing problem was bad. I didn’t realize it was as severe as it was. I didn’t realize I would be placed on post with 146 inmates alone fresh out of training at less than 30 days on the floor I was put in that position for four days.” Conway said new hires will be paid $12.87 an hour and overtime is mandatory. “When we hire an employee we give them intense five week training on rules to deal with inmate population and the responsibilities that they have for their care. Once they complete that academy they’re sent out onto the floors where they spend a week or two when they are on on-the-job status.” Conway said many new employees wash out in the first months on the job due to verbal abuse and threats of violence by offenders. Frost said that’s why he resigned after two months on the job. “The inmates in Marion County have a tendency to be very aggressive especially with new officers and when you’re new on the floor you’re constantly receiving threats of violence. I’ve had inmates tell me they’re going to show up at my house and kill me in my sleep. I’ve had inmates tell me that they’re going to split my head off the wall and beat me unconscious right there in the dorm the next time I walk in.” Inmates incarcerated at Jail II are listed as medium-high offenders. “They’re in there for beating people unconscious, some of them are. There’s a lot of them in there with charges of very violent felonies,” said Frost. “I lost track how many times I’ve done paperwork or doing checks or whatnot and have a fist buzz my face by an inmate just, I don’t know if they were playing or just trying to show they could do it. I’d be sitting there at the desk which is just inside the dorm and have all the inmates running around and have a foot buzz my head, turnaround and see it just in the nick of time.” On the night of July 1, five inmates were involved in a fight that left one offender bloodied. All refused to file complaints on each other and no criminal charges were pressed. “Most of its inmates-on-inmates fighting or assaulting each other,” said Conway, “and a lot of it when we investigate it and look back at it is really stuff they’re bringing in off the streets with them.” CCA’s ten-year contract with Marion County ends in 2017 and is due for renegotiation just as Mayor Joe Hogsett is leading a study of the criminal justice system in advance of construction of a new county jail. BKD National Governmental Group reported Monday to the Criminal Justice Planning Council that it had completed its statistical analysis of the Marion County Criminal Justice system and has issued a draft report that contains 28 options for revamping the process from arrest to conviction and incarceration. Some of those options include better screening and tracking of offenders with mental health issues, more pretrial release analysis for referral to community corrections and probation and improved utilization of data.

Mar 11, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 10, 2015)– For months, people held inside the Marion County jail have told FOX59 News their court ordered releases were delayed because corrections officers told them the sheriff had 72 hours to discharge an offender after a judge’s ruling. Four people who filed federal class action lawsuit last month claim jailers told them the same thing. Now, an internal jail memo written this week by Sheriff John Layton, and obtained by FOX59 News, confirms that the 72-hour excuse has been a standard but unapproved practice of jailers who give the delayed timetable excuse when offenders ask why they aren’t being released as a judge so ordered. “To all staff,” begins the email written by Layton at 10:36 a.m. Monday, “It has come to my attention that there is a rumor that jail inmates can be held up to 72 hours after the date that they have been ordered to be released to the street. That rumor is false. Inmates must be processed for release in a timely manner, and the sheriff’s office does not have 72 hours to process inmates for release. It is not, nor has it ever been, a policy of the Sheriff’s Office to process inmates within a 72-hour window.” The lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the former offenders was unimpressed. “I think that was written by the sheriff’s lawyer to stop their liability for such a policy because it’s clearly unconstitutional so they’d like to stop their people telling our clients that,” said attorney Rich Waples. “As a matter of fact, that’s what they’ve been telling people for months and months and months and that’s what they’ve been following for a matter of practice so I think the sheriff has some real liability issues here.” Waples said the practice is too wide spread within the department to be the work of a couple misinformed deputies. “The common thread is the sheriff’s department doesn’t have a handle on what they need to do to get people out on time. They’ve been pretty consistently telling people, ‘Well, we have 48 hours to 72 hours to release people.’ That’s not the law. That’s what our people have been consistently told, and they don’t even adhere to that because we’ve had people held four and five days after they’ve been ordered to be released.” Sherman Duncan is one of those people. Duncan was held for six days on a battery charge in December before he says he saw a judge and the charges were dropped. He was then held another 80 hours, missed work and a job interview and was housed with killers and other high secruity inmates inside the jail before he was finally released. “They told me basically, ‘Sit back and relax. We have up to 72 hours to release you,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t understand that. If I’m released, then release me,’ but that’s what they told me, ‘We have up to 72 hours.’ “I was free. I was supposed to be let go and it’s like I did three and a half days for nothing.” After Duncan read Layton’s email telling his staff to quit leaning on the rumored 72-hour rule as an excuse for release delays, the former detainee was exasperated. “It seems like they’re doing that to cover theirself, or he’s doing that to cover hisself,” said Duncan, “because clearly everybody around there speaks the same language. It’s not just one guard that says that. All of them say that and even when I call my public defender to check, she said they told her that.” Apparently the overdetention problems, and excuses, are not restricted to the main jail. Several blocks away on East Washington Street, at Jail II, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the false detention claims are the same and the rationale is even more cynical. “Now I’m asking the CO, ‘What’s going on? I should’ve been home. I don’t get this,'” said Kevin Thomas who told FOX59 News he was held for 52 additional hours after a judge ordered him released in December pending trial. Thomas said the corrections officer’s response was similar to that of the sheriff’s deputies. “‘Oh it takes 72 hours,'” Thomas said he was told.  “We’re not County One. We are a privately owned company. We got 72 hours to release you….Our computers are down. Our computers are down. We don’t know your status.” “I’m like, ‘Y’all are violating my rights,’ and they’re like, ‘Naw. We’re private.'” Thomas said he was told specifically it would do no good to report his complaints to the news media. “They private. Can’t nobody come in there,” he said. “Ain’t no way that y’all would ever be able to step a foot in CCA, so I could just leave that alone. Ain’t no way y’all going to get up in there. ‘We not run by the state. We just a private jail company.'” As a privately run jail, CCA is paid with public funds to house Marion County inmates. Thomas said that’s why he was told his released was being delayed and, when it came, it occurred at two a.m., more than two days after a judge ordered him free, so that CCA could charge the county for an additional day of incarceration. “I see a CO I know from the streets,” said Thomas. “A guy my age. I said, ’What’s going on, man?’ He says, ‘You all just paying rent. After three days they let you go. Every 12 o’clock you just paying rent basically.’ “‘This is just how they run this,’ Thomas quoted the private jailer as telling him. “‘After 12 midnight, you pay our rent.’ That’s all he said. ‘You paying our rent. We get money for y’all being here. You know that.'” Thomas was also dismayed when he read Layton’s memo. “They know they in trouble,” he said. “They know they did something wrong. It’s in the Constitution. Due Process. 4th amendment. 8th amendment. 14th amendment. All them been violated. If the judge ordered something, it should be done. Period. Point blank.” Waples and FOX59 News have both received phone calls from dozens of former offenders telling the same story about overdetentions, delayed releases and excuses. “We’ve had hundreds of people contact us about it, complaining they’ve been held over for days and days after they’ve been ordered to be released,” said Waples. “Every other county around Marion County does this within 30 minutes. Marion County can do it within a couple of hours.” Those complaints began last summer when the jail installed a new Offender Management System to track inmates and the Marion Superior Court began using the new Odyssey system to track criminal cases. An outside expert and MCSO personnel told FOX59 News that the two systems have struggled to share information. The attorney expects to represent hundreds of plaintiffs in the federal class action lawsuit that could result in settlements for thousands of ex-offenders and invite U.S. District Court oversight of the jail. “We want to get the system fixed,” said Waples. “This is not only costing people their liberty, being held days longer than they should, but it’s costing all Marion County taxpayers money keeping people in prison longer than they should. We’re paying for that.” When asked for a comment, Sheriff John Layton’s staff reported, “The Marion County Sheriff’s Office does not try lawsuits in the media.” A spokesman for CCA told FOX59 News, “While we take these alleged comments by CCA staff members seriously, they do not reflect the reality of the offender release procedures at Marion County Jail II. All CCA facilities operate in accordance with the policies and procedures that are laid out by our government partner. “Upon receiving a release order for an offender housed at Marion County Jail II, staff typically process and complete the release within a matter of hours, and no incentive exists-financial or otherwise-for CCA to house offenders past their ordered date of release. Finally, Marion County jail II is frequently audited and operates transparently with oversight from our government partner.” Other former detainees have told FOX59 News their jail II experiences were similar to those experienced by ex-offenders housed at the main jail and their releases were also delayed for several days. An information management specialist was brought in by Sheriff Layton last September to analyze the systems and suggest solutions which were undertaken in October. Most of the recent complaints fielded by Waples and FOX59 News are from offenders who were housed in the jail since last November.

June 27, 2012 WISH
An inmate in the Marion County Jail says she's facing constant discrimination while behind bars. She's transgender, and jail administrators say they're keeping her in isolation for her own protection. The inmate, who calls herself Kyliah, entered the interview room wearing shackles at her wrist and ankles. While inmates in the general population can walk freely to their work duties and recreation facilities, those held in isolation are shackled when they're escorted from their cells. But Kyliah claims she is shackled by far more than the cuffs that hold her ankles and wrists. She says she's shackled by a system of bigotry and intolerance. "I feel less than human," said Kyliah. She claims that she's being treated like an animal, having spent three months alone in a cell, separated from the jail's general population. Asked if she felt as though she were being punished, she answered: "Yes, for having breasts and for being a transsexual." 22-year old Kyliah was once Christopher Boswell. At 8, she told her mother that she was a girl, and doctors began prescribing estrogen for her at 13 following months of psychological testing. She's now undergoing gender reassignment surgery. While Kyliah says that she's being held in segregation, the leaders at Marion County Jail have another name for it. They call it protective custody, and they point out that there are other inmates that are being isolated from the general population for their own protection. "In an attempt to protect someone, the person is isolated to the point where they become depressed and often don't receive medications they're supposed to,” said Vivian Benge, president of the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance or INTRAA. “There are a lot of problems with that particular approach." Benge has seen many cases like Kyliah's, and helped take some to court.

November 29, 2011 WISH TV
A Marion County inmate died from an apparent suicide Monday night at IU Health Methodist Hospital. Officials with Corrections Corporation of America, the contracting firm who operates Marion County Jail II, say Darrell Robinson died at the hospital. A cellmate first alerted staff to a medical emergency. Jail staff provided medical care until medics arrived. CCA officials told 24-Hour News 8 Robinson was being held for charges of possession of cocaine or narcotics.

July 28, 2010 WIBC
An Indianapolis woman who processes inmates at Marion County Jail 2 has been arrested for criminal gang activity. 34-year old Michelle Hurns was arrested Tuesday evening along with her son. Police were watching her home on Carpenter Court and stopped a car they had been looking for. A 16-year old male was driving the car and police knew he was a member of the west side gang Grimmie Boyz, who were involved in the July 9 shootings during Indiana Black Expo. Police say Hurns and her son both fought with police during the traffic stop and both were arrested for resisting and criminal gang activity. CCA runs Marion County Jail 2, and they tell us Hurns is on administrative leave, but could not tell WIBC News if that was with or without pay.

September 14, 2008 Indianapolis Star
Attorney Paul Ogden has been kicking some dirt lately about potential conflicts of interest involving the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg. Ogden's firm, Roberts & Bishop, has four lawsuits pending against Corrections Corporation of America, the company that manages the city's minimum-security jail. The suits evolve from allegations of inadequate medical care at the facility. Barnes & Thornburg represents CCA. Last week, Ogden wrote a letter to Democratic council members noting that the chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee is Ryan Vaughn, a Barnes & Thornburg attorney. Vaughn said he's open to scrutiny of the relationship. He said he's not a partner, so his salary does not change depending on the firm's revenues. He acknowledged there could be a situation where he would face a conflict in the future, such as if there were a proposal to privatize the maximum-security jail. "That's the nature of a representative legislature where the members have a full-time job," Vaughn sad. "Unless you're retired, most people will have a conflict at some level if you look hard enough." Vaughn said the solution is full disclosure and abstaining from any matters where the benefit for his firm would be obvious. Jackie Nytes, a Democratic council member, agreed. She said Vaughn will have to be careful because conflicts can arise. "The trouble with ethics legislation," Nytes said, "is that people have to work for a living."

May 24, 2008 Indiana Star
A Marion County Jail II inmate was denied blood-pressure medication before he collapsed and later died of hypertension, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Marion Superior Court. The lawsuit was filed by attorneys who have filed other complaints challenging medical care at the privately run jail. It says the jail's medical staff failed to give Brian Keith Allen, 33, regular doses of his medication, despite at least one high blood pressure reading. He collapsed Nov. 25, 2006, and died five days later in a hospital. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of his estate and his mother, Ella Mae Allen, names Corrections Corporation of America, two medical staff members and Sheriff Frank Anderson. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages on claims including wrongful death and negligence.

April 2, 2008 Indianapolis Star
Five inmates at the privately run Marion County Jail II filed a class-action lawsuit today based on claims of improper medical treatment and access to medication, unsafe and inhumane conditions, and a broken grievance process. The suit names Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America and Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson, who oversees CCA's contract to run Jail II, 730 E. Washington St. The medium-security jail, which was housing 1,043 inmates today, serves as an auxillary to the county-run Marion County Jail down the street. "What is alarming is that even though you bring these problems to light, nothing ever is done about them," attorney Paul Ogden said. He also filed a suit against CCA in January on claims of dangerous work conditions and racial discrimination against several black nurses. That suit also raised concerns about the handling of medications for inmates, with some given incorrect medication and some denied prescription drugs. Kevin Murray, an attorney for Anderson, said that all complaints would be taken seriously, but he expressed confidence in CCA's operation. The company's contract to run Jail II was renewed last year through 2017. CCA has denied the allegations made in the nurses' lawsuit.

January 29, 2008 WISH-TV
Some former nurses at one of the Marion County jails said their bosses were racist and their work environment was dangerous. Six nurses filed into a meeting room at a hotel by the airport Tuesday afternoon to speak of their experiences inside Marion County jail #2. It sits on east Washington Street. The county contracts with a private company called Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA to run it. "We were known as the defiant nurses because of what we stood for," said Delores McNeil a nurse. The nurses said a number of racist things happened to them at the jail. They said one of their supervisors wore a t-shirt with a confederate flag. "Now it wasn't a small flag. The whole back of her shirt was the confederate flag," said Harriett Ellis a nurse. Ellis and the other nurses talked about another time when a flooded cell filled the medical unit with raw sewage, the nurses complained they were the only ones who had stay. "Their response was they sent the doctor home for the day. They sent the inmates that were waiting in the medical for treatment, they sent them back upstairs and they told us that we had to put on garbage liners on our feet, that they were not closing medical down. So for the rest of the day we were walking in and out of fecal material," said Ellis. The nurses' lawsuit calls for a number of things. It asks CCA to admit the company violated the nurses' rights. It also asks for damages. A spokesperson for Nashville-based CCA said on Tuesday quote "It's our general company policy not to comment on pending litigation other than through our legal representatives in appropriate court filings." Sheriff Frank Anderson who's in charge of the jail said through a spokesperson he won't comment on the lawsuit until the department's lawyers have read it.

January 29, 2008 Journal Gazette
Six black nurses sued a private company operating a Marion County jail Monday, alleging they were fired or forced to leave their jobs because of racism or exposing medical practices that put inmates at risk. The 10-count complaint alleges Corrections Corp. of America retaliated against the six because they had complained to their supervisors that inmates did not receive prescribed medications, were given wrong medications or were given other patients’ drugs to save money. The complaint filed in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis also alleges CCA created a racially hostile work environment in which one white supervisor wore clothing with a Confederate flag emblem and another white supervisor had a drawing in which black nurses were identified as “monkeys.” The nurses also said they were forced to work in an unhealthy and dangerous work environment including being ordered to escort dangerous inmates and having to walk through sewage with garbage bags on their feet when the plumbing in a restroom overflowed. The lawsuit said the alleged actions occurred over the last two years. Steve Owen, a spokesman for Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA, said the company has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation except through court filings. He said CCA had not yet been served with the complaint.

September 13, 2006 Indianapolis Star
It may be several weeks before autopsy tests are completed that would show the cause of death of Charles Repass, an inmate who died in the privately operated Marion County Jail II. "I lost my son. I lost my baby," said Catherine Repass, the inmate's mother. "I was planning on his birthday. I wasn't planning on a funeral." Repass, 30, was declared dead Monday morning at the jail, 730 E. Washington St. He had been held at the jail, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, since he was arrested Sept. 1. Repass was injured in a Sept. 1 traffic accident at East Street and Troy Avenue. An Indianapolis police report said crack cocaine was found on Repass. He had been treated for ribs broken in the accident but complained of pain and difficulty breathing Sunday. After being sent to the jail's medical unit, Repass was later found unresponsive and in cardiac arrest.

September 11, 2006 Indianapolis Star
An autopsy is expected to determine why an inmate died this morning at Marion County Jail II, officials said. Charles Repass, 30, was found unresponsive in his cell about 8 a.m. in the medical unit at the privately run facility, 730 E. Washington Street, spokeswoman Heidi Marshall said. Repass was treated Sept. 3 for broken ribs he suffered in a vehicle crash preceding his Sept. 1 arrest, Marshall said. He was taken to Jail II’s medical unit about 11 p.m. Sunday complaining of pain and trouble breathing, Marshall said. At 7:30 a.m., Repass ate breakfast and spoke with a nurse; 30 minutes later, Marshal said staff found him unconscious and in cardiac arrest.

November 23, 2004 Indianapolis Star
A correctional officer at Marion County Jail II was arrested early today and accused of trying to bring marijuana and tobacco in to the Downtown facility, officials said. Durand Huggins, 27, of Indianapolis, was booked on a preliminary charge of trafficking with an inmate, a class C felony.

September 16, 2004 Indianapolis Star
An inmate's 15 hours of freedom after escaping from Marion County Jail II earned him an additional six-year prison sentence. Marion Superior Court Magistrate Amy Barnes on Wednesday ordered Leo Deberry, 24, Indianapolis, to serve the six years after he completes the 14-year term he was serving for burglary and dealing cocaine.
Deberry had been sentenced June 4 on the burglary charge and was being held in the Jail II pending transfer to an Indiana Department of Correction facility. Deberry was captured June 7, about 15 hours after he escaped from the privately run jail at 730 E. Washington St. He is the first inmate to escape from the facility. Deberry's escape went unnoticed by guards for about 4 1/2 hours.

June 21, 2004
Indianapolis Star
The first inmate to escape from Marion County's privately operated jail annex was caught Monday after about 15 hours.  Leo Deberry, 24, had been sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison for burglary and theft. He was found about 9:30 a.m. Monday hiding between two cars in a parking lot in the 700 block of North Sherman Drive.  The Marion County Jail II, 730 E. Washington St., opened in 1997 to help ease crowding at the main jail nearby.  It houses 960 adult male inmates. Owned by the county, the Jail II is run under contract by Corrections Corporation of America, a Nashville, Tenn., company that operates prisons. The facility is privately staffed.  Authorities believe that sometime around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Deberry left a chapel service and broke into a manager's office on the jail's second floor. He then pried open a second-floor metal gate that protected the exterior window and lowered himself to the ground.  "We've not ever had anything like this happen," said Heidi Marshall, a jail spokeswoman. "He's the first ever."  Deberry had been an inmate there since November, when Indianapolis police arrested him during a burglary at a residence in the 4100 block of Meadows Drive.  On April 22, a Marion Superior Court jury convicted Deberry of burglary and theft. On Friday, he was sentenced to a combined 14 years in state prison, court records show.  He will be charged separately in connection with the escape.  After the escape Sunday evening, Deberry was not missed during an 8:30 p.m. inspection. His absence was noted during another inspection at 11 p.m., Marshall said.  Officials will review why the lapse occurred, Marshall said.  Barbed wire secures most of the facility but not the area from which Deberry escaped.

July 8, 2003 Indianapolis Star
A federal judge is demanding that county officials take significant steps to ease crowding at the Marion County Jail.  U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker told county leaders to find a way to increase the number of jail guards and turn unused space in the Marion County Lockup into usable beds for the jail.  The jail continues to hold too many prisoners even though the sheriff bought more than 200 beds in Marion County Jail II last month. Now all 992 beds in the privately run facility are occupied by Marion County inmates.

New Castle Correctional Facility
New Castle, Indiana
Correctional Medical Services, GEO Group
Jun 2, 2019
Indictment: Ex-corrections officers used inmate names for fraud

INDIANAPOLIS — Two former Indiana correctional officers have been indicted on federal charges for stealing the identities of unsuspecting inmates to open fraudulent bank accounts and then creating visas, passports and driver licenses. The men, both of Muncie, allegedly used the bank accounts to funnel money to people living overseas, according to a federal indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana. Both men, Lawrence Onyesonwu, 33, and Martins Chidiobi, 29, previously worked at the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is operated by a private GEO Group of Boca Raton, Fla. The private company hired Onyesonwu in 2014 and Chidiobi was hired in 2018. Both were fired Feb. 21 of this year. The men have been charged with federal counts of bank fraud; aggravated identity theft; forgery or the false use of a passport; and fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents. Both men also face charges in Henry County. Police were alerted in January by a Citizens State Bank representative in New Castle that an account was opened in the name of an inmate. As officers watched, Onyesonwu showed up at the bank and offered police a Republic of Liberia passport with an inmate’s name on it. Working as a prison transportation officer, Onyesonwu had access to inmates’ personal information including dates of birth and Social Security numbers, the indictment states. After setting up the accounts, the two allegedly used the accounts for wire transfers, withdrawals and outgoing international wire transfers. Chidibo told police he was directed by Onyesonwu to open accounts, according to the indictment. Chidiobi said Onyesonwu had someone in Nigeria produce fake documents and send them back. The men used the phony passports to open bank accounts. Other accounts were opened with Ghana and China passports. In one case, the men received 15 money orders totaling more than $12,400. Using that same account, they received 16 cash deposits totaling over $44,2000. In total, Onyesonwu made 50 remittances totaling over $70,000 that went to seven individuals living in Nigeria. In another case, someone using an inmate’s name went to Citizens Bank in Pendleton and attempted to withdraw $6,2000 to purchase a vehicle. However, employees at the bank wouldn’t release the funds without proper identification.

May 15, 2019 
Prisoner rights case challenges forced labor in private prisons
Inmates in the Mental Health Unit of the New Castle Correctional Facility, pictured above, say they are being held in the MHU for longer than necessary to turn a profit for the prison’s private operator. (Photo courtesy of GEO Group) When a defendant is convicted and sentenced to prison, it’s expected that they will be required to work while incarcerated. But a group of inmates at the New Castle Correctional Facility, Indiana’s only privately run state prison, have brought a unique legal challenge that could limit the scope of what inmates at private prisons are required to do. The class-action case of Damarcus Figgs and David Corbin v. GEO Group, Inc., 1:18-cv-00089, alleges inmates in New Castle’s Mental Health Unit are the victims of human trafficking and are subjected to forced labor. Transferred to the MHU for “stabilization,” the inmates say they’ve been detained in the mental health unit for longer than necessary in order to turn a profit for the prison’s private operator, Florida-based GEO Group. Similar challenges have been brought before, though generally in the context of federal immigration detention centers. But what sets Figgs apart is that the case seemingly marks the first time a judge has ruled that a private prison operator can be liable for human trafficking in a punitive setting. The merits of the case have yet to be litigated, but even if it doesn’t succeed, attorneys say Figgs could represent a major turning point in acceptable prison operations. “The defendant here is not the government,” said David Frank, a Fort Wayne attorney representing the class plaintiffs. “The defendant is a private, for-profit corporation that has as its business model the exploitation of human beings in violation of human rights.” Figgs was initially filed in Henry Circuit Court but was later removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The named plaintiffs, Figgs and Corbin, each suffer from antisocial personality disorder and serious depression, while Corbin also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The plaintiffs, a class of roughly 100 inmates in the mental health unit, were each sent to the MHU after suffering trauma in prison, the complaint says. They are supposed to remain in the MHU for three to six months, the complaint continues, but “class members are almost always held longer than three months, usually longer than six months at the MHU, and at times for years.” Frank’s argument included numerous legal claims, including peonage, Eighth and 14th Amendment violations, claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and state law torts. But the only claims to survive were two brought under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act: forced labor in violation of 18 United States Code section 1589 and trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1590. “Because the facts as stated by the Plaintiffs are taken as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept that they are forced to work for GEO without wages (or miniscule wages of $10.00 per month), the purpose of that work is to turn a profit for GEO, and that GEO ‘obtains [its] persons and labor by scheme of misrepresentation and deceitfully holding itself out as a facility that would assist Plaintiffs,’” Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in partially denying the motion to dismiss. “The Court must also accept that ‘the conditions under which they perform services for [GEO] are harmful and include long periods of segregation and isolation, few breaks, and routine shackling.’ “Although the Court can determine as a matter of law whether the Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts that would give rise to a statutory duty on the part of the Defendants,” Pratt continued, “whether that statute has been violated is a question for the trier of fact.” In urging the court to grant its motion to dismiss, GEO argued the TVPA carves out a “civic duty” exception that allows inmates to be required to perform chores and maintenance. But Pratt said that duty, outlined in Channer v. Hall, 112 F.3d 214 (5th Cir. 1997), only applied to the federal government and only in 13th Amendment cases. The 13th Amendment does allow for punitive involuntary servitude, but Frank said the TVPA is a broader human-rights statute that is more specific about what conduct is prohibited by labor trafficking laws. Further, inmates are sentenced to incarceration, he said, not enslavement. “Under federal law, it is now recognized as a principle that you cannot be subjected to slavery, no matter who you are,” Frank said. The key factor in this case is that the defendant is a private prison corporation seeking to turn a profit, Frank said. Indeed, most cases brought under the TVPA deal with federal immigration detention centers, said Alex Levy, senior staff attorney with The Human Trafficking Legal Center. In many ways, a case against forced labor in immigration centers is easier to make, Levy said, because the 13th Amendment only carves out an exception for involuntary servitude that is punitive. Immigrants held in detention centers have not been convicted of a crime, she said, so that exception cannot apply to them. Often, immigrants in detention centers are expected to participate in a work program, said Azadeh Shahshanani, legal and advocacy director for Atlanta-based Project South. Detainees who refuse to participate in the work programs are either threatened with or placed in solitary confinement, much the same way the plaintiffs in Figgs say they are threatened for failure to complete the work GEO asks of them. Like Figgs, Project South has brought an anti-trafficking case against a Georgia detention center on statutory grounds, Shahshahani said. But the difference between her case and Frank’s is that detention centers are civil, not criminal. To that end, Levy said Frank’s anti-trafficking argument against punitive labor in private prisons is an innovative anomaly. Though it’s unclear how the Figgs claims will fare on the merits, if those claims were to be successful, Levy said, “it could upend the entire prison system.” Frank is confident Pratt will rule in favor of his clients on the merits and award them injunctive relief and damages. And from a broader perspective, he hopes the case will undercut private prison corporations. “I think this decision calls into question the entire business model of for-profit prison corporations,” he said, adding that “it necessarily has to be that their business model is illegal.” Likewise, Levy said there is a “reasonable intuition that private companies should not be profiting from incarceration and the labor that comes with it,” and the public is often “aghast” to learn that such a business model exists. But bad optics don’t inherently make private prison corporations unconstitutional, she said. For its part, GEO said in a statement that the Figgs allegations are “baseless and without merit.” “The work program at the New Castle Correctional Facility is implemented in full compliance with the standards and procedures, as well as the wage rates, set by the Indiana Department of Correction,” the company said. DOC did not respond to requests for comment on the litigation. At the federal level, there was a movement away from privately operated federal prisons during the Obama administration, when Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates distributed a memo telling the Bureau of Prisons to either not renew private prison contracts, or to reduce the scope of those contracts. But former Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed that memo, saying it impaired the BOP’s ability to plan for future prison populations. GEO filed an answer to the Figgs complaint last month, and the case has been transferred to Magistrate Judge Matthew P. Brookman. A status conference is scheduled for Aug. 27.

Feb 6, 2018
Judge to rule on motion to dismiss prisoners’ labor trafficking, ADA claims
Prisoners in the New Castle Correctional Facility’s Mental Health Unit are fighting a motion to dismiss their complaint against the private contractor that operates the facility, alleging they sufficiently pleaded facts to support their claims of involuntary servitude, peonage and labor trafficking. DaMarcus Figgs and David Corbin filed a class action lawsuit in mid-December against The Geo Group, Inc., a Florida-based for-profit corporation that operates the New Castle Correctional Facility through a contract with the Indiana Department of Correction. The complaint – originally filed in the Henry Circuit Court but later removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana – alleges The Geo Group forces Figgs, Corbin and more than 100 other mentally disabled prisoners to spend at least 20 hours a day locked in a room performing tasks such as cleaning, completing reports and “carrying out (the) obligations of Defendant’s contracts.” The prisoners also alleged they are forced to assist non-disabled prisoners in their work and are “recruited” into the Mental Health Unit under the guise that they need to be “stabilized” after suffering serious injury or trauma in prison. Once in the MHU, the plaintiffs alleged they cannot stop working “absent threat of force or punishment” and are often denied breaks. “But for the detention and labor of class members,” the complaint alleges, “Defendant could not profitably operate the MHU at New Castle Correctional Facility.” Figgs and Corbin both suffer from antisocial personality disorder and depression, while Corbin also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The class members experience similar afflictions, they allege, and, thus struggle to adequately think and care for themselves. As a result, the plaintiffs alleged The Geo Group’s actions violate their rights under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Eighth and 14th Amendments, The Americans with Disabilities and Rehabilitation acts and numerous state law protections. The Geo Group moved the district court to dismiss the federal complaint in mid-January, arguing the prisoners failed to sufficiently plead facts that would allow their complaint to survive. The corporation first alleged the DOC, not The Geo Group, determines where an inmate is housed, so The Geo Group cannot be said to have “trafficked” prisoners into the MHU.  Further, Indiana law authorizes a requirement for prisoners to “perform chores and maintenance tasks while incarcerated,” the defendant argued, and those tasks fall under the “civic duty” exception to involuntary servitude. The prisoners, however, pointed to the District of Colorado’s decision in Menocal v. GEO Group, Inc., 113 F.Supp.3d 1125, 1128, which rejected the argument that The Geo Group, as a private for-profit corporation, was entitled under the civic duty exception. The Geo Group also argued the Eighth Amendment claim fails as a matter of law because extended confinement to a cell does not, on its own, constitute a constitutional violation. Similarly, the prisoners conceded that they struggle to think for themselves, the corporation said, so the fact that they are asked to assist non-disabled prisoners, rather than working on their own, does not rise to the level of discrimination in violation of the 14th amendment. But in their brief in opposition to the motion to dismiss, the prisoners claimed IPAS et al. v. Commissioner, 2012 WL 6738517 at *15-17 (S.D. Ind. Dec. 31, 2012), supports their Eighth Amendment argument. That case holds that “the severe conditions in the segregation units cause a predictable deterioration of the mental health of seriously mentally ill prisoners… .” They also claimed the evidence would show that the mere presence of their mental disabilities could not provide a rational basis for their treatment that would defeat their 14th Amendment claim. Turning to the claims under the Americans with Disabilities and Rehabilitation acts, The Geo Group argued the prisoners are not their employees and, thus, cannot succeed on their employment discrimination claims. But the prisoners asserted existing caselaw qualifies them as “employees” under the federal employment discrimination laws. Finally, the Geo Group argued the prisoner’s “grab-bag of state tort claims” fail because they did not adequately plead false imprisonment, confinement, unjust enrichment or negligence claims. Figgs and Collins, however, responded by noting that an individual can be found to be unlawfully imprisoned, and the “civic duty exception” cannot apply to their unjust enrichment claims. The plaintiff’s brief in opposition was filed Jan. 31, and a ruling on the motion to dismiss the case of DaMarcus Figgs and David Corbin, et al., v. The Geo Group, Inc., 1:1b-cv-00089 within the next two months.

Oct 24, 2016
Prison employee files lawsuit over attack
NEW CASTLE, Ind. – A woman who was severely beaten by an inmate at the New Castle Correctional Facility has filed a suit against the prison and her attacker, among others. According to police reports, Martha Clark, a resident of Marion County, was an employee of a prison vendor on Nov. 29, 2014, when she was attacked by inmate Robert Hudson. She told investigators that after she caught Hudson trying to steal two pounds of sugar, she fired him from his job in the NCCF kitchen. Authorities said Hudson repeatedly punched Clark in the head and face, slammed her head against her desk and knocked her unconscious with a blow to the left temple. Hudson, also accused of attacking another employee who tried to intervene, later pleaded guilty to two counts of battery and was sentenced to four more years in prison. Hudson, now 47, had previously been convicted of crimes including attempted rape, dealing in cocaine, battery and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. In a lawsuit filed recently in Henry Circuit Court 2 by the Stewart & Stewart law firm of Carmel, Clark alleges her employers “failed to provide a safe working environment” for her. Defendants in addition to Hudson and the NCCF are the state of Indiana, the Indiana attorney general’s office, the state Department of Correction and the GEO Group, the private firm that operates the New Castle prison. The suit also alleges defendants in the lawsuit “violated their own politics and procedures by allowing an inmate incarcerated at New Castle Correctional Facility to batter one of their employees.” It says Clark has suffered “physical pain, mental anguish and the overall loss of enjoyment of life,” and seeks compensation for medical expenses and other damages.

Jan 24, 2015
A prisoners’ rights magazine banned by a Central Indiana correctional facility will now be allowed inside. That’s after the two parties came to an interim agreement allowing its distribution. The order issued Thursday by an Indianapolis federal court says GEO Group, New Castle Correctional Facility’s private operator, has agreed to distribute Prison Legal News a Florida-based publication that reports on prisoners’ issues. The magazine’s publisher sued GEO Group late last year after discovering New Castle staff failed to deliver the magazine to several subscribers housed at the facility. GEO claims advertisements for pen-pal services published in PLN violate the Indiana Department of Correction’s Manual of Policies and Procedures. The agreement prohibits the prison from withholding the magazine because of the advertisements, says PLN Managing Editor Alex Friedmann. “It’s an indication that the facility and GEO Group recognizes there’s a problem with censoring our materials and violating our First Amendment rights, and that they are agreeable to taking action to prevent that from happening in the future,” Friedmann says. Friedmann says the federal suit against GEO will continue until a settlement or verdict is reached. PLN claims the company violated its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights in denying its subscribers access. Calls to the
were not returned Friday afternoon.

Jul. 19, 2013

NEW CASTLE — Two prison officers were hospitalized Wednesday after they were attacked — reportedly by as many as four inmates — at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The guards — whose names were not immediately released — were taken to a local hospital for treatment and then released Wednesday evening, according to Betrina Randall, a public information officer at the prison. The incident was reported about 5 p.m. Wednesday in the prison’s M-Block, which is within the facility’s protective custody unit. Randall said the events leading to and including the assault remained under investigation Friday. She declined to release the names of the four prisoners believed to be involved; all four of those inmates, however, have since been moved to the Pendleton Correctional Facility. A timetable for the return of the two guards was not known Friday. Randall said the guards — both males — did not appear to suffer life-threatening injuries. One of the involved officers reported on Facebook Wednesday night the attack had left him with a broken left wrist, a broken nose and a bruised right shoulder. The prison has since turned over the incident to the Indiana State Police, which will conduct its own investigation and work with the Henry County prosecutor’s office on any related charges. Randall was unsure Friday whether there was surveillance video footage of the attack. Wednesday’s incident was the most recent in a string of violence reported at the New Castle Correctional Facility this year. In June, inmate Cameron I. Nelson, 25 — serving an 8-year sentence imposed last year for an Allen County robbery conviction — was charged with aggravated battery after he reportedly attacked a 30-year-old correctional officer. The guard — who had apparently been supervising a recreation period — fell to the ground after an initial punch, and Nelson stood over him and continued to hit him in the head and face, a report said. The man suffered facial injuries that included a broken jaw, and was taken to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment. In February, Taylor J. Baughn, 21, of Evansville, was accused of killing fellow child molester Jeremiah Taylor, 37, of Ligonier. Taylor, found unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell at the prison, died the next day in an Indianapolis hospital. Baughn’s trial for murder charges has been set for Oct. 22. Randall said Friday she did not feel the recent violence reported at the New Castle Correctional Facility represented a disturbing trend. “I think it’s just unfortunate,” she said. “You have to know where you are. We have over 3,100 inmates here at New Castle.”


Jun. 9, 2013

NEW CASTLE — An inmate at the New Castle Correctional Facility has filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Corrections, alleging he was badly burned when another prisoner threw “a boiling oil and water mixture” on him as he slept. Perry S. Haywood, 42, filed the lawsuit last week in Henry Circuit Court 1, and also names the GEO Group, the Florida-based corporation that manages the NCCF for the DOC, as a defendant. According to the suit, Haywood was asleep in his cell on Feb. 22, 2012, when the other prisoner — not identified by name in the document — poured the boiling liquid on him. The suit says Haywood suffered second and third-degree burns to his face, chest and arms, “leaving him disfigured.” The DOC and GEO Group “knew or should have known the inmate who attacked (Haywood) posed a danger to him,” the suit states. Blaming the attack on a “negligent breach of their duty,” Haywood seeks unspecified damages as a result of his “severe emotional distress.” The prisoner is being represented by Indianapolis attorney Jon Abernathy. According to state DOC records, Haywood, of Fort Wayne, is serving a sentence imposed in an Allen County court in December 2010 after he was convicted of criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement and battery. He had been accused of breaking into a former girlfriend’s apartment the previous August, sexually assaulting her and beating her with a porcelain crucifix during almost eight hours of confinement. Haywood’s criminal record included earlier felony convictions for residential entry, driving while intoxicated and invasion of privacy. He is scheduled to be released in August 2015. Henry County court records do not appear to reflect anyone was charged in the immediate wake of the alleged 2012 scalding.

August 24, 2012 Fox 59
A Plainfield man is accused of beating an inmate at a short term offender program. Kevin Davis was an employee at the GEO Group when he allegedly hurt inmate Gabriel Hatfield. Hatfield suffered minor injuries and abrasions. Davis turned himself in at the Hendricks County Jail Friday. He was released on $5,000 bond shortly after his arrest.

May 31, 2012 WHIO
The prospect of being bitten by a K-9 helped Indiana law enforcement officers capture two escapees from a privately run outdoor recreation facility and return them to the New Castle Correctional Facility in northeast Indiana. Johnny Y. Hines, 26, of Muncie, and Christopher Hoover, 33, of Greensburg, were returned to the minimum security unit after they surrendered by lying down in a wooded area about 10 miles north of the prison in Delaware County, the Indiana State Patrol post at Pendleton said Thursday. The two were discovered missing at about 2:45 p.m. when Sgt. Rob Cross and Trooper Tyler Painter from the Pendleton post took a headcount. That began a search joined by an officer with the GEO Group, which operates the recreation facility. Painter and the GEO Group officer, who had a K-9 bloodhound, tracked the inmates north along a railroad bed, according to the ISP. Two state patrol units from Muncie, who also had a K-9 unit, joined in the search.

March 15, 2011 WXIN-TV
Wesley Hammond, an inmate at the New Castle correctional facility has been convicted of running a major drug ring from inside the jail using an illegally smuggled cell phone. Hammond's attorney says his client made over five thousands calls and was never caught by guards. New Castle you may remember was overtaken by inmates four years ago in a riot that included destruction to furniture small bonfires and a prison that remained out of control for several hours with inmates running free around the prison compound. The prison is privately contracted out and run by the Geo Corporation based in Florida. "To think that an inmate could make all these calls in a facility that's supposed to have 24-hour surveillance," said Jack Crawford, Hammond's attorney. He said Hammond told him one of the guards gave him the cell phone. GEO would not comment sending Fox59 a generic statement saying they cooperated with the investigation. An Indiana department of corrections spokesman said illegally smuggled in cell phones is a huge problem in prisons nationwide. "Despite our best efforts we have seen cell phones trafficked into our facilities at an alarming rate," said Doug Garrison with Indiana's DOC. "Obviously there's some mistake somewhere when a person can use a cell phone that many times and run something like this and not be accounted for by the guards or the security personnel at the facility," said Crawford. "When you see somebody running a big drug ring from inside a prison that's a serious matter," said Brad Blackington assistant US Attorney.

July 29, 2009 The Star Press
A medical worker at the New Castle Correctional Facility was arrested this week after she allegedly tried to smuggle marijuana and tobacco into the institution. Ann J. Oakes, 31, Milton, was preliminarily charged with trafficking with an inmate, possession of marijuana and trafficking tobacco. She remained in the Henry County jail on Wednesday under a $44,400 bond. State police said Oaks was found to have the bundles of marijuana and tobacco, along with rolling papers, hidden in her pants during a search when she arrived for work Tuesday morning. Oakes, a qualified medical assistant working for Correctional Medical Services, which provides health care to prisoners, has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. Authorities said Oakes acknowledged that she was bringing the substances to an inmate, and anticipated being paid for her efforts by a co-conspirator outside the prison. Oakes' arrest came three weeks after Cynthia Ann Angel, 44, Centerville, was arrested for allegedly trying to throw a package, containing cell phones and tobacco, over the prison's walls. Angel had pleaded guilty in December to a trafficking charge stemming from a similar incident.

January 30, 2009 The Star Press
A New Castle correctional officer was arrested today for helping a prisoner escape overnight. Maurice Melton, 38, a correctional officer employed by The GEO Group, the private company that operates the New Castle Correctional Facility, was arrested today for aiding in the escape of an offender, a Class C felony carrying a standard four-year prison term. Melton is accused of helping inmate Jeffery Kinartail, 27, McCordsville, leave a minimum security housing unit at the prison. Staff discovered Kinartail missing around 11:15 p.m. He was arrested in Indianapolis around 4 a.m. at a Motel Six on North Shadeland Avenue. Melton allowed Kinartail to walk away from the facility by silencing a door alarm which Kinartail used to exit the facility, authorities said. Melton then allegedly drove Kinartail from the prison to Indianapolis, with the belief he was to be paid for his efforts.

May 10, 2008 AP
A prison guard beat his live-in girlfriend's daughter in the head while she slept because of her loud snoring, police said. Charles A. Williamson struck the 14-year-old four or five times with the wooden handle of a claw hammer, according to a probable cause affidavit. He told police he had asked the girl and her mother to move out because both of them snore. Williamson, 46, is an officer at the New Castle Correctional Facility, about 45 miles east of Indianapolis. He was charged with two counts of battery and faces one count of criminal confinement after the girl complained she had been handcuffed to her bed. An officer at the Henry County Jail said Williamson had bonded out, and a message at a number listed under his name said the phone was disconnected. The girl's mother, Bobbie Jo Davis, 42, was being held at the jail Saturday on a neglect charge. The jail had no attorneys listed for Williamson or Davis. A probable cause affidavit said Davis watched from the hallway Wednesday night while Williamson went into her daughter's bedroom and beat her with the hammer handle. Davis told Williamson he shouldn't have beaten the girl but did not seek medical attention for her, police said. When the girl complained of a headache the next morning, Davis gave her an aspirin and sent her to school, the affidavit said. Police were later called to the school when the girl told teachers she had been beaten. Williamson denied striking the girl with the hammer but acknowledged that he had handcuffed her, authorities said. Trials for Williamson and Davis are scheduled for Sept. 2. The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment with a spokeswoman for the prison, which is run for the state by the Florida-based Geo Group Inc.

April 24, 2008 The Star Press
A riot one year ago at the New Castle Correctional Facility cost a private prison contractor more than $1.1 million in police protection, repairs and improvements. And though that's a bullet dodged by taxpayers, they're not out of the woods yet. What remains to be calculated is the cost of ongoing legal proceedings in Henry County, where 28 inmates are charged with dozens of felony and misdemeanor crimes. Seven of the men have pleaded guilty and their cases now are complete, but 21 others are pursuing jury trials, and they could rack up significant costs for taxpayers. Already, taxpayers are paying for the defendants' attorneys, depositions, and in at least two cases, private investigators, according to court files. The April 24, 2007, riot at New Castle quickly became national news as television helicopters flew above the prison recreation yard and showed images of the melee live. Inmates burned mattresses and threw beds and other furnishings out of the windows of the dormitory-style housing units. Police stormed the perimeter and used tear gas to secure the facility. Two prison employees were injured and treated at Henry County Memorial Hospital. "I think you saw us [in] April at our worst," said Ernie Dixon, director of operations for The GEO Group, the Florida company hired in 2005 to manage the prison. New Castle remains the state's only privatized prison. The riot occurred 15 months after GEO took over. The riot was led by Arizona inmates, the first of whom were moved across the country a month earlier as the Arizona Department of Corrections tried to ease its overcrowded prisons by filling unused beds in Indiana. Gov. Mitch Daniels looked to the deal with Arizona as a cash cow, but it never fully developed, since Arizona called off all transfers days before the riot. Arizona's exodus from New Castle now has begun. The first 120 inmates were flown back to their home state last week, and those transfers will continue during the next couple of months. What's left is for Arizona, Indiana, GEO and Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane to work out an agreement on how, and where, to house Arizona offenders who still face riot-related charges. Dixon said one of those Arizona inmates since has completed his time behind bars. But rather than being sent back to Arizona and released, he remains held here, at GEO's expense, pending his Indiana criminal case.

April 10, 2008 The Star Press
Arizona inmates held in the New Castle Correctional Facility will be moved out of Indiana beginning this month. George Zoley, chairman and chief executive officer for The GEO Group, the private company that manages the New Castle prison, said inmates will be moved out of New Castle, 100 at a time, until all are moved elsewhere. Zoley made the comment during the company’s quarterly earnings report last month, not earlier this week as reported earlier today on The Star Press Web site, A transcript of the report was published this week. According to the transcript, Zoley said, “We expect to transfer approximately 100 Arizona inmates out of the New Castle facility every two weeks beginning in the first week of April, while simultaneously filling these vacant beds with additional Indiana inmates reaching an initial total of over 2,000 Indiana inmates.” As of Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Corrections listed its Indiana inmate population at 629 offenders. None of the inmates have been moved as of yet, said Trina Randall, spokeswoman for the New Castle prison. The Indiana Department of Correction and ADOC reached a deal in March 2007 to house Arizona offenders at the underused prison in New Castle. A month later Arizona inmates led a riot inside the facility, and ultimately 28 inmates, all but one of them from Arizona, were charged as a result of the riot. The two states ultimately called off their deal, and Indiana said it would use the space inside the 2,416 bed prison for its own inmates.

January 25, 2008 AP
A state prison that was the site of a riot last year was locked down after three guards were treated for minor injuries after a fight with inmates. Four to six inmates at the New Castle Correctional Facility fought with the guards during an outdoor exercise period Wednesday after an inmate left the recreation area, said Trina Randall, a spokeswoman for the GEO Group Inc., the private company that is contracted to run the facility. An argument turned into a pushing and shoving match that lasted about a minute and a half, said Randy Koester, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Correction. "The incident that occurred the other night was quite minor," Randall said. Koester said today that the prison about 45 miles east of Indianapolis was being taken off lockdown in stages and he expected it to return to normal operations over the weekend. Eight inmates and two staff members at the prison were injured during an April 24 riot in which hundreds of prisoners burned mattresses and broke windows. The disturbance occurred six weeks after inmates from Arizona arrived as part of a deal between the states. Twenty-seven Arizona inmates and one from Indiana were charged after the riot. Some of the Arizona inmates who were involved in the riot were sent back to that state. After the riot, the
 revised eating and recreation schedules at New Castle and added bars, cameras and fencing, Koester said. Arizona inmates also were told of the different rules in policies in Indiana, he said. The Indiana DOC was reviewing the program, which was up for renewal in March. "We're going to start needing that facility to house Indiana inmates," Koester said. "As 2008 goes on, we're going to work with the Arizona Department of Corrections to see how best to remove those Arizona inmates." He said that would likely occur in stages by housing units, as Arizona and Indiana inmates are housed separately. About 630 inmates from Arizona were currently at the New Castle prison as part of the program designed to ease prison overcrowding in Arizona. The Indiana DOC receives $64 per prisoner per day under the agreement, and can rotate up to 60 prisoners from Arizona into the facility each month.

October 26, 2007 AP
Indiana prison officials have returned to Arizona four inmates who were charged in the April riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The inmates, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor rioting and battery charges, were sent back because they are "no longer suitable for dormitory-style" medium-security prisons like New Castle, said Karen Cantou Grubbs, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction. A contract between the states calls for Indiana to house inmates from Arizona, where prisons are overcrowded. The agreement also allows the rotation of some inmates every month. Cantou Grubbs declined to say how the prisoners are moved between states. Indiana returned 60 inmates to Arizona earlier this week and received 79 medium-security prisoners in return. The four inmates involved in the April 24 riot have been replaced with new inmates, said Al Parke, southern regional director for the Department of Correction. The prisoner rotations, which have happened three times, keep Indiana's inmate population from Arizona at about 630. The contract, which the states announced in March, originally called for Indiana to house 1,260 inmates, with Arizona paying $64 a day per inmate. But prison space has since been filling up in Indiana, too. "Indiana is telling us they've got a shortage of beds, so we're capped," said Nolberto Machiche, a spokesman for Arizona's corrections department. Eight inmates and two New Castle staff members were injured during the April 24 riot. A total of 27 Arizona inmates were charged with a mix of felonies and misdemeanors afterward. "I'm very confident that those inmates that have been transferred back to Arizona will not adversely affect our ability to prosecute the remaining inmates," Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane said. The states rotate inmates for several reasons. Some prisoners return to Arizona because bad behavior makes them unsuitable for a medium-security prison. Others are sent back because they have an upcoming court or release date, Parke said. Some also return as a reward for good behavior. Having a rotation gives inmates "a light at the end of the tunnel," telling them that if they behave well they will return, Machiche said. Indiana was housing some Arizona inmates at New Castle and Wabash Valley, a maximum security prison in Western Indiana. The Wabash inmates were moved several weeks ago. All Arizona prisoners are now at New Castle, which is managed by a private company, GEO Group Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla. "No one will go to any other (Indiana) institution unless there were emergency conditions," Parke said.

September 10, 2007 The Star Press
A former New Castle Correctional Facility inmate who said he was beaten by two other prisoners has sued the state of Indiana and the Department of Correction, among other parties, for not protecting him after he reported illegal activity to prison security last year. Gabriel Leach, who according to computerized DOC records was incarcerated on theft charges from Jefferson County until May, filed suit last month. He listed the state, DOC, The GEO Group (the private company that manages the prison), two prison guards and inmates Harrison Baker and "Cowboy" Harrison as defendants. According to Leach's claim, at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2006, the 30-year-old man was called to the security office from his bunk in Unit C over the public address system. During that conversation with officers, Leach reported illegal activity that was happening inside the prison and said he was in "danger of death or serious bodily harm." He was returned to Unit C and on Dec. 29 two of his fellow inmates, Baker and Harrison, allegedly beat Leach for about 15 minutes. According to court documents, he suffered fractured ribs, a fractured jaw, broken nose and chipped teeth. Leach also claims he was taken to solitary confinement before he was provided medical treatment. In the state's response, filed Tuesday, Indianapolis attorney Paul O. Mullin wrote that Leach "was careless and negligent with regard to his own safety and well being," which contributed to the inmate's injuries.

August 25, 2007 AP
The New Castle Correctional Facility likely has seen the last transfer of inmates from Arizona, according to Gov. Mitch Daniels and a state prison spokesman. A rising inmate population, the closing of one prison and unexpected renovations at another leave Indiana officials focused on using available beds for their inmates, state Department of Correction spokesman Randy Koester said. "We don't plan on opening up any additional housing units for Arizona," he said. The April 24 riot at New Castle that involved Arizona inmates did not have a "direct" impact on the decision, Koester said. Daniels was asked about the prison transfers during a news conference yesterday. He said he did not expect to see "any more prisoners accepted anytime soon" at the medium-security prison.

August 21, 2007 Indianapolis Star
One-third of the Arizona inmates transferred to serve their sentences in an Indiana prison are violent criminals, including 25 who were convicted of murder, according to new data from state prison officials. Prison officials said inmates were chosen based on their behavior in prison, not their criminal records. But an advocate for prisoners' rights was surprised by the news, saying officials had left the impression with the public that violent offenders would not be included among those moved to the New Castle Correctional Facility, which is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group. "That's not what they said they were going to send," said Celia Sweet, former president of the Indiana chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. "You know, live up to your word. Don't go trying to hoodwink the public just to make some money off the backs of these prisoners. That's not right. It's immoral." The state never misled anyone, said Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue. Indiana's deal with Arizona allows medium-security prisoners and bans only sex offenders, prisoners with discipline problems and recognized gang members, he said. Medium security, Donahue said, does not preclude those convicted of violent crimes. The majority of inmates in Indiana prisons are housed in medium-security areas, he said. In all, 203 of the 611 Arizona inmates are serving terms for violent crimes, including men convicted of assault, kidnapping and attempted homicide.

August 14, 2007 AP
More than two dozen inmates face charges stemming from an April riot that broke out after hundreds of out-of-state prisoners were transferred to a privately run prison. A total of 28 inmates _ all but one of them from Arizona _ appeared Tuesday in a temporary court set up at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The charges included rioting, criminal confinement, intimidation and battery by bodily waste. About 500 prisoners from Arizona and Indiana burned mattresses and broke windows during the disturbance at the medium-security prison April 24. Eight prisoners, a guard and a counselor were injured, none seriously. The riot happened six weeks after the first of some 600 Arizona inmates began joining 1,050 Indiana prisoners. The New Castle prison, about 45 miles east of Indianapolis, is managed by Boca Raton, Fla.- based GEO Group. A state report issued in May acknowledged the Department of Correction transferred the out-of-state inmates too quickly, had used inexperienced guards and failed to have equal meal and recreation schedules for the two groups of inmates.

May 25, 2007 Indianapolis Star
No additional Arizona inmates will be transferred to Indiana until conditions that contributed to an April 24 riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility are resolved, officials in both states said Thursday. Those problems include: an inexperienced staff at the privately run prison; inadequate orientation of inmates who lost privileges, such as smoking and use of personal TVs, that they enjoyed in Arizona; and a schedule that forced Arizona inmates to eat and have recreation at odd hours, such as midnight basketball games. The findings were in a report released Thursday by the Indiana Department of Correction. J. David Donahue, commissioner of the department, said he accepts responsibility for the hurried speed of the transfer of inmates from Arizona, which doesn't have room to house all its prisoners, to New Castle, a facility that had sat more than half-empty. The agreement between Arizona and Indiana was concluded March 9. Three days later, inmates began arriving. By April 17, 630 Arizona inmates had been transferred to New Castle. Some staff had less than two months' experience, the report notes, with a large number having less than a year of experience. "The speed by which I allowed inmates to come in, I take responsibility for that," Donahue said. "Looking back on that, that was a decision I should have reflected on," he said. "We could have done better, and I could have done better." The state's contract calls for 1,260 inmates from Arizona to be sent to New Castle. Donahue said Indiana "wants to make sure that we meet (Arizona's need for prison space) if we can, and we're prepared to do that. "But I am not advocating that we're going to be bringing additional offenders in tomorrow or any time in the immediate future until all of the (report) recommendations" have been addressed, he said. Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Corrections, said Arizona would not send any more inmates to Indiana until the "issues that are addressed in the report are resolved." After those conditions are met, Arizona "will evaluate how to proceed," she said. Decker said Arizona took part in the investigation, but corrections officials there generated their own report and version of events. Decker said that report would not be made public. "This is Indiana's version of the report," she said. "But we believe the underlying factors have been addressed." Costs for repairing the facility -- including better doors and getting nonflammable mattresses -- will be paid by The GEO Group, the Florida-based firm the state hired in September 2005 to manage the prison, Donahue said. Whether anyone will be fired or demoted for the problems that led to the two-hour riot remains to be seen. "I just got this report yesterday (Wednesday)," Donahue said. "I'll be assessing this and, where we see that there's accountability, we obviously hold not only staff accountable, we'll hold offenders accountable." He said the Indiana State Police delivered information to the Henry County prosecutor Wednesday that could lead to charges against 26 inmates, 25 of whom are from Arizona. Craig Hanks, the warden of the prison and an employee of The GEO Group, said he expects to remain in charge. "That's my plan," he said. Problems with the transfer were apparent almost immediately. On the day before the riot, April 23, Arizona officials had halted additional transfer of inmates, citing inadequate and inexperienced staff. At 12:40 p.m. the next day, the riot began after 30 to 40 Arizona inmates wearing white T-shirts ignored staff orders to return to their cells and don their green smocks. That clothing issue had been simmering for days, the report says. But on that day, the dispute erupted into a riot, with doors and windows smashed, mattresses set on fire and at least two correction officers beaten. Twenty-seven prisoners also required medical treatment, with none of the injuries or ailments serious. Donahue and Hanks said they were aware of transition problems, including schedules that had Arizona and Indiana inmates having recreation and eating at different times and frustration over rules that hadn't existed in Arizona, such as a ban on pornography, personal TVs and smoking. But neither official anticipated the blow-up. "I was briefed literally the day before the event," Donahue said. "Did I think it was going to rise to the level of this type of event? Absolutely not." Family members of inmates, though, said the riot was exactly what they had feared, even before the transfer of the Arizona inmates. Christian J. Losch, an Elkhart anesthesiologist whose mentally ill son has served part of a murder sentence at New Castle, said he wasn't surprised by the findings in the report, or that a riot broke out. Losch said his son was most recently held at New Castle from August 2006 to February. During about a half-dozen visits to New Castle, Losch said, he noticed that the "staff, in general, seemed to be inexperienced and very young." He said a security door near the visitors' area was sometimes inoperable, forcing visitors to take a circuitous route to see the inmates. The lockers used by visitors to stow personal belongings often were broken. "It just felt like the place wasn't being maintained, just with what you could see as a casual observer," Losch said. "I can only presume that the problems had to do with the running of the institution." Prison reform advocates have criticized Indiana, Arizona and The GEO Group for entering into the transfer deal. "There needs to be someone who throws this back at the administration and the decision-makers, because that's where the problem lies," said Donna Leone Hamm, founder and executive director of Middle Ground Prison Reform, a nonprofit inmate advocacy group based in Arizona. "In the narrowest terms, of course, the inmates are to blame," she said. "But you have to treat the symptoms and not just the disease. And that means taking a look at the administration and the people who negotiated this contract." Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the watchdog Private Corrections Institute based in Tallahassee, Fla., said all of the forces at work -- an inexperienced staff, unhappy inmates and a facility with substandard security doors and windows -- should have sent up red flags. "You've got inexperienced staff manipulated by the inmates," Kopczynski said. "You've got a private company trying to turn a profit. And you've got inmates from different places who are comparing themselves (and their treatment and benefits) to each other. It all sounds like a recipe for disaster." Jody Kent, public policy expert with the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, commended Indiana for "taking this issue seriously, doing an investigation and acknowledging that their policies are flawed." That said, she criticized both Indiana and Arizona for carrying out a deal that should not be considered a long-term fix for prison overcrowding. "Upon reflection, these transfers were done too hastily. They were done irresponsibly," she said. "And, as a result, the safety of prisoners and guards were put at risk."

May 23, 2007 AP
Investigators on Wednesday turned over to a prosecutor their report on a prison riot a month ago, saying inmates could be charged with rioting, battery and other crimes. Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane will determine whether to file charges. Crane also could ask the investigators to look further into the disturbance at the New Castle Correctional Facility. About 500 rioting prisoners burned mattresses and broke windows at the privately run state prison on April 24. Those in the melee included prisoners from Arizona under a contract with that state. Potential charges also include theft, criminal mischief and possession of a dangerous device, state police said in a news release. "The breadth of the investigation was wide and lengthy due to the number of interviews conducted with the alleged suspects and witnesses," the news release said. The Associated Press left messages seeking comment Wednesday with Crane. The Department of Correction had no comment on the report, spokesman Evan Hawkins said. He said he did not know when a DOC report on the riot would be made public. DOC officials have said the riot apparently began when about 40 inmates from Arizona refused to return to their housing units after lunch. The conflict spread to Indiana inmates and led prisoners to set mattresses and paper on fire in a courtyard, break windows and damage sinks and toilets. By the time the prison was secured hours later, nine people including two staff members had minor injuries.

May 15, 2007 Journal-Gazette
For-profit prisons not good for state: I want to thank The Journal Gazette for raising important questions regarding the recent riot by Arizona inmates at GEO’s New Castle correctional facility in the editorial, “Prisons and Privatization,” (April 28). What Hoosiers are coming to realize is that prisons-for-profit are just that: They’re profits makers for shareholders and corporate execs. While all the editorial’s questions are on point, I predict nothing will be done because this issue is pure politics (let’s see, your Department of Correction chief is a former executive for U.S. Corrections Corp.). GEO and the other for-profit private prison companies depend on low wages, no benefits, high turnover and political contributions so that corporate executives can bring in the big bucks (GEO’s George Zoley lives in an $8 million mansion with a 150-foot dock for his yacht). All of this corporate profit should have been reinvested into the criminal justice system to maybe have a positive influence on the system. But hey, they’re just smart businessmen – they know that nothing will be done to cancel the contract. The fix is in, folks; you bought the con (no pun intended). KEN KOPCZYNSKI, Executive Director, Private Corrections Institute, Tallahassee, Fla.

May 9, 2007 AP
Two weeks after about 500 rioting prisoners burned mattresses and broke windows at a privately run state prison, state officials are expected to complete their investigation by Friday into what sparked the melee. The findings will be reviewed by state prisons chief J. David Donahue, who could make them public by next week, said Evan Hawkins, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Correction. “It’s a very large net that’s been cast, where pretty much everything that could have happened is going to be investigated,” Hawkins said Wednesday. “We’re trying to move as fast as possible. And we’re hoping the report will be out next week.” Whether or not Donahue will suggest any changes to prison policy depends on what the “post-event analysis report” of the riot at the New Castle Correctional Facility shows, Hawkins said. After the April 24 riot, prison officials said it apparently began when about 40 inmates who recently transferred from Arizona refused to return to their living area after having lunch. The conflict spread to Indiana inmates and led prisoners to set mattresses and paper on fire in the courtyard, break out windows and damage sinks and toilets. By the time the prison was secured, nine people — including two staff members — suffered minor injuries.

May 5, 2007 WISH TV
New e-mails show how concerned prison officials in Arizona were before and after last week's prison riot in New Castle. While the Indiana Department of Correction continues to investigate what went wrong, I-Team 8 is conducting its own investigation. On April 24th, Chopper 8 showed you inmates setting fires and breaking windows within the New Castle Correctional Facility, Indiana's only privatized prison, run by the Geo Group. The apparent clash between Indiana and Arizona prisoners left 2 guards and a handful of inmates hurt. Late Friday afternoon, I-Team 8 obtained the following emails from high-ranking prison officials in Arizona. One came from the director of Arizona's Department of Correction to Indiana DOC Commissioner David Donahue. It was dated the day before the riot. It stated, "Basic security practices are lacking, like counts and inmate discipline. Simple modifications that were proposed last week haven't been implemented. " There was another email, this time from the man sent here from Arizona to investigate after the riot. Ivan Bartos wrote, "I'm sick of being okey doked about some things and have had to breathe and bite my tongue to avoid being very confrontational about things. They still don't have accountability for their radios, we believe that at least one cell phone is in control of our inmates and they are not counting inmates correctly. My visit with Geo heavy hitters yesterday made me realize that regardless of what is being said, efforts to assign blame are underway." And in an update by Mr. Bartos, he expresses concern about fires, because the alarm system and virtually all fire extinguishers were destroyed in the riot. He reports keys still missing, and no clear picture of what tools might be gone. Late Friday night, I-Team 8 received a response from the Indiana Department of Correction. It said that even before Arizona inmates arrived in New Castle, there was concern that the prison there would not be ready to accommodate so many prisoners so quickly. The State Department of Correction says to expect a complete report on the riot next week.

April 29, 2007 The Tribune-Star
Like license plates, shivs and pruno, there’s money to be made in prison. Just ask investors in GEO Group (GEO), who’ve seen their stakes in the private jailer more than triple in value in the past year. —, Feb. 26. Among the seven specific “risks and uncertainties that could materially affect” future earnings estimates, The GEO Group Inc. does not mention “prison riots” in its online 2007 Financial Guidance Update. Apparently, incidents such as Tuesday’s uprising by hundreds of inmates in the GEO-operated New Castle Correctional Facility fall under risk-and-uncertainty No. 8 — “other factors.” Those are outlined in the Florida company’s annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings. This relegation to the small print of GEO’s big international world sums up what is — and is not — of importance to GEO and Wall Street. Indeed, within two days of what New Castle’s mayor proclaimed “a full-scale riot,” GEO Group’s stock had regained most of the 2.2-percent loss caused by the destructive protests. By week’s end, GEO had more than rebounded, closing at $51.20 — a healthy $1.30 over its pre-riot price. The United States may account for less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but we have more than 25 percent of the globe’s prisoners. You’d think that fact would give pause to those who boast incessantly of this nation’s Christian values, but that seems not to be the case. Incarceration in America is a major growth industry. About 2.2 million men and women are locked up in U.S. correctional institutions — compared to 500,000 in 1980 — with another 4.8 million on parole or probation. Industry projections call for a 13-percent increase in our prison population within the next four years. Only 6 to 7 percent of U.S. prisons are operated by private-sector companies like the GEO Group, but it isn’t because public officials are hesitant to hand over the reins. Demand simply outstrips supply. Competition among states for contracts is fierce, which spells a rosy future for corporations. In other words, it will take more than a few burned mattresses and seven minor injuries in one short-lived rebellion to derail the privatized prison express. Especially in Indiana. In 2005, Gov. Mitch Daniels awarded a four-year, $53-million contract for New Castle prison to the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest prison management company. Listed on the NYSE since 1996, GEO operates 58 prisons in the United States, Australia and South Africa and is building some of its own. The company also runs a few mental-health facilities, including the Florida Civil Commitment Center, where sex offenders who have served out their prison sentences are kept locked up, ostensibly to receive rehabilitative treatment mandated by Florida law. Last year, Daniels began to try to snag some of the millions of bucks floating around the prison industry and get them back into Indiana’s coffers. A deal to house California inmates, where correctional institutions are bursting at the seams, went south in December, but the governor then struck a one-year agreement with Arizona: $6.1 million to house about 1,200 of its inmates at New Castle. As we now know, thanks to the uprising, about a week before the free-for-all, Dora Schriro, Arizona’s prisons chief, came to Indiana to see how things were progressing for the first 630 transferees. The number of New Castle guards and the inexperience of some inspired her to delay moving any more Arizona inmates here. Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for Schriro, explained to the Associated Press: “They were pulling staff from other areas around the state to put them into these [security] positions, and we needed to be sure there was a permanent professional crew on site. It wasn’t just a quantity issue, it also was quality and the level of experience.” Tuesday’s violent protest, primarily by the medium-security Arizona inmates who’d had no say-so in their hasty 1,500-mile move to Indiana, confirmed Schriro’s worries. In the aftermath, when some folks criticized Gov. Daniels for busing in hundreds of seething Arizona prisoners before New Castle had an adequately trained staff to handle them, he said his intentions were for the welfare of Indiana workers. “We were looking for a way to get some Hoosiers hired at New Castle,” he told the Indianapolis Star. Also, it was a chance to “have them well-trained on somebody else’s nickel.” Of the uprising, Daniels assumed his characteristic corporate executive stance and reminded everyone that “corrections is a high-risk business managing high-risk offenders.” True, and the return is also very high.’s bullish story on the GEO Group noted that expected increases in the prison population mean “construction of new prison beds will cost as much as $12.5 billion. That kind of burden will likely force states and the federal government to outsource even more.” Patrick Swindle, a Tennessee investment analyst, told SmartMoney that states build prison beds for $75,000 to $80,000 per bed and the federal government “at north of $100,000 per bed.” Meanwhile, the private sector does it for about $60,000 per bed. That sort of economizing comes at a cost — to someone. Indy Star staff writer Erika D. Smith interviewed Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the Private Corrections Institute, a non-profit organization that researches and reports on the problems of privatized prisons. According to Kopczynski, the employee turnover rate in privately run prisons is about 50 percent. In public correctional institutions it’s in the 15-percent range. “They answer to the shareholders so they make cuts whenever possible,” he said. The off-set, of course, is the dependability of the consumer base for prison services; the “customers” just keep on coming. Plus, they’re recession-proof. As Jamie Cuellar, a manager of the Brazos Micro Cap fund, explained to “When times are bad, more people tend to go to jail. It’s awful but true.” And if those people don’t like the accommodations, what are they going to do? They can take their business elsewhere, but the only way to do that is to bust up the joint, shove some security guards around, set some mattresses on fire and get thrown into a place that’s even worse.

April 29, 2007 The Star-Press
WIDE DISPARITY EXISTS between the assessment of Indiana's top corrections official and that of eyewitness accounts regarding staffing and security conditions at New Castle Correctional Facility. Because of this contradiction, state officials should not lock themselves into a position that Indiana must push ahead on accepting more Arizona inmates. That position of optimism was articulated on Wednesday, only hours after the prison riot at New Castle, by J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction. Donahue told The Indianapolis Star that he had not changed his mind about housing prisoners from outside Indiana and saw no reason to pull back from accepting more Arizona inmates once 132 new correctional workers completed their training at the prison. "We have a facility that we need to use and a community that needs jobs, and Arizona has a critical shortage of prison space," he said in an interview with The Star. ALL OF THOSE POINTS ARE TRUE, BUT the statement ignores many aspects of what happened on Tuesday at New Castle, what led up to the disturbance and the possible risk of continuing the "Arizona experiment" without significant changes and upgrades in the security plan. While adding more workers at New Castle is logical, that might not cure certain disturbing elements of the situation. Witnesses and others who commented to Star Press reporters about Tuesday's disturbance seem to paint a different picture than the one Donahue is seeing or assumes is there. For instance, Aamir Shabazz of Muncie, who works as a volunteer chaplain for Muslim inmates and has been at the prison three times a week, suggests that New Castle was unprepared for the Arizona inmates, who brought a more "hard-core" prison culture with them. "They don't have enough guards to make them (Arizona prisoners) change," Shabazz said. This prompts the question: Will there be enough "muscle" and experience in the added workforce, as seen by Donahue, to make the Arizona plan work? Jamin Vaughn, who worked at New Castle through last June, described the workforce at the privately operated prison as under-trained, underpaid and under-manned. He said the GEO Group, which operates the facility, cut costs by supervisory staff when it took over. The strongest denunciation of New Castle security came from Muncie's Kara Scott, who last month began training to work there. Although she declined to return after only one day of training, it is apparent that Scott's powers of observation were keen. In a Star Press interview, Scott noted she badly needed a job but quickly saw that New Castle was not a safe place to work. She said she spotted several danger signs: inmates unsupervised, some in prison areas marked for staff only; guards lacking proper security apparatus (including sprays and other devices to help maintain order); guards advised that, in case they were attacked, not to go to a co-worker's rescue but instead stay put and ask for additional security; guards being advised there would be times, perhaps during a shift change, that they might be working alone; and trainees advised to take self-defense and Spanish classes on their own, in anticipation of the influx of Arizona inmates. ASSUMING THAT SCOTT'S OBSERVATIONS and recall are accurate, it indicates that GEO supervisors and Indiana officials must be willing to make huge changes before even thinking about allowing more Arizona inmates to come to New Castle. What happened at the prison on Tuesday is eerily reminiscent of this country's incursion into Iraq four years ago. There was the same stubbornness of purpose (despite the warning flags of dealing with a different kind of population), the same over-reliance on faulty information, the same lack of effective and long-range plan for handling the aftermath of a situation, and the same imprecision on how to permanently resolve an unstable and risk-filled situation that erupted after troops/prisoners were on the ground. Officials in charge at New Castle must make a complete, fact-filled and unbiased investigation and assessment. Until then, they should avoid such overly optimistic advice that merely adding more bodies to the staff will resolve all problems in an alien and volatile prison population.

April 27, 2007 WISH TV
Three days after the riot at New Castle Correctional Facility, questions still remain. Insiders claim the Department of Correction and Geo Group are not telling the truth about what really happened. A New Castle correctional officer, who did not want to be identified because he didn't want to lose his job, emailed: "These (Arizona) offenders are apparently violent and have been since day one. GEO Group and the Arizona Department of Corrections are telling the media that these individuals are not murderers or sex offenders. This is not a true statement." An inmate's mother, who says her son told her on Sunday the Arizona inmates were going to riot, said: "What upsets me is they knew this was going to happen. They could have avoided this." A spokesman for the Department of Correction told I-Team 8 they had no advance information or knowledge of the riot. When asked if Geo Group knew about the riot beforehand, a spokeswoman based at the facility told I-Team 8, "Absolutely not." And this from a former inmate: "The control room should have locked everything down completely! It sounds to me that they lost control before the riot even started." DOC confirms the facility was locked when the riot started, but told I-Team 8 offenders were able to override the system and manually unlock housing unit doors. How did that happen? This from a member of one of the prison emergency response teams: "It is apparent that the facility is understaffed and is not as safe of an environment as it potentially could be. Is this safe for staff and the surrounding community? I think not." The DOC continues to say that staffing is adequate and that public safety is number one. And, finally, a mother whose son was one of the first responders, emailed I-Team 8: "They had taken a few officers for hostage purposes. If the facility had been at full capacity, we would have been a community in mourning instead of giving a sigh of relief." The DOC spokesman maintains that there were no hostages at any time. Since Tuesday, I-Team 8 has been asking Indiana, Arizona and Geo Group that manages New Castle for a list of the Arizona inmates to find their crimes and sentences. Already I-Team has found a man serving time for murder. Repeated requests for information and interviews have been denied. While Indiana still has not released the list, late Friday afternoon Arizona did. I-Team 8 team is looking at every name to see what 630 inmates were shipped here and if the list abides by the agreement that there would be no violent criminals such as killers or sex offenders.

April 26, 2007 KTAR
Tuesday's riot by Arizona inmates at an Indiana private prison prompts a caution from Democrat Ed Ableser. "We need to be very careful about a private industry that actually makes money off of the amount of criminals we produce in this society," he said. But, Republican Russell Pearce said the riot wasn't caused by private prisons, but by a non-cooperative department of corrections which won't spend available money. "They refuse to build or provide access to 3,000 beds in this state," said Pearce. The philosophical dispute has left the state thousands of prison beds short.

April 25, 2007 AP
Indiana's contract with a Florida-based company that runs prisons across the nation requires it to reimburse the state for the costs police incurred subduing Tuesday's riot at an eastern Indiana prison it manages. State prisons chief J. David Donahue said Wednesday that staff at the New Castle Correctional Facility are assessing the emergency response costs and damage to the prison following the riot, which slightly injured two staff members and seven prisoners. Donahue, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said "it would be total speculation" to estimate the riot's costs at this time. Trina Randall, a spokeswoman for GEO Group Inc., said it could take a few days to assess the expense of sending emergency squads, county police and Indiana State Police to the prison to end the fracas, which involved about 500 inmates from Arizona and Indiana. "They're going from housing unit to housing unit today doing that estimate. We're responsible for the costs of the riot, and I'm assuming that includes overtime," she said. During Tuesday's riot, prisoners from Arizona and some from Indiana set mattresses and paper afire in a prison courtyard, destroyed furniture and broke windows, officials said. Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group assumed management of the medium- security prison about 45 miles east of Indianapolis in January 2006 under the terms of an earlier contract. Last month, the Indiana DOC and GEO Group signed a contract specifying how the company would handle inmates Indiana had agreed to accept from Arizona. As of Wednesday, about 630 Arizona inmates had been moved to the prison. The remaining transfers to the prison, which already houses 1,050 Indiana prisoners, have been temporarily halted. Under that deal, Indiana agreed to pay GEO Group at least $314,212 per week for housing up to 1,200 inmates from the Western state. Last month, Indiana signed a contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections under which Arizona agreed to send up to 1,260 inmates to Indiana. Arizona officials agreed to pay their Indiana counterparts at least $536,256 per week for housing up to about 1,200 Arizona inmates. Indiana House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said Wednesday that the state should cancel that contract. He said Arizona officials knew the arrangement was problematic before the riot and were aware that Indiana bans smoking in prisons, while Arizona permits it. Randall has said many prisoners were upset by the policy, which might have contributed to the disturbance. "They're not our prisoners; they're Arizona's prisoners. They ought to be sent back," Bauer said. Earl Goode, the chief of staff for Gov. Mitch Daniels, released a statement urging Bauer to stay focused on working to complete a new state budget before the current legislative session ends Sunday. "It would be best for all Hoosiers if the Speaker stayed on task and let Commissioner Donahue continue to run the Department of Correction," Goode said in his statement. Indiana's contract with GEO Group states that it has the right to terminate that agreement "whenever, for any reason, the agency determines that such termination is in the best interest of the State of Indiana." The contract between Indiana and Arizona's corrections agencies covers one year but can be renewed for up to three one-year terms if the parties agree. Arizona can end the contract any time after that one-year period ends, while Indiana can end it at any point if Arizona "fails to make timely payments" specified under the agreement.

April 25, 2007 The Star Press
Capt. Ron Deaton, a 22-year corrections veteran, was one of two guards injured Tuesday in a riot inside the New Castle Correctional Facility. A second prison employee was treated and released from Henry County Hospital on Tuesday. His name wasn't released. Deaton's wife, Twilla, said her 53-year-old husband was beaten by inmates and "has a lot of abrasions and bruises" on his face, arms and legs. Twilla gathered with other members of her family in a waiting room at Henry County Hospital while doctors took her husband for X-rays. For years, Twilla said she didn't question or worry uncontrollably about her husband's safety at work. But she also knows that guards inside the prison have become increasingly nervous about conditions recently. "I'll be honest. They all have concerns. (Ron's) always worried about his officers," she said. "They have been understaffed." In the past six weeks, the prison has added 630 inmates to its population, thanks to an agreement with the Arizona Department of Corrections. As soon as that agreement was signed, the prison began an aggressive campaign to increase its staff. Twilla said she knows things aren't always rosy behind bars, but she said for the most part, her husband doesn't talk about work at home. And even despite Tuesday's riot and his minor injuries, she doesn't expect that to change. She didn't expect to get a full riot report once the two were reunited. Ron Deaton has worked at the prison in New Castle since it opened in 2002. Before that, he worked at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, his wife said.

April 25, 2007 The Indianapolis Star
Visibly shaken after barricading himself from rioting prisoners at the New Castle Correctional Facility, officer Larry Savage said he felt outnumbered Tuesday and feared for his life. We're just understaffed right now. . . .We're lucky to get out of there," he said as he left the prison. Savage isn't the only one concerned about staffing. Arizona officials -- who last month began sending the first of more than 1,200 prisoners slated for the facility -- raised concerns about that issue after officials visited New Castle last week. Dora Schriro, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, told the operators of the New Castle prison that she was going to halt the transfer of inmates until staffing issues were resolved, said Katie Decker, a spokeswoman for the department. "There were serious security concerns," Decker said. Decker said only 37 correctional officers were assigned to the 630 Arizona inmates at New Castle on Thursday. Decker could not say what that number should have been but said 131 officers would have been required if all 1,260 Arizona inmates had been transferred. She declined to comment on whether those staffing levels could have contributed to the riot but said officials are re-evaluating their agreement with Indiana. "Is the facility going to be capable of housing the inmates we have there? Are the things that caused this going to be addressed? There's a variety of things we're going to be looking into and saying, 'Where do we go from here?' " J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said Tuesday the state facility, which is operated by a private contractor, GEO Group of Florida, is not understaffed. He declined to elaborate. About 270 corrections officers oversee about 1,668 inmates, including those from Arizona. Donahue acknowledged hearing of Arizona's concerns about staffing. But he said it was a mutual decision not to take additional prisoners from Arizona while both sides evaluate the arrangement. Nevertheless, Donahue said he saw no reason to end the relationship. Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday the troublemakers should be sent back to Arizona. While pledging to review the out-of-state arrangement, he also warned against a rush to judgment. Savage, meanwhile, described a chaotic scene inside the prison, where for a time guards and other prison workers had to barricade themselves in a staff room to keep inmates from entering. "They beat up one of our captains and took his keys," said Savage, who has worked at the prison about eight weeks. Savage said the riot began because some Arizona inmates took off their shirts and were not dressed properly in the food line. He said the Arizona inmates had been threatening some sort of action for several weeks, but he's not sure what set them off Tuesday. "They did not really have any demands," he said. "They were just trying to get a point across that they could take the facility over, and that's what they did."

April 25, 2007 The Star Press
More than $37 billion is spent on incarcerating inmates in the country's jails and prisons each year, and critics of the private prison industry said Tuesday that riots like the one at the New Castle Correctional Facility are often sparked by cost-cutting measures. "You get what you pay for," said Kent Kopczynski, director of the Private Corrections Institute, a group critical of the private prison industry and the privatization of prisons. Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative agreed. "As a general matter, private prisons cut corners," Wagner said. "Private prisons cost as much as public prisons, so the only way they can make a profit is to cut corners." Inmates at the New Castle facility rioted Tuesday, causing injuries to two guards and damage to the facility. The prison is run by the GEO Group. Under the name Wackenhut, the company considered locating a facility in Delaware County in the late 1990s. When guards call in sick, services or recreation programs can be cut, Wagner noted, causing unrest among inmates. Officials on Tuesday cited the role of inmates from Arizona in the riot. More than 600 Arizona inmates -- housed at New Castle after an arrangement among the two states and GEO Group, which operates the privatized state facility -- were housed at the facility this week. As many as 1,260 Arizona inmates were to have been housed in the prison, which has a capacity of 2,400 beds. The prison also housed 1,050 Indiana inmates as of Tuesday. Kopczynski said importing inmates from another state -- such as the Arizona inmates at the New Castle prison -- can also increase the possibility of disturbances. "It's run like a hotel," he said. "They've got to fill the beds. If they can't fill the beds with Indiana natives, they've got to bring them in from elsewhere. You bring in inmates from out of state, and you have a blow-up between inmates." The prison industry in the United States is a big one. CNNMoney reported in March that $37 billion is spent on corrections each year in an effort to keep more than 2 million inmates incarcerated. Kopczynski said the problem of "understaffed and underpaid employees" was common in private prisons. "In a public facility, the staff is reasonably paid, you have health insurance, retirement," he said. "The privateers don't have that. At one GEO facility when the company was still Wackenhut, less than 10 percent of employees participated in the retirement plan because the company paid so much less than they did."

April 24, 2007 Indianapolis Star
State officials will temporarily halt the transfer of Arizona prisoners to the New Castle Correctional Facility after a riot Tuesday that prompted calls for an end to housing another state's inmates in Indiana. Department of Correction officials said nine people -- two prison employees and seven inmates -- suffered minor injuries in separate disturbances involving Arizona and Indiana prisoners during a two-hour period Tuesday afternoon at the facility 50 miles east of Indianapolis. Commissioner J. David Donahue said the Arizona prisoners may have been upset because Indiana prisons have different rules, including a ban on smoking and limits on personal items inmates can have in their cells. The Arizona prisoners are kept separate from Indiana inmates. Tuesday's disturbance is the latest example of riots led by prisoners shipped to other states for incarceration. At least two other uprisings since 2003 involved Arizona inmates held in out-of-state prisons. The riot also prompted a key legislative leader to call for the state to cancel the Arizona deal. "The idea of bringing in people from another state who bring along their gangs, allegiances and different alliances immediately was a mixture that was bound to bring trouble," said House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend. Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday night the inmates specifically involved in the incident "need to go home" and that he will review the entire out-of-state arrangement today with Donahue. But even before Tuesday's riot, Arizona officials had decided to stop sending inmates to the New Castle prison because a recent visit raised "serious security concerns." Dora Schriro, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, visited the New Castle Correctional Facility on Thursday and found insufficient staffing for her state's 630 inmates, said Katie Decker, a spokeswoman with the department. Schriro also was concerned about where officers were stationed. "She advised the operators of that prison that she was going to halt the transfer of inmates until these issues were resolved," Decker said. "There were serious security concerns." Decker said only 37 correctional officers were assigned to the Arizona inmates Thursday. She could not say what that number should have been but said 131 officers would have been required if all 1,260 Arizona inmates had already been transferred. She declined to comment on whether those staffing levels could have contributed to the riot. Arizona is paying Indiana $6.1 million to house its inmates. Daniels and others supported the deal in part because the prison was only about half full. The New Castle prison is state-owned, but Indiana contracts with GEO Group of Florida to operate it. The first 104 prisoners arrived March 12. Decker, the Arizona corrections spokeswoman, said Arizona would prefer to keep its prisoners in-state but can't accommodate the growing inmate population. Arizona also sends some inmates to a prison in Oklahoma. It had sent about 1,500 to private prisons in Texas, but those contracts were canceled late last year. Decker said the future of the contract with Indiana is in question. "Is the facility going to be capable of housing the inmates we have there? Are the things that caused this going to be addressed? " While the riot raised concerns about the deal with Arizona, it also prompted questions about the state's contract with a private firm to manage the facility. The state signed a contract with GEO Group in September 2005 to run the prison for four years with an option for three two-year extensions. Officials with the company declined comment Tuesday. Daniels said the fact that the prison is privately managed did not have anything to do with the riot, and his office released a history of disturbances at Indiana correctional facilities to help support his point. "In fact, the management there responded beautifully, as did the public authorities," said Daniels, who has sought to privatize parts of state government. But Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker disagreed and said privatization of the prison likely contributed. "What happened today is a tragedy. I think it all ties back to the fact that (the governor) has privatized essential government services," Parker said. House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, cautioned people not to rush to judgment. "It's too early to make any rash judgments about what happened in New Castle," he said. "I think we need to find out exactly what happened, who is responsible and how prison officials reacted. This is not the first prison riot in national history, nor is it the last." Tuesday's trouble began about 2 p.m. as a group of Arizona inmates became defiant as they were being moved from a dining hall to their cellblocks, said Donahue, the DOC commissioner. Donahue said many of the inmates began removing their shirts, apparently in a show of solidarity for the "noncompliance," and one guard was either knocked or pushed to the ground. A group of Indiana inmates -- who do not mingle with the Arizona prisoners and are kept separate by fences -- became aware of the disturbance, and about 500 of the prison's 1,668 inmates became involved, he said. Rioters broke scores of windows and set several fires in outdoor recreation areas before guards used a chemical agent to quell the disturbance after about two hours. Guards first isolated the areas of disruption, giving inmates time to decide who was going to participate and who was going to be bystanders rather than rushing in, Donahue said. "We don't rush to judgment," he said. "We don't want to put additional folks at risk. We didn't have anyone in harm's way." It's not unusual for tensions to flare up at a prison that's privately run and has prisoners from different states, said Ken Kopczynski, executive director of the watchdog Private Corrections Institute. For one, prisoners often end up far away from their relatives and friends, making visits difficult. "How do you expect the family to stay in touch," he said, "when they're in Arizona and they have to fly all the way to Indiana?" In addition, companies such as GEO Group subject prisoners to different rules, based on the contracts they have with different states. For example, prisoners from one state can have food more times per day or access to reading materials or better medical care than prisoners from another state. Guards did keep the prison populations apart, as all management companies are required to do, but that rarely stops the flow of information, Kopczynski said. Once one group finds out the guards are treating another group better, prisoners can become resentful, angry and violent. That kind of unequal treatment doesn't usually happen in public prisons, because the prisoners are from the same state. But transferring prisoners from state to state is becoming more and more common as states run out of beds and decide it's cheaper to ship prisoners to other states, rather than build a prison of their own. Prisoners' rights' advocates said that the arrangement is a recipe for disaster from the start. Donna Leone Hamm, director of Middle Ground Prison Reform, an Arizona-based nonprofit inmate advocacy group, said she is not surprised that violence broke out at the prison. She said her organization has been contacted by inmates and their family members who said prisoners were shipped off to Indiana against their will and with little notice, including some who said they were roused from their beds in the middle of the night and told to pack. Because Arizona transports prisoners deemed least likely to cause trouble, well-behaved inmates felt they were being punished for playing by the rules, Hamm said. In addition, some couldn't bring along personal property, including televisions, she said.

April 24, 2007 WISH TV
Indiana State Police have confirmed a disturbance at the New Castle Correctional Facility. Troopers have been dispatched to the scene. New Castle Mayor Tom Nipp calls the disturbance a "full scale riot." According to Indiana State Police there was some sort of argument between the inmates from Indiana and the prisoners from Arizona that the facility has been housing since early March. The facility has confirmed two staff members have been injured and one of those staff members is in the emergency room at Henry County Memorial Hospital. So far reports are cell houses D, I, or J were involved in the incident. The riot erupted around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. Local law enforcement arrived by 2:15 p.m. Chopper 8 flew over the scene and witnessed at least three burning fires set around the facility. "Prisoners were trying to tear down some fence," said Nipp. "The exterior fence is electrical wire. The police department has been fully mobilized." A perimeter has been established around the facility to ensure that if anyone did manage to get over the fence, measures are being taken to ensure the public's safety. Facility staff and personnel say they are managing the situation professionally and applying procedures including tear gas to return the facility to stable conditions. "New Castle is quite secure. All due precautions are in place to maintain that security," said Nipp. GEO Group manages and operates New Castle Correctional Facility. In a phone interview with GEO Group Spokesman Pablo Paez, he said they are working to bring the situation under control. Paez said there are over 1,000 inmates from Indiana currently at the facility and they are in the process of taking in inmates from Arizona. There are currently 630 inmates from Arizona at the facility. That process stared at the beginning of March. Katie Decker of the Arizona Department of Correction confirmed that 630 inmates from Arizona have been transferred to the facility so far. Transfer of additional prisoners is on hold for right now.

March 15, 2007 The Star Press
Two convicted felons, including one from Muncie, have been accused of operating a marijuana-dealing operation within the walls of the New Castle Correctional Facility. Matthew D. Wilson, 24, Bedford -- serving a one-year sentence for a Lawrence County theft conviction -- has been charged with dealing in marijuana, a class D felony, and possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, in Henry Superior Court 2. King Parrish, 20, Muncie -- serving a six-year sentence imposed in 2005 for a Delaware County robbery conviction -- is charged with misdemeanor counts of dealing in marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. According to state police, Wilson was found to be carrying a bag of marijuana. Nine other bags were later recovered from Parrish's cell. Charges against the men were filed March 6. King has since received a May 22 trial date, while Wilson's trial is set for June 13. Wilson, who has prior drug-related convictions, was scheduled to be released from prison Dec. 2. Parrish, convicted of robbing an employee of a southside business, was set to be released in July 2008.

March 1, 2007 AP
An inmate accused of using forged documents to walk out of the New Castle State Prison apparently duped a woman into helping him, police said. State police said Jared Bailey, 23, tricked a female friend into believing that his time in prison was up. The woman, whose name police did not release, came to the prison Feb. 17 with what was purported to be a court order for his release. ''Right now we don't have any indication that anyone else assisted with his escape,'' said Scott Jarvis, an Indiana State Police detective. Two days later, Bailey's family tipped off authorities to his early release and he was arrested early in Needham, a small Johnson County community about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. Bailey was scheduled for release on Nov. 23, 2008, according to information posted on the Indiana Department of Correction Web site. He is serving sentences for forgery, theft and receiving stolen property, the IDOC site said. Prison spokeswoman Trina Randall said an officer on duty the night Bailey escaped told her that the woman showed an identification badge. Jarvis said the woman told police she doesn't have such a badge. ''Right now there's no indication she did show any type of badge or has possession of a badge,'' Jarvis said, adding that authorities do not intend to file any charges against her. It was not clear if any prison employees might be disciplined for Bailey's escape. ''That's still under investigation,'' Randall said. The GEO Group, which manages the prison for the state, conducted its own investigation but that report was confidential, she said. The Indiana Department of Correction also was expected to investigate. In October 2004, Bailey was charged with forgery after he allegedly created his own court order while imprisoned at the Monroe County Jail in Bloomington. Authorities say he created a fake court document lowering his bond to $500 from $100,000. The forgery was discovered when a friend faxed the document to the county jail, and authorities became suspicious.

February 28, 2007 The Star Press
Jared Bailey can do more than just create fake court papers from inside his jail or prison cell. He's 2-0 against two friends who in separate incidents were apparently tricked into helping him attempt to escape from confinement. The 23-year-old walked away from the New Castle Correctional Facility Feb. 17 with the help of a female friend who Indiana State Police say was duped into believing Bailey's time behind bars was up. "Right now, we don't have any indication that anyone else assisted with his escape," said Scott Jarvis, an Indiana State Police detective. But that's not the story the prison presented Feb. 20 in its news release about the incident. "Bailey was released from the New Castle Correctional Facility to a female who was carrying what appeared to be a community corrections ID from Marion County, Indiana, along with a court order calling for the release of offender Bailey to Marion County Community Corrections," according to the press release, which was written by the prison's public information officer Trina Randall. Bailey's family members notified police Feb. 19 that he had been released by mistake. Early the next morning, he was arrested in Needham, a small Johnson County community about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. Randall told The Star Press on Tuesday that she talked to the sergeant on duty the night Bailey escaped. The officer maintains the woman, whose name hasn't been released, showed an ID. But detective Jarvis said the woman has told police she doesn't have such a badge. And this wouldn't be the first time Bailey has implicated a friend while trying to get himself out of jail. "Right now, there's no indication she did show any type of badge or has possession of a badge," Jarvis said, though he acknowledged it's a detail prison employees can't agree upon. The detective met with Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane on Tuesday afternoon, and Jarvis said charges won't be filed against the woman. In October 2004, Bailey pulled a similar trick while inside the Monroe County Jail in Bloomington. Held on felony forgery and theft charges, Bailey created court papers in an effort to lower his bond from $100,000 to $500. He then sent the papers to a friend and asked the friend to fax them. When the papers were faxed to the jail -- at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night from a nearby Kinkos -- officials took notice. They also noticed the fact that Monroe County was mis-spelled as "Monroeroe." That stunt earned him more felony charges and a higher, $250,000 bond, plus some Internet notoriety. His story is featured on The Smoking Gun,, a popular Web site that posts all kinds of public documents and the sometimes-bizarre stories that go with them. Police are on to both tricks, and Jarvis said "it does show a pattern." For now, it's uncertain what will happen at the prison and to any employees who might not have followed protocol the night Bailey escaped. Asked if any staff members had been reprimanded for the incident, Randall said "that's still under investigation." Randall said The GEO Group, the private company that manages the New Castle prison for the Indiana Department of Correction, conducted an investigation of the incident. When The Star Press asked for a copy of the investigation report, Randall said, "I think that's confidential." The DOC's internal affairs division was to conduct its own investigation, but a DOC spokeswoman didn't return a call from the newspaper Tuesday.

December 31, 2006 AP
California no longer plans to transfer more than 1,200 of its inmates to an Indiana state prison, an official said. Trina Randall, New Castle Correctional Facility's public information officer, on Thursday confirmed to The Courier-Times that the deal had fallen through. The plan was thwarted because of a lawsuit against California over the possible transfer, and a lack of inmates willing to volunteer to make the cross-country move. Gov. Mitch Daniels announced in October a contract between California and Florida-based GEO Group Inc., the company Indiana hired to operate the New Castle prison. He said 1,260 inmates would be transferred to Indiana in a deal that was to have created 200 Indiana jobs. The deal was part of plans to alleviate prison overcrowding in California, and the Indiana prison was to be paid $63 per day to house each of that state's inmates, with $15 of that going to state government. Daniels had said the state would make about $6.2 million in each of the next two years. The medium-security prison in New Castle, 40 miles east of Indianapolis, has a capacity of 2,416 but has only 1,068 inmates. But a news release earlier this week from the Indiana Department of Correction termed the transfer as "not likely." It said that the DOC was working with another state on an agreement similar to the California deal. "We are in the process of reviewing a proposal from that jurisdiction," said DOC Commissioner David Donahue.

October 28, 2006 The Star Press
Talking about how inmates re-enter society after serving time in prison is a touchy subject here, as residents worry about the 1,260 California inmates who are headed to the New Castle Correctional Facility. So, when Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue came to New Castle on Friday for a town hall meeting to talk about the road to re-entry, he knew he'd have to address public concerns about the issue. Donahue, appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2005 as the leader of the DOC, said questions about where and how those California inmates will be released are among the most-frequently asked. And though the deal should bring with it no expense to local taxpayers, Donahue did acknowledge there are some instances when the county has "certain inherent responsibilities" because the prison is located there. That likely means that in the event an inmate is charged with a crime while behind bars, Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane's expenses would remain the county's responsibility. That's not the answer Henry County officials wanted, as Henry County Councilman Richard Bouslog hoped the county could recoup its court expenses. Bouslog was among the many elected officials in the crowd of the old circuit courtroom inside the courthouse Friday afternoon. Members of the county council and board of commissioners, as well as candidates for political office, made up the majority of the 50-person crowd.

October 6, 2006 Courier Journal
Up to 1,200 medium-security prisoners from California will be housed in the state's underused New Castle Correctional Facility, Gov. Mitch Daniels announced yesterday. Daniels said the deal he struck with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will result in a $6.2 million profit for Indiana. Indiana officials initiated the negotiations, which took four or five months, after reading about California's prison-crowding crisis, Daniels said. GEO Group, the private company that runs the prison in east-central Indiana, will hire 200 additional workers to oversee the new prisoners. "We saw an opportunity and contacted California officials several months ago," Daniels said. "We look at every way we can to be creative and businesslike, and this is a win for everyone."

June 21, 2006 The Star Press
Two inmates at the New Castle Correctional Facility were charged Tuesday with killing a fellow prisoner who was found dead in his cell June 1. Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane charged Mareese Boyd, 31, East Chicago, and Romie Jackson, 27, of Gary, with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. A preliminary autopsy report indicated Roger Hewitt, 43, had been strangled. The charges followed an investigation by detectives from the Indiana State Police post in Connersville. Trial dates for Boyd and Jackson have not yet been set in Henry Circuit Court. Hewitt, from the Terre Haute area, had served a little more than two months on a 3-year sentence imposed for a Dearborn County forgery conviction. With credit for good behavior, he would have been eligible for release next spring. Boyd is serving a 20-year sentence imposed in 2001, when he was convicted of three counts of armed robbery, robbery, battery and battery by bodily waste, all in Lake County. He was also convicted of criminal deviate conduct there in 1994. Department of Correction records listed his tentative release date as August 2012. Jackson is serving an eight-year sentence for a 2002 auto theft conviction, also in Lake County. His release date was listed as January 2010. Operations at the New Castle prison were contracted out to GEO Group Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based private corrections company, on Jan. 2, becoming the first prison in the state to be privatized. The New Castle facility opened in 2002 at the site of a former state hospital. Department of Correction statistics reflected an average daily population of 332 inmates as of March.

April 12, 2006 The Star Press
Everybody likes popcorn and, at Tuesday's Star Press Job Fair, everybody liked Weaver Popcorn. Representatives of the Van Buren company came to the job fair seeking applicants for machine operator and fork-lift driver positions with pay starting at $14 an hour -- and very quickly saw a run on their booth by would-be applicants. Marjorie Gaither, human resource manager for the New Castle Correctional Facility, agreed. The prison, operated by the GEO Group, came to the job fair seeking 10 correctional officers. The positions will pay $8 an hour while the officers are in training, but will eventually pay $11.

November 6, 2005 Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette 
The Indiana Democratic Party - reduced to a watchdog role in a world of Republican-controlled politics - took Gov. Mitch Daniels to task last week over more than half a billion dollars in state contracts awarded to non-Indiana companies. The party used a database kept by the Indiana Department of Administration and business information filed with the Indiana secretary of state's office to determine that roughly $539 million in contracts went to companies with principal places of business or headquarters located outside of Indiana. All the contracts were signed after Jan. 10, when Daniels took office. "As a candidate, Mitch Daniels spent millions of dollars telling voters he would make it a priority to reinvest tax dollars in Hoosier businesses," Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said. "It seems like that was just another empty promise he made to get into office." The written statement said the three largest contracts were $264 million to Missouri-based Correctional Medical Services for prison health services; $135 million to Texas-based Electronic Data Systems Corp. for fiscal services for the Medicaid program; and $53 million to Florida-based GEO Group Inc. for the operation and management of an adult correctional facility.

September 26, 2005 Florida Business Journal
The Geo Group said it has signed a four-year contract with the Indiana Department of Correction to operate and manage a prison in New Castle, Ind. The Boca Raton-based correctional and detention management firm said its deal has three, two-year extensions. That gives the contract for the 2,416-bed New Castle Correctional Facility a total term of 10 years. George C. Zoley, Geo (NYSE: GGI) chairman and chief executive officer, said his company is the first contract manager of a state prison in Indiana. J. David Donahue, Indiana Department of Correction commissioner, said partnering with Geo will allow his department to fully use the New Castle Correctional facility, meet ongoing departmental capacity needs and improve the department's business.

September 8, 2005 Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Privatizing the New Castle Correctional Facility is off to an ignominious start. Indiana selected a company that overcharged Florida several million dollars in running two prisons. The fact the contractor made contributions to Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana GOP, and not to Democrats, only makes this deal look worse than it should. The Indiana Department of Correction is expected to sign a 10-year renewable agreement by Friday with the GEO Group Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based prison management firm. The Aug. 30 announcement that GEO had been selected came a little more than month after a Florida Department of Management Services audit charged that GEO and Corrections Corp. of America overcharged Florida nearly $13 million. The audit found that GEO billed Florida for salaried positions that were vacant and charged an excessive rate for cost-of-living adjustments for worker salaries from January 1999 to December 2004, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The inspector general also found the state’s prison contractors were allowed to avoid minimal staffing requirements for nurses, trainers and teachers. The audit blistered Florida’s defunct Correctional Privatization Commission for putting “profits for the politically well-connected companies ahead of the public interest,” the Tallahassee paper reported. Since this is Indiana’s first foray into private prisons, GEO’s troubles in Florida should be a primer into what happens when no one is watching – or cares to look. Although GEO’s past errors aren’t necessarily an indication of what the future will bring, Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue and Daniels should make sure strict measures are in place to ensure the state won’t be overcharged and that services are kept up to standard. Saving money shouldn’t trump accountability. The contract also raises another issue. The state rejected a proposal from New Castle employees to run the prison. This contrasts to candidate Daniels’ stance that Indiana should buy from Indiana. Daniels told voters in 2004 that “nobody’s minding the store” when it comes to procurement and the state was doling out too much taxpayer money with out-of-state companies. Unfortunately, outside scrutinizing of the New Castle-employee proposal or any other bid submitted isn’t possible yet because the Correction Department won’t release details about any of the bids until the contract is signed. How convenient.

September 4, 2005 Ft Wayne Journal Gazette
Gov. Mitch Daniels’ administration is set to give another big state contract to an out-of-state company. This time GEO Group Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., began negotiations to run the state prison in New Castle – a first-ever endeavor for Indiana. The exact terms of the contract are still being finalized. It is the first time the company has ever done any business in Indiana, according to Pablo Paez, director of corporate relations for GEO. So what happened to Daniels’ promise to “Buy Indiana?” “Our principal motive always in pushing Buy Indiana policies is to see that the money spent by the state wherever … winds up in Hoosier pocketbooks and paychecks, not in paychecks elsewhere.” And speaking of pocketbooks, did we mention that GEO Group – previously called Wackenhut Corrections – gave $10,000 to Daniels during his campaign in 2003 and 2004? The company also gave $5,000 to the Indiana Republican State Central Committee in March, just a few months before the bid was due and in a non-election year. Daniels’ press secretary Jane Jankowski said earlier in the week that she had no ethical concerns about the contract and questioned why “everybody wants to go down that path.” As for Daniels? “I didn’t know it. David Donahue (Department of Correction commissioner) didn’t know it. I didn’t talk to David Donahue about who he was going to choose.”

August 31, 2005 Indy Star
A Florida-based firm has been picked by the Indiana Department of Correction to be the first private company to run a state prison in Indiana. A 10-year renewable contract for GEO Group to run the New Castle Correctional Facility should be completed no later than Sept. 9, correction Commissioner J. David Donahue said Tuesday. Until then, he said, the state will not release any information about the company's bid or the five other bids submitted. Four were by other private firms, and one was from Department of Correction employees at New Castle. Gov. Mitch Daniels told those employees last week that their bid was rejected. George C. Zoley, chairman and chief executive officer of GEO Group, issued a statement saying the company "will work hard to establish a public-private partnership with the state of Indiana." He said the company also will work with the community of New Castle, where most of the current staff resides, "to maximize the local and state economic development impact of the project." The company has made campaign contributions to both Daniels and the Indiana Republican Party, but not to Democrats. On Dec. 2, 2003, the company, then called Wackenhut Corrections, gave $5,000 to Daniels' campaign. GEO Group gave an additional $5,000 to Daniels on March 31, 2004; it gave $5,000 this year to the Indiana GOP, on March 1. Donahue said he had not known of the company's political activities until asked by a reporter and that the contributions had no bearing on GEO Group's selection.

June 30, 2005 Evansville Courier & Press
Indiana prison officials are drawing up the details on plans to contract out operation of a state prison in New Castle, Ind. They've chosen a firm to run food service for the other state prisons and are also looking into having a contractor take over nursing services. These are just a few changes state officials are looking into that could potentially cut state jobs. That has some state employees and their representatives wondering just how many jobs -- and at what pay scale -- may be left after the dust settles. "There's been a profound disregard of state employees by this administration," said Joe Lawrence, a spokesman for AFSCME, one of several affiliated unions that represent state workers. One of Gov. Mitch Daniels' first moves in office was to end state employees' right to collectively bargain. Lawrence said that and the push to privatization have made the work environment for state employees "treacherous." And some big backers of privatization, such as Geoffrey Segal, director of government reform with the Reason Foundation, are lending their support to the push. "The basic principle is that competitive arrangements are always superior to monopoly arrangements," Segal said. "Competition fosters innovation and a focus on the bottom line and cost savings."  State Rep. Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville, said he understands the administration's push and he's excited that running the prison at full capacity would mean more jobs in the region. Be he said he's concerned about how a private prison company would treat employees. "There will be more jobs here," Saunders said. "The concern is what will those jobs pay and what kind of benefits will they get?" Most likely not comparable to state wages and benefits, according to Ken Kopczynski of the Private Corrections Institute, a watchdog and critic of Florida's private prison system. "What the industry does is they come in and say: 'We can do it better and we can do it cheaper,'" Kopczynski said. "One way they do that is on the back of employees." He said private prisons nationwide have about a 50 percent employee turnover rate while government-run prisons have a 15 percent rate. Donahue has already inked a deal to turn over the food service of state prisons to a private company. And he's also reviewing whether to contract out for nurses. He said a private firm already oversees the medical systems but the nurses are state employees. He said chronic shortages of nurses force the state to hire temporary workers to fill the jobs. And with a private firm managing and a mixture of state and temp workers providing the service, it sometimes becomes a matter of "too many cooks in the kitchen." But some prison nurses are worried about the possibility. "I'm terrified," said Rebecca Fowler, a nurse at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility for nearly 13 years. "We've put up with a lot of physical, mental and verbal abuse for this job security and we're losing it." Fowler said many nurses came to work in Indiana to escape privatization in Illinois' state prison nurse system. She said in Illinois, the wages and benefits were competitive when the private companies first took over but fell year by year. "The health care is going to drastically drop," Fowler said. "Why work for a private company when you can go back to a hospital?"

April 27, 2005 Ft Wayne Journal Gazette
Prison privatization is a bad idea that has finally made it to Indiana. On Monday, the Indiana Department of Correction announced that it was indeed sending out requests for proposals for a private company to run the New Castle Correctional Facility. If a company is selected, the department said it should fill the prison to capacity of 2,000 inmates within the next 15 to 18 months. (The prison now has about 380 inmates.) The announcement isn’t really a surprise. The state’s correction commissioner, J. David Donahue, is a former vice president of U.S. Corrections Corp., one of the industry’s leading contractors. There are those serving in Indiana’s government who believe private industry is always better equipped than government to supply the people’s needs. While that principle may be true for, say, information processing, it certainly isn’t the case for prisons. The state has a responsibility to inmates, the citizens and the Constitution when it comes to incarceration. Private corporations have the added burdens of corporate governance and maximizing shareholder profits. It doesn’t make sense to privatize such a sensitive area, where public interest is far more critical than turning a buck. For example, when the financial knife inevitably falls, what’s going to get cut? Salaries, benefits, health care. What falls as a result? Morale and quality. Even academics who favor a mix of private and public services see a danger in turning over entire prisons to for-profit organizations. “The downside is large and the upside is minimal,” said John Donahue, an Indiana native and professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government who specializes in studying governmental privatization. (He is not related to the corrections commissioner.) Although John Donahue isn’t fundamentally opposed to for-profit prisons, he has not seen much data that convince him that private prisons are inherently better for inmates or the state. If privatization is about introducing competition, how is this going to happen in a system in which, realistically, growth should be frowned upon and the outputs are complex and hard to quantify? With prison systems, entrenchment by bad performers is more likely to occur than a wholesale replacement by a competitor. There is a lot to be said about continuity and prisons. Furthermore, there’s the overall creepiness of this prospect: private industry lobbying for tougher sentencing laws.  Prison privatization in Indiana is a bad idea that should be shelved.

April 26, 2005 The Star Press
The Indiana Department of Correction will ask private prison contractors to submit bids for operating the New Castle Correctional Facility. The agency will review any bids it receives in August, and if it awards a contract, the prison could reach full capacity with more than 2,000 prisoners by early 2007, Commissioner J. David Donahue said. Gov. Mitch Daniels suggested the possibility of contracting the prison's operation to a private company during his campaign last year, and DOC spokeswoman Java Ahmed said last month an internal review of such a step could take six months to complete.

Otter Creek Correctional Center
Floyd, Kentucky
October 20, 2006 Herald-Tribune
The state's top auditor is calling for an overhaul of the state's contracting laws that exempt more than $1 billion of government contracts from strict oversight. The money spent at the Communities at Oakwood, the state's troubled home for the mentally handicapped, shows the need for reform, the report released yesterday concluded. State Auditor Crit Luallen, in the third and final report on the state's contracting laws, says the 1998 law regarding privatization of government services is ineffective. Under the law, agencies have to provide a cost-benefit analysis to show that a private vendor could deliver services cheaper than the state, before the deal is signed. Larger contracts must be annually reviewed, the law says. However, almost all contracts to private vendors are exempt from the law because of various loopholes, the audit said. The Department of Corrections pays Corrections Corp. of America about $18.2 million to operate three private prisons. Auditors found that the Department of Corrections used an average cost of three public prisons to determine whether the company could run the Marion Adjustment Center at 10 percent less than the state. But the cost for only one state-run prison was used to do the same calculations for the contract with Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville. Auditors recommended a standardized methodology to determine the 10 percent threshold. They are also recommending that a third party analyze those numbers. "Some of the things that they have recommend make sense," said John Rees, corrections commissioner. He said he is not opposed to creating a standardized methodology, as long as someone familiar with corrections is developing those standards. Rees said corrections is realizing a more than 10 percent savings on the three private prison contracts. In the case of Otter Creek, the privately run women's prison, the savings is almost 15 percent, he said.

May 20, 2005 Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
A private prison in eastern Kentucky is facing closure after losing its contract to hold 650 inmates from Indiana, but a possible deal with the Kentucky Department of Corrections could keep it open. Inmates at Otter Creek Correctional Center are being returned to Indiana prisons, said Steve Owen, spokesman for the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the medium-security prison at Wheelwright in Floyd County. “Most are already gone,” Owen said. “Within a matter of days that institution will be completely empty of inmates.” Unless CCA quickly lands a contract to hold inmates, about 150 employees could join the already long unemployment rolls in eastern Kentucky. They already have been notified that layoffs are coming. The Indiana Department of Correction notified CCA in February of its intent to house the inmates in Indiana prisons. Since then, Owen said, CCA has been attempting to land a contract with another state to house prisoners. Indiana no longer needed to make out-of-state placement of prisoners because two new prisons had opened in the state, creating about 1,800 new beds. Some Indiana legislators questioned the contract with Otter Creek, saying those inmates should be kept in Indiana. When the contract expired in January, Indiana corrections officials didn’t renew it.

May 19, 2005 WYMT
More than 100 jobs may be in jeopardy at one correctional facility in our region. Otter Creek in Floyd County employs around 175 people. The facility lost nearly 600 of their inmates after they were transferred back to Indiana. Some employees are worried about their futures if the center can't fill vacant space. For the last five years inmates from Indiana have occupied the Otter Creek Correctional Facility in Floyd County, but on Friday the remaining 24 will be moving back to Indiana. When officials at Otter Creek found out Indiana had room for the inmates that had been housed in their facility, they started notifying employees about what could happen.

February 28, 2005 Yahoo
Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW - News) announced today that it has received notification from the Indiana Department of Corrections of its intent to return to Indiana approximately 620 male Indiana inmates currently housed at the Company's Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Kentucky. The Company is working with Indiana corrections officials on plans to return the inmates to the Indiana corrections system by the end of May 2005. CCA is pursuing opportunities with a number of potential customers, including the Kentucky Department of Corrections, to fill the vacant space. However, if the Company is unable to obtain a new agreement it intends to implement a phased closure of the Otter Creek facility that will coincide with the return of Indiana inmates. The Company estimates the impact, resulting from the loss of the Indiana inmates, will be approximately $0.05 per diluted share for 2005.

October 29, 2004 Indy Star
Tucked deep within the hills of Appalachia in southeastern Kentucky, the Otter Creek Correctional Center is home to 654 Hoosier inmates, even as the state of Indiana has more than 2,000 prison beds sitting empty. But with two prisons -- the Miami Correctional Facility and New Castle Correctional Facility -- capable of holding more inmates, spending millions of dollars on an out-of-state private company has become a hot issue in the governor's race. When the Indiana General Assembly passed its budget bill in the spring of 2003, lawmakers said the two prison facilities -- the state's newest -- would fill the same number of beds in 2004 that they did in 2003. That meant the state couldn't fill new space available at both Indiana prisons, which have undergone nearly $200 million worth of work over the past four years. The legislative action forced the state to renew its contract with Corrections Corporation of America, a Tennessee-based company that owns the Otter Creek Correctional Center. Phase II of the Miami Correctional facility, which has room for about 1,600 prison beds, was finished in the fall of 2002 at a cost of more than $67 million, and it sits half empty. The prison currently holds 2,125 inmates. The New Castle Correctional Facility, at a cost of more than $118 million, was finished in the fall of 2001, and has room for 1,296 prisoners. It now holds 375 prisoners.

June 26, 2003 Courier-Journal
State corrections officials are preparing to sign a contract to house hundreds of inmates in a private Kentucky prison — even as more than 1,800 new beds sit unused in Indiana prisons.  Some members of the General Assembly are questioning those out-of-state placements and the contract, saying the prisoners should be kept in Indiana since beds are available.  But the budget that lawmakers passed in April discourages it, and Indiana correction s officials say their hands are tied.  "It's incomprehensible," said Rep. Dennis Avery, D-Evansville. "To open up those prisons so the prisoners can stay in the state of Indiana — to me it makes sense. Otherwise, it was a waste of tax dollars for construction."  Indiana currently houses 650 medium-security prisoners at the Otter Creek Correctional Facility in Wheelwright, Ky., under the terms of a contract that expired in January.  The state pays the prison — owned by the Tennessee-based Corrections Corp. of America — $45 a day per inmate, compared to the nearly $50 average cost for Indiana's own prisons.  Indiana Department of Correction officials told the State Budget Committee last week that they intend to sign a new four-year deal soon for the same per-day rate. That contract calls for as many as 1,000 placements at Otter Creek and other Corrections Corp. facilities.  The Otter Creek facility is one of three private prisons in Kentucky that the compa ny bought in 1998 from U.S. Corrections Corp. of Louisville. The prison opened in 1993 as a minimum-security facility for Kentucky inmates but began taking medium-security prisoners from Indiana in January 2000.  CURRENTLY, Kentucky houses 553 prisoners at the medium-security Marion Adjustment Center in St. Mary and 501 inmates at the minimum-security Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, the other two Corrections Corp. facilities in the state.  Lisa Lamb, director of communications for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, said the state is not looking to contract for any additional private-prison beds and is currently building a prison in Elliott County.  Otter Creek Warden Randy Stovall said most of the Indiana prisoners — who make up the entire inmate population there — have sentences that range from 12 months to 10 years. He said about 20 prisoners come and go each month and all have access to programs that include vocational training, drug counseling, parenting skills, anger-management classes and education intended to help inmates get a GED.  Avery said he's convinced it could be cheaper to house the inmates in Indiana. That's because the Otter Creek prisoners are the so-called cream of the inmate crop, the cheapest to serve, he said.  Senate Budget Subcommittee Chairman Bob Meeks, R-LaGrange, said he hopes the correction s department will evaluate whether those inmates could be housed in Indiana prisons at a comparable cost.  "It seems ridiculous to me to send 600-and-some prisoners out of state when we have 1,800-and-some slots open here, especially if we can house them at the same dollar value," he said.  But Gov. Frank O'Bannon 's administration said the state budget — as written by the legislature — provides no authority or money for the correction s department to use the empty beds at the Miami and New Castle prisons.  IN FACT, the two-year budget put $20.6 million — the same amount that was in the last budget — in a fund used to pay for out-of-state placements of male inmates. At the same time, the budget did not increase total funding for the Miami and New Castle prisons to accommodate additional inmates or to open new units.  The State Budget Agency's deputy director, Mike Landwer, said transfers among prison funds are common and could likely be done in this case if the agency wanted to move prisoners back to Indiana. But he said the General Assembly's intentions were clear.  "They do not want us to increase the number of beds being used," Landwer said. "If that means double-bunking, so be it. If that means continuing to use contract beds, that's the preferred approach."  In fact, the budget says explicitly that the prisons' appropriations "do not include money to increase bed capacity beyond what was in use on June 30, 2003." Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, said that was intentional.  "WE WANTED to make the Department of Correction very much aware of the fact that we want a focus on community corrections and alternative sentences" that keep convicted criminals out of prisons, she said.  But other lawmakers say the budget was meant only to keep the department from further expanding the state's prison population, not to force the agency to continue sending current inmates out of state.  The conflict is a symptom of a larger debate among lawmakers and the O'Bannon administration about how to keep criminals off the streets without breaking the bank.  For years — when the state's fiscal picture was far rosier — Indiana lawmakers approved the construction of thousands of new prison beds. But as the state's finances have tightened, the attitude among lawmakers has changed, Simpson said.  "We learned a lesson from other states: You can't build yourself out of a corrections problem," she said. "For a while, we took the advice of the DOC and built many more beds. But at this point in time, we're saying: `We want to put pressure on you — the department — to do as much as you can to build community resources and alternative sentences and rehabilitate people so we don't have this continuous growth in prison population and continuous recidivism.' "  THE RESULT is that newly built units at the two prisons remain unoccupied, although Simpson acknowledged they eventually will be needed.  The O'Bannon administration believes the beds are needed now. The governor asked the legislature for $26 million to use about 1,600 beds in the new units during the next two years. That would have relieved the state's existing crowded conditions and housed the additional 1,200 inmates the courts are expected to send the correction s department through June 30, 2005.  But lawmakers — dealing with the state's worst budget crisis in decades — said they didn't have enough money to open the units and essentially provided no increase in funding for prisons.  Pam Pattison , a corrections department spokeswoman, said the agency is working on a plan to live within that budget. To do that, she said, the "department must use private beds."  Even if the legislature had provided money to open the units, she said, the correction department still would need to place prisoners at Otter Creek.  But Avery said Indiana should move its prisoners into its own facilities.  "It's almost scandalous to build a prison like that and not open it up, yet we ship people outside the state of Indiana and house them in older facilities," he said. "There needs to be more discussion about these issues."

August 19, 2002
As many as 700 former corrections workers could receive a share of $14 million or more in damages, following a federal judge's ruling last week that two executives of U.S. Corrections Corp. violated their duty to safeguard the company's pension plan.   Until 1998, U.S. Corrections operated private prisons in Kentucky.   U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman ruled July 29 in Louisville that Robert McQueen and Milton Thompson created an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, to maintain control of the company and purchased securities with plan funds without determining their fair market value.   Coffman declined to assess damages, leaving it to an independent expert to review the value of U.S. Corrections stock that McQueen and Thompson authorized the plan to buy in 1993. Plaintiffs alleged the two men - who also served as plan trustees - paid too much for the stock, costing the plan $14.8 million plus interest.   The "special master'' has six months to determine the amount of any damages.   McQueen and Thompson were officers of U.S. Corrections in 1993 when they established the plan to buy out J. Clifford Todd, the company's cofounder.   The ESOP borrowed $34.4 million to repurchase two-thirds of the company's outstanding shares.   Todd later went to prison after admitting he paid nearly $200,000 in bribes to the former head of the Jefferson County Jail.  In a 49-page opinion, Coffman wrote that McQueen and Thompson "were unable to transcend their corporate mindset and act solely and exclusively for those participants.''   Corrections Corp. of America, a Nashville private prison operator, acquired U.S. Corrections in 1998. It reached a separate settlement with the plaintiffs for $575,000 before the trial.  (The Courier-Journal)

August 18, 2001
A nine-hour riot by Indiana inmates being held at an eastern Kentucky prison last month caused $14,000 in damage, prison officials say.  The new warden at Otter Creek Correctional Center at Wheelwright said the facility's former supervisors failed to adjust to a tougher classification of inmates in January 2000 when the prison, which had been a minimum-security facility for Kentucky inmates, began taking medium-security prisoners from Indiana.  "As far as I can tell, and I'm at the mercy of my staff, things just never changed,"  Warden Randy Stovall said.  "There were no new rules or procedures put into place."  (AP)

August 16, 2001
The Indiana Department of Correction has an obligation to keep the public informed about big news that breaks behind prison walls, especially when it involves inmates assigned to unfamiliar facilities in other states.  That did not happen when a riot broke out last month at a private prison in Wheelwright, Ky., run by Corrections Corp. of America, where more than 550 Indiana inmates are housed.  During a nine-hour rampage beginning the evening of July 5, more than 400 Indiana prisoners took over several buildings, threw rocks at officials, smashed glass, tossed commodes, sinks and television sets out windows and burned clothes.  The melee at the Otter Creek Correctional Facility in southeastern Kentucky wasn't brought under control until 3:30 a.m. the next day when officers fired shots and threatened to put down the insurrection with deadly force. Nearly 100 state police and deputy sheriffs were called in as backup. There were no major injuries, but there was extensive property damage which will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix.  (The Indianapolis Star)

July 18, 2001
The warden and his top assistant were fired at a privately operated prison where inmates rioted two weeks ago.  William Wolford was fired last week as warden at Otter Creek Correctional Complex in Floyd County because of policy violations, said Steve Owen, a spokesperson for Corrections Corp. of America.  Wolford's top assistant, David Carroll, was fired a couple of days later for the same reasons, Owen said.  (AP)

July 9, 2001
Special response teams were preparing to move in when inmates surrendered control of four dormitories at the medium-security Otter Creek Correctional Center in Floyd County early Friday morning, officials said.  Some inmates hurled rocks and other objects at guards during the nine-hour uprising that started in the recreation yard, said Don Burke, spokesperson for the private prison owned by Corrections Corp. of America in Nashville, Tenn.  "They destroyed everything they could get their hands on, but no one was seriously injured," Burke said.  (Evansville Courier & Press)

July 7, 2001
Rioting inmates surrendered Friday morning after taking control of four dormitories Thursday evening at the medium-security Otter Creek Correctional Center in Floyd County.  "They destroyed everything they could get their hands on, but no one was seriously injured," said Don Burke, spokesperson for the private prison owned by Corrections Corp. of America in Nashville, Tenn.  Burke said negotiators were able to convince the inmates to give up peaceably after about nine hours.  The prison, originally designated for minimum security inmates, switched to medium security last year.  Kentucky State Police said troopers were sent from Pikeville, Morehead and Hazard to surround the outside of the prison to help guard against escapes.  (AP)

Pendleton Correctional Facility
Fall Creel Township, Indiana
Jun 16, 2018
Prison doctor must face inmate suit as judge seeks counsel
A prison doctor must face a lawsuit from an inmate who claims the physician didn’t follow a surgeon’s orders for pain medication and physical therapy after the inmate’s back surgery. The judge in the case also said he would solicit counsel to represent the inmate going forward. Dr. Paul Talbot was denied summary judgment Tuesday in Billy J. Lemond v. Paul Talbot et al, 2:17-cv-113. Talbot was working at Pendleton Correctional Facility in August 2015, after Lemond had undergone necessary lumbar surgery at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. Lemond’s neurosurgeon prescribed an opiate pain medication and physical therapy. Lemond, now housed at Westville Correctional Facility, claims Talbot did not order the medication as prescribed, opting for a less effective treatment, and that he never ordered physical therapy, causing unnecessary pain and loss of mobility. Judge William T. Lawrence wrote that Lemond had overcome summary judgment by presenting numerous disputed facts concerning his post-surgery care at Pendleton. Lawrence did grant summary judgment for co-defendant health service administrator Aleycia McCullough, who along with Talbot was employed by Corizon Correctional Health at the time of Lemond’s claimed injuries. “Mr. Lemond argues that Dr. Talbot is liable to him because he took away the pain medication prescribed by the specialist who performed the surgery and ignored Mr. Lemond’s request for physical therapy to save Corizon money,” Lawrence wrote. “Mr. Lemond argues that it is not possible that Dr. Talbot did not know he was in pain because even a lay person knows that any human being that has their back cut open and the spine worked on and stapled back together is going to be in pain. In response, Dr. Talbot argues that he provided thoughtful and repeated evaluations of Mr. Lemond following his lumbar surgery and prescribed an appropriate course of treatment, which included adequate pain medications … and physical therapy when it was medically indicated. “… The facts taken in the light most favorable to Mr. Lemond are that Dr. Talbot refused to take instructions from a specialist when he reduced the narcotic pain relief prescription from 30 days to 5 days; chose an easier and less effective course of treatment in regards to physical therapy; and inexplicably delayed treatment for both narcotic pain relievers and physical therapy,” the judge wrote. “Under these circumstances, Dr. Talbot is not entitled to summary judgment.” “… The claims against Dr. Talbot shall be resolved through settlement or trial,” Lawrence wrote, while also granting Lemond’s motion for assistance recruiting counsel. “The Court will attempt to recruit counsel to assist the plaintiff in this action.”

Apr 30, 2016
PCF worker charged with trafficking
PENDLETON — An Aramark food service worker at the Pendleton Correctional Facility was arrested Friday for trafficking with an inmate. At approximately 12 a.m. Aramark employee Charles Gish entered the facility to work his scheduled shift in the facility’s Food Service Department, said PCF Assistant Superintendent Andrew Cole. During a routine search, Sgt. Blaine Hurt felt a large lump inside the waistband of Gish’s pants. Gish was directed by Capt. Michael Spurgin to remove the items. Gish then pulled out three packages containing unknown substances. The Indiana State Police were contacted and reported to the facility. Gish was taken by Detective Bob May to the Indiana State Police post, where he was interviewed by ISP and PCF Information and Intelligence Officer Hubert Dunca. Gish was then taken to the Madison County Jail, where he was booked on four counts of trafficking with an inmate involving a controlled substance, which is a Level 5 Felony, and one count of trafficking with an inmate involving tobacco, a Class A misdemeanor. Aramark contracts its food service to the facility. “The confiscation of illicit substances found on a contractual staff member is a constant reminder of the importance of vigilance and consistency by staff when searching other staff members," Cole said. "I am personally disappointed that a person employed at this facility would put our staff at risk by trafficking with an offender."

Putnamville Correctional Facility
Putnamville, Indiana
February 15, 2013

Indiana Dept. of Correction — PUTNAMVILLE – Aaron Flora, 44, of Brazil was arrested on Feb. 14 for attempting to traffick with an offender at the Putnamville Correctional Facility. When Flora arrived to work Thursday morning, Correctional Officer Sharon Wernick was monitoring the facility’s x-ray machine and observed what appeared to be a package concealed in a can of coffee that he was attempting to bring into the facility. A search of the container and of Flora revealed four cell phones, a large quantity of tobacco, and rolling papers. During an interview with Correctional Police Officer Troy Keith, Flora admitted to trafficking stating that the items were intended for offender Jason Wyttenbach, 40, from Indianapolis. Flora was arrested and transported to the Putnam County Jail on a preliminary charge of trafficking with an inmate, Class C felony. Wyttenbach is being held in administrative segregation and could face criminal charges pending the outcome of an investigation. He is currently serving multiple felony sentence. His projected release date is September 8, 2016, for a felony conviction of theft and fraud. Flora has been employed at Putnamville since November 2011 as an Aramark contractual worker. “Volunteers, State and Contractual staff receive extensive training in offender manipulation tactics and how to avoid them. Unfortunately, some still succumb to offender coercion to traffick and betray their obligations,” Superintendent Stanley Knight said in the release. “In a prison environment, it’s not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ your illegal activity will be detected … and, not a question of ‘if’ criminal charges will be pursued, but ‘how long’ of a sentence you may receive.”

February 9, 2011 Banner Graphic
A Brazil man has pled guilty to drug dealing. Seth M. Curtis, 23, will be sentenced March 7 on one count of Class B felony dealing in a narcotic drug. Curtis worked for Aramark Food Services, the company that provides meals for offenders at the Putnamville Correctional Facility. Curtis was originally charged with Class A felony dealing in a narcotic drug and Class C felony trafficking with an inmate. Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley has taken under advisement a plea agreement that reduces the A felony to a B felony and dismissed the trafficking charge. A Class B felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Curtis was a supervisor with Aramark. An investigation into his possible trafficking activity at Putnamville was launched after prison officials received a tip that Curtis was involved in trafficking with Aryan Brotherhood members at the prison.

September 3, 2010 Banner Graphic
A Brazil man who worked for Aramark Food Services, the company who provides meals for offenders at the Putnamville Correctional Facility, has been charged with two felonies connected to trafficking with an inmate. Seth M. Curtis, 22, was formally charged in Putnam County Circuit Court with Class A felony dealing in a narcotic drug and Class C felony trafficking with an inmate. At his initial hearing, Curtis pled not guilty to both charges. His bond was set at $40,000 cash, and as of Thursday he remained lodged in the Putnam County Jail. Curtis requested a public defender, and Joel Wieneke was assigned to the case. A pretrial conference was set for Oct. 14. Court records said Curtis, who was a supervisor for Aramark, was interviewed by officers on Aug. 25 in the Internal Affairs Office at the prison after prison officials received a tip that Curtis was trafficking with Aryan Brotherhood members there. "During the interview Mr. Curtis did admit to trafficking with offender (James) Campbell," a narrative prepared by Putnamville Correctional Facility Correctional Officer Quentin Storm said. Campbell, 37, was convicted in Fulton County in October 2005 on two counts of Class B felony dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug. His earliest possible release date is listed on the Indiana Department of Correction Web site as June 25, 2015. Curtis told Storm he had received a cell phone call from Campbell earlier that day instructing Curtis to "being in the package when he comes into work around 2 p.m." Curtis had smuggled that package into the prison. It was concealed under his testicles, and he voluntarily surrendered it. Storm's report described the package as "a horseshoe-shaped, clear plastic parcel containing what was identified by Mr. Curtis as tobacco." Also in the parcel, the report said, were two smaller parcels wrapped in black electrical tape. Curtis told Storm he had received the parcel from "an unknown black man in Indianapolis behind a 7-11 store on Michigan Street at the direction of offender Campbell. Curtis was not sure what was inside these parcels, but indicated he believed the substances were narcotics." When the parcels were unwrapped, officers found three more parcels wrapped inside balloons. The substance contained in the balloons was field tested and determined to be heroin -- a total of 13.9 grams. Curtis told Storm he had been trafficking with Campbell for about seven months. He said he was paid $300 via Western Union each time he brought a package into the facility. "He could not give me an estimated amount of money he has been paid for trafficking because there were too many incidents to recall," Storm said in his report.

January 31, 2006 Banner Graphic
A new crackdown on contraband inside the prison and a partnership with the Putnam County Sheriff's Department led to the arrest of a Putnamville Correctional Facility staff member Monday. Putnamville Public Information Officer Jim Ebey told the Banner Graphic Monday the arrest of Michelle Lynn Targett, 35, Terre Haute, a contract employee with Aramark food services, came after several corrections officers at the facility were recently deputized by the Putnam County Sheriff's Department. Targett is charged with bringing tobacco into the facility with the intent to distribute it to offenders. She faces a fine of $5,000, Ebey explained. The internal affairs officers, who had been made special Putnam County deputies on Friday, had been targeting Targett after receiving a tip from another staff member. "A lot of information comes from offenders, and the (internal affairs officers) take those tips and try to put together what is truth and what isn't, and then act on it," Ebey said of how the prison handles trafficking issues.

REDI Transports
Dec 15, 2020P
Murder suspect escapes Green Bay company’s van at McDonald’s

GARY, Ind. (AP) - A man charged with murder escaped by jumping through an open window in a transport van while it was stopped at a McDonald’s, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said. Leon Taylor, 22, was being transported from Texas to Lake County by an agent from REDI Transports of Green Bay, Wisconsin, when Taylor fled about 3 p.m. Monday in Gary despite wearing a chain around his midsection, handcuffs and a restraint on his leg, police said. A manhunt by Gary and Lake County sheriff’s police, including a helicopter and K-9 units, was unable to locate Taylor following his escape. He remained at large Tuesday. Martinez said Taylor was being transported from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago at the time. The REDI agent pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru to ensure the prisoner was fed before heading to the Lake County Jail, Martinez said. Taylor requested the agent roll down a window so he could remove his protective mask and spit out the window, Martinez said. When the agent did so, Taylor fled out the window. Police records show Taylor faces a murder charge in East Chicago, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Union County Jail

Advanced Correctional Services
Liberty, Indiana

Union County Sheriff Steve Leverton said the new health care service contracted by the county visited the jail Thursday to tie up final loose ends before their services begin Jan. 1.
Leverton said Advanced Correctional Services has been contracted for $26,000 each year to provide doctor care and other medical services for Union County Jail inmates. "In correctional health care you treat the symptoms," he said. "For example if an inmate has an abscessed tooth. We do not have to fix it, but we do have to treat the symptoms."

Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
Carlisle, Indiana

April 14, 2010 Green County Daily World
A Wabash Valley Correctional Facility contracted food service employee discovered today the recipe for trafficking with offenders includes arrest and a trip to the Sullivan County jail. ARAMARK employee Chandra Beeman, 28 of Sullivan, Indiana allegedly trafficked a cell phone and 243 grams of tobacco to offenders she supervised in a facility segregation unit this afternoon. Alert correctional staff made the discovery after monitoring her activities and searching the workers. Beeman faces a Class C Felony for Trafficking a Cell Phone and a Class A Misdemeanor for Trafficking Tobacco. Internal Affairs Correctional Police Officer Frank Littlejohn's investigation revealed Beeman made arrangements with offender food service worker Jerole Adams to traffick the items into the facility. Adams, 35, and four other offender workers have been segregated as the probe continues. Adams was sentenced to 40 years on a Dearborn County Dealing Cocaine conviction. Adams earliest release date is April 2026. Indiana State Police transported Beeman to Sullivan County for processing after Littlejohn placed her under arrest. Bond was set at $18,000 with Beeman making bail late Wednesday afternoon. Beeman's employment with ARAMARK has been terminated. ARAMARK is under contract to provide food services for the Indiana Department of Correction.

Westville Correctional Facility
Westville, Indiana

March 18, 2009 South Bend Tribune
A food service employee was arrested at Westville Correctional Facility today (Wednesday), accused of smuggling drugs and cell phones into the prison, according to a news release. Erika Garner, 52, of Michigan City, an Aramark Food Service employee, was arrested by Indiana State Police on suspicion of trafficking with an offender and bribery of a public official, the release stated. During a routine search at the prison’s main gate, Garner was reportedly found to be in possession of a package of marijuana and three cell phones and chargers.