Central Falls Detention Facility Corp
(Formerly owned by Cornell Corrections of Rhode Island)
   PCI, 1114 Brandt Drive, Tallahassee FL 32308

Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center
Central Falls, Rhode Island
Central Falls Detention Facility Corp
Mar 6, 2021 patch.com

Central Falls Lawmakers Seek To End RI Private Prison Operation

CENTRAL FALLS, RI — Two Central Falls lawmakers have introduced comprehensive reform legislation that would end private prisons in the state, ban housing Rhode Island prisoners in other states, and stop detention facilities from entering into contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo and Sen. Jonathon Acosta, whose district also includes Pawtucket, announced the package of bills today. The legislation would repeal the Municipal Detention Facility Corporations law, and by the end of 2028 put an end to private operation of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. "Our experimentation with private prisons has been a failure," said Giraldo in a statement. "Not only do private prisons fail to provide the substantial savings we were promised, but they provide fewer correctional services while providing a greater risk to inmates and staff." "Justice shouldn't be a moneymaking endeavor," said Acosta. "We would be horrified if judges were paid on commission, based on the number of people they convicted, so why would we be OK with a prison system that benefits from higher numbers of incarcerations? Justice should never be dispensed with one eye looking at a profit margin." The Wyatt Detention Center has a renewed contract with ICE to house immigrants who are in civil detention, the two lawmakers said. "ICE detainees in Rhode Island have been treated unfairly, they've been exposed to COVID, and have been denied the most basic rights that are afforded to even the most notorious criminals," said Giraldo. "We refer to prisons as 'correctional facilities,' but with ICE detainees, there's nothing to correct. It's time to end the heinous practice of imprisoning these people in a private prison." "Rhode Island shouldn't be in the business of incarcerating immigrants," said Acosta. "These people are being treated as though they are among the worst of our criminals, when their only crime is their desire to become Americans." Other parts of the package would require safety inspections at Wyatt twice a year and prohibit financial institutions from investing in private detention centers. The bills have been referred to committee. The Wyatt Detention Facility, established in 1993, is a publicly owned maximum-security correctional facility run by the private Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation. The facility was built for use by the U.S. Marshals Service, and now also houses immigrant detainees and U.S. Navy personnel in custody. A $47 million expansion was completed in December of 2006. The facility has a capacity of 770 male prisoners and 40 female detainees. Patch has reached out to Daniel W. Martin, warden of the Wyatt Detention Facility, for comment.

Aug 17, 20 washingtonpost.com
Guard resigns from private prison after driving his truck into ICE protesters in Rhode Island

The corrections officer who allegedly drove his hulking pickup truck into a crowd of protesters outside the detention facility where he worked has resigned from the privately run prison, officials there said. The Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility had placed Capt. Thomas Woodworth on administrative leave after widely circulated video showed him on Wednesday behind the wheel of a Chevy Silverado that swerved into a crowd of activists demonstrating against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which works with the Central Falls, R.I., prison. By Friday, Woodworth had left his post, the facility announced in a terse statement. “The incident which occurred on August 14 remains under active investigation by the Rhode Island State Police and under internal investigation by the Wyatt,” the statement read. The protesters, members of the Jewish activist group Never Again Action, were sitting on the pavement, trying to block staff from parking at the facility. When Woodworth accelerated into them, some scattered but others were struck. They were treated at a hospital for injuries including, in one 64-year-old protester’s case, a broken leg and internal bleeding, said Amy Anthony, the group’s spokesperson. She said other guards pepper-sprayed protesters while local police declined to intervene. After the confrontation, Woodworth strolled into the prison. Woodworth’s resignation should be only the beginning, Anthony said in a Friday. She called on the state to continue its investigation into actions she said were illustrative of the way detained migrants are treated. “If these officers felt empowered to attack a group of protesters in front of the public and the media,” Anthony said, “imagine what kind of violence must be taking place inside the prison, out of [sight], against vulnerable immigrants and people of color.” She said Woodworth should face criminal charges. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha (D) announced on Thursday that his office would assist the state police in its investigation. “Once we have a full understanding of the relevant facts, we will determine how to proceed,” he said in a statement. “Peaceful protest is a fundamental right of all Americans; it is unfortunate last night’s situation unfolded as it did.” The Wyatt Detention Facility has contracts with ICE to house immigration detainees, the Providence Journal previously reported, and is operated by the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp. The quasi-public entity is overseen by a board appointed by the Central Falls mayor. The disturbing scene echoed Charlottesville in August 2017 — almost exactly two years earlier — when a neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd protesting a white supremacist demonstration, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. A bipartisan group of state and national lawmakers condemned the guard and called for him to be disciplined. “Expecting swift and decisive action by law enforcement,” state Rep. Blake Filippi, the Republican House minority leader, wrote in a tweet. “The actions by the truck driver don’t appear to be in self defense, or defense of others, from imminent harm - the only justification for violence.” The state’s Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, said the activists were exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. “Our state and our nation were built on the idea that everyone has a right to express their opinion publicly and peacefully,” she said in a statement. “President Trump’s immigration policies are immoral, and these Rhode Islanders were exercising their constitutional right to protest.”


Aug 15, 2019 thedailybeast.com

Rhode Island: Guards terrorize protesters

Private ICE Prison Guard Drives Truck Toward Jewish Protesters in Rhode Island

A man wearing a guard uniform swerved a black pickup truck into a group of about 30 protesters from the Jewish activist group Never Again Action who were demonstrating in front of a Rhode Island prison that cooperates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday night. Video of the encounter in front of the Wyatt Detention Center near Pawtucket shows the driver of the truck honking his horn and stopping before quickly accelerating toward the group. He then walked into the facility. A short time later, a second guard pepper-sprayed the protesters. “It was terrifying because we didn’t know what exactly his intention was,” Amy Anthony, a spokesperson for Never Again Action, told The Washington Post. “It certainly appeared he was trying to hit us.” The demonstrators included children and at least one person in a wheelchair. “If this is the way this correctional officer is behaving in public when people are recording, it’s not hard to imagine the behavior is much worse behind the walls in the facility where no one can see what is happening,” Anthony said.
Jan 7, 2017 ripr.org
Four Wyatt Staffers On Paid Leave, As Investigation Continues
Three correctional officers and one supervisor from the Wyatt Detention Facility are now on paid leave following the escape of prisoner James Morales. The private prison is conducting an investigation into the New Year’s Eve incident. Wyatt's Board of Directors held an emergency meeting Thursday in Central Falls. Before entering a closed executive session, Chairman Luke Gallant made a public statement. He offered few details, except to say that a full report will be made available to the public. “We want to know: were the procedures and policies in place on that day, followed without exception,” said Gallant. “If they were, what are the holes and where are the holes that allowed this escape?” The Wyatt Detention Facility has faced scrutiny in the past for the death of an undocumented immigrant detainee in 2008. The facility went through receivership in 2014. Gallant says the facility is interviewing staff and inmates who shared a cell block with Morales. “The community may rest assured that when this investigation is complete, and all the facts are known, anyone and everyone responsible for this escape will be held accountable,” said Gallant. Prison officials believe Morales escaped after he was left unattended in a recreational area. Regarding the staff members placed on leave, Gallant said the decision should not be read as an indictment. “But a matter of routine protocol for the warden that he deems appropriate.” Gallant did not lay blame for the escape on the Warden Daniel Martin. “I want to state emphatically that this board of directors has full confidence and belief in his leadership, and in the investigation that he is conducting,” said Gallant. Massachusetts State police arrested escaped inmate James Morales in Somerville Thursday, just outside of Boston.

Jan 4, 2017 thesunchronicle.com
Report: Central Falls prison where inmate escaped chronically understaffed
ATTLEBORO — A private prison from which a dangerous prisoner escaped Saturday has been chronically understaffed, according to the prison’s own records. The Wyatt Detention Facility, from which federal inmate James Morales escaped New Year’s Eve, has been operating 20-25 percent below its authorized complement of 140 correctional officers, according to public minutes of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp. With so few officers, remaining guards have been forced to work additional overtime, apparently leading some to quit. The prison is located in Central Falls near the Attleboro line, within a short distance from residential neighborhoods. Morales, being held on charges of breaking into an Army Reserve building in Worcester in 2015 and stealing military firearms, was reported missing by the prison 11:45 p.m. Saturday, nearly five hours after the escape. News reports indicated that video recordings placed the time of the escape at about 7 p.m. Prison Warden Donald Martin told news media that Morales was missed after a count at 10:30. Morales fled on foot to South Attleboro, where he left bloody prison clothing beneath an underpass and stole a car from a local convenience store. The car was later recovered in Framingham. Published reports said Morales had been sighted in that town following the jail break. Framingham police on Tuesday sent automated calls to residents of the central Massachusetts town, warning that Morales may have been spotted there. Attleboro Police Chief Kyle Heagney said the delay in detecting and reporting the escape could have endangered local residents and police who were unaware he was in the area. Federal and state law enforcement officials say Morales should be considered dangerous. It is not clear to what extent limited staffing has impacted security at the privately-run prison. Martin did not return calls from The Sun Chronicle. Wyatt’s inmate population varies from month to month, usually averaging 500 or more. Entry level guards are paid $17.85 per hour, according to the prison’s website. Records of the detention facility corporation list the prison’s authorized complement of corrections officers at 140. However, the corporation’s monthly meeting minutes show just over 100 officers active at any time. The prison’s cadre of supervising officers, from sergeants to captains, has also been below strength. In January 2016, for instance, the prison had only 111 correction officers, of which six were on leave, leaving 105 active officers. Only 14 of 20 authorized sergeants were reported active with one on leave. In May, the minutes indicate, the prison had only 103 active corrections officers and 15 sergeants. Things changed little in August, with only 103 active corrections officers and 14 sergeants, according to the records. In January, one of the corrections officers who resigned reported “excessive overtime” as the reason, according to the corporation’s minutes. The Wyatt Detention Center continues to advertise for correction officer recruits on its website. Federal, state and local police are continuing a round-the-clock search for Morales and have urged anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to contact police. Morales is believed to have been injured climbing over a concertina-topped fence. Officials have also alerted hospitals and other medical providers to be alert to a man with such injuries.