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PCI, 1114 Brandt Drive, Tallahassee FL 32308

Brush Correctional Facility, Brush, Colorado
January 8, 2008 Honolulu Advertiser
A lawsuit filed on behalf of two Hawai'i female prison inmates who claimed they were sexually assaulted by a corrections officer in a privately run prison in Colorado has been settled for an undisclosed amount of money. Honolulu lawyer Myles Breiner, who sued on behalf of the inmates, said the settlement was for a "significant amount of money," but said he cannot be more specific. "This a private settlement among private parties, and I'm obliged not to disclose the dollar amount," Breiner said. "The parties are satisfied with the agreed upon settlement, and the plaintiffs have been sufficiently compensated. ... It was the right thing to do to take responsibility and acknowledge the injuries of these two jail inmates." Out-of court settlements where the state is required to make payment become public record because public money is involved, but that won't happen in this case. Breiner said the state won't have to pay any share of the settlement because Hawai'i was indemnified against inmate lawsuits under its contract with GRW Corp. to hold the women inmates at the Brush Correctional Facility in Colorado. The inmates, 38 and 26, reported they were assaulted in the Brush Correctional Facility law library the evening of Jan. 8, 2005. The inmates claimed corrections officer Russell E. Rollison pushed one of them against a wall and threatened to write up both inmates for misconduct if they did not perform a sex act for him. One of the inmates saved semen from the encounter that was later turned over to investigators with the Colorado Department of Corrections. Rollison resigned and was charged with two counts of felony sexual contact with an inmate in a penal institution, but pleaded guilty in 2006 to a reduced charge of menacing with a real or simulated weapon, which is also a felony. He was sentenced to two years' probation and 60 hours of community service, according to Colorado court records. Gil Walker, chief executive officer of Tennessee-based GRW, did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the settlement. Brush prison officials have said the sex was consensual and that the inmates planned the encounter as a way to get transferred back to Hawai'i, and as the basis for a lawsuit. The allegations of the two Hawai'i inmates became public when Colorado authorities launched an investigation into charges of sexual misconduct involving prison staff and a total of eight inmates from Colorado, Wyoming and Hawai'i. Another former Brush guard, Fredrick Woller, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment of a Wyoming inmate and was fined $200; and former Brush Warden Rick Soares resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false-reporting charge in connection with Woller's case. All Hawai'i inmates at Brush were moved to the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky., which is operated by Corrections Corp. of America. The two female inmates are now serving sentences at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua, Breiner said. Hawai'i now pays more than $50 million a year to house more than 2,000 men and women inmates on the Mainland because there is no room for them in prisons in Hawai'i.

September 26, 2006 Fort Morgan Times
Continuation of the public hearing for CentraCore’s special exception use permit (SEUP) took the main stage Monday at the Brush City Council meeting as concerned citizens, representatives of CentraCore, Cornell and GRW Corporation spoke to the council about CentraCore’s SEUP application. Following comments from council members, officials and citizens, Brush Assistant City Administrator Karen Schminke and staff requested a few minor revisions to the SEUP, and Councilman Harry Rieger moved that the public hearing be closed, and the council review the revised SEUP during the next council meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 9. Recommended revisions include documentation of 1,800 beds as the original SEUP application was for 2,250 combined beds at the two potential facilities, and CentraCore — in light of water availability — revised its application for 450 fewer beds, bringing the total down to 1,800. Schminke stressed the difference between the operator and the applicant for the SEUP in order to ensure both parties adhere to the rules and regulations. Staff is also requiring rewording of the 24-month sunset clause for both possible facilities. The application by CentraCore and Cornell is to build and operate two prisons in the Brush Industrial Park, directly behind the Brush Correctional Facility (BCF) which is owned and operated by GRW Corp. Before beginning the public hearing, Councilman Phillip Northcutt disclosed his employment at the BCF, and council member Chuck Schonberger, disclosed his wife, Pat Schonberger’s, part-time employment at BCF. The council granted both council members permission to continue in the hearing.

July 14, 2006 Honolulu Advertiser
Two Hawai'i women convicts who allege they were sexually assaulted in a private women's prison in Colorado last year have sued Hawai'i prison officials, the company that runs the prison and a former corrections officer. The suit filed by Honolulu lawyer Myles Breiner in federal District Court in Denver alleges the state of Hawai'i should have known conditions were unsafe for the Hawai'i women inmates at Brush Correctional Facility, and was negligent for failing to prevent the assaults. Inmates Jacqueline Overturf, 36, and Christina Riley, 25, reported they were assaulted in the Brush Correctional Facility law library on the evening of Jan. 8, 2005. The inmates claim guard Russell E. Rollison, an employee of prison operator GRW Corp., pushed one of the women against a wall and threatened to write up both inmates for misconduct if they did not perform a sex act for him. Breiner said one of the inmates saved semen from the encounter that was later turned over to investigators with the Colorado Department of Corrections. Rollison resigned and was charged with two counts of felony sexual contact with an inmate in a penal institution, but pleaded guilty earlier this year to a reduced charge of menacing with a real or simulated weapon, which is also a felony. He was sentenced last month to two years' probation and 60 hours of community service, according to Colorado court records. Deputy Attorney General Diane Taira declined comment because lawyers for the state have not yet seen the lawsuit. Gil Walker, chief executive officer of the Tennessee-based GRW, also declined comment on the lawsuit yesterday because he had not seen it. GRW operates prisons in Colorado, Missouri and Kansas. Brush prison officials have said the sex was consensual and that the inmates were using the incident to get transferred back to Hawai'i and as the basis for a lawsuit. Walker said yesterday the prison's inquiry into the case revealed that Rollison was "a willing participant, but we know that (the inmates) perpetrated it, that it was planned." Breiner denied the inmates were involved in any "enticement" of the corrections officer. "This was a deliberate criminal conduct by a senior correctional officer against my clients. They were raped, and it makes no difference whether they were inmates or not, they were raped and abused," he said. The suit also alleges women who complained they had been sexually assaulted at the prison were punished, including Overturf and Riley. The two Hawai'i inmates were locked in solitary confinement for 37 days, according to the suit. The allegations of the two Hawai'i inmates became public when Colorado authorities launched an investigation into charges of sexual misconduct involving prison staff and a total of eight inmates from Colorado, Wyoming and Hawai'i. Another former Brush guard, Fredrick Woller, pleaded guilty in February to misdemeanor harassment of a Wyoming inmate and was fined $200; and former Brush Warden Rick Soares resigned and pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor false reporting charge in connection with Woller's case. The Hawai'i inmates were moved last year from the Colorado prison to the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky., which is operated by Corrections Corp. of America. Overturf was returned to Hawai'i, where she is serving a sentence at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua for drug offenses. Riley has been released on parole after serving prison time for theft, forgery, burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card. Both are undergoing counseling for the assault, Breiner said. The lawsuit does not specify how much in monetary damages the women are seeking, but does say the amount sought is larger than $150,000.

May 12, 2006 Journal-Advocate
Some communities may quiver at the notion a state prison will be built in their area. Some would think a prison would bring nothing but trouble and crime would increase in their towns. From 1999 to the present, the city of Sterling and Logan County have not seen a significant increase in crime, despite a state-run correctional facility opening here in 1999, according to law enforcement officials. The District Attorney's Office also stated the prison has not impacted its caseload in a way that would require major adjustments on its part. "In general, I can't say that the prison has made that much of an impact on my office. Obviously, if we prosecute any prison case it would constitute an increase on our normal caseload, but it is still a relatively small percentage, and some of our higher-visibility cases have involved inmates," 13th Judicial District Attorney Bob Watson said. Watson said private prisons - particularly the Brush facility - had a more significant impact on his office for which they are not receiving any reimbursement for the cases they prosecute. "We were receiving no such reimbursement but that is supposed to be rectified now by changed contracts between private facilities and the state of Colorado," Watson said.

October 13, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
The former warden of a Colorado prison whose staff was accused of sexual misconduct involving Hawai'i women inmates has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge in connection with one of the misconduct cases. Rick Soares resigned as warden of the privately run Brush Correctional Facility in February shortly before Colorado authorities announced they were investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by staff involving eight women inmates from Hawai'i, Colorado and Wyoming. Two corrections officers were later charged with felony sexual conduct in a penal institution in connection with those investigations. Colorado authorities said they could find no evidence the inmates were coerced for sex, but even consensual sexual contact between an inmate and a prison staff member is a felony in Colorado. Soares was later charged as an accessory in one of the two cases for allegedly rendering assistance to Corrections Officer Fredrick Woller "with intent to hinder, delay or prevent" the prosecution of Woller, according to the charge filed against Soares in Colorado's Morgan County District Court. Woller's case, which involves alleged sexual misconduct with an inmate from Wyoming, has been scheduled for trial on Feb. 5, Watson said. A second former corrections officer, Russell Rollison, is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 5 on two similar counts. Rollison is accused of sexual misconduct involving two women inmates from Hawai'i. Both of the Hawai'i inmates were returned to the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua. The rest of the Hawai'i women serving sentences at Brush have been moved to the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky.

October 13, 2005 Pueblo Chieftain
The Colorado Department of Corrections has dramatically improved its oversight of private prisons in the state, prisons officials told lawmakers last week. In giving the Legislative Audit Committee an update on changes it has made in how it manages the state's five private prisons, DOC director of prison operations Nolin Renfrow told lawmakers that all is well. That audit he was referring to was a scathing report released in June that criticized the department for being lax in its oversight of private prisons and ignoring problems with them for years. Prompted by a riot at the Crowley County Correction Facility in Olney Springs last year, the audit said DOC knew or should have known about numerous problems concerning the operations of the prisons but did little to nothing to correct them. The state audit said the department diverted DOC workers whose job was to monitor private prisons to other duties, and failed to enforce operations rules and regulations. And in those instances when the department's private prison monitoring units did discover problems, the department failed to follow up to ensure that corrections were made, the audit said. Four of those facilities are operated by the same Nashville-based company, Corrections Corporation of American. In additional to the Crowley County facility, CCA also operates private prisons in Bent, Huerfano and Kit Carson counties. A fifth private facility that houses female inmates is located in Brush. It is owned by the Brentwood, Tenn.-based GRW Corporation.

October 7, 2005 The Gazette
Private prisons in Colorado could face cash penalties for failing to meet minimum safety standards under new contracts negotiated by the Department of Corrections in the wake of a stinging audit. In June, an audit of Colorado's private prisons, which house about 2,800 of Colorado's 18,000 prisoners, found numerous problems, including inadequate staffing levels, unlicensed medical clinics, employees with criminal backgrounds and poor food services. Thursday, corrections officials gave state lawmakers an update on their response to the audit. For instance, private prisons will be fined if staffing levels do not meet minimum standards or if the meals they feed prisoners are not up to par. "I'm not sure the liquidated damages have enough hammer to them," said Rep. Fran Coleman, D-Denver. Corrections officials said they need time to see if the new penalty system works.

October 2, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
A decade ago, Hawai'i began exporting inmates to Mainland prisons in what was supposed to be a temporary measure to save money and relieve overcrowding in state prisons. Now, the state doesn't seem to be able to stop. With little public debate or study, the practice of sending prisoners away has become a predominant feature of Hawai'i's corrections policy, with nearly half of the state's prison population - 1,828 inmates - held in privately operated facilities in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arizona and Kentucky at a cost of $36 million this year. Hawai'i already leads all other states in holding the highest percentage of its prison population in out-of-state correctional centers, and if Hawai'i policymakers continue on their present course, by the end of 2006 there likely will be more inmates housed in Mainland prisons than at home. Although public safety officials say the private companies that house Hawai'i inmates have generally done a good job, the history of Mainland prison placements is pockmarked with reports of contract violations, riots, drug smuggling, and allegations of sexual assaults of women inmates. Former prisons chief Keith Kaneshiro says years in Mainland prisons have instilled a dangerous gang culture in Hawai'i inmates that has spread back to the Islands and will present problems for local corrections officials for years to come. There is also concern that inmates who are incarcerated on the Mainland lose touch with their families, increasing the likelihood they will return to crime once they are released. Robert Perkinson, a University of Hawai'i assistant professor of American studies, called the state's prison policy "completely backward." "None of this makes sense if your goal is to make the citizens of Hawai'i safer and use your tax dollars as effectively as you can to make the streets safer, based on the best available research that we have," said Perkinson, who is writing a book on the Texas prison system. Marilyn Brown, assistant professor of sociology at UH-Hilo, said Hawai'i's out-of-state inmate transfers are a strange throwback to corrections policies of two or three centuries ago, when felons were banished to penal colonies in Australia or the New World. Most of the $36 million being spent this year on out-of-state prison accommodations will go to Corrections Corp. of America, a pioneer in the private corrections industry. The company holds about 62,000 inmates nationwide, including about 1,750 men from Hawai'i in prisons in Oklahoma, Arizona and Mississippi. Last week the state transferred 80 Hawai'i women inmates from a prison in Brush, Colo., owned by GRW Corp. to Otter Creek Correctional Center, a CCA prison in Wheelwright, Ky. Those selected for Mainland transfers generally are felons with at least several years left on their sentences who have no major health problems or pending court cases that would require their presence in Hawai'i. Private prison contractors have the final say, and can reject troublesome inmates with a history of misconduct. Ted Sakai, who ran the state prison system from 1998 to 2002, said it will always be cheaper to house inmates on the Mainland because of labor costs, which are considerably lower in the rural communities where many prisons are. But there are benefits to keeping prison jobs here, he said. In 2000, state House Republican leaders scolded then-Gov. Ben Cayetano for proposing to lease more prison beds on the Mainland. House Minority Leader Galen Fox said doing so would be bad for the state's economy and the inmates' families. An Advertiser poll of Democrats and Republicans before the start of the Legislature's 2003 session found a majority of state lawmakers opposed the practice. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle also has said she is opposed to sending more prisoners away. Yet spending on Mainland prisons has steadily increased over the past 10 years, and politicians have failed to take action on alternatives. The Cayetano administration explored several options for privately built or privately operated facilities on the Big Island and O'ahu, but each proposal was thwarted by political resistance or opposition from communities near suggested prison sites. Lingle campaigned in 2002 on a promise to build two 500-bed secure "treatment facilities," but three years later, no specifics have been provided on when or where the projects might be built. As Hawai'i's policy of out-of-state incarceration becomes more entrenched, other states are moving in the opposite direction. Connecticut and Wisconsin both recently brought home almost all of their inmates who had been housed elsewhere, and Indiana returned 600 convicts from out-of-state prisons. Alabama, meanwhile, doubled the number of convicts on parole to allow inmates to return from a Corrections Corp. of America-run prison in Tutwiler, Miss., last year. The vacancies at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility were filled by more than 700 Hawai'i inmates. Wyoming plans to open a new prison in 2007 that would allow the state to bring back 550 inmates now held out of state, and lawmakers in Alaska last year authorized planning for a new prison of their own.

September 29, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
About 80 Hawai'i women prison inmates boarded an airplane in Colorado yesterday for a trip to the small rural town of Wheelwright, Ky., where they will be housed in a prison run by Corrections Corporation of America. The women had been held for the past 14 months in the Brush Correctional Facility in Brush, Colo., a private prison run by GRW Corp. that was plagued by problems including allegations of sexual misconduct between staff at the prison and eight inmates from three states, including Hawai'i. The inmates are among 1,828 Hawai'i convicts who are housed at privately run prisons on the Mainland because there is no room for them in Hawai'i prisons. Colorado Department of Corrections officials launched investigations into Brush Correctional Facility earlier this year that resulted in a number of criminal charges against staff and inmates in Colorado. Two prison employees were indicted on charges of alleged sexual misconduct with inmates, and two more prison workers were charged along with five inmates in connection with an alleged cigarette-smuggling ring. Brush Warden Rick Soares resigned in February, and was later indicted as an alleged accomplice in one of the sexual misconduct cases. In March the Colorado Department of Corrections revealed that five convicted felons were allowed to work at the prison because background checks on some staff members had never been completed. Colorado authorities later released an audit that was highly critical of the prison, and contract monitors from Hawai'i reported the prison failed to comply with its contract with the state in a number of areas.

July 28, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
They're out of sight, but must not be out of mind. Hawai'i's overflow inmate population, housed at private prisons on the Mainland, remain our responsibility. And making sure they are treated humanely while serving their time must be our concern. That's why state officials are right to demand an investigation into the sudden opening of cell doors in the predawn hours of July 17 at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility that resulted in a riot. More than 700 Hawai'i inmates have been housed since last year at the Mississippi prison, owned by Corrections Corp. of America. Two inmates were injured in the fight. Kane'ohe resident Sandra Cooper, the mother of one inmate, has her doubts that an internal probe will be enough to bring out the truth about how the cell doors opened. She called on the FBI to do a thorough inquiry, and that indeed would be the ideal way to proceed here. There's precedent for the FBI to take jurisdiction in a case where inmates are brought across state lines. At the very least, an independent authority should drive the investigation, rather than the prison's private owners. And state officials here must continue to ride herd to see that the investigation proceeds to a satisfactory conclusion. In a separate prison issue, it's a relief to see that the state has decided to pull the plug on its contract with the troubled Brush Correctional Facility, a northeastern Colorado prison housing 80 women inmates from Hawai'i. Because of ongoing investigations into alleged sexual misconduct between staff and prisoners, it's imperative that the move be made as soon as possible, while allowing for careful scrutiny of the prisoners' next destination. The end-of-September target date for the move seems reasonable, assuming that the state maintain its careful monitoring of Brush in the meantime. These painful episodes clearly illustrate that housing inmates on the Mainland is merely a short-term response to our critical prison shortage here, and creates its own additional problems. Hawai'i must continue to: work toward expanded prison capacity in the Islands, where we can retain better control of conditions; strengthen the probation system to keep some first-time offenders out of prison; and work on preventive strategies aimed at stemming the tide in drug abuse, which fuels so much of the state's crime problem. Sending inmates to the Mainland is just a stopgap solution.

July 27, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
Hawai'i plans to move 80 women inmates out of a troubled private prison in Colorado by the end of September but is unsure where they will go, prison officials said.  Hawai'i prison spokesman Michael Gaede confirmed the state is requesting bids from facilities to house the Hawai'i inmates and that the request in effect requires they be moved out of the Brush Correctional Facility, a 250-bed prison in northeastern Colorado.  The Brush prison has been under close scrutiny since Colorado authorities disclosed in February they were investigating allegations of sexual misconduct between staff at the prison and eight inmates from three states, including Hawai'i.  Brush Warden Rick Soares resigned in February, and was later indicted as an alleged accomplice in one of the sexual misconduct cases.  Two other prison employees also were indicted on charges of alleged sexual misconduct with inmates, and two more prison workers were indicted along with five inmates in connection with an alleged cigarette smuggling ring.  Those disclosures were followed by reports in March that five convicted felons were allowed to work at the prison because background checks on some staff members had never been completed. Since then Hawai'i monitors have filed reports noting that the prison failed to comply with its contract with the state in a number of areas, and Colorado authorities released an audit that was highly critical of the prison.  Contract monitors and other reports this year cited a litany of concerns about the prison, including:   GRW for many months used inmates to teach required rehabilitation classes to other inmates. Colorado corrections officials repeatedly complained about the practice, and Hawai'i contract monitors in February warned the practice was a "serious concern" for Hawai'i as well.  After the sexual misconduct allegations were made public at Brush, virtually all inmate rehabilitative and educational programming was shut down from January to early June, prison officials acknowledged. That violates the state's contract requirement that those services be offered to inmates.  Inmates and state monitors have repeatedly complained the Brush prison was providing inadequate dental and medical care.  Brush prison officials reported in May that the facility was visited by a doctor only once a month, and a Hawai'i contract monitor's report in May called that staffing inadequate.  Hawai'i contract monitors also warned the facility in February that it was obliged by contract to give inmates better access to dental care, and monitors again cited the same problem in a follow-up inspection in May.  Hawai'i monitors complained last year the Brush prison was not conducting drug testing of inmates that is required by contract, and once again criticized the prison in May for not doing the required testing.  A Colorado audit released in June found the Brush prison clinic was not licensed as required under Colorado law, a lapse that also violated the prison's contract with Hawai'i.

June 27, 2005
CHEYENNE -- Scarcity of space and a recent sexual misconduct scandal have prompted state officials to move the 54 prison inmates Wyoming currently houses at private facilities in Colorado to Texas by the end of the summer.  But by the end of 2007, Wyoming expects to have all of its prisoners housed within the state's borders, according to Wyoming Department of Corrections spokeswoman Melinda Brazzale. Brazzale said a lack of available private prison space in Colorado prompted Wyoming officials to begin consideration of moving state inmates out of Colorado. Contributing to the decision were allegations of sexual misconduct between prison guards and inmates at a private prison in Brush, Colo., where Wyoming had been housing 38 female inmates. Those inmates have since been moved out of Colorado.

June 21, 2005 Rocky Mountain News
Three states could pull their inmates from Colorado's private prisons by the end of the summer, spooked by a recent sexual misconduct scandal and squeezed by Colorado's own rising prisoner population. The state's five private facilities house about 2,700 Colorado inmates. They also contract with three other states - Hawaii, Washington and Wyoming - to hold prisoners those states can't, due to overcrowding. The private prisons have lost or stand to lose nearly 400 out-of-state inmates, which would be an approximately $20,000 per-day hit spread between two Tennessee firms who run them. State officials say they can fill the gap with 400 Colorado inmates waiting for prison beds - contradicting warnings the private firms sounded earlier this year - and suggest that facilities filled only with Colorado prisoners could prove easier to control. Corrections officials say it's easier to manage prisoners from one state, because they are all used to the same rules. Some states, for example allow cigarette smoking or conjugal visits, which Colorado does not. "It is always easier to manage a single jurisdiction population," said Alison Morgan, a corrections department spokeswoman. Later, she said the loss of out-of-state inmates "is not a bad thing."  Officials also have said out-of- state inmates may have fueled or contributed to two riots in the past decade, including one at the Crowley County Correctional Facility last July. Washington once sent more than 200 prisoners to Colorado. The state has moved all but a few to other states, a Washington corrections official said Monday. Wyoming will move its 54 male inmates - already down from a high of 300 - from Colorado by summer's end, a corrections spokeswoman there said. Wyoming has already moved 38 female inmates from a private prison in Brush, in part because of alleged sexual misconduct between prison guards and inmates that surfaced in February. Hawaiian officials are rebidding their contract to house 80 women who are in Brush. Twenty- one state lawmakers urged their governor in April to move those inmates "immediately," the Honolulu Advertiser reported.

April 14, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser
Wyoming will remove its women inmates from a privately run Mainland prison that also houses Hawai'i women inmates, the same prison where staff members were accused of sexual misconduct involving Hawai'i, Wyoming and Colorado inmates. Melinda Brazzale, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, cited a recent series of problems at the prison in the decision to remove the Wyoming inmates from the Brush Correctional Facility in Colorado. Those problems included criminal charges filed against staff members and the former warden in connection with the sexual misconduct allegations, and revelations that the prison allowed five convicted felons to work there because their background checks had not been completed. Investigations by Colorado state prison officials concluded prison staff had been involved in alleged sexual misconduct with two Hawai'i inmates, two Colorado inmates and four Wyoming inmates. Two other members of the prison staff were charged in an alleged cigarette smuggling ring.

March 23, 2005 Rocky Mountain News
People with criminal records were hired to work at a Brush prison where several employees are facing charges for allegedly having sex with inmates, according to a CBS 4 News investigation. The Brush Correctional Facility is a medium-security prison that holds 250 women. GRW Corp., a private company headquartered in Tennessee, runs the prison and hired several employees with criminal records to watch over the inmates, according to CBS 4 News. The company has fired six employees with criminal histories so far. Four guards have resigned from the prison, and one has been put on administrative leave. The warden, Rick Soares, resigned Feb. 18, a month after the Department of Corrections first received reports of sexual misconduct. Three prison guards are facing criminal charges for allegedly having sex with seven inmates. Two other guards and an inmate are accused of smuggling contraband cigarettes into the facility. The list of the prison employees with questionable backgrounds includes 28-year-old Angela Gallegos, CBS 4 News said. A prison guard, she was arrested on a felony charge three years ago and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. Heather Henry, 24, was also hired as a guard. Her record includes arrests for harassment, domestic violence-assault, violating protective orders and child abuse. Richard Fairchild, 42, was convicted of domestic violence and violating a restraining order. Gil Walker, president of GRW, said these are the last people who should be working in a prison and should have never been hired. "We don't hire questionable people, and that's the embarrassing part," Walker told CBS 4 News. Walker said the company never finished its background checks on potential employees and didn't know their full histories.

March 10, 2005 Fort Morgan Times
Morgan County District Attorney Bob Watson filed additional charges Wednesday in connection with the prison sexual misconduct scandal in Brush. The new indictments include a charge of unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution lodged against a second guard, charges of being an accessory to a crime against the former warden and charges against another nine current or former prison employees related to introducing contraband cigarettes into the prison and conspiracy to commit introduction of contraband. According to Watson, the new charges are not necessarily all that will result from his office's ongoing investigation of the GRW-owned private prison. According to case filings made Wednesday in Morgan County District Court, corrections officer Fredrick Henry Woller, 32, of Brush is charged with unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution, a class five felony. Specifically, Woller is alleged to have engaged in sexual conduct with prisoner Cristie Maez. Also charged Wednesday was former Warden Richard "Rick" Soares Jr., 57, of Sterling, who was allegedly an accessory to the crime of unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution, also a class five felony. He is accused of hindering the investigation. The pair joins corrections officer Russell Rollison, 31, of Brush, who was charged last week with unlawful sexual conduct in a penal institution. Other charges resulting from the criminal probe to date regard prison food service and other prison employees allegedly conspiring with inmates to bring cigarettes into the prison. Cigarettes have been banned from Colorado penal institutions since 1999. Those charged with introducing contraband in the second degree, a class six felony, and conspiracy to commit introduction of contraband, also a class six felony, are: Pania Akopian, 31, Pisa Tuvale, 35, Annette Cummings, 38, Janice Crockett, 47, and Jeannette Dillon, 38, all of whom have the Brush Correctional Facility listed as their address; Gail Guerrero, no age listed, and Maria Ramirez, 46, both of Brush; Charmayne Kalama, 28, of Kapolei, Hawaii, and Stannie T. Muramoto, 46, of Honolulu, Hawaii. According to Gil Walker, CEO of Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed private prison, an internal investigation uncovered only consensual sex between the guards and prisoners. Alison Morgan, a state corrections department spokeswoman, said the DOC investigation revealed at least some of the sex as having been initiated by inmates. She said inmates from both Hawaii and Wyoming admitted to initiating the encounters either so they could be returned home or in an effort to sue the prison. However, a Hawaii attorney representing two of the inmates has alleged his clients were raped. The case was referred to DA Watson's office by the state corrections department's inspector general's office. The Brush prison, which became the first private prison for women in Colorado, opened in August, 2003. It houses 80 inmates from Hawaii, 73 from Colorado and 45 from Wyoming. Colorado pays $50 a day to GRW to house its prisoners.

March 4, 2005 Star Bulletin
Female inmates from Hawaii will remain at a privately run women's prison in Colorado where five officers face sexual misconduct and contraband charges, Hawaii officials said yesterday. A visit to the prison by state monitors last month shows Hawaii does not need to transfer its inmates to an alternate facility, said Richard Bissen, interim director of Hawaii's Department of Public Safety. "Incidents like this happen at facilities," Bissen said. "But that place is being more closely monitored than ever, and the women themselves say they are safe." Three prison officers had sex with a total of four Hawaii inmates, two Colorado inmates and one Wyoming inmate, according to Alison Morgan, a spokesperson for the Colorado corrections department. Two of the officers have resigned, and a third is on administrative leave. Investigations show the sex was consensual, said Gil Walker, founder and chief executive of Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the Brush Correctional Facility for Women, located in Colorado. One case involved two Hawaii inmates and a guard, who admitted to engaging in sexual activity in January in the prison library. Some civil rights advocates argue that there is no such thing as consensual sex between an inmate and an authority figure. "We have a law that says it's a felony. It's not consensual when someone is in custody," said Kat Brady, an advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. Myles Breiner, a Honolulu lawyer who is representing the Hawaii inmates, has said the women were forced to perform a sex act for Rollison. Morgan said some Hawaii and Wyoming inmates admitted they believed having sex with the guards would help them get transferred to their home states, where they would be closer to relatives.

February 25, 2005 Denver Post
The warden resigned and five correctional officers at the privately run Brush Correctional Facility for women face sexual misconduct and contraband charges in the wake of a criminal probe. Warden Rick Soares resigned from Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed prison in Brush, on Feb. 18 after a month-long investigation implicated the five officers, said Alison Morgan, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman. The warden was not implicated in the wrongdoing. The department's inspector general's office referred contraband allegations involving two staff members and one inmate and sexual misconduct allegations involving three staff members to District Attorney Robert Watson on Thursday. Three officers who were not named had sex with four Hawaiian inmates, two Colorado inmates and one Wyoming inmate, Morgan said. Two of the officers resigned, and a third is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case. Some of the women alleged they were raped, but investigators concluded the sex was consensual, sometimes initiated by inmates, Morgan said. It's still a felony offense for correctional officers, she said. She said some Hawaiian and Wyoming inmates acknowledged they had sex with correctional officers because they believed they would be returned home, where they would be closer to relatives. Others hoped to file lawsuits against the prison. Two officers and an inmate were caught sneaking tobacco into the prison, Morgan said.

Colorado Department of Corrections
June 14, 2005 Pueblo Chieftain
The Colorado Department of Corrections has been lax in its oversight of private prisons, and has ignored known problems for years, according to a scathing state audit released Monday. Prompted by a riot at a private prison in Crowley County last year, the audit said DOC's inability to properly manage the five private facilities operating in the state led to numerous inmate problems, and could spark more. The audit said that the department knew about specific problems with how private prisons were being operated, but did little to nothing to correct them. And when the DOC did point out violations to private facilities, it failed to ensure that they were corrected, the audit said. "Noted violations by the private prisons are not being addressed by the department, and have been allowed to continue unresolved," the audit stated. "Furthermore, the department has not instituted a systemic follow-up process to ensure that its recommendations are follow by the private prisons or that documented violations are corrected." The audit found that the DOC used employees whose jobs were to monitor private prisons do other work, failed to enforce rules and regulations on how they are to operate, and was shoddy in how it monitored private facilities. Nolin Renfrow, director of prison operations for DOC, admitted that the department has made mistakes in its oversight of private prisons, but chalked it up to inexperience. "We have over 150 years experience running our own prisons, but only five dealing with private facilities," Renfrow said following the audit report. "We're learning as we go." Currently, there are five private prisons operating in the state, four of which are owned by the same national private prison firm: Corrections Corp. of America based in Nashville, Tenn. CCA operates facilities in Bent, Huerfano, Crowley and Kit Carson counties. A fifth private facility, which houses females, is located in Brush. It is operated by GRW Corporation based in Brentwood, Tenn. Steve Owen, CCA spokesman, said that while the audit was not about his company per se, CCA takes its role in working with DOC seriously and will help the department address concerns raised in the report. Still, Owen said the audit was a little too general to help the company address specific concerns. "We're a partner to the Department of Corrections and we view ourselves as apart of the system," Owen said. "The conclusions and the observations were so general for the most part, it's hard to specifically identify what specific things apply to our direct operations. The report doesn't lend itself to identifying specific things to specific facilities." One part of the report, for example, says that a mental health providers were not meeting with seriously mental ill inmates, but didn't say at which facility. Another section of the report, however, says that the medical staff at the Bent County Correctional Facility in Las Animas administered two medications to an inmate that led to his death. Another death occurred at a different private facility in Kit Carson County when an inmate's medication was changed. Both are operated by CCA. "We identified two cases where physicians changed the inmates' medications without examining them," the audit said. "Department clinical and administrative records indicate that medication changes made by private prison staff potentially contributed to the death of these inmates." Owen said he knew nothing about those deaths, and questioned whether they occurred at CCA facilities. Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West and an outspoken critic of private prisons, said the audit supports what she's been saying all along, that they have no place in Colorado. "These for-profit prisons would have a hard time passing even the beginning of the Boy Scouts of America oath: 'On my honor I will do my best,' " McFadyen said. "It's clear that the for-profit prison industry has no desire to follow their contracts, and it is costing taxpayers money every day. This year, the state could've spent $ 1.1 million on heath care, job creation or tourism. Instead, we had to spend that money to watch over private prison facilities that aren't doing their jobs and putting the public safety at risk." McFadyen was referring to additional money the Legislature gave to the DOC to add positions to its private prison monitoring unit. The audit said that the department has 15 monitoring unit positions, but that only four were actually going to the prisons. Additionally, one of those positions, for a unit operations manager, has been vacant for three years. Yet, the DOC asked the Legislature for five new private prison investigators and two additional monitoring unit workers. Renfrow said that cuts to the department's overall budget in recent years forced it to use some of those workers for other duties. The audit said that the monitoring units that did visit facilities missed numerous required inspections and filed incomplete reports. Auditors were particularly alarmed that the units failed to conduct the security and emergency activation drills it was suppose to, particularly one at the Crowley County facility at which a riot occurred last summer. "Of particular concern, we noted that the monitoring unit had never conducted an emergency activation drill at the one private prison that experienced a riot in July 2004, and only produced monitoring reports for one-third of the targeted weekly inspections at this facility during fiscal year 2004," the audit said. "Additionally, we identified several weekly inspection reports and security audits that appeared to copy the findings from prior inspection reports, changing only the date and time of the audit work performed," the audit said. "Department management does not review these reports, so management was not aware that the reports contained errors."

June 14, 2005 Colorado Springs Gazette
Two Colorado inmates died last year because their prescription medications were changed by unlicensed medical clinics in private prisons, according to a stinging audit that charged the state with lax oversight of an out-of-control private prison system. The Colorado Department of Corrections houses about 2,800 of its 18,000 inmates in six private prisons. Five are in Colorado, and one is in Missouri. It cost taxpayers $53 million in 2004. An audit of those prisons released Monday found numerous problems: inadequate staffing levels, unlicensed medical clinics, employees with criminal backgrounds, poor food services and more. The audit laid much of the fault with the state corrections officials, saying the state did a shabby job of monitoring and enforcing standards in private prisons. The state’s private prison monitoring unit has been plagued by job vacancies and only spends a fraction of the time it should at the prisons evaluating conditions and addressing problems, the audit found. “I think, from our audit perspective, we identified substantial compliance issues,” said Cindi Stetson, the deputy state auditor who managed the project. For instance, the audit found that private prison monitors filed reports that were copies of old documents that merely had a new date. Top level managers reportedly didn’t review private prison reports anyway. Additionally, not all the people assigned to monitor private prisons were doing that. Fifteen employees were allocated to that unit, but four were assigned to other duties and the key unit manager job was left vacant for three years. Corrections officials said they have not done a good job regulating private prisons but insisted they are taking steps to fix the problem. “We’ve taken the recommendations very seriously,” said Nolin Renfrow, director of prisons. “We feel confident we are headed in the right direction.” Renfrow said staffing has been beefed up in the office and that computers will track compliance reports. Additionally, he said top executives will pay closer attention to private prisons. As to the specific problems, DOC officials say they are tightening the contracts with private prison providers to force them to take care of the issues. Many of those new contracts take effect July 1. New stipulations will require private prisons have a licensed medical clinic. That’s a response to one of the main findings in the audit. “None of the clinics in Colorado’s five private prisons are licensed,” said auditor John Conley. “Since the clinics are not licensed, they are not monitoring them and are not aware of any deaths or problems at private prisons.” Nine deaths at private prisons last year were not reported to the Colorado Department of Health, as they should have been, the auditors said. So there was no investigation. The auditors said seven of the deaths were from natural causes, but two were linked to medical complications after prison operators changed prescription drugs. No other details were provided. The findings outraged lawmakers. “Obviously, they have been having a free-for-all in practicing medicine the way they wish for a long time,” said Sen. Deanna Hanna, D-Lakewood. “We are paying a lot of money to these private prisons for health care, and we need to get a better product than we are getting.” The audit found problems in many private prison practices, including their hiring standards, the nutritional value of their food and their staffing levels. The audit didn’t specify which private prisons were having the most problems. But four of the five prisons in Colorado are owned and run by the Tennessee-based Correction Corporation of America. Company officials said they are reviewing the audit and promised more efficiency and accountability. “We certainly would embrace that goal and have been working and will continue to work with our customer, the Department of Corrections, to enhance both of those,” said Steven Owen, a spokesman for the firm. A 500-bed, privately run prison under construction on East Las Vegas Street near the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center is scheduled to open in August. The medium security facility will be operated by New Jersey-based Community Education Centers. The prison, called the Cheyenne Mountain Pre-release Center, will house parole violators and inmates making the transition into society or to community corrections after serving state prison sentences. Its purpose is to reduce recidivism by giving inmates about 180 days of vocational training, drug and alcohol counseling, adult education classes and other last-minute lessons they can apply outside prison. Joe Ortiz, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, said part of his agency’s problem is funding. “When we talk about medical, we talk about food, we talk about programs . . . that always comes with a price tag,” he said. “That’s not to say the department hasn’t been remiss in some areas, but it is a difficult mission, and it is difficult to provide all of these services given the current budget conditions.” The department’s budget was cut during the recession but has seen much of that funding restored in the past two years. The approved budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year, which starts July 1, is $589.2 million, a 6 percent increase. Lawmakers say they will take a hard look at the issues surrounding private prisons. “It’s clear that the for-profit prison industry has no desire to follow their contracts, and it is costing taxpayers money every day,” said Rep. LianeBuffieMcFadyen, D-Pueblo West. KEY FINDINGS - None of the clinics at private prisons are licensed with the state. At least two inmates who were treated in those clinics died last year when their prescriptions were changed. Those deaths were not reported to state officials. - Inmates with serious mental illnesses were not seen by mental health staff in a timely manner. - Private prisons are serving meals that do not meet the state’s dietary standards. - The DOC doesn’t review staffing patterns at private prisons as part of their contracts. - Some private prison employees have questionable backgrounds, including some who have been convicted of violent crimes. In some instances, private prison employees begin working before a background check is completed. - Private prisons are not properly deducting court-ordered inmate restitution and child support. - The Department of Corrections office charged with monitoring private prisons was understaffed and didn’t get the job done. - Dangerous inmates were sent to some private prisons even though state law stipulates private prisons should only house medium security prisoners and lower.

June 14, 2005 Denver Post
Privately owned prisons in Colorado fall far short of minimum safety and medical standards, possibly resulting in the deaths of two inmates and the early release of a sex offender, according to an audit released Monday. Part of the problem, the report from the state auditor's office said, is lax state oversight of the private prisons, which collected $53 million to house 2,800 inmates in 2004. The audit's key findings: Nine inmates died between January 2001 and September 2004. Two of those deaths may have been caused by physicians who changed medications without physically examining the inmates. A sexual offender was released from prison three months early because officials awarded him credits for treatment sessions he didn't attend.  None of the five private prisons in Colorado have licensed medical clinics. Four private-prison employees had previous convictions for motor-vehicle theft, assault, criminal mischief and harassment. Staffing levels are lower at private prisons than at state institutions, with the worst ratio at the Crowley County prison, where inmates rioted last year. Steve Owen, spokesman for Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America, which operates four of the five private prisons in Colorado, declined to comment on the audit, saying he had not yet read it. But he said his company meets the standards set by a national trade association for private prisons. "We are doing our part to help the state be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollar," said Owen.

Joplin City Jail, Joplin, Missouri
August 11, 2008 Joplin Globe
Joplin will take over operations of the city jail and a transportation service instead of contracting the services to outside vendors, the City Council decided Monday night. The decision was based on a projection that the city could save more than $800,000 over the next five years by taking over the operations. The council made the decision at a work session that preceded a “City Hall in the Park” informal session at the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center in Wildcat Park. Budget director Leslie Jones told the council that the Metro Area Publictransit System contract was bid out last year, and the contracted operator, Access Transit, recently notified the city that it cannot honor the contract beyond Oct. 31 because of the increased cost of fuel. The jail contract with GRW, of Brentwood, Tenn., expires Oct. 31.

May 14, 2007 Joplin Globe
A Joplin city jail inmate is dead after he was found hanging from the ceiling of the jail about 7:34 a.m. today. According to Lt. Geoff Jones of the police department, attempts to revive the man were unsuccessful. He was being held in a two-person cell by himself awaiting court in Joplin and possible extradition to Greene County. Detectives with the Joplin Police Department are investigating the death and an autopsy is scheduled for later today. The name of the vicitm is being withheld pending notification of family members. The Joplin City Jail is operated by GRW Corporation, a private security company. Jones said this is the first in-custody death at the Joplin jail since 1997, when GRW took over day-to-day operations.

Labette Correctional Conservation Camp, Labette County, Kansas
February 27, 2007 Parsons Sun
Some employees of the Labette Correctional Conservation Camp women's facility lost vacation time when the facility was transferred to county management on Feb. 1, but county commissioners say it isn't their fault. On Monday, commissioners met with LCCC administrators to discuss the situation. County Commissioner Jerry Carson said the situations at the men's and women's camps are different because the county has never operated the women's camp directly. Labette County created the boot-camp style facility in the early '90s and has held responsibility for operating it. The camp has always been operated by a private management firm until now, however. The women's camp was created by the Kansas Department of Corrections a few years later. KDOC hired the same company to operate the facility and the two have operated in concert. However, Carson said the differences translate into employees at the women's camp losing leave time. Carson pointed the finger at GRW Corp., the Tennessee-based management firm that ran the facilities. Carson said he thought there was a "gentleman's agreement" with GRW to honor the vacation time. Carson said he would be willing to meet with camp employees and explain the situation to them. Commissioner Lonie Addis agreed with that assessment of the situation but said he didn't like it. "The simple fact is it's still not fair," Addis said. Commissioners also discussed setting up times to meet with camp employees to discuss the county's personnel policy. The county has revised the policy in order to include camp employees.