If you find our website useful, please consider sending us a contribution!!!           
PCWG, 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.

October 25, 2011 AP
The management company that formerly ran a Rhode Island prison is suing the facility's governing body, saying it is owed more than $671,000, according to a complaint filed in federal court. In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence, Cornell Corrections of Rhode Island, Inc. says the corporation running the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls still owes money it agreed to pay the firm in 2008. The prison is run by the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, a quasi-public agency. Cornell Corrections operated Wyatt from its opening in 1993 to July 31, 2007, when the corporation took over, according to a 2009 report on the facility. Cornell Corrections says it reached a deal in 2008 with the corporation over the amount of money it was owed under an earlier agreement. The lawsuit says Wyatt's governing board still hasn't paid. The suit seeks $671,808, plus interest, costs and attorneys' fees. The corporation stopped making full payments to Cornell Corrections in 2006, according to a report released last month by former R.I. Auditor General Ernest A. Almonte. As of August 2007, the corporation owed Cornell Corrections more than $3.9 million, Almonte's report found. The 776-bed facility houses medium- and maximum-security federal detainees awaiting trial or transfer to federal Bureau of Prisons facilities. It lost a contract to house federal immigration detainees after one died in its custody in 2008. The jail has been beset by financial problems in recent years, having lost $6.2 million and taken on $3.5 million in additional debt from 2007 to 2009, Almonte's report said. The city of Central Falls once banked on revenue from the prison, but hasn't been paid in three years. The city filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Attorneys for Cornell Corrections and the corporation did not immediately return messages on Tuesday.

September 1, 2010 Smart Money
Owners of municipal bonds issued to pay for jails might not get to pass Go--and could have trouble collecting interest payments as well. These tax free bonds don't have a monopoly on defaults, but they're well represented among failures and troubled issues among the more speculative classes of municipal bonds. Data from Municipal Market Advisors reveals a slew of tax-free bonds issued to fund construction of privately run prisons and detention facilities in states from Texas to Rhode Island to Montana. The most recent example is Littlefield, a West Texas town of about 6,500 people. Located between the New Mexico border and Buddy Holly's hometown of Lubbock, Littlefield had to dip into reserves to cover payments for about $1.2 in bonds and other debt used to finance the Bill Clayton Detention Center. The bonds were issued in 2000, but the expected revenue stream evaporated when, after a prisoner suicide in 2008, the 310-bed private prison lost its contract to house out-of-state inmates. In 2009, the Geo Group (GEO), formerly known as Wackenhut Security, ended its operating agreement with the detention center, leaving it unoccupied. In April, Fitch Ratings, which in 2009 lowered the bonds to BB from BBB, affirmed a negative rating outlook. Littlefield city manager Danny Davis says the city is scrambling to avoid default on the $780,000 worth of annual payments and plans to cut police and fire service while dramatically raising property taxes when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. The property could be sold or could be taken over by the state, though neither option is certain. "It's going to be difficult," he says. "In the meantime, we're just trying to keep our heads above water until we get to a solution." Bob Libal is the Texas campaign coordinator for Grassroots Leadership, a lobbying group which opposes for-profit prisons, and the editor of the blog Texas Prison Bid'ness. He says many small towns agree to build "speculative prisons" to be run by private contractors using municipal bond financing but that many of these projects in a post-Sept. 11 boom have had trouble. Libal criticizes the development groups that get paid up front for building detention centers thus saddling the bond-issuers (usually special public facilities corporations created solely for those projects) with risky debt. "They go after a lot of towns without a lot of sophistication and resources to do the due diligence," Libal says. "If they let the bonds go under, it's very difficult for them to issue any more debt." Matt Fabian, director of research at Municipal Market Advisors, cites similar bond woes in Central Falls, R.I.; Hardin, Mont.; and Baker County, Fla., where about $105 million in total debt has run into trouble because the prison projects haven't worked out as expected. "The incarceration rates drives speculation," he says. "There's an idea that you can profit from this prison trend." Investors in these increasingly-insecure jail bonds have certainly had to assume more risk, even though they get higher yields. The $99 million Central Falls Detention Facility bond issue of 2005 entered technical default in 2009 when it drew on its reserves to make payments. The bonds, issued at par with a yield of 7.25%, last traded at the end of 2009 at 85.3 cents to the dollar, with a yield of 8.69%. Municipal revenue bonds issued in 2002 that funded the West Alabama Youth Services detention facility defaulted in 2005. The bonds last traded in February at 9 cents to the dollar with a yield of 73.6%. Fabian says some of the biggest private prison busts are unlikely to have simple resolutions. A shopping center is easy to repurpose; a detention center is not. "It's hard to restructure," he says. "Even the land underneath a prison isn't worth as much as it was." Even with a resurgent effort by the private prison industry to use their facilities to detain illegal immigrants and an attempt by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to overhaul detention procedures, problems persist. The Baker Correctional Development Corporation, created to finance a correctional facility and immigration detention center west of Jacksonville, Fla., dipped into reserves for its August payment to holders of bonds issued in 2008. With those bonds trading last at 71.25 cents to the dollar with a yield of 20.73%, investors looking to lock up their money should probably seek less risky types of municipal bonds.

March 3, 2010 New York Times
When the Obama administration vowed to overhaul immigration detention last year, its promise of more humane treatment and accountability was spurred in part by the harrowing treatment of two detainees who died in the Bush years. In one case, captured by security cameras in 2008, a Chinese computer engineer was dragged from a Rhode Island immigration jail and mocked by guards as he screamed in pain from undiagnosed cancer and a broken spine. In the other, a Salvadoran detainee held for two years in a California detention center was denied a biopsy for a painful penile lesion, though government doctors suspected the cancer that eventually required amputation of his penis. But on Wednesday, the administration argued in federal court that the government had no liability for neglect or abuse by private contractors running the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., where the computer engineer was held. And in oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday, federal lawyers maintained that government doctors responsible for the Salvadoran’s care in detention were immune from being personally sued for medical negligence. In both cases, the arguments were made against lawsuits brought by the families of the men who died, Hiu Lui Ng, 34, and Francisco Castaneda, 36. In the Ng case, the government sought to be dropped as a defendant, and in the other, it tried to sharply limit potential monetary damages. But critics of the sprawling immigration detention system, which relies mainly on privately run jails to hold noncitizens facing deportation, said those arguments had broader and more disturbing implications. “The government’s positions both in Castaneda and in the Ng case fly in the face of the stated commitment to overhauling the immigration detention system and bringing to it more transparency and accountability,” said Vanita Gupta, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed an amicus brief in the Castaneda case and through its Rhode Island affiliate supported the lawsuit brought by Mr. Ng’s widow, Lin Li Qu, and two children, all United States citizens who live in New York. “Real reform wouldn’t be about pointing the finger elsewhere,” Ms. Gupta said. “It would be about promulgating legally binding standards and making individualized determinations about whether someone like Ng needs to be detained in the first place.” Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reiterated the agency’s commitment to an overhaul. “This administration takes any allegation of inadequate medical care or ill treatment seriously and will not accept or tolerate any willful misconduct,” he wrote. “We have taken important initial steps to change this system and are committed to finishing the job.” Oral arguments in the Ng case, in Federal District Court in Providence, centered on the federal agency’s role in ordering that the gravely ill man be taken in shackles to a federal office in Hartford and returned the same day to the Wyatt detention center. For that trip, Mr. Ng was dragged from his cell. The government’s lawyer, Helene Kazanjian, argued that it was “completely unfair” to expect an agency “that has no contact with the detainee on a regular basis,” to know that Mr. Ng was in dire condition. But Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick, arguing the other side, pointed out that the agency had been repeatedly notified that Mr. Ng was in terrible pain and unable to walk, and that he had been denied a wheelchair and outside medical care by the detention center, run for profit by a municipal corporation in Central Falls. “The U.S. government cannot just hire someone and then close the file,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “The government must take responsibility for the actions of ICE.” Judge William E. Smith said he would rule later, but his questions took up the plaintiffs’ theme. “If you know about the severity of the detainee’s condition, isn’t there an obligation to give him special treatment, to put him on an ambulance?” he asked. Ms. Kazanjian contended that when the agency learned how sick Mr. Ng was, it sent him to the hospital where he died six days later. But the judge corrected her. “I ordered him hospitalized,” he said, referring to his unusual intervention at a habeas corpus hearing the day after the Hartford trip. “I don’t think ICE can take credit for that.” In the Castaneda case, the government has admitted to medical negligence, and a federal judge has said “the word ‘cruel’ is an understatement” for the treatment described in the lawsuit. But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court seemed receptive to the government’s argument that Public Health Service doctors were immune from suit under a 1970 federal law. A government lawyer argued that that immunity reflected “a balance of evils,” adding, “Congress has decided that it would rather protect the P.H.S., make sure that causes of action and liability aren’t hanging over the heads of P.H,S. officers, even if that means some individuals don’t get recovery against certain specific P.H.S. personnel.” Lawyers representing Mr. Castaneda’s teenage daughter have said a ruling for the government would preclude a jury trial in the case and cap any damages at $250,000, which they called insufficient deterrence to the negligence that has been widely documented.

November 11, 2009 AP
The widow of a Chinese immigrant wants the federal government to remain a defendant in her lawsuit over the death her husband, who was detained at a Rhode Island jail. Hiu Lui Ng died of liver cancer in August 2008 while he was being held for overstaying a visa. Investigators say he was abused and denied medical care at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls . The private jail contracted with the federal government to house immigration detainees. The government has asked to be dismissed from the case, saying Wyatt staff were private contactors and not government employees. But lawyers for Ng's widow say federal immigration authorities failed to act even after it became clear that Ng was being seriously mistreated.

July 30, 2009 The Providence Journal
A former employee at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility has agreed to plead guilty to a charge that he lied to federal investigators about having sexual contact with an immigrant detainee in the jail’s infirmary. Glenn Rivera-Barnes, a medical technician, allegedly tried to falsely convince the investigators that the detainee sexually assaulted him when there was no evidence that it ever happened. Instead, officers from the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General and U.S. Marshals Service had DNA samples proving that Rivera-Barnes initiated the sexual conduct with the detainee on May 11 and May 24, 2008. In exchange for the guilty plea, filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, federal prosecutors have recommended that Rivera-Barnes serve a one-year sentence in home confinement with an electronic bracelet attached to his ankle. Rivera-Barnes and the victim are both men. “Clearly, Mr. Rivera-Barnes’ conduct was deplorable,” said Bill Fischer, the jail’s spokesman. “His conduct is not becoming of the type of employee that we want at Wyatt.” He credited the jail’s Professional Standards Unit and the Rhode Island State Police for their work on tracking the DNA evidence. The state police took custody of the DNA samples and delivered them to the state Department of Health lab in Providence. The jail’s Professional Standards Unit launched its investigation in the spring of 2008 after the detainee, identified only as M.P.A., claimed that Rivera-Barnes had unwanted sexual contact with him in the jail. On July 15, 2008, he was placed on unpaid administrative leave and the internal investigative team referred the case to the federal authorities. Bill Fischer, Wyatt’s spokesman, said that Rivera-Barnes was fired on Jan. 21. It’s a crime to lie to a federal investigator and punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. No such penalty exists for lying to a local or state police officer. In March, The Journal first reported about the investigation and the jail’s warden, Wayne T. Salisbury Jr., issued a news release that said the jail first learned of “a serious allegation” in the spring of 2008 involving a staff member and “two detainees.” He pointed out that the staff member, now identified as Rivera-Barnes, was hired on June 28, 2007, by Cornell Corrections, the Texas-based firm that ran the prison until Aug. 1, 2007. One of the detainees, Allen Seymour, of Oxford, Mass., contacted The Journal, claiming that Rivera-Barnes had victimized him. He said he went to the prison infirmary in April 2008 and was inappropriately touched and groped. Upon his return to the cellblock area, Seymour said, he told the immigrant detainee identified in the plea agreement as M.P.A. about his experience. He said the detainee told him that he had a similar experience with the same medical technician. Seymour’s allegation is not mentioned in the criminal complaint or plea agreement. No date has been set for Rivera-Barnes to enter his guilty plea in federal court. He lived in Woonsocket when he worked at Wyatt and now lives outside of Boston.

March 26, 2009 Providence Journal
The current executive director of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility was paid nearly $1 million to oversee the $48-million expansion of the jail while he was also collecting an annual fee for other consulting work at the detention center for federal immigrant detainees and prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing. Anthony Ventetuolo Jr. confirmed this week that he and his firm, Avcorr Management LLC, of Warwick, was paid $961,671 for the second job over a three-year period that ended in October 2007. The payment represented 2 percent of the project’s cost, a fee structure that Ventetuolo said is customary for large capital construction projects. Ventetuolo had no competition for the job, which more than doubled the number of beds at the jail. Albert M. Romanowicz, then chairman of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp., the municipal agency that owns Wyatt, approved on Feb. 23, 2004, an amendment to the Avcorr contract to provide correctional consulting services that also designated Avcorr and Ventetuolo to serve as “project representative” for the three year addition project at the same time. In a phone interview this week, Romanowicz said that Ventetuolo’s experience in corrections and his knowledge of the Wyatt jail made him the perfect choice for the job. Romanowicz, who resigned as board chairman last month, remains aggravated that city officials have in the last few weeks questioned Ventetuolo, his salary and the way he has run the jail since he became executive director in August 2007. “He’s got a helluva lot more integrity than the people going after him,” he said. During the time Ventetuolo and his firm served as project representative or construction manager, Avcorr also collected between $133,863 and $157,000 annually for correctional consulting services there, monitoring Cornell Corrections, the large Texas corrections company that was the management services contractor hired to run Wyatt until mid-2007.

March 5, 2009 Providence Journal
Federal investigators are looking into allegations that a former medical technician at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, in Central Falls, sexually assaulted two prisoners in the jail’s infirmary last year. The technician has since been fired and agents from the U.S. Marshals and the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General in Boston have questioned him, the alleged victims and other prisoners, officials confirmed. The medical technician and the two prisoners are men. The investigation is the latest development in a series of problems that have plagued the Wyatt jail since an immigrant federal detainee, Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng, died in custody last August. Separate inquiries, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which had detained Ng; the state police and the jail’s Professional Standards Unit, all condemned several corrections officers and the nursing staff for failing to provide proper treatment to Ng. A corrections captain and the director of nursing have been fired. Ng, who suffered from excruciating back pain, had liver cancer and a fractured back that went undiagnosed until the final days of his life. Last month, Ng’s widow, Lin Li Qu, and her two young boys, filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against ICE, Wyatt and a host of other defendants, saying that Ng’s medical needs were “ignored and ridiculed,” and that jail staff subjected him “to physical abuse that resulted in serious physical harm.” Ng’s death and inadequate medical care for jailed detainees across the nation has gained more attention in recent months. On Tuesday, the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on health services for immigration detainees in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Mr. Ng’s case of medical abuse should have sounded an alarm that our health services for immigration detention are badly broken,” said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Unfortunately, Mr. Ng was just one of over 80 deaths in a system that undermines American values of fairness and dignity. Reforming immigration detention is truly a matter of life and death.” Brown urged Congress to ask officials of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “what steps they can take to prevent another incident such as Mr. Ng’s case from occurring in the future.” IN RESPONSE to a Journal inquiry about the latest issue, Wyatt’s warden, Wayne T. Salisbury Jr., issued a news release that said the jail first learned of “a serious allegation” last April involving a staff member and “two detainees.” He said the jail’s Professional Standards Unit launched an investigation and turned its findings over to the federal Inspector General’s Office. Salisbury pointed out that the staff member had been hired by Cornell Corrections, the Texas-based firm that ran the prison until Aug. 1, 2007. Avcorr Management of Warwick, and its president, Anthony Ventetuolo Jr., now run the jail under contract with the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, a municipal agency. “Since this matter is still under investigation, we will have no further comment at this time,” the statement reads. Salisbury did not name the staff member or the detainees. The Journal is not identifying the medical technician because he has not been charged with any crimes.

February 26, 2009 Providence Journal
The current executive director of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility was paid nearly $1 million to oversee the $48-million expansion of the jail while he was also collecting an annual fee for other consulting work at the detention center for federal immigrant detainees and prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing. Anthony Ventetuolo Jr. confirmed this week that he and his firm, Avcorr Management LLC, of Warwick, was paid $961,671 for the second job over a three-year period that ended in October 2007. The payment represented 2-percent of the project’s cost, a fee structure that Ventetuolo said is customary for large capital construction projects. Ventetuolo had no competition for the job, which more than doubled the number of beds at the jail. Albert M. Romanowicz, then chairman of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp., the municipal agency that owns Wyatt, approved on Feb. 23, 2004, an amendment to the Avcorr contract to provide correctional consulting services that also designated Avcorr and Ventetuolo to serve as “project representative” for the three year addition project at the same time. In a phone interview this week, Romanowicz said that Ventetuolo’s experience in corrections and his knowledge of the Wyatt jail made him the perfect choice for the job. Romanowicz, who resigned as board chairman last month, remains aggravated that city officials have in the last few weeks questioned Ventetuolo, his salary and the way he has run the jail since he became executive director in August 2007. “He’s got a helluva lot more integrity than the people going after him,” he said. During the time Ventetuolo and his firm served as project representative or construction manager, Avcorr also collected between $133,863 and $157,000 annually for correctional consulting services there, monitoring Cornell Corrections, the large Texas corrections company that was the management services contractor hired to run Wyatt until mid-2007.

February 19, 2009 Providence Journal
The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union yesterday questioned the wisdom of selling the troubled Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, now owned by the City of Central Falls, to a private corporation that owns and manages more than 65 correctional, detention and juvenile institutions nationwide. Steven Brown, executive director of the affiliate, faxed a letter to Mayor Charles D. Moreau that highlighted a host of problems — including inmate deaths — in jails run by Corrections Corporation of America, the Nashville, Tenn.-based prison firm. “Selling the facility to a corporation like CCA is, from our perspective, like jumping from the frying pan into the fire,” Brown wrote. “… Please consider the consequences that flow from such public-private partnerships that seek to make money, often by cutting corners, with little oversight and with little regard for anything other than the bottom line.” On Feb. 5, two CCA representatives spent several hours touring the jail with Moreau, prison administrators and two newly appointed members of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, the board that is appointed by the mayor and oversees the jail. Moreau has repeatedly said that “everything is on the table right now,” and that the city would consider selling the jail to CCA or anyone else who would pay top dollar and provide the best deal for taxpayers in this financially troubled, one-square-mile city. The jail and land have been appraised at a total of $45.1 million, according to www.appraisalresource.com. Yesterday, Moreau said that there have been no further discussions with CCA and the city has no intention of jumping into a purchase-and-sales agreement. Still, he said that anyone in the corrections business has had problems including deaths within its jails. “There are deaths that happen in prison facilities across the country every day,” he said. “If we were to sell the facility, it would be to a reputable company. I’m not going to do anything that’s not going to bolster this city.” The operation of the city-owned jail has come under fire following the death of Hiu Lui Ng, a Chinese national, last summer while in Wyatt custody. Ng’s death led to three separate investigations, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement withdrew all 153 of its immigrant detainees from the jail in December. The Ng family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Wyatt, the corporation board and Avcorr Management, the Warwick firm that oversees the management of the jail. Last month, ICE announced that it was terminating its contract to send detainees to Central Falls. The move has sent jail and city officials scrambling to replace the prisoners, a deal that was bringing the detention facility $100,000 a week and the city about $50,000 a month. Brown, in his letter, said that problems at CCA jails have trailed them for years. He cited a 1998 Justice Department report that was highly critical of a CCA jail in Washington, D.C., where two inmates were stabbed to death, there had been deaths attributed to poor medical care, and there had been several escapes. CCA agreed to pay damages of $1.65 million, Brown wrote. Brown also pointed out overcrowding, violence and accusations of excessive force at CCA-run jails in San Diego; Olney Springs, Colo., and Hutto, Texas. In the Texas jail, Brown wrote, children “as young as two years of age were held in the former medium-security facility in prison garb; received inadequate education, medical care and recreation.” He said that guards also threatened to permanently separate them from their families. A call left with CCA seeking comment was not returned yesterday.

January 31, 2009 Pawtucket Times
The consultant charged with overseeing the operations of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility may become a target of a legal complaint from a second detainee alleging mistreatment at the facility, just months after the death of a Chinese national there. Both the Wyatt and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency have in recent weeks released the results of internal investigations into the death of Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng. A Hong Kong native, Ng died in ICE custody waiting to face immigration-related charges. He succumbed last summer to advanced stage cancer that had apparently gone undiagnosed during his brief stay at the Wyatt. Now a former Wyatt detainee who once shared a cell with Ng has filed a legal complaint regarding his own treatment there. In that complaint, Marino De Los Santos is looking to have Wyatt executive director Anthony Ventetuolo and his consulting firm, Avcorr, named as defendants. On Friday, attorney Angel Taveras confirmed that he had submitted a request in federal court to have Ventetuolo and his company recognized as defendants, as an amendment to a complaint originally filed by his client, de Los Santos, who is from Bridgeport, Conn. According to Taveras, De Los Santos made several complaints to Wyatt staff in writing, alleging that he received inadequate medical treatment or no medical treatment on several occasions during his incarceration. He claims that he fell and suffered injuries on two occasions. According to a New York Times report, Ng had indicated that he might have been singled out as a possible “troublemaker” by Wyatt staff after he had been observed speaking with De Los Santos. A complaint filed by Taveras states that De Los Santos was being held on drug-related charges at the Wyatt on two occasions: the first from April 2006 to May 2007, the second from November 2007 until August 2008. According to the complaint, De Los Santos continues to endure physical pain and difficulty walking due to injuries suffered as a Wyatt detainee and subsequent lack of proper treatment. The complaint named several defendants, including Cornell Corrections Inc. (which formerly ran the facility), the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, Wyatt Warden Wayne Salisbury, an associate warden, and several correctional and medical staffers. In the complaint, De Los Santos claims that he suffered injuries after falling near the showers on two occasions. The first fall allegedly occurred on Aug. 30, 2006. “Due to an excessive and unsafe accumulation of water in the shower area, there was water leaking out from the showers and running into the hallway,” the complaint read. “Despite the unsafe conditions of the floor, there were no signs posted indicating that the floor was wet or slippery. As Mr. De Los Santos was walking toward the showers, he slipped on the slippery floor and fell.” De Los Santos allegedly “suffered severe pain and injuries to his neck, back and right foot” as a result of the fall. A guard then allegedly ordered employees to mop the floor and, following “several minutes of Mr. De Los Santos unsuccessfully attempting to pick himself off the floor,” requested medical attention for him. According to the complaint, De Los Santos was seen by a doctor, who sent him back to his cell after giving him “two Tylenol.” He allegedly “remained bedridden for approximately two weeks,” requiring the assistance of other inmates in daily activities. The complaint alleges that De Los Santos made several unsuccessful attempts to get further medical attention. On Nov. 5, 2006, he reportedly suffered a similar fall, causing him to “defecate and temporarily lose consciousness,” and further injuring his back and neck. De Los Santos was then taken to a hospital, the complaint states, where he was diagnosed with a chest wall contusion, a soft tissue contusion and a neck sprain. He was prescribed a neck brace, but a Wyatt doctor allegedly removed and confiscated it upon his return. In May 2007, De Los Santos was transferred to the New Haven (Conn.) Correctional Center in response to his written request to the U.S. Marshals Service. In November of that year, however, he was transferred back to the Wyatt. Continuing to experience pain, De Los Santos allegedly submitted several requests for medical care and a wheelchair. A nurse is said to have indicated that he did not “meet the criteria” for a wheelchair, and that her department would not communicate with him further regarding his medical issues. The complaint added that in April 2008, a corrections officer placed his hands around De Los Santos’ chest without consent, in an effort to “straighten” him out. A grievance form he submitted regarding this incident allegedly “received no response.” Wyatt spokesman Dante Bellini had no comment on the matter. He had previously indicated that Ng had received ample medical attention, and that the facility’s staff was held to high standards. Several staffers were reportedly disciplined or fired following the ICE investigation into Ng’s death. The ICE abruptly removed all 153 of its detainees from the Wyatt in December after the Ng investigation. As part of an effort to get ICE detainees back — and the funding that comes with them —Mayor Charles Moreau has replaced four of the five board members that oversee Wyatt operations via the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp.

January 15, 2009 ICE PR
Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has notified the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation of the agency's intention to terminate the agreement to house detainees at the Donald Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island. ICE will terminate the agreement effective 60 days from Friday, January 16, 2009. Due to an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Hiu Lui Ng at Wyatt, ICE took precautions and promptly ceased sending additional detainees to the Wyatt contract facility and quickly relocated the remaining 153 ICE detainees from the facility in December 2008. The investigation, which was completed on January 12, 2009, revealed a consistent lack of communication regarding Mr. Ng's healthcare needs between medical and security personnel at Wyatt. The investigation also revealed that there were instances of non-compliance by Wyatt contract personnel with the ICE National Detention Standards and multiple failures to adhere to the facility's rules and policy. As part of the investigation, ICE reviewed the policies and procedures used by Wyatt to evaluate the health care needs of Mr. Ng and to provide him with access to health care. ICE further reviewed the procedures used to distribute medication to detainees and the use of wheelchairs to assist in the transportation of detainees, including Mr. Ng. ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) found that contract personnel at Wyatt failed to provide Mr. Ng a wheelchair on a number of occasions, resulting in Mr. Ng effectively being denied access to his counsel as well as to a medical appointment. ICE OPR also found that the facility guards and medical staff failed to adhere to the facility's use of force policy. ICE strives to maintain safe, secure and humane detention conditions and quality health care. We make every effort to enforce all existing standards and whenever possible, to improve upon them. ICE requires that all facilities housing detainees meet our National Detention Standards, which meet or exceed industry standards. When we find that our standards are not being met by contract facilities, we take immediate action to ensure the safety and well being of all ICE detainees.

August 20, 2008 New York Times
A lawsuit filed in federal court a year ago by a Dominican detainee makes complaints about health care at a detention center in Rhode Island that are similar to accounts of how the center treated a Chinese New Yorker who died Aug. 6 in immigration custody. That inmate was suffering from a fractured spine and extensive cancer that had gone undiagnosed until five days before his death. The lawsuit, filed in Providence, asserts that employees at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, R.I., denied a wheelchair to Marino De Los Santos, who said that he suffered serious injuries to his neck, back, chest and spine in two falls at the center in 2006. According to the suit, employees accused Mr. De Los Santos of faking his injuries and refused to take him to scheduled examinations by a spine specialist. Cornell Corrections of Rhode Island, one of the defendants, which ran the center at the time covered by the suit, denied any wrongdoing in its answer. In the case of Hiu Lui Ng, who was the subject of an article last week in The New York Times, lawyers and relatives said that when he was racked with pain and too weak to walk, detention officials refused him a wheelchair, failed to take him to scheduled appointments for an M.R.I. exam or a CT scan, and instead took him in shackles to Hartford — where he was pressured to withdraw his appeals and accept deportation. The lawsuit by Mr. De Los Santos and details of earlier medical evaluations that fell short of diagnosing Mr. Ng’s terminal illness and debilitating injury, emerged this week as members of Congress demanded a full accounting by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security. In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mr. De Los Santos, 37, said that Mr. Ng was briefly his cellmate early last month and that his extreme back pain and weakness were apparent. “He was crying all night,” Mr. De Los Santos said from his home in Bridgeport, Conn., where he returned after he was released on bond on Friday. He faces deportation as a convicted drug dealer. “I got bottom bunk, he got the upper bunk, and when he’s going to bed, it’s terrible. And I got problems, too, in my back, but him, when I see him, I can’t sleep.” Mr. Ng was eventually assigned to a lower bunk in another cell, but by late last month he could barely walk, Mr. De Los Santos said. “When you line up to take medicine, he would grab a chair, because he couldn’t stand. And they would tell him he had to let the chair go, he had to stand, but he couldn’t.” He said that when Mr. Ng was bedridden, he saw a nurse go to check him in his cell. “She came out laughing and saying he was faking,” Mr. De Los Santos said. Mr. Ng, a computer engineer with no criminal record, overstayed a visa years ago and had been applying for a green card through his wife, a United States citizen, when he was swept into the detention system in July 2007. Kelly A. Nantel, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an e-mail message that the agency “continues to investigate allegations that Mr. Ng was mistreated in any way while in detention.” But she added: “Based on a review of the medical records, it appears that Mr. Ng was examined by medical staff at the facility where he was detained and at the local hospital in Rhode Island both as a normal course of admission to the facility and for individual complaints he had. Tragically, but not unlike similar situations involving citizens of this country, Mr. Ng was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer and sadly succumbed to the illness within days of the diagnosis.” Officials at Wyatt would not answer questions last week, but asserted in a written statement that Mr. Ng had received proper care. In a letter to Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on Monday, Representatives John C. Conyers Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of its subcommittee on immigration, said that based on the article, “ the treatment provided to Mr. Ng is simply unforgivable.” It is “particularly distressing,” the letter added, “considering that much of it took place when ICE was facing intense scrutiny over the quality of its medical care system and when agency personnel had assured Congress that problems had been addressed.” According to Mr. Ng’s relatives and lawyers, he began complaining of severe back pain and an itchy rash in April, when he was being held at the Greenfield County Sheriff’s lockup in St. Albans, Vt., where little or no health care was available. When he was transferred to Wyatt on July 3, a health screening form listed a rash, but no back pain. Later, he was seen by detention center doctors for back pain, and after his relatives urged further tests, given an X-ray of his back and hip on July 20, medical records show. The radiologist’s report came back with a diagnosis of mild scoliosis, without complications. Since Mr. Ng’s spine fracture was diagnosed 12 days later, when an M.R.I. also found terminal cancer in his bones, lungs and liver, it is unclear whether the radiologist missed evidence of his broken back or if that injury occurred sometime between the X-ray and his Aug. 2 admission to Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence. A doctor at the detention center noted in the record that a CT scan should be performed if Mr. Ng’s pain did not respond to painkillers and muscle relaxants. Instead, on the evening of July 26, a Saturday, Mr. Ng was taken to the emergency room at a hospital in Pawtucket, R.I., which does not perform CT scans on weekends. Doctors there scheduled a CT scan for the following Monday, but according to affidavits from Mr. Ng’s lawyers, the detention center’s staff made no effort to take him back there. Another scan was scheduled for Tuesday, the affidavits said, but Mr. Ng missed that one, too, because, his lawyers assert, he was unable to walk to the car and detention center officials refused to give him a wheelchair, then reported that he had refused to go. According to affidavits, concern over Mr. De Los Santos’s lawsuit may have played a role in Mr. Ng’s treatment. Mr. Ng’s lawyers said that he told them that a detention captain had ordered him to stop talking to a detainee who had filed a civil suit over a back injury suffered at Wyatt. After his painful trip to Hartford on July 30, Mr. Ng expressed fears that he, too, had been labeled “a troublemaker” by detention officials, and that they had determined to get rid of him or to prove that he was faking illness.

August 1, 2007 Providence Journal
The Central Falls Detention Facility Corp. today takes over the management of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility from Texas-based Cornell Corrections. That means the detention board — made up of five people appointed by the mayor of Central Falls — will take over the day-to-day operations of the expanded prison, which houses about 575 inmates and has been run by Cornell for the past 13 years. The detention board decided to take over after contract negotiations broke down in May when the sides failed to agree on what Cornell would be paid to run the facility. The board had expected to celebrate the completion of a $47-million expansion, which doubled the size of the prison and its number of inmates, by the time it took over management of Wyatt but construction delays will postpone its completion for another month, says Dante Bellini Jr. of RDW Group, the spokesman for the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp. The detention board rehired former warden Wayne Salisbury to serve as Wyatt’s warden. Cornell removed Salisbury in May during contract negotiations with correctional officers. Salisbury, who was hired by Avcorr Consulting, which provides professional oversight to Wyatt, served on a transition team that included Central Falls Police Chief Joseph Moran, Avcorr president Tony Ventetuolo Jr., Tammy Nova, a Wyatt accountant who will now serve as its chief financial officer, and Eugene Racquier, a member of the detention facility board, as well as Ray Meador, Don Hunt, Paula Lisa and Keith Martin. “We did a lot in a very short time, said Bellini. “There was a punch list of over 150 specific items that needed to be resolved. Everything from payroll issues, financial, benefit issues, everything you could imagine when taking over this kind of facility,” he said.

June 22, 2007 Providence Journal-Bulletin
The Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation gave notice to Cornell Corrections, which has run the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility for the past 13 years, that come Aug. 1, it will take over the prison. The corporation is set to operate the facility at about the same time it expects to celebrate the completion of a $47-million expansion that has doubled the size of the prison and the number of inmates. Contract negotiations broke down last month when both sides could not agree on what the detention board would pay Cornell to run the prison, said Anthony Ventetuolo Jr., president of Avcorr Consulting, which provides operational oversight to Wyatt. Under enabling legislation passed in 1991, the detention board has the authority to operate the facility with its own forces or contract out. The board has told Wyatt employees that they can stay. Of the 190 employees, 150 of those agreed to stay, according to Ventetuolo. Cornell is one of eight private prison operators in the United States and the third largest in the country. The Texas-based company posted its revenue earnings at $9.2 million (excluding direct reimbursements) in 2006 under the contract with Wyatt. Ventetuolo said that Wyatt’s rising debt service due to its expansion and the increasingly high cost of paying Cornell factored in the board’s decision to run its own detention facility. “We went from a debt service of $2.7 million a year to $8.4 million which is a big jump but we’ve got additional [detainees] that will help offset that over the next two years of transition,” Ventetuolo said. He said that prior to expansion construction, the corporation paid Cornell $12 million a year to run the prison. Cornell wanted “too much money for the next year and a half for what was reasonable,” Ventetuolo said. “We think we can save between 10 and 15 percent which is critical to us right now.” The detention board has negotiated a $96-per-day rate for each prisoner, up from $89.90, with its primary users, the U.S. Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ventetuolo said. Wyatt added 120,000 square feet of space which include two additional floors and an additional building for training. The number of detainees the prison can hold went from 342 to 642. There are now 600 detainees at Wyatt. The detention board directed Ventetuolo to form a transition team to determine what needs to be done to transfer the operation by Cornell to the corporation. Former warden Wayne Salisbury, who ran Wyatt until last month when Cornell abruptly removed him, is a member of the transition team and is also working for Avcorr. Ventetuolo said he hired Salisbury for his expertise with the prison. He said that once the corporation takes over it will hire a new warden and Salisbury would be in contention for the post.

May 31, 2007 Prime News Wire
Cornell Companies, Inc. (NYSE:CRN) announced today that the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation has notified the company of its intent to transition the management contract for the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center to another provider following the conclusion of the current management agreement at the end of July, 2007. Revenues (excluding direct reimbursements) earned in 2006 under this contract were approximately $9.2 million. Management intends to discuss any changes to 2007 guidance as a result of this contract transition at the same time guidance is updated to reflect the company's recently-announced contract award from the Arizona Department of Corrections.

May 31, 2007 Providence Journal-Bulletin
Cornell Corrections, the private company that runs the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, has removed warden Wayne Salisbury from his job. No one is giving the reason for Salisbury’s removal. Cornell made its decision May 25 to replace Salisbury, according to Dante Bellini Jr. of RDW Group, the spokesman for the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, which owns the prison. Cornell Corrections replaced Salisbury with acting warden William Massingill, who has already started work at the detention center, according to Bellini. Massingill once served as chief of security for the prison. Salisbury’s removal comes at a time when Cornell Corrections is in the midst of contract negotiations with the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers Union. They are scheduled to reconvene for negotiations June 4, according to Christine Parker, spokeswoman for Cornell Corrections. A federal mediator has been brought in to work with the two sides. Cornell, one of eight private prison operators in the United States and the third largest in the country, is also in negotiations with Wyatt to continue to run the prison. Cornell’s contract with Wyatt ran out in January. The prison has been trying to get an increase in the $89.90 per day it receives from federal agencies. Parker would not discuss the reason for Salisbury’s removal, saying that the company does not comment on personnel matters. “We continue to operate the facility. We have a seasoned team of qualified and experienced personnel that we are utilizing to continue operations of the facility,” Parker said. Salisbury became acting warden in 2003 and later became the warden. Wyatt houses federal detainees mostly from the U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Immigration Customs Enforcement.

May 7, 2007 Pawtucket Times
After four days of silence, talks between the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers Union and the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility resumed Monday, although a strike is "still a very strong option," according to union President Heath Letourneau. On May 1, the day before their three-year contract was scheduled to expire, Wyatt's 107 correctional officers voted to authorize a strike. Despite the fact that the two parties have agreed to return to the bargaining table next Tuesday and Wednesday, Letourneau said Tuesday's meeting, which was refereed by a federal mediator, bore no fruit. The main sticking point, he said, was the prison's insistence on cutting an hour of previously guaranteed overtime. "Since their last offer, they haven't moved at all," said Letourneau. "In that offer, all they did was move the money from our guaranteed hour [per week] of overtime and factor it into our hourly wage..." According to a Wyatt press release, the most recent offer provides for a 16.5 percent pay increase over five years, with a 4.5 percent hike in the first year. Not surprisingly, prison workers' right to strike is limited by the federal government's interest in public safety, a fact duly noted by prison officials in a statement to The Times. "The National Labor Relations Act requires that unions provide adequate notice before a strike," a prison spokesperson wrote. "While there is no specified definition of 'adequate notice,' existing court decisions suggest that six weeks' notice is adequate for guard services such as those provided by RIPCO at the Wyatt Detention Center."

May 3, 2007 Pawtucket Times
The 107 correctional officers employed by the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility voted to authorize a strike Tuesday, according to a written statement from the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers Union. The employees' three-year contract expired today, although the statement did not say when or under what circumstances a strike would occur. "The major issues which the parties have yet to resolve include wages, proper security measures, training and minimum staffing," wrote Union President Heath Letourneau. "We are seeking your support and assistance in our quest to be treated fairly during this period of negotiations." Attempts to contact Letourneau with the telephone number provided in the statement were unsuccessful. For their part, prison officials said they hadn't heard anything about a strike and warned that a sneak attack would be unwise. "The National Labor Relations Act requires that unions provide adequate notice before a strike," a prison spokesperson told The Times in a written statement. "While there is no specified definition of 'adequate notice,' existing court decisions suggest that six weeks' notice is adequate for guard services such as those provided by RIPCO at the Wyatt Detention Center." The prison recently contacted a federal mediator to facilitate ongoing contract negotiations between the prison and the union. The discussion between the two parties has not progressed since the prison's most recent - but not final - proposal, which provides for a 16.5 percent pay increase over five years, with a 4.5 percent hike in the first year. No mediation meeting has been scheduled. "Our primary concern at this point is for the safety and security of our detainees," said Warden Wayne Salisbury, Jr. "We cannot allow for these necessities to be compromised by labor negotiations. As such, we have begun making contingency plans in the event that RIPCO members do strike. Meanwhile, we hope that the strike can be avoided altogether. Our negotiator remains available during normal business hours to meet with both the federal mediator and union representatives."

January 30, 2007 Connecticut Post
A federal judge, frustrated by the medical attention given to two inmates, ordered one released on $1 million bond so he could seek private care, while the other must be taken by prison officials to an orthopedic surgeon. U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall issued the orders after hearing lawyers in two separate hearings just hours apart complain that their clients did not receive adequate treatment. "It is my view that the United States of America, through its Bureau of Prisons, should take care of the medical conditions of its prisoners in custody," Hall said Monday. The inmates are Bruce Forest, 50, the reputed Porta-Potty bomber from Weston, and Gary John, the 58-year-old retired FBI agent from Stratford recently convicted of assaulting a federal marshal. Both are in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at the private Donald C. Wyatt detention center in Central Falls, R.I. "Lawyers have an incredible sense of frustration with the medical care at Wyatt," said Robert Mann, John's lawyer. "Our clients are just not getting the medical attention needed at Wyatt." Wyatt officials did not return telephone calls Monday. However, Felicia Ponce, a spokeswoman for the prisons bureau, said her agency takes "any medical concerns of our inmates very seriously & we make it our utmost priority." Ponce could not comment directly on the two cases.

March 19, 2005 Pawtucket Times
This weekend, the federal inmates at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center can pretend they’re at the beach. After a 3,000-gallon water heater burst Thursday afternoon, the prison’s showers became as brisk as a public-use cabana, according to prison officials. The Times received a concerned phone call Friday from a relative of an inmate who said prisoners had been without heat and hot water for two days and had been denied blankets by prison guards. On Friday afternoon, prison consultant Tony Ventetuolo said the public can rest easy: the problem is temporary and not at all serious.

April 29, 2004
After 13 months without making contributions to the city budget, the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp. announced that it will resume making monthly payments to the municipal coffers.  The corporation’s board of directors, which oversees the Wyatt Detention Facility, will immediately resume paying the city $25,704 per month.  The board is not legally obligated to pay a specific dollar amount to the city, but does pay an "impact fee" from money still left over after paying the prison’s debts and operating costs.  Al Romanowicz, chairman of the jail board, said the number of prisoners held at Wyatt had dropped, reducing the prison’s revenue."The census at the facility dropped, and the city is last in line for its fees," Romanowicz said. "Bondholders come first. Operational expenses come second, and the city is last in line to get any of the proceeds."  (Paw Tucket Times)

April 13, 2004
A strike at the Wyatt Detention Facility that had been called for this morning was averted when union and management reached a three-year agreement late last week.  The R.I. Private Correctional Officers, which represents 72 COs at the private, for-profit High Street jail, initially set a strike deadline of midnight on April 1 when its prior three-year contract expired.  Although Cornell pays no taxes on the operation, it is one of Central Falls’ top revenue producers, consistently making payments to the city of about $500,000 a year.  (Zwire.com)

April 1, 2004
With a contract expiring at midnight tonight, and no new contract in place, the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center is facing the possibility of a strike by its 73 correctional officers.  The correctional officers' union authorized its leadership to call for a strike in a unanimous vote last Friday, Geoff Weston, president of the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers' Union, said yesterday evening. The union leadership had not yet called for a strike, but could do so today.  This would be the first workers' strike in the facility's 11-year history. The Wyatt Center is prepared to activate its contingency plan, said Terrence J. Higgins, the facility's human-resources manager.  "We will be adequately staffed in the event of a work stoppage," Higgins said. "We will not compromise public safety or the safety of the people in our care."  When negotiations broke off late yesterday morning, the two sides were "close to impasse," and the company called for a cooling-off period because of union members' "profane and unacceptable behavior at the bargaining table," lawyer D. Jay Sumner, the company's chief negotiator, wrote in a letter to union lawyer Thomas Landry.  But a union news release placed the blame on the company, Texas-based Cornell Corrections, which operates the pretrial detention facility for the owner, the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp.  The company "actually wants to take money out of our pockets," Weston said in the release. "We're already far enough behind the state correctional officers" at the Adult Correctional Institutions, he said.  (Journal)

March 24, 2003
Dunn M. Beckett, the former prison guard convicted last year of possessing a sawed-off shotgun, has begun serving a 33-month federal prison sentence.  Beckett had worked as a guard at the Donald W. Wyatt Federal Detention Center in Central Falls for eight years, and had served as president of the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers' Union. He was placed on administrative leave from that job after his August 2001 arrest. His lawyer told the court last July that Beckett was working as a carpenter.  (The Providence Journal-Bulletin)

July 11, 2002
A former corrections guard, whom a federal prosecutor described as a "wolf in sheep's clothing," walked out of U.S. District Court yesterday free on bail.   Dunn M. Beckett was sentenced to 33 months in prison, but allowed to remain out on bail while he appeals his conviction for possession of a sawed-off shotgun.   U.S. District Judge Ronald R. Lagueux ruled that Beckett, a former Marine and guard at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, would receive the minimum sentence on the gun charge.  A stocky man with a freshly shorn buzz-cut, Beckett worked at the Wyatt Detention Center for eight years, serving as head of the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers' Union.  Beckett was convicted in April in state Superior Court with possession of anabolic steroids, which the police found along with the sawed-off shotgun.  (Projo.com)

March 30, 2002
A corrections officer was found guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court of possessing a sawed-off shotgun.   A federal jury convicted Dunn M. Beckett, 33, on one count of possessing an unregistered shotgun shorter than the legal length.   Federal agents found a shortened shotgun barrel and a shotgun stock in Beckett's garage while searching his home, at 58 Edgewood Drive, Cumberland, Aug. 16 in connection with a murder investigation.   Beckett, employed as a guard at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, in Central Falls, has been on administrative leave since his arrest in August, the detention center's human-resources manager, Terrence Higgins, said yesterday.   At Beckett's arraignment on Aug. 31, U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Martin set bail at $15,000. Beckett posted bail and remains free pending sentencing, which is scheduled for June 20.   The gun that the agents recovered, after reassembly, was 25 inches long, with a 1414-inch barrel, Thomas Connell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Providence, said yesterday.   Federal law prohibits shotguns shorter than 26 inches overall or with barrels shorter than 18 inches.   Connell said the federal agents determined the gun was a modified Remington 12-gauge pump-action shotgun reported stolen in Berkley, Mass., in 1994.   The maximum penalty for possessing a sawed-off shotgun is 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.   Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan identified Beckett as a suspect in two unspecified murder investigations during a court appearance in September.   The warrant for the search of Beckett's home, issued in August, has been sealed pending the results of the investigation, so the reason for the search was not available yesterday.   Beckett also faces a state charge of felony possession of anabolic steroids.   The steroids were allegedly found at his home during an August search. He is scheduled to stand trial on that charge in Superior Court April 8.   At the Aug. 31 arraignment, Martin ordered Beckett to disclose where he had stored other firearms at his home, so the FBI could confiscate them.   Connell said yesterday that about a half-dozen guns had been recovered, all of them legally registered.   At the time of his arrest in August, Beckett was president of the 57-member Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers' Union. Higgins said Beckett was unseated in a January election.  (The Providence Journal-Bulletin)

September 1, 2001
Dunn M. Beckett, a corrections officer at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, was identified by a federal prosecutor as a "suspect or target of two murder investigations" during his appearance yesterday in U.S. District Court on federal firearms charges.  Beckett the president of the 57-member Rhode Island Private Correctional Officer's Union has been charged with possession of a shotgun shorter than the legal length and possession of a stolen firearm.  (The Providence Journal-Bulletin)

August 31, 2001
Dunn Beckett, president of the guards' union at the federal Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, was arrested there yesterday by Cumberland and Central Falls police and charged with felony possession of anabolic steroids, a Cumberland police spokesperson said.  (The Providence Journal-Bulletin) 

August 8, 2001
A carbon monoxide leak at a privately run prison Wednesday afternoon sent a dozen inmates and employees to the hospital.  The leak affected inmates and employees in the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility laundry and kitchen area.  All other inmates who were not injured were left in their cells.  Wyatt is a private, for-profit jail owned by Texas-based Cornell Companies Inc.  Most of the inmates are federal prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing.  (AP)

April 4, 2001
Guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility reached an agreement with the jail's parent company right before midnight Tuesday, and called off a planned strike.  The prison's parent company, Texas-based Cornell Companies Inc., and the union representing the guards negotiated for several hours before agreeing on a 5 percent pay raise this year, and a 4.5 pay raise for each of the following two years.  Health care costs, which had also been an issue, will not change. (Privateer News and AP)

April 1, 2001
Correctional Officers at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility continued to negotiate yesterday with the Texas-based company that runs the jail, while a possible strike loomed at midnight.  The 57 officers represented by the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers' Union had authorized the union's bargaining unit to call a strike if a contract was reached before midnight last night.  If there's a strike, Cornell Corrections, which runs Wyatt and detention facilities throughout the country, would bring correctional officers from its other units to guard the inmates in Central Falls, chief deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Fallon said.  The officers' two-year contract was set to expire at midnight last night and negotiations have been under way for the past three weeks.  At issue are wage increases, health insurance costs and seniority, said Thomas R. Landry, the Union's lawyer.  Last week, union president Dunn Beckett called the company's proposal "insulting."  That proposal called for a 2-percent annual increase in wages over the next three years while requiring officers to pay higher insurance premiums, Landry said.  The five-member board, that owns and operates the jail, is appointed by the Central Falls mayor, but runs independently without oversight from the city or state, according to Patricia Salisbury, chairperson of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation.  When the facility opened, the Marshals Service did not agree to fill up the jail with federal detainees, prompting the Wyatt to house 200 prisoners from North Carolina in order to pay off the $30 million in bonds used to finance the prison.  The Central Falls City Council sued the corporation in 1994 to force the removal of the North Carolina prisoners.  The last of the North Carolina prisoners left in 1995.  (The Providence Journal-Bulletin)

April 1, 2001
Guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility voted Saturday night to go on strike Wednesday, as a union-imposed deadline passed with no new contract for correctional officers at the private, for-profit jail.  Union members voted to begin the strike Wednesday at 7 a.m.  After a day of picketing and demonstrations, the guards except to return to work Thursday morning.  Union president Dunn Beckett called an earlier offer from the company insulting.  That proposal called for 2 percent raises in each of the next three years, and required union members to pay higher premiums for their health insurance.  Nonunion employees will be used during the planned one-day strike, and if needed, the prison's parent company, Texas-based Cornell Companies Inc., can also draw resources from its other facilities around the country, Chief Deputy William Fallon of the U.S. Marshal's office in Providence said.  (AP) 

March 30, 2001
Correctional officers at the Donald D. Wyatt Detention Center, a privately run federal prison, have threatened to strike if management fails to meet their demands by midnight Saturday.  The 57 members of the Rhode Island Private Correctional Officers Union voted unanimously Thursday to walk out if a contract agreement is not reached before their current three-year contract expires.  Talks between union negotiators and the for-profit prison owners, Cornell Companies Inc., began three weeks ago and were scheduled to continue Friday.  (AP)

Rhode Island Legislature
The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday decried Governor Almond's veto of an immigrant bill, calling the governor's action a "cruel and totally gratuitous attack on the state's immigrant population."  Among the recent additions:  Almond vetoed a bill that would have added this language to Department of Corrections enabling legislation:  "The state commits itself to the supervision of offenders by public employees unless specialized services for offenders are required."  (Projo.com)

December 8, 2003
Four weeks after firing its food service provider Sodexho, RISD is on its way to providing creative meals through its self−run dining service.  "Our long−term vision for the dining is to have a better match for RISD's identity and culture," said Elizabeth O'Neil, RISD's director of Design Marketing Collaborative.  RISD pushed for a greater variety of food and less formulaic dishes, but Sodexho was resistant to change. The school terminated its contract with Sodexho Nov. 15, O'Neil said.  A leading provider of cafeteria services, Sodexho has been criticized at college campuses across the country for unethical and illegal labor practices and for operating for−profit prisons. With its parent company, Marriott, Sodexho owns the U.S. Corrections Corporation of America.  (Brown Daily Herald)