Schools In America Using Solitary Confinement Or “Scream Rooms”


Photo Credit ABC News

Why are American schools putting students in solitary confinement?  Since when did our schools become prisons?  Already America violates International standards in our prisons.  Internationally it is considered that solitary confinement is a form of torture.  Yet, here they are going a step beyond the prisons.  This method is being used to punish school children, school children as young as kindergarten.  We are raising a generation of young people to become use to solitary confinement.  What does this say for the future?

Solitary confinement for students will continue: Oregon schools easily bypass ban on ‘isolation booths’

According to the Police State USA

 Last year, a parent’s outrage over a government school locking her child a padded cell without her knowledge or permission caused so much outrage that a new state law was passed, prohibiting schools from purchasing or using free-standing “seclusion cells” or “isolation booths,” as they are called.  With the new taking effect, some schools are scrambling for a way around the provisions, so they can continue to place students in solitary confinement at their discretion.

In November 2012, KATU News broke a story about the use of an isolation booth at Mint Valley Elementary School in Longview, WA.  Concerned parent, Ana Bate, said her son saw students being locked in the booth at school and was traumatized.

“[He was] thinking it was scary, it was abusive, are they gonna do this to me?” Bate said.

School administrators defended locking children in padded cells, saying that it had “therapeutic purposes” for some children.

“How come they’re not providing documentation about how this ‘therapeutic booth’ is beneficial?” said Bate. “Show me some real numbers. Show me something from the medical community that says more times than not and all the documentation that backs it up. Don’t tell me ‘well, their parents said we could do it.’”

Continue Reading Full Article  Police State USA

Well, this is what a medical doctor had to say about these “Scream Rooms”:

According to Dr. Keith Ablow – Fox News Medical A-Team

‘Scream rooms’ in schools are psychological sadism



In many states throughout the U.S., teachers and school administers will lock students in small spaces called “scream rooms” to discipline them for misbehaving during the school day.

The infractions can be relatively minor – such as swearing too many times or shooting spitballs.  And students are sometimes kept in seclusion this way for hours.  In one reported case, a student was not allowed out even to go to the bathroom and subsequently urinated on the floor.

Scream rooms aren’t just for high school bullies or tough athletes with attitudes either.  First graders can be confined in them, as well as kindergarteners.  Children sometimes weep and struggle to get away before being locked up.

Scream rooms should have no place in American education.  The psychological toll of scream rooms on children and adolescents cannot be overstated.  Being imprisoned for hours for perceived infractions of school rules can easily precipitate feelings of panic, helplessness and humiliation in students that end up kindling a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Additionally, even when students do not exhibit nightmares or flashbacks to their captivity, they may try burying their feelings of powerlessness and outrage, leading them to suppress these feelings later in life through the use of alcohol or illicit drugs.  Those feelings can also kindle panic disorder and major depression.

I have treated men and women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who (with help) trace the roots of their inability to trust others, or their serious mental disorders, to harsh disciplinary measures perpetrated upon them by teachers during their youth.  And these disciplinary tactics are even less severe than being locked in a scream room.

It isn’t just the disciplined students who can be traumatized, either.  All students who witness someone being confined against his or her will can be negatively affected. Scream rooms are nothing but solitary confinement, and by extension, that makes every school that uses them a prison.  They turn principals into wardens and make every student an inmate.

Even if they were monitored by empathetic professionals, scream rooms would still be psychologically dangerous.  But we have plenty of evidence that many teachers, bus drivers and coaches aren’t always reliable or kind.  The vast majority are, but I believe there is a hidden epidemic of bullying by school staff members – not just students.

Just this week, I was consulted on a case in which a child vomited on the bus on his way to school and was made to stay in his fouled seat for the entire ride, even though other seats were available.  In another instance two weeks ago, I was consulted after a student was made to clean toilets in his school for not turning in his homework.

If scream rooms have any place in the lives of young people (which I do not believe they do), that place would certainly not be in schools.  Locating severe discipline alongside learning has never worked and never will.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached at

Investigation in the state of Connecticut – Farm Hill School Report

According to NBC US NEWS

Teachers and staff put the children, including those with special needs, in what parents call “scream rooms.”

“My 1st grader is there and is not learning because there are so many behavioral problems at that school,” Tricia Belin said.

One parent described the rooms as, “scream closets, where kids bang their heads off of concrete walls.”

For more, visit

“The building custodians had to go in and clean blood off the walls and clean urination off the floors,” the parent said.

At a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, many parents questioned the use of the rooms that the district calls “timeout rooms.”

“I learned last year from my daughter that she was put in a closet that had holes in the walls and no windows and (was) locked in there,” one mother said.

According to Fox News Politics

When a high school teen acted up in an Indiana classroom a few years ago, his teachers sent him to an isolated room, where he was left unmonitored for hours. He wasn’t allowed to leave, for any reason, and was forced to urinate on the floor. As punishment, he was dragged to that exact same room the following day where he screamed, pleaded and banged on the door for someone to let him out.

When no one came, he tried to hang himself. 

The 2011 case is just one example of how children and teens have been isolated in what are known as “scream rooms,” as a means of both punishment and regaining control — a practice that has been called barbaric and abusive, yet is still being used in several states. The use of scream rooms and other forms of restraint were highlighted in a recent Senate report; individual case studies, which did not identify the students, were shared with

The incidents detail how students — sometimes as young as 5 years old -- are being locked in the padded cell-like chambers as small as four-feet-by-four-feet. And they underscore the frustrating recourse parents are left with if and when they are notified of their children’s treatment. Under current law, parents have few options, but some lawmakers are trying to change that.

How comfortable would you feel knowing there is the possibility that your child is being placed in solitary confinement, thinking that they would be safe at school? 

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America’s Incarceration Machine

Jordan Wiser in his emergency services gear.  (Source: WOIO-TV)

     Teenager Jordan Wiser in his emergency services gear. (Source: WOIO-TV)

Excellent short video for helping the unaware understand the MASS Incarceration problem in the United States.

Abby Martin speaks with Eugene Puryear, author of ‘Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America’, about how the US became the country holding a quarter of the world’s prisoners, the privatization of prisons, and the racial bias inherent in the criminal justice system.

21st Century Slavery: Mass Incarceration In America – Video

Ohio teen faces felony when car searched at school, pocketknife discovered

The young man was given a psych evaluation and tracked with an ankle bracelet, and faces up to a year in jail.

Zero Tolerance

Officials found a pocketknife which Mr. Wiser kept in his EMT jacket that he used as a firefighter. They found stun-gun in his glove compartment which he keeps for self-defense. And they found two plastic Airsoft rifles in his trunk which he uses for sporting purposes with his friends after school.

To the young firefighter, these were ordinary items he was never far away from. But in the eyes of the school and the local prosecutor — these were deadly threats to public safety.

A-Tech’s principal called the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department, and deputies came and arrested Mr. Wiser. He was charged with “illegal conveyance or possession of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance or of object indistinguishable from firearm in school safety zone.” The charge is a Class 5 felony. It carries a jail sentence of 6-12 months.

Wiser was immediately locked up. His ordeal would only get stranger when he came under the rule of the local judges. The first was Judge Robert S. Wynn, who ordered a psych evaluation.

“I was in jail for almost 13 days,” Wiser said. “The first bond hearing I went to was on December 15. The judge ordered me [to be] held on a half million-dollar bond, pending a psychological evaluation. I did that and passed. They found I was not suicidal, homicidal or a threat to anybody. My attorney brought it up in front of a different judge, who let me out on a $50,000 bond and an ankle monitor. I was released from jail on Christmas Eve.”

Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department procured a search warrant on his home. “They were allowed to look anywhere they wanted and take whatever they wanted,” wrote Wiser.

After being released on bond, Judge Alfred Mackey ordered him to get rid of his guns.

“The one judge I went in front of told me to remove any firearms from my parents’ house and put them at my grandpa’s house,” Wiser said to the Huffington Post. “The next judge freaked out about me even knowing what a gun is and put a no contact order against me and my grandparents. My grandfather is dying right now, and I am not allowed within 500 feet of him.”

“I’ve never met a firefighter who hasn’t carried a pocketknife, and I always use one,” explained Wiser. “I never had any intentions of hurting a soul.”

Yet the prosecutor — who is aspiring to be elected as a judge — is trying to paint Mr. Wiser as a potential killer and plans to throw the book at him.

Specht’s harsh words and harsh prosecution may be an attempt to endear himself to fascist-leaning voters in his upcoming judge’s race. His own campaign website boasts how he has built a career upon crushing violators of these so-called “zero tolerance” policies.

Mr. Wiser joins a number of other students who have been caught up in these zero-tolerance no-weapons policies. Police State USA wrote about multiple Georgia teens who could face a maximum of 10 years in prison for having pocketknives in their parked cars at school. Also covered was a story about an 18-year-old high school senior in Tennessee who was also charged with a felony for the same reason. It would seem that rural states like Georgia, Tennessee, and Ohio would be understanding the common ownership of pocketknives, yet the laws and the stories prove that the injustice of anti-weapon laws has swept into even the most unlikely states.

To Read Full Story Police State USA

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The Parole Boards Reaction As The Legislative Scrutinizes Their Practices


According to the article in this mornings newspaper Billings Gazette 

Last year, the board interviewed 1,079 inmates up for parole and granted parole to 602 of them, or 56 percent. Some of those inmates later had their parole revoked or rescinded. The percentage of inmates paroled in neighboring states tends to be slightly higher.

The board usually attaches preconditions to parole, such as requiring the inmate to complete certain treatment programs in prison or live in a pre-release center in a local community for six months before being paroled.

Inmates and their supporters say these conditions sometimes are unreasonable, because they may not be able to get into a program or center for months, or at all, effectively denying their parole.

In January, corrections officials said 132 paroled inmates were still in prison, awaiting their release, more than six months after being approved for parole. Many had yet to find placement in the required program.

A judge gave a date-specific sentence, and that’s what the person’s sentence is,” McKee says. “There is a certain amount of judgment and subjectivity that will go into the decision that you haven’t served enough time for the crime that you committed.”

Attorneys rarely appear before the board on behalf of inmates, but those who do say it seems as if the board rarely grants parole to someone appearing for the first time on a lengthy sentence.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve done all your programming,” says Ron Waterman, a Helena lawyer. “I don’t know of any lawyer who’s had any positive experience that has gone before the parole board.”

As for paroling people on their first request, it does happen — almost half the time, according to Department of Corrections figures.

  • Here’s the first thought that comes to mind when reading this and the numbers that the Montana Parole Board and the Montana Department of Corrections stated on how many are paroled.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott
  • We have had many ex-inmates and their families calling from around the country that have left Montana because of the corrupted practices in these departments.  Many families that are also stuck in the state because they can’t afford to leave or their loved one is still in the prison.  We have been told of a little trick that makes those numbers look real good to the regular outsider that does not know the system, that does not scrutinize the reports or would even know where to start.  The legislative needs to run a full audit on the 56% of inmates that are paroled.  They need to look at the sentence, look at the judges orders and most of all look at how much time they served and when they would be maxing out.
  • Let me break it down for you.  Here’s an example using a fictitious name….inmate “John Smith”.  John Smith has a 5 year sentence. John Smith is close to serving his full sentence.  He is eligible for parole.  He does not want to see the parole board, because he wants to max out. He only has a few months left to serve.  If he maxes out of prison, he is no longer under the state, he is a free man. He chooses to waive his right to see the parole board, which would be fine and dandy.  But, too many have told us that the parole board forces them to see them anyway.  So, John Smith goes before the parole board and it all sounds good.  They grant him parole.  They just added to their numbers another inmate being paroled under their watch.  Thing is, John Smith was going to be maxing out of prison anyway.  He was not an “honest parole decision.”  Take it a step further, John Smith did not want to be paroled. He wanted to max out, now he is regulated by their parole conditions which we see a high number being recycled back into the prisons.  One inmate was paroled that only had 15-20 days left to serve.  Now why would they go and do a thing like that?  Why force this man to see them and then grant him parole?  He was going to get out regardless, free and clear.  It makes their numbers look good, and they still have their finger on him.  Mostly it is just about padding their paroled figures.
  • Tell me, how is that anymore honest than what they are condemning inmates for not pleading guilt to a crime? What if an inmate were innocent of a crime, or even just part of the crime?  According to The Innocence Project nationally up to 10% are innocent.  One legislator even claiming that it could be upwards to 20%.  He then stated that once they are in the prison system it is almost impossible to get them back out.  This is especially true with a parole board in Montana that has these powers….”The board, independent of any state agency, writes its own rules, which say it can consider just about anything when considering whether to grant parole.” McKee goes on to say “A judge gave a date-specific sentence, and that’s what the person’s sentence is,”  “There is a certain amount of judgment and subjectivity that will go into the decision that you haven’t served enough time for the crime that you committed.”    
  • One big problem with that whole scenario, the parole board has gone against Judges sentences, writing their own rules, adding onto sentences, using their special privileges to “enhance” judges court orders.  We have a stack of one case after another proving just that.  They hold their own court hearings in their parole hearings.  Montana DOJ is there also putting together a new case, totally skipping what our judicial system was designed to be here in America.  The parole board then becomes the jury and the judges.  They must think the real judges of Montana are idiots and didn’t know how to do their jobs in the first places.  Judges, you need to be investigating this yourself, why they are doubting your decisions.  Why aren’t inmates that are coerced or forced into confessing things that are not so, do not get a fair round in your courts?  Why are there second court hearings in these parole hearings totally separate from you? How are they adding their “enhanced conditions” then stating that if an inmate has not completed their conditions that they can take suspended sentences and activate them for being non-compliant?
  • Now, everyone that is coming forward could be lying.  Everyone that is coming forward could be upset or complaining even.  But….there are way too many people that have too much evidence that shows otherwise.  Why is it that these departments can get away with all this?  Who is keeping an actual audit on them to hold them accountable?  Again, we ask the legislative to audit those that were paroled, what were the factors of them being paroled, was it a true parole?  We have already shown how their figures on the number of Montanans that are incarcerated did not match their own reports and both reports came out of their very own offices.  We are glad to see more reporters doing series on many of these issues.  We ask that maybe they can do more investigating in depth. Get down to the real nitty gritty.  We do thank them for stepping up to the plate for their fellow Montanans. Bravo!
Categories: Montana DOC/BOPP, Montana DOJ | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Montana Law And Justice Studying The Board Of Pardons And Parole SJR 3

ImageAccording to the Montana Legislature Website Law And Justice


SJR 3: Study the Board of Pardons and Parole

The 2013 Legislature recommended an interim study of the operations of the Board of Pardons and Parole (Board) when it enacted Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR 3). Legislators ranked the study tenth out of 17 study resolutions in the post session poll of interim studies. The Legislative Council met in May 2013 and assigned the study to the Law & Justice Interim Committee (LJIC).

The LJIC reviewed a draft study plan and adopted it to guide their work on the plan through the interim. Information related to the study will be posted here as it becomes available.

Staff Reports

Presentation Materials

Other Reports and Related Documents

Law and Justice Interim Committee

The Law and Justice Interim Committee is responsible for monitoring the activities of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Public Defender. The committee serves as the liaison to the Judicial Branch.

The committee is also responsible for carrying out interim studies as assigned by the Legislature and the Legislative Council. The committee’s adopted work plan outlines its process for completing the interim’s work.

PO BOX 1206
HELENA, MT 59624-1206

MISSOULA, MT 59801-4412
(406) 218-9608

3165 US HIGHWAY 212 S
LAUREL, MT 59044-8911
(406) 530-7013

PO BOX 11241
KALISPELL, MT 59904-4241
(406) 212-3820

PO BOX 20752
BILLINGS, MT 59104-0752
(406) 671-7052

4111 JUNE DR
BILLINGS, MT 59106-1565
(406) 698-4917

PO BOX 909
BROWNING, MT 59417-0909
(406) 450-5686

PO BOX 733
DARBY, MT 59829-0733
(406) 360-1063

BILLINGS, MT 59102-4861
(406) 272-2403

1201 S 3RD ST
BOZEMAN, MT 59715-5503
(406) 587-0390

CARDWELL, MT 59721-9605

BOZEMAN, MT 59715-7721
(406) 579-7994

February 2014 Meeting Materials


The reason for this study can be found in an article at below or at APAI:

Examining whether board may be too stringent on granting or revoking parole for felons within Montana correctional system.


You need to make your voice be heard.  The Law And Justice at this time has bill drafts that will reduce the powers of The Board Of Pardons And Parole.  Holding them more accountable.

According to The Missoulian an article

Members of a legislative law and justice panel Friday directed its staff to draft bills to monitor and narrow the powers of the Montana Parole Board when it grants parole to prison inmates.

Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman, said he thinks the Board of Pardons and Parole “does a really good job most of the time.” But members of a committee studying the board’s procedures think it sometimes imposes unnecessary conditions that slow or block the parole of inmates who pose little or no risk to society, he said.

Jent asked staff for the Law and Justice Interim Committee to draft a bill prohibiting the board from imposing conditions for parole that go beyond conditions imposed by the sentencing judge or recommended by prison officials.

He also wants bills drafted to require audio or video recordings of Parole Board proceedings, and to give the Legislature oversight over Parole Board rules.

“We have abundant evidence here of people kept in prison for decades beyond what the professionals believe is reasonable,” added Sen. Terry Murphy, R-Cardwell, a member of the committee and the sponsor of the resolution to study Parole Board procedures.

The bipartisan committee will examine the bill drafts at future meetings and decide whether to support them. The bills could be introduced at the 2015 Legislature.

Continue Reading At The Missoulian

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Thinking About Investing In Prisons For Profit?

This following article was written in February of 2014, by an Investment Management Company, but it can be applied to any time of the year.  According to Strubel Investment Management

Dumb Investment of the Week: For-Profit Prison Industry

Strubel Investment Management‘s Dumb Investment of the Week for this week focuses on the private for-profit prison industry.

Since you know I happily invest in tobacco companies, alcoholic beverage manufacturers, and defense contractors, you know that the private prison industry must be pretty rotten if even I won’t invest in it.

The industry appears to operate a fundamentally flawed business model and seems thoroughly corrupt from top to bottom. We believe it is just a matter of time before Chaucer’s old adage about evil deeds being found out (“Murder will out, certain, it will not fail”) comes true.

Corrections Corporation of America (CXW), referred to hereafter by its better known industry acronym CCA, G4S plc (LSE:GFS), and The Geo Group, Inc (GEO)are the three main publicly traded companies that operate private for-profit prisons and detention centers.

These companies rode the dual wave of the war on drugs and deregulation/privatization (a better term might be “confiscation”) of public property and resources in the 1980s into a prominent political and financial force in the prison industry. A wave of overbuilding and lawsuits threatened the industry in the late 1990s, but the terrorist attacks of September 11 and a new focus on locating and detaining so called “illegal” immigrants have vaulted the private for-profit industry to record profits.

We believe the combination of a flawed business model and rampant abuse in the private prison industry will eventually outweigh the lobbying savvy of the companies and lead to the decline of the industry.

Industry Is Vulnerable to Abuse

The private prison industry stands unique among almost all other sectors of the economy in that the nature of its “customers” brings a very high risk of abuse.

It’s easy to take advantage of incarcerated persons. In many cases, the conviction of a crime strips individuals of certain right, their freedoms are severely restricted, and reduces or negates any sympathy society may feel toward them.

For instance, imagine if some large company perpetrated some abuse on my 80-year-old grandma. Well, let’s take a step back. First, it would be difficult for anyone to take advantage of her. As a free person, no company can truly force her to do anything. In addition, she has many family members, including my father and me, looking out for her. But, let’s suppose something did happen. As a non-convict and non-incarcerated person, she enjoys maximum rights under the law and would have a fairly easy time righting any wrongs through legal means. Also, as an 80-year-old widow and upstanding member of the community she presents a very sympathetic figure. Any media organization would eagerly take up her cause and be happy to publish a story on how some evil, faceless corporation took advantage of her. The community would likely be outraged and rally to her cause. Any local politician would be eager to help as well to show the voters how he’s “standing up for the little guy.”

With incarcerated people, the situation is very different. They are stripped of many rights. The operator of the prison system has almost complete control over their behavior and their daily lives. Many incarcerated people have less robust family support systems than mine, and the media and many politicians are going to be much less likely to champion the cause of a wronged convict than of my grandma.

It’s this dynamic that creates an enormous potential for abuse as we will show later throughout this article. Prisoners are easily taken advantage of and the for-profit nature of private prisons creates an overwhelming incentive to neglect the well-being of prisoners in exchange for increased profits. With public companies, the pressure of meeting investor and Wall Street expectations may make the temptation even greater.

Business Model Depends on Cutting Corners

In many, if not most, businesses there are multiple ways a company can increase profitability. Take Ford Motor Company, for example. Management has many options to increase profitability. They could design and build better cars than their competitors and take market share away. They could try charging more for their vehicles if they thought they were better than the competition. They could develop a new small, urban-friendly vehicle targeted to millennials living in cities, which would increase sales by enlarging the total pool of potential car buyers. They could develop more efficient manufacturing processes and cut costs thereby increasing profitability, or they could spend more money on advertising, which might lead to more sales. The point is that for a company like Ford that makes things that are useful to consumers and that consumers actually need and want, there are many levers managers can pull to improve the profitability of the company.

The private for-profit industry is an entirely different beast. The companies are paid a per diem rate for each prisoner at the prisons they own and operate. From Corrections Corp 10-K: “We are compensated for providing prison bed capacity and correctional services at an inmate per diem rate based upon actual or minimum guaranteed occupancy levels.”

Unlike Ford Motor Company, there is nothing a private for-profit prison operator can do to increase their top line “sales” figure without increasing bed capacity. They are compensated a fixed rate per prisoner. So, the only way that a private for-profit prison operator can increase profitability is cut costs. The less they spend per prisoner the greater their profit.

This means that private for-profit prison companies are highly incentivized to do the following:

  • Incarcerate the maximum number of people for as long as possible
  • Build and maintain prisons as cheaply as possible
  • Staff prisons as leanly as possible
  • Compensate staff as little as possible
  • Minimize the amount of medical care utilized by prisoners

Every dollar saved from staffing costs and prisoner care results in another dollar added to the company’s bottom line. Unfortunately, it seems that this pursuit of profit has led to unsafe conditions and systemic abuse of inmates at private for-profit prisons.

Abuses of the System and Mistreatment of Inmates

The abuses in the private prison industry are literally too numerous to mention. In the following sections we will present several examples and anecdotes in each category of abuse and neglect as well as a summary of any relevant statistical information that shows how that type of abuse is rampant across the entire private prison complex system.

Maximize Incarceration Rates

Private prisons are most profitable when operating at maximum occupancy rates. While many private prison contracts specify minimum occupancy guarantees (an issue we will address later in this article), the rate guarantees are usually less than 100%. Many private prisons have resorted to other tactics to keep their prisons filled.

The most notorious case might be the “kids for cash” scandal where two judges in Luzerne County, PA, were found guilty of and sentenced to 17.5 years and 28 years, respectively, for taking over $2.6M in kickbacks from Mid Atlantic Youth Service Corporation to sentence youths convicted of minor crimes to jail at the their private prison facility.

A study of New Mexico prisons showed that prisoners at private prisons run by CCA lost “good behavior” time, or reductions in their original sentence, at a rate EIGHT times higher than inmates in New Mexico state-run prisons. It’s important to keep in mind that CCA is generally able, through their contracts, to cherry pick the best (meaning, least violent and disruptive) inmates to house in their prisons. For example, a 2004 study found that minimum or medium level security inmates made up 90% of the prison population at private prisons but only 69% of the population at state-run prisons.

The maximization of incarceration rates also runs counter to the public good. By keeping prisoners incarcerated when they otherwise should not be, private prison companies are draining money from the state and federal coffers that could otherwise be spent on more productive uses such as education and infrastructure.

Staff Prisons as Leanly as Possible

Another way that private prison operators maximize profits is by reducing staff and operational expenses to the detriment of prisoner safety.

The most notorious example of lax prisoner oversight and inadequate staffing levels is the escape of three inmates from Kingman state prison in Arizona. Kingman was run by a private company, Management and Training Corp. One of the escaped prisoners, John McCluskey, murdered a New Mexico couple at a rest stop before being recaptured.

Another example is Idaho Correctional Center. This prison operated by CCA was so violent that prison staff and inmates referred to it as “gladiator school.” An investigation showed that the violence at ICC was three times higher than other prisons in Idaho. The reason for the violence was the lack of staff to adequately supervise prisoners. CCA was recently fined $1M by the state of Idaho for violating its contract and falsifying staff records to show that the prison was adequately staffed when, in fact, it was not.

In 2012, the assault rate at four privately run Mississippi prisons was THREE times higher than the average at state run prisons. Tennessee and Idaho also reported higher assault rates at private prisons than public ones.

The most violent prison of them all may be the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional facility in Mississippi. According to the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the average juvenile facility has one guard for every 10 to 12 inmates. At Walnut Grove, run by The GEO Group, there was one guard for every 60 inmates. This has led to skyrocketing violence. Walnut Grove won the title of Mississippi’s most violent prison in 2012.

The tales of prisoner beatings, rape, and mistreatment are too numerous to mention but are so bad the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit. After a judge stated that Walnut Grove was “a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world” and “[the GEO Group] had been derelict in their duties and remain[ed] deliberately indifferent to the serious medical and mental health needs of the offenders” and the US Department of Justice also accused the facility of “systemic, egregious, and dangerous practices exacerbated by a lack of accountability and controls,” the state ended its contract with The GEO Group. (Not having learned their lesson, the facility is now run by another for-profit entity–Management and Training Group.)

Or take the case of a CCA injury settlement for 193 Colorado inmates over a prison riot. In that case, The Colorado Department of Corrections audit found that CCA was plagued by high staff turnover and was slow to correct problems at the Crowley County Correctional Facility.

Because of the fractured nature of the private prison industry and the lack of oversight, it is difficult to find comprehensive data for the entire industry to compare staffing levels. CCA’s 2012 10-K discloses that the company has a capacity of 92,500 beds and 16,620 non-corporate staff. Some of these staff members are employed in the company’s prisoner transportation business. Additionally, not all beds may be occupied or a facility may be filled beyond its rated capacity. In any case, using the disclosed figures, CCA employs only one non-corporate staff member per 5.56 potential prisoners. While prison overcrowding has been a constant issue since the war on drugs began, the Federal Bureau of Prisons had one staff member for every 4.9 inmates, which was regarded as understaffed compared to a 3.7 to 1 ratio in 1997.

Also, a review of the literature, cited throughout this article, regarding audits of private prisons when negative events occur (riots, inmate abuse, escapes, etc.) has found low staffing levels and inadequate staff training to be a contributing factor in each incident.

Reduce Operating Costs

It also should come as no surprise that if private prisons are financially incentivized to cut back on staffing they also appear to cut back on the maintenance and capital expenditures needed to keep prisons operating safely and efficiently.

For example, since CCA purchased the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in 2011 from the state of Ohio, there has been a rash of problems. The purchase audits and inspections by the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction have detailed poor living conditions and rising rates of criminal and violent activity at the prison. Inmate-on-inmate violence increased by 188% and inmate-on-staff violence increased 300% under CCA’s supervision, both rates well above average. A particularly notable incident came on March 10, 2013, when a supply fan broke and a building was flooded with toxic fumes, sickening 75% of the building’s inmates. The audits also showed that inmates had inadequate food, medical care, and in some cases inadequate housing.

In another example, former ACLU attorney Will Harrell was recently quoted as describing a Coke County, Texas, facility run by The GEO Group as “disgusting” and that “there was an infestation of insects everywhere you looked, including the kitchen. Insects in the food. It was horrible.” In 2007, The Texas Youth Commission, which was responsible for monitoring the facility, eventually fired several of its employees after it was found that they colluded with prison officials to cover up the conditions at the prison. An independent audit found prisoners living in filth (auditors visiting the prison got so much fecal matter on their shoes they had to wipe them off on the grass outside) without adequate access to toilets, denied access to medical care, denied access to legal counsel, and subject to racial segregation.

Minimize Medical Care

In addition to reducing expenses by cutting staffing costs and not properly maintaining capital infrastructure, private prisons also appear to reduce expenses by neglecting to provide adequate medical care to prisoners.

For example, after an inmate died recently, the Colorado Medical Board admonished the physician employed by CCA at Bent County Correctional Facility run by CCA, for providing inadequate medical care.

Another article details a 2005 investigation into Prison Health Services, a for-profit company that was responsible for the death of two prisoners in a two-month period because the company denied the prisoners their medications. The nurse admitted in a court deposition that she had joked to staff, “We save money because we skip the ambulance and bring them straight to the morgue.” There is also the case of Correctional Medical Services, which was the subject of a report that exposed how the company actively discouraged treatment for hepatitis among prisoners. Metro Correctional in Kentucky had seven inmates die in one year, and an investigation by the prison itself found that the prison may have been responsible for two of the deaths.

Comprehensive studies on the privatization of prison healthcare services and prison healthcare in general are very rare. A 1994 study by the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission of the privatization of healthcare at the Greensville Correctional Center in Virginia found that it was a complete failure. Problems included inadequate care and staffing, cost overruns, and inadequate medical equipment.

The Private Prison Industry Runs Counter to the Public Good

Society benefits from having the minimum number of incarcerated persons, but the private for-profit prison industry does nothing to further this goal. The private prison industry benefits from locking up the maximum number of persons possible.

According to a recent article, 65% of private prison contracts have lockup quotas, meaning that the state guarantees that they will fill the prison to a certain capacity or will pay the difference. The most frequent lockup quota used in contracts is 90%, but three prisons in Arizona have lockup quotas of 100%.

This means that governments are paying to lock up prisoners whether or not there are any actual criminals to fill the jails! State and federal government entities are essentially guaranteeing profits to the private prison industry!

This leads to a grotesque scenario where there is pressure to increase the severity of sentencing laws to keep the prisons full. Private prison companies have been lobbied for three strike laws (mandates of 25 to life for multiple felony convictions) and truth-in-sentencing (keeping prisoners incarcerated for their entire sentence) legislation.

Privatization Deals Are Not Beneficial to Governments

All the abuses perpetrated by private prisons might be tolerable by the general public, since prisoners are usually not sympathetic figures, if the private prison industry lived up to its promises of incarcerating inmates more cheaply than public prisons. This is not the case; numerous studies have shown that incarcerating inmates at private facilities is more expensive than at public facilities or in a best case scenario costs the same.

When examining studies of the cost-effectiveness of private prisons, care must be taken to ensure that the underlying methodology of the study is valid. The private prison industry has a habit of generously donating to politicians and other groups to influence studies, showing the benefits of private prisons. There are enormous amounts of biased and poorly constructed studies that purport to show that private prisons offer cost savings over publicly run prisons. These studies, however, contain many flaws, such as the failure to adjust for differences in inmate populations, failure to include overhead costs, and comparisons to a hypothetical prison rather than actual operating facilities. A final trick used to present privatization as more effective is studies that highlight the cases of severely troubled state institutions after they are put under new, private management. In these cases, the state-run institutions are so poor that any new management, government or private, likely would have improved the prison.

The studies with the soundest methodology compare actual private prisons to actual state prisons with like characteristics (building size, location, prisoner demographics, security level, etc.).

The best study to date is the analysis of the 2010 data released by the Arizona Department of Corrections. This study compared like prisoners in actual, operating private and public prisons. The study found that using private prisons to hold minimum-security prisoners did not save any money, and that for medium-security prisoners was actually more expensive.

Another, albeit old, study that was well done and free from bias was the 1985 study of the transfer of the Florida School for Boys at Okeechobee, a juvenile detention facility, to a private non-profit organization. The study addresses one of the key claims made by the private prison industry that the private sector can provide public goods (in this case incarceration services) more efficiently than government organizations. Despite being a non-profit organization, the private manager was unable to realize any cost savings. Of note is one particular finding: Staff at the facility had much lower morale after the transfer. This finding once again corresponds to the articles cited throughout this report that staff issues including lower morale are one of the prominent downsides to the privatization of detention facilities.

Social Mores and Budget Issues Impact Incarceration Rates

The final issue is the shifting tides of social mores. Society as a whole seems to have grown tired of the “war on drugs” that resulted in the mass incarceration of millions of Americans for non-violent, victimless crimes against the state.

(Graphic source: Wikipedia)

With the commencement of the war on drugs and emphasis on detaining immigrants, the incarceration rate has risen from a steady 100 persons per 100,000 to an astonishing 500 persons.

The cost to society for this misguided adventure has been enormous. With many states still facing budgetary pressures, reducing incarceration rates is an easy place to save money.

Finally, social mores threaten to reduce the number of persons convicted or held on drug related and immigration offenses, which are the two main drivers of the increase in incarceration rates. The recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington shows that the social mores on drug use are changing. Immigration reform has the potential to wind down the immigration equivalent of the war on drugs. As the social and demographic makeup of the United States changes, society is less likely to view the incarceration of drug users and immigrants as desirable.

With an enormous amount of bed capacity built up in the prison system (both public and private) to house quintupling of inmates, any drop in incarceration rates will radically affect private prison companies’ bottom lines. Almost every other civilized country has incarceration rates ranging from 150 to 50 odd people per 100,000, which is the historic range for the United States as well.


In summary, we find there is no economic or social reason for the private prison industry to exist. The horrific records of abuse at many private prisons and the changing social mores of the country place the profitability of these companies at risk.

Intense lobbying and generous campaign finance contributions by the private prison industry should keep the corporate coffers and jail cells filled in the short term. Also, with some private prison companies converting to REITs for the tax benefits, shareholders may reap a short-term windfall. Over the next ten years or so, however, the private prison industry is at great risk as its reason for existence begins to fade.

About the author:

Ben Strubel

President and Portfolio Manager of Strubel Investment Management, LLC a value oriented,independent, fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) based in Lancaster, PA.Visit Ben Strubel’s Website

We asked permission to use this article from Mr.Strubel. His response:
You are welcome to share the article with anyone you like. Glad you liked the article.

Ben Strubel, MBA
President and Portfolio Manager

Strubel Investment Management, LLC

Montana, you have Prisons For Profit in your state. Not only CCA, (Shelby Correctional Institute) and Cascade County Regional Prison, the state has learned how to use this cookie cutter system to make money for the select that have investments in it.  Montana Department of Corrections rents from private industries even, as you see in Cascade County Regional.  Phone fees are astronomical at $14-$15 per 15 minute local phone call and $17-$20 per 15 minute long distance phone call, forcing all inmates to cut ties with their families. Although, it has been proven that inmates with communication and visitation from loved ones will help decrease the numbers of those returning back into the system. Makes you wonder with these fees, canteen fees, visitation restrictions, etc. if they really want an inmate to be successful on the outside.  It makes them more money for them to return to prison.  Look at the Montana Parole Board and their high return rate!  Look at the incarceration rate! Montana, seriously, is this something to be proud of?


Categories: Montana DOC/BOPP, Montana Politics | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s incarceration nation


No one likes to talk about this, of course: “We sell products made by prison labor” isn’t the kind of slogan likely to generate consumer enthusiasm. But to those in the know – as an online video promoting UNICOR’s call-center services boasts – prison labor is “the best-kept secret in outsourcing.”

Maybe Incarceration Nation really is a foreign country.

Originally posted on Prison Reform Movement's Weblog:

English: A visual representation of states in ...

A visual representation of states in the United States by number of imprisoned persons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rosa Brooks

You already know that the United States locks up a higher percentage of its population than any other country in the world. If you look at local, state and federal prison and jail populations, the United States currently incarcerates more than 2.4 million people, a figure that constitutes roughly 25 percent of the total incarcerated population of the entire world.

A population of 2.4 million is a lot – enough, in fact, to fill up a good-sized country. If the incarcerated population of the United States constituted a nation-state, what kind of country would it be?

Here’s a profile of Incarceration Nation:

Population size: As a country – as opposed to a prison system – Incarceration Nation is on the small side. Nonetheless, a population of 2.4 million is perfectly respectable:…

View original 811 more words

Categories: Montana, Prison Corruption, Wake Up America | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

2013 IN REVIEW!!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 39,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Barry A. Beach, Montana, Montana DOC/BOPP | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Montana Board Of Pardons & Parole Accreditation Is Not The Real Deal

Montana Board Of Pardons And Parole Paid For Accreditation Award

Montana Board Of Pardons And Parole Paid For Accreditation Award

At the July 10th, Law and Justice Interim Committee, Ms.Fern Osler – Executive Director of the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole  made much to do over the Board’s ACA Accreditation.   She has brought it up at every single meeting last year, and at the Judiciary Hearings this past session,  a big opponent of the new SJR3 Study.  An in depth study of the parole board.  The board went about showing off that certificate like it meant everything.  If you look at their website, you will see how they try to exemplify and surround this whole certificate as a means of justification that the state of Montana does not need to do an internal study.   That their behavior has been above board and legit.

Let’s take a look at  ACA, known as American Correctional Association .

ACA is an incarceration industry booster  organization.  Its accreditation is somewhat like the Academy Awards  where the entertainment industry gathers to congratulate itself.  ACA  accreditation is available only to ACA members.  It’s fee based, not honorific based. 

Here you can apply or renew your membership online, download a printable application and update your current membership information.

ACA ‘s Gift Membership Program – You can even purchase it as a gift for someone else, a co-worker, a family member.  (Are you serious?)

The Accreditation Fee Letter  shows that as of 1/1/2009 that on top of  membership fees, the fee for the accreditation process is $3000 per  day + $1500 per auditor, apparently aside from travel reimbursement,  for a 3-year accreditation. If that was for 2009, what is the price now?   You can get a “whole household” membership.  ACA Membership Page

Fern Osler has this to say on the Montana Board Of Pardons And Parole Website.

The process of having your peers evaluate what you are doing within the field and then having them find your work is outstanding by definition of the Accreditation Standards is rewarding. The Board wishes to thank all staff for their hard work in making this happen. Ultimately,  it is the citizens of the State of Montana that benefit by knowing the Parole process in Montana is working well. The new report on accreditation is available below.

Excuse me?  Paid peers, that is taking their money, the taxpayers money, your money.

It seems like it would be a good question for the legislative to ask  Ms. Osler how much the  Board paid for its last accreditation, that is good all the way through 2016?   How much did they pay for the Award and the Letter? 

The Montana Board of Pardons And Parole goes on to state how many they release, 6 out of 10. Sounds like someone is  fudging the books or keeping a second set of books, as seen here:

Montana’s Board Of Pardons And Parole And Their Gang.

There are 72% that are eligible for parole and never get looked at, 60% that are denied parole the first time round and 94% that are returned to prison on a violation of probation due to technical issues.  We hear from families and from Department of Correction officers that the parole board lets out those that they know will fail, which is why they have such a high recidivism rate.    They also use ridiculous reasons to return an inmate to prison.  We have been collecting much data, tons of documentation to give you examples of these situations where they are sending people back to prison.  Be on the lookout for that upcoming series.   Montana Prison Families are coming together strong, to prove that the legislature is being hoodwinked, that the state of Montana is being hoodwinked also.   It’s more than just the families, many groups and advocates network and discuss all the time what a great problem and mess this is.

This man John Ward, who was on the parole board as seen here  Montana Parole Board  threatened the wife of an inmate in the corridor of the Montana Capitol.  That is a civil threat, that was acted upon and is a criminal felony by law.    This board member attended the hearing, he did not speak up at the Capitol after the threat was made known and he just termed out of the position.  John Ward Businessman 3/10/2009 -1/1/2013.   Before this position he was a state legislator, as seen here.

John Ward

John Ward

But the state department allows this kind of behavior, threats and harassment via computers out of the capitol.  If this were you or I, we would have already been arrested and sitting in a Montana jail.  But the good ole’  boys club lets it ride, once again.

So, who is monitoring this group of people that have to answer to no one?  Who are now the Gods Above The Law.

Categories: Montana BOPP | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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